Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My First Community: Fantasy Origin

I've always loved video games. My first non-pen-and-paper RPG was Dragon Warrior for the NES. I got it free with my subscription to Nintendo Power - so it was long after the game was originally published. My next RPG was a step up - Final Fantasy II (us) for the SNES. I loved the genre and decided to use what programming and artistic skills I had to make my own RPG for the computer. The computer gaming scene had it's own style of RPG, but I wanted to focus on the console style. Thus began my work on The Legend of Talibah (warning, midi!). After a couple of years of labor, I realized I needed help with music and art. I started looking around the Internet and realized there were a lot of people wanting to join projects like mine. I found both a musician and an artist in no time. I also noticed, however, that this community of would-be RPG developers were kind of disorganized. Thus, I started a website called Fantasy Origins. I don't remember when I started the site, but I think it was somewhere around 1994 and 1995.

The site was simple. I suppose it was kind of a classified ads site. I let people post when they were either looking for help or offering services. At the time I didn't think of it as a community - I just thought of it as a tool to help enable people to do what they were already doing. I met a number of really interesting people, some of whom I'm still in touch with today.

I started the site in a subdirectory of my college web hosting account. The site moved a lot. Eventually, I didn't have time to maintain the site. Luckily, one particularly cool fellow I'd met along the way decided to take the site over for me. He even finally registered a URL. It lived for a while longer before it was finally consumed by the vast.

At the time, it was just something fun to do. Looking back now, I realize it was the first of many virtual community projects I would toy with. The most important thing I learned was the value of building tools to managing content... posting every entry by hand was considerably more work than it needed to be.

While the site is long gone, there are some small impressions left around the Internet: Way Back Machine's Archived Copy, Natronix Links Page, Josh's Game Links.

Ok, enough looking into the past... on with my day.

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