UberWorld History & Credits

Development Credits

Core Talker Evoluton

UberWorld is based on the Playground+ (PG+) talker codebase. PG+ was, in turn, based on the EW-too source code, developed in 1992 by Simon Marsh, with supplemental development by Chris Hughes for the Foothills talker.

In 1994, Athanasius released a significantly updated version of the codebase for the Surfers talker, known as "summink". Summink's development continued thanks to work by Grim (Michael Simms), Fox (Jeremy Doran), and Nicolai (Nicolai Plum).

In 1995, traP (Mike Bourdaa), astyanax (Chris Allegretta), Nogard (Hans Peterson), and vallie (Valerie Kelley) transformed the summink code into the original Playground codebase, Playground 96.

Most PG+ talkers use the later Playground Plus version 1.0, a version of Playground 96 with numerous bug fixes, much stricter compilation flags, and a wealth of additional features, written by Silver (Richard Lawrence), phypor (J. Bradley Christian), and blimey (Geoffrey Swift).

UberWorld is the final talk server to spring from the warped mind of Silver, in partnership with DeathBoy (Scott Lamb). It features additional code by Silver, Kalar (Peter Hibbert), Jimbob (John Haselden), and tons of concept design by paean (Marcia van der Beek), and some occasional modernizations and care & feeding by Raindog (Jeremy Modjeska).

Currently Installed Code & Extentions

  • Playground+ v1.0.11 base code
  • UberWorld modifications v5.7.0
  • Intercom server v1.1.6 by Grim
  • Intercom tools v1.0 by Silver and Ekto
  • Dynatext/Masks v3.0 by ekto
  • NuNews v0.5 by phypor
  • Robots v1.2 by Slaine
  • Auto reloading v1.0 by phypor
  • Anti-spam code v3.0 by Silver
  • Channel code v2.0 by Silver and blimey
  • Command stats v1.0 by phypor
  • Auto-shutdown code v1.0 by Silver
  • Last site logging v1.0 by phypor
  • New pager code v1.1 by Nightwolf
  • Visual input by phypor
  • Dynamic spodlist v1.0 by Silver
  • Seamless Reboot v0.5b by phypor
  • kRad Soshuls v1.1 by phypor with extensions by Segtor and Silver
  • PG+ Multis/Chains v1.35.1 by Segtor
  • IChan v2.1.1 by Silver/traP
  • Intercom inform v1.0 by Silver
  • Soft Messages v1.2 by phypor
  • ESE, expandable search engine v1.3 by phypor
  • Smartbot learner v2.0 by Silver and ekto
  • Smartbot chatter v2.1 by Silver
  • DNS server v0.08 by Athanasius
  • EWe v1.0 by slaine
  • Shorter Links v0.1 by Raindog

Detailed History

1996

UberWorld began in September 1996 when Peter Hibbert, a student at Liverpool University and early adopter of permanent university internet connections, setup his first Linux server. Peter's friend Richard Lawrence, having been introduced to talk servers ("talkers") by Scott Lamb during a moment of idle boredom, leveraged Peter's fancy connection to run his own talker, running on the Playground 96 codebase.

After customizing PG96, Richard launched UberWorld version 1.0. On the 15th of November 1996, its doors were officially opened, and ten people were promoted to staff. Despite being bog-standard code, UberWorld's unique (and quirky) style attracted 200 people who enjoyed its unique freedom of expression.

Richard and his friend Andy Church moved UberWorld to dragonfire.net later that year when Peter's occasional need to use his computer for scholarly purposes, resulting in system reboots and periodic talker outages, became an inconvenience to its users.

Then in Christmas of 1996, the world saw a significant new release of UberWorld, featuring numerous bugs fixes, a complete overhaul to the PG/EW2 presentation style, and many user-requested features. This newer version was met with added enthusiasm from residents, whose population continued to grow.

1997

User loads, competition for system resources, and overseas user connection lag prompted the admins to look for a new hosting. One of UberWorld's residents, Robert Pepperkamp, a systems administrator for the University of Maastricht, offered temporary hosting in 1997 on a university server, and UberWorld moved once again, running at educ0015.unimaas.nl and later educ0029uns50.unimaas.nl. It also gained a more proper name thanks to the early subdomain forwarding company, Monolith. UberWorld became accessible, and portable, at uberworld.ml.org.

UberWorld met its biggest challenge later in September, 1997 when the university needed to reclaim the then-astronomical amount of disk space UberWorld occupied -- 25 MB (author's note: as of this re-write in 2018, UberWorld's home directory is still a mere 35 MB). On October 3rd, UberWorld closed down.

All seemed lost for UberWorld: the only available machine wasn't working, and Richard was frantically seeking a new host. Salvation came when a coder known only as Benden offered us an account at benden.erols.com. This got UberWorld back online, but with a very slow 28.8 Kbps modem connection. Shortly thereafter, John Whiting provided a beefier machine with a blazing internet connection, and UberWorld moved yet again in November 1997 to whiting.co.uk.

1998 — 2018

Richard stepped down as UberWorld's coder in 1998 to focus on his studies. The reins were handed over temporarily to Shaun, who also faced external pressures and had to step back. For some time, UberWorld continued to run without a dedicated developer. But Richard didn't stay away for long. He had updated Playground Plus — now the standard EW2 codebase — and after finishing his exams, Richard returned to UberWorld, and set about another massive overhaul. The resulting stable, feature-rich, and completely-unique codebase is what powers UberWorld today. That same year we also acquired the uberworld.org domain name.

In August, 1999, problems arose with UberWorld's server, causing extreme connection difficulties for its residents. Help came by in the form of Martin Leach who kindly offered to host UberWorld on rhubarb.custard.org, where it lived happily until 2001.

Then in 2001, UberWorld moved again to opal.spod.org, where it was hosted reliably and without incident, thanks to the generosity of Ian Kirk, until 2018.

2018

After 17 years, Ian's circumstances changed, and as a result he asked the UberWorld admins to find the talker another new home. Current admin Raindog wrangled the now-20-year-old codebase into an Amazon EC2 instance. Amazingly, the code still mostly works out of the box.

Special Thanks

UberWorld is the culmination of 22 years of inspiration, clever work, and continuous care and feeding by many strange and wonderful people. We thank all of UberWorld's hosts named above, especially Ian Kirk for so many years of hosting, and Richard Lawrence, who, even after moving on, never abandoned the admins when they needed help. Thanks also to Marcia van der Beek, Gavin Brown, Sam Rousculp, Dave Jarvis, Andy Church, Joseph Pepperkampf, Bendon, John Whiting, and all the staff and residents who have helped shape UberWorld into what it is now.

Updated March 2018 by Raindog.