Bah! I *AM* a community history book. I've lived it and I've cataloged much of this over the years at my board
, including the details of FF5 and RPGe.RPGe Chapter 1:
Originally Demi was going to translate FF5e with Som2Freak in late '96. It proved to be too much and he moved to FF2j. In late '96 into early '97, both David Timko and D independently contacted SoM2Freak about working on FF5. He sent over some tools and files as a starting point. D was working with Hooie and Thermopyle. Both groups worked separately until June '97. Then, there was a big drama between the two groups and accusations of stolen work were flying. Both groups ripped each other off.
They soon sorted out their differences and tried combining forces. A few weeks later, RPGe was formed at 8:43 PM EST on July 8 1997 in #ff5e on EsperNet IRC network. Soon after, SoM2Freak showed up wanting to help. SoM2Freak brought along Barubary to do a better job hacking. RPGe split into multiple projects. Thermopyle and MagitekKn moved on to Dragon Quest I&II, David Timko had knee surgery after which he never returned, and Hooie and D worked on Ranma 1/2 RPG. FF5 ended up in the hands of SoM2Freak and Barubary. Harmony 7 was brought in toward the end to polish up the translation and to argue with Som2Freak. D quit due to internal drama. Ultimately, the project was released credited to D, Som2freak, Barubary, and Harmony 7.
Really, it's quite the teenage dramatic tale! One could delve into the details for hours. Chapter 2 would be the demise of RPGe. It closed and re-opened multiple times for some entertaining reasons. The group imploded. People left, came back, and left again. Drama ensued regularly. But, that's a story for another day.
Much of this summary is sourced from myself, Demi, D, and EmuNews archives.