Splash Attack Gaming was a gaming community I created in mid-October 2013. It started as a small group of friends playing Garry’s Mod game-modes on servers that I rented which enabled us to decide what modifications/changes we made to the game without having to rely on a stranger’s decisions.
It stayed like this for a month until it suddenly gained a surge of players who liked the community playing the game, and the game modes we played. In February 2014 I created a free forum to allow users to post any suggestions, talk about the game, or apply to become a moderator on the servers. This forum can be found here, although most segments of the forum have been made private for privacy reasons. Most of the statistics are still visible.
Throughout 2014/2015 the community expanded and soon after I introduced donations with small benefits in-game, allowing myself to purchase other servers on more games including TF2 & Rust. These went up briefly for a month however due to the community stemming from Garry’s Mod I learned that most of the user-base were more interested in Gmod related content so I soon closed those servers down and focused on Garry’s Mod.
During this time there were so many players that I was unable to moderate the server all on my own. As mentioned previously, I allowed players to make Moderator Applications on the forums, which are still visible. There was also a 2nd tier which I soon introduced for an “Admin” role. Moderators were there to make sure the rules of the server were upheld and to ensure nobody is trolling or spreading toxic behaviour. The Admin role had a larger part in assisting myself and the community. Before I introduced the role, I was making changes to the server such as roles, content updates, and managing community-related events such as holiday-themed updates and live-streams all by myself. The people I chose for this role showed they cared for the community so for this reason I created private tutorial videos showing them how to perform each of these actions easily. I put a lot of trust into these people, and it worked out.
In 2016 the community was still going strong and it was still relatively active, however towards the end of the year I began working full-time as an IT Systems Analyst. I reviewed the popularity of the servers since then, and it seemed like it was near empty. Rather than let the community die slowly, I made one last community event and video to make sure it goes out with a bang. The event highlighted every player who regularly participated in the community, and summed up the years we spent enjoying the games together. It was well-received, and soon after the forums were locked down to prevent future posting.
Overall, the whole experience that stemmed from a hobby into a passion project developed my skills in managing a full-blown community while learning from many triumphs (and mistakes) while doing so. If the opportunity to do something like this were to arise again I would take it without hesitation as I enjoyed it immensely, while being able to put the skills I gained to benefit a company or community.