Text Games: an Interview with Justin Walsh (Tecton)

iron realms text games

by Ben Gorlick

Ben Gorlick recently interviewed Justin Walsh, Producer of the text rpg game from Iron Realms Entertainment, Achaea. Justin, who is a native born Australian, has a unique story about how playing Iron Realms text-games led to him living part of the year in the United States and the other part in Australia!

In this interview, Walsh shares the many facets of being a producer of an online video game, as well as his favorite moments as the God of Evil Shaitan (which he played prior to ascending into his current role). In this interview, Walsh also gleans on many of the new interesting features of Achaea including the War system, his personal views on text-gaming, and what challenges he sees facing it now and in the future.

See video
See video
See video





PLEASE no more interviews

Didn't I tell ya we'll get Tecton next?

Also, ever notice how both the President and Tecton were both Mhaldor Gods? This only means that MHALDOR RULES :D

Been a long time since i was in MHALDOR, but the statement is indeed a truth!!! 


Old good Mhaldor

Gotta agree with both of you, Mhaldor was the hot spot for activity. I still like going there once in a while to have a little fun.


Mhaldor rules!

no, they dont! But Ithaqua does, in Imperian!


I agree. No time to watch. I have a life in Lusternia, you know, and things don't get done by themselves! ;-)


i don't. sadly.

I like interviews it lets us see more about the people behind the screen. Anyway you could stop complaining and just not comment if you hate them so much.

Agreed, its nice to put a face to the people that in a way we all interact with

another interview

Yeah, that was about my reaction, too. :(

We had some pretty badass articles going, for a while.

Fear not! There are only 6 producers for Iron Realms! We have some other great things in the works for all you article lovers!

who's justin in the other games?

Why? It's neat to see them!

You guys know you don't have to read and/or watch them right? :)

Otherwise how do they get their free creditz?

lrn2digg, man

Technically you only have to view the page and comment, no actual reading or watching if you really wanted ;)

But you are supposed to contribute a meaningful comment. Not that that seems to be enforced.




Loved it. At least now I know what Tecton looks like! He ain't so scurreh.

I thought he was bald and had a big long flowing beard! Maybe sort of a Socrates look.

Imagining the pantheon of IRE as the scholars from The School of Athens by Michaelangelo is great.


;D at least we get to see what he looks like. Whew, no old Socrates!



Heh, he is pretty cool as Tecton.

Always good to hear from Tecton.

Tecton rules

I like the interviews a lot... then again I am super mushy and love things that lead me to contemplating about other things. Side-tracked way too easily...

I've always looked forward to and enjoyed watching the interviews too.

It makes me remember that they are just another person...

I like hearing the interviews too.

Nice to see Tecton in the real.

Yep. I agree.

Interesting, brings back memories of my first MUD experiences.

oh African Cichlids! <3

love the accent, walsh is cute. what more can you ask for in an interview?

To the people complaining about interviews:

Your concerns are obviously troubling problems for you and I'm sorry you are so burdened that you feel you must complain here. As Jumpy said, new content is always being worked on for this blog and the articles do tend to be very good and fun to read. Please try to remember that many players and fans enjoy hearing from the producers who are sharing their lives and their passions for everyone to see.

So if you don't like the interviews, then offer up some suggestions of what can be done to improve the experience for you and I'm sure they'll do their best!


well said


Where's the like button on this ;) Seriously, I think the interviews are interesting. Can't please everyone with articles. Variety is good, tbh. 

Hear, hear

I'm not sure what they're complaining about. I liked the interview.

Screw you complainers, I've been waithing for an interview with this guy for a while.

I like the interviews. I just put them on in the background while I play. I find them interesting because they make you think about the games in different ways. I look forward to the next ones.

Honestly it's nice to see this sort of interview happening, and it's actually kind of awesome to hear Tecton talking about his side of things.

I enjoy hearing the background of the people behind the scene. There have been times that I wondered if the people that play these characters have any soul or just programmed denizens...

It is always good to hear what the guys behind the scenes have to say.

Excellent interview. Keep them coming!

always good to get an idea of how it pooks behind the scenes

Wait, what... Where was he from?

Am I wrong, but did someone have a dog in that video? I could swear I heard a jingling collar.

I appreciate these guys taking the time to tell their stories. It's interesting to know the faces and the voices behind the text.


I agree, it's nice to know a bit more about the history of the games I love, and how they formed up in an OOC sense as well as an IC sense.



I would love to see an interview with Valnurana too - as someone who plays a character in her order I'm curious to hear from the person behind the character!

Unrepairable damage to cities. Imagine the rage!

It's interesting to hear about the differences between the games.


I'd love to see more interviews with the people who play divines. Its intresting to see what the person behind the character is like.

