January 18, 2017

Site Migration and Possible Down Time

In addition to the exciting news about the fansite awards in my previous post, I also want to let everyone know that tombraiders.net will be migrating to new servers during the next few days. Our awesome hosting company, WiredTree, was recently acquired by LiquidWeb. So all of my sites, as well as Katie's Tomb Raider Site, will be moving over to new servers. We hope to keep down time to a minimum, but if you're unable to access the site please be patient. We should be back online soon. Meanwhile, you can contact me on Twitter and Facebook with any urgent questions and also find archived versions of most pages on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Pic courtesy of keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk.

2016 Official Tomb Raider Fansite Program Awards

Crystal Dynamics has just announced the winners of its Official Tomb Raider Fansite Program Awards for the past year. Two awards were given in each category: the Community Award, nominated and voted on by the other 94 members of the Official Fansite Program, and the Crystal Award, conferred by the developers on worthy sites that might not yet be as well known by their fellow fans. Winners will receive a custom engraved coin as well as a digital badge.

I'm honored to have been chosen as the 2016 Community Ambassador and even more proud to lead the Tomb Raider Community's Extra Life team, which was recognized for Best Charity Initiative and Best Tomb Raider 20 Initiative.

Congratulations to all the winners. I'm thrilled to be part of a such a diverse, dedicated, and hardworking community!

Community Ambassador Award

An exceptional webmaster that embodies the spirit of community, be it through organizing community or charity events, answering questions online, providing helpful resources for fans, or generally embodying the spirit of the community. This warm, welcoming, and passionate webmaster showcases the best that our community has to offer by encouraging inclusivity and positivity.

Community Award Winner: Stellalune | Stella's Tomb Raider Site

Stella describes herself as the matriarch of the Tomb Raider community, and familial is exactly how many fans feel about her. Stella's content–most famously her walkthroughs–are always top notch, and she dedicates extensive time online to answering fan questions, sharing gameplay tips, and finding ways to give back. Her annual Extra Life Charity event is a unifying activity within the community each year, bolstered with smaller, continual efforts to aid those who need it, such as crowd sourcing Tomb Raider: Live in Concert tickets for those who couldn't afford them.

Crystal Award Winner: Sara Croft | Lara Croft Cosplay

Often an unsung figure within the Tomb Raider community due to her humble nature, Sara is generous with both her time and resources. She often crafts tutorials on how to cost-effectively create costumes and props as a means to get more fans into the hobby. Additionally, she eagerly goes out of her way to showcase diversity within the community, encourages cosplayer of all skill levels to be proud of their accomplishments, and even created a "Cosplay Care Package" program with her own funds as a means to help those with limited resources. Her positive attitude and giving personality easily win over those who interact with her.

Best Charity Initiative

An exceptional charity-focused initiative that creatively and effectively raised funds for a worthwhile cause. The winner is not determined by the total amount raised, but rather the execution of the fundraiser.

Community Award Winner: Stella's Tomb Raider Site | Extra Life 2016 Charity Marathon and Prize Raffle for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

With Stella acting as team captain, the Tomb Raider Community Team's participation in the Extra Life charity marathon is something fans and followers look forward to each year. With 25 members (and growing!) the team works hard to earn donations by playing Tomb Raider games, entertaining fans while raising money for a great cause. Since their first run five years ago, the team has helped raise over $15,000 for children's hospitals, playing 1,000 hours of Tomb Raider in the process. (NOTE: Interested players can sign up for Extra Life here!)

Crystal Award Winner: Tomb Raider Online | Tomb Raider Twitch Marathon to Support SPA Refuge & Animal Welfare

Taking French fans on a nostalgic look back over 20 years, Tomb Raider Online streamed all of Lara's adventures on Twitch – including some of the more obscure titles – totaling over 150 hours of play. All profits from the stream were donated to the Animal Protection Society, raising over $2000 for a fantastic cause.

Best Collaborative Fansite Project

An exceptional collaborative project that united more than one fansite towards a common goal of celebrating Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, and the community.

