To SithRevan – May You Rest in Peace

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SithRevan was a former staff member of mine that hasn’t worked for me in over a year. Many of you that hung around this site in 2006, and 2007, would remember him. This last weekend his twin sister was able to get in touch with us at the Holowan Labs community and break the tragic news of his death.

On December 4, 2007, my friend SithRevan took his life after suffering from deep depression that he just couldn’t handle anymore. I did know about his struggle with depression and tried on many occasions to talk him through it the best that I could and I would like to think that whatever I said to him did help, even if it was temporarily.

I was first introduced to SithRevan back in July of 2006, when he made his first mods for the site. He was like a lot of different people who first started modding that he was a newb at it, but still learning. However, I could see that he had great potential to become a great modder very soon after some of the work he did. It was later that month that he applied to work for the site. Unfortunately at the time there weren’t any job openings available, but I was keeping an eye on him to check his progress as I saw potential in him to be a great right-hand man for me when the right time came as I knew that JediKilla was getting close to quitting and that would mean I would take over the site once that happened.

In September of 2006, I moved up from being the assistant manager to the manager of KotorFiles when JediKilla resigned, and I needed to bring in a new staff member. So I emailed SithRevan and asked him to meet me online for an interview for the assistant manager’s position. I must tell you that the excitement he expressed when I officially hired him was one for the ages. I could tell by the words he was typing that his excitement level was very high. Nobody I have brought in since him as ever shown the excitement that he had. I still get smiles to this day when I think of the reactions I read.

Here is the news announcement when he joined staff: http://knightsoftheoldrepublic.filefront.com/news/Please_Welcome_Our_Newest_Staff_Member_SithRevan;29382

Once he was brought in, his work ethic was wonderful. I could count on him for anything. Anything I asked him to do, he did it without question. It was basically one of those things where if I asked him to jump, he would ask how high. He wanted to do the best he could do. As with something new to anybody, he did make some mistakes occasionally and I did have to correct some of those with uploading files. Back in that time we had to do more things manually and file uploading was one of them so it required more precision in doing it. I did tell him where he needed to improve and what to watch for and he would get so down about it. I saw right away he had a people pleaser personality and the thing I had to let him know is that I wasn’t mad or disappointed in him and to never worry about mistakes as they were going to happen. The key was to learn from them and I would be there to help him learn. There were times I had to remind him that I wasn’t perfect and that I have made mistakes and list some of the ones I made when I was learning how to use our system, even some that he made himself so that if I was to get mad at him, it would have been hypocritical of me to do so. It was those reminder situations where he finally learned to relax and know that everything I did was to help him and that I was always going to be supportive. I really hope that working for the site really helped bring comfort to him after working with me.

During the time he joined the site, KotorFiles was starting to boom in growth. I wouldn’t change a thing during that time as he was the perfect staff member to have during that time period. We talked a lot on MSN about the site and what we could do to help each other out in keeping up with the mass growth. We even would compete on who would review the most mods that month to help motivate each other. The diligence he showed will never been forgotten.

It got to a point where he wanted to do more for the site and asked for some extra responsibilities. He is still the only staff member to this day to ask me for extra responsibilities. After a discussion on MSN, we decide that he would have the responsibility to run the weekly polls. This was one of those things we did manually again in terms of switching out the polls and creating the news announcement of the results as we had to take a screenshot of the results crop it down and then switch it out the poll when that step was over, then make the announcement for the previous week. All this had to be done correctly as no steps could be done out of order, or you would screw something up very badly and wouldn’t be able to correct it. I had already made that mistake, but he never did after I trained him on how to do it. He’ll always been one up on me in that department and he did many polls the old fashion way. Today all we have to do is change the poll and it did all of that other stuff we did manually automatically for us.

