ModDB is a big boy now! 10 years young! What better way to celebrate then a look back at what we used to be and how that shaped what we are now!
Posted by Henley on Jul 30th, 2012
Enter stage right Scott Reismanis, the CEO and founder of all you can see (on this site), his passion? Web Design and Gaming. A potent mixture that would fuel his future ideas and ventures. This story starts off with a website called ChaosRealm, wheeling and dealing game content of all descriptions in an attempt to get traffic. Starting a web business back then was not for the faint of heart, and Scott quickly found out that user interactions and modifications drove the most traffic to his site.
Towards the end of ChaosRealms reign of terror (Scott's words not mine) ModRealm was born with a focus on what was the most popular aspects of CR, the mods. Still completely dependent on the interactions of her owners ModRealm never really exploded in its popularity and in late 2001 ModRealm met a grizzly end with the closure of her service provider, rending the site dead.
It was a cold morning on June 8 2002, Scott Reismanis launched his third site to the world simply called mod database. Unlike his previous sites Mod Database (shortened to ModDB by all the cool kids) focused on content generated by the community of the site, meaning that no-longer was it required for Scott to be the only voice. The netscape was a very different place in 2002, so you could chalk it up too being in the right place at the right time, what the gaming public wanted or just stupid sexy luck, no one could foresee the potential and what ModDB would become.
We were growing like a weed in the earily years of ModDB. Because of this 10 year writeup I had a chance to peruse our older blog posts. I came across this gem, both Scotty and I had a chuckle at this simple, yet well placed news post.
2003 was such a different time. Now-a-days ModDB creates roughly about 4 gigabytes of content a day. Which includes downloads, images, videos and news. Which just goes to show how far we have come as a database. However expansion comes at a cost, as 2003 was a year plagued with downtimes. A few hours on and off, no where near as stable as the ModDB you know today.
Oh just in-case you were in the market for a nice thong to wear. ModDB launched its first clothing line in November of this year. Along with some other nice things.
Naturally these items did not sell all that well... If any...
Alas! Version 2! ModDB has removed her dirty peasant clothing for a more suitable attire for this modern age. With more than 200 changes from v1 version 2 also had a brand new theme and a few other notable upgrades like our tutorial section, multi-language support (site navi) and a better permission system for site admins.
This version is still regarded among our oldest members to be one of the best versions of the site. "Lean and Mean" was how it was mostly regarded as. 2004 was also the first time ModDB joined the rest of the net with RSS feeds, which is how a lot of our community enjoy's our content right now.
It was a very rough time for ModDB in 2005. We faced massive downtimes, a week long. We lost a month worth of content and our service providers were in the same sinking ship.
Following the downtime the site was faced with a decision. Close down its doors forever and move onto new pastures or face the 2 month roll-back head on and build up once agian what was lost. Both idea's had merit. In the end however, ModDB persisted and with a lot of work she bounced back, even with the missing content.
Good idea Scotty...
As the saying goes what does not kill you, only makes you stronger. This is very much the case for ModDB as within 2005 we launched the first iteration of the ModDB local download servers, meaning that we would never again lose modifications to the ether!
This was a giant step forward for what ModDB eventually became.
At the end of 2005 our community woke up to find an early Christmas gift in the form of version 3 of ModDB! This is when we grew out of our simple database children's cot to being the suave site you all know and love. I call this update the personality update as we (finally) got some colour, Wally worked what he had to the world and ModDB became a much easier site to navigate.
With the new version of ModDB spreading good vibes, you could not have asked for a better start to 2006. Scott found time to update the RSS feature we had on the site to be more comprehensive. This allowed users to track singular mod news and updates. AddonDB was our first failed attempt at expanding the DB network of sites. The idea was solid, create another site that deals only with content that adds content to an already existing game. Like a map, model replacement or sounds.
Our first venture into digital distribution was not as many believe to be Desura. ModDB back in early 2007 partnered with IGN and created a whitelabel distributor of games. In the end this approach to selling games wasn't for us, so Scott's attention was looking to the future.
Version 4 future. Announced around August 2007, v4 had a whole list of impressive site changes that would push ModDB to be a powerhouse for modding related files and media. Some of the changes included:
v4 is the current version of ModDB you are browsing right now (yes this version is almost 6 years old) and was completed on November 9th 2007.
ModDB has never really been a syndicate news site for the great news breaking around the globe, that does not mean we didn't give it a go. In early 2008 we hired a editor-in-chief. Ryan "stenchy" Anderson was that man. For the next two years he attempted to craft our own brand of reviews, news, interviews, personality driven blogs and podcasts. However no matter what we attempted to do he could never over-shadow what ModDB natively grew into - a mod/indie game developer driven PR site. Anything we did never really stuck with our larger audience (we had our die-hard fans).
In the end we did make up some fantastic explosions of content from this boon. My personal favourite flop was the cringe worthy Modcast Live we ran. Horrible.
On a side note, we started working on Desura about now.
We just kept growing, almost too fast. We needed space, speed and bandwidth. Our database manager since the dawn of time had this to say on our rapid growth.
We ended up adding a whole slue of new download servers to our site.
Upgrades are costly things, so we looked into ways to help cover costs a little. Some worked better than most. We first had our professional job board and the other was our "proper" clothing store.
Desura was announced to the public on December 17th 2009. It was a long time coming and we were very excited to release what we had. To our surprise it launched to a massive audience and was syndicated across the net.
INDIEDB! Having just come back from GDC 2009 our team sat down and decided that IndieDB was our next logical step, we already supported Independent developers, but we had no home for them. With the inclusion of IndieDB to our family we saw a great increase of indie games being added to the database.
While just supporting features is great, we needed to improve a whole lot more to match other sites. We needed to upgrade the quality of our media if teams were going to use our service to host and spread their works. To facilitate this we increase the quality of our thumbnails and created our powerful embed system for all media coming out of our site. Our review system also received a much needed update, gone the days of heavy formatting and HTML corrections. Now the review system is very simple and everyone is encouraged to participate!
We are nearing the present for our look back at ModDB. The last year to talk about is a little sparse with interesting information as this year was mostly spent on expanding our other site Desura. Here is a little bit of information you might not have known though.
For the first time since 2002, ModDB gathered all of her full-time staff members in one place. Melbourne Australia became our official home and office back in May. The three main members, Scott Reismanis, Mark Chandler and myself Dave Traeger all moved into a flat and made a sitcom to the city to better organise ourselves and run the site as best as possible. Since then we have been a whole lot more productive and the site runs a smooth as a whistle.
It seems fitting that in our 10th year we reached the 1,000,000 members mark. So thanks to everyone who has ever visited, commented, submitted a mod or game or news or video or download or anything else to our site. Not a day passes that we don't enjoy browsing all of the amazing creative work getting added. Bring on another 10 years we say!