What's Smokin?! interview: "Know the Member" with Vanya!
By The Interviewer

The Interviewer: Hello everyone! Welcome to another "Know Da Memba" interview! This time we will be interviewing another super old member, Danker! Or as most of you will know him as, Vanya! Hello Danker, how are you today?

Vanya: Hello Interviewer, other than taking an elevator I've never seen before in my entire life I'm doing good, thank you! What about you, all going well?

The Interviewer: Well - I'm just sitting here, all day, everyday, inside my cave - waiting for the upcoming month so I can take another interview.
Okay! Let's start off by having you tell us the story of how you joined 7Smoke.

Vanya: Oh... uhhh...
Well, I joined 7Smoke a very long time ago back, waaay back in late 2012 when the group was first starting. I believe I joined at the same time as one of our oldest members, Bio.
At the time him and I used to play a lot of Serious Sam 3 maps in co-op and I think Roy saw that, so he invited both of us in at around the same time (although he invited Bio first, I joined in a bit after).

The Interviewer: So what was the group like back in 2012?

Vanya: Back then it was a very quiet group, something you'd expect from a group that was just a few months old. Roy's English was rubbish and we used to play Serious Sam events every time, in a way kind of like what it still is now, just without the random games thrown in at the time, it was purely Serious Sam events.
Serious Sam 3 was still somewhat new so we had a couple new maps every now and then, very rarely did we play a different game, at least from what I remember.

The Interviewer: So it was the vanilla 7Smoke experience?

Vanya: Pretty much, yeah.

The Interviewer: Did you take any kind of hiatus from the group during those seven years? And if yes, what made you come back?

Vanya: I left the group back in 2014 due to me not clicking well with Roy at the time.
I was gone for about 2 or so years I think... kinda regret that since I certainly missed the group growing up stronger with many new members (some of which still stick around to this day). I rejoined before one of 7Smoke's anniversaries since Roy reinvited me to the group and I, without hesitation, came back, late to the party but certainly not too late. In the end we managed to get along well with each other and now I'd say we're good friends.

The Interviewer: Aww, what a heart-melting story!
So which changes in the group do you like today, in comparison to the early days? Which ones do you dislike?

Vanya: Hmm... I'd say one of the changes that I like compared to how the group was back in 2012-2014 is how much more open its become with the events. I mean it in the sense of, how they play a lot more different games and are open to suggestions for games to play at events, just ask Roy how many times I asked him to do a Left 4 Dead 2 event back in 2013 and how many times there were events on that back then.
I may not join events often (or at all, once in a blue moon I might), but I appreciate how open they are with them for the other members who do join them often.
As for things that I don't like exclusively in 7Smoke... I can't think of one at the moment.

The Interviewer: I think we all know Serious Carnage is your favorite event - but why don't you give me a top 3 of your favorite events/mods?

Vanya: That's kinda hard to say when I join just one or two events a year, but I'll try.
Hands down one of my favorite events has to be Serious Carnage, I still remember how angry I was back then in 2013 when Roy made an event for it on a day I was gone and how I came home and got in the event just as it was about to end, but on the other side of the coin I remember how happy I was when I finally got to play it on a full 7Smoke server when the TSE version came out, and only so recently when we replayed it again.
Not sure if it counts, but the underground skribbl.io / tabletop events we used to hold were also some of my favorite.
More recently, I had a lot of fun playing nano's Serious Strike mod for Serious Sam Fusion, I liked it so much I decided to try and make a map for it, but don't tell anyone about it!

Mauritsio: Ro- Interviewer, it doesn't seem like a good idea to keep it in if he told us to not tell anyone about...
The Interviewer No Mauh, keep it! It will be all the talk and generate more clicks!

The Interviewer: Anyway, what's one of your favourite 7Smoke stories?

Vanya: Serious Carnage events as a whole, me asking Roy for years to let another event like that happen again and then people's reactions when I do show up in time for them is something I won't forget since they were genuinely surprised I even showed up.

The Interviewer: Do you still have interest in creating Serious Sam content, and are you working on anything for the games right now?

Vanya: That one's a tough one.
Not too long ago I got really burnt out with working with the Serious Editor since I had been working on a map for 2+ years and there were always major issues with it that seemed to be beyond me to fix. Currently I'm trying to slowly get back to Serious Sam modding in the form of making simple stuff like playermodels and the like that since I enjoy making those. Asides from that, as I mentioned earlier I am working on a small map for Serious Strike and if it goes well then I'll try to make a couple more maps for that mode, but I think I won't be getting back to making campaign / survival maps anymore, or at least not anytime soon.

The Interviewer: In your opinion, what makes 7Smoke stick out from other communities?

Vanya: Hmm... I'd say it's definitely how they (both admins/mods and members) reach out to other communities and cooperate with them in one way or another. One of the best examples I can think of would be how 7Smoke and the team behind I Hate Running Backwards got along from start to end while the game was still being developed until it was fully released (and even still to this day). That's something you rarely see in other communities in my opinion.

The Interviewer: And now, we reach the most important questio of this interview. Why did you switch your name from Danker to Vanya? :ninja:

Vanya: I wouldn't know what to tell you really, lol. But I'll try my best.
Danker was a name I came up with in 2011 to make an account in a certain forum, I don't exactly remember how I came up with the name but as time kinda went by I started to become less of a fan of it, everyone in 7Smoke who was around the time before I left knows me as that and also call me that occasionally. I changed name to Vanya back in 2014-2015 when I started playing Counter-Strike and I wanted to be part of one of the communities in there, I figured it'd be the perfect time to get rid of my old name and "start fresh" and so I picked up Vanya randomly.
I'm happy with the name currently, although from time to time I'll personally rename myself to Danka or something over at our Discord server just for the sake of it.

The Interviewer: Well, thank you for this interview Danka! If you wish to say anything else, for the readers, go ahead! And to you, my dear readers, I will see you next week!

Vanya: Well, thank you for having me in the first place!
Can't really think of something witty to say at the end other than I'm really glad I came back to 7Smoke, and I strongly hope that the group keeps growing with the same pace that it is now.

Also bench is a hacker in hangman in 2019 for crying out loud.