Roleplaying community

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The forum roleplaying community is the community of users that engage in forum role playing games on Facepunch, part of the wider forum gaming community. Forum games can be commonly found throughout the internet, and in many different forms, styles and systems. This diversity can be found within the forum roleplaying community as well, after 2011 traditionally divided into three major subcommunities - the screenshot-based community located in the Garry's Mod forum category, the art-based community located in Creationism Corner, and the more fractured roleplaying community located in Fast Threads, and later Games In Progress/Games.

History

Pre-2009 to 2011: Rise and Fall of a Wonderland

We can assume that forum roleplaying was around from the very beginnings of the forum in 2005. Alongside in-game Garry's Mod roleplaying, perhaps screenshot-based roleplaying games appeared in Screenshots & Movies, while text-based forum roleplaying games (of the play-by-post nature, most likely) possibly appeared in General Discussion, maybe even later moving to Fast Threads. [citation needed]

Forum roleplaying games appeared to be quite popular, to the point where the custom forum Role-play Wonderland!, created by user kain1995 in late May of 2007, was among one of the more frequently used.[1][2] Among the communities that existed, perhaps one of the more noteworthy of the period was the drawing roleplaying community, which intertwined their play-by-post character roleplaying with drawn images, usually made with MS Paint. The first of their "Drawing Roleplay" threads was created around the same time as the custom forum's creation, by user Tayasha, and the original series would last for around 6 to 7 threads or so.

Alongside the MS Paint-based roleplaying games, more traditional text-based play-by-post roleplaying games began popping up too. Command-based and "Choose Your Own Adventure" style forum games also appeared, followed by nation-based roleplaying games (seemingly connected to a similar scene which would appear at the Wurm Online Forum)[3] and declaration-based pixel art RPs. The "Drawing Roleplay" games would largely remain their own thing as the subcommunities developed, though it would see an incredibly minor crossover with the pixel art RPs.

Following the 2009 forum update, as many custom forums were inactive or practically dead, they were gotten rid of (along with their archives), with Roleplay Wonderland initially surviving as a subforum under the requested Lifestyles and Hobbies forum section.[4][5] However, by March of 2011, the section, renamed to just Hobbies, was moved to the Facepunch forum category, dropping several subforums including RPWL.[6]

With the fall of Roleplay Wonderland, command-based, CYOA-styled and nation-based forum games (among the more notable) would migrate to Fast Threads, where they would enjoy much greater longevity and success, for the most part. The MS Paint-based roleplaying subcommunity fled the forum, opting instead to join a smaller forum under the name of MS Paint Battles, or MSPB, where they would remain for a lengthy amount of time. The declaration-based pixel art RPs would migrate to Creationism Corner, and later to MS Paint after its creation as a result of the 2011 forum section reshuffle. The GMod roleplaying scene would remain unaffected by RPWL's fall.

2009 to 2015: Divided yet Prospering

At this point, the forum roleplaying community was fully fractured into three major subcommunities - those in the Screenshot section under the Garry's Mod forum category, those in Fast Threads under the Facepunch forum category (temporarily the Bullshit category too), and those in the Creationism Corner forum category, most notably the MS Paint section - with perhaps countless smaller communities cropping up and disappearing on the fringes, mainly in FT.

One of the more prominent roleplaying series in Fast Threads was the "Never-Ending Dungeon" series, starting in September of 2010,[7] lasting for some three to four years, with 10 entries (7 numbered) under its belt.[8] Later, in late November of 2011, the first entry in the "Empires & Revolutions" nation-based roleplaying series was created,[9] effectively establishing the close-knit Facepunch RP Group.

Within the MS Paint community, with the major absence of the character-based drawn RPs, declaration-based pixel art RPs steadily grew in popularity, displayed with the "Create a Planet and Invade Others" series, starting in July of 2011.[10][11] Sometime later, in January of 2014, the character-based drawn RPs would return for one last hurrah, with a new iteration of the "Drawing RP" series,[12] which would (including its follow-ups) last up to April of 2016.

