Interview with Beth of Sim Central!

Hello, I’m Nugra and this is one of the first interviews the Simming Prize will be posting to talk to our 2021 winners! First up is Beth of Sim Central.

N= Nugra

B = Beth

N:Hello! Thank you so much for taking time out of your schedule to do this interview! It’s something that I have been wanting to do for a while and I’m glad you are interested in being my first test! Lol 

B: Always happy to be a test candidate! 

N:Let’s start out with you, the winner of the prize! Can you give us a run down of your history in the simming community, where you started, all that jazz? 

B: It’s funny because when I started simming I didn’t have a real understanding of the breadth of the hobby. I had a boyfriend in high school (more than 20 years ago… yikes…) who was involved in a Star Trek role play group called the United Interstellar Planets. He got me involved and I started out role playing in real time on mIRC. I like to joke that when that boyfriend and I broke up the folks at UIP decided to keep me rather than him. There were even three players that named themselves the “Brothers of Beth”. My husband sometimes jokes about this because I insisted he know who the three of them were!

Sometime in college my simming tapered off and although I kept in touch with folks from UIP I didn’t really get back into the hobby until the summer of 2020. My friend, Brad, who I simmed with a lot in UIP, coaxed me back into a game he was in charge of. At the time I was feeling like I had nothing that was my own. I have two little kids and a full time job and it was the height of the pandemic, so there was no Beth time. Brad convinced me it would only take a little bit of my time so I tried it out and fell in love with it all over again. I’ve always been a writer and this was a great excuse to practice that hobby with friends. 

I’m a GM and AGM on 4 different games now and I write for another 2 (soon to be 3!) on top of that in addition to fun personal projects with friends I’ve made in the last few years.

N: Can you give me a little idea of what Sim Central is?

B: Sure. I’m one of four founders of the Sim Central simming community. Myself, along with Reece, Kyle, and Brad, knew each other from writing together on multiple games. Early on we noticed we were all saying good morning to each other in 3 different places so Reece had the brilliant idea to start a community for indie games. (He was already hosting two of the three we shared.) The four of us were most interested in creating a safe space for folks who loved role playing to get together, chat, support each other, and role play. The free hosting that we offer at Sim Central was more of a secondary component. It seemed to us there were a lot of fleets out there, with that came its own sets of restrictions in shared canon or questions of ownership. So we decided that we’d offer free hosting for indie sims that wanted a place to meet people, get support, and be able to launch their games without the requirements in a fleet. We own none of the games we host and have only the most basic requirements of community membership for any game affiliated with our community. That way GMs can own and run their games the way they see fit while still benefiting from a larger group of people who have the same kinds of interests and talents.

N: What do you do over at Sim Central? Mind giving us a run down?

B: Oh, lots of things. I’m one of 5 community moderators. That means that I’m involved in all of the typical things you think of when you think of a moderator–helping clarify rules, settle disputes, manage channels, etc. But a big part of what I do is help people be comfortable, feel welcome, and find things. I feel really strongly that for a community to thrive it has to be welcoming and encouraging of folks. So you’ll find me in the general chat. Or sharing memes or recipes in the fun stuff area. Or chatting in the channels designed for the games I’m involved in. I also do a fair bit of advertising for our community and for the games I participate in. If I can help someone connect with a game, writer, or service that can make their experience better I’m happy to do it! One of my favorite things to do is put out writing prompts. We’ve had some fun things written in the community about characters having important birthdays, first days of school, awkward encounters, and so on.

N: Are you specifically only one Genre of Simming or are your doors open to all sorts?

B: As a community Sim Central is open to all genres of simming provided that the sim itself can meet our community guidelines. The guidelines are pretty straightforward though. We’ve had games affiliated with us that covered everything from The Walking Dead to Harry Potter. Our most recent affiliation is a Dragonriders of Pern game! The majority of our sims, though, continue to be Star Trek sims and the original games that the founders started with were from that genre. Personally I participate in Trek games as well as a Firefly-based sim within our community. Outside of Sim Central I also write a few characters on a game based around a nuclear submarine.

N: What type of games do you and Sim Central support?

B: At the moment all of the affiliated games are nova-based games. I don’t know that we would rule out anything that is based in real time on discord or other modalities but we haven’t had too much interest in other formats. 

N: What would you say is the most common group that gets started with you?

B: Almost without fail it’s Star Trek games. Some of that, I believe, is just the nature of the role play. Star Trek role playing through forums, PBeM, and nova have a long history that spans more than 25 years. That said, we’re always very encouraging of other genres. There’s plenty of amazing universes to play in and we love being able to make that possible.

N: What are some of the challenges that face you and the Moderators day to day?

B: Truthfully day-to-day it’s a pretty lovely place to be. As a moderator we don’t see issues daily. I’d say we are on the lookout for clashes between members. As a community we expect quite a diverse group and try to foster spaces that are safe for everyone. That said, not everyone is going to get along and we recognize that. Wherever possible we try to help diffuse situations that might build up to a conflict or redirect them. A big piece of that means being around in the space and getting to know our membership. We all love talking with the folks who are part of the community. 

Beyond that we have experienced some growing pains purely as a result of meeting a need for folks running indie games who are looking for a community to plug into. Reece, in addition to being an amazing writer and a delightful person to hang out with, is also our most technically talented member of the moderator team. That means there’s the occasional bottleneck when things need doing that the rest of the moderation team don’t know how to do. As a group we have gone from about 10 members in January 2021 with only 2 games to over 180 members and, currently, 23 affiliated games. That’s no small amount of growth in under 2 years and it tends to happen in fits and starts.

N: Sounds like Sim Central is growing! Where do you hope to be in the next two years?

B: Honestly I’d love for us to be doing the same exciting stuff and meeting the same needs we are now. There will always be folks who love to write and those who particularly enjoy doing so in established universes. If we can support others in their creative endeavors as a community then we are eager to do so and I hope we’re still doing that for years to come. 

Personally, I’m also looking forward to the next membership milestone. We’re less than 20 users away from hitting 200 members and that feels like a big deal. I’d love to see us meeting the needs and encouraging the creativity of 300 or more within two years. 

N:Anything you’d like to say about your group before we go? 

B: Come hang out with us! We’re cool people! 

Excellent idea! If they wanted to do that, how would they get a hold of you? 

B:  The best way to do that would be through Discord: https://discord.gg/simcentral. Folks are also more than welcome to check us out online (https://simcentral.org). Or you can email me at beth@simcentral.org!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to me! I wish you and Sim Central fair winds!

B: Thank you, Nugra! It’s been a pleasure and, of course, an honor to be named amongst the awesome folks and organizations who can call themselves Simming Prize Laureates. Here’s to many more years of awesome creativity for everyone!

8 responses to “Interview with Beth of Sim Central!”

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