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Celebrating 25 years

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Celebrating 25 years

Post by Koi-Cricket »

Several days ago, Koi-Wish let me know that this year marks 25 years since Underlight first launched. 25 years! I was surprised because the years have really flown by.

I first learned about Underlight through my ex. I would stand behind him and watch him play, and ask questions. I remember when he let me "gen sit" for him when he would need to go afk.

When I first started playing, I wasn't interested in anything other than pking. I would attack people and then laugh like a school girl. I don't know how many characters I went through, all getting banned one by one. But I knew that whatever fun I was having, I didn't want it to end.

I remember the first real character I created that I wanted to get serious with. JarJar. My mission was to have him join UoC but Folko wasn't having it. I made a point to run into houses essence rooms, like the Union and make a scene about them having jewels, and then stealing them. In my mind that was a legit roleplay, but eventually got that character banned too. It took me several months but I finally settled on a characters name that I really liked, and I knew that this one needed to behave.

I wasn't there for the beginning of Lyra, I wish I had of been. I hear about the hundreds of people that played and just couldn't imagine how that would be. I started several years in and played till the very last night. I remember it like it was yesterday. We were all in DoL thresh, even a DM, we moved up to the keep for a RP and back down to thresh. I remember Thunderman being there, probably because he was my PCs son, and moondust, who was my PC's bestie. I remember as soon as the servers went down, we all hopped into Second life and that became our source of entertainment for a long long time.

Myplayer days were the best. I remember fighting with Loxx and Flower of Cienn over guys in game, and taking it to mplayer and cat fights would break out.

I remember learning what QRP stood for and I was all about it. I wanted to be wild with the rest of you guys and I was having the time of my life.

I remember the very first day that I saw Braelynn come into thresh for the very first time. I never would have imagined that she would become one of my closest irl friend. I've never met her, but we text and talk everyday.

I went to many Underlight meets and were able to see the real people behind the screen. Most of them were not far off from their characters personalities. But I will never ever forget the Gatlinburg Underlight meet. There was probably ten of us in a 4 person hot tub and no water left in it once we were done.

So many memories and so many laughs. Especially the trip to the sex shop, and then us Ulers hanging out in the hotel afterwards with Wishbringer downing a dildo.

I remember going on a four person UL camping trip, about to hike up a mountain and Jess (Jade) saying, oh durn I forgot my inhaler. Like she was about to brave up that mountain with asthma.

I remember the very first day that someone reached out to me and asked me to be a GM. I seriously thought it was a joke. I had given the team a run for their money over the years, why would they want me? I think I even surprised Koi-Wish that things worked out the way that they did. But someone had faith in me and I wasn't about to let them down.

I've gained many friendships with this journey, and enemies too. I've had a lot of first experiences with people I've met in person, from kayaking to hiking, to meeting the love of my life who I am still with to this day.

It has had its ups and downs but I wouldn't trade it. Underlight is a big part of my everyday because I choose for it to be and I enjoy it.

The stories in game can really draw you in. You can feel real emotion from them, I don't care what anyone says. It can make you laugh, happy, mad, even sad.

Underlight has been the biggest escape for people over the years. It allows you to be creative and express yourself more than any game I've ever played.

And I could go on and on, or write a book on all of my experiences, friendships, hardships and memories.

I cannot believe we are coming up on our 9th anniversary for this version, but we are going to celebrate! We will be posting a time and day for our 25th year celebration, and what this entire year will look like. I don't know how many more years we will be around, but as long as people still love and want to play the game, we will do our best to help keep it alive.
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Re: Celebrating 25 years

Post by Koi-Wish »

I have essentially been around Underlight since the very beginning, not Beta like some others but definitely that first year. I remember walking up to the very first dreamer the toons named was Oakenshield. At the time I didnt understand what MMO meant, the term/acronym is very well known today and it seems silly to not know what it meant, but back then - none of us did. So when I got whipped by an emphant in the pits, I found my way back to Threshold and "restored" and saw this other dreamer (player) for the first time, I remember him talking to me and I was like, 'Hold on a minute, are you real?' and he replied in some fashion that he very much was a real person and I didn't believe it for a solid few minutes. MMO's werent a thing then. I didnt play MUDs or Ultima Online or Meridian 59 - I hadnt even heard of these at that time, so MMO's was an unheard of thing to 99% of everyone back then. I played Acrophobia and Spades online - and even then I was shocked you could do this with other people around the world - So Underlight was an extreme "OMG!" moment and I was hooked. That first dreamer that I drove was Soul Dancer, I had a few others between him and WishBringer - everyone before WishBringer was just for learning the ropes, WishBringer was who I poured my heart, soul and energy into.

