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Grand Master Tib’s Corner – Interview with Chas Hammer, Creator of SciWorld #PraiseTheTurnip

perpetual-universesHail those of Perpetual Universes! Grand Master Tiberius here, recently I had the opportunity to talk to the creator of SciWorld, [which is coming up soon] Chas Hammer! So let’s see what Mr. Hammer had to say shall we?

How did you get into roleplaying?

A long, preordained process.  I suppose all of us, when we are little, imagine ourselves at the head of grand adventures.  I tended to take it a bit farther.  It wasn’t enough to play an astronaut.  I also organized my friends, drafted technical manuals, and mapped out missions.  Not normal for recess play!  I also had a long bus ride.  With my friend Joey, we passed time with what, in retrospect, were verbal role playing games.  One person would be the game master, describing the outcome of events.  The other would be the hero, stating their actions.  Joey and I both got into Star Trek during season two of TNG, and as we progressed into junior high, my friends and I would make our own uniforms and props, and tromp off into the woods on away missions.
I discovered chat based online role-playing, which I always call simming, in 1994.  By that time, I was busy – unsuccessfully – trying to be cool and attract girls.  I thought the adventures of imagination were behind me; but that obviously wasn’t the case!  During the 90s, the America Online service had a dedicated forum for Star Trek fans, and another for role-players.  There was a lot of cross over between the two foums, and like many others of my era, I was introduced to simming via the Star Trek forum on AOL.  The first club I stumbled into, Spacefleet Online, was the largest club on the service.  I, however, was put off by the rules and egos – at least that’s what I experienced in the small sliver of the club that I was exposed to.  I also did not appreciate that no one took the time to truly reach out to me and show me the ropes.  Luckily, I wasn’t totally soured.  I soon feel in with a small, independent band of chat simmers.  Our imaginations flowed.  I was hooked.

How long have you been roleplaying?

A very long time!  This year marks the 20th year I’ve been involved with the simming community; but my career is now winding down.  I don’t have the passion for it I once had.  I feel like I’ve gone on all the adventures I want to go on; accomplished everything I set out to accomplish, and more!  I’ve retired from the sims that I was a part of, and lately, most of my time in the community has been occupied by administrative tasks – such as organizing the annual SciWorld Online Convention – but I’m slowly handing those tasks off to others.  I’m looking forward to spending my time on new pursuits – maybe I’ll take up the piano!

Don’t get me wrong.  Simming has been a central joy of my life.  In sharing my imagination I was able to live out my fantasies of playing a starship captain, politician, historian, etc.  Along the way, I discovered myself, made friends, and – unfortunately – a few enemies.  However, as my favorite Doctor noted, “We are all different people, all through our lives.  And that’s ok, that’s good, you gotta keep moving.”  Who I was 15 years ago, at the helm of my won club, or 10 years ago when my club imploded around me, or 5 years ago when I was running the Simming League, is not who I am today.  Yet, I will always cherish my adventures with everyone.  I am forever richer because I was a simmer.

Explain SciWorld to those who don’t know

Ohh… shameless plug!  Visit sciworldonline.com 
In short, SciWorld is a geek out for simmers and play-by-post online role-players.  It takes place in an online chat room, with events spanning three days.  This year’s convention will be held from Thursday May 1 to Saturday May 3.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

How did SciWorld get started?

The first SciWorld was in 1999, and we’ve held it pretty much every year since.  It started as an idea within the Online Simulations Association; they wanted to hold a convention for club members as a way of fostering a sense of community within the club.  The idea was a immensely popular, and by the time the first convention was held, it had morphed into an event open to all simmers and online play-by-post role-players, regardless of their club affiliation.  SciWorld is, and always has been, volunteer run; its run by simmers and online play-by-post role-players – and not by any specific club – for the benefit of the entire community.  It’s a place where we can all hang out and share the love of our hobby with fellow players.

Who do you thank for helping you get this far?

Concerning SciWorld specifically, Ender Maki and Tashak immediately spring to mind – they were the ones who came up with the idea of SciWorld.  Over the years though, there have been many who helped sustain the convention.  We rely on volunteers to run events and handle behind the scenes work.  We depend on our fellow simmers and play-by-post role-players to attend and have fun.  Honestly, everyone who has ever helped or attended SciWorld has my gratitude.

Do you have any inspirations?

As a Star Trek simmer, I naturally draw from the Trek universe.  But more specifically, I draw from the simmers immediately around me.  I believe chat simming is a bit like playing jazz.  When it’s good, you feel it in your soul.  You open the essence of your imagination to those around you.  You take in what they offer.  Together, you are subsumed by the flow and produce something that gets you out of your seat, bouncing around the room with excitement.

Anything inspirational you want to say to your fellow roleplayers?

This is all a game, for fun.  Be sincere, surround yourself with people who are sincere, and cast off the rest.  When that happens, magic occurs, and you will go as far as your imagination dares.

Alright I just want to ask this just out of professional curiosity, Kirk or Picard?

Sisko.  Don’t get me wrong… I would love to be Kirk, and if I was an admiral and had to order a starship into some unknown danger, I would want to send Kirk, but I would be afraid to serve under him, especially if my shirt was red!  Picard is a good negotiator, and if I had to serve on a starship, I would want him to be my captain.  But Sisko, as a leader, he can’t be beat.  Think of the roles he successfully juggled – warrior, diplomat, manager, religious icon, father.  Look at how he was able to take a crew (and civilians) of unknown allegiances, find the angle needed to engage each, and forge them into a coherent team.

 

Well there you have it people. I want to thank Chas for taking the time out of his schedule to do the interview. And do us a favor, if you don’t know what SciWorld is or you just want to find out more, visit the Sciworld Page.

Follow me on twitter @TiberiusStudios, this post was #PraiseTheTurnip so be sure to tweet that!

As usual, I will see you later people! Keep Calm and Praise The Turnip! GM TIB OUT!

 

Happy April Fools! 😀
  • New Worlds Project

    Nice to get an interview from the great Chas Hammer, he’s been a real legend of role-playing and it will be sad to see him leave! Maybe we can find ways to get him to come back anyway!