Just a reminder!
World of Warcraft is not the first mmorpg created
- J. R. R. Tolkien publishes The Hobbit.
- Dr Cat adds, "I personally would like to see Lord Dunsany mentioned to counter any notion that Tolkien invented swords and sorcery. Even if everyone including the D&D authors were obsessed with him (and of course everyone after the D&D authors was obsessed with D&D)."
- Vannevar Bush conceptualizes aspects of hypertext, the Internet, virtual spaces, and lots more.
- The three books of the Lord of the Rings are published in England. This is their first publication.
- Ted Nelson gets the idea for hypertext as we know it now. He won't coin the word until 1963, and the word won't see print until 1965. He works alone on the concept throughout the decade, choosing the term Xanadu for his project in 1967.
- University of Illinois introduces and patents PLATO, "Programmed Logic for Automatic Teaching Operations", a network running on the ILLIAC computer system.
- "The nation's first computer-assisted program of instruction. PLATO, conceived by physics professor Chalmers Sherwin and developed under the direction of electrical engineering professor Don Bitzer, co-inventor of the plasma display panel, was the world's first time-shared computer-based education system" according to the UI website.
- "The name PLATO was originally just a name, not an acronym. Someone invented the acronym sometime in the 1970's, which was never officially endorsed, but someone printed it anyway." - Eric Hagstrom
- Spacewar! on the PDP-1. It's 2 player. And it's graphical. And it is 9K.
- Modem patented by BBN.
- Concept of network connected by modems defined in a paper by Thomas Marill, Daniel Edwards, and Wallace Feurzig.
- According to Richard J. Auld, the concept of the "FAQ" is developed on PLATO.
- According to the Cyberpunk Timeline, "MIT researcher Lawrence G. Roberts & Thomas Merrill connected A TX-2 computer in Massachusetts to the Q-32 in Palo Alto, California with a low speed dial-up telephone line creating the first (however small) wide-area computer network ever built. (Jan.)"
- Ralph Baer conceptualizes the videogame.
- Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is first published in the US.
- By now they are up to PLATO IV, according to some sources.
- "PLATO III yes, PLATO IV no. I started working at CERL in June 1972. At that time we were in transition from PLATO III to PLATO IV. The new mainframe for PLATO IV had been installed and quite a bit of system software had been written for it, but it was still at an early stage." - David Woolley
- Baer files a videogame related patent. This is going to be the Odyssey.
- Rick Blomme writes two-player Spacewar on PLATO. It works on the remote network, so it is now true network gaming.
- "The reason Plato was such a good gaming platform in the 70's and early 80's is that it had graphics abilities superior to anything else available. 512x512 random access monochrome displays were simply incredible in a year when paper TTY's were still in use. Another significant factor was that everyone using the system had the same hardware capabilities, just as console systems do today. And response time, at least in the early years, was incredible...anything over 150ms was considered unacceptable anywhere on the net, and under 100ms was common." - Eric Hagstrom
- "I think the cool thing to observe is that on PLATO programs would get deleted, and then some other person would go in and try to "out-do" the previous game, and so in the space of about 4 years we probably went through 20 different variants of dnd and sorcery-like games. This was very healthy and kept people playing the games, which were always changing." - Don Gillies
- ARPANet is founded.
- The Cyberpunk Timeline puts this at August of 1968.
- UNIX is written.
- CompuServe is founded by John Goltz.
- This seems awfully early? Source: "Hacking Into Computer Systems."
- Dave Arneson starts the first "roleplaying game" campaign, called "Blackmoor."
- (Arneson himself is not sure whether this occurred in 1970 or 1971).
- Ted Nelson works with various guys individually. (1971-2: Ted invents/ discovers first "Model T" enfilade*), redesigns Xanadu around it.)
- Plato reaches capacity for 1000 users.
- Hunt the Wumpus is developed by Gregory Yob on a Time-Sharing System at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. This is not an adventure game (it's a text-only maze game), but a precursor. (Hans Persson, Adventureland timeline)
- Atari is founded by Nolan Bushnell.
- The second edition of the Chainmail miniatures wargaming rules are published, including a "Fantasy Supplement." This ruleset will go on to inspire Dungeons and Dragons.
- Airfight aka Dogfight (flight sim) on PLATO.
- It may have existed earlier, but this is the first reference with a hard date that I can find.
- "In "Dogfight," two players tried to shoot down each other's "airplane" -- a tiny spot on the screen -- and avoid being shot down. You could control the position of your own airplane using the various keys on the keyboard. (This, of course, was ten years before joysticks and computer mice became common.) Unfortunately, the person with the fastest connection to the main computer in Illinois usually won that game." - Guy Consolmagno, SJ.