Community Award Winner: Alex's Tomb Raider Blog | Tomb Raider World | Croft Generation | RaidersZone | Tomb Raider Saga | Tomb Raider Collection | Living Tomb Raider | Tomb Raider Spain – Spanish Tomb Raider Community Project

The Spanish Tomb Raider community collaborated in a big way on a very high-production live event in Madrid to celebrate 20 years of Tomb Raider. The event kicked off with a rousing speech, included a scavenger hunt with custom 3D printed artifacts, a cosplay contest, and community dinner. Despite some pesky rain, the event brought fans together from around Spain, solidifying online friendships in the process.

Crystal Award Winner: Lara's Look a Like | Tombeau Croft – 2016 Lara Croft Cosplay Calendar

Lara's Look a Like has been creating a Croft cosplay calendar for years, and they've become more and more impressive with each annual release. The 2016 calendar was a collaboration between Lara's Look a Like and fellow French fansite Tombeau Croft, focusing on depicting Lara with her trusty weapons. The great design work juxtaposed in-game snapshots and fantastic cosplay photos.

Best New Fansite

An exceptional new fansite that joined the program in 2016 and has provide unique and engaging content that sets a high standard for their future contributions.

Community Award Winner: Living Tomb Raider

Spanish fansite Living Tomb Raider shows great potential as a new addition to the official program, exploring the myths behind games, publishing reviews, and showcasing merchandise, among other content contributions. A noble goal of Living Tomb Raider is to help the Spanish fan community grow by aiding with the coordination of live events, and we're excited to see how this goal plays out in 2017.

Crystal Award Winner: Okh Eshivar

Okh Eshivar is one of many wonderful new additions to the Official Fansite Program. The webmaster's strength is in diversity of content, with entries balanced between news, reviews, interviews, weekly recaps, researched articles, downloads, and more. One standout article describes how Lara has inspired the webmaster, detailing a 14,000 foot trek to the top of Mt. Rainier. We hope 2017 holds more adventures for Okh Eshivar.

Best Investigative/Research Article

An exceptional article authored by a member of the Official Fansite Program that unearthed new findings or information about the Tomb Raider franchise, which required extensive research and critical thinking to achieve.

Community Award Winner: Archaeology of Tomb Raider | Tomb Raider Tidbit: The Time Lara Croft Almost Visited Mali

A very interesting article inspired by a keen eye, Archaeology of Tomb Raider's winning article features an unused piece of concept art from Tomb Raider: Legend that implies Lara may have been headed to the West African country of Mali. The article explored the unique architecture of the country, and included links to more information for those intrigued by the subject matter.

Crystal Award Winner: World of Tomb Raider | Article about the etymology of words "Lara" and "Croft"

World of Tomb Raider's study of the etymology of our favorite heroine's name is a fascinating, and a very original article. The piece dives into the meaning of Lara's given and family name, in addition to taking a look at other famous bearers of the name throughout history and within pop culture.

Best Live Event

An exceptional live event organized by a member of the Official Fansite Program that brought together Tomb Raider fans in-person to celebrate the franchise.

Community Award Winner: Tomb of Ash | Tomb Raider 20th Anniversary Panel at PLAY Expo Manchester

An impressive, multi-faceted event that took nearly a year to organize, festivities at PLAY Expo were full of nostalgia for classic Tomb Raider fans. Highlights included a Core Design panel with many key creatives from the original development team and photo opportunities with premiere Lara Croft model Natalie Cook. The panel was streamed to share with fans online at a later date, and interviews resulted in new insights from those who started it all.

Crystal Award Winner: Tomb Raider Italia | Gamerome Event with Tomb Raider Italia

Organized by Tomb Raider Italia and executed at Gamerome, the event also marked the Italian website's 10th anniversary. Tomb Raider Italia's webmaster impressively managed to secure the attendance of Lara's Italian voice actress, as well the actor for Conrad Roth. Additional activities included a cosplay flash-mob, raffle, quiz, and professional photographers to capture the two-day celebration.

