A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...

  • Sorry for the Star Wars reference

    Ten years ago today, Selax and I joined the Ambrosia forums and became contributing members of the Cythera Web Board. I was really surprised when I came to this realization. At first, I couldn't believe it had been ten years. Ten years? I was a member here before I was even in high school! It just doesn't seem like that much time has passed. I can remember many of the early days as though they happened only months ago. I feel as though time has continued to march on relentlessly and I never took the opportunity to reflect on just how much has happened...

    Then again, I have been here a long time. Even though I've never been the most frequent of posters, I know we've done a lot. After spending some time browsing through the forum's history, I began to have an entirely different attitude. Has it only been ten years? I feel as though I've known many of you forever! Looking through the history at the stories we've written, discussions we've had, topics we've delved into, accomplishments we've made... I'm quite proud of what we've done in that time. The board has gone from active to very active to the most active it had been in many years to inactive, active, and so on. Many members have come and gone during the years, and other game boards failed. A lot of great ideas were explored and fun stories were written. We have survived through board changes, staff downsizes, and server shutdowns. We have even effectively outlasted Ambrosia Software itself, remaining one of the most active communities on these forums. It's pretty incredible how well this community has held together. Yes, ten years does still seem like a long time, but I don't have to wonder where it all went. We didn't lose it; in fact, I think we made good use of it!

    I know this seems like a silly response to have to what is an arbitrary date for most of you, but to me, it feels like a milestone. It caused me to stop and think a little bit about how my life has changed during my time here. What about you guys? A little nostalgia might be fun. I think we should take this opportunity to share some thoughts and memories of our own. What have you done in the last ten years? How do you think you've changed? It doesn't have to even be that time frame. Maybe you could share about when you first joined these forums? I'll talk a little about myself first.

    I joined these forums at my brother's suggestion, way back in the summer of 2004. Everyone was immediately friendly and accepting. Having long been a lover of Cythera, I was shocked to find so many others who loved the game. The stories were fun, and I remember a lot of great discussions, both on the boards and on IRC. I've grown quite a lot during my time here, and this community has remained one of the most significant portions of my online presence through it all. Given how inactive I've been recently, I know that doesn't say much about my online activity, but hey, I've been in school! Like I said, I was a member here before my first year of high school. Being so young, the last ten years of my personal life have been filled with different levels of school. I am now preparing to enter graduate school in Texas after having completed two undergraduate degrees, which was another milestone in my life.

    If I were to pick some special memories I have from the boards, I think writing my first few posts in Echoes from the Past would be at the top of the list. I was new to fantasy writing and was very much trying to get the hang of it without doing anything horribly wrong. I can't say whether or not I succeeded, but that was a great experience! Joining IRC was so very entertaining, since I'd never done realtime chatting online. That's where I got to know many of you better, and who would guess that several of us would eventually meet in person? I also really enjoyed our more recent project of cataloging everything in Cythera. It was compelling enough that I made quite a bit of time for it, even in the midst of a busy school semester. I'm quite proud to be a part of the Cytheran community, and I hope to remain quasi-active here for as long as the forums are around.

    So now it's your turn! Whether you can't believe how much time has passed since you've been here or it feels like it's been too long, feel free to share a bit about how your personal life and/or forum life has changed over the years. First impressions and funny stories are always welcome! e.g. At first, I thought Pallas was a computer and BreadWorld was a man. Avatara seemed to know the answer to every question, and I used to worry that Katerei was a serial killer. Things like that.

    Here's to ten more years!


    P.S. One of those first impressions isn't true, but you'll have to guess which! :D />

    This post has been edited by The Wizard : 21 July 2014 - 10:20 PM

  • Took you long enough :p !

    I suppose now you'll disappear for another two years or so?

    So, anyway, apparently, I've been around here for ten years now. Actually, not as much has changed on the boards as one might expect. A number of the users currently active were here before I was or arrived soon after I did. Activity is still intermittent, although I recall a period in 2003 (I think) before I joined when only one topic was active, and it had not had a post in weeks. Thus, I like to think that were are doing fairly well these days.