- The literal command line name appears to have been "airfight" (Antic)
- "airfight" was actually someones clone of "dogfight"...same concept, different authors. Before that, there was "moonwar", an where players took turns shooting lasers off walls and around moons trying to hit the other guy." - Eric Hagstrom
- "Airfight and Dogfight were two entirely separate games. Dogfight was earlier -- it just had tiny airplane icons that you moved around on the screen in 2-dimensional space. Airfight came later and gave you a cockpit view, and is what apparently inspired Bruce Artwick's Flight Simulator, which later became Microsoft Flight Sim. I'm guessing Dogfight existed by 1973, Airfight maybe in 1975 or so." - David Woolley
- "PLATO also had "airfight", a 3-D real-time flight simulator with 3-D views of horizon & airport & enemy (icon only). One of the authors was brand fortner. These authors went on to found the company that became microsoft flight simulator. I think 1973 is the right year for the existence of airfight - it was EARLIER than Empire. I think it's very important to realize that microsoft flight simulator came from plato, from the guys who wrote airfight. I cannot remember the name of the company they founded, but it was really successful for a few years before microsoft bought it in the mid 1980's." - Don Gillies
- "Dogfight was a really stupid 2-d game with a top-view of 2 planes. It was perhaps the earliest PLATO game with a "BIG BOARD" page. Every user appeared on the page, you could "Challenge" a user, that user would be given the right to "Accept", then you'd go to this page where the 2 planes were displayed, top-view, travel allowed only in the cursor keys directions (cursor around the 's' key, dirs are e w q a z x c d), when you shoot ('s') a line shoots out in front of you. You Could only change direction in inertial ways, I think. Unsophisticated. Not real time. You could move faster by hitting keys faster. A good programmer could write this game in a few days. " - Don Gillies
- Talk-O-Matic, a proto-IRC with handles and chat rooms, is on PLATO at this point (it may have existed earlier).
- "One of the more popular activities was "Talk-O-Matic". Five people at a time could write messages, and read each other's messages, on the same screen. Today, Internet chat rooms work on the same principle. One of the remarkable new features of this page was that you could log in with an invented name, and pretend you were anyone you wanted -- any name, any age, any gender. One favorite trick was to log in using the name of someone else already logged into the page, simply to confuse everyone else." - Guy Consolmagno, SJ.
- "Term Talk on Plato, a 2-user chat, predates the five user Talkomatic, too. Term Talk also let you go into monitor mode, where one user saw everything the other user did on their screen. "- Dr Cat.
- "Talkomatic, by David Woolley, predated term-talk. Check this link out: http://www.thinkofit.com/drwool/dwconf.htm." - Eric Hagstrom.
- The "Hacking Into Computer Systems: A Beginner's Guide" doc reports PLATO hacked with the starship Enterprise attacking people on Airfight (who were expecting airplanes!)
- Dungeons and Dragons is first sold by Arneson and Gary Gygax as typewritten rule sets.
- The original Dungeons and Dragons set is published, though it had been well-distributed prior to this.
- "The original '74 D&D set was the only version of D&D until 1977 (although supplements were printed during that "in-between" time)." - Travis S. Casey
- Somewhere in here, Mines of Moria (it had 248 mazes, according to Antic magazine in 1984) on PLATO.
- Empire: multiplayer space empire game on PLATO supporting 32 players.
- "A game called "Empire" allowed you to play over weeks at a time, making moves every time you logged in, building up your resources in an interstellar empire that eventually would interact with other players' empires. But somehow it took so long to set up your own empire that most players lost interest before they ever encountered any other empire. " - Guy Consolmagno, SJ.
- According to Antic Magazine in a 1984 article, it was in fact Star Trek based, with Romulans, Orions, Federation, and Kazars (formerly Klingons).
- Not to be confused with Peter Langston's Empire, which is a different game.
- "The description of Plato Empire in 1972 contains "making moves every time you logged in," which is misleading, that sounds more like the Unix army-tank-plane-boat kind of empire than the Plato spaceship empire. It was essentially almost the same as Nettrek in slow motion, with one animation frame every 2-10 seconds. Your spaceship would vanish if you logged off, though the planets and armies that were shared resources of your whole team would remain. And you could call the keystrokes that controlled your ship "moves" if you stretched it, but your ship would keep coasting and generating screen updates every ten seconds even if you didn't type anything. As for a game lasting weeks - I don't know if it sometimes stretched that long - when we logged on late one night at Purdue in the early 80s, we managed to conquer the galaxy three times in one night because nobody was on but us klingons, so a game certainly could be (and was) concluded in a couple of hours. I think maybe we won one last one after "You can't kill / brian / slib" showed up, but he called for help from other well known good players and slowed us down enough we couldn't take the whole galaxy any more. "Eventually interact with other players empires" sounds a lot like the text based Unix with land armies version as well - in Plato Empire they didn't interact on their own, only when you attack planets with your spaceship and beam armies up and then beam them down to an enemy planet. And there's no eventually about it, you'd be doing that within minutes of logging on unless you just wanted to dogfight enemy spaceships. Same with "took so long to set up your own Empire", that's the Unix Empire (which had many clones and descendants btw, a bewildering array). There was nothing to set up in Plato Empire, just log on and fly. " - Dr Cat.
- "Not sure about the earliest evolution of the original Empire, but the surviving version ("conquest") can be played through in a few hours. Action stops if nobody is in the game, however, so games could last weeks in the sense that nobody is playing. The more popular Empire ("empire") is, as you say four teams of 15 players, with Klingons eventually being renamed Kazar for fear of copyright infringement. I've participated in wins that took less than 20 minutes, but that was using the fact that all planets start in a weakened state when the universe is reset after a previous win." - Eric Hagstrom
- "I seriously doubt Empire existed at this early date, because PLATO IV terminals were still fairly scarce. You would have to check with the Empire authors, like Chuck Miller, but I suspect Empire started more like 1974 or so." - David Woolley
- "I believe david woolley, Empire is circa 1974. It is the only game on your list that existed already when i started using plato in July/August 1975." - Don Gillies (Based on these two notes, I have moved this entry to 1974 - RK).
