Development - MomoGuruEdit
"Well, it all started one day back in 2000 when I caught wind of a game that was soon to be released called Uplink. As most of you reading this already know, Uplink was a very unique game unlike anything that had been released before. Its style and mood captivated players in a world of corporate crime and at the core, hacking for profit, fame and fortune."
"I ordered my copy like everyone else, and awaited the day that my disk would arrive... hand shipped by the game creators themselves. Withing the first 30 minutes of playing, I was hooked. I remember the heart racing missions and anxiety flashes that would be around every corner of the game. Needless to say, it became a cult classic in its genre, and one of my favorites of all time. "
"After about 6 months or so, and countless fails, and the 'oh so sweet' eventual win... Uplink began to fade a bit, and the community demanded to know what all the in game information about Uplink 2 was for. 'Will Uplink 2 be multi-player?' was the theme of practically every message on their forums. It didn't take long for the hammer to fall. 'There will NEVER be an Uplink 2', squashed the dreams and hopes of many when introversion announced publicly they were moving on to bigger and better things. "
"Around the next 2 years that followed, Players of Uplink began climbing into the guts of the game, learning to mod skins and tweak the engine. It was obvious that 'No Uplink 2' wasn't gonna fly with the fanbase. Many programmers and enthusiasts of the game started working together to build a clone of Uplink, as to expand its gameplay in hopes of making a multiplayer version of sorts. "
"One after one, We all watched in horror as every attempt at a clone failed, and vanished into vaporware before even getting off the ground. Countless hours were spent scouring the web, looking for a hacker simulation game that would fill the void that Uplink left behind. I considered attempting to make an uplink clone myself, but really didn't have the technical ability to pull it off (I still don't, go figure). I would go through cycles that would look something like this: Get bored searching for a sim, reinstall Uplink, play for a day or so, realize it wasn't enough anymore, give up altogether... and a few weeks later, start the process all over again. After many months of this, I decided I would try to make an uplink clone, but in QBASIC, A prequel to Uplink so to speak. I was a very active QBASIC programmer back in them days, and started working on what I called Codelink v1. The name was based around the idea that eventually, player could 'code' their own content and share with everyone, thus making the game grow without me doing anything. Well, it took many months of painstaking pixel painting and QBASIC limitation madness, but the game was completed. It was hailed in the QBASIC community as quite an accomplishment. Eventually bringing the obvious question to many peoples minds... 'Why did you do this in QBASIC, you should have made this in something better so people can actually enjoy this as a real game, and not a cool QBASIC program that pushed the limits of QBASIC could do. (no libs mind you)' "
"It didn't take long before I was asking myself the same question. Could I actually make this online? What would it be programmed in? The obvious choice was C++, but I didn't know C++. I started learning it and before long got very discouraged with all the extra stuff you had to have just to do something simple. I thought, 'Well I am very proficient with macromedia flash 4, could that be an option?'. I started out with just simple screens and buttons that would jump you around. Once i realized that I may actually be able to do it in flash, and use all the features flash has to make this an online game. I was in. Now, I knew that if I had told anyone about my plan to build an Uplink clone, I would get laughed at since everyone had failed before me. Who in their right mind would take me seriously, especially when I tell them I will do it in flash. So I kept quite, plugged away here and there. Progress was slow, but it was progress. "
"I shared my project with just a few personal friends who really didn't care anything about hacking or these types of games. They would always suggest things I had never even considered, and in most cases were very simple and intuitive. It was at this point I decided to start sharing what I had so far, in hopes of attracting a few like minded flash developers. Although the flash developers never came, lots of future players did and they began suggesting things about what I 'could' and 'should' put in the game. The more people that showed interest, the more driven I was to complete it, no matter how long it took. I put up a new website called codelinkonline.com and featured a few videos that would showcase what I had so far. I was on a roll and progressing with leaps and bounds, until... "
