Camen Design

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The History of the Lost Alliance

This is part of the reference material for a series of personal letters written to / from Tanner Helland during 2003–2005. These letters cover—in immense detail—events in my life during that period, including many unfinished and aspiring designs and creations. As a person however, I have changed from the inexperienced, often immature person I was and my skills in programming and web-design have changed just as radically.

New visitors to The Lost Alliance will most certainly be thinking “Who are The Gathering Project?”. The Gathering Project was the team’s name before we changed over to being “The Lost Alliance”. Throughout our time as TGP Clint Franklin has been our leader and he’s inspired all of the team to work hard and to really give it their all. Without Clint we really wouldn’t be here at all, he’s helped us through the tough times and we’ve faired well from his protection but unfortunately he did not.

Clint has an illness and it means that he’s often unwell and always depressed. There has been nobody but nobody in all of our time that has been as hard working and as dedicated as Clint has. Clint would spend days on end without sleep or food, working on the project because he believed in us and the project.

Often Clint would get into fits of depression and write long posts about how he hated himself, he would curse and swear at us and get argumentative, but instead of getting in a huff the team would do anything they could to cheer him up and somehow tell him how great he is. Team members would often spend hours and hours programming / writing things to make Clint happy and to show that he wasn’t worthless—because a man with Clint’s leadership and art skills demands respect and we would never stop giving him the respect due.

Many times Clint wanted to leave the project, and we’d post like crazy fearing the worst :P, in fact he tried to leave once because he felt that we all relied on him too much! During January of 2003, Clint made his final resignation demands…

To start, the team reacted like it was the usual routine, a couple of people tried to talk him out of it, but there was definitely something in the air and we could sense, that this time it was different…

We turned our views around and accepted that this was it, Clint was leaving us after a year and three months of faithful and hard working service to the team. Team members became scared of the project collapsing—Clint had kept the project running and given every minute of every day of his time to it since the very very beginning—How on Earth could we adjust? Imagine using a PC for 20 years and then somebody takes it away and gives you an Apple Mac, it’d be impossible to adjust to!†

Several team members gave parting presents and we all wished Clint the very best luck in the future as he walked away. This threw a lot of things in the air—what about Clint’s battle system and game designs? Could we still use them, now that he’s no longer a member? The original membership agreement was very thin and didn’t cover problems like members leaving—we were lost and unsure of what to do.

I made the bold move therefore to step into Clint’s place as TGP leader, I wrote a small and timid post “suggesting” that I could become the new leader. I feared that the team would laugh me off stage, or get angry at me for making such a pompous and self-righteous proclamation—I had been known to have sparked off a few arguments in the team as well as being very single-minded.

But I took a deep breath and thought about it seriously, luckily for me the team agreed—I really was the only other person (although not as good as Clint) who could fill the place, DemonSpectre† could never administrate the whole project in the little free time he has and Asuka, our lead programmer is shy and speaks little because her English is not perfect. The other members didn’t have the skills to manage the project in its entirety. I accepted but dreaded the end of the project without Clint’s hand guiding me in the right directions.

With the determination to keep it simple and get things going I spent a couple of hours writing up a new legal† membership agreement, that could direct us to what to do should a member leave and lay down a clear set of rules so that all members could concentrate on the project and stop worrying about the loss of Clint.

I posted it, asking for peoples thoughts before we went ahead and signed it—dreading the usual TGP response to big ol' lengthy Kroc posts—nothing. :P I was blown away though—the whole team got involved and really went over the incredibly large document with a fine brush! Since Clint had left we decided that to get ourselves focused and to get the team ready and prepared we deemed it best to start afresh—a new name, a new game. It would allow us all to clear our minds and get rid of the hefty confusion left after Clint’s resignation.

The team got busy thinking of a new name for us—it had to represent us well and after some totally bizarre suggestions we did manage to narrow it down to 2 names†: “BlueFox Studios” or “The Lost Alliance”—no prizes for guessing which one won :P

Clint could no longer afford to host The Gathering Project’s web-site and the site was beginning to look dated anyhow—Clint had asked me to re-design it prior to him leaving. Taking my role as leader as seriously as possible I went ahead and purchased a new server and domain name. Along with that I spent every minute I could making this web-site—I just wanted to prove to the team that I could be a leader, yet again I go overboard as usual :P

To show that we’re not just a bunch of nobodies and that we are dedicated to going through 100% with our work, I felt that a domain name and professional yet fun web-site would be key—The Lost Alliance are very lucky to have me on board since I specialise in stylish design! HTML’s my bag baby!† lol

So here we are, the most dedicated team of VB programmers on the ’net. We are The Lost Alliance.

Kroc, TLA Leader
13th February 2003