Best Video or Streaming Project

An exceptional video or streaming project created by a member of the Official Fansite Program that celebrated Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, and the community.

Community Award Winner: Turning Point | "20 Years of Tomb Raider" video tribute by Fear Effect Inferno

Fear Effect Inferno's video tribute packed a major punch into 60 seconds. "20 Years of Tomb Raider" touched on the major events in Lara's two-decade evolution, with great use of timing, transitions, and a beautiful custom score inspired by Nathan McCree's original soundtrack.

Crystal Award Winner: Tomb of Ash | Lara's Diary: Baba Yaga

Tomb of Ash's video provided additional depth to Rise of the Tomb Raider's Baba Yaga DLC drop, introducing fans to the Russian/Slav folklore that inspired the content. Narrated by original Croft voice actress Shelley Blond, the high-production video featured beautiful illustrations by Inna Vjuzhanina, impressive animations, a well-developed script, and was translated into many additional languages to share with the global Tomb Raider community.

Best Interview

An exceptional interview conducted by a member of the Official Fansite Program focused on the Tomb Raider franchise which required extensive research and critical thinking to achieve.

Community Award Winner: Tomb Raider Source | Nicobass: Remake de Tomb Raider II

Tomb Raider Source dove deep into the upcoming Tomb Raider II fan remake by Nicobass, exploring his vision for the project, detailing software used, and discussing the challenges of such an ambitious task. It's always fun to see fans interview fellow fans in acknowledgement of amazing work.

Crystal Award Winner: Music of Tomb Raider | Ashley Revell Interview

An interesting and exclusive interview with Ashley Revell, the music editor on Lara' Croft's first Hollywood outing and brother to composer Graeme Revell. Music of Tomb Raider caught up with Ashley in person in Auckland, and the in-depth nature of the interview is sure to appeal to fellow music and cinema fans.

Best Photo or Art Project

An exceptional project created or curated by a member of the Official Fansite Program celebrating Lara Croft, Tomb Raider, and the community through a visual medium, be it art, photography, or other visual platforms.

Community Award Winner: Tomb Raider Univers | 20 Years of Tomb Raider Art Collection

The 20 Years of Tomb Raider Art Collection is a beautiful, curated gallery of original art, featuring pieces spanning old-school and modern interpretations of Lara Croft. The online exhibit was made even more noteworthy due to beautiful branding and an engaging website.

Crystal Award Winner: Tomb Raider China | Travel with Lara Croft Photo Contest

A very creative contest organized by Tomb Raider China, which asked fans to take a Lara Croft figure with them as they explored the world. Submitted photos were then marked on a world map, illustrating the global impact of the franchise. The initial submissions were exceptionally creative, and we expect the final winners to be equally impressive.

Best Tomb Raider 20 Initiative

An exceptional project of any kind – event, interview, video, and so on – created by a member of the Official Fansite Program that captured the spirit of #TombRaider20.

Community Award Winner: Stella's Tomb Raider Site | Extra Life 2016 Charity Marathon and Prize Raffle for Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

For all the reasons outlined above, Team Tomb Raider's Extra Life charity videogame marathon was considered one of the most noteworthy community programs of the year by fellow fans. The marathon showcased content from the full history of the franchise, uniting fans new and old for a fantastic cause.

Crystal Award Winner: Survivor Reborn | Tomb Raider: Retrospective Series

A very thorough and well-written retrospective series examining each game in the Tomb Raider series, as well as relevant cultural events such as E3. Each explores a wide breadth of content – the gameplay and character evolutions, as well as marketing, reception, challenges, and successes of each game.

Crystal Award Winner: Lara Croft PT | #TombRaider20 – Lara Croft PT

A very impressive tribute video totaling a whopping 40+ minutes of content, including interviews by an array of voice actors, composers, official models, comic artists, fans, industry influencers, more. Also, pancake art!