    I guess the major changes are the fact that Ambrosia seems to be going out of business and that I've been made a moderator. The former means that the future of these boards is somewhat in doubt and that it has become much harder to attract new members. The latter really hasn't changed all that much actually, although I guess it does mean that I can still look at member profiles and such.

    My favorite memories are probably the TSs. In general, these have been a lot of fun, and I like to think they have helped me develop my (meager) writing talents. The IRC conversations were entertaining as well. I also enjoyed hacking the savefiles, particularly the successful discovery of the Tree of Life. It was nice to contribute something previously unknown to the game.

  • I'm so happy you posted, Wizzy! Sometimes I wonder if you'll ever post again, and sometimes I wonder if you even still exist, but then you come back and post : _D I hope you at least continue to periodically remember us. And of course, I hope you will run the Cythera website from your graduate school website! ^ __^

    Maybe I'll post my first impressions and nostalgic comments later, because I should go to bed : __\ But I'm so happy to see you! : ****D

  • @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 21 July 2014 - 10:37 PM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    I'm so happy you posted, Wizzy! Sometimes I wonder if you'll ever post again, and sometimes I wonder if you even still exist, but then you come back and post : _D I hope you at least continue to periodically remember us. And of course, I hope you will run the Cythera website from your graduate school website! ^ __^

    I plan to move the website as soon as I can! At some point, I'll have to get a dedicated site rather than use my school one, but it works for now.

    I would log in and post more, but it is so much trouble to do. The forums never, ever accept my password, so I have to go through the reset process every time, which is frustrating. But, I do try to be around. I often check the boards even if I don't log in very much.

  • Some of this I've probably told before or mentioned in other topics. I've been on the boards over fourteen years now, over half my life. I swear my very first post was a complaint/bug report/support request because Barrack on OS 9 would play at super-loud volume on the quietest system volume and I used to wear headphones while on the computer (especially since I had just discovered the genre of music I still follow today). Shortly after that, I fell into Ares, probably looking for people to play multiplayer, but I don't quite remember. It was there that I discovered Sargatanus and Sundered Angel's amazing group story threads, complete with all kinds of twisting plots and a really amazing fictional setting that I just wanted to be a part of. (Note to Pallas: I've never gone back and actually reread the Ares TSes so don't destroy my rosy fake memories!) Only, I was really bad at writing and had nothing to do.

    I don't quite remember if I joined the Cythera boards before or after I played the game, just that it was only a couple months after Ares. I probably was poking around a lot of the other forums back then, though I've never really gotten into the B &B culture. And of course, a different set of people meant a chance at more stories! With Talos' help, a handful of us set out to write probably the worst TS ever. If you really want to know what it was, I'm sure Selax has it printed out and laminated on one of his bookshelves complete with a fake autograph. When it finished, I guess we decided to try out some slightly-less-awful writing, and that path eventually lead to writing that is almost bearable many years later.

    Despite what Selax will tell you, the path to moderatorship wasn't really long and arduous. One of my friends had just been promoted to moderator on another forum, so in a reckless gambit, I think I emailed or pmed andrew saying "Hey, this poor Slayer guy has all of these unruly ruffians to himself. If you make me a mod too, I can share some of the load!" and surprisingly enough he said "okay, whatever." So, I was bestowed a great and terrible responsibility while I was still in middle school, and fourteen years of darkness and tyranny promptly ensued.

    I've seen a lot of people come and go over the years, but it still feels like they came in waves. The original group that was here before I joined mostly faded away sometime in 2002/2003, a second resurgence with Selax/Wizard and some other people lasted around 2004-2007, and then most of our final few followers showed up and faded in the years after. Whenever I skim some of the old stories in the archive I'll come across a name and go "oh yeah, I remember that person."

