RStefan01.com - History
Richard's Personal Web Site (1996)
This site's history goes back quite some time, all the way back to 1996 in fact. At the time, I hadn't had much experience with the internet at all, other than my sub account on my Dad's "Prodigy Classic" account, which ran on his DOS based PC. The only other computer I had access to at the time, was a friend's system running Windows 3.1, which did not have internet access. Not too long after, another friend of mine got a computer with Windows 95 on it as a present, and this led to learning a lot of new stuff. At the time, I didn't even know what a web server was, and couldn't for the life of me figure out how to get a page on the internet. I soon after learned that the 16-bit version of Prodigy for Windows had the option for a personal web site, so there I created "Richard's Personal Web Site" which got relatively low hits, but through which I learned a lot about html. I learned html by building sites with Allaire's Homesite editor, which had a view source option, which let you either edit with the graphical interface, or use the text interface to type the code yourself. At the time, my only web browser was the 16-bit Prodigy Web browser, which didn't even support animated GIF images. As such, there wasn't much interactive content on the site, with the exception of a guest book that I had on the site. The images that were on the site weren't exactly the best looking images that you'd ever see, especially the ones that I made myself, since I never have been any good at graphical design.
Richard's South Park Site (1997)
After I had gotten a hang of making web pages, I finally had a real topic for my site. I put up some images that I "borrowed" from Comedy Central's web site, and went on to put up various funny things relating to South Park. The site got a few more hits than it used to, but it still didn't give people a reason to stay, mostly because there weren't any interative parts to the site, except for that same old guestbook =)
Richard Stefan's Starcraft Site (1998)
We were going to get a family computer better than the old one mentioned above, but it never really happened, for various reasons. I figured that I'd just get my own and get it over with. If I hadn't done that, I probably wouldn't be typing this today, since I probably never would have logged onto Blizzard.com and downloaded the Starcraft Demo. Being an old Warcraft II fan from before I even had a computer (I mooched off of *everyone*), I couldn't put down the demo! I probably beat those few Terran missions and played other people via modem before I finally got together enough money to buy the retail version. Something I picked up on, was the "compete FREE over the INTERNET" comment on the cd case. Now, not being your typical newbie, I actually read the manual, and figured out what Battle.net was and how to use it, and odd concept, I know. Some time before getting Starcraft, I got Prodigy Internet, which gave me 32-bit application access over the internet, which means that I could play on Battle.net. I was nice enough to spawn for all my friends of course. South Park had lost my interest, since it wasn't as funny as it used to be, so I decided to make a Starcraft site. Not long after, I found the Blizzard and Battle.net web sites, and noticed a forum called the "Piolots Lounge" which no longer exists. I was fairly new to these forums, and read a lot more than I posted. I did the typical forum newbie crap like flaming random people, and all the other not-so-nice stuff like that. On top of that, I got tired of Prodigy Internet not upgrading to 56k access, and signed up with... AOL! What's really scary, is that I'd get great lag over Battle.net with AOL, despite how it is for most people, though I think it had a lot to do with where I was located in relation to the service provider. I hosted the site on my AOL space, which was larger than most AOLers would get, because I was a beta tester for their software. This gave me the opportunity to put up an incredibly excessive amount of graphics on the site, though it brought a lot more content along with it. I had a fairly decent navigation system for the first time, and had what was looking to be a real layout for the site.
If you were a visitor of Blizzard's Pilot's Lounge, then you may have seen this site, but I wasn't all that well known back then, so probably not =)
RStefan01's Help Site (1999)
Having found the Blizzard Technical Support forum, and found that I could actually make myself useful there by answering people's questions, I made a web site suited to it. I had basically all of my FAQs posted there, along with helpful files, and last, but by no means least, my tech forum, hosted by Sitepowerup.com. At the time, Crimson Soldier was helping out a lot on the forum, and I made him an "MVP" stealing the idea from the Battle.net Forums. We helped out quite a few people there, and it was a lot of fun. Around this time, I got an email from an individual by the name of Proman911. He asked him if I wanted to help work on a site with him and a bunch of other people. I was very hesitant at the time, but I was convinced to join eventually. Again, if I hadn't made that decision, I likely wouldn't be typing this up right now. We formed a site called SideWinder, which was originally meant to be a "by gamers for gamers" type of thing, but quickly expanded to plans of software development and technical support. I got so caught up in it, that I closed my own site!
The site being closed lasted for about a week, maximum. Not really thinking when I closed the site earlier, I didn't keep backups of most of the stuff, and had to recreate the content. Eventually I started to lose interest in tech support, and decided that I wouldn't have the tech content or the forum anymore. Crimson Soldier and I still kept in contact over ICQ afterwards though.
