Dear Fellow Trade Warriors,
Ten years – WOW.
When I started this site, I’ll be the first to admit I did it out of wanting recognition. That was my primary motivation. I had just gone onto the original Stardock BBS and kicked everyone’s ass with my corp, Dominance Enterprises!, a corp comprised of a few guys you may have heard of – Ripclaw, Retaliator, and Guardian. It took 30 or so of the Tradewars “Elite” to gang up on us to get us out. It’s a fact I’m still proud of to this day. My buddies and I became famous overnight, so why not start a website and capitalize?
sidenote – yes, the “elite” of Tradewars has been an issue for well over 10 years. I’ve beaten them, been them, accused of being them, told I couldn’t be one, told I’d never be one, was appointed the king of them, etc.
It’s been a long, sometimes very hard ride, to get where I am today. A ton of websites has come, gone or been forgotten. Remember The War Room, TW Gazette, TW Links, Egroups Tradewars_2002, Boo Inc., TW League, and my favorite, Mana Knight’s Tradewars.org?. But The Stardock is still here, still updating, still alive, still collecting muchas hits.
I’ve met and talked to a lot of good people along the way. Such as John Pritchett, Guardian, Bad Girl, Ripclaw, Maverick, Artemis, Lord Chaos, hELLCAT, Ghost Ryder, Timberwolf, Peacemaker, the reverend, Aitvo, Traitor, Stonewall, Hosem, Gypsy, Kitty Moon, Kemper3, Xide, earth, Bud, Jackal, Tweety, Prestone, Kavanaugh, Nazwes Chaiwind, Adomma, Attila, River Rat, Jack Box, Last Starfighter, Epicenter & Sir Lancelot.
Then there have been those that helped me administer this site over the years, like Fuseblown, The Mad Hatter and cbs228. Fuseblown merged his popular website, Tradewars.ws, with mine. He then ran the site solo for quite some time. The Mad Hatter is nearly solely responsible for my huge file archive. cbs228 helped me write TWGS Search, which has been far and away this site’s most popular feature over the past decade.
I remember all those nights of 4 am externs with both fondness and disdain. I’d get my butt up, along with my corpies, to patrol the lanes and mop up the cloaks. It was both fun and exhausting. I had a hard time holding a few jobs before I learned how to manage it. I also kicked a lot of tail because of it.
I remember how the phrase “we need more fighters” got stuck in my head for months like a catchy song lyric. I was constantly analyzing a game, figuring out what percentage of a game’s fighters my corp had. Trying to figure out on past experience what another corp might have. Today, there is a huge body of research on how the game works. A lot of that started back in the late 90’s when the first creds-per-warp calculations were done. My good buddy Retaliator was a master of knowing how a universe was laid out and where we’d most likely find our enemies. I was great at figuring out how good my enemies were and outstrategizing them. Trade Wars was always on my mind.
I remember releasing the first useful Telemate scripts on the internet. People ran with them and they got better. Years later, I did the same for ZOC’s REXX scripts. I can still find credits and remnants of my code in scripts downloaded today. That’s shocking considering how long ago I made those, and how antiquated they really are compared to today’s scripts.
I remember writing my own BBS software to emulate MajorBBS. I was originally helping out Aitvo (Andrew Wyatt) with his FusionGS. But Andrew and I get along like brothers too close in age-fighting friends. We got into an argument, which caused me to go it alone. We’re buddies again now. We had a lot of good times together talking Perl and Linux. I learned a LOT from him, so much that I went from being a computer tech to Perl programmer, then to Linux administrator and then to manager of my department. Thanks to Aitvo, I had a running start in my career.
I remember having a ton of long, long conversations with John Pritchett over TWGS. When TWGS first came out, people didn’t care for it. It wasn’t like HVS’s version for Major BBS. I convinced JP to create an MBBS-compatible mode to bridge the gap, and that’s why you see it in TWGS software today. I opened The Home Sector TWGS specifically to help JP bug-fix. I was constantly installing pre-release versions of TWGS to help fix bugs. For my efforts, JP donated money when I needed help keeping things running and even named a port after me. If you ever see a port with the name “Agustin” in it, that’s my port.
I remember the Trade Wars Convention (pics here). Actually getting to meet people you’ve already known for years is ODD, to say the least. It was impossible to convey to people what that is like until you’ve done it. Nowadays, knowing and conversing with people you’ve never actually met is common in today’s internet-run world. But in 2000, it impossible for most people to comprehend how that could be.
I remember many nights talking with Mana Knight over who was an idiot, who wasn’t, Mana starting the TW Web Page Union, that page envolving into tradewars.org, my TWGS opening at twgs.tradewars.org, and Mana’s hilarious wit. I actually got to meet Mana a few years ago when he was in San Jose at Gamecon. The past two years I’ve missed him while he was near. I always regret that. Mana’s a riot and it’s cool to hang with an old buddy.
I remember when DE! stopped playing TW, a new corp emerged that was to some, the greatest corp yet… the Black Nights. Maverick- CEO, Artemis, Lord Chaos, Ripclaw (yes, DE!’s Ripclaw), Kujo. Overall those years, when DE! was playing, BK was breaking, or vice versa, For many years Mav and I circled each other like two pit fighters but never heard the bell. In the end, Mav and I actually corped together for a little while. Maverick is supremely intelligent. I knew him as a good man. He is also remembered for making the single biggest donation ever to The Stardock in the form of a very, very expensive P3 1ghz CPU at a time when Intel had no better chips.
I remember being inducted into the TW Hall of Fame. I was one of the first, something I’ll always be proud of. I was once the “Godfather of TW” (huh Space Ghost?). Now I’ve been out of the discussions for years. There’s a whole crop of players won’t don’t know me from John Doe. They’ve never played against me, played a game run by me, or been part of a forum thread dominated by me. I’m just kind of this name running this somehow-relevant website for God-knows-what-reason. And I’m finally OK with that.
Personally, so much has happened in the past 10 years it’s almost scary to think how much will change in the next 10. When I started The Home Sector website, which if you didn’t know is was the former name of this site, my life was in heavy flux. Just months earlier, I found out my girlfriend (now wife) was pregnant. I had moved two hours north from Clovis CA, to Modesto, CA to find work. I spent about a year there before we moved back to Clovis. In 2000, I married the love of my life, Monica (aka Eleqtra). In 2002, we had another child (how fitting, right?).
Over the years I’ve collected too many hobbies. Weight-lifting, cars, motorcycles, computers, guitar, gardening, I’ve gained weight, lost weight, put on muscle, gained weight again. I went from being thin to a toad, to a running back, now a small linebacker. I’ve crashed my motorcycle, met many celebrities (I work in the music industry), woken up in the middle of country rodes drugged, been robbed in a strip club and did a lot of really good deeds I’m proud of but won’t talk about.
As for the future of The Stardock, it’ll keep on trucking. EIS is slowly rolling out Jumpgate, which might make TWGS Search redundant someday. I often think about what I’ll do next. There are features on this site that either unactivated, unnoticed or underused. Maybe that’ll keep SD current, I don’t know.
I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.
Thanks for the memories…so far!