I joined the QBASIC online community way back in the golden age of 1997, as a young, wide-eyed twelve year old. I had stumbled across QBASIC the previous year, and tried my hand at programming a few little games that were, I have to admit, complete crap. In '97, my family got Internet access, and I soon found an active and very helpful QBASIC community doing things with QB I never dreamed were imaginable. And the QB community was bustling. QBASIC.com was still updated, the NeoZones Qboard was THE hangout for QB programmers, the QBASIC / QuickBASIC Top 50 was the center of QB web scene. QBASIC became my new addiction, and I would spend hours downloading and trying every program I could possibly find. Also, I would post on NeoZones whenever I possibly could. I really admired the great web sites that were teaching me how to program and entertaining me for hours on end with great little games and graphics examples. I didn't think that I'd soon be running one of them.
On October 12th, 1998, I started a little website called Pete's QBASIC Site. It was on a whim. I never intended for it to become what it is now, and frankly, I'm really amazed at how big it's gotten. I also never thought that it would be any good. I kind of figured that my site would end up like most other QB sites... small, poorly designed and almost void of useful content. That was (and still is) the fate of most QB sites that are started.
Take, for instance, the fate of another QBASIC site by a guy named Pete, Pete's QBasic Page. That site started certainly started with good intentions, but it never um... got off the ground. My site could very well have ended up the same way. In its first month or so, Pete's QBASIC Site was nearly identical to Pete's QBASIC Page. Check out Pete's QBASIC Site from October 19, 1998 above.
The original title graphic of Pete's QBASIC Site, from about November '98.
But I became a dedicated little webmaster and kept on working on my site. I started out by adding huge lists of links and QB programs. Of course, I was hosted on a really crappy free web host, FreeYellow. I didn't have enough server space to hold many programs, so I just linked to programs hosted by other sites (that's a big no-no, but I didn't know better). I improved the layout, adding frames (with links made from that disgusting "Barbed Wire" font you see on the logo above. The color scheme was wretched--I used random colors for everything. News was blue and green, titles and links were red, some text was white, some text was blue, some text was red. The only consistent color was the black of the backgrounds. Anyway, after the Official Opening on November 1st, I worked on getting more hits to my site. A stroke of luck came in early December when my site was "In The Spotlight" at the QBT50 and I got a sudden flood of hits. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine has a backup copy of the QBT50 from December 6, 1998 when my site was Spotlighted. Check it out here.
Designed by Viper, this title image was on top of my site for over a year.
Starting on October 29, 1998, I began updating every single day. I figured that if I was going to get a lot of hits, I would have to keep my site current...and the easiest way to do that was to keep it updating every single day. It seemed like a good strategy to keep people coming back. From that point on, I updated almost every single day for a year and a half. Even if I didn't feel like updating, I would do it. This was the main reason why the site grew...if I had to update it every day, then I had to add something, right? (However, a lot of these updates weren't real updates, per se. A lot of times, I would just post news that said "I'm not going to update today." For quite a while when I did that, I would post the animated gif you see below of the dancing baby falling over, just to let people know that nothing had changed but the news.)
In early March, 1999, my FreeYellow server crashed. My site was restored to the December, 1998 backup copy. A lot of unreplaceable content was lost in the crash, though I had a lot of it backed up. My news posts were all lost permanently, along with many links. I decided to move to Hypermart for more reliable and customizable server space. I think this is the point that Pete's QB Site really came into its own and separated itself from the hordes of other QB sites on the internet and really became something special. I redesigned the site from the ground up, with a clean, organized graphical style. And I also started doing reviews of QB programs. Pete's QBASIC Site became the first dedicated QB reviews site on the Internet, which soon became its claim to fame. As more and more reviews were written, hits started to rise and rise.
|First Review: Xeno by MA*SNART|
The first ever review, for MA*SNART's 3D engine Xeno.
I kept on writing reviews and expanding over all of 1999. At one point, I was writing four reviews per day, but that didn't last very long...it was a lot of work! I also started having other people contribute reviews. During this period, Indigo Fox and WisdomDude began helping me out quite a bit with my site. WisdomDude wrote a lot of reviews and Indigo Fox wrote specially-made Perl scripts for the site, including an Email / ICQ list and an automated Program-adding script. My site's message board also started to develop as a nice little QB community of its own, with several "regulars." Hits shot through the roof.
Pete's QBASIC Site at one year
Then at the end of October '99, it almost all came to an end. For the last couple of months, I had been offering free downloads of QuickBasic 4.5 in the "Compilers" section of my site. Hypermart somehow found out about it and terminated my account. Immediately, a witch hunt broke out, with everyone on the message board blaming each other for reporting my site. Eventually, through my message board and the effort of my mailing list, I got enough people to email Hypermart and convince them to reinstate my account, without the bootleg copies of QB. Pete's QBASIC Site returned to normal operation in the third week of November, 1999. I celebrated Christmas of 1999 by decorating the site's logo with one icon a day for the two weeks or so before Christmas. Check it out:
The Christmas 1999 site logo.