RStefan01's Site (Late 1999 - February 2000)
This is what you would have seen not long before the site is as it is today. The site basically was around my interests and what I did in my gaming and leisure time on the internet. Apparently people were interested, maybe because of the frequent updates, maybe because I posted my link everywhere, maybe because they felt sorry for me, who knows =)
We come upon the year 2000, and I find myself still learning new things and wanting to expand the site to be more than just about me. I decided that I'd form a staff and try to bring more of a community aspect to the site.
Styx was the first person to join up, and most of our news posts were relating to games we played, in the form of battle reports. This is also the same time that I opened the Discussion Forum, which was an improvement over other forums that I had used. Crazieman implemented some hacks that he had created into the forum script, without which I probably would have never hacked the forum into the state it's in now =)
Edge was the next person to join the staff. Having been a good friend of mine from SideWinder, I couldn't possibly say no (this turned out to be a trend applying to everyone asking to join the staff), so he was the next news poster on the site. Around the time of his joining, we were starting to cover more than just games. There were general computer/technology related posts too now.
MysteryMan was a poster on the SideWinder War Refuge, and was someone that I came to like very easily. I think he may have been one of the few staff members that I asked to join, instead of having them ask me, as I thought he'd be a really good addition to the staff, and I wasn't dissapointed.
RStefan01.com (February 2000 - Present)
Just days after my 17th birthday, I bought the RStefan01.com domain, and moved the site here. The traffic to the site jumped up a lot when I got the domain name, though it also could have been related to the fact that this is when a lot more people joined the staff and started contributing to the site. The title of the site didn't change for another week afterwards, but this is really the turning point in the site.
-=General=- was another person I had met mostly because of SideWinder. He was also working on a site called Firebird at the time, which went down due to technical problems. He's a really knowledgable guy all around, though he's been doing more "behind the scenes" type of stuff than the other staff members.
BandWidth and Ravage! joined the staff at about the same time. BandWidth jokinly asked me if he could join the staff, though since I wanted more news going up, I took his request seriously and he was on the staff. Ravage! joined up very soon after. These guys probably account for most of the more humourous news posts seen on this site, though they have also helped out on other areas of the site as well.
At about this time, SideWinder broke up, and the majority of the forum posters there moved into this site's Discussion forum until the Riptide forum was opened.
Affiliate: Akardam opened his site, everything but TheKitchenSink, and soon after became the first affiliate of this site.
Affiliate: After helping them install some scripts on their site, I got to know Wargasm a bit better, and soon after our sites were affiliated.
Crimson, the shorter name of the same Crimson Soldier mentioned earlier, got to talking with me on ICQ a lot more, and also got me interested in Ultima Online. Since we played the game a lot together, and no one else on the staff had the game at the time, I thought he would be the perfect person to help out with the Ultima Online content on the site.
Affiliate: Maverick contacted me, asking if I wanted to affiliate with his site. I liked the content of his site very much, and we affiliated. This is also about the time that he started posting in the forums here.
SoulTaker was making himself very well known in the Discussion Forum. He's the first person to join the staff that didn't have a very strong gaming background, but with his personality, it didn't matter. I was in a chat with a couple staff members, and we invited him in and asked him to join =)
After being very helpful with the site, SoulTaker announced that he was going back to his home country of Denmark, though he had plans on returning to the US, though as of yet that hasn't worked out.
Sid6.9, well known for writing the Friday Night War Room Death Matches in the War Room, was another person that I thought would fit in very well with the site. I never really got around to asking him to join though, because for some reason I felt uncomfortable asking, possibly because I didn't really know him as well as the other members. Sid6.9 made the Diablo II Beta, and there was my excuse to ask him to join, to provide the Beta content. I wasn't dissapointed at all.. I actually found myself overwhelmed with all of the content I was being provided.
Akardam, being very knowledgable in Perl, was a person I turned to time and again for help with various things I would be doing in Perl, most of which were adding hacks to the forums. One day he said he should be on the staff, and it happened =)
Akardam wrote a forum posters script for me, which was used for a while before I discovered that there was already one out. Since there were a couple problems with Akky's script, I decided to go for the other one, and that's the one that's been in use ever since then, though there were many modifications to it by me.
lil bo shepherd was another person that became well known in the forum, not in gaming, and was added to the staff because of his wanting to help out. He posted news, but his main contribution to the site would be his forum posting. At the time of this writing, he has more posts than anyone else on the forum except for me.
Who's Online? Good question. The answer? A script that displays how many users are on the forums!
