An interesting phenomenon has swept the C&C community, or at least the community I am familiar with. Far too many times I feel that we [the English speaking fan-sites] hold ourselves up on a pedestal as the "official" community, and tend to overlook the other non-English speaking sites (I myself being guilty of this). Even Westwood was a primary offender, as only inviting English speaking webmasters to their Yuri's Revenge event at their HQ in Las Vegas goes to show. While we may know that they exist, we haven't up until now felt their impact on the community, because frankly I feel safe on going on a limb and saying that the English speaking community has had, until now, a virtual monopoly on news and information for C & C games. What I am eluding to is the influx of new interviews, previews, videos and information that has come from the German-speaking sector of the community.
As best my memory serves me for RA2 and YR, the non-English sector was nothing more than a few lines of code on most site's affiliates sections, with hardly any news posted about them. However, that time has long since gone. Now, with the anticipated release of C&C Generals just a few million seconds away, the "other" community has woken up and is churning out new information and rumours almost as fast as we can hit the reload button. The underlying problem with the situation is, quite simply, the language barrier. One presumes that fansites of the same language as the developer would be privy to the information first, however EAP have shown that this isn't always the case. We have been inundated with information that the English [speaking] community has not been given primarily. A lot of what we do know about Generals has come from translations, and sites whose partners are from non-English sites.
EAP's Harvard Bonin in Germany, complete with back-pack.
EA Pacific's recent visit to Germany in order to promote Generals is a prime example of how the English speaking community is not the only one evolving. The visit resulted in fansites such as Communityteam.de releasing a plethora of Generals videos, featuring never before seen footage. The videos were indeed of great publicity, reigniting interest in Generals. The sudden release of information from a non-English speaking community was met somewhat bemusedly, with people not quite knowing what to think. Online translators such as Babelfish and Worldlingo suddenly became popular - as sites desperately attempted to translate the precious pieces of juicy information that were emerging.
I sat down, figuratively of course, with DarkGenius, the Webmaster of the German equivalent of Westwood Nation and asked him a few "Fragen" (questions) about the recent increase in information from non-English, mainly German, communities.
Erikmcfar: First off, why don't you start by introducing yourself and your site to everyone who might not be familiar with it. DarkGenius: My name is DarkGenius (a.k.a. darky). I am the Webmaster of the German part of Westwood Nation (www.westwoodnation.de). Maniac and I, started this bilingual project with a Red Alert 2 site, Red Alert II eXtreme (www.red2.de and www.red2.org) and then a site for Emperor: Battle for Dune. Since that time we've made a bilingual site for every Westwood game (Renegade, Earth and Beyond and C&C Generals). Now we have decided to make only one site for all Westwood games and this will be Westwood Nation and it will be available in both English and German.
Erikmcfar: I remember there being hardly any information released from Yuri's Revenge or Renegade from non-English sites or magazines; why do you think that all of a sudden there is a large quantity of information coming from the non-English sector for Generals and does it maybe have something to do with EAP making Generals and not Westwood? DarkGenius: No, for the German people there is no difference if EAP or Westwood makes the game. I can't exactly say why the situation has changed, but I believe EA has recognized that the German C&C community is very important. Westwood or EAP doesn't take care about the German community but EA has started to support the German community. Well, the German C&C fans are demanding better support for Germany since I can remember and now they are listening to our demands. I hope they keep up their work and I thank EA for their past and future support.
Erikmcfar: By looking at your site and the sites of other non-English fan sites, it appears that you put as much work into them as do the major English fan sites. Does it at all frustrate you that you don't get recognition for your work? For example the recent "community awards" hosted by CCU saw not one non-English person or site being nominated. DarkGenius: I can say that it is frustrating, but I would appreciate it if the relationship between the English and the German community could be improved. Before Generals we got all our news from the English sites or from the boards, but as I mentioned before, EA has started to support the German community. Now it is time to work on a better relationship between the two communities. The project "Westwood Nation" is a sign of this work but I hope that the other English sites are also open for a better work between the communities and maybe we will see also non-English sites or persons nominated for the community awards :)
Erikmcfar: Obviously language is the main problem, most people can to some affect speak some English, but too few of us English speakers, especially us in the US, don't speak a second language. Do you feel that if there were more linguists on either side, or better site-to-site communication/cooperation that the community could prosper even more than it has? Because I know that several people have used web based language translators and while they do help somewhat they often aren't any where close to the correct sentence or word. DarkGenius: I think that this would change a lot but that isn't the problem. Every German can speak English more or less well because we have to learn it in school for at least four years. So there shouldn't be any problem in understanding each other. But both communities aren't open for each other. I don't know the reason but many English sites haven't had any interest in working together with German sites. The situation is changing but there are still a lot of sites that ignore the German community.
Erikmcfar: Does partnering with English sites help you gain recognition and allow them to make any special insights from you guys? DarkGenius: Partnership allows sites such as ourselves to be one of the most up-to-date sites in the German community because we have got the information as the English community and hadn't to wait until they were posted on all the sites. As for recognition? No, actually I believe Delphi hasn't noticed us more than any other German site and also the other English sites don't know who I am or what I am doing. Have the English sites gain any insights from us? I don't know, you have to ask them.
Single Player footage was exclusively debuted in Germany.
Erikmcfar: Okay, last question. If there was one thing you could change about the current state of the community to make it better or more cooperative what would it be and also add any other thoughts or comments that you've wanted to say about the community in general or anything else? DarkGenius:I would appreciate if the German and the English sites would have more contact between each other. If all the webmasters would have contact on ICQ or via mail to talk about everything C&C relating, it would be great. So there would be a foundation on which we could built a more cooperative community.
Also I want to mention that there is an association that has the objective to support the C&C community. It was created from one of the "big" bosses in the German community and I believe this step is something real new for a gaming community and I hope our project will work fine. For more information contact me and I will forward them or visit http://verein.cnc-community.de (but it is in German).
Erikmcfar: Well, 'Vielen Dank' for you taking time out of your day to do this interview and I hope the best to you and your project.
Definitely some very interesting insight into the thoughts of the German community. I do think that at least having people who are semi-capable in German or whatever language is an asset as the sites won't be reliant on others to read pages, get news or other information. Because, despite the technological wonder of online translators, they do a very average job, even when compared to a person with only a minimal knowledge of a languages grammar and syntax.
As for the news of "Westwood Nation.de", I can say that their project should be a very interesting thing to watch, a merger of the two communities if you will. It appears that if anything it should help get the English community more familiar with the movers and shakers in the German community. Also, it should be interesting to see if this project succeeds that ones like it will follow for other languages.