My favourite game used to be Age of Empires - but there were always limits, and I dreamed of controlling every detail of a castle, from walls to food. Eventually, I found Dwarf Fortress - but it's reputation made it inscrutable, a game to put in a museum, not play. Much later, I stumbled over the DF community - and it was amazing! I found the basics fairly quickly, but there is more that people hadn't heard of - from bugfixes to interface overhauls to online play. Eventually I decided to give something back by sharing my pack - saving others the trouble of finding and configuring everything - and the rest is history.
These days, I do a couple of things:
- Maintaining the DF Starter Pack - which means keeping up to date on the status of ever major graphics pack, package, utility, hack, script, and whatever else - then regularly integrating, configuring, and testing the lot to upload as an update
- Contribute to PyLNP - I made the mods module among other things, and make sure there's a variety of perspectives on what the launcher should do - as well as DFHack, where I focus more on documentation and making sure all the community scripts make it in.
- Other FOSS software stuff - like scripts to handle the interface between other components of the Starter Pack, feedback or contributions to other DF-related projects, and more. I particularly enjoy fixing up documentation!
- Active in forums, moderating /r/dwarffortress on Reddit, and so on. Lots of questions from new players to answer!
So where does money come in? Basically, all this takes time - and every dollar of support makes it easier to spend that hour on DF rather than my job this week. Pledges are per-month rather than per-pack so we can all be confident that the schedule is best for players, not for my pocket.