Inside TradeWars - History - Timeline

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Timeline

  • 1957 : French film maker Albert Lamorisse invents RISK.
  • 1972 : Hunt the Wumpus, a text-based maze game, is developed by Gregory Yob at University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.
  • 1972 : Hunt the Wumpus is published in P.C.C.'s Newsletter volume 2, number 2 in November.
  • 1974 : Star Trader by Dave Kaufman is published in P.C.C.'s volume 2, number 3 newsletter in January.
  • 1975 : A book called "WHAT TO DO AFTER YOU HIT RETURN or P.C.C.'s First Book of Computer Games" is published in January. It contains reprints of both Star Trader and Hunt the Wumpus from the earlier P.C.C. newsletters.
  • 1984 : TradeWars, the original multiplayer space trader, is released by Chris Sherrick. Though many believe he was influenced by DECWAR or MegaWars, Sherrick has said that he was not familiar with either game at the time. Instead, the game is conceived as a cross between Star Trader, the board game Risk, and Hunt the Wumpus. It is written in BASIC, first for the TRS-80 Model 2 (unknown BBS), and then later ported to the PC to run under the Nochange BBS system. This initial TW version has 60 sectors. With the ability to attack other players, it is among the first multiplayer BBS doors.
  • 1985 : TradeWars 2 is released. Improvements over TradeWars 1 include 99 sectors, an evil alien race called the Cabal, and planets (though of only one type).
  • 1986 : John Morris joins Chris Sherrick to work on TradeWars 2. His initial task is to port the Nochange version of TW2 to RBBS-PC. A year later, when Sherrick leaves for college, Morris takes over all TW 2 development. He releases two new versions, TW200 (aka TW3) and TW500, the number indicating the new maximum sector counts. When other unofficial versions begin to appear using this naming convention, Morris reverts to TradeWars 2.x to avoid confusion.
  • 1986 : TW 2/QuixPlus Version is released in September. It is a port of Morris' TW 200 (aka TW 3) BASIC code to Pascal for Apokolips BBS (WWIV) by Lord Darkseid. Further modifications were made by Sorcerer (aka Alex and Droogs), Supreme Dalek, The Omega Man, and Preston Stroud, with many new features added in July, 1987 by Quixotic Software.
  • 1986 : TradeWars 2001 by Gary Martin opens on Castle RavenLoft in December. Martin had acquired a copy of the TradeWars 2/QuixPlus version, as well as Sherrick's original BASIC code, in order to port the game to the Genesis BBS. By popular demand, he then converts the game to WWIV, and releases it to the public. In this early version, Martin replaces the Romulans with Ferrengi, Clark Kent with a Federation StarShip, and adds some other new features.
  • 1987 : TradeWars 1000 by Alan Davenport is released. Because he initially calls the game TW2 1000T, many believe it is the followup release of Morris' TW2 500T (500 sectors with teams). Many sysops mistakenly go to Morris for support, prompting Morris to ask Davenport to change the name of his game or stop the distributions.
  • 1987 : Galactic Armageddon is written by Andrew Vega and others. The initial release is called TW 4: Universal Armageddon, and it is a mod of the QuixPlus pascal codebase. The final version, called TW 5: Galactic Armageddon, was released in 1988.
  • 1989 : Galactic Warzone is written by Scott Baker.
  • 1990 : Yankee Trader is released by Alan Davenport in February. It is followed by YT 2 in July 1990, and YT 3 in late 1991. Yankee Trader is initially a rebranding of TW 1000 but with few new features. Many fictional elements are changed, further distancing YT from its TradeWars 2 roots.
  • 1991 : TradeWars 2002 v1 is released by Martin in June. TW 2002 is a complete rewrite of TW 2001, and numerous features are added. v1.03 is released 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.
  • 1991 : Ultimate Universe by Garth Bigelow is released in June. It is a descendant of Galactic Warzone. In May, 1994, UU 2 is released.
  • 1992 : Planets: The Exploration of Space by Seth Robinson, author of Legend of the Red Dragon, is released. He describes it as "a kind of simplified TradeWars meets LORD."
  • 1993 : TradeWars 2002 v2 is released by Martin in May. Version 2 0.93, the final restricted beta version, is released in December of '93, followed almost immediately by the first wide beta, v2b1. The final v2 wide beta, A, is released in 1996.
  • 1994 : TradeWars 2002 v2 for MMBS, by High Velocity Software, is released. From this point until the HVS version ceases development, new features are added to both versions of TW 2002 in parallel.
  • 1994 : Iron Ox is released by Joel Downer in February.
  • 1994 : Outpost Trader, by Greg Watts (MegaWatts Computing), is released. It is a fork of TW based on Martin's TW2002 v1.03d which was widely played while TW2002 v2 was in beta. A group of TW players and gameops, many of whom contributed to Iago's War Manual, are credited with inspiration and play testing. Among them is Joel Downer.
  • 1997 : TradeWars 2002 v3 is released by Martech in April. It was developed by John Pritchett, who had joined Martech in 1995 to support the game. It is the first interactive version of DOS TradeWars, and incorporates many of the features found in the multiplayer HVS version.
  • 1998 : TradeWars 2002 v2.03a, the last known HVS build, is released in January, 1998.
  • 1998 : TWGS v1 is released in April by EIS, Pritchett's newly formed company. It is 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.
  • 1999 : TWGS v1.01 is released in April by EIS. It includes the first 32 bit version of TW 2002. Development continues on this version through 2010.
  • 2000 : Martech sells its rights to TradeWars 2002 to Pritchett's company, EIS, in April.
  • 2000 : TradeWars: Dark Millennium. In October, Pritchett is contacted by Realm Interactive, a start-up game company in Phoenix, that wishes to use the TradeWars name on an MMORTS they are developing. A contract is signed, and Realm Interactive begins promoting the game as a TradeWars spin-off.
  • 2002 : In July, TW: Dark Millennium is picked up by NCsoft. The company is based in South Korea, and the US division, Destination Games, is headed by Richard and Robert Garriott, formerly of Origin Systems.
  • 2002 : In October, Realm hires Joe Madureira, a well known comic book artist (Battle Chasers, Uncanny X-Men, and others). By this time, Realm has changed the vision of their game from a space trader to a role playing game that lacks any trader elements. The title soon changed to Exarch.
  • 2003 : Exarch, originally TradeWars: Dark Millennium, is cancelled by NCsoft. It is later revived as a dungeon hack called Dungeon Runners.
  • 2006 : TradeWars Tournament is designed by John Pritchett. EIS contracts with a Canadian company to develop the game, but his vision is set aside in favor of a browser-based design. Though EIS and Pritchett have nothing to do with the game that is eventually published, the developer is allowed to continue using the TradeWars name.
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