Happy New Year and Happy Birthday BattleMaster! - posted on Fri Jan 1 at 00:24:53 by Tom Vogt
Today marks 20 years since BattleMaster was launched.
When I launched the game I had no idea it would be such a long journey and reach so many people. Some of you may know that BM was originally a simple strategy add-on to another game, SpellMaster, which it has long since outlived.
For me, it has been close to half of my life. Almost everything in my life has changed over this time, and for a long time BM had remained one of the few constants. Some of the old-timers here are among my oldest friends and acquaintances, as too many of my real-life friends disappeared when I moved to another country.
BM was always a side-project, but it taught me much and had an impact on my professional life several times as I could transfer skills I had learnt there. And it is not just the coding, it has always been at least as much if not more about the community, about moderating conflicts both in-game and on the meta level, in finding compromises between the desires of different player groups and play styles, about understanding how the game is experienced for different types of players and of developing a consistent vision without getting side-tracked by pet peeves and seemingly cool ideas.
I haven't always managed that perfectly, none of it. There are bugs in the code, not every GM or moderator decision was perfect, some features of the game clearly seemed better when I added them than they turned out to actually be. But the longevity of the game clearly proves that more things were done right than wrong.
As you can guess from the tone of this posting, it's time for me to say goodbye. I have already had almost no connection for the game for many years now. It was still running on my server and I was once or twice a year involved in resolving some dispute or solving some issue. And I was simply not ready to walk away for good, for emotional reasons. I am deeply grateful to the volunteers who helped out with the game over the years, and especially Danaris and Vita who carried it for the past years.
BattleMaster has been a large part of my early adult life, and I know that for some of its players it was important beyond the game itself. At least one marriage is the result of two people meeting in the game, and I know of several people who kept connected to their family members through the game. It makes me happy and proud that I created something that had a positive influence on peoples' lives.
I am off to new shores. My newest work-in-progress is called Dragon Eye and can be found here: https://notveryprofessional.com/dragoneye/
But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for this game and all of you. And I hope you don't mind an old man coming by from time to time, to paraphrase a movie.