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History of GameDev.net

A Short History of Sweet.Oblivion

 Game Prog. 9x

Not so long ago, there was a group of several, small game programming sites, connected only by the fact that their owners were friends. Dave Astle had Myopic Rhino's Game Programming Savanna, Kevin "Khawk" Hawkins ran Merlin's Library of Game Programming, and Ernest "TANSTAAFL" Pazerra had The Game Programming Workshop. One night, while chatting with Nick Murphy, they realized that they could save some time and provide a much better resource if they worked together rather than separately. As the idea developed, we enlisted Jered Wierzbicki, Dustin "dFnord" Fields, and Jim "the Loiterer" McCue to join our cause. Wanting a name that would be both memorable and avoid the cliche of having "game programming" in it, we chose Sweet.Oblivion.

The sweet.oblivion logo.

On November 1st, 1998, Sweet.Oblivion went public, and was enthusiastically received by the online game development community. Visitors enjoyed our wide selection of reviewed articles, very active message board, and reviewed links. We were also the first major game development site to offer timely game developent-related news. Our weekly IRC chat sessions were arguably our most successful feature, and it was not uncommon to find a fellow game programmer in #sweetoblivion at any time of the day, any day of the week. With our excellent features and edgy attitude, we quickly joined the upper ranks of game programming sites.

S.O Mini Screenshot We had one major problem, though: finding a host. Although we had our own domain name, we had no budget to pay for a server, so we relied on free server space. We began on Hypermart, which quickly proved too slow and unreliable. The combination of down-time and slow load times threatened to strangle our young site, so we began to look for new options. At the same time, we redesigned the site to both look better and load faster, eventually coming up with the design we stuck with until GameDev.net was launched.

We looked into various gaming networks for hosting, and were finally invited to join PC Gameworld. In January 1999, we unveiled the new site on the new server, adding several new features at the same time, including The.Shrine, where we profiled major developers, visitor profiles, and coding contests. Things were rolling along nicely again, but then, the server problems began to reemerge. Our host was moving to a new server, and in the process of the move, we had several weeks of downtime, our domain was misrouted, and when the move was complete, we lost cgi support, upon which many of the site features depended. We looked for a new host, and quickly found the host we should have been with from the start.

We chatted with John Munsch of DevGames, and he readily agreed to host S.O. The transition was made quickly and smoothly, and Sweet.Oblivion continued to grow and develop at its new home.

Our ultimate goal was to help out aspiring game developers, and we realized that other great sites, like Game Programming 99 and DevGames, were doing the same thing, so in the Spring of '99, we opened discussions with those other sites about merging, and what you see here is a result of that. Everything that we wanted S.O to be is now part of Gamedev.net. So sit back, enjoy, sip da sweet oblivion, and smoke da reefer.