- Don also provided a full description of Empire to settle some of the above arguments:
Empire is the game to end all games. It is played on roughly a 60x60 universe of "quadrants", you fly through a quadrant in about 10 seconds, in real-time. Your view is a 3x3 long-range scan. You screen replots to update your location every 10 seconds, but you can hit a key to get an early partial update.
The universe is laid out like a 5-spot dice, there are home planets in the four corners (Klingon, Orion, Federation, Romulan). Each home system has 3 planets and a sun. In the center of the dice-like universe is a system of about 6 planets / suns. Also, there are two "dead planetss" halfway between each home space.
You have typical weapons (phasers, photon torpedos), long-range and short-range scans. Your ship is a 16x16 icon that looks like the real thing from startrek. You can fly or fire in any directgion, but the ship plots only in the cursor directions (d e w q a z x c) because its displayed with a limited set of loadable charsets. Everything - phasers, movement, torpedo travel - is performed in discrete real time. There is no animation, but you can take an updated snapshot any time by hitting a keypress.
Your goal is to drop armies on every planet in the universe. When this happens, the game ends and the team is declared the winner. If you get killed, you can go straight back into the game, which will place you someplace in your home space with few enemies. You can pick up armies from your home planet, take them to another planet, bombard the planet to kill armies, then drop your armies to overtake the planet. If your homespace is taken over, you can bombard the planets and then attmpt a "coup" to reignite your home team armies. The coup can only be attempted about once per hour, and it often fails.
Empire was a MIND BLOWING game. It had 3 million contact hours before 1980. Think about it. PLATO only had 1000 terminals. So, there were only something like 9M contact hours in a PLATO-year.
- DND (Avatar) existed by now, according to Steve Gray, who was 11 at the time and writing code for PLATO. DND was apparently the command line name, and Avatar the game name.
- "I think dnd and avatar were two different games on Plato. I personally played dnd sometime in the 1975 to 1977 time period, it was a 2D overhead view of a 3x3 sections of a dungeon map. Dungeon Of Death on the Commodore Pet (from Instant Software?) was a blatant clone of it. Avatar had a title screen with the cover art from Dragon Magazine number one for a title screen, probably traced somehow and converted into black and orange line art. (No white on Plato till they made a CRT version of the Plato terminal). Avatar's title screen said Copyright 1980 at one point, not sure if they started earlier. Several Plato hackers got together to make Avatar as a newer and cooler version of Oubliette. " - Dr Cat.
- Dr Cat says that Wizardry was directly based on Avatar, down to the spell names.
- ""dnd", by Flint and Dirk Pellett predates "avatar". So does "orthanc", by Paul Resch, Larry Kemp, and myself and done about the same time. Both have overhead 3x3 views. Orthanc allowed players to meet and talk in the dungeon, but otherwise was a single-player game. This is 1973." - Eric Hagstrom
- According to Peter Zelchenko, the original authors of DND were Gary Whisenhunt and Ray Wood, and Flint and Dirk Pellet were subsequent authors.
- "avatar" was the big hit, of course. Roger Uzan got hooked on it fairly recently, post-EQ launch. He tried to get me involved, but I burned out on it a decade ago....I'd rather play Everquest. There's still a loyal following to this day. 1979?" - Eric Hagstrom
- "I also played Avatar (which was a late arrival to CDC PLATO) in the mid to later 1980s. The people who wrote it were supposedly going to to come out with a PC version (and I dont think Wizardry was it)." - Mike Lindeland
- "I am friends with steve grey, i don't think he has the year right when he says that dnd appeared in 1974; i didn't see it until months after i arrived in 1975/6." - Don Gillies
- "Yes, it was a clone. I played a few hundred hours of DND on Plato in 1977 (in a bomb shelter in the Army no less) and when I got my first microcomputer in 1978 I wrote an 8k version of it. Also wrote a version of Empire (single player) called Trek-X the same year for the Pet. Both were published by Instant Software. So began the insanity. " - Gordon Walton
- "the very first graphical dungeon was probably Orthanc (Pedit5) on PLATO, written by Rusty Rutherford in late 1974, which would agree with the introduction of Gygax's first book." - Peter Zelchenko
- Notesfiles created on PLATO, the first BBSes, almost exactly like today's Usenet.
- Also, around now Xerox visits PLATO and they trade ideas, according to Doug Jones.
- "To me, saying notesfiles are "almost exactly" like today's Usenet is an insult to notesfiles or an unwarranted compliment to Usenet. Your mileage may vary. :X) Me, I would say "similar" or something. It is worth noting that the tin newsreader attempts to impose a notesfiles-like interface on the messy underlying structure that is Usenet, which can only imperfectly really be made to work that way - but it's better than nothing, and I use tin exclusively to read Usenet being an old-time Plato junkie." - Dr Cat.
- "Actually, the first version of PLATO Notes opened in August, 1973. Personal Notes (email) came along about a year later in 1974. Group Notes, the new version of PLATO Notes that allowed anyone to create a notes file, came out in January 1976." - David Woolley
- Somewhere in here, DECWAR was created. It is Star Trek based also--perhaps a relationship to the Empire game on PLATO?
- "Sometime in the early-to-mid 70s there was a multi-player Space War game that ran on DEC VMS systems. I played that one for about an hour one day." - Chris Gray.
- "That was called 'Decwars'. Yes it ran on VAX/VMS. We used to play it on a pdp10. It used shared memory to communicate, not files - which was one of the ways the sysadmins could detect it. We generally played 5+ players per side. It had a lot of intelligent multiplayer design considerations." - S. Patrick Gallaty.
