DEUS Ex Caelo is an ambitious project aiming to do something our scene has been missing during the COVID-19 pandemic: Tournament. Online. Big. Parsec. And… open! I mean – if this does not catch your attention, you may even miss S3 announcement being so lethargic. If it does, read further to see what SabinDeus has to say about this event.

Twitter: @SabinDeus | @TeamDEUSGaming
Twitch: nycfurby is our streaming partner
Youtube: Same as above – nycfurby
Country: USA
Matcherino: – use code DXCII for a free $0.50!

Hello SabinDeus, can you briefly introduce yourself?

Hi there, my name is Ian. I am a native New Yorker and I have been a fan of the SoulCalibur series since Soul Edge. My gamer tag is SabinDeus which I came up with a long time ago, combining my love of Final Fantasy VI with my interest in Latin and the Classics.

I am the founder of Team DEUS which sponsors many New York SoulCalibur players. I also started running an online weekly SC6 tournament series under the dual branding of NYCalibur and NLBC in partnership with Arturo Sanchez (nycfurby). This series donates 25% of its crowdfunding (via Matcherino) to Henry Cen, the owner of Next Level Arcade in Brooklyn, where the New York SoulCalibur scene held its weekly tournaments before the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown started.

Just yesterday, you announced DEUS Ex Caelo II. Can you tell us more about this tournament?

DEUS Ex Caelo is a tournament series I started back in December of 2020 as an ambitious project intended to provide something close to a major open tournament feel across the continent that we have not been able to have since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. With safe congregation made impossible by COVID, the next best thing we all have is netplay. But trying to run netplay over long distances, or even sometimes short distances, is prone to truly disruptive issues. Frame drops, lag spikes, stutters. I think everyone has had matches on netplay like this before. It causes you to second guess every part of your execution. However playing on a Cloud PC via Parsec mostly eliminates this sort of shenanigans. The experience still has delay (some delay is inevitable) but it is incredibly consistent and smooth.

But this seemed too small scope for a technology that can literally split the difference for two players in terms of distance based latency. What I noticed from most of the TOs running Cloud tournaments was that they tended to use small player caps or weren’t open entry – invitationals and such. This is partially because of the cost of running multiple cloud servers, as well as the difficulty in creating an easily cloneable VM setup. This is also partially because the Parsec client side user experience is not foolproof. There are knobs to tweak and various difficulties above and beyond what you’d get when just running Casual Match in the game’s regular netplay.

I appreciate the entertainment value of invitational tournaments but first and foremost I believe the backbone of the FGC is Open Tournaments. Even outside of Cloud Parsec, the current online environment has made our events much more selective and cautious, since someone with a bad connection can ruin it for everyone they fight. Content creators are providing viewers with a seemingly never ending parade of Invitational events, with the same top players invited to each of them. With DXC I aimed to solve the problems of both pandemic enforced distance and network inconsistency, while providing an open environment for as many people as possible.

Currently, there is a lot of online action going on. Is there anything that makes DXC II stand out? What makes it special?

As I mentioned, several SC6 TOs have begun using Cloud Virtual Machines connected via Parsec as a way of bypassing the poor SC6 netcode. The important distinction that I believe sets DXC apart is that it is hosted in a central location, granting more fair latency guarantees than when, for example, West Coast players enter my NLBC weeklies, which are hosted in the Virginia datacenter. This is why I advertise it as “for all North America”. The intent is to provide a good experience for everyone across the continent to play each other in a low lag environment, without the extra lag, stutter, and inconsistency that you’d get from netplay. I also want to stress that this is a large scale open entry tournament. I want to accommodate as many people as possible, similar to what you’d see at a major event.

So, who can register for this tournament? Are there any territorial limits or rules?

DXC is hosted in Google’s Iowa datacenter, which is roughly in the middle of the continental United States. As such the tournament is open to all North America. Now obviously, some areas in North America (e.g the Caribbean, Northwestern Canada) will have much higher latency due to distance than others. But for the majority of NA SC players, I believe that this is the best location and that Google’s network has the best interconnects and peering arrangements with local ISPs to keep the overhead low.

Who will be commentators this time?

While I’m sure folks who watched the previous DXC will be able to guess some, I will be keeping the full list secret for now. 🙂

Any players you personally are looking forward to see participating?

While I obviously don’t know yet who all will sign up, I hope to see all the players in North America that love SoulCalibur there. Of course I primarily want to see my brothers and sisters in Team DEUS enter and crush the competition! But I look forward to a crowd of fresh faces

Let’s leave DXC II aside for time being. What can you tell me about Team DEUS?

Team DEUS was started with the intention of supporting some of my friends in the NYC SC6 scene to compete worldwide. I wanted them to be capable of showing their skill without worrying too much about the finances involved in travel. And of course, in a very vain way, I wanted to see my name on the bracket alongside theirs as a sponsor.

Of course then the COVID-19 pandemic started and that dream died quickly. When I started working on the cloud technology, I saw an opportunity to bring glory to the brand in a different way. While I am proud of every tournament victory, placement, and accomplishment the members of Team DEUS bring to the name, I now also hope that when I attach the name and logo to events like NLBC and DXC that they can be proud of me too.

Please answer a single question that you were not asked but you would like to answer!

Deus Ex Caelo is a Latin phrase I made up as the name for this event. It means “god from the heavens”. The classical Latin saying “deus ex machina” – which can be translated to English as “god from the machine” – refers to the way that the greek/roman gods were included in dramas. (They would descend from a crane/suspension system to resolve the plot in some way.) For the name of this tournament, I bent this classic phrase to my purposes by substituting the word “caelum” (declined as caelo for the ablative case) – which translates to sky, or heavens – since the tournament is hosted in the Cloud.

Thank you for the interview! And you folks don’t forget to mark May 1st (and 2nd) in your calendars!