In 1987 (maybe 1988) I played an adventure game on the TRS-80 (COCO II)
put out by Radio Shack. The game was called Bedlam and I was hooked. In
Bedlam, you play the role of a mental patient. I have forgotten most of
what I remembered about it. I think it was more serious and dark though.
In late January of 1995, I became a BBS-addict. After being hooked for only
a few days, I vowed to figure out how to write a BBS “door” game of my own.
I had no idea where to start, but I found a few reference texts and a good
QuickBASIC communications library and set to work. I had been programming
games for several years at this point, so by by mid-March I was able to
complete the first version of my first BBS game -- Lunatix 1.0a. It drew
from my memories of Bedlam, borrowing the play style (and pretty much
every major situation) of the popular BBS game “LORD” (Legend of the Red
Dragon, originally by rtsoft.
Much to my surprise (and delight), Lunatix was a hit. I continued to improve
it through the rest of the year, and it really bloomed into a nice game. It
didn't see the success of giants like Trade Wars, BRE, or the big-dog itself
(LORD), but it did well.
In October of 1995, circumstances brought me out of Oklahoma and into
Wichita, Kansas. I found a large BBS with telnet and lots of lines
(CONNECTions at bbs.cxo.com)
and was hooked on BBS'ing once again. Unfortunately, it was a WorldGroup
system without the capability for running my game.
The sysops of CONNECTions turned out to be great people with a good eye
for business opportunities. After being approached by them about converting
Lunatix to a native WorldGroup module, I accepted. I enlisted the help of
my best friend (Anna Kasl) to assist with ANSI artwork, and in the second
quarter of 1996 we began development on a complete re-write of the QuickBASIC
game into a C-based DLL for Worldgroup.
After much hard work and a few setbacks, Lunatix 5.0a was released to the
public and marketed as a native WorldGroup/MajorBBS add-on in September
of 1996. This version was well received too, targeted at large pay-boards
(as opposed to the hobby BBS) and has done pretty well.
After many months of improving the 5.xx version of Lunatix, we discussed
writing a third version -- one that would run over the internet as a web
application. We first had the idea to do this in late 1997, but never
followed through for whatever reason (other obligations, lack of motivation,
and more). After several enthusiastic discussions about it at several points
in 1998, development actually began in late August of 1998.
As they say, the rest is history. Lunatix Online (version 6.xx) is the 3rd incarnation
(in fact, the 3rd complete re-write) of a game that has been around since
early 1995! Needless to say, at more than 4 years (so far) of being my biggest
ongoing project, I'm very anxious to start on a large new online gaming
project that has nothing to do with Lunatix. :)