- The first first-person shooter? Dave Lebling and Greg Thompson write a multiplayer first person Maze for the Imlac PDS-1, with PDP-10 as a server. It supported up to 8 players, chat, and bots.
- "We wrote this in (umm) 1974. It was based on a single-player Maze-exploring game Greg brought with him to MIT from NASA. Maze was 3D first-person perspective with up to eight players, any of whom could be robotic. The graphics were a _bit_ less compelling than Quake. You could also chat with the other players. Mostly a shooter. You could design your own mazes and pick which one you wanted to fight in, so there could be some exploration. Shooting was a keystroke (no aiming, you just shot in the direction you were facing). Hits were handled on the server: if the requisite amount of time passed for the bullet to travel to the target passed, and he/it was still in line with it, he/it was hit. Movement, peeking around corners, and shooting were all done with the keyboard. We had mice on the Imlacs, but they were very flakey. I'm not completely sure Greg wrote the single-person exploration version. It may have been a freeware program for the Imlac, or written by someone else at NASA-Ames. He did most of the Imlac coding and I did the server on the PDP-10. A guy named Ken Herrenstein came in later and redid the client and server to optimize throughput (sending position diffs instead of whole positions, and other such stuff). As mentioned above, you shot in the direction you were facing. You could then turn and run without affecting the path of the bullet (they were slow bullets). It was vector graphics, the look was sort of wire-framed, except the hidden lines (and hidden players) were removed, of course. You looked like your name floating in space (shades of EQ!), with little eyes visible if you were facing the viewer, an arrow showing which way you were facing otherwise. The later Alto and Mac versions did this part much more nicely!" - Dave Lebling
- Star Trader is written by Dave Kaufman.
- "People's Computer Company (PCC), a company that is still around today and who brought us Dr. Dobb's Journal among other things, publishes Volume 2, Number 3 of it's newsletter in January. In this publication is a BASIC source-code for Star Trader by Dave Kaufman. This game outlined the general details of a sector-based game with ports and a player moving between sectors trading three basic products (Fuel, Organics, Equipment) to earn credits." - John Pritchett's History of Tradewars 2002
- A paper is published on "Teaching mathematics with games" on PLATO. This is the only formal reference I can find to PLATO and games. PLATO eventually banned games.
- Bridge on PLATO.
- "When I was in college in the mid-1970's, the only form of computerized bridge play was on the nationwide PLATO network. After playing against humans at the local club, we would head for campus for late-night bridge on big monochrome terminals in the university PLATO lab. If we were lucky enough to find three other humans on the network, the game could be fairly challenging. Often, though, at least one of the four players would be the computer (called the PLATO "freak"), which was programmed with a bare minimum of bridge knowledge. PLATO's primitive bidding was random after the first round of the auction, and its defense and declarer play defied logic -- the program always pulled trumps, always played second-hand low and third-hand high, etc." - Karen Walker
- "I was the main author of the bridge game (called "Contract"). Martin Wolff wrote the bidding logic, and I did pretty much everything else. Karen Walker says "PLATO's primitive bidding was random after the first round of the auction, and its defense and declarer play defied logic ..." Well, it was indeed a pretty pathetic player, I have to admit. However, the bidding was deterministic, not random. It may have *seemed* random, though..."- David Woolley
- John Taylor reports that he was writing and playing multi-player games at the University of Virginia in this year.
- John Brunner's Shockwave Rider is published.
- Will Crowther creates the first version of ADVENT in FORTRAN on a PDP-1 while working for Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN) in Boston.
- Hans Persson's Adventureland Timeline puts this at 1972, not 1976.
- "Well, Will Crowther made the game up after we had been playing D&D for a few months. A new arrival on the ARPANET project was also a housemaster at Harvard at the time and D&D had pretty much just appeared. He dungeounmastered up a dungeon and a bunch of us from the project team got sucked into playing." - Sandy Morton in rec.arts.int-fiction
- "Since D&D had not been circulated in 1972, Crowther could not have written ADVENT then, if this memory is correct. Chapter two of Dibbell's _My Tiny Life_ states that ADVENT was written in 1976, but I haven't found anything else to confirm that." - Travis Casey
- Don Woods put ADVENT on the PDP-10. This is the version everyone knows.
- Apple Computer is founded.
- Control Data Corporation buys the PLATO network.
- PLATO is up to PLATO V by now.
- "PLATO V was really just a microprocessor terminal (also known as a PPT..I have a manual at home someplace) that coexisted with the older hardwired terminals. It had some download and standalone capabilties, but was mostly used in a dumb role along with the older hardwired terminals (PLATO IV's). The PLATO network did not radically change as in previous PLATO editions. There were also several CRT versions produced with similar and standalone (microTutor) capabilities. Eventually emulators were written for apples, pcs, and others -- once VGA became an accepted standard (most VGA cards could be tweaked to display 512x512) and all old terminals were eventually replaced over the next decade. I gave mine away to a collector when I moved to San Diego in 1993...too heavy for me to lug around any more." - Eric Hagstrom
- Lebling & Blank start work on Zork on the PDP-10, inspired by ADVENT. They form a startup with some friends, called Infocom.
- "The original Zork, started in 1977, was written by me, Marc Blank (note spelling), Tim Anderson, and Bruce Daniels. Infocom wasn't founded until 1979. One source for Zork is that I was in the game D&D group, which was mostly BBN people, that Wil Crowther was in. Not at the same time, though; I think I actually replaced him when we dropped out. Zork was "derived" from Advent in that we played Advent, liked it, wished it were better, and tried to do a "better" one. There was no code borrowed, or anything like that, and we didn't meet either Crowther or Woods until much later." - Dave Lebling
- A new version of Dungeons & Dragons with simplified rules, later to be called "Basic Dungeons & Dragons", is published. It contains the first known use of the term "role-playing game".
