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General Forge Forums => Site Discussion => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2012, 06:48:18 AM



Title: Finishing up
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2012, 06:48:18 AM
Hi,

We're in the final weeks! The closure is still on schedule for June 1.

I was thinking of opening a "Bye!" forum, sort of like the old Birthdays forums, for anyone's closing statements, during the final week or so. Since I was apparently the sole person in the universe who disliked those forums, this was one of those "boy everyone will love it" vs. "shit I hate that" moments. I'm probably going to do it, though.

If I do, I think I will take great pleasure in sinking any posts that annoy me for any reason during that time ... in fact, maybe even moving them to yet another temporary forum called "My head won't fit up my ass but I'm trying" or something like that. Or maybe that will remain a lovely dream, and I won't.

What's coming after

Sooner or later, this domain name will house a big wiki. Its main page is a graphic of the Big Model. You can click on any layer and that takes you into the standard wiki pages with explanations, including nested terms, cross-references, and links to the original discussions. The current Forge and the pre-2008 Forge Archive will remain exactly as they are (including articles), but closed to posting, and the wiki basically dips into them, and you can navigate around in them just as you can now, if you want.

I'd like to generate access to some publishing insights and to some "how this game started" thread families as well, but I'm still thinking about how to do it. Maybe those will be part of the wiki, maybe not.

I'm also not psychologically able to stop forum-style posting, I think. So the Adept Press forum will be housed at my own site, and I think I'll have both Actual Play and Game Design get rolling there too - but more in a personalized, Anyway style of discussion format. I'll be posting about my own play experiences and my own game designs, and encourage others to do the same if they feel like getting my input or input from anyone else who happens to frequent the site. I have no idea what sort of demand for this may exist out there.

Questions & concerns are welcome.
Best, Ron


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Erik Weissengruber on May 08, 2012, 07:45:53 AM
A question on process:

Did you think it would it have taken a decade + to get tot he point where you could present the big model in wiki form?

And, looking back, did you really need the forums to work out the big model in its final form?  I remember Charles Olson saying something about participating in an "institution" like a college to be able to think, and that solo reflection didn't allow him to do the "thinking" he wanted to do.

Did the Forge work that way for you?


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 08, 2012, 11:57:51 AM
Hi Erik,

I didn't have any plans or expectations for a summary or conclusion site back when Ed and I founded the Forge (then Hephaestus' Forge), nor when Clinton and I revised it. Nor did I aim toward such an inclusive model from the start. I did want to generate a useful cross-reference of goals with methods among a community of people interested in designing and publishing games, and I knew we'd have to clear out quite a thicket of misinformation and habitual falsehood to do so. But my plan or at least my personal goal was to get that established fairly early and to move on to discussing and refining techniques in the context of making new games.

All of which did happen, but I certainly didn't expect that the cross-reference part would generate so much fury over identity politics, clouds of horse-shit-dust, and periodic across-the-internet tantrums, at all, let alone persist. I was and am still astounded that anyone cared so much, and given that they did, I would have greatly preferred to have been written off as marginal from the start, at least about that stuff. I guess it all arose from the fact that many, many more people were indeed having a lot less fun than I would have believed back then, and were simultaneously invested in and resistant to the concepts.

By contrast, I'm really happy that the site brought independent RPG publishing out into the light as fast as it did; that was the part I expected to be slower.

The discussion context was incredibly important. That's why I'm trying to preserve the history through the links, and to permit anyone to decide whether what's in the wiki really is the best conclusion given what was discussed, to give credit to the authors of crucial concepts and innovative techniques. I think I did my part for both, but I certainly wasn't alone, and even stuff that I can claim authorship for wouldn't have arisen in the first place without others' ideas or challenges.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Troy_Costisick on May 08, 2012, 05:02:52 PM
Ron,

Do you have a secret list of "Best of" threads that you personally have referenced over the years?  If so, any plans to share such a list with those who happen upon the site after it closes?

Peace,

-Troy


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 09, 2012, 06:31:52 AM
Hi Troy,

I have no secret list. I typically run searches to find threads I need when I compose complex replies, and it so happens that a few do continue to be used a lot because the searches keep including them. Moreno's summaries in the Archives forum are finding a lot of those too.

The wiki includes links for the various terms and ideas, which will necessarily produce a best-of archive, I think. Suggestions will always be welcome, but it would be most helpful to wait until you can see what's already there. Or you can join Moreno in thinking of an interesting topic, then compiling a list of links in the Archive section. You can bet I'm going to those to help with the wiki.

