So how does a non-gamer organize a gaming festival?
I am constantly a bit worried that people will detect the fact that this Freedomware Gamefest 2007 event is actually being organized by someone who is not really a gamer and who only has brief experience with online multiplayer gaming, and that this will discourage participation and view this event as a sort of "vaporware".
But, instead of "hiding" this fact I've decided to make it into a positive thing. Say or think what you will, but this festival will at the very least prove that it is possible, even if it has its flaws, even if it is a bit frustrating to do (for me at least) and even if it at the end of the day looks like banging my head through the wall. It is possible to make any idea a reality if you just cooperate, regardless of how much experience does the implementer really have in the subject matter that the idea relates to.
So how does this happen? Well, at first the idea was much less than the reality of it turned out to be (which can be seen as mostly a positive thing in the end). At first it was meant to be a small tournament held here on Nuxified.org. Cluenet.org provides the servers, we get some players, draw up the brackets and start competing.
As the idea spread further though, we had more people and projects join in to help make it much more significant. Without prior planning, we ended up launching freedomware-gamefest.com, coming up with a beautiful visual identity, carving up the rules and guidelines that go beyond the initial simplistic vision, having whole existing clans sign up instead of just sole players, having sponsors and donators with real prizes to back the festival etc. etc.
And that's exactly how it happens: more people and projects joining in to cooperate, from Cluenet.org, Tux Project, sponsors (ZaReason, TheLinuxStore.ca) and game communities all doing their part. In the end all that's up to me is to converge it all, to connect the dots. The game community explains the ins and outs of particular games and how this relates to an optimal tournament and I then just pick what makes most sense and what most people seem to agree with. This way I don't have to know everything. I don't have to have a lot of experience. I just have to know how to ask a question and listen for answers being provided and then based on that make choices that make most sense.
That's how we, together, got this far, and that is how we will get this Freedomware Gamefest done. So if anyone asks.. how can someone with not much gaming experience organize a game fest the answer to the question would be the same one as the answer to the question of "how did GNU/Linux grew to the point that it did": Because of cooperation. Each one of us is just a link in the chain, just a node in a network. Each contributes what we can to build something larger than ourselves.
And that's what is at the core of Freedomware, freedom to cooperate with other people rather than just watching and consuming while waiting for others to do something more. Freedomware Gamefest clearly embodies this principle - even in the very way it is built up.