I remember being between jobs and living on unemployment in like '99 and playing this game every single night until the wee hours of the morning, sleeping til I woke up and immediately getting back in. I drove a lot of toons over the years, some villains some hero's - many, but man I had so much fun. WishBringer was always my foundation toon, and I would always end up driving him the most, he was a representative of me and my personality and he was my life away from life. The trauma of real life was as it always was, tough for so many, but UL was an escape, a place where I could be someone else and place this world on a shelf for a bit. I needed it, just as many others needed it for their various reasons. Underlight was and still is an amazing place to escape to, I still love it so much for that.

I was at a few UL Conventions, Kansas City and where I met dozens of dreamers, there was a small one in Michigan City, IN where I met WishBringers sisters Molly Mayhem and dolly day dream and the wonderous HiRoGliFiQ, and of course the one in Gatlinburg which was by far and away the most fun. Kailoth, myslf and my brother got so close. We flew him up to Indiana to stay with us when Katrina devastated his state. At each of these events I got to experience the IRL people, I got to eat in real life Selika cookies, saw how short and tiny Tember really is, met a very young Thunderman, met my IC daughter, Kailee.... At Gatlinburg we filled the fridge with food and drinks and laughed, played games, Ripleys, the aquarium, playing pool, the hottub, arcade games.... we had so much fun, its hard to believe that was 17 years ago. I wish we had been a able to pull off the Gatlinburg meet we tried to the last few years but Covid made things challenging. Maybe someday...

I didnt play SoT/EoC for more then a handful of hours but I was glad Underlight was still around. When it went down in 2013, I posted a post on their forums because I had heard about it, I merely mentioned the idea of merging both flavors together in a "Clash of Dreams" idea - and that same day a website was up, forums created and I had a team and we were starting KoiWare. That first year was tough, the server was originally ran on my Asus Gaming Laptop, and the client was being built on there too. Macobas was remoting into my laptop using TeamViewer and working on the code trying to work thru the bit rot - I remember the first time he was like "Booooom!" and was able to login and play. It was a huge moment, and we knew we were about to be a reality. A few months later, we went live, and have been here every since. I owe so many thank you's to so many people its nearly impossible for me to name them all. But that core team of us, Drama, RavenXR, Al-E, DiscoWay, Macobas, Donut and good ol Lyra-Hawk. There were side folks too who helped, Lotus, Thunderman, James and even Xenus. I am sure I am missing others, and I apoligize to you if I missed you - but none of us would be here without that inital team pulling off small miracles. We became no longer an idea, but a reality and here we are 9 years later.... still going.

I learned so much from being on this side of the world of Underlight, its crazy, I miss the innocent days of just being a player, god I wish I could go back to those days. Its been terribly difficult and I have so much respect for those who were in my shoes before me, and those who fill those shoes now (Cricket) - We have a level of appreciation for one another that many in the community will just never understand unless you have tried to oversee this before. Its not easy keeping this alive, keeping the peace in the community, pushing forward, inspiring the team, dealing with loss, development issues, requests, demands, working purely with volunteers.... I could go on and on, its hard, very hard.

But I would do this all again, every single part of it, to keep what we have around for all of you and us. Underlight is too important to so many people to let it fade away.

I still have OMG moments, I am still hooked, I am still here.... 25 years later....

I love all of you, from everyone who has ever been on my team, to everyone in the community - you are the life blood of Underlight, you are the reason we keep pushing forward we only ask one thing from you:

Keep dreaming.

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Re: Celebrating 25 years

Post by Tentacle »

A History

I started playing in January of '00, and I had not a single clue.

The month prior, my grandmother was given a headset for the holidays, and as we all shared the home computer, I ended up using it. Mplayer, the gateway. Moving between groups of supposed hackers and random chatters, Myplayer was a wild playground of people worldwide. At some point, I made friends with a few people; one of them would regularly have to dip out to play this game called Underlight. A few weeks after Mplayer became a daily thing, my friend went on vacation, and I decided I wanted to know more about what this Underlight thing was that they kept playing. When they returned from vacation, I was ready to play!