- The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual is published.
- Kelton Flinn works on "the text-based amoeboid-like ancestor" to Air Warrior called AIR between 1977 and 1979.
- "If Air Warrior was a primate swinging in the trees, "AIR" was the text-based amoeba crawling on the ocean floor. But it was quasi-real time, multi-player, and attempted to render 3-D on the terminal using ASCII graphics. It was an acquired taste." - Kelton Flinn
- Roy Trubshaw begins MUD1 development. In the fall, he and Richard Bartle complete the first version, which runs on a PDP-10. The name, "multi user dungeon" refers to a variant of ADVENT known as DUNGEN.
- "I promised to get in touch with Roy Trubshaw and nail this "how did the D in MUD come to be there?" question once and for all. I've now done so, and having exchanged a few emails and jogged each other's memories, here's the Authorised Version:
The D came first.
As Roy says, "We wanted to call it something and DUNGEN was the best adventure game that we had played up until then. (I was never really very keen on Haunt!)". The D has always stood for "Dungeon" and the fact that the acronym was also a word was a secondary (though not unimportant) consideration. He didn't start with an acronym and work backwards; he wanted to write something that was like a multi-user DUNGEoN.
It wasn't the case that Roy thought Adventure games would be called "Dungeons", because even then they were being referred to in the context of ADVENTure. He might have named it after that program if it had been better than DUNGEoN, but it wasn't.
The "MUDD" title in the listing I have from 1979 was because someone else (Keith Rautenbach, an undergraduate in the year above Roy) went through commenting the code and put in two Ds, probably because he thought it was a reference to Dungeons & Dragons. It never was, and the file that refers to "MUDD" is itself called MUD.MAC (.MAC for the MACRO-10 assembly language).
My recollection of a gathering in Roy's flat where we discussed the name was false. We did have such a meeting, but we were talking about the map for the BCPL version of the game. Roy wasn't staying on campus in his second year, and another person at the meeting (Brian Mallett) didn't come to Essex University until Roy was in his 3rd year and I was in my second.
Roy also mentioned that he'd recently written something on this subject to Jerry Pournelle, who in a small part of a longer report on 2001's AAAS meeting (http://www.byte.com/column/BYT20010228S0009) had put "multi-user 'dungeons'" as an expansion of MUDs. Here's what Roy wrote to him:
"A totally minor quibble in a very interesting and succinct report on the AAAS meeting: MUD does stand for Multi-User Dungeon. There is no need to stick quotes around Dungeon.
I might have named it MUA after ADVENT(ure) [a text adventure popular on DEC-10s around the world] but a game called Dungeon appeared and saved me from trying to find a way to say MUA without sounding silly. There was also some slight influence from TSR's Dungeons and Dragons."
Dr Pournelle replied:
"Well, clearly you have a right to say it, but I used the quote marks because the guys at the conference clearly implied them after I asked. For some odd reason science people looking for grants aren't interested in being associated with dungeons with or without quote marks!"
Some things never change (sigh)."- Richard Bartle
- Alan Klietz writes Sceptre of Goth, also a mud system. These two developments were completely independent. Lauren Burka puts this date at 1979. Sceptre of Goth was also known as Empire for a while but is not generally referred to that way because of the numerous other games with the same name.
- AD&D Player Handbook published.
- Interestingly, according to Lauren Burka, early mud developers never played the game.
- Richard Bartle clarifies, "In my case, that's only true because AD&D wasn't out yet; I had played D&D quite a bit in 1976-8. The only real impact it made on MUD1 was the "levels" system, though, which I thought was a neat way to give players short-to-medium term goals. Roy Trubshaw knew about D&D and may have tried it once or twice, but I don't think he ever dived in deeply; he certainly never designed his own dungeons."
- Walter Bright's version of Empire makes it to the DEC-10.
- Somewhere in here, Oubliette on Plato.
- "Oubliette had a 3D wizardry style view of the dungeons (line drawings). Might have been the first on Plato to have that - Moria might have been but I'm not sure what the display style was." - Dr Cat.
- "When I was a little boy, I went and played in the basement of the Lawrence Hall of Science where they had a small number of primitive terminals (I can still remember the sound of the teletypes!). On those machines, you could (if I remember correctly) login to the "Plato" network. On that system was a primitive D&D-like game whose original name I can't remember, but it was renamed "Adventure" for a short while. The game was taken off of the Plato network, and I moved onto other things, as little boys are wont to do. I know it wasn't the classic text adventure, "Adventure," because it had Ultima I-like vector-based graphics for going into a dungeon, finding a Vampire or Balrog, and seeing its representation on screen. I remember some details about the game, like being ranked with other players based upon the success of your character." - Paul Forbes. I don't know which game this refers to. I have seen a graphical title screen for Moria.
- ""oubliette", the first group-oriented dungeon on Plato, was the model the early "Wizardry" series ripped off, and also predates Avatar. Spells were cast by typing their names (i.e. alito, fieminamor), and you had to type them as fast as possible to beat the monster. 1977?" - Eric Hagstrom
- "1974 is far too early for "Oubliette." Oubliette beta (e.g. very limited access list) was early spring, 1978 -- with unlimited access list that summer. Oubliette definitely predated Avatar; in fact, Avatar was supposed to be the "Oubliette buster." I'm thinking version 1 of Avatar was finished late 1978 or sometime in 1979 -- maybe even later." - Andy Zaffron
- Zork released as a standalone game by Infocom.
