gwendolyngrace: (F5)
[personal profile] gwendolyngrace
It's been almost two weeks since we finished but the after-party still goes on....

We've got loads of other things still in store, including more AMAs, additional post-game analysis, and of course, more Easter Eggs. But in the meantime, we thought we'd switch gears a bit and talk about more behind-the-scenes stuff, like our process.

So, here's a thread to discuss our approach to plotting, how we decided on major plots, and so on. I invite the players to share their thoughts and the readers to ask us about how we worked as a team - and when we chose to split off, change gears, or sometimes, switch to a more "game-master" style of play where certain players were holding their cards closer to the vest.

To get it started, I'll share the basics. As I think you all know, we have a mailing list (that changed its host partway through), where we communicated. We also did a lot of "pre-plotting," by which I mean, the characters who were primarily involved in a given plot would frequently have chats or off-list email threads to sketch out the big picture, and then once it was in a reasonable shape, we would bring the outline to all the players and finish refining it.

There were also any number of times when two or more people were talking in chat (usually Google-chat), while threading one or more of their characters in the game, and the chat would lead to other ideas. Sometimes these were little ideas, like, "Oh, hey, while I've got you, I was thinking I'd like my character to have an encounter with yours" and they would spin their side-plot on their own. Sometimes these were seeds of the larger plots, often times potential solutions to problems we were facing.

Some of our biggest problems were also our biggest plots: things like how to parallel the major events of the books while keeping to the parameters of Alternity; how to find the Horcruxes and eliminate them; how to write ourselves OUT of corners; how to KILL Voldemort when Harry himself wasn't actually a Horcrux, etc. Then there were the major climaxes of every year, some of which were solved mere hours before we had to play them out.

It was also a common practice to keep those chat windows open while we were playing, so that we could interact real-time with the other players who were involved. Sometimes this wasn't possible and there were a LOT of emails flying. For the major plots, we tried to keep a group window going and people would enter and leave as they were available. This sometimes got chaotic with too many people overlapping, which often meant we had to interrupt the chatter to keep everyone on the same page.

Players, what sorts of process stories do you have to share?
gwendolyngrace: (Books)
[personal profile] gwendolyngrace

Today's "bonus content" for you is the Collection that Denise made on Archive of Our Own:

So far, I'm the only one who has added to it, but I believe Brook will be connecting his fics on Cedric and Rookwood, and Jen plans to put some of her fanfic in soonish.

The stories I have up are all Alternity canonical backstory*. They mostly explore the relationship between Sirius and Regulus when they were young. There are some pieces that occur while at school; and at least one piece that takes place after Sirius has finished school.

They're also linked from Sirius's page on the wiki.

The collection is OPEN to all, so if you have Alternity-inspired plot bunnies, we hope you'll share them there (and tell us so we can check it out!). Players may also write more, but it is not automatically canonical just because a player writes it.


*We consider the "Blackstory" to be Alternity canon for several reasons. First, these stories directly informed myself and Deb, Regulus's player, on the characters' relationship and what it was like to grow up at Grimmauld Place; Second because the actions taken by the characters as seen in the fics were approved of by those characters' players at the time the story was written (and shared with new players when they entered the game); Third because the events and actions that are shown also were used as the basis of backstory that may or may not have been referenced in the game, or in communication about the game, with the other players.
synecdochic: torso of a man wearing jeans, hands bound with belt (Default)
[personal profile] synecdochic
Thanks to the master librarian powers of [personal profile] jenett, we've been using a wiki to keep track of everything for the last few years. After one last round of sweeping the cat hair out from under the couch because company's coming over, we're now ready to let y'all see the Alternity "show bible" -- everything we noted down because we knew we'd probably need it later.

[personal profile] jenett will be along in a few hours to give you a rundown of other things you might want to know, but she previously wrote a Guide for alt-fen, explaining the structure of the wiki and what you can find where.

Not everything is in the wiki yet -- we only started putting it together in Y5. (The existing indexing system had been close to collapse for a while, and shortly after I joined the game, the Yahoo mailing list that had been used for game planning started slowly imploding too. Since it's hard to coordinate things semi-realtime when Yahoo randomly decides to delay messages for up to 12 hours, I set up a self-hosted mailing list, and Jen suggested also setting up a MediaWiki install to handle the documenting, thus volunteering herself for endless wiki-elfing (it's like house-elfing) for the next three years.)

You may be tempted to expand the existing documentation as you reread things! In fact, we hope you will. Because MediaWiki installs are a huge-ass spam magnet, you can only edit a page when you're logged in to a wiki account, and you can't create an account on your own -- Jen or I have to create one for you. But we're happy to do so -- just ask. (You can get in touch with Jen on the entry in her journal with screened comments: leave your email address and she'll get back to you.)