Meanwhile, within the GMod forum category, the screenshot-based roleplaying community continued to grow, with the "Wars" roleplaying series contributing to its rise, specifically the "Espionage Wars" series,[13] though special mention goes to the infamous "Interstellar Wars"[14] and "Lambda Wars".[15] Images made using Source Filmmaker would slowly crop up throughout the Screenshot section, being used in tandem with screenshots made using Garry's Mod, a fact that would later spawn a minor controversy over its place in a section within the GMod forum category.[16]

Unfortunately, while it is hard to pinpoint when this trend would start, due to the forum section being mostly in the periphery of the moderators, things slowly grew shady from 2014 onwards, as an increasing amount of newer members joining were of an arrogant and rude nature. The stagnation of the community around the same time would compound the issues presented.

2015 to 2017: Decline of Activity

With the 2015 forum section reshuffle, Creationism Corner ceased to be, resulting in its countless threads becoming a part of General Discussion. Its removal was a strong blow to the roleplaying community located there, and many regulars slowly stopped using the forum. An attempt was made to salvage and save the floundering community through the then-newly made roleplaying general chat thread,[17] but its decline couldn't be prevented. The community continues to lay largely dormant in spite of Creationism Corner's return later in 2017, as many have moved on with their lives, perhaps to greater things. The pixel art subcommunity would end up leaving the forum (alongside another pixel-based community), creating their own forum, entitled Picture Wars,[18] as to continue playing their games, though this endeavor would die out by the end of 2016. Some would however later appear in Fast Threads and Games In Progress in attempts to get new games going, whether it be to restart the subcommunity on the forum proper or get new blood going to the Picture Wars forum.

Within Fast Threads, the Facepunch RP Group slowly grew in dominance within the forum section's roleplaying community, while also remaining largely independent of it. Though usually a community that played its by-now unique style of nation-based RPs, in 2015 a subcommunity revolving around play-by-post character-based RPs spawned. While forum games still existed in the section, whether it be those based around declaring one's action, submitting a command that a character would enact,[19] or even text adventures, they were entering a decline similar to that of the wider roleplaying community. In March of 2017, after the decision was made to stop counting posts from Fast Threads, the Facepunch RP Group migrated to Games In Progress.[20][21]

The trends mentioned for the GMod screenshot community continued to worsen, as the hubris of the cliques formed within increased. The previously mentioned SFM controversy, which occurred in October of 2017, did not help matters,[16] and members grew increasingly frustrated with the forum and with one another. After the Garry's Mod forum category was moved in its entirety to the New Sites Forum, many members of its screenshot-based roleplaying community were displeased due to issues had with the still developing forum update. Many moved away from Facepunch to a different forum, the Metrocop Forums,[22] in protest, effectively diminishing the home community. For all intents and purposes, the community had become an empty shell of what it once was.

Post-2017: New Look, New Troubles

By the time the move to the New Sites Forum had occurred, in March of 2018, the only subcommunity that seemingly remained was the Facepunch RP Group, still located in Games In Progress. Many within found issue with the lowered post character limit, which inadvertently limits the content found in the turns of their nation-based games and the story posts of their character-based games, though the former was more directly hit due to those posts being routinely over 20k characters long (and many such posts ended up receiving the 'Bad Input' error due to being too large, resulting in the loss of several lines of text due to not even fitting under code view). Attempts to get the limit raised in consideration for the entire forum, as the smaller limit no doubt effects more than just the group's members, have proven fruitless thus far.[23] With the announcement of Metrocop's closure in the late summer of 2018, the GMod screenshot community made its way back to the forum with the 8th installment of Espionage Wars.[24] Frustrations continue to grow within.

With the mass reintroduction of sub-forums in early April of 2018 came the introduction of the Contests and Games sub-forum under the Creationism Corner forum section, which hasn't seen too much activity but has birth a spiritual successor to the old Drawing Roleplay threads.[25] While small, the sub-forum could've possibly brought about a return of MS Paint-based forum games. However, with the 2018 forum section reshuffle, sub-forums were once more largely discontinued, leading to that sub-forum's threads merging into Creationism Corner. In that same vein, with the removal of Games In Progress and Screenshots, Movies and Comics, the Facepunch RP Group and the GMod screenshot community found themselves sunk into the sea of the Games and Garry's Mod forum sections respectively.

