Heh, I'm not too sure where to start, so I guess I'll give the whole story. I joined the SSC (the predecessor to the SSX) towards the end of 1998, along with my brother (SSX-ss1 / SSX-Saad), after I'd met a few of the guys in FreeSpace 1
(QD, Indigo, etc were around back then). I'd just gone past 14 at the time. In '99 Unreal Tournament and FreeSpace 2 (FS2) were released, and I started playing those as well. The former after playing the demo, and the latter because of the first game.
I think it was either late 2000, or early 2001 when I became a little bored with FS2 as I had tended to prefer the co-operative online missions rather than the Team vs. Team missions. FreeSpace 2 shipped with I think only two co-op missions, so I gave up playing and switched to playing Team Fortress Classic
. I didn't really have the time to recruit members for a TFC group back then so I was mostly playing on public servers with Saad. I kept up with Unreal Tournament however, and eventually the SSC had enough members that we decided to play our own sort of internal competition - basically we formed three member teams and played against one another (Quiz, Saad and I were one of those teams). Unfortunately real life commitments meant that we were never able to finish the competition
I think in mid- to late-2002 QD turned up again (he'd gone missing
) and he took charge of the FS2 division; the group had been in terminal decline until then. There were multiple fan made co-op missions packs being released, and that sparked my interest in FS2 again. I was still playing TFC, but I had now abandoned UT. From 2002 to 2003 BlackDove, Ash, esd, Lightspeed and a bunch of other guys joined, and we were playing Team Vs. Team missions as part of SquadWar (basically the official FS2 competition league). I think in late 2003 QD and BlackDove stood down from administrating the FS2 group, and QD moved onto NeoCron. Myself, Ash, and Lightspeed took over the administration of the group.
The other thing that happened in 2002 was that I'd finished school, was off to University for a four years masters degree, and I spent my free time learning Perl
, as the forum software we were running (the Ultimate Bulletin Board
, or UBB [now known as UBB.classic]) was written in it. I spent what free time I had scripting modifications for the forum to add extra features. Quiz made me a forum admin so I could install those modifications. I believe BlackDove used to derive some pleasure from shouting at me on the forums if too much time passed between one mod being installed and the next
Back to the gaming side of things, in FS2 the number of people slowly started to decrease, and co-op gameplay started to become a rare thing again. Around March 2004 I stood down from administrating the group, and asked esd to take over. TFC was also suffering a similar problem; a large number of experienced people were leaving that game, leaving only the newer players behind, and it too became boring. I switched to playing Sven Co-op
(another Half-Life Mod), which I only stopped playing earlier this year, for much the same reasons as TFC
Back on the admin side of things, the UBB was beginning to show its age. Unfortunately the forum software stored forum posts as text files on the server which caused two problems - (1) It caused us to almost run out of disk space, (2) It started to become very slow. We needed to move to a forum software that would store information in a database - which was where phpBB 2.x
came in. At the time (early 2004) I was reluctant to move over - I really hated the default look of phpBB
, and it just didn't have as many features as UBB did by default. However, it was also inevitable that we would be moving in that direction, so I started to learn PHP
, figuring that any that missing features could always be added by modifications, and that the way a forum looks can always be changed (by either finding a new style or writing one myself).
I started looking into these things, but we had to move to phpBB sooner rather than later, and these things were put to one side. There was a forum conversion script on the official phpBB forums - for taking the UBB data and putting it into an SQL database for phpBB. This needed quite a bit of tweaking, and I could never quite get it working when I tried running it on the SSC's webserver. Now SSX-Wedge had downloaded all of the UBB's files to hard-drive (in case something unexpected happened), so he sent me a zipped copy of those files. I ran the conversion script locally, and imported the SQL data into the SSC's SQL database. Unfortunately it wasn't a complete success - I think a few topics had posts in the wrong order
- but figuring that something was better than nothing the phpBB forums were opened.
After that I'd went looking for a decent phpBB style - which I'd found, BBTech (the very theme we're using now). Before I could get into phpBB modding however I had to go through my second year University exams, and I was revising. After I had gotten back, relations within the SSC admins and mods were getting sour (they're unpleasant memories for me, so I hope you won't mind if I don't go into them
). Deciding that I didn't want to put up with what was going on, I stepped down as an admin. At the end of August Quiz, Saad, BlackDove, Killjoy (Judd), and myself decided that it'd be best if we left, and the SSX came about. A fair number of other SSC members joined us. Killjoy made the website, and I got another phpBB forum running, this time with the BBTech theme installed. I think it was Killjoy with some help from BlackDove and Lightspeed who designed the final logo.
In my third and fourth years at Uni (2004 - 2006) I was pretty much working around the clock on my studies - so there was limited or sometimes even no time for gaming or PHP scripting. I spent the summer of 2005 working as a summer student at Uni, and summer 2006 (after Uni was over) was spent playing Oblivion. In October I started my PhD, which has so far been about as busy as the final years of my masters degree. My masters degree had been in London so I was living at home. My PhD however meant leaving home, which was where my server (I'd named it the Safari Zone [esd should remember
]) was. This was the computer I'd used to test out my phpBB mods, and unfortunately it died earlier this year. I had a backup of all the mods on my computer but I didn't have the time to set everything up again until recently. Things have slowed down in my PhD for now, allowing me to get back to PHP scripting. I think I scared everyone by showing up on IRC yesterday
That pretty much covers the last nine years. Quite strange to think I'm 23 now, some of those events feel like they were only a short while ago