- The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Master's Guide is published.
- "Swarthmore summer" of specification and design amongst Ted, Roger Gregory, Mark Miller, Stuart Greene, Eric Hill, Roland King. Mark and Stuart develop General Enfilade Theory* from Model T; from this the 88.1 architecture* of Granfilade*, Spanfilade* and Poomfilade*. Between now and 1992 the XOC team (Roger Gregory, Mark Miller) build two major designs (neither productized): Udanax Green (formerly Xanadu 88.1, for its time of near-completion and shelving), Udanax Gold (formerly Xanadu 92.1, for the intended delivery date).
- S, the multiplayer space combat and colonization game by Kelton Flinn and John Taylor, is coded over the summer at the University of Virginia.
- MegaWars III was based on S.
- "'S' was written in BASIC and supported eight users on the HP-2000." - Kelton Flinn
- S used ASCII graphics.
- "Basic Dungeons & Dragons" and "Expert Dungeons & Dragons" are published.
- "This publication marks a split between "Dungeons & Dragons" and "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons", as TSR modifies the rules of BD&D to be less like AD&D. The split was made for legal reasons -- David Arneson, the co-creator of D&D, had left TSR and sued for royalties from D&D. TSR maintained that AD&D was a different game, and they therefore should not have to pay royalties to Arneson on it or its products. Maintaining this, however, required that they not replace D&D with AD&D, as had been their original intent. For this reason, TSR continued to produce both D&D and AD&D, and to change the two game lines to be different from each other, into the early '90's." - Travis S. Casey
- "Nsorcery was another cool Plato fantasy game, it existed by 1980 when I played it. It was 2D, tile based, and single player." - Dr Cat
- Empire introduces annual tournaments.
- Final version of MUD1 completed by Richard Bartle--Essex goes on the ARPANet, resulting in Internet muds!
- Steve Jackson releases Advanced Melee and Advanced Wizard, along with In The Labyrinth. The changes made from previous versions make the games into a roleplaying system.
- drygulch exists on PLATO by now.
- "Drygulch on Plato had a gold mine that served as the dungeon, it had a 3D line-drawing display like oubliette and avatar but I think it was fancier and would display more squares of the dungeon if walls were open to reveal them. The town had multiple shops that had 2D line art illustrating the inside of the shop. Among them were the sherrif's office and the jail. The sherrif could assign rewards for the capture of players that broke the law and administer the jail in some way. He was chosen by election, and easily removed by the "veto" of any one player - you could go into his office when he was logged off and shoot him dead, and not being online there was no way he could defend himself from that! It was all a cowboys and gold miners in the old west theme, if I didn't make that evident from the preceeding. No orcs or magic, there were some kinda varmints in the gold mines. Snakes and spiders and rats I think." - Dr Cat.
- "You list under 1984 that drygulch "exists on PLATO by now." While that is technically correct, it actually certainly earlier than that (IIRC by 1980 on CDC PLATO anyway [as opposed to CERL PLATO]). I played with w/ others in a friend's parent's basement on a PLATO terminal brought home by his father, who was a CDC employee. It was mentioned in a 1984 article by Antic magazine (though no dates of origination were given there)." - Mike Lindeland
- "Another PLATO game existing at that time (around 1980) was Panzerkrieg (sp?). You and an opponent would carry out extended campaigns against each other in a WWII simulation. Another was Wolfpack (German, American, and British multiplayer subs vs. destroyers)." - Mike Lindeland
- labyrinth also exists, but I know nothing about it.
- Kelton Flinn and John Taylor write Dungeons of Kesmai. It used ASCII graphics.
- "The summer of 1980 we wrote the game that became Dungeons of Kesmai, which supported six users on a souped-up Z-80." - Kelton Flinn
- They didn't know about MUD at the time. "No. The fantasy lineage started with the single player fantasy game written for the HP-2000 in BASIC during 1979-1980, basically extending a maze combat program I wrote earlier in 1979, to see if I could capture some of the essence of D&D. That game was rewritten in UCSD Pascal for the Z-80 running CPM, and as I mentioned, as that point became 6 user multi-player. Dungeons was the cut down single-player version of that game, still Pascal because CompuServe had a compiler. There was a TRS-80 Model 1 BASIC version in there also. At that time I hadn't even heard of Adventure yet. Of course by the time we were doing the Island late in 1980, I had seen Adventure and Zork, but we were heading off in our own direction by that time, a lot more action-oriented and very little puzzle-solving." - Kelton Flinn
- Atari starts trying to put PLATO on their eight-bits. But negotiations break down.
- "Plato was put on IBM PCs (as Plato Homelink?), with an emulator that reprogrammed the CGA card to do 512*256, which gave a passable scrunched reproduction of a 512*512 Plato screen. There was also an Apple II+ emulator made, but it was decided the quality was so poor it shouldn't be released as a product. A CDC employee who remembered me from the old days gave me a copy and I briefly used it to access Plato over my modem at 300 baud with a 280*192 display, the font scrunched to 3*5 pixels or so and barely legible. " - Dr Cat.
- Island of Kesmai is written by Kelton Flinn and John Taylor.
