So after spending a few hours setting up the Wiki I was going to migrate my site over to, I realized what it is I should be doing. After putting things like PuppetShop or DotNet into the [[ ]] tag that represents a wiki page, I realized, this is my personal site and even if I type a lot, I won’t be able to fill all this stuff up usefully. I also realized, that for me to ask someone to fill out a Wiki on my personal site (with my own name in it) is/seems too self-serving, no matter how noble the intent.
So I realized what I should be doing is putting together a technical artist community site. Duh! This is an idea I’ve toyed around before, but frankly, I didn’t have the experience or contacts to make it happen, but I think I have a good shot now. Right now there is really no community for tech artists- there are the MEL and maxScript CGTalk forums, and each CG community usually has a couple that hang around. But there is no real central community or infrastructure. The same goes for info- we all have articles and tutorials, but they are usually on our own website. Generic CG Wiki’s are far too, ahem, generic for most technical artist needs.
All of this is surprising since out of all artist disciplines, the technical guy has to constantly learn and sharpen his knowledge. It is essentially a job where every ‘technical’ task starts with a “How…” Much of the time we are doing things we’ve never done before and didn’t know we’d be doing a year ago. Having a better place for technical artists to communicate, question, learn, and contribute would be quite an asset.
Can I pull it off? I was mostly responsible for a modding community overhaul at a large game fansite, and much of that involved gathering and organizing data from forums and people and centralizing it on the wiki in a format and layout that is conducive to learning and education. I know many technical artists are like myself and love teaching and discourse as much as learning, and I hope I can get them involved. There are plenty of differences between a modding site and a professional community (starting from no central audience, relative education of members, free time, etc.), but I think I will be able to adapt and overcome to make something great.
I’d like the site to be centralized around a Wiki that contains mostly technical and in-depth information. I don’t want it to be redundant with other generic CG Wikis and I want it to be a second stop for people wanting to learn more. Redundancy is another thing I’d like to avoid as much as possible. While the site will have a forum, it won’t have its own MaxScript or MEL forum, etc- much better to just link to CGTalk. Same for scripts, much better to use scriptspot or highend3d. I’d like to supplement rather than challenge and compete, there is more than enough information and talk to go around.
In the next couple weeks, I’ll get together the site address and infrastructure (hopefully I can find someone to administrate it because that, at least, is something I can’t learn right now). I’m very excited I have something to put my energy into again- the personal projects and tools which I’ve been working on for the past few months (and will finish up sooner or later) are all well and good, but community initiatives are where my passion lays.