From that introduction, I ended up moving to Australia and then a few years later back to the States. The night I returned to the States, the person who was supposed to pick me up from the airport couldn't. She had stayed at the Underlight meet-up in Florida. Soon tales would come out of that infamous gathering of drunken debauchery and the use of Dreamstrike. It was an insane time and formed memories and gossip that I remember to this day. I met many players and friends and had a solid year or so of traveling, moving around, and having unique experiences. Lots of stress too! But fantastic life experiences and a lot of personal growth. Through that all, I found time to play Underlight, slowly got a clue, and stopped being a total shitter. Though I will admit, the community always has toxic interactions, and I am sure there are quite a few people out there who would maintain I am still a shitter. To that, I say, stay mad.

I will always be thankful to the various Underlight communities for the creativity and growth they inspired in me. I graduated High School early and had never cared much about grades. Underlight and its opportunities to write inspired me to develop skill sets I needed to pay more attention to. I was able to develop skills to the point that every single version of Underlight has launched had me as a member of it at some point.

Involvement in Underlight and its various communities, short-lived or tenacious and long-lasting, has inspired me to chase my dreams of writing, collaboration, and creation. I can now actively serve other roleplaying communities as an administrator and even seek out experience as a narrative writer in the game industry. These activities are likely outlets I would have never pursued if not for the storytelling of Underlight.

In addition to writing and storytelling, Underlight also introduced me to broadcasting. Or rather, Reh Dak did. While still on the original Underlight forums, Reh Dak posted that he had started broadcasting via a Shoutcast server, which immediately sounded intriguing. I followed up with him and, within a short time, was working for the same online station he was. From that single forum post, an online broadcaster was born who would be active for nearly six years. During those six years, I could broadcast for various online stations, travel to E3 and interview game developers and broadcast from the Expo floor, and spend countless hours broadcasting from in-game environments while playing with and chatting with developers (all while playing an incredible selection of music.)

I still return to the game because of the environment it presents. The setting allows me to reach players who want an immersive and creative experience that we can't find elsewhere. Underlight enables us to use our imagination and, when done right, play out the lives of our characters in a living fantasy novel that is constantly shifting, always changing, and never the same experience for two people. Underlight has faults, and there are bound to be many. However, true creative expression has a unique home in Underlight. There may be boundless rewards for those who try to create and express themselves creatively, even if you have to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge some shitty people on the internet.

It is many years since I started, and while I may never serve on a team again in any capacity, I have proven that Soulmasters are not healers. So, there is that.

Underlight is what you make of it, and I encourage you to invest yourself in the creative environment and the potential of what you can do with it. From moments of walking in on people exploring kink (still waiting for the Duesmith Mark) to crying because of the death of a GM character with whom my character had built a relationship - the game is a garden of memories.

If you're not willing to give yourself over creatively and go at things like you are your own R.R Martin or Robert Jordan, you're missing out. No matter where you are now or what your experience level is, you are, or you can be a part of a living, breathing story. Do something with that.

"She spins her golden web between us and the dream." - The Matron ☼, Soulkeeper
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Re: Celebrating 25 years

Post by Braelynn »

20-some years ago, a 26 year old me was sitting at her desktop computer, on a 56k modem internet connection, playing hours and hours on a MUD. Multi-User-Dungeon, for those of you who don't know what that is. My character's name was Braelynn, a name I made up out of the dark recesses of my Riverdance-obsessed Irish mind. She was an immortal, a GM, and I enjoyed the roleplay aspect of it, and building rooms and quests for players.

My stepdaughter at the time was like 11 or 12 and she had met a girl at school who lived across the street from us. When one of her older sisters came over to meet us, she noticed I was playing a MUD. She asked me if I gamed online or if I was into games? I was... after all, a gamer nerd. She told me about this game called "Underlight." I went over to her house and watched her play for a few minutes, and I was like "Oh my gosh, it's like.. actual people. Not words, not a MUD..." and she came over and helped me set up my account, and get me started. That person.... Ramslend.

My first encounter in game was Bilbo Baggins, on Mt. Illapse. He was there with two other people I don't recall -- one a soulsphere. Maybe serialkiller33 and whoever else was floating. I'll never forget the first in-game words I ever heard another player say: "Restore him or I will slit your throat!" ... I almost quit.. like, what kind of game did I get myself into? But I persevered.. kept playing, and I'm glad I did.

I have fond memories of Underlight since then. Playing Truth or Dare in Threshold.... I embarked on my first big "marriage" roleplay - SOOOOOO many people were there and I was so nervous IRL I couldn't type. (Hi Talin ... welcome back!) .. ruling the Union, house hopping trying to find Braelynn's place in the world, meeting so many people, and a select few years and years ago who have remained my close friends irl today... Gina, I'm looking at you. Tember and Braelynn would sit in Thresh for HOURS and talk shit about everyone. We gossiped so much. I even had a gossip column in the Underlight Chronicles that Loveslight ran.