"A year or so had passed, I popped the Codelink source back onto my hard drive to grab some code I needed for another project. I had learn much about programming in action script that year, and kinda laughed at the old Codelink code and how badly implemented it was. After a few days, I began getting that hacker game itch again... installed Uplink, searched for other hacker sims, surely by now someone has made a cool hacker game like Uplink, but no. I began thinking about starting to work on Codelink again. But I will dumb it down and keep it simple til I get some form of a working model. That's exactly what I did. One mission at a time, no drag and dropping windows or anything fancy. Simple, bare bones and somewhat functional was all I was going for. I plugged away for a few months and before long, had far surpassed what I had lost in the 'great PC crash of 2004', as I like to call it. I would work on it while I had time, sometimes going 4 or 5 months without touching it. Around early 2006 I believe, I was inspired to work on it again after watching hackers for the 43rd time. "
"Codelink was back in full force and over the next year, I polished up what I had. Granted it wasn't an online game, but it was still cool to play. Before I could share or release anything, Life smacked me around a bit. Changed careers, got married, and as I sat, bored out of my mind in a hospital room waiting for my first son to be born. I opened my laptop and decided to see how hard it would be to make what I had already built, an online game. I started tinkering that night. That was May 5th 2007. Now, at this point, development had been going on for some time. I learned that I would eventually burn out on it and put it down. So I made sure to comment the code heavily and make everything modular so I could remember what I was doing 6 months ago when I decided to climb back into the code. Most of the time I spent working on it, was cleaning up old code and making things the right way. "
"Life came calling again, and I was now working in Atlanta. My tattoo career was taking off and I just didn't have as much free time to mess around with Codelink anymore. One night, hanging with some friends, I was pulling an old harddrive out of a computer and putting in a new one. I saw codelink files on there and started talking about how I really need to finish 'my game'. Of course my friends wanted to see what I was talking about, So I popped it on the big tv in the living room and we all played codelink that night. I keep saying ' that part isn't there yet, it's gonna do this or gonna be like that'. My friends wanted copies to play on their own. I kept saying 'it's not done!', to which they replied, 'Finish it then, i want to play. This is cool. (Edited for appropriateness'. "
"That was the final push I needed to get the first working versions online. I put up a small site and popped the game up for all to test. Not everything I wanted in the game was there... and after a few weeks of playing, kinda felt like Uplink all over again. I would tweak and add things here and there. Our forum started to become somewhat active and before long, a community of players started to give feedback about what I should do next. The game was live and although fairly weak, was still kinda fun for a little while. Players would come and go, people would contribute what they could, only to vanish into the net shortly after. It really wasn't a game at that point. I was kinda just a sim that was fun to fool around with for a little while, but it got old very fast once you leveled up and maxed out your rig. Adding new stuff to buy, was just a temporary fix, and wouldn't hold a players attention for too long."
"I was struggling with the backend stuff. I had basically converted the flat files used in the offline versions to files I could manipulate online. It was working and things were going pretty good for what I had so far. The community became much more involved in the development. Helping me decide what should be changed and improved upon, even submitting content for the game in some cases. In late 2009, I posted a few videos on my youtube channel, which helped to attract new players to the game. "
"With new players and plenty of inspiration, I began pushing the multiplayer development which definitely appealed to many players. It was long before we had 100 active accounts and the game felt alive. That's when things began to get interesting. If you were to hold a convention for serial killers, a smart man would expect a body to turn up after the event. We are talking about a hacker game here, and it wasn't long before a young genius ripped through my backend like a wet paper bag. Lucky for me, He had a heart and offered to help me fix my security issues with the backend to prevent cheating and such. I owe him a lot, and without him, this game would NOT be where it is today. "
"Here we are in 2012... 5 years in the making and it's still not finished, but its starting to become a game now. To all the players who have contributed their time and knowledge, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. The countless hours of testing and rebuilding, Sleepless nights and cold red mountain dew. Codelink is here today because all of you put it here. Granted, I write the code, but you guys build the game."
- MomoGuru, Creator of CodeLink V2
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