I also plan to compile and organize actual play links for others' games to showcase at the Adept Press site (links for mine are already there), as well as a Ronnies summary in some detail.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: David Berg on May 09, 2012, 09:57:42 AM
I'd like to generate access to some publishing insights and to some "how this game started" thread families as well, but I'm still thinking about how to do it. Maybe those will be part of the wiki, maybe not.

I think it'd be pretty cool to have some sort of ordered checklist of publishing steps on the wiki.  Not an authoritative how-to, just a sensible and typical example, like:

0. before publishing (game design, decisions on marketing, identifying an audience or not, kickstarter or not, etc.)
1. form factor
2. copyright, trademark, IP
3. ISBN
4. incorporation
5. print run or on demand?
6. sizing a print run
7. picking a printer
8. order options
9. payment options
10. fulfillment options
11. flooring/warehousing options
12. retail and distribution options
13. taxes

Each step could link to a brief article which would in turn link to (a) a bunch of threads, and (b) offsite links intended to help people stay current.

That'd be immensely valuable, in my opinion.  Might take a lot of work, though...


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on May 11, 2012, 03:42:43 AM
Hello Ron

How about keeping the archive board open longer than the rest to let Moreno (and others) compose a last few archaeological threads? You might even keep it open only for a select few if you're worried about moderating. You'd close that board when the wiki goes up.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 11, 2012, 06:10:45 AM
Hi everyone,

David, we're on the same wavelength. I realized that the Forge needs to present a "results page" for more than just the Big Model, although it's not something I'm going to whip together in the few weeks remaining. I'll probably try to lead a group-based project from the Adept site.

Christoph, if I'm reading your post correctly, then I might have to clarify that neither the Forge (current index, 2008-present) nor the Forge (archive (2001-2008) are going to leave the internet. They'll both be available exactly as they are today, with sign-in and search fully available, for whoever wants to use them. They'll simply be closed to posting - just as the archive one is now. The wiki will contain extensive links into them, and will be the main way newcomers can find them, but nothing will stop anyone from linking directly to them and conducting whatever browsing and searching they'd like to do, just as they can do right now.

If you already understood that and were suggesting or asking something else, then let me know.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on May 14, 2012, 12:26:35 AM
Sorry Ron, I wasn't very clear. I was talking about the Guide to the Archives board. All instances of keeping open refer only to posting rights, I'm aware that all boards will remain open to reading.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Emily Care on May 17, 2012, 04:38:59 AM
Thanks very much, Ron. These discussions are a great resource, and I'm grateful that you'll keep them available and accessible via a wiki. Looking forward to seeing you on your home forum, too.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Frank Tarcikowski on May 31, 2012, 12:31:09 AM
Before the forum closes down, I also wanted to say thank you to Ron, Vincent, and Clinton, but in particular to Ron, for maintaining the Forge all these years. Say what you want about the moderation style but that moderation style has made it possible to have productive, focussed discourse on the internet. I guess that speaks for itself. And having moderated open internet forums myself, I have some feeble idea of what a Hercules labor that must have been.

Cheers, Frank


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Troy_Costisick on May 31, 2012, 03:19:58 AM
Before the forum closes down, I also wanted to say thank you to Ron, Vincent, and Clinton, but in particular to Ron, for maintaining the Forge all these years. Say what you want about the moderation style but that moderation style has made it possible to have productive, focussed discourse on the internet. I guess that speaks for itself. And having moderated open internet forums myself, I have some feeble idea of what a Hercules labor that must have been.

Cheers, Frank

Yeah, thanks for being strong and changing the RPG industry. It's been a great 11 years. :)

Peace,

-Troy


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Anders Gabrielsson on May 31, 2012, 10:42:46 AM
Thanks to Ron and everyone else who has helped make this place what it's been. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Judd on May 31, 2012, 11:21:30 AM
I...too much.

Thank you.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Paul Czege on May 31, 2012, 12:55:20 PM
Y'know, before The Forge I didn't know what I was. I thought maybe I was a creatively blocked author. Or worse, a low motivation author. Now I know what I am. The Forge taught me what I am. So, thanks for that. A lot.

Paul


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: greyorm on May 31, 2012, 02:54:38 PM
It's been a ride. Thanks everyone!


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Larry L. on May 31, 2012, 04:54:16 PM
Thanks Clinton and Ron and Vincent for everything. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this cool thing. Thanks to everyone who figured out how to get their awesome game realized and into my grubby hands.

