::Holonet Node Entry 12292011-1902::

Summer 2012? What’s this all about?

As you may have noticed, there’s a small Flash movie on the main page describing what appears to be the second coming of the Imperial Order. Sort of… Allow me to explain…

Back in the winter of 1997, I produced the brain child of what became the Imperial Order – an online gaming club, based on the Imperial Navy after the fall of the Empire. The premise was simple and unique to SW clubs of the time: we would follow the Expanded Universe canon plotline while interjecting our own story into that universe. Along the way, we would build our own websites, write our own stories and build our own custom missions and levels for TIE Fighter, XvT, XWA, Jedi Knight, etc. Of course, if one is going to function like the Empire, one has to act Imperial; all members were encouraged to create their own Imperial persona and character and truly “get into character”. Whether it was Naval Pilot, CompForce Commando, Star Destroyer Captain, or even the exalted members of the Dark Jedi Order and Imperial Intelligence, everyone could find a welcome home within the Imperial Order.

It turned out to be, what I sometimes refer to as, a grand human experiment: take people from all walks of life, in any part of the globe, and provide a common theme. That theme was Star Wars, more importantly the Empire. However, as it so often does, “real life” spills over into fantasy. In our case this was mostly a great thing. Not only did we get to play in the SW/IO universe, but the skills that members learned during their time here carried over to the real world: game programming/design, web development, graphic design, technical and creative writing, and other computer networking and programming skill sets. Any of which look great on a resume, and more than several of our members launched careers in those areas, myself being one of them. That is truly a point of pride I have in the Imperial Order: people actually came away with something tangible they could use in their life.

As time went on, and this is the fault of any empire, we became too disjointed, too reliant on the bureaucracy that had built up, and a general malaise pervaded the Imperial Order. For myself, I saw something I created degenerate into something I did not want a part of, hence the initial breaking up of the IO, and it’s eventual fade. But I never, nor I think did any of us, truly let go of the Imperial Order. It became such an ingrained facet of our lives that we hold the time (and efforts) and the friendships near and dear to our hearts. I have said before and will say again, I will not take down the IO sites; whether I am working on them or not; they will always stand the test of digital time and be available on the web.

For the past 5 or 6 years, I have done nothing public with the IO. After everyone embarked on their own paths, and I closed the IO off to new members and basically ceased all communication. I always kept the IO in the back of my mind, and sometimes in the front. Over the years I’ve went back and played our battles and levels, wrote down some new plots and re-wrote some old stories. Most recently in the past year or so, people have reconnected thanks to social networking.

Back to Summer 2012…

This will not be a re-imagining, a re-boot, or re-dux of the Imperial Order; this will be the next step. The IO will become a project-based…well, project. Those of you who were part of the IO, and those who have yet to be, can sign up to take part in completing several of the projects I have in store: editing and creating new missions/battles, creating new JK levels, updating the website, writing stories – the core functions and heart of the Imperial Order. If you want to take part, that’s great I’d more than welcome the help, if you want to sit back and play the missions and read the stories, that’s fine by me,  I always like to play to an audience. Will there be the same bureaucracy and reporting and daily toil that drove us down? No. Hell no. I don’t have the time or patience for that, and I know you do not either.

For 15 years now, I have yet to complete what I set out to do: complete the story of the Imperial Order from start to finish. The time has come to start…