A Timeline…

December
2003 – The concept of Alien Arena is born. Originally, the game was to
feature famous aliens from movies as characters. Dm7 – “The Saucer”
the first map created for Alien Arena was born, shortly followed by
Dm8(never released version).

August 11, 2004 – Beta 1 is released
to the public! Initial reactions are favorable, even though only about
1000 people bothered to download the game.

September 2, 2004 –
Beta 2 is released, now for the first time, servers are tracked on a
master server, and server browser comes included with the game. A few
more maps make their way in.

September 17, 2004 – Beta 3 is
released, now with an internal server browser, 8 maps, 5 characters.
Bot AI is dramatically improved. For the first time, people begin
playing online.

October 5, 2004 – Alien Arena 1.0 is released!
The news is hardly reported outside of the Quake community, but
nonetheless, for the first few days after the release, a few people join
and play on servers. The game gets very little response, positive or
negative, but at this time, a few regular players begin showing up.

October
23, 2004 – Alien Arena 2.0 is released. This was a signifigant
release, adding shaders, and 3 new maps (tourney1, 2, 3). Also, at this
point, Whitelipper has begun making music for the game, and is
officially the first community member. Shaders dramatically improved
the look of the game, especially in how glass helmets were rendered.
Activity on servers begins to increase, but still not to the point of
having even 100 people online for a 24 hour period.

December 21, 2004 – Whitelipper releases Morning Glow City, the first third party map created for Alien Arena!

January
27, 2005 – Alien Arena 3.0 is released. This now includes the 9 player
models that are currently in the game, but most signifigantly, this is
the first release that includes CTF! The game is now up to 15 maps in
total, 3 CTF. The community adds a few more regular members, Forsaken
and Roadrage.

April 6, 2005 – Alien Arena is Planet Quake’s “Mod of the Week”!

May
17, 2005 – Alien Arena 4.0 is released, and at the time billed as the
last full release of the game. Many of the original characters receive
overhauls, getting new skins and skin mapping. All Out Assault mode is
introduced, and it was hoped at the time that this would spur some more
interest in the game, but it doesn’t. The release turns out to be quite
buggy, and majorly disappointing. Activity actually begins declining,
despite the inclusion of a new start level, and other maps and features.
Work on Alien Arena slows for awhile, as I comtemplate the future
direction of the game.

June 14, 2005 – Patch 4.01 is released, featuring a host of new engine features such as light bloom and reflective water.

July
15, 2005 – Ravage ports Alien Arena to Linux, and version 4.01 is
released, including two new maps, which signify a new level of detail,
dm-probe and dm-inferno.

July 17, 2005 – GIGA Tv runs a show featuring Alien Arena, and suddenly, activity explodes for a two week period.

August
11, 2005 – Patch 4.02 is released – fixing a few bugs, and for the
first time ever, bots show up in server lists, which greatly helps
server activity.

August 13, 2005 – The first Alien Arena
tournament is held, for Qexpo 2005, and while a bit unorganized, winds
up being alot of fun for the 8 people who entered. It also exposed a
few serious bugs in the game. Whitelipper wins quite handily, creating a
legendary status for himself in the AA community.

September 24,
2005 – Alien Arena 2006 is announced, billed as the “sequel” to CodeRED:
Alien Arena. It is at this time the “CodeRED” is dropped from the
game’s name. This announcement leads to several interviews and
previews, greatly hyping the game as never before.

October 30,
2005 – Alien Arena 2006 is released! The reviews for the game are
great, but mixed in the user community. However, at least people are
trying it at this point. Activity increases dramatically, and many new
community members arrive, including AstralSin, who then creates the IRC
channel which leads to more members hanging around. For the first time,
Alien Arena actually seems like it’s begining to accumulate players
fast enough to sustain continuous server activity. The game now
includes 25 levels, and introduces many new things, such as alt-fires,
mutators, and Deathball. Bot AI again is improved, and actually begins
leading to complaints of the game being too hard for newcomers.

January 11, 2006 – Forsaken launches his Alien Arena page, the first fan page for the game!