SithRevan also saw that JediKilla, who was the manager of this site before I took over as site manger, ran a fan fiction section and he revived that when he was on staff and put a lot of energy into it. One of my projects was reorganizing the site to be friendlier in terms of finding what mods you were looking for and I’m not good with HTML editing. It was one of the last things I needed done when I was reorganizing the site to make it more appealing and it was SithRevan who did much work with the links on the sides of the pages that I needed done that you see today and he did a very good job.

One of the things SithRevan did during his time on staff with me was learn much about how to mod. He became a student of all the modding tutorials and worked hard on perfecting his skills in that area. He should be proud of the fact that he learned more about modding than I ever had as he has released mods that required skill that I even to this day never learned. His skills started to become more and more polished that he decided to start a huge modding project. That project became the K1RP (Kotor I Restoration Project) and Team Jawa was assembled with him as their leader.

Here is the announcement threads: http://forums.filefront.com/sw-kotor-modding-editing/303185-kotor-restoration-project-k1rp-official-filefront-thread.html http://www.lucasforums.com/showthread.php?t=176037

One thing he should be proud of is that his vision has inspired many restoration mods that you have come to enjoy on this wonderful site, especially in the K1 area of the game. There are still work being done to K1 today that wouldn’t be happening if he didn’t start Team Jawa. I’m sure they’re going to do something special for him once they have completed their project.

Things were going great with us on the site until April of 2007. All of a sudden he became depressed and because of that, his work declined greatly and I realized that I was pretty much running KotorFiles solo. We would email each other every now and then, but I ended up being put on a search for a new staff member to replace his role as the assistant manager. He was going to remain on staff, but with a lighter role to help ease his burdens. That is when I brought in Emperor Devon on May 13, 2007.

It was a few weeks later that SithRevan decided that it was time to quit so I made a farewell that announced his resignation: http://knightsoftheoldrepublic.filefront.com/news/Farewell_SithRevan;33736

It was shortly after his official resignation that SithRevan and I had a chance to talk online and I was able to get him to open up a bit about what was going on and why he was struggling so much. He told me some personal things that had happened in his life and my heart went out to him. I talked about some of the things I had struggled with recently myself in hopes that it would bring him comfort. One thing I told him is that everybody had struggles in their life and that we need to help each other through them when it’s hard to do it alone. I offered to talk to him whenever he needed. Apparently what I said helped and I was so glad it did. The only thing was he was a shy person and opening up was something he struggled with.

It was a short time after that I was going out of town for a two week vacation. I needed someone to at least fill in temporarily to help out Emperor Devon so he wouldn’t be going solo for a couple of weeks. This was again back when we did things manually and one of the things that needed to be done on a daily basis was the PotD as they couldn’t be put in queue yet. He had done this before for me back in January of 2007, when I had to take a trip out of town for a week, so asking him to do it again wasn’t a stretch due to his diligence. He not only accepted the job to rejoin our staff, he was very excited about it again.

Let’s just say he couldn’t hold his excitement in and made his very own announcement about his return before I was able to get around to it: http://knightsoftheoldrepublic.filefront.com/news/Im_Baaaack;33979

It reminded me how he felt about being brought on the first time and it put a smile on my face to see it. It would have seemed things were getting back to normal with him again, but the only difference was he wasn’t my assistant this time, but that was okay with him as I know it meant he had less pressure on him now that Devon was my assistant.

Slowly, but surely, things started to go downhill again. It was near the holiday season in 2007, which he had all of a sudden completely disappeared. Not only was I trying to get in touch with him, but so were others that included people who worked in the K1RP he started. It was very unusual that he wouldn’t return my emails, which really had me very worried about him because that was our of character for him.

I did get some hope that he was around about still when I saw that his LucasForums account was accessed on January 18, 2008. That would be the last time it was accessed for over a year. What we all didn’t know was that his sister found his password on his computer and accessed it to get some information as he had already taken his life on December 4, 2007. SithRevan’s fate was still fresh in the family’s mind that it was not the right time to tell his friends in the KOTOR community, which I understand. It would be very hard to lose a sibling and the pain must be even greater when you’re a twin.

