Hi, players and readers. After some deliberation, I've decided that it's time for me to part ways with the 0.2 project.
Take a deep breath before you read this! I don't want to start a fight. I'm not seeking one. There's no need for this to end in metaphorical tears and bloodshed... but I feel, after much thought, there is a need for an end.
It primarily boils down to the sunk cost fallacy. We've been at this for a long time, and some of us are invested in seeing things through... but therein lies the biggest problem, as I've come to accept even with my intent to help others enjoy writing as I did so alongside them.
The scope of the game all but requires a great number of people maintain largely equal interest and self-drive to push things forward. I've seen it one too many times now, across the players and game masters, that this is not going to be the case. Some of it unfortunately an inherent fault in the framework of the game design that calls for a long-term commitment that some players may not feel comfortable putting in. I can't force them through it. No one can. No one should.
Saying there is interest is one thing. I do have interest! I've had a lot of fun writing out of my comfort zone - but I've come to accept that a lot of people I wrote alongside do not, and that there's a very high likelihood they will once again drift away and leave things to wither as they have several times. Even when they were technically present, the level of commitment on display strongly varied. I will confess that I was sometimes disappointed to see that the effort I might put into a post wasn't always met with as much enthusiasm and interest in turn.
I'd love to see where the story was intending to go. Quite a few of the characters are very strongly written, and have great players to match, but we are at the mercy of those who do not share this same drive. This often extends to staff, as well, who saw it fit to not communicate at all for five weeks - to say nothing of the treatment of one of them by the others. Given real life circumstances that I'm made aware of, we are probably not going to receive that strong direction necessary to see things through as they are.
There is nothing that would see to the less committed players actually post. It's easy to say 'I'm interested to keep going,' but the follow-through has often proven lackluster. Even during times of great excitement, the game would drag! Topaz's murders in Chapter 2 were fantastic (even with a few consistency slip-ups, none of which were fatal) and, most importantly, it filled me with faith that the playerbase largely did learn the lessons of UDR's and Chapter 1's individual controversies... if only people were to pick up their feet and play, the investigation and trial had to be dragged slowly across the finish line. The maturity of the playerbase gradually improved, but the level of commitment and drive - and ability to really communicate expectations of one another - did not.
I also felt there was a general disconnect in trust at times between players, and sometimes staff too. The weapon debate incident was by far the worst of it - given that there is that disconnect and uncertainty that has been put on display by the five weeks of silence, I don't think we're looking at a group that is committed enough to keep going, let alone truly trust each other and their writing. I think it's come to the point it's good for the health of people to be open and honest about wanting to disengage, rather than feel pressured to say to keep going. I am probably the most guilty of this towards several people, and for this, I apologize for adding so much stress to some in the misguided name of trying to be a good teammate. I admit I pushed many people far too hard.
Taking things to a new board is one thing. People will of course might say under pressure, 'sure, I'll post,' but that's not a guarantee. Constantly I'd have to check with people to get certain things going, and it was a frustrating endeavor to deal with people who, even when they finally posted, would only give the bare minimum and sometimes not even succeed in pushing anything forward with their posts. I do not feel this is going to improve in any substantial way that will see consistent, decisive, rapid movement towards the intended conclusion as things are.
Instead of bemoaning "what could've been," instead I'm going to take the things I learned from writing out of my comfort zone among then-unfamiliar writers and using that to grow further as an author - something I would encourage everyone to do instead of wallowing in sadness over "wasted time" or what have you. The time sure wasn't wasted for me on the whole!
I went in here writing a genre I never have before, in a format that would ensure my writing was read and indirectly critiqued with every post! I learned a lot from others' reactions to how I wrote, where I may have gone wrong, and indeed, where I went completely right. I can't wait to share with you my experiences, ideas, and plans going into writing a small part of a greater whole among those who would have equal importance and worth to my own ideas. That, to me, was the true worth of partaking in 0.2, Ultra Dangan Ronpa, and Turnabout of the Elements. (Sadly, I dropped the ball for Pleasanton, and for this I apologize - I do not believe it is within my available time and energy to pick it up again for the time being, which I understand is the most inconvenient thing for multiple people. I'm very sorry.)
I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to play among you as a complete stranger who came out of nowhere, and having run things for as long as you did even in the face of negativity and apathy. I feel it's all run its course in wake of long-established patterns, so I'm choosing to walk away satisfied with what did come to pass - quite a few fantastic organic conflicts I will be happy to share at length! - and not linger on what couldn't. A lot of what I planned to happen didn't, but that's the beauty of cooperative improv writing itself, because what did in its place was great and I'm excited to show you guys why I felt it was.
As a young child, I would come up with so many weird off-the-cuff concepts for stories between childhood friends that would fade forever to obscurity as the sun set on that day. Said friends and I may never pick that day's plot thread up again, but the value lied more in the fun we had in the simple act of doing - and I'm choosing to keep that line of thought going for my time in 0.2. Today I went to a weird playground! I couldn't play with all the toys there, but the ones I did were fun, and even with the ones that weren't, it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the ones that were.
Heck, given time and interest, I'd be down with writing alongside quite a few of you again if given the opportunity. I say let's all move on stronger for the experience, and look forward to what comes next - judged not for completion, but for what was gained from going for it as a shared experience between friends who have yet to fully outgrow playing pretend.
All this said, I will not be entertaining combative responses - I won't even read them! There's no need to compete for a last say - you can have it if you want, if you're so inclined. There's no argument to win with me, or anyone, to point out a villain or a hero in the big picture.
I instead impart my understanding - it doesn't need to be yours, but it is mine - that I had fun for an unbelievably long day that at last has the sun setting. It's time to go home for the evening for dinner and sleep, but there will be another day for fun if you choose not to linger on it. It's a day I'll happily talk about, even with a few scrapes to the knees, but one I'm recognizing ultimately now as yesterday.
See you tomorrow! I'll bring another shiny ball I have, if I have the time to take it with me in the morning... and if you want to play. Maybe we won't all play the same thing together again. Maybe I won't be able to bring the shiny ball, but that's okay.
I still like the playground, even if the jungle gym continues to intimidate me.