One technical caveat: to save on hosting costs, the machine that runs is a wee bit underpowered, and MediaWiki is a bit of a resource pig. (The story of my last three years: "Fuck, the wiki's fallen over again.") I've done as much as I can to improve performance, but if a bunch of people are trying to load a page, it may very well fall down under load. If that happens, wait five minutes and try again; if that doesn't work, I'll be along when I can to raise it from the dead.

Without further ado: The Alternity Docs Project. Feel free to share the awesome stuff you find.
alt_moderator: (Default)
[personal profile] alt_moderator
We've had a question that deserves its own topic thread!

Welcome all the Death Eaters (real, coerced, pretend... you name it) to ask your questions about being on Voldemort/Tom Riddle/The Lord Protector's/MoldyVoldy Crazypants' Council!

First question was from Aleithen: "What was it about the Lord Protector that compelled all of you to follow him, and moreover to bring your own followers and students into his service? Professors Dolohov and Desai, it was clear that both of you had the charisma to attract followers yourself...why was it that you pledged yourselves to him instead of leading your own movements, especially since he was not a pureblood?"
elisem: (Default)
[personal profile] elisem
I am cracking up at a lot of things in these conversations and AMAs, but what drove me to post this PM (which I am posting here, because putting a PM in the relevant discussion seemed a bit disruptive) is Molly's post in "the master-apprentice-type relationship." Oh, my. I don't think she's likely to get an answer, but what a gloriously irate question!

Anything you've seen and not wanted to break the flow by commenting on it there? Feel free to comment here.
alt_moderator: (Default)
[personal profile] alt_moderator
Alternity dealt with themes of education - formal, informal, and via one-to-one tutelage. Which makes terrific sense when you're writing a story that encompasses the span of schooling for its young protagonists. But in Alternity, the scholarship relationships outside of the classroom offered opportunities for characters to work side by side - and often, secretly at cross-purposes.

Through the magic of my phenomenal alt-moderator powers, I have the pleasure of being able to introduce to this thread some very special guests. These individuals forged deep, close connections with each other in either actual or virtual master-apprentice relationships.

We invite you to ask any questions you may have - about their training, about their relationship, about their suspicions, about how their training prepared them for the fights they eventually fought, or lessons they learned that they would pass on - whatever you want to know! Time and space are immaterial here; the individuals who are participating are free to answer in whatever way they see fit, depending on what's called for in your questions.

Please welcome:

Antonin Dolohov
Justin Finch-Fletchley (Noble Arts)

Severus Snape
Hermione Granger (Potions)
Draco Malfoy (Occlumency)

Aurora Sinistra
Evelyn Longbottom (Astronomy)

Barty Crouch, Jr.
Hydra Lestrange (Death Eaterdom)

Savitha Desai
Ron Weasley (Auror training)

Poppy Pomfrey
Sally-Anne Perks (Healing Arts)
gwendolyngrace: (Default)
[personal profile] gwendolyngrace
It was asked:

If you could go back and change anything, what would you change?

alt_rachel: (Gossipping)
[personal profile] alt_rachel
I am Rachel Brodie, former head of Albion MLE, Order of the Phoenix member, Dogstar member, and general troublemaker. Ask me anything!

Several of my old Aurors promised to come by and answer questions as well -- Ron Weasley, Hydra Finch-Fletchley, Draco Malfoy, Jason Montague -- and they can answer questions, too. And hey, some of our old friends promised to read along so WHO KNOWS what sorts of questions you might be able to get answered (ALICE) (#nopromises)

(If you have questions about the Battle of Penzance, which ended the Albion wizarding war 17 years ago this week, you'll want to ask someone other than me -- I was badly injured the night before it happened, and sat that battle out. But Lee Jordan talked me into this, he seemed to think people would have some questions.)

I actually have to step out for a bit but I promise I'll come back and answer questions later.
gwendolyngrace: (Default)
[personal profile] gwendolyngrace
Aliethen asked:

With the cast list coming out, it was revealed that a lot of characters who played opposite each other in storylines were in fact played by the same person. How did you balance that? Was it ever hard?

I felt that deserved its own thread. Discuss!
gwendolyngrace: (Default)
[personal profile] gwendolyngrace
Aliethen asked:
Can you give us a sense of (a few of the) plots which were surprises but worked really well in the end? For example I always had the impression that Terry/Hermione was supposed to be endgame at first but Draco/Hermione ended up evolving organically...was I right? (Was it even known at first that Draco would be in the Order in the end?) Did you always know Harry and Neville would die?