    Outside the forums, I've graduated school, college, and now I'm on my second full-time job. I've also moved at least eight times. I couldn't have anticipated where I'd be today when I joined, and I doubt I can guess where I'll be in another fourteen years.

    Some of the things I wish had gone differently:

    That Ares saga deserved an ending. I dreamed up one of my own some ten years ago and have held onto it since. Doesn't seem right to finish off other people's work when I only played such a tiny part. (Seriously, I had like two posts in the last story.)

    I should've realized earlier on that super-powered characters might be fun in theory, but rarely make for a good story. Where's the challenge if you can knock everything flat with a gesture? Unless you have a super-powered villain to fight, but then you lose any meaningful contribution from all the other possible side-characters and the world just feels empty.

    Likewise, I didn't realize I had my character run off and do something alone in every single story. I guess I thought I was being cool and mysterious?

    I also wished I had done better at finishing what I started. A lot of stories lay unfinished, not from lack of ideas, but a will to execute them.

    There have been a fair share of good moments too though. By far, the best tavern was the second. The original bar collapse, spilling bear everywhere, double-entendres to the extreme. It was a great time, and people would do something fun before thinking to worry about totally destroying someone else's carefully-laid plans or character identity. Probably the pinnacle of unplanned spontaneity.

    From the stories, I remember blasting into Moonshadow's wedding (the first one), being eaten by a dragon, that scene from Witch Hunt that was never actually published until my chronicle, and making fun of everyone on all the cast lists. The best memory I have is writing the scene in Bell Tolls where Avatara gets stabbed and falls unconscious on the floor, only to have Wizard log into IRC later that night in a panic, hoping I hadn't actually killed off my character. In that moment, I discovered that someone out there actually held a strong emotional attachment to something I had written, and that's the single best realization a writer can have.

    P.S. I don't know the answer to every question. I just know who to ask. ;)

  • squints You look familiar - is that - OH GOSH IT'S WIZARD

    @the-wizard_bot, on 21 July 2014 - 10:20 PM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    P.S. One of those first impressions isn't true, but you'll have to guess which! :D

    It's mine. All the others are completely plausible.

    @selax_bot, on 21 July 2014 - 10:33 PM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    I guess the major changes are the fact that Ambrosia seems to be going out of business and that I've been made a moderator.

    The latter means that the future of these boards in somewhat in doubt… :p

    @avatara_bot, on 22 July 2014 - 12:33 AM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    Likewise, I didn't realize I had my character run off and do something alone in every single story. I guess I thought I was being cool and mysterious?

    Ahaha, so I was making fun of you in the Shadow Prophecies after all.

    Anyway, onto my nostalgia:

    I've been on the forums since Jan 2001 on my first account, and IRC since Feb 2001. That's over half my life. My brother came here first, and I followed for the social aspect. I wasn't much of a gamer, but I liked the people… which is odd, since I started out with the B &B/#ev3 crowd.

    At some point during autumn of that year, I wandered over to #cythera (I think ferazel_09 invited me) and discovered the people were nicer. Then in Nov ferazel said "Hey, there's this fun tavern story going on, you should join to help keep it going." That was Tavern IV, and it snowballed from there. By complete coincidence, I realized Avatara was someone I'd already been playing Warcraft II with, and the first person I had a real conversation with on the internet over a year prior.

    What's happened in those thirteen years? I started high school, spent a lot of time here during a couple rough years in the middle, graduated high school, and spent a lot more time here during another rough year after that. I threw out my entire life plan, went to art school, and got my degree. Then I threw out my life plan again, moved to a new city, threw out that plan, and moved to a new country.

    I couldn't even begin to cover all the ways this place has impacted my life. I met some of my best and earliest friends here. This is where I started writing fantasy stories (and I am, I suspect, the only Cythera member ever planning to pursue writing as a career.) While real life pulled me in one direction, the Cythera community pulled me in another, shaping me into the odd mix of a person I am today.