The developments related to the 2018 Shutdown Crisis would prove, to some within the community, to be the straw that broke the camel's back, and some who criticized rather harshly would find themselves permabanned for their troubles. While discussed internally, it would be what would push the Facepunch RP Group (and to some extent, the GMod screenshot community) to begin moving away from the website, with some wishing to take radical action and disconnect from the forums completely, as a new website was found. With no currently running RPs from the group (aside from the then-concluding Starpath II), the presence of forum roleplaying could be said to have greatly lessened, almost non-existent at this point.

References

  1. Wayback Machine - Facepunch - Custom Forums (July 1st, 2007) [external link]: https://web.archive.org/web/20070701102404/http://forums.facepunchstudios.com/custom_forums.php
  2. Wayback Machine - Role-play Wonderland! (January 8th, 2008) [external link]: https://web.archive.org/web/20080106165420/http://forums.facepunchstudios.com:80/forumdisplay.php?f=139
  3. Wikia - Facepunch RP Wiki (WurmRP) [external link]: http://facepunchrp.wikia.com/wiki/WurmRP
  4. Wayback Machine - Facepunch (July 13th, 2009) [external link]: https://web.archive.org/web/20090713044639/http://www.facepunch.com:80/
  5. Wayback Machine - Roleplay Wonderland (July 10th, 2009) [external link]: https://web.archive.org/web/20090710060748/http://www.facepunch.com:80/forumdisplay.php?f=139
  6. Wayback Machine - Facepunch (March 28th, 2011) [external link]: https://web.archive.org/web/20110328211429/http://www.facepunch.com/forum.php
  7. Fast Threads/General Discussion - The never ending dungeon: https://facepunch.com/threads/996407
  8. Fast Threads/Games - "FPRP General Chat v2: Let's Talk About Roleplaying" (post #427): https://facepunch.com/threads/1455787?p=53072077#post53072077
  9. Fast Threads/Games - Empires and revolutions - Historical Forum RP: https://facepunch.com/threads/1144032
  10. MS Paint/General Discussion - Create a planet and invade others.: https://facepunch.com/threads/1110387
  11. Fast Threads/Games - "FPRP General Chat v2: Let's Talk About Roleplaying" (post #414): https://facepunch.com/threads/1455787?p=52720533#post52720533
  12. MS Paint/General Discussion - Drawing RP: https://facepunch.com/threads/1344983
  13. Screenshots, Movies, Saves and Dupes/Garry's Mod - Espionage Wars: https://forum.facepunch.com/f/gmodstuff/jnlu
  14. Screenshots, Movies, Saves and Dupes/Garry's Mod - Interstellar Wars V1: "Xenocide": https://forum.facepunch.com/f/gmodstuff/koec
  15. Screenshots, Movies, Saves and Dupes/Garry's Mod - Lambda Wars V1: Welcome to City 17: https://forum.facepunch.com/f/gmodstuff/lays
  16. 16.0 16.1 Screenshots, Movies, Saves and Dupes/Garry's Mod - "Screenshot Section Chat Thread V11 - Last Minute Edition" (post #1107): https://forum.facepunch.com/f/gmodstuff/lbkf/37/#postdsimm
  17. Fast Threads/Games - FPRP General Chat v2: Let's Talk About Roleplaying: https://facepunch.com/threads/1455787
  18. Picture Wars [external link]: http://picturewars.net/forum/index.php
  19. Fast Threads/General Discussion - A Madness Interactive Story: https://facepunch.com/threads/1586382
  20. Fast Threads/General Discussion - "Posts in this forum no longer count towards your post count" (post #111): https://facepunch.com/threads/1555142?p=51906699#post51906699
  21. Fast Threads/Games - "FPRP General Chat v2: Let's Talk About Roleplaying" (post #392): https://facepunch.com/threads/1455787?p=51907861#post51907861
  22. Metrocop Forums [external link; redirect]: http://forums.metrocop.net/index/
  23. {{Meta}}/General Discussion - Post Character Limit Worries: https://forum.facepunch.com/f/meta/bskpg
  24. Screenshots, Movies and Comics/Garry's Mod - Espionage Wars V8: It's like a board game but everyone's losing: https://forum.facepunch.com/f/gmodstuff/btibe
  25. Contests and Games/Creationism Corner - Drawing Roleplay: https://forum.facepunch.com/f/contest/bsped