Youíve Been Canonized!: The Swert
Good evening and welcome once again to Youíve Been Canonized! AARlander edition where we take an author and get to know more about them and their AAR ! Iím your host canonized , author of Timelines: What if Spain Failed to Control the World? and todayís guest is the usually reclusive The Swert author of ThundAAR from Down UndAAR Ė Australia, Imperialism and War . Letís get to the questions !
Part I: I, Swert
A look at the crazy swertiness himself !
canonized: First , thank you and welcome to the programme ! For those of us who might be familiar with Your Swertiness , would you introduce yourself a little for us ?
The Swert: Hello all, i'm The Swert. My real name is a mystery but I'm a 20 year old university student in Melbourne, Australia.
canonized: How long have you been hanging out in AARland ?
The Swert: Well I found the forum about the same time I got EU2 in January 2007. After reading around and discovering AARland I used my first post to start my first aar. Feels so long ago now.
canonized: How has AARland treated you since then ?
The Swert: It was a very welcoming beginning, my first fan was DoW, but it hasn't always been so good. The EU2 forum slowly declined and so did the comments received. My Duchy of Athens AAR in particular went by seemingly unnoticed and forced me to abandon it. Having said this it's significantly my fault, I'm guilty of not commenting of other AARs and you can't expect to receive if you rarely give. Recently things have picked up though; my Knights aar won an award and my first fling outside of EU2 has shown me what a proper audience is like again. But these days I don't write for the comments or audiences, it's just a joy to put pen to paper.
canonized: As someone who's very in tune with the EU2 forum especially as its AARchivist , could you tell us a little bit about what you think will be the future of it and what we can do perhaps ?
The Swert: I like to think myself as somewhat of a champion of EU2, I'll keep writing there no matter what. But as librarian I have accumulated statistics which show its decline. It hasn't been sudden but a gradual process beginning even before EU3 was released. As of now there's only a handful of aars left, I had hoped we would reach the magical 1500 aars figure but it doesn't seem likely now. EU2 aars, if there aren't already, will be seen as a novelty and a curiosity. I am reminded when DoW dared to start an EU1 aar earlier this year, perhaps soon starting an EU2 aar will receive the same type of quizzical glaces.
canonized: What would you say motivates you to writing ?
The Swert: Simply playing and having imagination. It's odd; in this sort of sandbox game it's easy to get bored so I tend to give myself some sort of goal and roleplay. It sparks the interest and then when i finish playing a session I always find myself saying "that would make a good aar" It's actually a bit of a curse. I usually start a new game to offset my aar writing. The only games I play for more than a few hours are the ones I make interesting and then I get all these new ideas for aars despite the fact Iíve already got too many aars on my plate as it is. That's why some of my ideas can be delayed quite a while, they get interrupted by another idea.
canonized: Despite being a champion for EU2 , you're also expanding and dabbling in other areas ; most recently in HOI2 . How have these other areas been for you and what would you say are the major differences between these sub-fora and that of EU2 ?
The Swert: Yes I have recently ventured into HoI2 and have a plan to start a EU3 aar soon too, although it's interesting that after playing the EU series I was tossing up between getting CK or Vicky and yet got HoI2 instead. HoI2 presents some different aspects, the shorter timeframe, imo, makes it more suitable to a narrative or history book aar allowing more detail than EU2. Although I have noticed the HoI2's greater activity means that I need to update more often if I want my aar to stay on the first page or two, something i've been failing at recently. Also HoI2 has my own country in it which makes country selection easy and there's not too many Australian aars to compete with either
Part II: A Hermitís Honesty
The Swert comments on his unlikely venture into Timelines
canonized: So I'm curious , as always , what your first impressions are of Timelines ?
The Swert: My first impressions were "what is this AAR that's cleaning up all the ACAs?" I went to check it out and, other than noticing it was a narrative, was completely put off by its size, pages of comments, and seemingly exclusive fan club. I quickly noticed the aar was far away from the game itself and at that time was not an aar that interested me.
canonized: Have those impressions changed over time ?
The Swert: Not greatly. I'm still rather scared of it and have avoided it for months and despite now having dabbled through it enough to understand its premise, which seems interesting, I doubt I will ever read much of it. Having spoken with the author though has made me realise that it is not written by some ACA-craving know-all, which by default the Tall-Poppy Syndrome had me believe. Hehe
canonized: Haha , well tell us about the portions that you have enjoyed in your time reading it , then . Anything that has struck you or you've found interesting ? Perhaps something for someone who is more into reading narratives ?
