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A brief history of the HS fansites...

Posted August 1st, 2008 at 11:18 PM by hextr1p
Updated August 2nd, 2008 at 02:10 AM by hextr1p
For those who may have missed this post in the forums...

Let me try to clear up some of the history as best I can:

In the beginning, Hero created Heroscape.net. What was originally established to be a small site where he and a few friends could talk about the upcoming release of a game called Heroscape, as well as possible map builds and various mods, became something even Hero could not foresee. Among these few at the beginning were none other than Craig Van Ness and Rob Daviau, two of the creators of our beloved game. And yes, Grungebob was there, as well.

Word about the game began to spread, and as people Googled, "Heroscape" to try and gain more info about the game, the majority of them turned to and joined up with Heroscape.net (or .NET, as most refer to it).

The amount of members grew rapidly, as did the discussions about the game. Hero, seeing the site evolving into something much larger, did his best to upgrade the server the site was on, offer other features such as photo uploads and site news and updates. And what was REALLY cool back then was the fact that CVN and RD were still talking with fans, and dropping hints about upcoming product. Even to this day, we carry with us that memory as commemorated by their avatars from .NET now translated to emoticons:

= Craig Van Ness's avatar

= Rob Daviau's avatar

However, as the site continued to grow even more, so did the problems with the site. Hackers took down the site several times much to Hero's dismay. And while he brought the site back up as quickly as he could, the amount of time invested and the time investment, responsibility and problems that comes with being the leader of a community (despite having a couple great mods to help watch over things) just started to wear on him a bit. There were other factors even outside of all of this, and no one TRULY knows the reason the site went down (some point to the t-shirts he was hoping to sell). But the site did come down. And the community was hit hard emotionally by suddenness of it all.

Official .NET t-shirt from GenCon 2005

Sample athletics themed t-shirt from defunct .NET store

The community had become resilient with a core group of members who had become integral pieces to the foundation and growth of .NET. Really, we were like a family there. UPC, as mentioned in the podcast, set up a transition site of sorts, to allow previous members a place to express their grief and frustrations. This also allowed for a place to reconvene. Truly it was like a lifeboat seeking out survivors after the sinking of the Titanic. We did lose quite a few members due to the .NET debacle. However, we pressed on, and tried to come up with a new plan of action as other members did their best to salvage the .NET database and uploaded files.

A man named GlassWalker came on the scene, and the words he spoke offered nothing but hope and promise. A way to reestablish the community that was lost, as well as take the complexity and features of the site further than .NET was able. Slowly, the pieces came together, and HeroscapeHQ.com was created (commonly referred to as HQ, or HQ.com).

The site grew, as many members found there way over, bringing with them the knowledge and creativity that allowed .NET to thrive. We also picked up many other members new to the game, adding strength and character to our family... for better, or for worse.

Then, the lags came. As did the fading of the expectations folks had for the site, as GlassWalker just wasn't able to invest the time needed to truly take the site to the next level. At that time, he was essentially doing the majority of the work on his own, trying to work out bugs and upgrade to a new server, etc. But the lags and freezes... my goodness... the... lags... so.... sl... ow. The fact that nothing was being done about this lead a few members away from the site, it was THAT frustrating. Add to that GlassWalker not communicating with people for extended periods of time... well, the crew became restless.

Note that there was no true ire expressed towards GlassWalker. He was trying to set up his own company, and had a family, so his time was needed elsewhere, truly. But something needed to be done, and soon.

.NET had the 'HLD Rob Head' before VW was released...

... and I'm not even going to mention the now infamous 'HLD' thong.

Now, I'm not entirely sure how this all came about. But Heroscapers.com was established due to the disintegration of the server and site quality on HQ. Many members, some there from the beginning and some more recent, had in mind what they wanted out of a site. And this very vision can be traced all the way back to the vision Hero had for .NET. A variety of features which would allow the community to grow, members to express themselves creatively, as well as a means to post news, updates, and previews in a professional manner to keep all the fanboys n' girls drooling and invested into the site.

And there heading up the project was none other than 'screamingtruth' (now commonly referred to as 'Truth', or, 'THANK GOD YOU'RE HERE!') But let it be known that while Truth does have a true vision for the site and the community, he has surrounded himself with a solid team of individuals who give of themselves selflessly to see his vision live up to full potential and then some. I've been involved in this, and I cannot tell you how amazed I am the amount of work that goes into this site behind the scenes. Seriously, there are a LOT of folks who make this place work. And I'm proud to have been able to help as much as I did, and work with those people to bring to fruition what the site has become.

Where does Heroscapers.com go from here? That has yet to be seen, of course. But looking around at the thousands of active members, the insights and interactivity of the site overall, the constant awareness by the mods of what is going on in the community, and the character that so many people bring to this site make this place more about the 'Scapers and the care and compassion they have for one another, than about the game of Heroscape itself. I'd think even if we stayed right here 'til the end, the site ticking along just as it is now, our community can't get much better than this.

