I've had a lot going on this weekend. On top of my work on USEMP, I've also deposited my first real paycheck, gone out and enjoyed a nice dinner with friends, went to go see "Ghost Rider" (good in a non-bad sense, not good as in almost-great sense), played some Star Wars d20, played some "Gears of War," almost bought a Wii, fixed my CD drives, got an automated backup system working on my home rigs, and overall stayed fairly busy. However, one thought kept running through my head because of an E-mail I received from my former employer on Thursday... Why am I doing USEMP?
I've been fairly supportive of my former employer in public since the layoff. While I may have disagreed with their methods and approaches to many things, I honestly felt that the direction they were going in and even the means of approaching it were the right thing. But aside from some personal satisfaction and some vague future career payoff, there is little direct benefit to me for completing their work, even if it is in an unofficial fashion.
So why do it? That question weighed heavily on me over the last few days, so tonight I took a break and watched "The End of Evangelion." While I watched Shinji's descent into madness and reevaluation of his position in life, the E-mail from Thursday drifted into my mind and solidified.
I am responsible for myself. That responsibility extends to my actions, my thoughts, my beliefs. While at my former employer, I responsibly took a personal oath of duty for my customers. They may have been the direct responsibility of my employer, but they were mine by proxy. On every project I have worked on in the past, that duty had extended until the community could support itself, and at that point, I could allow the duty to be assumed by the community itself. This project has been extremely hard on me because for the first time in my career, my association ended prior to my duty being fulfilled. While the single-player component had been covered by the community since late summer, multi-player was promised (and still is) with the only official effort towards fulfilling that duty being a half-hearted attempt because a false hope was never realized.
I guess the reason I've been staying up late, the reason I've been working on my laptop on the bus and train, the reason that I've been driving towards this goal...is so that I can let go. I know it sounds dumb, but they're my customers until they can finish the cycle on their own.
So I will finish this task I have laid out before me. For them. For myself.
I'm trying to get the test build ready for this coming weekend. I've got to work tomorrow, but I want to have something ready for this coming weekend. The HL2MP dependencies will still exist, so anyone who wants to participate will need to own both HL2:Ep1 and SE1, but the German version appears to work with my most recent code changes.
Also, I have two volunteers for the QA Ranters blog. I want at least one more, and ideally, I'd like someone who currently is in games QA. (My two volunteers have both been out for some time.) If you want to participate, please send me an E-mail with the subject line "Ranter."
Thank you for your patience and understanding.