It would be quite neat

needs more work.

What kind of work does it need?


I can't wait to see the changes they make from this round of clasleads :)

Very interesting to see/hear about all the stuff going on in Achaea.  it's really not that long of an interview so i'm not sure what peopel are complaining about.  If you ar etoo busy to spend 30 minutes listening to somebody who is virtually volunteering to make your gaming experience better....maybe you don't have time to play the game anyways.

I personally like hearing from the producers and God's.  It's nice that they take the time out of their day to explain what its like to be on the other side of the game.  I also like hearing the bits and pieces they share about new content.

I don't play Achaea but some of those additions such as the War system sound pretty awesome.

Some can not see the video for the countrys limitations, or physical reasons, .Please, if video is available transcript can be placed in of the video.

Agreed. Watching videos isn't worksafe, but reading a transcript certainly is.

So that's Tecton. Interesting!

I'd be really interested if player ascensions were brought back. It was always one of the most interesting concepts for me.


I am not sure why we have so many grumpy players commenting about interviews. I enjoy getting to know the Producers and see what life is like for them. Different tastes, I suppose.

Pretty neat.

The one-time controllers of the evil gods are over-represented in these interviews.  How 'bout hearing from the good-aligned gods?


Tell 'em to step their game up!

I think the interviews are interesting

I always enjoy looking behind the scenes and seeing a human face behind the name. Though I do see a funny trend of all of these people mostly being evil gods..That said, I don't mind interviews at all.

What kind of fish are those?




Way to go Mhaldor in providing some of the best gods...heheh...


mhaldor always gets the gods apparently


Although Tel will never step upon Mhaldor, it's refreshing to know how the people there make the conflicts fun for everyone else. Keep on going!

Teeeecton. <3

i agree there is a disturbing trend about the evil gods. some things were interesting...unrepairable damagem well maybe that will get some people up to start defending thei cities..or at the very least force people to become more proficient in combat...i mean no one wants to live in a smoking ruin do they. oh wait the mhaldorians do i mean thei whole island is a volcano that being said tecton is anawesome addition. he is no clementius but still rocks...and yes please maybe an interview with a good aligned divine next would be great please

I have been playing achaea nearly 8 years now, personally I am disappointed in what Achaea turned into. I suppose everything went downhill around 2004-2005, and just kept rolling and rolling, the only reason I keep coming back is because I'm still addicted to how I USED to feel and I keep hoping that somehow that feeling will come back.


I miss when people would really fight on achaea, making their own cures, aliases- sure, it was a lot slower but it was real, not a whole system made by someone else to keep you alive while buttonmashing (well, not buttonmashing, but it IS closer to that comparison than the past).


Oh, and also new players coming in and using their outer resources to make themselves super strong IG. I wouldn't mind if it was over time, and they used skill as well (I know some do still, I'm just talking about the majority) but buying all these arties straight away, how do you RP that? Its too ooc.


I also miss how the world was like a real world. I'm all for serious times, yet the real world isn't always completely serious, there are silly times and that it RP as well. It seems the gods want to take everything silly out of the game: designs (even in medieval times there was such a thing as costume clothes, no design should ever be rejected because it is "too silly" if it is still period appropriate), goddess of mischief- yes she returned (for a tiny amount of time) but valnurana is not right to play pandora, I could beg for the old one to return and make the game more interesting though I know she probably won't be coming back. And though she isn't one of the "important" gods, it isn't about one gods worth or abilities its about the game as a whole, the elements that make it realistic and livable..


I still remember that event where inanimate objects came to life and began speaking to everyone and moving around all crazy, that was wonderful! And all of tekla's amazing designs before the gods/admins began removing them from the lists without so much of a note or reimbursement- I won't begin to talk about how biased Lupus is, but if tekla couldn't her fun clothing and katia gets to keep her dildo design.. I think there's something wrong here.


And yes, I know it is awesome to make money from running MUD, though the long-time players should have still been considered over the new ones that spend thousands of dollars on arties for all their alts- there should at least be a monthly limit of a sort for everyone else.


I truely admire the players that really role-play.. though (aside from mhaldor, according to tecton) role-play isn't strong in achaea anymore. New players wont understand.. But the long-term players, some of you will remember the golden days of achaea like I did.


I'm mostly dormant now, I come on and off hoping things have changed for the better. Though hopefully I can find a new MUD to hide in my house like a hermit and play all day (aside from work days, unfortunately).

yes. This is my real opionion.


I'm not saying it is true for everyone- just for me and a couple people I know that share the same feelings about the game.


p.s. Jeremy was the best. Achaea was the best when he was in charge.