The Forge was not merely the thing which breathed new life into a hobby I was basically ready to abandon out of frustration. It was something really special on the entire Internet. Ron's moderation brought a unique combination of academic rigor, cutting through the bullshit which plagues 99.999% of online discourse, paired with a kind of straight-talking enthusiasm for a number of geeky pastimes, which given the topic at hand was necessary for any of this to be genuine or to matter. It brought together the shared expertise of hundreds of scattered subject matter experts who had probably never thought of themselves in those terms. It was a model for Internet discussion. It was what any hobby's community wishes it could achieve.

Everything is different and better.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: charlesperez on May 31, 2012, 05:50:59 PM
Yes, it has been quite a time, both lurking these years and making the occasional post.

Charles


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Moreno R. on May 31, 2012, 06:45:04 PM
I was hoping that someone would say what i wanted to write better that I would have. Thanks, Larry, I am adding my signature to your post, if you don't mind.

Thanks Clinton and Ron and Vincent for everything. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this cool thing. Thanks to everyone who figured out how to get their awesome game realized and into my grubby hands.

The Forge was not merely the thing which breathed new life into a hobby I was basically ready to abandon out of frustration. It was something really special on the entire Internet. Ron's moderation brought a unique combination of academic rigor, cutting through the bullshit which plagues 99.999% of online discourse, paired with a kind of straight-talking enthusiasm for a number of geeky pastimes, which given the topic at hand was necessary for any of this to be genuine or to matter. It brought together the shared expertise of hundreds of scattered subject matter experts who had probably never thought of themselves in those terms. It was a model for Internet discussion. It was what any hobby's community wishes it could achieve.

Everything is different and better.

What the forge did, for me, was to show me that the hobby I was leaving behind, disgusted by what it had become, had worth after all. That it could be something better, with better instruments, better procedures and better practices.  That it was not necessarily poisonous.

I did sign up in early 2006, so this mean that I was here for more than half of the forum history. There is more Forge with me than without me. It's strange to think about that, I am still seeing myself as the new guy who has to go read the old posts to understand what the others are saying. And reading the old posts I realized that I had it easy, coming here when all the difficult work was already done, the "forge theories" proved beyond any rational doubt by new games that surpassed everything that had come before, the big model already drawn and explained with years of experience explaining it. It had to be much more difficult believing in what the Forge stood for in 2001. But reading these first threads, I would have liked to be there at the beginning. instead of wasting more years with broken games and bad habits..

When I started to flame after that against these same old useless habits and broken games in Italian forums and conventions I was only venting my rage, but I found that really a lot of people shared that rage and were searching for something better.  A lot of these people became my friends, and the Italian gentechegioca community has grown both in number and in sociality in a way I would not have considered possible only a few years ago. And nothing of that would exist without the Forge.

And finally, without the Forge I would not have known and I would not have met Ron, Vincent, Meguey, Paul, and Danielle, and that would have been really a pity.

I am not happy to see this place closing. I will miss it, even if was almost empty at the end. And about that... I consider it the biggest failure, not of the Forge, but of the community that was attracted by this forum in 2001-2005. The way a lot of people did read "talk about theory only in Actual Play terms" as "you can't talk about theory anymore" (or maybe it was honestly a "if I have to play to talk about theory, I am leaving this place").  I think that a certain point, in this community, commerce and/or status games took the place of actual play and reflection for a lot of people, with bad consequences both for the forum and the community.

The Forge would have been closed anyway, this is clear from at least 2005.  The pity is not that it's closing (even if I will miss it a lot...), it's that it was not more used it the last years that it was open. Now it's too late.

Too late to post new threads, anyway. But luckily the forum will stay here, and there are still a lot of interesting threads I have still not read...