Early in 2001, I wrote the following report on the history of Pete's QBASIC Site, based on the graph from the Nedstat counter that had been measuring the site's traffic from the beginning. Check it out!
(As of January 8, 2000)
- This site was originally created on October 12, 1998. It was located at http://www.freeyellow.com/members5/petesqbsite/index.html
- This site 'officially opened' on November 1, 1998. This is when the Nedstat counter was added to the page, and where the graph begins.
- A large number of hits came this week because of this site being 'In the Spotlight' at the Qbasic/QuickBasic Top 50. A record of 94 hits in a day was set then, and that record stood until October 1999.
- In early March 1999, Freeyellow crashed, and deleted all of this site's updates from about the 20th of December 1998 to the date that it crashed in early March. The backup copy of the site that Freeyellow had was from December, and a lot of work was lost.
- The site moved to http://petesqbsite.hypermart.net. Also, when the site moved to Hypermart, reviews began to be written.
- In Spring break, 1999, the hits soared (compared to the hits before this date.)
- The hits also soared during the first week of summer vacation for most of the United States. My summer break didn't start until the 20th, though.
- Around this date, the site had been updated in some way, shape or form every single day since October 31, 1998. I needed a new hard drive for my computer, because I was running out of space. When I was installing it, the computer crashed for some reason. Anyways, I couldn't update my site because my computer wasn't working. I got it fixed soon enough, though.
- Probably the darkest period in the history of Pete's QBASIC Site happened here. This site was reported by someone for having illegal copies of QuickBASIC for download. Hypermart disabled my account, and I couldn't update, and had no backup copy. It was looking pretty bad.
- On this date, after my site was evaluated, and reinstated! This was because of the strong support and emails from my visitors and myself to Hypermart, asking them for forgiveness. The site was reinstated, and the compilers section was deleted. Shortly after this date, I moved my site to my parent's server, but decided to still use the Hypermart address.
- This little bump shouldn't be here. :) Nedstat has some type of glitch in their counter or something (probably due to Y2K), and one day of hits was seperated from a week somehow. :)
Around the beginning of 2000, I again relocated the site to a new server, this time my parents' private, ad-free server where the site was hosted at http://www.thunderbirdatlatl.com/petesqbsite.
In March of 2000, my computer broke. I'm still not sure what happened to it, but it wasn't working at all. From March 3 until April 20, I was unable to update my site... and to tell you the truth, I enjoyed the break. I enjoyed my free time immensely. During this lapse, James Robert Osborne updated the site a few times on my behalf.
|Pete's QB Site on 04/28/00|
The classic Pete's QB Site layout!
I returned and got back to work with the updates. Now my site was bigger and more popular than ever, and I was still updating it every single day. Everything should have been just dandy. But keeping it current was getting more and more difficult as time went on. The time I was spending was increasing as visitor contributions rose and as I added more different sections. I was starting to get burned out. Nevertheless, I continued updating my site every day until on April 28, 2000 I posted the day's news for the last time:
I just quit, without ever posting a good-bye. I stopped updating and never looked back. That was my last ever update to the site until 2003 when I began this redesign. (I still kind of feel like an asshole for doing it, and I wish I had at least wrapped up the site in a dignified manner...oh well. I apologize.)
Sleep ... needed ... explain ... later ...
But Pete's QBASIC Site was far from dead. Indigo Fox, a long-time friend and contributor to the site, who had access to the webserver, took over, along with help from WisdomDude (a.k.a. James Robert Osborne) and did occasional updates for the next few months. On May 11th, 2000, V Planet! wrote the following article on the current state of Pete's QBASIC Site:
QBasic Site Scare
(5/11/2000) Indigo Fox's ultimatum put
major QB affiliate Pete's Qbasic Site down on its knees.
It was quite the scare, but you can't knock a good man down.
For most QB game developers, updating a
site is a lot like an insane ritual that gets in the way of developing
QB games. It can also get in the way of your social life if the QB site
is big enough, requires a significant amount of maintenance, and takes
up a considerable amount of hard drive space. Yet the following is all
true of Pete's QBasic Site, which has tried to update on a daily basis
ever since it was released in 1998. And that meant a lot more maintenance
than most QB webmasters could stand.
