Before you get too far, I suggest you go grab yourself a cup of coffee or a pop, keep your pack of cigarettes close at hand if you smoke. Better yet, a twelve-pack of Budweiser would do nicely…
I first talked with Aitvo on November 17 or 18 (can’t remember which) via ICQ after he sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like my website to be hosted on Intergate. I jumped at the chance, and since then I’d like to think that I’ve developed a unique friendship with him. Andrew impressed me by his patience. After I first moved Kitty’s Playground to Intergate’s web server I had hundreds of questions, and he spent countless hours talking me through setting up scripts, changing file and directory permissions, etc., etc. I wouldn’t even try to count the amount of time he spent helping me get my site off the ground.
I have the utmost respect for Aitvo and have always been personally disgusted with the treatment (or lack thereof at times) he’s received within the Trade Wars community. Even before this interview we’d talked several times about the little nuances of the Trade Wars scene, and how wrong a lot of those nuances were. I don’t know a single–and that means zero, zilch, nada, not a single damn one–SysOp that was as dedicated, as patient, as helpful, as brilliant, and yes, even as cute 😉 as Aitvo. As far as I’m concerned he has always had the best system, and I doubt that any other board or SysOp could even come close to duplicating what he had.
|When Aitvo walked away from the Trade Wars community, that very community lost a very dedicated member. Someone who went out of their way to provide a good, dupe-free environment to play the game, but more importantly, someone who was willing to stand up for his friends and associates, as was the case during the flame war that started during the Vegas Convention.Like other members of this “so-called” community, I’ve seen Aitvo get very little of the respect he’s earned and deserves. I’ve seen no thanks… no nothing. In some ways, its as if he was never there, and that’s just totally disturbing to me. Actually, it’s downright frustrating and makes me madder than hell, as I’m very protective of people I consider friends. After he informed me he was leaving the community, I asked for an interview… this is it.|
It’s Andrew’s hope, and mine to, that some of you will take the following to heart–really read what’s being said and listen to it. The chances of this are slim, in my own opinion, and coincidentally enough, in Aitvo’s as well, but there’s always a chance one person might figure it out.
Kitty Moon: How did the move go? Are you enjoying yourselves in sunny florida?
Aitvo: The move has gone very well, though I am behind schedule getting my systems back on the net at least three weeks, it’s perfect here though, it was 86 yesterday 😉
Kitty Moon: When did intergate first go online and in what form? Had the Fusion GS system already been developed at that time?
Aitvo: Intergate first went online in the form of intergate.dyndns.com. It was actually a project that I started while I was on assignment at Anthem, Inc. I was bored out of my mind with Y2K stuff, and a few friends and I thought it would be cool to set up a Trade Wars server. It all started on a 486/33 running Oblivion BBS and Trade Wars v3.09 doors. All served off of a 28.8k modem! LoL! It later later went to a TWGS package, still hosted on that same 28.8k modem. Around December of 1999 my dyndns.com account was about to expire. I started working on Fusion in September or October of 1999. I do remember working on the code in the hospital while Amber was being born! Heh. And that was October of 1999. I had v0.09 ready in early November–the first production copy. I originally toyed with the Fusion idea in order to preven dupers from invading my system. Around December of 1999 my dyndns.com account was about to expire. I just managed to get a cable modem installed, and I had just taken Timberwolf on as my game-op and Fusion went live.
Kitty Moon: What was the highlight of running Intergate after you got it off the ground?
Aitvo: My high point was back about a year ago when we were rolling in users. We were the Number Two server on the world wide web. Most times we had more users online than Home Sector. [Ed. Nots: The Home Sector has since been renamed to The Stardock.]
Kitty Moon: But it didn’t last… it was in June of 2000 when you were hacked?
Aitvo: That sounds right. I left a hole open in bind (the name server). The hacker waltzed right in and left a gaping hole in my hard drive. At that point I closed up shop for a while and rebuilt–and for the first time pondered the thought of ever returning to the scene.
Kitty Moon: Okay, that leads me to ask… When, how and why did you decide to bring Intergate back up after that?
Aitvo: I was constantly getting requests to put my system back up so users could get back into the games. I had a few long conversations with Cruncher, Skipper, and a few others, and I did miss hosting the big games. So I just decided to bring it all back. I rebuilt the Fusion server, the TWGS server, and put it all back on the net. Almost immediately after re-opening I started having to filter users out of my email, and add users to my ICQ ignore list because I was getting sometimes 30-40 ICQ’s nightly requesting and even demanding that I put some of the old games I hosted back up, as well as new ones that didn’t even run in DOSEmu. It became a instant nightmare.
Kitty Moon: Okay, so you’ve got people harassing you for the old games and you have your servers back online… what was the turnout for reopening Intergate like? Was it what you expected it would be?
Aitvo: Hell no! There were four people that showed up for the grand re-opening. It had definitely become a dead system since I re-opened it. I think 8 concurrent users was the most I ever saw online in the last seven months. Not only that, but my autoban list was 30+ internet addresses the last time I looked. That means that there had been 30 subnets that had been banned in seven months. I mean, come on, the rules are right there in black and white! LoL!
Kitty Moon: And this is after many people asked you to reopen?!?
Kitty Moon: Okay, a while back I asked what the high point of running Intergate was. After the reopening did this become the low point?
Aitvo: Actually there were two low points. The first is the one time I asked for donations for a server upgrade. Out of over 1,000 users, we received four donations totalling twenty dollars. Over the entire history of Intergate, only two people have donated hardware–Space Ghost and Colonel Sanders. The second low point, of course, was the day my server was hacked.
