The man doesn't really need an introduction, but here it is anyway: He goes by the name of Nolan Pflug... Radix... The Grandfather... and Father Floog. He's the man who founded SDA back in April 1998, the man who - at time of writing - has 481 Quake demos on SDA (of which 127 are still records), the man who wrote QdQstats, Dzip along with a shitload of other Quake programs and utilities and helped shape Quake speedrunning into what it is today, and of course, the man responsible for SDA growing into a massively popular website for speedruns on not only the PC, but on several other platforms as well.
Tell us a bit about yourself: What's your name, your residence, your occupation, your hobbies, etc.
Nolan Pflug and I live in Pittsburgh PA in the US. I have a job at a local software company writing in Perl, our main product is a Tax collection system for county governments in Florida. My main hobby is video games of course.
What got you involved in speedrunning?
The Super Nintendo game Super Metroid has a timer displayed at the end, so I felt the need to see how fast I could do it. I can't remember if I only did this because Nintendo Power had a competition, but regardless I sent in a picture of my time to the magazine. I was upset when my time wasn't printed, but slower times were. Perhaps this led me to start my own website when I found a few quake demos in December 1996 on ftp.cdrom.com.
You founded SDA in April 1998 together with Gunnar Andre Mo (a fellow Quaker who ran his own Quake page with speedruns just like you did), and prior to March 2nd 2004, SDA was solely a Quake site. What made you open up the site to include other games?
When another Metroid game came out for GameCube, and it also had a timer like Super Metroid before it, I just had to try running it. There was a community of 'sequence breakers' discovering the ability to do things out of sequence in the game on gamefaqs.com and that's where I learned of the various tricks that I used in my 1:37 100% run. When I finished it, I needed somewhere to post it, so SDA seemed like the natural choice. I figured that other games besides just Quake and Metroid deserved some speed runs so I launched 'other games' SDA a few months later.
Do you still read SDA on a regular basis?
The main site yeah, but the Quake site not so much. This is only because I got behind on watching the demos in March 2006 when I got my job. I'm trying to catch up though.
What other games, if any, do you play these days?
Mainly xbox 360 games with Rock Band being at the top. I've been playing it almost two years and am good enough to get 5 stars on expert on a majority of the songs, but the hardest songs on the drums are still too much for me.
What do you think of today's SDA site, as compared to how it was in the "old days" (1998-2004, before SDA opened up to include other games beside Quake)?
Perhaps it doesn't have quite the "you know everyone involved" feeling, but a site can't ever 'make it big' with that small of a userbase. Now a days I see all kinds of runs from people I've never heard of, which makes me happy to see how many people visit the site and care about running.
What do you think of the old SDA site?
I'm very happy to see Quake demos still getting made, 13 years after the games' release!
How do you see SDA five years from now?
We currently have runs on 517 games, so I guess by 5 years from now it could be close to a thousand.
How do you see Quake speedrunning five years from now?
It looks like 2009 could end up with more demos than 2008 had, but 2008 was quite a drop from 2007. It's hard to make a prediction based on this so I guess I'll just say I hope it's still active.
Do you still play Quake? Do you remember the very first time you played Quake?
I hadn't played it in 5 years but I did recently when Tim Doherty visited me for a weekend. I remember getting the Quake demo disc from a friend of mine, being really confused by the intro demos, and eventually working my way through. I found those ftp.cdrom.com demos, got the full version, made a demo on e2m1, and the rest is history.
What was your first demo?
e2m1 NH in 2:35 (YouTube video) / (demo file)... the current record is 1:23 (YouTube video) / (demo file).
Do you have a favorite demo from yourself? From someone else?
I think my Hipnotic nightmare 100% marathon is my favorite.
Do you have a favorite all-time trick in a Quake demo?
I like grenade boosts off monsters... a trick I came up with to bring the run time on QdQ e4m5 from 0:16 to 0:15. I was immediately beaten by Matthias Belz with a 0:14 though.
Do you have a favorite player, and if so, who? Tell us why you rate him over the rest.
Justin 'optic' Fleck for making over 1000 demos.
Did you come up with any trick or important technique that's still important today?
Grenade boost off monster I think was the only one.
What era was speedrunning in when you started? (i.e. what projects were released, which techniques were discovered, etc.?)
Nothing was released yet... and I think only rocket jumps had been discovered.
Do you ever re-watch any of the Quake done Quick movies? If so, which?
Not for a while.
Will you be watching Qd100Qst (short for "Quake done 100% Quickest", a project which have been in the works for 8 and a half year now) when we finally release it later this year?
What do you think about todays speedrunners, i.e. their style, their speed, etc.?
Unfortunately my answer is about 3.5 years out of date but I'll say "the bunnies are better than mine".
What made you step down as SDA Head Honcho and hand over the reigns to someone else?
I'd have to check the oldnews to be sure but I think I was just too busy with school, and others were capable of updating the site.
How do you feel the current SDA team is holding up? Both the Quake team and the main page team.
We've had a high turnover rate over the years. I think probably 20 people have updated the site in its 11.5 year history. I guess I can be glad that anybody is willing to do all the work involved in their spare time. I definitely appreciate all the work others have put in to keep my site going.
Would you ever consider a comeback to the speedrunning scene?
I might do some more coops but I dont think I can compete in single player runs, except the crazier 100%s that nobody else likes to do.
Did you ever try a comeback, but failed miserably? :-)
Why did you quit speedrunning?
I quit Quake because I started the other games section and did some runs of Nintendo games. I quit that because I got my full time job which then only left me with enough time to play games casually.
Are you still talking to anyone from the speedrunning scene?
Yeah from time to time I'll email people I haven't talked to in a few years and catch up.
Have you met any speedrunners in real life? And are you still meeting from time to time?
Yes, I went to Finland in June 2000 and met a bunch of Quake runners. I met some other games runners in January 2009.
Do you have a favorite memory from speedrunning? It can be anything!
Creating the movie version of Scourge done Slick was fun. YouTube videos: Part 1., Part 2., Part 3. - Torrent download.
What do you think of Quake now?
It's still my favorite PC game.
For nostalgic reasons, could we get you to record a demo on e1m1, an Easy Run perhaps...? ;-)
I tried to do e1m1 Easy Run before Tim visited for practice. I think my best time was a 0:30 - you don't want to see it, heh.
Anything else you want to add?
I'd like to thank John Carmack and everyone else at id Software for making Quake such a great game.
Official Quake YouTube speedrunning channel.