The Difficulties of Sharing

by Solomoriah

Sharing is hard.

The Basic Fantasy Project is built on the idea of sharing, freely, the game we love with all its many facets and options.  Many people have told me over the years that I’m crazy to give the game away for free… I’ve talked about it before.  Let me tell you right now, if I sold the game, I’d be crazy.  I’d have been driven crazy by now.

Worries about things like “brand recognition” and “fragmentation” only make sense if you are trying to make a profit.  Marketing… it’s a pernicious thing, a necessary evil in a land of capitalism (which I do believe in, honestly).  It influences my business, but I refuse to let it worm its way into my hobby also.

So really, sharing is easy.  It’s the easiest choice, once you lay down the idol of profit.

But sharing is still hard.

You create something, something that you think is good.  Maybe really good, but you know you can’t tell for sure.  You share it, and you invite people to help you finish it, polish and primp and repaint and remodel, and behold, they do come.

But there’s an unexpected factor.  They don’t all think just like you.  They have ideas… their own ideas.  You think some of their ideas are really, really cool.  You aren’t so sure about the rest.

They want to help, but they expect you to take their stuff and put it in your stuff.  What you do next defines you.  It defines your project.  It colors things from then on.

This is what I faced when I started the Basic Fantasy Project.  It turned out, once I let go of my ego for a few moments, that more of the stuff I received was good than bad, and even the bad stuff had a certain charm.  Many times, we’ve taken ideas that were not so good and hammered and polished them into something really nice.  It helps that I published my goals and my methodology from the very start… people whose ideas differed too much from what I was trying to accomplish quickly came to understand, and moved on to other projects more compatible with their material.

Still, even now, every time I receive a new document to consider for the site, I have to push my ego away for a bit and try to be objective.  Even the authors I respect the most sometimes turn in material that doesn’t fit with my vision, and I have to decide, is it the material that needs to be changed, or my vision?

Sharing is hard, but its been worth it.  Thank you, to everyone who has contributed to the project.  Thank you very much.

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