Happy to be here...

A few random memories:

Chameleon boasting of his 42 RotV master sets, and then posting the picture to impose shock and awe upon all who dared to gaze upon the magnificence.

Turtleboy and his horrible grammar and spelling mistakes. SO much so that even Hero had to get on him about it. To his TB's credit, he did get better as time went on.

TEFS introduction of his maps and creative builds, which inspired me to begin posting my own. Then he just up and vanished.

OogieDaBruce's epic LandScape builds! Maps so expansive, they seemed like a prophet foretelling the coming of one Dr.Weirdscaper and his insane set ups.

Bunjee being called the 'Queen of the Gallery', and the pride she took in trying to keep that section as orderly as possible. She still does quite a bit around here to help out any way she can. SKAHEN FOREVER!

A new member coming in to look around at .NET, and then getting up the nerve to post some of his custom units for critique. Several have since become classic units in the area of user created customs. And this member also setting up a blog meant specifically to showcase his battle reports with friends, from which spawned the infamous, "tree licker" image. And slowly, he began to establish himself as a great contributing member to the community as a whole. That member none other than Truth.

So many names that have come and gone, and all of them leaving their mark on the community somehow. Too many to list here, truly. But do know that the site now is better because of them and the sense of community they helped to establish early on, even though they no longer frequent the boards.

The mysterious insider, 'PenName'... and the utterly annoying, 'Boo'.

The '20 Questions with the Designers' report, and the detail with which that document was combed over, mining every hint or clue to possible upcoming releases! A classic interview, and a must read for any Heroscape fan.

The coming of a user named Logrey and his legendary Flash based program, 'Landscape.' Without this program, I'm not even sure we'd have something like Zzzzzz's equally impressive 'Virtualscape'. Nor do I think the game would have taken off as much as it did without the ability for users to share map schematics with others, showing off the true potential of the build system of Heroscape.

The doomsday prophets and naysayers all rearing their heads when Craig told of the cutbacks Hasbro had to make in order to keep producing the game. "What? No more sparkly water? No more blue and red dice? And thinner cardstock?! Are you kidding me!? THIS IS THE END!" Yeah, that was around wave 2. Doomsday, indeed.

Countless times members stepped up out of nowhere to offer help or support to other members in times of grief and loss. And not just posts in the forums, mind you. They'd go out of their way to send items, care packages, and even money to help ease the stress of a fellow 'Scaper. Again, the selflessness of countless members on these sites is very inspiring, and really makes the community a REAL community, stretching well beyond the finite electronic walls of the internet.

Posted in Randomness , Insights
Comments 12
Total Comments 12


theGuru's Avatar
This is an awesome post, thanks for all the info for those that might not have been here all around since the start.
Posted August 1st, 2008 at 11:30 PM by theGuru theGuru is offline
NamibianScaper's Avatar
Wow, is there any way to get all the old pictures and map files you mentioned?
Posted August 3rd, 2008 at 07:05 AM by NamibianScaper NamibianScaper is offline
Hahnarama's Avatar
Track Team.....where is the Track Team T Shirt?!
Posted August 3rd, 2008 at 10:39 AM by Hahnarama Hahnarama is offline
hextr1p's Avatar
Track Team.....where is the Track Team T Shirt?!
LINK: http://images.cafepress.com/image/8280960_400x400.jpg
Posted August 4th, 2008 at 05:09 PM by hextr1p hextr1p is offline
Great post! It is great to know some history about the heroscape sites.
Posted August 5th, 2008 at 01:16 AM by Rifier_Ace Rifier_Ace is offline
whitestuff's Avatar
Thanks Hex. That was an enjoyable read.
Posted August 17th, 2008 at 07:52 AM by whitestuff whitestuff is offline
Velenne's Avatar
Great images and great post!!
Posted August 17th, 2008 at 10:20 AM by Velenne Velenne is offline
chas's Avatar
History of Community! Good stuff. Let's carry it on...
Posted February 6th, 2010 at 06:55 AM by chas chas is offline
Agent Minivann's Avatar
I always thought it was the G-strings that brought .net down.
Posted February 6th, 2010 at 02:51 PM by Agent Minivann Agent Minivann is offline
MegaSilver's Avatar
Thanks for this, hex! Nice to finally figure out the jist of HS history...
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 08:24 PM by MegaSilver MegaSilver is online now
Arrow Grut's Avatar
Really? Why Necro this? Read it, don't 'cro!
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 08:28 PM by Arrow Grut Arrow Grut is offline
NecroBlade's Avatar
AG, I think you're overreacting a little. You can't really necro a blog post: the comment show up at the top of the list, yes, but the newest blogs are always on a separate list. So chill.
Posted February 17th, 2011 at 09:49 PM by NecroBlade NecroBlade is online now
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