Dattebayo! Chapter One: Building a Play-by-post RPG

Sunday 12 March 2023 (1y ago) | would you like to subscribe to the newsletter?

Chapter One

Since I'm self-conscious, I'm quite sure I enjoy two things: programming and Naruto.

My story with Naruto goes back to one of the classes that I had in the 3rd grade I believe; A colleague of mine (I believe his name was Pedro) dropped his pencil case that had a few Naruto TCG cards. When I was helping him taking the things off the ground, I asked him: "What is this?"

The first naruto card I saw in my life

Oh, boy, it was the beginning of something. He talked about Naruto and since then I was hooked. I started watching the anime at the TV. After some time, I had the courage to ask my father to use our home PC, and I started to read the manga as well.

It was really common to have communities around mangas at the time. Not only mangas, but books as well. I've found a community that was reading Naruto at the time, and I started to participate in the discussions. I was really young, but I was able to understand the concepts of the story and the characters. I was really happy to be able to talk about it with other people.

One of those communities was a Play-by-post RPG hosted in a forum. There was this large community of forums at the time called Forumeiros. It was popular in Latin America. The equivalent to it in other countries would've been jcink? I'm not sure.

The forum was called Naruto Nível S. It was a play-by-post RPG, which means that you would post your actions and the other players would reply to your actions, all written, like a fan fiction. You would create your own character, with its own back story, choose the clan, the jutsus to be trained, etc. It was awesome, specially because it was a way to exercise my writing skills in my native language. I would grow up to be one of the best writers at my school, even though I was a kid at the time of playing (and I was probably an horrible writer AND player), but that game made me interested in writing.

narutos.forumeiro.com wayback machine snapshot

The years went by and the admin of the forum had to retire. At that time, and still today, RPG forums are very niche. It's hard to find new players, specially in the Naruto genre. The most popular forums were about the teen books at the time (Twilight, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, etc). The admin of the forum (his nickname was Lenarca) decided to close it down as he got a job in 2013(? I don't remember the exact date) and he became more unavailable, I believe (I'm not quite sure where he ended up tho).

It was sad to let it go. I spent a lot of time trying to have the same atmosphere and friendship I had there. I was only 9yo when I started, and the forum closed down when I was 11.

So yeah, it was roughly in 2010 when Senko was born. Senko was my first character and, still at this point, my only one. I played in another RPG in 2017 and in 2020 as well with him. I stopped playing when I got my first job as a Software Engineer. I was too busy to play, and I didn't have the time to write and commit to it. But what has made my decision was the RPG that I was in. I didn't like the owner of this RPG, as he treated a lot of the players there in a bad way. I was really sad to see that, and I decided to stop playing.

However, I made good friendships there. One of these friends and, actually, my best friend is Wesley. At the time, the owner of this place tried to trick me into thinking that Wesley is a bad person, but everyone there knows Wesley is such a kind human being.

Our friendship grew as we decided to stop playing in that toxic environment.

Other people joined us as we were sharing traumas and experiences. We decided to create a new RPG, and we called it Dattebayo!. We wanted to recreate the same atmosphere that we had in the old forums, but we didn't want to be limited by the forum platform we had. We wanted to have a website that we could control. We wanted to have a lot of features that we didn't have in the old forum.

Some of the people got in charge of creating the RPG system that we would play. This phase took ages, as we had a lot of discussions and many things are still unclear to this date.

Me and Wesley are the ones responsible for the tech part. We changed the stack sometimes, but we finally decided to stick with T3 stack, as it seems we will have plenty of support from the community.

The project started more than a year ago, and we are still working on it. We made some mistakes along the way, specially when setting the hype for potential players.

I set unrealistic deadlines and I didn't think my depression would hit me hard during development. I was estimating tasks thinking I was as productive as when I was healthy and depression-free.

It became too stressful, and it matched the time when I had a major burnout at my job. I quit my job, and I couldn't work anymore on Dattebayo! as well... It was a disaster.

As I was the "leader" of the project (I don't like this, I'd rather say that we have a shared ownership), I was the one that was responsible for the hype, as I was the one that was responsible for the disappointment caused.

My freinds try to be kind to me, and I get why. Dattebayo! is only a side project, and it shouldn't be stressful and demanding.

At the same time, quitting my job wasn't the smart decision either, but I had to prioritise my mental health. I'm still recovering from it, but I still have many things to do. And many regrets as well. I regret quiting my job, as I think it didn't made me feel better regarding my personal issues.

Now I'm broke, unemployed and with a side project that is stale.

However, this brings us to clarity once again. I'm going back to Dattebayo, slowly. I'm trying really hard to get a job, but I'm taking care of my health too. I'm trying to be more realistic with my deadlines, and I'm trying to be more open with my friends about my mental health.

In the next chapters, I will give you a more detailed view of the project, and I will try to explain the decisions we made along the way.

I hope you enjoyed this first chapter. I'm not sure if I will be able to write more, but I will try to do my best.