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GameDev.net Turns 18!

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On June 15, 1999 - 18 years ago today - our band of developers and "webmasters" launched GameDev.net.

Here's the story:[quote]

GameDev.net has a rather interesting history. Starting from a conversation between Dave Astle of Sweet.Oblivion and Mike Tanczos of Game Programming 99, the idea to join forces of the largest game development sites in the world was forged. At first we thought small, deciding to create a simple resource page which would merely link to each other's prime material.

But after contacting John Munsch of DevGames, the possibilities were blown into the stratosphere. Not wanting to create a mere portal page, Munsch insisted that our sites join forces to create one large site. Discussion between the people behind the sites began, quickly leading to an agreement to launch a game development site which would come to make even so-called 'mega-sites' look small.

Realizing the potential of an existing Affiliate group created by Michael Tanczos, which consisted of the three previous sites and the Game Development Search Engine, Wotsit's Format, and Demonews, discussion further escalated to include those sites. This resulted in an agreement on varying levels between all the sites to assist each other in the creation of the new site, which we dubbed "GameDev.net".

The domain was snatched up, and design and layout discussions began in early April. By the beginning of May, development on the site would begin at a feverish pace. Slating our original launch at June 1st, we realized that an effort of this magnitude would be impossible to achieve in that short of a time.

GameDev.net would undergo many changes over the next few years. We soon added several major sites to our family as hostees, including NeHe Productions and Wotsit's File Formats. As the years have progressed, GameDev.net has continued to grow and evolve into the site you see today.[/quote]

You can see what we looked like at the Web Archive, but here's a screenshot of an early version of the site:


What you may not know is that none of us met each other in person until several years later. We have always been and remain a virtual team - although at the moment it's just myself and the Moderators. Team meetings were held over Internet Relay Chat, or "IRC" for the kids, and we'd communicate over ICQ, which amazingly still exists (although I've had comments saying the same to me about GameDev.net.. 18 is old in Internet years).

To give some perspective, 18 years ago Unreal was starting to form the concept of a game engine and entering a battle with Quake. Unity was a dream. The GPU as we now know it did not exist commercially (we broke NVIDIA's GeForce news). And shortly after our launch a particularly large search engine contacted us to see if they could be our search engine, as I'll share in this team meeting chat log from July 18, 1999 - a month after we launched.[quote]

[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] I have another thing to mention[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] [/font][/color]Google.com[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] wants to do our search[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] ?!?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They contacted us?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] who's google[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They want to be our search engine for the site[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] k - a search engine, like AltaVista, but nicer in some ways[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] mike - how do you feel about it?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] Well.. their results are unique[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] They are a very impressive search engine (more a technology than anything else). They are going to IPO or just did, I can't remember.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] wow, i've never heard of them [/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] We'd have a search page at [/font][/color]www.google.com/gamedev
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] will they go down/work slow, etc?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] No idea.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] I can speak to the last one, they are expected to get a sh*tload of money, so their servers will likely be fast.[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] you think itd be better than our own deal?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] didnt you do a kick ass search engine mike?[/font][/color]
[color=rgb(29,33,41)][font=Helvetica] Yeah, it works pretty fast.[/font][/color][/quote]

I can proudly say that I learned more than I need to know about Google.

GameDev.net started as a labor of love, and 18 years later it continues to be a labor of love. While I remain as the only founding member, I know that the founders who are no longer with the site hope it continues to provide value for the game development community to learn, share, and connect with others for many years to come.

But the amazing thing to all of us continues to be the community. I may be biased, but for 18 years I have not come across a better community than the GameDev.net Community. We are a passionate, knowledgeable bunch, and we love discussing, sharing, and learning from others about the problems, technologies, and challenges of game development and the games industry.

Throughout GameDev.net's history we've watched so many of you grow into the games industry, often starting as hobbyist or student developers with a thirst and desire to achieve your dreams. It's been our greatest pleasure to provide the platform that has helped so many, and we love to learn about your own journeys in the industry.

In the meantime I want to thank the amazing GameDev.net community, again, for these 18 years. On to the 19th!

p.s. The site upgrade is happening this weekend, finally! Stay tuned.

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Always interesting to look back on the history. :) It's been great seeing the site start to pick up and reinvigorate recently, and I'm looking forward to helping however I can with continued growth and hopefully and exciting future! You're absolutely right about the community here, between the amazing moderation team, our long - term regulars, those who just drop by occasionally, and even plenty of new-comers are really fantastic, and although the community can probably sometimes seem a little intimidating to newbies I think it really can't be beat!

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Can't believe it's been this long! I believe I first visited GDNet within one or two years after it's inception as a kid, I distinctly remember knowing vector math in high school (starting from age 12 in my country), which I had learned from one the resources available here in order to get through Paul Nettle's collision detection article. The article was published here on GDNet in May 2000, so I've probably been visiting this site for about 16-17 years!

It's fun to look back at some of my old posts as a 16 y.o. kid, slight embarrassing too :P. Such a nice community, it certainly helped shape me into the person I am today. Thank you, and happy birthday!

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Full disclosure, I started being a lurker around 1999 thinking to myself: I'm never gonna be as cool as these guys. Thanks to my brother for introducing me to this place.

Time flies ;) Gratz Gamedev, you're still amazing, if somewhat 'old'!

(That'll make it hard for any other community to ever beat you given the internet's age!)

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I remember well the dark website and a member called Origin who gave me interesting advices. At that time I had another nickname/login which of course I couldn't remember when coming back few years ago.

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Wow, that old already :)

Congrats! Quite an achievement, and especially as you haven't succumbed to the "social" media frenzy yet.


Is now the time to ask for a good functioning message editor? :)


Edit: Fixed typo

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Happy Birthday! best game dev community around~ I remember always being told to not put my information on the internet so was another one of them lurkers at the beginning  :)

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* looks back to see when he joined.... 11 Mar 2000

Yikes, I'm definitely old then :)

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I consider myself very lucky in finding this as one of the first sites I found when I got my functional internet connection. The pennies I've spent on dial-up have been definitely the best investments I ever did no doubt. 

Thank you gamedev. I hope I can get the discord dudes to reset my account. Peace!

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That transcript is pretty fantastic. Shame the www.google.com/gamedev page doesn't exist anymore :)

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I do seem to recall the search switching from some custom-built search system to a thiny-guised Google search. I think I preferred the original one because the new fangled Google search was too simplistic.

Happy GDNetiversary!

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Congrats!  I've only been around 13-14 out of those 18 years...not as old as some of them here.  I DO remember the old days though.  There weren't any real pre-built engines back then, and NEHE was a much more popular affiliate back then because of that fact.

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That google transcript is hilarious.. honestly if I remember back Google was so different that it was hard to initially take seriously.   The name was silly and the look was something straight out of a toy company.

Man.. how things have changed.   The site is looking great by the way.  Getting it over to this version had to be a hell of an undertaking for one guy.   Great work!

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