The Swert: Well from what I've read, youíve designed it well and, if you choose to, can keep the audience guessing. Nobody knows what the mysterious Timepiece will do and this leaves the story very open-ended, It reminds me of Lost or something whereby the story gets more and more intricate as itís dragged out.
canonized: Lost was definitely an inspiration ! As you mentioned earlier; Timelines has swept the ACAs in the EU3 Overall and EU3 Narrative categories each time it's been up . As an AARchivist for the ACA , did you have any observations and conclusions about this unique streak ?
The Swert: Well it is quite unique, I tried to draw some comparisons of it to Eagles of Avalon, an EU2 aar which came either first or second in the narrative category there for about 3 years straight. Timelines seems to brings several voters to the ACA who otherwise wouldn't vote but on the other hand I think it is a challenge, somewhat, to the rise of new AARs in the narrative category in EU3. Comagoosie for one said that he had avoided starting an EU3 narrative. I find it hard to see any aar knocking Timelines from its dominance unlike the Eagles of Avalon which had some stiff competition.
canonized: What makes you think it would be so hard ?
The Swert: It's an institution now. It's never wavered in activity and has the largest fanbase since probably Free Company. Unless it starts becoming stale or you become inactive I can't see anyone else winning at least the narrative category.
canonized: What kind of ReadAAR would you recommend Timelines to would you say ? Who would you say it would appeal to ?
The Swert: Somebody with the time to read it obviously, who is interested in alternate history and what-if scenarios and doesn't mind an AAR that is well removed from the gameplay. But then again, you can read it just for the interviews if you like, I've been doing that. It's interesting that my favourite aar is a pictorial comedy HOI2 aar, couldn't get much opposite really.
Part III: Advance Australia Fair !
Letís take a look at The Swertís latest AAR !
canonized: So you've made an Australian AAR which is relatively rare ! Tell us a little bit about why you chose to write one about Australia
The Swert: Well as I said before, I like to make games interesting and once interested I get ideas for AARs. My first game of HOI2 was with Australia, a minor like my first eu2 game. I read a tactic in the wiki for Australia which promoted invading the Balkans. I tried it and found it awfully fun and had to turn it into an aar. The concept was well received as the audience debated over the feasibility of such a strategy and the wisdom of the wiki author.
canonized: Obviously your national identity plays into it . Could you tell us a little bit about how it's factored into the way you feel about the AAR and the attitude you've taken with it ?
The Swert: It hasn't actually had a huge impact in terms of gameplay. I played it as I would any other but it did make it more enjoyable. Most Aussies like underdogs and in WW2 having the Aussies invading the Balkans replicates this sentiment. Also I've started a soundtrack based on Australian warsongs which I found whilst compiling the aar, I hope that they provide an Australian perspective on the war which is often overshadowed. They did for me at least.
canonized: Did you have any inspirations for your AAR ?
The Swert: Not particularly. I'm not that well read in the HOI2 forums but I do have the mention PostcAARds of Australia by Wolfhound, my favourite aar.
canonized: So your AAR could be best described as a history AAR with elements of gameplay with the screenshots . Why did you choose to use this particular style ?
The Swert: Indeed, I chose a history book aar because I had never really done one before but yet felt that HOI2 was well built for it. There's a lot of detail that can be added from troop movements to unit production which allows you to be a bit creative which is what led to my list of operations. And screenshots help keep the audience up-to-date as often slabs of text can be confusing. Everybody loves screenshots but only in moderation I think. I was actually somewhat inspired by your bonuses in Timelines and such to introduce the soundtrack and focal points which will expand as the aar grows and help break up the gameplay.
canonized: Well thank you ! the Balkans are perhaps an odd place for Australia to be considering when one thinks of Australia in WW2 , they might mostly think of the Pacific theatre . How has this twist worked out for you ?
The Swert: Well I don't want to mention too much as Japan has just declared war in my aar but it made the game a lot of fun. It managed to split the game logically into three parts taking the game all the way through to 1954, each a unique struggle for the Australians to cope with. I will give away that Australian soil will not escape invasion at some point.
canonized: What kind of AAR plans do you have after you finish this one ?
The Swert: Finish this one? Well that's ambitious in itself, it's only 1942! But I do have more ambitious plans which have been in the work (or rather on the back boiler) since the start of this year. The Book of St John will return and hopefully that will culminate with a grand narrative which I have begun already. I only fear that by the time I actually get around to releasing it the EU2 forum shall be dead.
canonized: Well weíd like to thank you again for being on the programme , The Swert , and weíd like to thank our audience for once again tuning in to our interview segment ! We hope to see you again next time ; good fight , good night !