February
10, 2006 – Alien Arena 2006: Gold Edition is released, adding nine new
maps, alt-fires for every weapon, and better bot skill selections.
Shaders are now present on models, which signifigantly enhances the
appearance. Now with 32 maps, the game begins reaching a maturity that
it did not have previously. Also, it is at this point that older maps
begin being phased out. Server activity again surges upward, after a
bit of a decline from the October 30 release.

February 16, 2005 –
Stats tracking for Alien Arena goes online. Within 5 days, 1000 unique
names are recorded in the database(at that time there were many players
using the name “player”).

June 2, 2006 – Alien Arena 2006:
Uranium Edition is released, now featuring 34 maps, a new excessive
mutator, and very importantly, major security and bugfixes that had
been plaguing the game since it’s beginning. A number of new visual
enhancements arrive as well, including some new weapon models, textures,
and particles. Most signifigantly, is the inclusion of the new Galaxy,
which has a built in IRC client and leads to the growth of the
community, which at this point, is contributing heavily with many new
third party maps and other enhancements.

July 1, 2006 – Alien Arena is featured in the US version of PC Gamer, getting a very favorable review!

July
18, 2006 – Alien Arena 2007 is announced at Qexpo 2006, and a preview
patch is released, featuring many signifigant changes, including new
maps as well as dramatic engine improvements. At this time, the very
last of the original maps from the first beta release have been removed
from the game.

September 1, 2006 – Alien Arena 2007 is released!
The impressions are mostly positive, however the polarization of either
“it’s the greatest game” or “it’s the worst game” reaches a fever
pitch, and is very evident on prominent league sites(where the reactions
are mostly negative). Player activity jumps dramatically however, and
in most situations where reviews are not biased, it is very favorable.

December
21, 2006 – Version 6.02 is released, after months of testing. This
version features new renderer features such as real-time vertex lighting
on models, for both world and dynamic lights. This release doesn’t get
much press for some reason, and though there is a bump in activity,
it’s less than anticpated, and in the wake of Christmas, the Wii, and
other games releasing shortly after, activity takes a dive, leading
myself to wonder if something needs addressing overall in the game.
Activity begins to rebound a bit and get closer to what it was in the
fall after a couple weeks.

January 21, 2007 – Version 6.03 is
released, almost hastily, but enough signifigant new things are in to
warrant getting it out, in particular, new textures and maps, the first
of what is expected to be a near complete overhaul of the maps in the
game to be completed by early spring of 2007. While 6.03 is considered
to be a “bridge” to 6.04, it is received very well, no doubt due to the
new maps, and a few other nice additions to make the game more stable
and configurable. Activity increases to new highs, and it seems that
more veteran type FPS players are playing the game.

March 1,
2007 – Version 6.04 is released, featuring an enormous amount of map
changes. It was thought previously that 6.04 would be the beginning of
game content stability, but this was truly not the case as despite all
these overhauls, more continued as it progressed towards 6.05.

June
13, 2007 – Version 6.05 is released, after several weeks of heavy hype
and promotion. For the second time in AA’s history, the news reached
the front page of Digg.com, largely due to the help of Chienne, who runs
an Australian gaming site. 6.05 was less of a content update as it was
code, but the changes were quite dramatic in overall appearance. The
engine received major updates, and as a result, not only looked better,
but ran faster even than then the 2006 versions. As a result of the
Digg story, and other promoting, the playerbase swelled enormously for a
couple of weeks. After the initial burst died down some, we were still
left with a signifigant increase in players. Overall, 6.05 was a huge
success, and was intrumental in helping COR work out some things on the
business side that will help AA grow in ways it could not before.

