Some might call it ironic, but the recent announcement of the imminent closure of InstantAction (formerly GarageGames) has brought an incredible surge of activity to the community.
It seems this kind of news has been the needed catalyst to wake up the community into participating again on the site. Eric Preisz’s original blog post of the shutdown at the time of writing this has received 680 comments, and new ones are being added.
It’s not only the comments on the announcement that are surprising, but the rise in blog posts and project announcements. It seems like the GarageGames days are back, at least for a little while.
The good old days
During those times, people were writing development journals, writing about topics that might be interesting for fellow indie game developers, and announcing their projects and companies even when only an idea had materialized. That gave a wonderful sense of community, and that resulted in questions being asked and answered very swiftly by a large part of the site users.
The bad days
After the introduction of the new Torque3D pricing scheme, the barrier of entry became 10 times higher, so the profile of people entering the userbase changed considerably. The well-meaning amateur with some time to spare for his fellow forum users was replaced by people that depended on the product for a living.
This was partly the reason that the number of free source modifications diminished quickly. Another reason was that GarageGames had been diversifying at a frenetic pace, thus fragmenting the community : TGE 1.4, TGE 1.5, TGEA, TGB, Torque X, iTorque, Torque3D.
That meant that the community effort was divided, and some products (like TGB) never got the same team of dedicated super-users that could help other people when they were stuck. The Community aspect was necessary in part to compensate for lack or flaws in the documention and examples.
Climbing back up
People love Torque. You just have to look at the number of posts on the forum in order to see that. Whether the community can restore itself remains to be seen, but more and more users are becoming active again, just to show their support. There are even two sites now to recover the community in case the torquepowered site ceases to exist:
I’ll have a look into those in a next post;