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on June 01, 2012, 12:37:32 AM
Thank you Ron, Clinton and Vincent, thanks a million. Without the Forge I'd most probably have stopped playing RPGs. Now I'm moderating a small French-speaking forum very much inspired by the Forge, with some games having been started thanks to that forum now seeing the light of day as finished and utterly playable and satisfying games, some independently published, another in the end being taken up by a small press publisher. I hope I'll finish my first game soon too, as an independent endeavour. Thanks for bringing the ideas of independence and of thoughtful game design to such a wide audience, role-playing is a better hobby now than it used to be. I'm looking forward to supporting the spirit of the Forge into the future, in whatever appropriate forms we'll find.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: JoyWriter on June 01, 2012, 04:37:15 AM
I really like this site,
for the discussions I've had that I feel have fastforwarded my knowledge, where people's honesty and self analysis has allowed me a leg up on vast quantities of personal skill and insight,
for random designers coming in on the first thoughts forum with enthusiasm and strangely familiar ideas, like representatives of the collective unconscious,
for people having wonderful ideas for mechanics that spark you going in completely different directions,
for people with really strange preferences in games but who are willing to bridge the gap, by contrast illuminating more of what interests you,
for a dedication to real examples and minor cross-examination, both adding weight to people's theories and putting appropriate limits on their scope,
for asking people "what their game is about" and encouraging conscious editing and saying something new,
for people who ask for feedback on their games (which I love to give) and honestly consider your suggestions,
for people who are experienced enough at giving advice that they know when they are starting to redesign someone's game for them,
for a depreciation of ego games compared to "getting to the bottom of it" discussion,
for the fusion of theory-making with the production of games to exemplify those traits,
and for coming across designers who's work I have a real affinity for, but would never have recognised without seeing them discuss their design process or other people's games.

It hasn't been all of those things all the time, and I've spent a lot more time lurking and archive-searching than I have being a part of discussions, but what I've been involved with has been pretty lovely.

Josh


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Thomas Lawrence on June 01, 2012, 06:33:05 AM
I wrote this four years ago. Adieu, Forge!

I am the very model of a modern roleplay theorist,
I've read of play that ranges from gamist to simulationist,
Between Karma and Fortune I can simply differentiate,
On theoretic forums I am practically a potentate,
When larrakins abuse me I just keep in mind that sane adage,
"They're probably still suffering 'cause White Wolf gave 'em brain damage"
Regarding Forgeite dogma there's no topping my adherency,
My subtle observations will always spot incoherency!

His subtle observations will always spot incoherency,
His subtle observations will always spot incoherency,
His subtle observations will always spot incohere-herency!

Whenever there's confusion about those three letters GNS,
I have the explanation that will put the argument to rest,
It doesn't matter whether you're gamist or simulationist
I am the very model of a modern roleplay theorist

It doesn't matter whether you're gamist or simulationist
He is the very model of a modern roleplay theorist

My arguments supporting Story Now are quite invincible,
I'm very well acquainted with old Vincent Baker's principle
I've clearly sorted in my mind the whole immersion farrago,
I'm convinced that I can navigate my way into El Dorado.
The Big Model is intricate, don't think I'm not aware of it,
And many are the roleplayers who find themselves quite scared of it,
But you will find me friendly and my board responses punctual,
Or else I'll put your play inside a box I've marked "dysfunctional"

Or else he'll put your play inside a box he's marked "dysfunctional"
Or else he'll put your play inside a box he's marked "dysfunctional"
Or else he'll put your play inside a box he's marked "dysfunction-functional"!

My players will be awed with my precision when I'm scene framing,
Ron Edwards will come visiting the places where I'm seen gaming,
Indeed for play that ranges from gamist to simulationist,
I am the very model of a modern roleplay theorist.

In fact for play that ranges from gamist to simulationist,
He is the very model of a modern roleplay theorist

In fact, when I've rolled dice upon a table while in company,
And when I've played a role of some sort, even just on IRC
When I've bested my enemies with magic spells and strategy
And when I've eaten Cheetos and then wielded a sword +3
And when I play they'll gape in awe at my moving oratory,
If only all my play thus far weren't wholly masturbatory.
In short, when I've experience that's more than just imaginary,
You'll say a better roleplayer has never sat and played with thee

You'll say a better roleplayer has never sat and played with thee
You'll say a better roleplayer has never sat and played with thee
You'll say a better roleplayer has never sat and played and played with thee!

For my attempts to game thus far, though my desires are exact,
Have never gotten further than our fights over social contract,
But still in matters roleplaying, gamist to simulationist
I am the very model of a modern roleplay theorist.

But still in matters roleplaying, gamist to simulationist
He is the very model of a modern roleplay theorist.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: David Artman on June 01, 2012, 07:08:28 AM
*salutes*


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Rich Forest on June 01, 2012, 07:14:14 AM
Thank you Ron, Clinton, and Vincent. The Forge's impact speaks for itself. And on a personal level, I've met some great, passionate people through the Forge and had some great gaming thanks to it as well. So thank you.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Mael on June 01, 2012, 07:32:05 AM
I just wanted to say that The Forge not only changed my vision of the hobby forever, but also gave me hope when I was struggling in the dark.
So thank you all, for everything and more (and Ron, sorry about that post, I know you dislike "Bye" topics but I couldn't resist).