I agree with you one-hundred percent. Achaea has become hypocritical rubbish, an outright cash cow. Nobody cares about RP anymore and the pre-made systems like Vadi have made it so that even people who are absolutely horrid at combat can survive an assault if they're high enough level. IRE doesn't care because, hey, if it keeps the credit whores happy and buying credits then keep em coming, right? It's a shadow of what it once was, a fun and intricate game that the developers worked to keep interesting and fun. Now it's no better than bloody WoW. No wonder Clem left.

- Alex,

player since 2003

I know I'm not known as the most reliable of players, but I only got wishy washy when everything went to you know what. I've been playing for eleven years, and I love Achaea like it's my home, but it's come to the point where I don't even want to login anymore. I miss the good old days!

Let me point out, my feelings are not all negative! I'll always love Achaea for what it is: an amazing game with more than you could ever ask for in an rpg. I just wish the whole "society" behind Achaea was a little more pure.



PS. Not enjoying the work of those in charge of player design input. Too specific, too closed-minded. There's a difference between monitoring for rp purposes and monitoring for anything out of the ordinary.

In defense of the system users..

I really wish one can still play the game without a system, I used to do it back when I started until I was around the age of 30. Let me tell you this, it just isn't possible.


Some people just can't code and do not want to learn(it's a lot of work and unless you plan on using it on other things it's really not worth it) and the only reliable solution is to buy a system if you want to get into -any- form of combat.


So, haters gonna hate, but systems make the game play-able for many of us.


P.S. would be fun to play without triggers/full systems (gimme no system server nao)

That's why they were made. Also, the only ones complainig about systems are the same middle-level tier people, because in high-tier, people take control of the systems. More people than not love them though for enchanting their gaming experience, and it keeps a lot more people about if they actually stand a chance - hence why they're still around, contributing to the growth of the game(s).

Lot os love for Vadi's system in Achaea.  It means you don't have to spend 200 hours coding, testing and more coding and can try getting on with the roleplaying that people say is missing. 

Yes, on Lusternia too. Best credits I've spent to just not have to spend hours on maintaining things when there's a change. My coding is horrible too.

A couple of things.

I am not picking on you at all, but I think you are suffering a phenomonon that Matt and I often talk about. For some reason players always think things used to be better way back when. For some reason people never remember all the bad thing that used to happen.

I will give you some examples.

When I was a player, I could pretty much kill anyone, anytime, as much as I wanted. They made PK rules and people started saying it was better without rules. We relaxed the rules and people say we need more rules.

For a while, you could not cure some of the afflictions that players could give you. Paralysis was one of them. Imagine not being able to cure paralysis. 

When I was a player, triggers and systems ruled combat and everyone complained that it was better before triggers. That was 10 years ago, 4 years before your example. So that argument of "things were better when" has always existed.

When Matt was running Achaea, players constantly complained that he favored Shallam, and hated all the other cities. (A common complaint for all producers. I hear Tecton favors Mhaldor). On Imperian is was said I favored Stavenn for some reason. We don't favor any city, it is completely counter productive for a producer to favor one group over another. However, players seem to think Matt was perfectly fair now (same with myself).

We do not favor players who have spent thousands of dollars over those that have not. I have shrubbed and permanently banned some of our biggest customers that have just freaked out. It sucks, but the rules have to be applied as evenly as possible. It has always been that way.

When I started Achaea, there would be 10 to 20 people on at times. There are a ton more then that now. We have discovered the populations on the games ebb around quite a bit, moving from game to game. I always kinda figured the games would slowly pull more and more from Achaea and push out to the other games. This is funny, because when Achaea was really full, people complained that there were too many people and it was not fun that way.

Virtually nobody did RP when I was a player. There were 4 or 5 people maybe, most were just playing themselves, but I constantly hear that RP was better back in the day. It was not.

Tons of the original rooms on Achaea did not have any descriptions. There were virtually no quests you could do in the game. There were very few areas that were any fun to play in. When the Rock was released, it was the best area in the game by far. There are tons of areas, mobs, and quests now. Celani and Gods build areas almost whenever they want.

Anyways, I am starting to babble now, but my point is:

This is a phenomonon common on all MMO type games. People slowly forget all the garbage from a couple years ago and remember all the garbage happening right now. Albeit the current rules, getting killed a lot, politics, issue outcomes, the current state of RP, etc.

My advice?

This is a game, have fun. If you are not having fun, why are you playing?

PS: Jeremy (me) was never in charge of Achaea.

I always wondered who that is without any real character in-game heh. It certainly is hard for people to embrace change and understand the reasons behind them. People are still complaining about the Citadel at Shallam in spite of some very convincing arguments put forth by Pentharian, Mithraea and Lorielan. I'm enjoying the game anyway, thanks!

