A week is a long time in FF1M land. We’ve decided on sponsors, purchased engines and with the driver market about to open the silly season is truly in full swing.
Last time I wrote about why FF1M stopped and I’m now going to go through some of the things that have happened that made me finally decide to see if there was interest in bringing the series back.
The first and main reason is that I missed it. I missed the community and the forward momentum of doing the series. I miss making videos and exploring movie maker and after effects. I miss teaching myself how to use excel and applying its features to FF1M.
I’ve run these sorts of series for over fifteen years at this point and when I first started, with AF1RL, I only had very basic excel skills learned in high school. I could input data and that was pretty much it. So over the years I’ve taught myself formulas, macros, vlookup, importing results from text files. In December last year I mentioned this experience I had gained through FF1M in a job interview and I got the job. When this happened I thought about FF1M a lot, I wished it was still something that was part of my life but I figured people would have moved on by now and without a forum I didn’t think I had a way of gauging interest.
The 2018 F1 Season started. I said last time how I’m not really an F1 fan but I still get excited at the start of every season and this one has been no different. One thing that particularly peaked my interest this season has been the new branding of F1, the orchestral theme music and new graphics package and the discussion around their design. I thought about my previous experience of creating graphics for FF1M. I felt inspired and about five minutes before the start of the 2018 season I had a brain wave about how a 2018 FF1M season would gain new viewers if each race was posted on the same weekend as the real F1. Too late to do anything now though I said to myself. Still I opened a new excel sheet and spent the whole race setting up championship tables, with formulas and all that other good fun excel stuff. I then created similar templates for F2 and Formula E, refining them each time, theming each to fit the respective series. Again I wished I had FF1M around to continue playing with excel.
I don’t know what actually triggered finally deciding to end the 2011 season. I’d been willing myself to spend a weekend on it (GP3) for weeks. I think there was a facebook post that mentioned the game. When I finally plugged my old Xp PC into the back of my TV and started that first race it was like coming home to an old friend. But I still thought I would only end the season to give some resolution. I posted the results on the wiki and prepared to do the final race.
The constructors championship battle was interesting. Pedersen had been dominant and if they continued their form they could clinch the title as long as other results went their way. With the potential for drama I decided to make one final video for FF1M and give the series a send off that it deserved. The race itself was more thrilling than I could have imagined with everything falling right for Pedersen and they somehow managed to win the title. I knew I had to give it the full highlights treatment to do it justice.
It took me around a week to get everything together and to relearn how everything worked. During that week I logged into the FF1M YouTube account and noticed that I had apparantly never made the video for the Bahrain Gp public. I fixed this, thinking nothing of it, but almost immediately I received a comment.
This took me by surprise. I thought nobody would care, let alone comment. I still wasn’t sure if I would bring the series back but this was when I first started considering that if people were still interested, that it might be worth doing. I started messaging people, the old hands, Gui, Pedersen, Courtney and Brickles, on Facebook and Twitter to see if maybe they would want to return. When every answer was yes, i knew I had to try.
I wanted to be cautious though. I felt I had let the old guys down by ending the series so suddenly, for not finishing for two years (in which there was basically radio silence from me, I’m not good at keeping in touch). I also Didn’t know how it would work. I knew I didn’t want another forum to manage and I didn’t know how a lot of the “gameplay” like the driver market or sponsors would work in a normal website.
I happen to still have the FF1M web space, which I’ve been paying for for years without actually properly using it, so I quickly set up a new domain and a teaser site in a kind of Phoenix from the flames theme which directed visitors to a new wiki page which people could edit to let me know they were interested. Within a day or so six people had registered their interest, some who had never even been in FF1M before.
I think it was when I started the Discord server that I finally decided 100% I’m doing this. I can’t really remember what made me decide to use Discord. I already use it for other communities I’m part of, mainly Final Fantasy XIV related, but I think it may have been seeing that a certain non-gaming YouTuber had a Discord as a Patreon reward that got me thinking.
And I guess that brings us to where we are now really. I’ve been churning out the feeder series videos for the previous season and getting reacquainted with the overly complex after effects and the painfully simple Windows Movie Maker (I should probably find a new editing app to learn and use but the good ones are so expensive) and spending my weekends building a website which I hope you guys will continue to look at and comment on as we get into the actual pre season and I actually have real and interesting stuff to write about.
One thing I didn’t mention last time was the effect that YouTube’s copyright policy has had on both my leaving and how the comeback almost never happened, so that will be for next time.