I'm the founder of the Encyclopedia Ermariana. Here's my story:
- Name: Arancaytar
- Short: Aran
- Age: 30
- Joined Spiderweb: May 14 2003
- Joined Encyclopedia: July 17 2003
Blades of Exile
I found Exile III on a shareware CD (from heise's software magazine c't, incidentally) late in the year 2000. Playing through the Exile series (I did not finish Exile I, but I played the other two until the shareware barrier), I soon found Blades of Exile. In Summer 2001, to be precise.
Late in 2001, I visited the SW boards, but didn't register or post.
Leave Your Sanity at the Door
I didn't have any kind of regular internet in 2002, until we moved houses in October. In March 2003, we installed our internet access, and I remembered the Spiderweb Software Boards two months later (call it latent insanity). In the BoE/BoA forums (BoA wasn't out, but it sure had a board) I quickly noticed that there was one flaw in the whole world of... um. That was precisely the problem - it didn't even have a name. Nobody knew anything about it, and what people did know, they disagreed about. Jeff had never named it, the other three continents (Aizo, Pralgad and Vantanas) floated as vague names through an incomplete reality, and there was no knowledge of the Empire's history, its culture or its mythology. Jeff had managed to tell a story without ever actually telling us about the world it was set in.
At least a name had been come up with by the community: Ermarian (goodness knows where it came from), which is often misspelled Ermaria. There was a long list of Emperors reaching from someone named Baltimore I into the far future, the late autumnal age of the world, and the emperor Tachyon IV There was the game canon of course - Hawthorne I, II, and III, the Empire War, Prazac. But it was all disordered and dispersed. If you wanted to know something, your best bet was in asking someone on the board, resulting in a long argument usually.
The Encyclopedia Ermariana
The project was conceived on July 17 2003, 23:57, roundabouts. I signed up a site at Geocities first, because that was the webspace used by most BoE fan sites (making one's own BoE site - graphics archives, scenario downloads, articles on design, etc - was still in fashion then, a trend that had had its high time a little over a year ago).
The site had a black background (#111111 actually, a kind of almost black color which makes you think you've set your screen too bright) with white text (#cccccc, a dirty light grey which makes you think your screen is about to die). The navigation was nonexistant. Eventually, my sister (who was then tutoring me in HTML; she'd taken to web design far more quickly than I had) taught me how to use frames, and the horror truly began. The menu I used was dark blue, which I changed to an orange-blue background pattern once I learnt to do that. The text itself was orange.
The project was booming and vegetating at the same time. Everyone was joining the project, but little content was actually being produced - partly because there was too little organization and communication, and partly because the website itself really sucked in such a way as to discourage writing content for it. The only way to get published was to write me an email with the content, have it mercilessly hacked to pieces and rewritten, and eventually published a few months later.
In September 2004 I started an apprenticeship as Mathematical Technical Assistant in Aachen, which meant I finally learnt programming through other means than self-teaching (which is comparable to teaching oneself magic in a fantasy world: It can work, but it leads to unforeseen results). Also, it meant that I didn't have time for the site.
For months on end, nothing happened in the Encyclopedia, with little bits of something in between. On January 21, I set up an forum in a fit of madness (ezboard sucks if you must know). On March 10, I learnt enough PHP to make a little automatic translator for Novah, the Vahnatai language. In July 12, I received two entries from Drakefyre.
I've thought about changing the Encyclopedia into a wiki for a long time now. Definitely since January, when FZ suggested that Polaris set up a wiki site for easier communication. The trouble is that so far I had failed to understand the difference between Wikipedia and Wiki.
That's a pretty easy mistake right there, perhaps. But it meant I didn't know that Wikipedia is not run on just any Wiki system, but MediaWiki, a system specifically for designing a knowledge base/encyclopedia/media archive.
Today (August 22, 2005) I realized this, and within less than an hour, I had set up a working MediaWiki on my webspace here.
- Explore Exile 1/2 for religions and shrines (Avernum too, for changes).