This page is still a work in progress.
Sometime in 1997 id Software’s (now owned by Bethesda Software – who would have ever guessed?) Quake captured the imagination of gamers worldwide. A few friends of mine started playing online and we decided to come up with a group name. I decided to call our team “SOD” based on the old 80’s band Stormtroopers Of Death (their official site is here but is no longer maintained) and I assumed the nickname “sgt-d” based on the band’s mascot.
In 1998 (roughly) I registered sod.net for $100… hard to believe how expensive things were back then! A billing error saw to it that the invoice was sent to somewhere in California (the idiots actually sent it to the administrator of our “Red River” Quake server) and after several disputes I ultimately lost the domain. SOD.net has online archives from December 12, 1998 to April 30, 1999. Not much to see. I remember the site ended up being less about gaming and focused primarily on two topics: 3Dfx news and drivers, and the original WaterVIS project (see the “classic” site here) which was recently revived (and slightly renamed) as Quake Water VIS Project.
In 2002 Mike Scolaro (smokA) and Sean Carter (IriSHine) created a fully interactive website for the Quake III team and we parked it at sodpit.com. We went back and forth on several different site names but none really jumped out at us. We decided on sodpit because it reminded us of mosh pits, so basically a “mosh pit” for SOD news and members. The name sorta stuck. My brother Jeff Winter (jawz) registered the domain and we were off and running. Click these links to view Smoka & Irishine’s rendition of sodpit.com between May 7, 2002 and May 9, 2007. Cool shit, I miss it. Great work, and again thanks for the hard work guys!
Hosting problems are sometimes inevitable, but the host I was using originally for sodpit.com (ReadyHosting) was borderline impossible. They were very overbearing and everything I wanted to do (including subdomains) required an Act of Congress almost always resulted in additional monthly charges. I couldn’t manually alter anything… DNS records, DNS zone files, nothing. I had absolutely no control. Every change had to be painstakingly approved by a ReadyHosting engineer which could take days… and then I would have to wait 24-48 hours for the changes to propagate across the interwebs. If something went wrong I would again have to wait an additional 4 to 5 days. It was so horrible that I was finally forced to change.
In June of 2007 I finally switched to a very nice hosting company (Site5) but it was Linux based using PHP instead of the Windows / ASP.net which meant that this change would permanently break the original sodpit.com site made by Smoka and Irishine. I had absolutely no choice. Initially on June 15, 2007 Sodpit was running a “Google Site” but by June 24, 2007 the site was running e107. e107 was a manual installation for me every time, but I enjoyed it at the time and soon I was setting everyone else up with their own e107 sites. Almost viral.
For several years Sodpit.com continued to use the e107 content management system (CMS) as the “engine” for the website. While there were no major issues with the e107 system, there were quite a few annoyances: News posts would spam all site users’ inboxes worldwide and users didn’t know how to stop the madness, news that showed up in email messages had invalid pictures and/or web links, and there were constant vulnerabilities allowing hackers to gain access (I actually lost mIRCPowerPack.net, another e107 site, for a short time to hackers). e107 was always quick to release patches, but the manual update processes were very annoying, especially when there are multiple e107 sites under your direct control. Nothing is perfect. e107 is still a very nice engine but for me it simply required too much of my time in manual maintenance without much benefit. The e107 version of sodpit.com is still “live” and available here.
Welcome to 2010. After years of problems and manual setups related to e107 I was forced to re-evaluate other site engines. I personally was running about five e107 sites and there were at least five others I had setup for friends and family as well. For years people had been bragging to me about WordPress and normally I just blew them off. Finally a few months ago I decided to revive an old project (Quake Water VIS Project) and decided to try WordPress this time instead of e107. So far it has been nothing short of amazing. I am no longer constantly having to upload themes and plugins manually with FTP programs – it is all done inside the WordPress admin interface.
While all of this has been going on, in the background I have still been very hard at work with my real job and on the side I still write Windows based programs (here, here and here). This might soon switch to web-based applications with the recent release of SpringSource and Android “Froyo” 2.2 both released during this year’s Google I/O. We’ll see!
I’m not done with the history behind sodpit.com, but the basics are all here: where “SOD” came from, how we landed on sodpit.com, and some of the hosting and site interface changes along the way.
Oh… are we still gaming? The quick answer is: not really. I know a lot of the team still play games regularly, but I don’t talk to everyone so I don’t know who is playing or what they are playing. I was into Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142 for years… in 2142 I hit general and all of the unlocks including the Northern Strike mod. Then one day I got sucked back into Linux (openSUSE 10.3) and I just stopped playing games. I waited in Linux for the UT3 but the Linux port never came (legal battles, surrounding PhysX if memory serves) which eventually brought me back to Windows. It’s been at least 3 or 4 years now I think. I miss gaming, but I just don’t have that kind of time anymore. That’s not to say I won’t play something else occasionally. I’d like to get a Q4 server running, but at the same time I think Quake has pretty much seen it’s day. Time will tell.
Anyway, now that this site is running a blogging engine it will be much easier for me to just type what’s on my mind and post it online so the site will always have some kind of updates to it. I’m not sure what I will post about but I’m sure there will be some techy-geeky things and news articles, jokes, who knows! You can follow these site updates (blog posts) through any number of RSS Readers (including Mozilla Firefox’s built-in Live Bookmarks) by subscribing HERE.
More to come!