- "Island of Kesmai was written in 1980 and 1981, the goal being to soak up every bit of performance in the the CS department's new VAX. We succeeded." - Kelton Flinn
- "The look and feel of Dungeons actually did not change much, same basic screen layout and ASCII graphics from the first HP-2000 version through to the Island, but the addition of a quasi-natural-language parser in place of cryptic single character commands was done in the Island, and back-fitted when we did the Dungeons port to CompuServe, so that Dungeons would serve as a intro for the Island. The Island also introduced copious textual descriptions of things, whereas the earlier games relied on the ASCII graphics and terse combat results messages." - Kelton Flinn
- William Gibson publishes "Johnny Mnemonic" in Omni.
- Vernor Vinge publishes True Names.
- Kesmai is founded by Kelton Flinn & John Taylor.
- "In November 1981, John saw an ad for CompuServe, namely a MegaWars ad ("if you had written this, you'd be making $30,000 a month in royalties!" I think the ad said. Bill was actually trolling for new games!) That kinda got our interest, so we sent a copy of The Island of Kesmai manual to Bill Louden and also to The Source. Even though the game already ran on the Prime computers that the Source used, they never responded intelligibly. Louden on the other hand was interested. We tried to bring the original UNIX version of the Island of Kesmai up on CompuServe's DEC 20's, and chewed up $100,000 of CPU time (at the then commercial rate) in 3 days. We got it working, but as Bill said, the lights dimmed in Columbus when it was running. So we headed back to Charlottesville to retrench. The first step was porting the old Z-80 code, that became Dungeons of Kesmai, which was cut back to single-player (probably the only time in history a multi-player game was made into a single player game!)" - Kelton Flinn
- Teletel is created.
- "Minitel was the outgrowth of a French Government telecom project in the early 80's called the "Teletel" network. This went live in 1982. It wasn't until early 1984 that the Minitel service - "phone top boxes" in many french telephone customers homes, etc - went live." - Josh Kirkpatrick
- MegaWars I launches on Compuserve.
- According to S. Patrick Gallaty, the design of MegaWars I was based on that of Decwar.
- "Bill Louden, then at CompuServe, told me in 1989 or 1990 that he bought DECwar on tape for $50 in 1982 and turned it over to Kesmai for porting, and that the game did, indeed, become MegaWars I and then MegaWars III." - Jessica Mulligan.
- "The page says MegaWars I was done by us. Not so, the game was done in-house at CompuServe. Either Bill's or Jessica's memory is a bit off. John can probably confirm, I think Russ Ranshaw did the port of DecWars. The quote from Jessica implies MegaWars III was an outgrowth of MegaWars I, which isn't correct." - Kelton Flinn
- "(fyi MW2 was a specific version that used the Radio Shack Color computer to provide rudimentary graphics)" - John Taylor
- "...we dusted off an old coffee-stained printout of "S". We recoded tbe game in CompuServe's BASIC, enhanced the game some, incorporated some ideas Bill had, and rolled out MegaWars III in December 1983. It was an instant hit and stole a lot of MegaWars I's thunder. That enabled us to go back to the Island of Kesmai, rewrite it from Pascal into BASIC (a step backwards!) and rearchitect it for CompuServe." - Kelton Flinn
- The film WarGames is released.
- The first commercial version of MUD1 opens on Compunet in UK.
- Islands of Kesmai launches ($12 an hour!).
- AUSI, a predecessor company to Mythic, formes & launches Aradath for $40 a month.
- Atari finally puts PLATO on 8-bits. It has a $5/hour connect fee.
- Minitel goes live.
- A detailed history can be downloaded here.
- Sometime prior to 1984, John Sherrick writes Tradewars. It's similar to Star Traders, written in BASIC, and is for BBSes.
- "It's not known whether or not Sherrick was inspired by Star Traders, but I suspect this to be the case since they were both written in BASIC. Sherrick's Tradewars is developed in BASIC until December, 1989, when it is ported to C. I believe that Sherrick's earliest work was freeware, without any restrictions. It is because of this public domain code, and the Star Trader code, that so many TW variations have been and continue to be written. At some point, Sherrick closed his code, releasing it under the new name of Tradewars II. His version continues to be developed by John Morris, I am told." - John Pritchett, Tradewars history
- "Another BBS door game. This is such an influential game, at least to me. This was a multiplayer turn based space trading game with a bit of combat thrown it. You couldn't actually play this at the same time as another player. You had X amount of moves per day. When your moves ran out, somebody else got a turn. Yes it was persistent as your merchant and fleet were left in the game for other players to destroy or destroy them if they found you." - Jon Lambert
- Gary Martin starts work on TradeWars 2002 in this year. "Gary Martin, original author of Trade Wars 2002, states that his version of TW was inspired by Tradewars by Chris Sherrick, which was active in 1984 but not supported on the BBS he was running. In 1984, Gary decided to write his own version of the game simply because he wanted to run it under the BBS he was using. It's clear that Martin's version was inspired by Star Trader. In fact, the core trading system code still has the same variables as those found in the BASIC listing. It's also clear that Omnitrend's Universe was an inspiration for Gary's work where it deviated from Sherrick's, as many of the concepts in that game are identifiable in TW2002. There are also areas of the game that are taken directly from Sherrick's earliest BASIC code, before he and Morris closed it. In terms of technologies, names and places, Gary's version is derivative of both Star Trek and Star Wars.
