Speech from the Imperial Throne Greetings lads. It is with imperial emperorship that I speak to you now from the golden throne of the Emperor, being me – JFD. I wanted to take this opportunity to speak to you, the empire’s loyal subjects, patrons, allies, and pookies (of which we are happy to announce one is pregnant; we should be expecting a Pooky3 any day now), about the state of the empire. As many of you may know, the empire has been in a bit of a slump as of late. The impending release and subsequent realisation of Gathering Storm had put a fairly solid halt to my modding for Civ VI, and in truth, that period of waiting around for the latest XP only exacerbated a deep-seated disillusionment with Civ VI that I’ve previously spoken about many times. Though I had spoken of the release of the SDK as a potential re-starting point, that release came and went and my disposition toward Civ VI remained the same. Consider that I still don’t particularly like the fundamental directions that Civ VI has taken – not least in terms of tone and modding structure – and combine that with the fact that Gathering Storm has ripped through the functionability of Rule with Faith, that the status of making Civs and alt Leaders is still relatively unfulfilling (updates least of all), and that modding for the Civ VI community offers far less as an experience than does/did modding for Civ V, and you have the reasons I have no intention, nor interest, in continuing with Civ VI for the time being – and for once I am sticking to this and averting those temptations to forgo my interests out of some sense of work ethic. That is not to say I will never again pick that scene back up – after all, I don’t want RwF to fall prey to obsolescence, and I am dutifully obliged to at least maintain and complete those Civs and Leaders created with the help of others – but it is to say that no one should be holding their breath for a return of my modding for Civ VI. Civ V, on the other hand, is a far more involved story, and I suppose it can be rooted in the overly cumbersome and looming nature of JFDLC. I don’t particularly wish to delve too deeply into the topic since it would take far too much time and space, but JFDLC as a project has simply become too complicated to continuously re-start whenever I take extended breaks from working on it. Not only is it a monumental challenge to find the place that I left off, it is often difficult to reconcile the changes in my perspective with the ways that I designed it in the first place – designing something based on one’s interests in politics and religion will do this when those interests follow an academic career liable to significant variation – and even more difficult to figure precisely how to make changes without the entire thing falling apart. Though the task of bringing JFDLC up to where I want it to be is not impossible, it is somewhat stuck in the mud by virtue of a constant retooling of existing work, and re-doing what has already been done is never quite as engaging as creating something new – and for too long, JFDLC had simply become the former, and concomitantly, has simply become something I’d rather push aside; never complete, never incomplete. You can take the same view to my ridiculous catalogue of civs and keeping them updated. So what does this mean for the future of my modding? Modding has always fulfilled an important role in my life; engaging me in ways that my studies only fleetingly do, and providing that outlet that others might find in simply relaxing. But in the way things have been, modding has occupied a do-not-disturb status – the logistical challenges of both Civ VI and Civ V has meant modding in general was something I couldn’t approach least I confess to myself that I couldn’t complete or continue with what I had already devoted so much time to. That, for a while, has been simply harrowing. But I hope to re-orientate myself now, by simply experimenting with ideas and mods at my leisure; not as part of a grand, all-inclusive project like JFDLC or RwF, nor as part of a never-ending catalogue like my Civs or Leaders, but simply mods as they come; if they work together, great, if not, they’re not meant to. Consider the next stage in my modding career, at least until I am ready to once more tackle those beasts of JFDLC and RwF (if ever), to be more akin to Whoward’s Pick ‘n’ Mix. Some of these will be entirely new mechanics, some may be re-interpretations of those from JFDLC and RwF (or otherwise), and some may be simply releasing components from JFDLC and RwF as standalone features. In doing this, I hope to re-visit the fundamental value in modding for me, irrespective of the future of what I have already created. I hope this clarifies the state of the empire and the future of modding, and if nothing else, averts questions about the status of JFDLC and RwF – simply, consider them both defunct and on perpetual pause, but don’t mistake that for the end of empire. Good tidings lads.