Au plaisir de vous revoir en d'autres lieu.

Mael.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: John Mc on June 01, 2012, 07:36:16 AM
Good work was done here.  


As a beneficiary of your labors, my gratitude goes out to everyone who contributed.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Ben Lehman on June 01, 2012, 07:38:19 AM
Be well.

yrs--
--Ben


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Jim D. on June 01, 2012, 07:43:51 AM
I lurked, I read, I learned a lot.  I admit I've been essentially inactive for a couple years here.  But I did a lot of reading, and it's one of those situations where the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know.  

I'm still chugging along on a few projects of mine, but I think one of the biggest things I learned here is that there's No Silver Bullet.  That's an old programming aphorism that suggests that no one solution can hope to solve 100% of the problems you face.  No language, no development style, no anything.  I tried to make a universal system, and failed, and then learned that it's *impossible*.  Targeted experiences -- games meant to evoke certain styles of play, certain stories -- are amazing, and it's been awe-inspiring watching the Forge and its diaspora cultivate a genre that had only begun to understand what it could do.

Ron, Vincent, Clinton, Simon, and all the rest -- well, I don't have the audacity to call you friends, because I wasn't really involved here.  What I can call you all is teachers.  I don't use that phrase lightly.  Not evangelists, not apologists, not lecturers, but teachers.  I mention one of the biggest things I've learned, but here's what comes in at number one:  I didn't learn how to make games.  I didn't learn what's successful, what's the "right way".  I didn't learn the best way to roleplay.  (I learned that those are the wrong questions, too.)  But what I did learn is how to *think* about RPGs, and how to make my own conclusions and shape my experience the best way possible.  That's what the best teachers show you.  Don't be a slave -- to tradition, to conventional thinking, to "the right way" -- think for yourself.

It's been an honor learning from all of you.  


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Andy Kitkowski on June 01, 2012, 08:19:15 AM
It's really hard to accept that the Forge is closing, honestly.

C'est la vie.

-Andy


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Call Me Curly on June 01, 2012, 09:06:09 AM
Thank you all for creating this culture.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on June 01, 2012, 10:15:18 AM
Goodbye to the Forge, and good tidings for the future. Forums come and go, but ideas and friendships are resilient and live on. I haven't been active on the Forge for a long while, but it's still influential on who I am today and my plans for the future.

Thanks to Ron and Vincent for doing such an awesome job all these years.

-- Clinton


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Neil the Wimp on June 01, 2012, 12:37:02 PM
This site, and the community around it, did so much to change my thinking about RPGs. Thank you everyone who contributed to this community.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Gordon C. Landis on June 01, 2012, 12:55:55 PM
Turns out, I'm in the "there are no words" camp right now.

Thanks, all, for so much.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Alex F on June 01, 2012, 02:09:53 PM
The Forge got me back to rpgs after a decade out, thinking there was nothing back there for me, or at least no way back. It enriched the way I look at systems, besides. Thanks to all for making it what it was.

Best
Alex


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Matt Machell on June 01, 2012, 03:19:15 PM
Good stories, so they say, have a beginning, a muddle and an end. It seems good communities do to.

Thanks everybody.

-Matt


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Christopher Weeks on June 01, 2012, 03:55:47 PM
Like everyone else: Thanks!

It's been a few years since I came here regularly, but I'd quit RPGs until I found you at GenCon something like ten years ago.  I know that keeping random folks in the hobby wasn't a goal, but you've made my life richer and I appreciate it.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: Mytholder on June 01, 2012, 03:57:26 PM
Goodbye, Gaming Outpost.

Wait, wrong thread.

Bye, forge.


Title: Re: Finishing up
Post by: hix on June 01, 2012, 04:42:02 PM
Matt, you make a good point about beginnings, middles and ends. Until Ron posted his initial comments about how the Forge would someday eventually shut down, I thought of this place as an institution, rather than a project or something with a life-cycle. After that post, I became acutely aware of how much effort was involved in making The Forge a good place for discussions on the internet

Thank you to Ron, Ed, Vincent and Clinton for helping to create a place to inspire and assist people to make games I want to play.

And thank you to the Ronnies, which taught me that it can be easy to write a first draft of a game (and for inspiring me to write Left Coast, way back in 2005, which I'm hoping to release a new draft of in a couple of days).

Good friends, good conversations, good games, and good play. Hanging out here for the last 10 years has changed my life for the better.