Interview with Plugin Developer / Server Owner: Cameronalfie
Below is a short interview I did with Cameron. I’ve limited it to ten questions that I hope will be impactful and informative for you readers. For those of you that aren’t familiar with his work, Cameron develops and owns the server Rust Arcade, which is a Minigame server, with modes such as Among Rust, BedWars, other minecraft style minigames and more recently, Prop Hunt. Cameron has also coded a number of plugins which he sells on Lone Design, with his most popular one being the Boogie Bomb. I have had the pleasure of working with Cameron for a while on his server and I think he can provide a lot of insight into the development of rust plugins, as well as the management of running a server. As Cameron’s server is very unique and far from the ‘norm’ of Rust servers I think an interview with him would be an interesting read for people looking to get into plugin development, or those of you that are already established in the community.. I hope you all enjoy this interview and learn a little something from it.
Q: Tell me a little bit about your Rust and coding background prior to starting the development of Rust Arcade – how skilled at coding were you when starting Rust Arcade?
A: I studied computer science (coding) at A-Level and also studied computer science at University for 3 years. When I started coding my Rust server I was in the second year of my university degree.
Q: Why did you decide to create a minigames server for Rust, especially in the style you did, considering other Rust ‘minigame’ servers tend to stick to PvP focused game modes such as Free for All.
A: When I first started playing Rust in 2015 I had always wanted to create a minigames style server based on Minecraft Minigames as I had been playing Minecraft for a year or two before getting into Rust. However I lacked the coding ability at the time. Instead I chose to make a generic survival server on the old version of Rust. This server (called Super Rust) was very successful and at times was the #1 Rust server. Super Rust lasted around 7-8 months and taught me a lot about running a Rust server. After Super Rust closed I was not really involved properly in new Rust for a few years, only playing a wipe occasionally. In June 2019 (during the COVID lockdown in England) I got back into Rust and decided that I was going to make a minigames style server, now that I had much better coding knowledge. I wanted to make a lot of game modes like the ones from Minecraft as I always enjoyed minigames more than normal Rust and there was not a ‘proper’ minigames server.
Q: Can you give an insight into the amount of work it took to get Rust Arcade to the current stage it is at today – how hard/easy it was and the time taken for example.
A: Rust Arcade is very different to most servers so I should say that the number of hours is probably a bit extreme as I made everything myself except some of the maps which were bought or made by my co-owner, and some of the plugins are very complex compared to those you would find on normal servers. In total it took me about 3000 hours to code everything on Rust Arcade as well as countless hours managing it.
Q: To expand on the previous question, what has been the most challenging moment in regards to running and developing your own server?
A: From a development perspective coding the instancing for the server was by far the most challenging part – there is a reason so few servers have this, it took me a lot of time to do and required a lot of testing. In terms of running a server, getting consistent players week in week out was a lot harder than I expected, and is something we still struggle with a year or so after launch. Also constantly helping people/ answering tickets is fairly time consuming.
Q: What has been your favourite or most enjoyable moment throughout your time owning Rust Arcade?
A: When we launched our Among Rust gamemode. It was a very hectic period and we experienced a lot of growth and also managed to make a lot of videos on the server with some very big YouTubers. Coding Among Rust was also very difficult so to see it pay off in such a big way was very rewarding.
Q: Could you tell us briefly the process you take in regards to making a plugin, either to sell or to use on your server.
A: This is just my personal preference and you can really go about it however you please.
- Lot of brainstorming on what I want to create – check to see if something similar has already been made if I am making one to sell.
- Read through Rust’s base code that might be needed for the plugin
- Make a prototype of the plugin that does largely what you want it to do
- Work on this prototype and get it to a fairly good standard
- Add any user configuration options.
- Test the plugin as much as I possibly can
- Final check before pushing it to market/server
Q: Why did you branch out into selling plugins and offering private dev work to other server owners?
A: Looking through various Rust discords it was clear that there was definitely a demand for private plugin work. Doing some private work was an easy way for me to make some money on the side as by the time I started looking for some work I was very confident in making plugins. It also helped me improve my knowledge and work on things I would not normally do. Selling plugins also seemed an easy option to me, there were some plugins I had made for my server that didn’t really fit, so I chose to sell them. Like private plugin work it also let me create plugins I usually wouldn’t make.
Q: Looking to the future, what do you think is next for you in terms of developing plugins for Rust – do you see the game heading in a positive direction to be able to continue this kind of work?
A: Facepunch certainly seems to be pushing the game in a good direction. In terms of plugin development, the more Facepunch adds to the game, the more things people will be able to create.
Q: How has coding Rust Arcade affected your level of coding and has it helped you in other projects away from Rust?
A: Coding Rust Arcade has improved my coding skills greatly. I used Rust Arcade as my final year project in University and won an award for it. I also used it heavily on my resume which allowed me to get a really good first job just after graduating university. Honestly if you code a fair amount of plugins either to sell or use on your own server I can’t recommend enough using it on your resume, it is very valuable. The knowledge I gained from coding plugins has allowed me to go into my first project on my own that is ‘away’ from Rust in the sense that its largely based outside the game – it is a more user friendly discord linker for Rust servers – I wouldn’t have been able to do this nor had the confidence to do this if I didn’t code a lot of plugins beforehand.
Q: Finally, do you have any advice for people looking to get started in Rust plugin/server development and server management/ownership.
A: Don’t get into this expecting to have a huge server network and make a load of money, it is very challenging and the servers that reach this level are the 1%. Don’t get ahead of yourself when coding plugins as errors can occur at the least expected time. Finally if you want to develop plugins or own a server, do it for fun and enjoy playing the game at the same time. There are a lot of opportunities to be had with server ownership and development, but it requires a lot of trial and error – good luck!
I would like to thank Cameron for taking the time to do this interview with me, I hope you learned something or found it an interesting read.