Kitty Moon: During the Vegas Convention that many prominent players attended, a flame war broke out in the tw2002 egroups, and you took a lot of heat during that time standing up for several different players…
Aitvo: Oh, yeah… didn’t get any thank you’s over that either, except from Speedy. I was so pissed at the community for not backing me until EleqTrizi’T showed up in support, and then everyone fell in line behind him. That was the second time I seriously considered leaving the scene.
Kitty Moon: You started the new tradewars_2002 Egroup back in October, if I remember correctly, for a variety of reasons, including that flame war. Has the new group lived up to your expectations as far as content, and the original idea behind the split.
Aitvo: The tradewars_2002 forum was pretty dead when I first created it. No one really joined it until I handed it over to EleqTrizi’T. That gave me a very good impression of my standing within the community. I really expected better out of the users. When Eleq took the helm then people filled it like crazy. But to answer your question, it is exactly what I wanted it to be: users can discuss Trade Wars without having to wade through pages of crap.
Kitty Moon: In your opinion, what one thing or person has affected Trade Wars the most in a positive way?
Aitvo: John Prichett–he is the man. He is the single reason Trade Wars is still around. Without his constant attention and focus on finishing and debugging the game, it would have died by now. It’s people like John that made it an honor to host Trade Wars. After John I would have to say Cruncher is the second most important person as she has been the lead Beta Tester for a long time, and has worked very hard to assist John.
Kitty Moon: On the flip side, what one thing has affected Trade Wars in the most negative way?
Aitvo: The users not seeing past their noses. If they would take their heads out of their asses, quit leeching off their sysops, and give something back, even if its nothing more than a thank you, Trade Wars would be a better game for it.
Kitty Moon: Okay, from the guy who got most of the credit for starting the Vegas Con flame war, and was generally disliked by many of the prominent Trade Wars players, to an almost overnight wonder after going on the air… What’s your take on Soul now?
Aitvo: I don’t think anything has changed there. He still comes off the same way to me. I don’t think he’s a bad guy… I think we definitely got off on the wrong foot. There was a definite motive in the creation of the radio station. It was a very strategic move. I don’t want to start any wars, but I saw announcements of TW radio stations before Soul started one–he was just the first to get it off the ground. I listened for a few hours last night, and I doubt I’ll listen again. It’s way too narrow-minded (no offense Soul, it’s half the interveiwees’ faults), and the music just isn’t my style either. Haha. The only thing I got out of last night’s show was that EleqTrizi’T is a god. We all know what he’s done already… can we get on now? That’s another one of the biggest reasons I quit. Yes, Eleq is a great guy, and he has done a hell of a lot for the Trade Wars scene, but everyone needs to wake up and see that he isn’t the only “TW God.” (No offense, E!) Everyone that has added to Trade Wars, be it the guy that discovered MegaRob or SST’ing, or the guy that said, “Hey, Gary, Merchant Cruiser is a cool name, maybe you should use it…” They’re all VIP’s in my eyes. Take Abraxus for example… I hear he has one hell of a dupe catching program, but I have yet to see anyone put him up on the pedestal where he belongs for his contributions. Actually, I think it was your place where I saw the first TW Radio announcement.
Kitty Moon: Heh, yes it was. Grrr… Anyways, from the net radio idea to the latest rounds of web site mergers, what’s your take on the latest Trade Wars bandwagons?
Aitvo: I think it’s great to see that some of the sites out there that don’t tend to have much content are getting together to build bigger and better sites. I’m all for teamwork, and it looks like these mergers are building some good things. Looking at thestardock.com and tradewars.ws merger, this is a good thing for Fuse and Eleq both. tradewars.ws lost its luster when tradewars.com opened (not the content, but the name). Merging with thestardock.com resolved that problem, and added more ideas to the overall result. In the process it lets Eleq free up to beta test, and develop BBS modules where I’m sure he wants to be right now.
Kitty Moon: And speaking of mergers, I know the announcement of the merger between Intergate and The Stardock took me by surprise, as I was still expecting Intergate to resume operation once you got settled down in Florida. What can you tell me about that?
Aitvo: Joining up with thestardock.com was a very strategic move for me. It allows me to put the latest Fusion GS code to the ultimate test–72 users online and it hasn’t batted an eye yet. It also frees me up to move Intergate to a commercial site like I wanted to. 😉
Kitty Moon: Out of curiousity what do you think of the Trade Wars: Dark Millenium spin-off?
Aitvo: I really can’t comment on it as I don’t know much about it, other than that the screenshots I’ve seen look like a game I would definitely be interested in playing. 🙂
Kitty Moon: Well, I think I’ll bring this to a close here. One last question though… Any last words for the Trade Wars community?
Aitvo: Naah, no one would listen anyway. Haha. Seriously, though, users need to wake up and realize that they need to do more for the community than just piss and moan when a server goes down. On the other hand, the “clique” needs to wake up or break up… they are causing more harm than good to Trade Wars as a whole. And there’s another huge problem with the community. A good example being that no one is arguing Todd’s post. [Ed. Note: Todd is Timberwolf.] Only myself, you and Speedy. No one cares about anything but playing. If all the servers go away, “Oh well, we’ll play something else,” seems to be the general feeling of it. It’s pretty sad.
<Andrew Wyatt, aka Aitvo, EXITS stage left>
<Fade to black as curtain falls on a very important part of Trade Wars history>