The Dude

BTW: COMBATSIM.COM is 10 Years Old

67 posts in this topic

Hey all,

Just thought I'd let you know that COMBATSIM.COM had it's tenth birthday on January 1st, 2007. I sorta forget to mention it, so, well, I'm mentioning it.

It has been quite the ride over these last ten years, I must say! The whole thing started out as a result of a small marketing communications company I started back in 1996. Back then, I was a young marketing communications graduate with my own company, so I decided I needed a PC for the business. I walked into a store, decided on the model, but now it was price haggling time. The young salesman wouldn't budge on the price, so I asked him to throw in a copy of EF2000. The salesman agreed and home I went with my purchase.

Needless to say, I was smitten with EF2000! Coincidental to my PC purchase, I had decided to get Internet access for my PC. Using my Netscape Navigator version 1, I found the EF2000 message board run by Steve Black of Ocean game publishing. There, I met Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson. Len had a very lenghty web page with tons of info about EF2000. At first I had no intention of making a website about combat sims, I just wanted to find someone fairly close geographically whom I could dial up to with my phone modem and we might play some online coop. Weeks past and no online coop.

In the intervening time, I wanted to promote a book I had written and I thought I might create a web page to do just that. I went to the local Piggly Wiggly and found a book called "Creating Cool Web Pages with HTML". It wasn't a big book, just a little thing really. I devoured the book in a few hours and within a few more hours I had created a nice website to promote my book.

A few more weeks past and I called Len on the phone and asked him if he wanted to play online coop. He didn't, but he was really interested in my new website. We got to talking and I thought that together---he with his article writing abilities, and me with my web site building and marketing communications skills---we might be able to create a website about combat simulations.

The rest, as they say, is history.

As is well known, ol' CSIM was the bomb, and the site generated a mountain of cash from banner advertising. At its height, we had five full-time salaried staff and dozens of paid freelance writers. Over the years, over 100 people have written for the site; some got paid, but most wrote voluntarily or in exchange for a review copy of a game or piece of hardware. Things were going great, I was flying writers all over the country and between countries to review games and attend the E3 trade shows. Life was hectic, stressful, but very good. And the glue that kept the whole thing together wasn't me or Len, but Gail, my wife. I just want to reaffirm, as I have done so many times before, that without her, Combatsim.com wouldn't have been the success it was.

Where was I? Oh yeah, things were going great. Then October of 2000 came I was distressed to see that none of the game companies wanted to buy any advertising for the Christmas season. Oh fcking oh!

Without cash, and with humongous monthly expenses in salaries and bandwidth charges, I knew we were in deep doo doo. I appealed to the community for support and used various affiliate program banners, but it wasn't enough to cover our monthly nut. By mid November, leading sites were dropping off the web at an alarming rate, so I made the decision I least wanted to make and made the site pay-to-view. I knew the community on the forums wouldn't like that, but reality bites, and it was either that or shut down the site.

I think the fateful day when I went pay was December 29th, 2000 (was it that long ago?). Well! That was the shot heard around the combat simming world. Lots of editorials were written that wrote off the site. We were doomed, they all said. We weren't doomed, we were just hemorrhaging money and needed to staunch the flow! And staunch it we did. Being pay, the amount of bandwidth the site consumed dropped ten fold, and we did have several thousand loyal readers of the site who signed up for monthly subscriptions. And so, the content kept coming. And it got better, IMHO. We published more game and military news in a single day than most sites could do in a week or month. We also ran a full feature article every day. Sure, we'd lost the forum traffic, but overseeing that three-ring circus by myself was not really what I'd call fun.

Things continued on until about 2003 and we were still putting out the content. Unfortunately, combat simulations, especially prop and jet simulations just weren't being made in the numbers they used to during the glory days of 1996 to 2000. Then Gail decided she didn't want to work on the site anymore. I was already taking a mental holiday by becoming an electrician, so things were not looking good. I took over the daily content management duties for about four months or so, then decided to stop publishing daily features and military news. I then halted all the subscriptions, moved the site to new servers, and removed the pay-to-view barrier. Now the site was free, but there wasn't to be any more daily, original articles or first-hand news reporting.

Luckily, for me, and everyone here, that's about the time Donster stepped up to the plate and offered to do the daily news. I cannot thank Donster enough for the superb job he does finding, editing, and posting the truckloads of useful news and info for we 'Simians to consume on a weekly basis. And what would we do without Donster's Babe Awards and "This Day in History (with Babe Goodness)" and his Joke Threads and just his plain ol' goodly humour? I salute you, Donster :icon_salute3:

And then there's all you guys. You guys have been the reason I've kept on keeping on. Without your friendship this site wouldn't have lasted 2 weeks! Thank you for letting me hang out with you guys. :)

So, here we are, ten years later. Who'd've thunk it!?

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Wow Doug, that was very cool. :D

I still remember the old "tree" forum and how it used to give me conniption fits. :rofl:

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Cfran,

Heh! Remember when I gave you my toll-free number so you could call me when the forums went down? You were a white shirt wearin' Wall Street type back then. How times have changed, eh? :D

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10 years......oh crap.....we mst be getting old :D

Congratulations !