Eventually Pete cracked. In May 2, 2000,
after Pete had stopped updating for five days straight without explanation,
Indigo Fox (Pete's Internet buddy) released posted the following update
in Pete's QBasic Site's front page:
"Ok, this is Indigo Fox. I'm updating
because Pete has not done so in a while. I have known him for nearing two
years, and would like to say that I think I know him at least a little
bit. I know how he feels about this site. He is going to totally chew me
out for telling you all this... Pete hates updating his site. He often
spends several hours working on reviews and all night uploading files.
Spending so much time litterally deteriorates his social life, which is
virtually non-existant since he moved. I don't want Pete to go through
this anymore. I know him quite well (online, so not really that well) and
know how much he dislikes updating daily. I have absolutely no right to
do this, so blame me for what I'm going to do, not Pete. If Pete doesn't
tell me no within the next week, I'm going to unofficially close his site
down. I don't know whether or not I'm going to close everypart of the site,
or leave it open with notices about it no longer functioning."
This came across as a major shock to the
QB community, who has backed up Pete's QBasic site with over 14,000 hits
per year. Some days passed, and people were expressing their concern about
Pete's QBasic Site. James Robert Osborne, who helped maintain Pete's QBasic
Site when Pete's computer broke in March, was probably the most vocal,
stating that he immediately started working on four video game reviews
simultaneously when Indigo Fox posted the message.
The site scare continued until May 8, 2000.
At that point Pete, Indigo Fox, and JRO had a conversation. The following
compromise to the daily updating policy was reached:
"I [Indigo Fox] got the word from Pete.
If I heard and understood right (he is kind of abstract), then this is
what's going down: This site will no longer be updated except on an irregular
basis. The only thing that'll be happening to it is a member system where
the people contribute all of the material. If you don't contribute stuff,
you don't get an update. It's that simple.
"There will also be moderators for this
whole system to ensure it's, uh, quality. Pete will have total control
(if he takes it), I will have the same control (unless Pete says no)
and probably JRO will have some control
too. He would make a really good moderator."
Basically this outline, presented by Indigo
Fox after talking to Pete, announces that Pete's QBasic Site will still
be updating, but it be as often or as constant. Chances are Pete's Site
may update at most twice a week to as much as twice a month. In any case,
it's good news for both Pete and the QB community. The die-hard Pete fans
still have their place to go, Pete's QBasic Site will be alive and kicking
with more manpower, and Pete can finally pick up where his social life
Originally posted at: http://www.hulla-balloo.com/vplanet/arch39.shtml
Indigo Fox (as the webmaster) and WisdomDude (as the chief contributor) kept working on the site sporadically without any contact with myself until January of 2001. Updates came less than once a month. Indigo Fox decided to redesign the layout and color scheme of the site in September of 2000, a process which he never finished. The website sat idle with this format for three years. Check it out:
The final news post for three years came on January 22, 2001. On that date, Indigo Fox posted the following:
01.22.01 - Dude, it's been a really long time... but I'm finally updating (I, as in Indigo Fox). Actually, there isn't really any info that I'm adding. But I did make a backup copy of the message board files, and those will be online again soon. I have some plans for a really neat site that will be a successor to this, but I need some hardcore help. If you'd like to help at all, just contact me: email@example.com, or more preferably, ICQ # 27238973.
Toodles - Indigo Fox
And so the site sat, for three years. There was still healthy traffic (about like 30 hits per day), and most of the content was intact. Most people assumed that Pete's QBASIC Site was dead for good...basically a ghost town. Over the years, Pete's QB Site was mentioned in V Planet's news several times and discussed on a few message boards...but it was largely forgotten about.
In fall of 2003, I started my Freshman year of college and took a Web Programming course. I didn't learn a thing in the course, but it did inspire me to try my hand at web programming again. For fun, I made a website for a crappy movie production group my friends and I started (Oh Cany Productions) and a few other sites. Then I decided to remake my QBASIC site. In December of 2003, I registered www.petesqbsite.com and got server space for the remake of this site. I worked on it pretty diligently for about two weeks and set an official re-opening date for January 1, 2004. I made a spiffy new layout design, and created a lot of dynamic content run by PHP and Perl scripts, putting to use new web programming knowledge I had taught myself over the last few months.....But I got bored with the project and pushed it off. I missed the January 1st reopening, and I never told anyone that I was remaking the site. I didn't want to disappoint people again, like I did when the site shut down back in 2001.
In March of 2004, somebody from the NeoBasic Board found out about this site (I'm not sure how) and sent a flood of NeoBasicers to check this site out. They posted on the message board, and I wrote a response. Check it out right here. I promised to finish this site over the summer.
So right now it's June 17, 2004. Pete's QBASIC Site is getting remade, and when I'm finished, it's going to open up officially to once again become one of the leading sites in the QBASIC community! Hooray!