    Some old but not forgotten faces I'd like to pay tribute to:

    -cache22, for teaching and inspiring me to be a better writer, and for his unending patience with an excitable teenager. :rolleyes:

    -Moonshadow/Madaya, for creating such beautiful character illustrations that made me dream of being able to draw like that one day.

    -idiotSavant/Odysseus, for driving me to be a better and wiser person than I was.

  • I enjoyed reading everyone's nostalgias! I didn't even know some of those things, like that Tyry moved 8(!) times and that Kat was into Warcraft before Cythera o_O

    I came to the Cythera board a long, long time ago. I regret that I did not become an active participant until much later. I remember sitting in my big brother's room in "the old house," reading the Cythera board on our family's performa. We moved into "the new house" when I was ten, so it had to be at least fifteen years ago. I didn't even have an account back then, and even when my dad helped me get an account later, I avoided the stories. The stories annoyed me, they didn't seem to have much to do with Cythera, and they made me feel like I didn't belong. Even if I went back to the beginning of the current story, I didn't know who the characters were, and there were references to previous stories... I was really here to discuss Cythera, anyway. Though I found that I really, really wanted to make friends. I'm shy & lousy at making friends in real life.

    I don't really have a timeframe because I eased into the Cythera board instead of suddenly joining like most of you. So I'll just think back over the last ten years like Wizzy did. Ten years ago, in the summer of 2004, I was in high school. (Actually, I must've started posting here when I was in middle school, because I remember Slayer locked one of my topics when I complained that I wished I had homework. I started getting homework in 8th grade. Boy was I stupid, homework stinks). I think 2004 was the summer I started taking college classes. High school and college aren't entirely happy memories. A lot of happy things happened during that time, but mostly not school-related. I would procrastinate until the last minute with my assignments, which caused me a lot of stress and anxiety. There really was no excuse for not doing my work, I hated myself for how lazy I was. I didn't have a lot of hope for the future either. I could never figure out what I should "do with my life," I knew someday my parents would kick me out, and then what would I do? I also assumed I'd never get married because I was ugly.

    I still have no idea what I would have done, had not someone entirely unexpected happened: Shorty loved me. My life now is so much better than any of the lame dreams I tried to come with in high school, and it's because of Shorty. Of course, I don't know how I ever could've met Shorty if it weren't for this board & #cythera.

    So in the last ten years: I graduated high school, stayed home an extra year while attending Community College, finally got involved in the stories here on the Cythera board, moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan for attend real college, dropped out after only one semester and moved to Wichita, Kansas to be near Shorty, married Shorty, worked for about a year, moved to Parsons, Kansas to buy a house and live closer to Shorty's family, and had four daughters. I've learned how to cook basic meals, how to vacuum, how to change diapers, wash diapers, nurse babies, how to pay bills, take care of family finances, how to make bread, I've learned to walk where I want to go instead of just using cars for everything. It's been a really slow process, learning how to be a grown-up, but surely I'm getting there. Still working on learning how to homeschool my kids.