But of all my Underlight memories, there is one that stands out and will for the rest of my life. (Well, there's two, but I'll settle on this one, for now.) That is meeting Jared. Synteny. He and I clicked the second we started talking OOC in IRC, and we were best friends ever since. Every day, for 18 years, we were a presence in each other's life. We tried all the new games together. We played GTA, TOR, WOW... we GMed together for years in Shades of Truth.... just to name a few. He was the Will to my Grace. When he suddenly died on August 21, 2018, a piece of me died with him that will never be whole again. Still not over it, really. To read more, see here: https://forums.underlight.com/viewtopi ... eny#p19681 - I won't take up my post with sadness. If it weren't for Underlight, our paths may never have crossed. For that I will always be grateful.

After Lyra-UL went down, Shades of Truth came alive. It was broken, but it was Underlight. I joined the GM team, eventually became MD, and remained so until the game went down. I was a part of this iteration's GM team back when it started, and most recently, stepped down from being a GM and am happily back to "just Brae". I've seen both sides of it, and I wouldn't trade any of it for anything.

I have played many characters over the years. But of all the ones I have ever played or ever created, GM team or otherwise, Braelynn is my most beloved. She has so much history. Stories I have written about her, for her, and will continue to write until there isn't anything to write about anymore.

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Re: Celebrating 25 years

Post by Cherokee »

When I was growing up, my uncle was like an older brother to me. He introduced me to video games like Mortal Kombat and Tekken. Anything he did, I wanted to do. When he got his first computer, he would lock up in his room for hours playing this game called Underlight. I didn't quite understand it, but I liked when he'd let me watch him play. Sometimes he even let me gen sit.

My uncle was at my house for New Years (I believe) when he found out the game was shutting down. He asked to borrow my laptop so he could be there. His character was QUI-GON JINN.

When he heard of the Shades of Truth project, he talked me into signing up and playing with him. I was there for launch and even participated in the beta test prior - even though I had no clue what was going on. I was 15 at the time and was really into reading, so the thought of a story I can help create was intriguing.

The first character I made was Shadow. The name was fitting, because back then I was too shy and quiet to talk much. I didn't want to sound like an idiot to the veteran players. I was enthralled with the Sect of the Prudent vs Emancipators of Men storyline from the get go. When the Cult of Bashir was forming, I created an alt: Jade. She eventually became my main character.

UL has been an important part of my life ever since. It has been my escape from reality and helped me grow out of my comfort zone. It's also how I discovered my love for writing and desire to become a published author one day. I've been a player as well as a GM. It's not as easy as some might think, but I loved every minute of it.

I've made so many friends throughout the years and have even met some in person. I'll never forget going camping in Georgia with Gina and others, it was a great time. The first time I've ever had to bathe in a cold af river! Or when Liolira dropped everything to drive out to where I live when I was going through a rough time.

This game is so full of memories that I will cherish and I'm sure many of you feel the same. Things change and it might not be the Lyra or SoT we remember, but I'm happy it's still here for us to enjoy. There's still so many stories waiting to be told. For those that are new or returning: I hope you stick around and help us keep the dream alive.

- Jade/Jessica
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23:48:24: Laviticas: (( I am going to ****ing say this now because I will not be back in the stupid game.)
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Re: Celebrating 25 years

Post by Tary »

Well, I'm a sucker for nostalgia - it got me to log in for the first time in years. So, here goes:

I started playing when I was a freshman in high school, in 1997, while the game was still in beta on MPlayer. I joined shortly after OoSM was opened and started as a DreamSeer. I followed my friend who I attended school with - JFruchter who had raved about Underlight. I remember him describing how someone named Yog-ka had murdered another character, Sabra. I asked him (in the middle of 9th grade biology, wide-eyed), "Like... for real?" His response was something like "No, you idiot, it's all about role-playing."

I played for a few months while UL was free-to-play but left once it became pay-to-play and requested that my account be deleted. I knew my parents wouldn't pay the $10/month for Underlight so I gave it up. Luckily, at the time, MPlayer allowed sub-accounts, and sub-accounts could play Underlight if the primary account paid (and they could play simultaneously!). I rejoined, this time as a SoulMaster, and SK33 (another friend of mine from school) joined as well. After that my memories are a blur: I remember when Threshold Caves opened up, remember the UoC/KoES/GoE roleplay. I remember the many wars with AoE over their restoring of mares. I remember UL2K, when Lyra left MPlayer. No longer could I rely on MPlayer's buggy account system: I used to mail Dagger money orders every 6 months to continue paying for Underlight. Yes, really.