During the course of the early part of 2008, every now and then I would email SithRevan in hopes I would at least hear from him. The last one I sent was on March 13, 2008, telling him about our wonderful new uploading system we had received recently for mods and how it made it easier for us to review them. I went on and on in that email about what was going on with the KOTOR community and other parts of my life, but one thing I made clear was that I wasn’t trying to get him involved again, I just wanted to make sure he knew I cared about him and that I wanted him to at least let me know that he was okay for my sake so I didn’t have to worry about him anymore. I told him I won’t bother him again until I hear from him in case he wasn’t ready to talk to me yet. Little did I know he had already taken his life over three months ago when I wrote that email. I was also holding back in making another farewell thread until I heard from him so I would know he would visit it. It just never worked out the way I had hoped and it got to a point where I knew it wouldn’t have been appropriate to make one due the time length it has been since we all had last heard from him.

Every now and then I would be chatting with some of my friends from Holowan Labs online and SithRevan’s name would come up as to his whereabouts and since he was closer to me than anybody, I was the one they asked. I was also informed that many people were looking for him and all I could tell them is that I wished I had an answer to his disappearance and expressed my worries about him.

On February 1, 2009, I saw a thread made by SithRevan’s twin sister about his death and that it had been over a year. I was stricken with sadness when I got wind of the news, but I did find closure with it because now I can be relieved of any worried feelings I made have had of him left in me. I immediately went to my wife for comfort when I saw the official news of his death as it still brings some tears in my eyes knowing that he is no longer with us. He will always be a friend in my heart to me and I will never forget the wonderful times I had with him running this site. He was one of those guys I wished I had the opportunity to have had a chance to meet him, shake his hand, and thank him for all he did for me on this site.

It’s really unfortunate that it came down to that as he was better than that. It’s just too bad he didn’t know that himself. If there was anything I could have said or done to convince him to not take his own life, I would have done it in a heartbeat. What must hurt more than what I have felt with this tragic news is the heartache his family had to go through, especially his twin sister. Even though it took over a year since this tragedy happened that she was able to finally come out and tell us the fate of her twin brother, I’m sure it was hard in a way, but in some ways it gave her comfort to see who her brother were friends with. She was on his LucasForums account recently again to get information about who to contact. I know that must have been very awkward to do all that and not know how it was going to be received because questions were going to be naturally asked about it and why his account was accessed, etc. I’m just glad that SithRevan was one of those people who had his passwords stored somewhere on his computer on the different sites he accounts with and that his sister finally was at a state emotionally to get around to tell us for our sakes and I want to thank her for the time she put in to do that.

If you have a chance, go through some of the mods that SithRevan made that are on this site as some of them are really awesome: http://knightsoftheoldrepublic.filefront.com/developer/SithRevan;21360

During the times he was here, SithRevan did a lot of work and his 118 mod reviews are the third most in the site’s history and he did most of that (107 reviews) in the first six months of his time here when he was doing well. He was definitely someone being trained in case I had to make an unexpected resignation to take over as the site manager at one point. All the work he has done has left a permanent mark on this site and as long as the FileFront network stays online, the work he did on this site will always remain including the mods he has uploaded with us. If working on FileFront staff was like being on a sports team and SithRevan wore a jersey number, I would be doing all I could to have his number retired by the FileFront network.

I would love it if some of who got a chance to know him to leave some thoughts and share some great memories of him that you had while working on either some modding projects or some great conversations you have had with him, maybe some of you saw some of his work and were inspired by it – just anything you can think of where he has made a difference with your life in the KOTOR community, even if you never knew him, but loved his mods as I know it would mean a lot to his family to read those memories. Also I will be declaring that every December 4, from here on out on KotorFiles to be SithRevan day.

To SithRevan: You will be missed very much and never forgotten! May you rest in peace my good friend!

-Shem

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