    Some Cythera board related memories:
    Spending hours reading Cythera board threads in the early days, before I had an account. I wanted to read them ALL! I never did though, and now those threads are gone : ****(
    Later, printing out a long thread about Omen/Undine, and reading it in the car on the way to/from church.
    Writing up my first TS post for Ruffian Encampment on my computer in my room, then taking it down to the basement to post from an internet-accessible computer.
    Acting out Romeo & Juliet with Wizzy. Also, trying to teach Zaphod manners! : ****D
    Talking to Illy about various problems, loved his simple, blunt solutions.
    Traveling to Færy with Shorty in PM RPGs.
    Hugging my stuffed bunny Rosie and confessing to her that I was madly in love with Shorty, but wondering if I was out of line.
    Staying up literally all night once, chatting with Kat while she opened up about her past.
    Agreeing with Crazy about nearly everything.
    Playing Warcraft 3 with Tyry and Koy.
    The Crazy Tavern's Valentine's Day game stirring up feeling and making me realize that just about everyone here was crushing on each other.
    Being kicked from #cythera and losing my channel operator rights for months because I accidentally asked for sex.
    Directly after that incident, Kat lecturing me about being narrow-minded.
    I should have been doing homework, instead, I daydreamed until Shorty logged on and then talked to him until he went to bed. Or else I ranted to Kat about how cool Shorty was.
    Meeting Shorty in person for the first time at the zoo in Manhattan, Kansas; walking through the whole zoo and barely saying a word to each other because we were both too shy.
    Paying Kat to draw a picture of Retsy for me.
    Staying for a month with a family in Karuizawa, Japan; they thought I was homesick because I spent too much time on my computer - I was really just chatting with my friends in #cythera : ****\
    Reading TS posts every morning while I ate breakfast.
    Getting Sely to delete my first Prusa topic (it's happier remembering it than it was at the time ^_~)
    Being depressed about school but cheering up watching episodes of Sailor Moon that Tyry sent me.
    Getting a package in the mail from Shorty (actually, several packages).
    After visiting Sely & Wizzy, my mom heading out to the car while I said goodbye, then standing in the doorway for ten or twenty minutes while we discussed what we should post in TS (I don't even remember what TS it was!).
    Watching a Christmas play at Illy's church, him being amused that my little sister called him Illy.
    Brimming with excitement after Shorty asked me to marry him, wanting to tell my Cythera friends but the internet was down.
    Hanging out with Illy I don't remember how many times. Him helping me move twice.
    Arguing about politics with Tyry.
    Shorty & I hanging out all day and staying late at Sely & Wizzy's house on our anniversary
    Another time, having a true Kansas party with Sely, Wizzy, Illy, Shorty & I, playing Monopoly and Shorty trading a property to Illy in exchange for Illy joining a TS.
    PMs with Valy, you can't not smile when talking to Valy.
    Attempting to pay Dungeons and Dragons over AIM (or was it Skype?) with Tyry, Day, Koy, Fiery, Shorty, and I don't remember if there was anyone else? Was Kat in it?
    Uno taking over my computer long-distance to try to fix a problem for me. Years later, Tyry doing the same thing for a different problem.
    Getting a package in the mail from Fiery.
    Getting a package in the mail from Tyry.
    Reading a new chapter of Grapper's Return every day for a month, and giggling every time.

    This is getting way too long and no one's going to bother reading it all. My point (if anyone skipped to the bottom), is that the people here are really cool. I still love Cythera, but even more than that, I'm still here because I want to stay friends with all of you ^ ****_^

  • I read it all! Sorry for lecturing you, and for your lost sleep :( (though late night conversations are the best!)

    I feel like I owe you a better Retsy picture.

    This post has been edited by iKaterei : 22 July 2014 - 01:56 PM

  • I really like the Retsy picture, it's cute! And it wasn't so much a lecture as one or two sentences that got through to me - I appreciated it ^_^

  • If you thought I was done after that giant wall of text, I still haven't done my first impressions : __D

    I thought Tyry was a terrifying supreme dictator. I thought Kat was in charge of #cythera. Shorty was mysterious, but friendly. Sely was pure irritation (that was probably more like second or third impression). I thought Wizzy was just human greatness. Kickme was a silent stalker. Illy was prince charming. Koy was some kind of prodigy. Heery was scary because he didn't quite follow the rules. And Fiery's not listed on my old "people list," I'm guessing he wasn't active when I first starting coming around #cythera (Fiery's probably the only one I'm still scared of, he's just so cool). I don't remember my first impression of Nezmy, I think I was a bit scared and I didn't understand his writing style, but I quickly learned that he's really entertaining ^ ___^

    Anyway, for a while I had to reset my password every time I visited, but that's not happening to me anymore. I stay logged in all the time from my computer (have you tried loading the board frequently enough to not get logged out?), but I've logged in on our Kindle a few times and haven't had to reset the password. My password's still a randomly assigned jumble of letters and numbers though : _ ___( I'm afraid if I change it back to penink, I'll be forced to reset my password again.