Huge portions of my brain are dedicated to Underlight for no good reason. I remember the oddest things, like Nziri's full name (Nziri Ndari Aylviairi). I could get to UoC from Threshold, following the shortcuts in Edgeward, blindfolded. I remember huge amounts of maren despite not having played actively in well over a decade.

So much more happened: Tary went from good, to evil, to good, to crazy, to evil, to just weird. I never figured out how to roleplay, not really. I became a orbit 59 SoulMaster MT, then was terminated, then restored to an orbit 5 SM. SK33 was terminated too, for the same reason I was, but he recovered and went on to get to sphere 6 or 7, and I never bothered (the reason for termination was we guessed someone's MPlayer password and had them restore the account for us, then we used that character -- a teacher of high sphere -- to grant ourselves arts. We were, like, 16 and stupid).

I eventually graduated high school and asked to join the UL Dev team - first as a tester. I tested several patches and then when I started university I asked to start coding. I started off small, fixing tiny bugs or added new Know descriptions. From there, I ended up joining the Reclamation dev team and added tons of new functionality to a game that never saw the light of day. Brent basically handed me the reins to Underlight by my junior year of university and I was adding features to UL since he was full-time on Reclamation. We had a weird group of people working on Rec: myself, Brent, Andon (yes, that Andon), some UI guy named Stephen, Martin working on levels, a server-side guy named Lee and I don't remember who else.

My first real-life kiss, my first girlfriend was because of Underlight. You used to venture round these parts, Laurie (Starling), but you've not been around in years. It's okay that you're a horse-girl now, I'll only make fun of you a little bit.

I lived with Nectar (you might know her as Lyra-Vixen I think?) in TX for a month between my junior and senior years of university. Officially I was a "Lyra intern," but really I was living indoors for a month, living, eating and sleeping code. Incidentally, Girl-Mike, if you're reading this I miss you dearly and I hope you're alright. I met countless other folks face-to-face over the years: Crys, Jon, Laurie, Eric, Mike (Dakkoth) (I doubt you remember meeting me though, you came with Eric and another guy from Invictus to see Maiden in concert I think). Brent and I went to a Dream Theater concert together in NYC. I made countless other real-life friends even though my interaction with them is still entirely electronic. My best friend in the world, even though I maybe chat with her once a year, but if I was called upon to help her move a body I would (I mean, I'd have to be in the same city at the time, and I guess I'd need gloves and some sort of Breaking Bad-esque setup but this is all hypothetical anyway isn't it ha ha ha ha ha) to this day is Windsong (because I'm certain that she'd also laugh at the idea of us dissolving a body in acid, preferably while the Benny Hill theme song plays).

For me, Underlight sort-of faded away. I was working full-time, I met my wife-to-be, and when I heard UL had breathed its last I couldn't even join in on the fun (I was visiting my future in-laws at the time)! Some time later I was asked to help on SoT and on some other versions but I really couldn't dedicate the time to help out and UL faded again from memory. Then, one day Wish reached out to me on Facebook and asked if I could help bring UL back from the dead. I think at the outset it was the Brians, Luigi, Mark (Hawk) and myself. Hawk and Brian H got the servers set up and I got cracking on getting logins working. And suddenly there it was again, as if we'd never left...

The truth is that Underlight holds a dear place in my heart. I still maintain it's a terrible, terrible video game. But it fostered a sense of community and belonging that I have never found elsewhere. It taught me how to write, how to be creative, how to code. Even though I hate to play I still think of ways the game could be improved with code changes. I wish I still had the time to dedicate to make it better. Even just a few hours spare and I could find myself in an Underlight coding vortex again, adding features nobody wanted or asked for ("new style chat", Chaos Wells, no-pickup items, area-of-effect items, flight... sorry everyone, when I get bored I just have the tendency to do whatever).

I still lurk - here, and in Discord, and occasionally I'll participate. And that terrible, terrible game I mentioned above? It still has pull for me, I still download every update and am tempted to log in. Sometimes I do run around Threshold when nobody else is around (living in the middle east means I have the game to myself most of the time) just to see the portals spin. Even after all these years I can't put it down, I can't stop thinking about what features I want to code up, what roleplays I want to be a part of, what players I want to see again.

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