Welcome to the former home of the Gundam Project. This site has now closed, but here you'll find additional information on its fate and a few bonus goodies for our longtime readers. We've organized this into a brief question-and-answer list...
Who's this "we" you keep talking about?
"We" is actually me, Mark Simmons, the operator of the site since October 1996. Sorry for any confusion - talking about yourself in the editorial third person is a tough habit to break!
What was the Gundam Project anyway?
The Gundam Project - originally "The Gundam World" - was created by Keith Rhee, who announced it to the world on May 10, 1995 (in this historic newsgroup message). Its goal has always been to provide information about the Mobile Suit Gundam saga to help English-speaking fans better appreciate, understand, and enjoy this fascinating science fiction epic.
In the Gundam Project's early days I pitched in with story synopses and other background material, and when Keith "retired" from Gundam fandom in 1996, I took charge of the site. Rather than use scanned images of other people's art, I resolved to decorate the site with my own work, which eventually led to a multi-year project of hand-drawing dozens upon dozens of giant robots.
And now it's going away?
Yep. On Tuesday, January 22, 2002, my hosting company shut down the www.gundamproject.com server and turned off the lights, leaving the site's original home at gundam.anime.net as the last vestige of the Gundam Project. (I've renewed the gundamproject.com domain in order to keep it out of the hands of porn-site operators, but it will no longer point to a working site.)
I've made some last-minute changes to the site, for the convenience of people who may wish to save certain pages for their personal use. Mostly these involve removing pointers to the www.gundamproject.com server, including the shopping links (which were routed through a click-tracking program, and will thus cease working when the server shuts down).
Why close down the site?
There were a number of reasons, but the biggest would be time & money. Not only was it really time-consuming maintaining the site to my own satisfaction, but as Gundam's popularity exploded in recent years, I found out how enormously expensive it is to operate a high-traffic Web site. (And after the collapse of the online advertising industry, it's been next to impossible to cover these kinds of expenses.) To some extent, the Gundam Project has been a casualty of its own success.
Why can't you have somebody else host it?
While I appreciate that so many people have offered to create a mirror site or take the Gundam Project off my hands, I don't think they realize how much this kind of bandwidth costs - any complete mirror of the site would run into the exact same problem. Also, I don't want to simply give away something I've worked so hard on for so many years. I'll permit people to make use of certain elements of the site - see below for details - but I ask that you respect my wishes in this matter.
Well, that sucks. So what happens now?
In closing down the site, I'm releasing some of the material I created for the Gundam Project to the fan community. All the site's artwork, icons, and illustrations are available for your use, subject to two conditions: That you credit the artist (me, Mark Simmons), and that you not use it for any commercial activity (including a revenue-generating Web site) without my explicit permission. Other than that, you have my permission to go crazy. I'll put together some downloadable packages shortly, but in the meantime, you'll find all the site's images here:
The same is not true, however, of the text material from the site. If you've taken the opportunity to grab your favorite content pages prior to the Gundam Project's shutdown, then you're welcome to use them for personal reference, but please do not post or republish this text verbatim. If you wish to refer to it for your own Web site or whatnot, then I ask that you at least rewrite it in your own words.
Finally, I leave you with one more tidbit: The final version of the Gundam Project's Gundam Links pages, which are archived at http://gundam.anime.net/links/. These should provide some starting points for your ongoing exploration of the Gundam world and its global community of loyal fans.
So what will become of the Webmaster?
First, I'm going to get some sleep! But I'll still be very active in the field of Gundam, just in a lower-profile capacity. In addition to toiling behind the scenes to bring you neat Gundam stuff, I'll be checking in on my usual message-board haunts, where I'm likely to pop up any time someone asks about the carrying capacity of a Musai cruiser or the production history of the Guntank. And, although I'm usually pitifully slow at replying to e-mail, you can reach me at email@example.com.
Care to make a brazen commercial plug for an upcoming project?
Well, if you insist. Keep your eyes peeled for Gundam: The Official Guide, coming in March from Viz Communications (see press release). This is a 128-page upgrade to the earlier Animerica special issue, with plenty of new material.
Any closing thoughts?
After so many years of work on the Gundam Project, it's hard to think what to say by way of closing comments. But in hindsight, I think the most personally rewarding part of the experience was the site's short-lived message board. Despite the board's ultimate collapse, I'll never forget the joy of watching as, one by one, my hitherto-anonymous readers took on tangible personas and began talking back to me and interacting with each other. At that moment the Gundam Project became a true community, and whatever course we all take from here on, my thanks and fond thoughts go out to all its past and present members.
Thank you, dear readers, for giving me the opportunity to inform and amuse you. Let's go out with a cryptic closing quote, hmm?