TradeWars Timeline Data

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{TWTimeline|1966|Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek debuts on television. Many of the fictional elements of TW variants are based on Star Trek.}}

{TWTimeline|1974|Empire, a multiplayer space empire game based on Star Trek, opens on PLATO. It supports 32 players.}}

{TWTimeline|1974|DECWAR, another Star Trek-based game, is created for VAX/VMS.}}

{TWTimeline|1977|George Lucas' Star Wars debuts in movie theaters. Star Wars is the second major influence behind the fiction of TW variants.}}

{TWTimeline|1983|MegaWars is opened on CompuServe. The design, according to S. Patrick Gallaty, is based on DECWAR.}}

{TWTimeline|1984|Several games called Star Trader and variations for various systems were released at about this time. Among them, Star Trader by Steve Hartford, published by Computerware for the Tandy (TRS80) Color Computer, and Star Trader by Bug-Byte for the Commodore 64. These are stand-alone games, but follow the basic space trader model.}}

{TWTimeline|1989|Morris releases the first C version of TW 2. It offers online chatting, and realtime combat against other players and the Cabal. He removes the code from public domain, and all future versions of the code are closed.}}

{TWTimeline|1989|Martin opens the Metropolis BBS, an MBBS system, out of his home in Lawrence, Kansas. He begins to consider an MBBS port of Trade Wars. Metropolis soon grows to have 40+ lines and access from Kansas City.}}

{TWTimeline|1991|Martin releases TW 2002 v1.00 in June. TW 2002 is a complete rewrite of TW 2001, and numerous features are added. v1.03 releases in July, and it remains active until August of '92 when a patch, v1.03d, is released. v1.03d remains the standard version while Gary works on TW 2002 v2 over the next year.}}

{TWTimeline|1992|The first 32 bit version of TW2 is released by Morris. Also, a multithreaded 32 bit version for OS/2 2.0 is released.}}

{TWTimeline|1992|Martin contracts with High Velocity Software, a developer of MBBS games and utilities, to create a version of TW 2002 for the Major BBS. This is the first truly interactive version of the game. All previous versions were persistent and multiplayer, but only allowed a single player in the game at a time. HVS introduces a number of new elements to the game, with Martin's collaboration, to support the demands of multiplayer play. Development continues until release in 1994}}

{TWTimeline|1993|Martin releases TW 2002 v2 in May. v2 0.93, the final restricted beta version, is released in December of 93, followed almost immediately by the first wide beta, v2b1.}}

During development of TW v2, Gary enlists the help of Drew Markham to create the ANSI ship images and all of the Cinema animation scenes in the game. Drew Markham later goes on to found Xatrix and create some successful titles including Redneck Rampage. Xatrix later changes its name to Gray Matter Studios where Drew and his crew release Return to Castle Wolfenstein. You may recognize Drew's name in Trade Wars 2002 v2 as one of the ship manufacturers, Markham Space Tech.}}

{TWTimeline|1993|Iago's War Manual and the TW 2002 Bible are released. Both are compilations of valid tactics and bug cheats for TW 2002 v1 gathered from Fido and other sources. Iago's War Manual is compiled by Jim Bianchi, and the TW 2002 Bible is compiled by Justin Curry.}}

{TWTimeline|1993|Morris discontinues development of TW2.}}

{TWTimeline|1994: Martin releases TW 2002 v2b5 in February. Beta 5 remains active for over a year while the Martins are busy with other projects.}}

{TWTimeline|1994|HVS releases their version of TW 2002. From this point until the HVS version ceases development, new features are added to both versions of TW 2002 in parallel.}}

{TWTimeline|1994|Martin sells Metropolis BBS to Multi Service, a Kansas City based company, at the advising of Ed McCullough. Gary and Mary Ann Martin are hired by Multi Service to host the BBS, and Ed is named head of the new BBS department. Metropolis soon grows to include each city of the Big 12 college conference. It eventually changes its name to Gameport and diversifies its mission to include game development and sales, game hosting, and general online entertainment. In 1998, Multi Service purchases Legends of the Red Dragon and TEOS from Seth Robinson.}}

{TWTimeline|1994|Slice's War Manual is compiled and released by Harold Weiss between TW2002 v2 beta 5 and beta 6. It is an updated manual of TW 2002 v2 game tactics, similar to Iago's War Manual, again compiled from various online sources.}}

{TWTimeline|1995|John Pritchett joins Gary and Mary Ann Martin and takes over debugging of TW 2002. Martin releases TW 2002 v2b6 in May.}}

{TWTimeline|1996|Pritchett and the Martins leave Multi Service to begin work on a new space opera project. The game is extensively designed, but work never begins. Because TW v2 is still in beta, it is agreed that Pritchett should attempt to write a final version of the game, adding multiplayer features. Pritchett begins work on this new version, and the new project is shelved.}}

{TWTimeline|1997|Martech releases Pritchett's multiplayer version of TW 2002, TWv3.00, in April. It incorporates many of the features found in the multiplayer HVS version, but runs under any DOS BBS system.}}

{TWTimeline|1998|Martech releases Pritchett's Gold add-on for TW 2002 as part of TWv3.06, in March. In December, Martech releases TWv3.09.}}

{TWTimeline|1998|In December, Pritchett starts his own company, EIS, and releases TWGSv1.00, a TCP/IP game management system that hosts the latest version of TW2002, v3.10. TW 2002 is no longer supported under DOS BBSs. It is ported to a Windows 16 bit executable that interfaces directly with TWGS. }}

{TWTimeline|1999|TWGSv1.01/TWv3.11, the current major revision of TWGS and Trade Wars 2002, is released. This is the first truly 32 bit version of TW 2002. This version is still under development. The minor revision is up to 55 as of this writing.}}

{TWTimeline|2000|Martech sells TW 2002 to Pritchett's company, EIS, in April.}}

{TWTimeline|2000|In October, Pritchett is contacted by Realm Interactive, a start-up game company in Phoenix, that wishes to use the Trade Wars name on their new game. A contract is signed, and Realm Interactive gives their game the working title of Trade Wars: Dark Millennium.}}

{TWTimeline|2002|In July, TW: Dark Millennium is picked up by NCsoft (publisher of Lineage), a major player in online game development. The company is based in Korea, and the US division is headed by Richard and Robert Garriott, formerly of Origin.}}

{TWTimeline|2002|In September, Pritchett is invited to join the Realm team for 6 months on the TW:DM project. He accepts the opportunity and relocates to Phoenix for the winter.}}

{TWTimeline|2002|In October, Realm hires Joe Madureira, a well known comic book artist (Battle Chasers, Uncanny X-Men, and others). His distinct style transforms the visuals of the game. By this point, development of the game has diverged from the original Trade Wars influences. Because of this, it is mutually agreed that the Trade Wars association should be dropped. The game title is changed to Exarch.}}

{TWTimeline|2003| In March, NCsoft officially announces the Exarch project. Pritchett returns home and begins work on independent projects, including future plans for Trade Wars.}}


Variants

  • TW (1983)
  • TW 2 (1984)
  • TW 2 200 (TW3) (1985)
  • TW 2 500T (1986)
  • TW 2 QP (1986)
  • TW 1000T (1987)
  • TW 4 (GA) (1987)
  • TW 5 (GA2) (1989)
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