October
13, 2007 – Alien Arena 6.10 is released, again, much fanfare
accompanied it, this time getting on the front page of Slashdot.com, due
to a glowing review at Linux.com – www.linux.com/feature/119775
– and create a firestorm of controversy and nastiness due to the
article’s declaration of Alien Arena being the best free FPS at that
time. There was much ridicule and vitriol directed towards Alien Arena
and the team(mostly myself) from leaders of the Open Arena and Tremulous
communities. Both started threads on their own forums denouncing the
review, as well as slamming the game unfairly and harshly on the
comments section of both the Slashdot and Linux.com articles. However,
the loud voices of the few could no longer overcome the will of the
many, and Alien Arena found itself receiving much attention in the six
months following the release, being featured on half a dozen major
magazine’s DVD’s, and getting excellent reviews and a surging playerbase
and community. The ultimate form of bitter retaliation to the
linux.com article came when a longtime member of the Warsow community
wrote an article in response to the Linux.com article, “reveiwing” seven
free FPS games. One can only guess how Alien Arena fared in that
so-called review. Seeing that other game communities seem to feel it
very necessary to try and keep Alien Arena down only gave it more
validity.

March 6th, 2008 – Alien Arena 2008 (CRX version 7.0)
was released. Despite not getting much exposure on Digg or Slashdot,
the release was very well received and reviewed, and the news spread out
to a much larger pipeline due to the previous mass exposure of the past
two releases. The playerbase grew to record new highs, at times
averaging over 50 players online at any given time over a 24 hour
period. The game was a virtual complete overhaul from AA2k7, with all
new player characters, nearly 2 dozen new maps, new weapon models, and
many extensive engine enhancements and optimizations. The only negative
attention received was from the usual suspects at ESReality, who seemed
even more determined than ever to trash the reputation of the game,
despite the very obvious improvements, many of which were suggested by
that community itself. This led to the decision to no longer include
the ESports scene in Alien Arena’s promotional efforts. The tiny
fraction of players it might have garnered was just not worth the
headache of defending the game to a group of people that for the most
part we would not want as a part of the community.

June 5, 2008 –
Version 7.10 was released, continuing the reworking and polish that had
been introduced in 7.0, and while this was originally intended to be a
minor release, the amount of new and updated content was nearly as much
as any other release in the game’s history to this point. The
playerbase continued to remain very strong, with the core community
growing noticeably. At this point, most deathmatch aspects of AA have
been completed, and it was becoming apparent now that the popularity of
the team-based modes would shift a bit of the focus in that direction
for the next release.

October 16, 2008 – Version 7.20 released.
This version represented a very signifigant engine update, as GLSL
programs were introduced to do the bulk of the per-pixel rendering
effects. Gamecode received some unexpected but important changes as
well, including a reward system. A great amount of polish was added to
the gamecode by BlackIce, a new programmer that joined the community.
There wasn’t a tremendous amount of new content, but some of the older
maps received makeovers.

January 15, 2009 – Version 7.21
released. Once again, very extensive renderer updates, as well as
bugfixes and polish. GLSL use was expanded upon, and fixed function
per-pixel routines received some improvements as well. A great deal of
time was spent cleaning up and streamlining code, removal of unused or
unusable effects, and vast improvement of various effects make this
release another major step forward visually. By now, the engine has
surpassed the technology used in UT2k4, but still uses that engine as a
good guideline for what a solid, yet visually appealing deathmatch game
engine should look like. 7.21 marks the final release of the 2008
series, and at this time, with the engine being more up to modern
standards, the focus is shifting towards Alien Arena 2009, which will be
more content oriented(though more engine improvements and features are
still on the way, it just won’t be the entire focus). The game will
still retain the core gameplay, and attention will be placed on making
the gaming experience fun for new players.

June 19, 2009 –
Version 7.30(Alien Arena 2009) is released. Six months of long, hard
work, resulted in a nearly new renderer, which now used GLSL extensively
for all surfaces. Not only was the game signifigantly enhanced
visually, but it ran much faster as well due to the removal of the old
fixed function per-pixel lighting for meshes, now replaced with GLSL
shaders. For the second time in it’s history, the game made the front
page of Slashdot. Due to technical difficulties with icculus, which not
only hosted the website, but also the news feed for Galaxy and the
download url for 3rd party maps, the impact wasn’t as good as it could
have been. However, the activity for the summer was signifigantly
stronger than it was the previous year, which was made all the more
impressive given that most other games had declined from 2008 due to the
release of the Quake Live beta. Most importantly though, the public
perception of the game was considerably improved due to the engine
advances, and area that had been previously thought to have been holding
the game back to some degree.

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