  • Haha, no one would ever put me in charge of anything.

  • I joined a long time ago. I forget when, but when I post it will show up on the left. Read it there, not here! Like others, I joined in middle school, spent more than half of my life here, and am on my second job since college now.

    Originally I was part of the Ares community. I still would be, except it's dead. I don't remember when I started visiting the Cythera boards, but I'm pretty sure that I followed Avatara here and that it was a year or two after first joining the boards. I don't really remember the (Cythera) old-timers.

    I'm one of the game-second* members here. I played the game subsequently to coming here (maybe 2002?) and then I seem to recall that my activity lapsed for a year or two when I went to college. …but then that doesn't sound quite right because I'm reasonably sure I remember posting while sitting at my freshman year desk. I guess I should improve my archive (it hasn't scraped in a while, because I didn't set it up to scrape incrementally) so I can answer questions like that.

    I've tried writing chronicles or joining TSes a couple of times and it mostly hasn't worked out for me. The exception is when I've written really fast with no planning (such as with Menexes or Grapper) and those bits of writing have probably been my best-received. The forums are really the only thing that encourages me to write or draw, so that's good.

    As I said, I was Ares-affiliated, and the "significant life event" sorts of things for me are tied to that community. Namely, when the Hideout was shut down and me and Patrick ended up running Enigma (I got a lot of experience with programming badly; now I basically just do "not that"). And when Ares was open-sourced and it eventually and effectively became my game.

    • I mentally divide Cythera forum members into three groups: game-first (e.g. 453, Selax) came to Cythera for Cythera and the community was a bonus. They all know the game really well. Game-second (e.g. Avatara, me) joined the boards first but then played Cythera later. We have differing degrees of familiarity with the game. No-game (e.g. Katerei) never played the game and only know it through talking to the first two groups (or Wizard's guide).

  • @avatara_bot, on 22 July 2014 - 12:33 AM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    Despite what Selax will tell you, the path to moderatorship wasn't really long and arduous.

    Well, I'd bet it's a more difficult process now :p .

    @breadworldmercy453_bot, on 22 July 2014 - 03:08 PM, said in A Decade Ago in a Galaxy Not Far Away At All...:

    Sely was pure irritation (that was probably more like second or third impression).

    I was hoping that was your first, second, and third impression of me :( .

    I actually found the chronicles (on the old ambrosia site) before the web board. From reading them, I deduced there was a community generating the stories but, for some reason, did not think to check the web board link. When I finally did find the board, it was in the midst of one its low activity periods (the lowest I have ever seen actually). I think that this was the only topic with any posts for some time. Eventually, Echoes from the Past started, and the board revived, giving me sufficient inspiration to join.

    Since then, I've been most of the TSs (or probably all of them). My favorite one was probably Yesterday's Dawn. It had a lot of different participants, and it had enough activity to garner a fair amount of posts (140). Indeed, it was completed in just sixteen days, the fastest TS that I know of.

  • The sixteen days of Yesterday's Dawn were good times ^_ __^ That's when I started getting to know everyone at #cythera too.

    Also, I think Kat has played Cythera... a little bit?

  • I've played it for maybe ten minutes. I remember wandering around wherever you start (LKH?) and outside a bit, but very little else.

  • I pretend to never post here, and I've never played Cythera. So there!

  • Based on your recent activity on this board, I doubt you have to pretend very much :p .

  • Hi Illy! I'm sorry I never replied to the message you left me on my birthday. I'm still scared of phones : __\

  • Selax: gotta keep up appearances.

    I figured that, Num.

  • Well, Wizard seems to have vanished again. I'm trying to get him to make another post, but I'm not certain that the odds of success are very high.

    I suppose one other thing that has changed in the past ten years is that I have acquired three cats. Technically, I kind of had one at the time I first joined, but I think she was still mostly an outdoor cat, although she had been inside a couple of times. We brought her into the house in late July or August in 2004, if memory serves.

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