Mark: How is Ghost Skies paid for? Any cost to the players?
Mike: Ghost Skies is free to the community. I have paid for GS out of my own pocket for the past couple of years. Because of the competition program I mentioned, I had set up a donation account through PayPal to help with initial expenses. I’ve decided that it would be a good thing to keep the donation account open. If GS gets enough money from donations, I want to have some hats, T-shirts, and patches made. Then I can use those items as prizes for future tournaments. We may even be able to sell the items to generate more funds to buy bigger prizes. But we’ll see how all that goes. Right now there is no cost to the player at all. But I do ask that if they enjoy the league, that they consider making a donation. All the proceeds go right back to the league anyway, so it all stays within the league.
Mark: Who are the people most responsible for bringing this league about?
Mike: I already mentioned my two web masters, Eddie Mora and Ben Poulter. But the list of people who have had a hand in shaping Ghost Skies into what it is today is beyond anything I could answer. So many people have contributed in so many ways. There have been guys who have chipped in various graphics work. All of the graphics you see on our website is the work of volunteers. There have been guys who have chipped with some programming help here and there, such as the original scripts from which I built the Ghost Skies Timer. Plus, many of the maps we use have been built by volunteers. But there have been far greater amounts of people who have helped with the development of the rules and format of the league. Entire teams of players have tested the rules and the files and have recommended changes. I get suggestions all the time about ways to improve the league. Over the course of the league, I’m sure the number could reach close to a hundred if I were to list everyone who has contributed towards the progression of the league. The bottom line is, there have been a handful of people responsible for putting together and running the league, but it is the Ghost Skies members who I think are most responsible for the success of the league.
Mark: What are some of your long-term goals for Ghost Skies?
Mike: I want Ghost Skies to be successful. Success, by my personal definition, is a large membership who is active, competitive, and happy. Getting comments from players on how much they enjoy the league is what personally motivates me. I want them to enjoy the competition as much as I do. I think I had achieved that before we had to take the last website offline. Now that Ghost Skies is back, I hope to achieve that again. As I mentioned previously, G.S. is just getting its 1v1 ladders started up. Those will happen at the end of the current cycle and will be open to the entire community. I’m also exploring the possibility of adding a Virtual War campaign component to the league. There is a very large and very competitive niche of the community that flies virtual wars exclusively. So I would like to expand into that arena. I want to approach it from a different angle with equal footing being the primary concern. Historical accuracy is important, but not at the detriment to fair play, equal chances, and fun. I am currently seeking motivated and respected members of the community to add to the staff for this purpose. Currently I don’t have a time-line for this as I am just exploring the possibility. Also, with 1C’s “Storm of War: Cliffs of Dover”, and the follow on series additions on the way, G.S. will immediately be incorporating those games into our format upon their release. So, I foresee a long bright future for the league.
Mark: Are there any plans to expand Ghost Skies to other flight-sims?
Mike: As I mentioned, I will be incorporating Storm of War into the league in the future, so we will be expanding for that entire game series. A friend has been flying Falcon 4.0: Allied Force. He absolutely loves it, and is doing some research on the possibility of including it in Ghost Skies. I read the review on SimHQ, and it sounds like a great game. So I am hopeful that we can put something together for that community. Also, a friend of mine asked me if I would consider starting a league for Lock-On, Modern Air Combat. While I certainly have the means to do so, I am not personally affiliated with that game. Furthermore, I don’t know anyone who plays it enough and has enough time to dedicate to building a format, writing the rules, and running such a ladder. So as of now, LOMAC is on the shelf so to speak. But I’ll have it in mind as a possibility if I find the right people to run it.
Mark: Thank you Mike for letting SimHQ readers learn about Ghost Skies.
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