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A Decade of Cyber Nations



Today marks the 10 year anniversary of Cyber Nations. I always like to look back on history and it seems appropriate to do so today, so here we go.

I registered the Cyber Nations domain name in 2003 with the hopes of creating a web based nation simulation game but I was unable to come up with a working model and I quickly abandoned the project. I let the domain name sit idle for a year and decided to let it go in 2004 since I couldn't find a use for it. In 2005 my interest was sparked again and so I re-registered the domain name on May 22, 2005 in the hopes to get a game up and running but once again I was unable to lay down any real code structure. Finally on December 24, 2005, during my Christmas break from work, I sat down and really began developing the game. I spent the majority of my Christmas break glued to the computer in hopes to get a working game rolled out by the first of the year before I lost interest in the project for a third time.

The game was launched on January 6, 2006 with little fan fare and with very few features. The early game was quite buggy with major issues plaguing the entire economic system that originally did not include tax collection or bill payment systems. Other features like the resource and trade agreement system, foreign aid system, national events, nation rankings, government position, improvements, wonders, technology, aircraft, tanks, nuclear weapons, and cruise missiles were added months after the initial release date as the game continued to be a work in progress. The few players who originally discovered the game did so by way of Google AdWords but word quickly got around to other gaming communities and the system began to become overrun as it was originally had only a Microsoft Access database backend and hosted via a shared hosting provider. At that time the community forums also ran on a Microsoft Access database version of Snitz Forums 2000 and it existed as a subfolder on the same shared hosting server as the game.

During the first couple of weeks the server began returning “Service Unavailable” errors in which numerous attempts were made to resolve. Such attempts included converting the game database to a MS-SQL database (I had just completed an SQL Server course in college during that same month) and moving the community forums to Invision Free, an offsite forum hosting provider. Still the “Service Unavailable” problems persisted and the game was moved to another shared hosting provider but the problem was not finally resolved until the game was moved to its own dedicated server. The game still has it's traffic bottlenecks, that's unavoidable due to the way the game was designed and played, but throughout the years a myriad of dedicated servers have kept the game alive.

So much has transpired over the years, so many players have come and gone, so many fascinating geopolitics and world wars, so many friends made. I'm amazed that there are nations still in the game that were created the very same month that the Cyber Nations was born, with their tiny 3 digit nation ID's, they've seen it all. Those ancient alliances that were all created during that same month, Global Alliance And Treaty Organization, Orange Defense Network, New Pacific Order, World Task Force, Green Protection Agency, alive and still strong (some stronger than others). As I said before, I never would have imagined that the game would still be around after all these years (heck I always figured it would sputter out after a few months which was evident at the initial lack of planning and hosting infrastructure) and while the game has seen much larger player base populations in the past (at times it was too large imo) I'm happy to see that the game continues to have such a loyal following after so many years. Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey.

I leave you with some old relics of the past. This first one is kind of embarrassing given my horrible handwriting (I generally write much better than this, unless I'm in frantic note taking mode). Here I scratched out some thoughts on 3/15/2003. I still chuckle at the question that I posed at the bottom, as I don't believe that one has yet been answered:

The first logo for the game:

This is the very first image of the game as I was coding it in December 2005 on the old Compaq monitor that I was so glued to. I'm glad that High Contrast theme did not survive very long.


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If we knew what the point of the game was, we would also know the meaning of life. :P

I think many of us feel compelled to congratulate you on one of the most successful web enterprises planned and designed in a week, and probably requiring an absolute minimum of investment, regardless of its present and future state. Your idea hit the internet with perfect timing, as browser-based interest and technology were still on their upswing, and after ten years you have the distinct privilege among humans of being able to say that something you created was able to capture the dreams and emotions of hundreds of thousands of people (even if only a fraction of the whole 600k were devoted players).

Even now, in what some would consider a much more "high-tech" era of the internet, former players and numerous competitors continue to mimic the CN idea (with only small alterations); and whatever CN's future might be, its legends and adventures have left a permanent mark on the lives of many.

So treat yourself to a dinner on us, and raise a toast to eternity. Only ten more years to go.

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Oh man, that question. I think it's definitely still one every single one of us is asking! Haha.

Congratulations on your project reaching a decade of play. It's definitely something to be quite proud of, these days.

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Its been a great run. If this game dies tomorrow, i want you to know that youve given this community alot of joy in this ten years. Youve done what noone else ever could. Thank you man:)

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Too cool.

Congratulations on this accomplishment! You've given myself and many, many others almost a decade of entertainment, which very few games have been able to do. I owe you a very big thank you for the many years of enjoyment and many friends that have been made.

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The point in the game is different for each player individualy. Ill propose a few reasons. You guys may debate wich are correct.

1. It serves as something to do at 3am while drinking coffie and/or whiskey.

2. Did someone say coffie?

3. To grow your pixels just so they may be destroyd.

4. To show others that you have the ability to use big words but the inability to use spell check.

5. To troll.

6. Simply to attempt to offer a different pollitical view from their parents basement.

(Have fun with this list) :-)

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Cyber Nations could be a much better game with better game mechanics, but you got the essential part right: attracting people to join and fostering the circumstances in which they would form alliances and battle it out for power.

Did you always have the name Cyber Nations?

Would you be willing to disclose how much money has been donated?

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That's what these threads have become. Everyone is giving their input on the situation, placing blame all over the place and making the problem seem much worse than it really is all the while resolving nothing. This game is 5 years old. I didn't expect it to last 5 months. We still have 20,000 playing the game. Enjoy.

This post is literally from half the game ago. Haters gonna hate.

I met my future wife playing this game, so the last 9 years of my life haven't been a total waste.

Also, meddling about creating userscripts for the game has taught me a lot about how not to design a website. :P

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Cyber Nations could be a much better game with better game mechanics, but you got the essential part right: attracting people to join and fostering the circumstances in which they would form alliances and battle it out for power.

Did you always have the name Cyber Nations?

Would you be willing to disclose how much money has been donated?

Better, at what exactly. The reason I have played since 2007 is not because it is high-tech/fast-paced etc. It is because it is simple. If I had to log-in everyone 20 minutes to maximize in-game income or whatever like some browser games I would never have lasted a month. But you can be competitive and build a nation with a few minutes a day/week/month. This and the way in which the resources/wars work in-game make it so that alliances and out of game politics are the bigger draw. Rather than trying to build too much into the game itself, the community created the dynamics and the politics on our own. This is a far better situation because in-game mechanics are limiting from an RP perspective. So while certain features are nice, drastic changes to the game would be counter-intuitive to the thing that the game does well.

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This game was an important part of my childhood. I think I started playing when I was 14 and I've been addicted ever since. What I love most about CN is the strong sense of community. You don't get a great community like this, even if we are at each others throats a lot, from any other game out there. Thanks for creating this beautiful monster Admin.

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Today marks a decade of ODN's existence. As others here remarked, CN has spawned great community and communities, and that is probably its greatest gift.

Congrats on quite the achievement. I remember you guys back from the LUE days, when you were one of our first allies. I might even still have an old account gathering dust on your forums.

Better, at what exactly.

Holding the attention of players past the first rewarding few weeks. I shared a few thoughts on this in the Nations in the World topic a few months back. Much of the data in my graph was scraped from people posting their scores in old topics about CN on random forums, where I watched community after community spring up, flourish, and leave the game in slightly angry boredom after half a year of play. I agree that the politics and community made the experience, and the game was at its best when it took a hands-off approach to those kinds of relations, but it never hit that balance between fun from gameplay and fun from alliances.

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