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Netscape Navigator v1.0, yeah, my first real web browser and my ISP was Erol's Internet. I bought something like a three year subscription to Erol's back when 33.6 kbps was high end stuff and then came the blistering 56kbps, which very few people ever achieved because of crappy copper phone lines and phone companies that said it couldn't be done. Yep, and a 1MB patch file was a whole day's downloading adventure, always punctuated by a bunch of "connection lost" messages followed quickly by a redial and that awful squawking and squealing of the modem.

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Ten years of good times! I think I have been around for maybe 6 of them. :thumbsup:

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Woah, ten years! It's nearly older than me :D

Congrats Doug and all the loyal members. I haven't been here very long but I love the place nonetheless :)

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WoW HappyB-day Doug , this place is the first and normally last place i log into during the day Csim forever :thumbsup::thumbsup:

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It certainly has been a bit.

That was a long post but only a brief synopsis.

I was just a common forum fnebber when things went pay. Came up with an idea for a series of articles, and became a bit of a regular writer for a bit.

I want to thank Doug, and especially his lovely wife Gail, who gave me the start here. Without their guidance, I would not be a print published columnist

for Flight Journal magazine, which I've been doing for over a year now.

I hope that continues, but the downward spiral since 2000 has not let up, the heady days of the late 90's have slowed to a trickle.

Thanks again, Mr. And Mrs. H, it's been a cool ride for the last 10 years!

:thumbsup:

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Thanks for that really interesting history of CombatSim. I've only been playing flight sims and frequenting these boards since mid-'03 so I wasn't around when it all happened.

I have a new PC now which can handle almost anything, but I'm more interested in figuring out a way to make EF2000 V2.0 Win95 play smoothly on it (CPU slowdown programs are kinda jerky on this PC). Thanks again for the EF2000 and F22 ADF/TAW archives! :thumbsup:

--

Mark

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10 YEARS!!!!??????? :blink::blink:

Man..............I gotta get a life!!!!!!!!!!

:lol:

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JA! Zee var haz been goingk for 10 yearz! Ghudt times.. Ja!

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wow 10 years! all the more reason for another get together! I think i've haunted here at least since late 1999! Found this place when looking for info on EAW. Remember like yesterday ole Cfran..

WWWWWWWWWWWWRRRRRRRRRRRBOOOOOOM! STUKA!

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Happy 10th Birthday CSim!! I've been around since late 1999 and I'm still a noob compared to some of you lot...get a freakin' life!!! :lol:

Funky Moped!! ;)

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Wow. Ten years eh? As a former full time staffer, I have to say that combatsim.com was one of my favorite jobs - it was painful to leave, shared by my boss. We were all a family and break-ups are painful.

I don't think there was ever a time I never had a question about getting out of bed and driving up the hill to go to work. Heck, I was even allowed to take my dog. That's a GREAT work environment. We balanced hard work, play, objective problem solving, socialization (I really really miss Gail's BBQ wings), and sharing a passion for the love of combat simulations. Doug stands out as my favorite boss to date.

So, what's up for the next ten years? :D

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Wow. Ten years eh? As a former full time staffer, I have to say that combatsim.com was one of my favorite jobs - it was painful to leave, shared by my boss. We were all a family and break-ups are painful.

I don't think there was ever a time I never had a question about getting out of bed and driving up the hill to go to work. Heck, I was even allowed to take my dog. That's a GREAT work environment. We balanced hard work, play, objective problem solving, socialization (I really really miss Gail's BBQ wings), and sharing a passion for the love of combat simulations. Doug stands out as my favorite boss to date.

So, what's up for the next ten years? :D

Aw shucks, Forkster :D

The next 10 years? I have no definitive plans. Maybe a bit o' paint and paper on the walls from time to time, but no big schemes. I think I'll just keep topping up the fuel tank on the generator that keeps the lights on in here :)

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And the irony is that EF2000 is the all-time high point for combatsims...

:popcornsmilie:

:P

:lol:

B)

Congrats on the tenacity there, Dudester/Dougster/Paddlemeister. :thumbsup:

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Congrats on the tenacity there, Dudester/Dougster/Paddlemeister. :thumbsup:

Thanks, Zhukster :)

At least I haven't changed my handle as many times as you've changed your avatar :D:P

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Thanks, Zhukster :)

At least I haven't changed my handle as many times as you've changed your avatar :D:P

Speaking of, I like the Spaceman Spiff avatar, Doug. :thumbsup: Calvin and Hobbs was one of my favorite newspaper cartoons.

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About all I can remember from the olden days is that a guy on an old Compuserve forum where we discussed the vices and virtues of flight sims was a dentist and he told me to check out Len and Combatsim about writing. I had written for the print mag PC Combat Simulations published by Challenge having met the editor in like 1994.

And legions of games, sims and war stories later here we are.eusa_clap.gif

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