A Newbie's Guide To WorldForge...


Gather round everyone, there is a tale to be sung and all should have ears to hear it... - From the woods of Blankenshire North of Sabajhat, as spoken by the wizard Edglril


Welcome to the idealistic world of Free Software computer game developement! Please leave all excess baggage at the front desk and proceed directly to any one of the fine lecture halls before you. If you're the impatient sort you may wish to skip ahead to the next page. If you are like me however, and like a good story you'll want to grab a soft drink and settle in your most comfortable chair whilst I spin a tale about what happens when people dare to dream.

You've probably found your way here due to one of a few reasons... The first, which I am suffering from quite terribly, is a hazy fog of impenetrable boredom. I find myself playing the Game Boy Color version of Link's Awakening hour after countless hour, draining the batteries in my pocket-sized wonder, wondering to myself - self, Where has the fun in video-games gone? Truth be told, I have no idea what has happened to the days when I would find myself thinking only of getting home from work, finding a nice quiet corner, opening a Coke, and fiddling away attempting to discover the secrets of some arcane tome, or the pulse-quickening experience of raiding an unexplored tomb. It's these fond memories of countless hours drawn into my own little world that attract me to WorldForge.

The second reason you might have found your way here is that sense of curiosity that came over you when you heard, read, dreamed, empathed about the ambitious project known as WorldForge. I waited almost a year to get involved in WorldForge, primarily because I didn't think I would have what it would take to be of any import. After only having been involved for a month, I understand... Everyone has something to offer.

Neither of these two reasons fit? Then you might be the Glory Seeker, and do not fear, there is a definite place in WorldForge for you as well. We need artwork, we need code, we need press, we need backgrounds, stories, content, music, web sites, mirrors, servers, and just about everything else you can think of. The irc is constantly flowing with discussion and praise / criticism of people's work. The code bins are teeming with freshly chopped algorithmically enhanced broccauflower.

"I should like to smite a dragon today good sir..."
"Mwha-ha and what do you suppose to smote the wyrm with? That floppy little hat?"
"No sir, I dare not crease this hat, it has cost me 7 gilding..."

- Exchange between Duron the Mad and Hector "Brutus" Claymore

It's all a matter of perspective really. If you aren't sure about getting involved in WorldForge, just get involved. The chances of you being pulled along in the current of great ideas are near 100 percent. If you need to find out more information to get a better feel for the project, you will find that all the doors to the kingdom are open, with ushers outside to take your coat.

Once you do get involved, you will find that everyone is more than willing to help with the smallest detail. We are all working for one reason or another, but the point of it is that this really isn't work. There won't be anybody standing over your shoulder telling you to do it differently because you're doing it wrong, rather, you might have someone suggest you try something another way because it will make the game better. This isn't some secret love potion that you get doused with when you sign up for the mail list, or learn how to emote on IRC... It is something that comes from talking with other people, who more often than not are like minded to yourself, and are willing to share their best ideas openly. Soon enough you will experience the synergy, the total sense of joy from having put your hands into the machine, then pulled them out again not only unscathed, but knowing that because you are here helping some larger thing is one step closer to being finished.

If you've come this far into WorldForge, you most likely have the desire to get involved in a project that isn't really owned by anyone but everyone seems to hold a little piece of this massive world in their hands. If you still aren't sure, just take a few days, look through the information in the Worlds section, take in the breadth of the work already done and you will see that this project is going to get finished. When it does, I for one want to be standing on that precipice, the wind against my side, staring out over the worlds that we have all created.

In being asked for what I have begun this quest, I had answered only the goal. In achieving the goal I have found the quest to be only half finished." - Durik The Wanderer

After you have had some time to check out the Worlds section, be sure to thumb through our Media Repository to see what kind of artwork we've already come up with. Also, don't be afraid to ask for an account for Zope (our online web page editor) if you see something you can add to on the web site, please don't hesitate to run it by someone on our mailing list or on IRC, for without your input we are nothing. Adding items is simple, and if you have any trouble you only need ask for help on the infra mailing list as they are experienced in these matters and are always totally willing to help fellow travelers. If "interactivity now" is your motto then the irc.worldforge.org is probably the best place to get in and start working.

I have found that being involved in a discussion during WorldForge work time is inspirational and helpful in simulating the close knit environment we are used to being creative in. IRC also adds another level to the project, or rather solidifies another already existing aspect of this distributed network project. I can't vouch for everyone, but I remember the days of yore, playing D&D in my friends attic - working in WorldForge is like that in so many ways. You sign up to take part, you choose a nickname, you get to know the other characters in the group. Working on this project is like a game in and of itself. There are quests for the perfect codec, the adventure of porting to strange and heretofore unknown platforms, hidden dangers in following specifications and the all too real fear of death (the failure of the project). Real-world forces affect the outcome here. This is the grand scheme, as my dad says, "The coupe day gracki."

In order to play along with the WorldForge team, you need to be completely open to exotic ideas and unexpected perspectives that you might not have considered. You'll do us no good sitting by the sidelines watching the parade go by, and once you realize that all you have to do in order to get up off the sidewalk is put out your hand, I think you'll have no trouble getting involved. There are no secrets inside these walls; if you have an idea with no way to realize it, share it with the group. If you have some time and some graphics tools, work on other peoples ideas. Chances are that whatever you end up working on will become something new and fresh, something your own. Once you upload it, show it to the group, or talk about it. You will discover that everyone has an opinion. This is just my own...

Now imagine the countless hours spent role playing with what became your closest friends, zero in on that memory, recall the sense of wonder at seeing the quiet one in the group (or if you were the quiet one) raise up and act out the slashing tearing final blow to the Drakolich with everyone cheering for victory, got it? Now imagine months later, you walk into your local software store knowing full well that Diablo 6 won't be out for another ten months, and envision that you see a free disc at the counter, a posterboard cut-out of a world encircled with a dragon, and a space-cruiser, big yellow letters detailing the name WorldForge 1.0. Now imagine you see your name in the list of credits on the back of the case and you see that something really can come of make-believe...

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