Between the years of 1984 and 1990, Gary Martin and his wife, MaryAnn, took their version of TW, written in Turbo Pascal, through multiple versions, going from Trade Wars with 100 sectors, through TW2001 for the popular WWIV BBS, to TW2002 versions 1 and 2, adding the StarDock with its Tavern, Shipyard, Bank, Underground, Library, and Police Station, adding planetary Citadels, increasing the number of ship types, ramping sector count up to 5000, etc. By the time of TW2002v2, the Martins' version is much more than just the sum of its various influences. An interesting footnote: during this time Gary enlisted the help of Drew Markham to create several of the ANSI images used in the game. Drew Markham later went on to found Xatrix and create some successful titles including Redneck Rampage.
Sherrick's version was passed to John Morris during this time. He continued to improve that version of the game. Development diverged on these two games, taking place quite independently, so that both games are recognizable as having the same root, but are very much different in gameplay." - John Pritchett, Tradewars history
- Neuromancer is published, and the word cyberspace is coined.
- Islands of Kesmai on Compuserve
- "My memory says that Island of Kesmai went live on CompuServe on December 15, 1985, after a very long internal test. The price was actually $6 an hour for 300 baud, $12 for 1200 baud. Serious players paid the bucks." - Kelton Flinn
- Stellar Warrior (rewrite of MegaWars) launches on GEnie.
- "On the same day [as the launch of IOK], we rolled out Stellar Warrior on GEnie ($5 an hour for 1200 baud, raised a year or so later to $6.) Stellar Warrior was a cut down and simplified version of MegaWars III (not MegaWars), ported to FORTRAN." - Kelton Flinn
- GEnie launches at $6 an hour.
- "For example: On GEnie during 1991, our average MMOG customer spent $156 per month, the equivalent of 32 hours at $3 per hour to play. However, the hard core players averaged three times that and accounted for nearly 70% of the total revenue. The top 0.5% had truly astronomical bills, well over $1,000 per month." - Jessica Mulligan
- QuantumLink,, predecessor to AOL, launches in November.
- Habitat is developed by Randy Farmer and Chip Morningstar at Lucasfilm, as a product for QuantumLink. The client runs on a C64.
- Richard Bartle starts work on MUD2.
- Peter Langston creates PSL Empire, apparently as a single-player game. Not to be confused with the other game termed Empire that ran on PLATO and which was Star Trek based.
- "It was originally written on I -believe- a pdp 11, unknown OS. The thing that made it architecturally interesting was that it was designed to run in a server with a 64K code space limitation, and so it was broken up into 7 modules with user commands compiled into each of the 7 modules grouped together to try to minimize reloads. The original PSL Empire had an orthagonal map, which led to 'funny math' on moving diagonals. The fortran was run through a fortran to C processor, which is the format that I inherited it back in the mid 80's. I was the games adminitrator on M-net, which I believe was the first public access (free access) unix bbs..." - S. Patrick Gallaty.
- "while there might have been some single player Empire initially, the version I played on a Unix box in the mid 80s was multiplayer, with BTUs (Beaureaucratic (sp?) Time Units) that slowly accumulated in your capital. You could log on whenever during the day you wanted, execute "get info anout my empire" commands for free all you wanted... But you only could do so much "build this, change production, route this here, move that unit there, attack that" type commanding 'cause each command used BTUs. So someone logging on frequently didn't have as much advantage over someone who got on seldom. It had a lot of the attributes that got filed under your Plato Empire description. Mark Baldwin's Empire was much more streamlined and didn't take forever. (Maybe somebody somewhere actually finished a game of Unix Empire... Maybe not. I know people wrote shell scripts to automate a lot of the tasks involved in maintaining their empires because it was so much work!)" - Dr Cat.
- "Also Rabbitjack's Casino was the first graphic multiplayer online game from QuantumLink for the C-64 (1985 or 1986, maybe?) and was later ported to the PC for America Online." - Dr Cat.
- "This was developed by Rob Fulop's company (name forgotten) and Ernest Adams was involved." - Jessica Mulligan
- "The "(name forgotten)" Rob Fulop's company (for Rabbitjack's Casino) was Advanced Program Technology. I worked on the sound player code for this project back in 1985. 1985-1986 sounds about right for when the game was launched. Rob Fulop was earlier the author of many Atari 2600 games, including Demon Attack and Night Driver." - Dan Peri
- xtrek, the predecessor to Netrek, is released.
- "Xtrek and Netrek are essentially Plato Empire with a much higher frame rate (in the animating range, rather than one frame every 2-10 seconds!) Computers got a lot faster from 1972 to 1986. There've been various refinements and new features (like the motionless starbase type of "ship"), but the basic gameplay and mechanics and commands are pretty close to Plato Empire." - Dr Cat.
- Jessica Mulligan does first play by email game on commercial online server: Rim Worlds War.
- Air Warrior hits pre-alpha.
- MUD2 launches in the UK as a pay-for-play service.
- UCSD Empire, by Dave Pare, made Langston's Empire a multiplayer game.
- MTrek is first run.
- "MTrek ('Multi-Trek') was up and running at University of California at Santa Cruz from 1986 through the early 90's. At least through 93. Mainly through the good graces of then-sysadmin Tim Garlick, who designated ucscb.ucsc.edu as a 'social and games' system and thereby created an entire community. There was an author-endorsed variant called 'S&MTrek' (supposedly standing for 'Sean and Madonna Trek') hosted by Jon Luini (IUMA founder) at gorn.com, back when Jon worked for SCO." - Jame Scholl
- Macromind (later Macromedia) releases Dave Lebling's game MazeWars based on the 1974 game Maze.