My advice?

This is a game, have fun. If you are not having fun, why are you playing? (Jumpy)

This is pretty much the way of things. It's absolutely -not- fun to sit and listen to all the complaining constantly. If you're not having fun, QQ for a few months and come back to it, it's not like it's going to walk away. 


Keep up the hard work(Achaea gods)~ 


You used to run aconite / curare => impale all over you fiend!!!!!! :P

The game mechanics have gotten way better over the years. Lag and bugs are virtually nonexistent whereas "back in the day", Achaea used to have regular timewarps. Imagine losing tons of xp because the server rolled back a few hours. That used to happen ALL THE TIME! Classes are a lot more balanced than they were, and there have always been systems to give people an edge. A lot of people forget ACP was really popular during some of the "golden years".


The roleplay/maturity of the playerbase has dramatically improved over the years. There used to be a lot more ganking, griefing and trolling on Achaea. People used to talk about Xboxs and have 'rap battles' on Ashtan CT and a handful of times Sarapis logged on drunk and shouted profanities and stuff about screwing up the servers (<3 Sarapis).


As for Gods being more 'active' back in the day, that's one point I agree with. I think Tecton is very focused on introducing new features, new classes, just always new stuff that makes us go "ooohhhhh shiny", which doesn't leave time to work on events/storyline stuff. So yeah, Gods don't interact with players as much as they used to. Thats not saying that Gods aren't around, because Achaea always has Gods **hiding** from mortal eye and it's really easy to get a God's attention if you're a good roleplayer. But I agree that Gods used to be visible more often and shout and post on public boards more often. Aegis and Sartan used to post on the public board just to mock eachother atleast 5x a day.


TL;DR version - Achaea's gameplay and mechanics are more kickass than ever before. Please bring back Vastar.

And gimp masks! 

You people need em? :O

I definitely agree. It has gone soo much downhill. :(

We need an Imperian interview now

Good luck with that one.

Psh Aetolia FTW

Did I take the time to read all of your guys comments/complaining. The interview was fine, interviews are always good because it gives us an idea of "Achaea" outside of playing your character. Regardless if I like Tecton or not, cheers for your interview.

Clem interview would have been awesome back in the day!

I don't mind more interviews. Yet :D

I think they are interesting!

Great to here from Achaea's producer

I like these interviews.

As do I. It is also funny to hear another Aussie out there :D

Maybe folks are complaining about -watching- an interview because they enjoy -reading- the blog.   Either way, this interview with Tecton was interesting, and I'm looking forward to hearing more from the other producers as well. 


Perhaps, along with providing a transcript for followers who need a safe-for-work experience, we could establish a set day during the week/month to feature interviews?  This way they're not falling so close on the heels of one another and people have time to forget the last three featured producers (through pure coincidence, I'm sure) have represented  Chaos, Evil and Evil.


Bottom line, IRE provides a wealth of realms with something for everyone, and the same holds true for the IRE blog.  If you don't like what we have to share today, we'll have something new tomorrow!   

Interesting to see this from another game's perspective!

Very much so

I see a lot of people complaining about these interviews with the Producers, and for the life of me I cannot get why. Your playing the games that these people are developing, and they're letting you into what drives them and why they want their game to succeed and be the best it can be.

While, unlike most people, I never started off in Achaea but I still like to watch what is going on across IRE games. Nice interview, Tecton!

I'm not sure why, but I've always liked interviews

I can't wait for a war system in Impy.

yay more interviews I love them

It's a good way to see a little behind the scene.

I've played Achaea for a little while now, not as long as most, and it was starting to get pretty stagnant, but since Justin & Jeremy have been in charge there is a breath of fresh air in Achaea, and probably the other IRE games as well. creative ways to bring in fresh new blood as well as different promotions to get people to log in and stay in realms. thanks for all the hard work!

Maybe I'll go back to Achaea one of these days, hm..

Yea, maybe ONE day..

Personally I'm not a huge fan of the War System but that's just me, having to repair rooms seems rather time consuming for people that could be doing other things, though it does add more of an RP aspect to the game, with cities able to destroy other rooms in other cities/villages. So all in all I think it works well for the RP base but for the player perticipation not 100%. Oh and Hi Lord Terraformer, always nice to see behind the screen love interviews!

It was  sort of interesting.

always interesting

Is also always interesting. ^^

Blows a big one. I can imagine that any shut in freak wants to be mhaldorian. Just like every creep/pansy is Cyrenian.

This is a friendly site. No need to start calling people names.

i'll have to watch this soon

I enjoyed watching that

hmm I don't understand what he said after Green Lake.. What's the second area built..?

so.. could somebody spell that second area..? *blush*