Striker joined the staff not too long after lil bo shepherd, and helped out with the news and various other things that were going on with the site at the time. Unfortunately, he and I would get into arguments from time to time, and things didn't really work out too well, and he left the staff. We still kept in contact over ICQ afterwards though =)
WizardSlayer joined the staff as another news poster, though he's also expereinced in a lot of other things, which is shown by his own site, WizDom. At the time of his joining, I was left wondering if I had too many staff members, but since everyone was still being helpful, I figured it couldn't hurt to have more people, especially if they want to help out =)
Gunslinger was one of the first people to take advantage of my asking people to submit their own news items to me if they had anything to add. He had posted various good articles from school, and I decided that instead of me posting them, I said to him "it'd be easier for the news to get posted if you posted it yourself" which was my invitation to him to join the staff (You know I couldn't say it in an easier way, that just wouldn't be as fun).
After watching access logs for a while, it was decided that since the T4C and Half Life sections were not very popular, they would be taken down from the site. This was done at the same time as the DHTML layout was used. Soon after, the Recent Headlines and Recent Discussion Forum Posts boxes were added to the top of the index page.
Affiliate: KuSh, from Game Foolz contacted me and asked if I wanted to affiliate with his site. Being impressed with the content of the site, I was happy to be affiliated with their site =)
Maverick, being the webmaster of our affiliate, The Blizzard Extreme Network, is a person that gets news easily, considering that the content and topic of his site is something that's also of interest to this site. If you see a news post from him, it's probably something good that's Blizzard related =)
PeEpeRs is another person that got known by posting in the forums, and keeps up to date with current events by watching the news on television very frequently. Though this leads to news articles not having links to sources, it also leads to a lot of things being posted before they make their way to the internet =)
This brings us to the writing of this History of the site, which I hope is informative and maybe will save me from answering a question or two in the future. This will be updated as new events occur =)
Since the last update of this page, some new things have happened. Xel'Naga and Protoss_King_ are now also news posters on the site, I'm sure everyone knows them by now, if not from the War Room then from here. There are two new affiliates to the site, Hag Entertainment which is run by BandWidth, Ravage!, and other fun people, and WizDom which is run by WizardSlayer.
During that time, The Group and RStefan01.com also opened a joint forum, hosted here. The forum was titled "World Wide Views" and the topic was exactly that. The basic idea of the forum was to be able to speak your mind while not getting out of line, and we had the moderators to back it up. -=General=- and myself from here, and Artanis and Janna from The Group. The forum has since declined in activity, but who knows what'll happen =)
New Layout! I thought the site was due for an update from the Perl infested (hehe) site that was up previously. I think the new layout looks a lot better, but it lacks the customization options that the old one had. It also should be a lot faster, since it's in shtml now instead of Perl, which is easier on the server end. A lot of sections from the site were also removed, because I really don't have the time to keep all of them updated right now, and I don't want to have them up there and never update them either. Really the main point of interest on this site is the news page and the forums, so that's what'll have the most focus for now.
Affiliate: kwerkey.net is now an affiliate of this site. It was actually decided that we'd do this about a week ago, but I forgot to update the page with the link/image.
The previously mentioned "World Wide Views" forum was closed in September 2000 after Wargasm and I decided that it's time was up. Posting there was very infrequent, and the posting that was being done wasn't really on topic anymore.
Affiliate action: There were quite a few additions to the affiliate list. The Feckhole, Dinobot's Citadel, Open Tech Support, Tossy's l33t Website, TheHelper.NET, and The Drifting Vault. Those sites respectively belong to Ravage!, Dinobot, CanisLupis, Protoss_King_, The Helper, and rRaminrodt.
Oct 17, 2000: New additions to the site are a Graphics section which has images that I've made, and a TV section listing shows I watch.
Nov 26, 2000: Site undergoes many changes, including me being the only news poster and a new forum script. Refer to Nov 26, 2000 in the news archive for details.
Dec 2, 2000: I wrote a new forum posters script which has since had new features added every now and then.
Jan 6, 2001: I've rewritten the site in perl again, mainly just to make things easier on my end. I also added custom 403 and 404 error pages to the server that are more helpful than the defaults.
Jan 25-27 2001: My host, Easyspace, took away my cgi/perl access claiming that I had crashed their servers. I highly doubt that it was entirely the fault of this site as those types of servers have a large number of accounts on them, and it was a fairly slow day for this site, as compared to days that had two to three times as many server requests. I spent most of the day on the 26th looking for a new host, and I found one later that night. I signed up, and the next morning my account was active. The site is now up and running normally on the new host, Tera-Byte.
Along with all of that, I took down some sections while the site was down. I removed mIRC Chat, Chat Logs, Graphics, and Ultima Online.
Affiliate action @ Feb 4, 2001: Accelerated Gamers is the newest addition to the list, and another affiliate is rumored to be in the works ;)
Oct 19, 2007: Updated many pages that had out of date information, also dropped many affiliates off the list since their sites dropped off the face of teh intarweb. I might not be doing a whole lot with this site anymore, but at least it's still here!