I felt like that sort of thing deserves its own thread, so here. Discuss!
elisem: (Default)
[personal profile] elisem
So I just clicked over to Jeremy's goofing up the private message on an Order Only post, and reading through it reminded me how very many things get done at once in a lot of Alternity posts. (I know I'm talking about my own character, but it happens in every character's timeline.) In this one post, early in Jeremy's played time, there's:

* foreshadowing for the working relationship Bill and Jeremy have (which will eventually lead to Jeremy asking Bill to be best man when Jeremy and Maureen finally wed)
* an example of how the ISS group pools info to figure out what the grownups are not telling them
* Kingsley's guidance, and why he is so very much missed
* Sally-Anne, Pansy and Ron talking over interpersonal dynamics with an eye to future trouble and calculating the risk thereof
* Jeremy demonstrating his unexamined cluelessness about emotional impact by using the word squib as a self-putdown -- in front of Alice, while everyone is waiting to see if Frank has lost his magic for good. (This cluelessness about emotional impact will flower when he offers Hermione Teddy Nott's wand as a trophy and working tool.)
* showing how Remus/Sirius/Alice/Molly look after one another in times of stress and worry
* good early example of how Sally-Anne and Jeremy chat and banter (Sally-Anne telling him " I just lack the commitment to science and data-gathering that some Ravenclaws have, which is probably why the Hat put me in Slytherin.")

... and probably more. One of the things I love about Alternity is how interwoven all the pieces wound up being, and how not only the playing advanced the narrative, but how many directions it so often advanced the narrative at once.

Got any examples of fractal posts that you liked a lot? Pivotal ones? Or just things where the interplay and worldbuilding delighted you?
alt_moderator: (Default)
[personal profile] alt_moderator
The cast thread is filling up rapidly, and while we don't have to fuss about comment collapse, it is getting difficult to navigate...

So here's a new post, where we're asking YOU to ask US: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW?
alt_moderator: (Default)
[personal profile] alt_moderator
Well, there we are, folks! Seven Years. What a long trip it's been.

As we said Monday night, the game may have reached its conclusion, we are not exactly done! We have some fun and exciting extras planned for you. In the coming weeks, we'll unveil some additional "bonus content," host some AMAs from player- and character-perspective, talk about the process, and of course, celebrate the achievement that this story represents for all of us, and we hope, all of you.

Before we get to that, though, allow me to introduce OUR CAST.

In the course of seven years, players come and go, some characters work or don't, and often characters have changed hands. Some have remained constant since the beginning (shown with an * below). Of course, we've also killed a lot of them (ahem), but that doesn't change who played them, only that those players retired the character in service to the plotline. Pretty soon, we'll be opening our wiki (because how ELSE do we keep all this information straight?), which has a complete list of who played which character, including past role assignments.

In the interest of privacy, we're not revealing details, but the players are encouraged to post below in the comments with bios, tales of how they joined Alternity, and any other creds they would like to provide.

And now, here is the list of our current players, and the characters they played as of the last time said characters were seen:

  • Brook: Cedric Diggory*, Rabastan Lestrange, Augustus Rookwood*

  • Deb: Regulus Black, Barty Crouch, Jr., Poppy Pomfrey*, Lana Sandoval-Pennifold*, Ron Weasley, Blaise Zabini*

  • Denise: Antonin Dolohov*, Severus Snape, Charlie Weasley*

  • Elise: Megan Jones, Linus Moon, Jeremy Stretton*

  • Erin: Susan Bones*, Lavender Brown*, Pomona Sprout**

  • Gwen: Ptolemy Baddock*, Sirius Black*, Michael Corner, Justin Finch-Fletchley*, Hermione Granger, Minerva McGonagall, Lucius Malfoy*, Narcissa Malfoy, Padma Patil*, Horace Slughorn, Zacharias Smith*

  • Jenett: Albus Dumbledore, Lee Jordan, Aurora Sinistra, Pomona Sprout**, Dolores Umbridge*

  • Linny: Penelope Clearwater, Colin Creevey*, Alice Longbottom, Evelyn Longbottom*, Frank Longbottom, Ernie Macmillan, Pansy Parkinson, Nymphadora Tonks (Ponds)

  • Naomi: Savitha Desai*, Seamus Finnigan*, Rachel (Lamont) Brodie*, Remus Lupin, Harry Marvolo, Corax Mulciber*, Sally-Anne Perks*, Arista Selwyn*, Dominic Selwyn*, Ginny Weasley

  • Peg: Hannah Abbott, Terry Boot*, Amycus Carrow, Neville Longbottom*, Luna Lovegood*, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Arthur Weasley, Bill Weasley*, Fred Weasley, George Weasley, Molly Weasley*, Percy Weasley*

  • Rene: Millicent Bulstrode, Daphne Greengrass, Bellatrix Lestrange*, Hydra Lestrange*, Rodolphus Lestrange*, Walden Macnair*, Draco Malfoy, Eloise Midgen*, Jason Montague*

(**This character was shared by both players)

In Alternity, at the memorial services, people were encouraged to offer memories of their loved ones. Let's get the ball rolling here by inviting the players to offer up their favorite memories of their own characters and of others. We also want your feedback! What goes in your book of "Best Alternity Moments?"

In the next few days, we'll start holding AMA sessions with various players and their characters - understanding that some players may want some of their character information to remain nebulous or open to interpretation, of course!


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