Image of the USS Enterprise-D in space

History of Simming

Displayed here is the paraphrased History of Simming as shown in the Timeline of Simming article on the Simming Encyclopedia.

1992

  • The first documented sim club on Prodigy, the Starfleet Sim Club (STF), was organized in April of 1992 out of a collection of Star Trek fans who enjoyed role-playing and defending the Star Trek discussion board against attackers from the 90210 discussion board. Admiral Kowalewski of STF has been credited with inventing the sim club model, but there could have been earlier clubs that have been lost to time.
  • Starfleet Online (later known as Spacefleet Online) (SFOL) is founded on AOL and Prodigy around the same time. Several creation stories exist, including that SFOL started as one club and broke into two, that the club was founded on one service and some of its members went to the other and set up shop there (either with the permission of the other club or just simply stole their name and ideas), or that it was just a coincidence that the two clubs shared the same name. Regardless, both versions of SFOL grow to become the largest club on their respective online services.
  • Fleet 74 begins on CompuServe. It quickly grows into the largest club on that service. In fact, it is so successful that on multiple occasions it was the only Star Trek sim club on CompuServe.
  • Star Trek Sims (STS) is formed during the fall of 1992 on AOL. It starts as a small collection of simming friends, but later evolves into a full fledged club. One of its early members - TrekGuru - is credited with being the first person to apply the Game Master concept of Dungeons and Dragons to simming as the Sim Master. The Sim Master concept is later adopted by numerous groups and replaced the system of rolling online dice to determine the outcome of events, which was a common practice in many early sims.

1993

  • What will grow into the Federation Sim Fleet (FSF) begins as a single sim, the USS Melbourne, on a BBS called FIDOnet under the guidance of Captain Shuni on March 7, 1993. On July 5th, a second affiliate sim, the USS Bastille, is launched. Two more sims are launched before the end of the year. The new club is eventually named UNIFED, or the United Federation.
  • The United Confederation of Interstellar Planets (UCIP) is formed by Vice Admiral Danzak. The club eventually grows to become one of the largest in the history of simming.
  • In late 1993 the Federation and Klingon Alliance (FKA) is formed by Admiral Andy B. Clements in an effort to compete with SFOL. SFOL "Hosts" were given free usage of America Online and were not tere for the love of Simming.

1994

  • The Federation and Klingon Alliance (FKA) is offered to be an official club in the RPG Forum (Keyword RPG) on AOL after a meeting with Yvonne (Admiral TPau) and Admiral Andy B. Clements. Negotiations fall through because AOL is unwilling grant key FKA members full Host Status. Nevertheless, Admiral Clements is able to secure Message boards and usage of the RPG Conference Chat Rooms for Simming Purposes. this later prompted The Online Gaming Forum (OGF) to form the Non Affiliated Gaming Forum NAGF in late 1995. The FKA quickly assembles close to 15 Sims in 1994 under the leadership of Admiral Clements. In late 1994 Admiral Clements leaves the FKA to form a new group, as a result FKA crumbles as only a handleful of ships remained. Several key leaders including Vice Admiral Phantom, Kyushu, and Rear Admiral Robby leave the group as well to assist with the creation of the United Space Federation (USF).
  • UNIFED expands beyond its IRC base and launches its first America Online sim - the USS Harold - in April of 1994. Over the years, UNIFED slowly builds its base.
  • The Federation Sim Group (FSG) is formed by a AdmGMad, who hands off the reigns in just a matter of weeks. This is only the beginning in a long line of sudden resignations, splits, and political turmoil for the group. Remarkably, the group survives, and thrives, and its unstable political climate gives rise to some of the most profound simming thinkers, including Dennis Busse.
  • By 1994, Starfleet Online (SFOL) on AOL has become the largest sim club of its day, dominating simming and controlling a majority of the simming market on AOL. Sometime during the spring of 1994, AOL management takes note that thousands of individuals are spending at least 4 of their allotted 5 hours of online time a month engaged in simming and approach the leader of SFOL asking if he would be interested in making the club an AOL forum. The leader agrees, apparently without consulting anyone in the club. Some in SFOL see the merger as a good thing as it gives the club its own chat rooms, message boards, file libraries, and forum (a big thing in those days). Others see it as a hostile take over. SFOL soon breaks apart as many leading officers and regular simmers who disagree with the merger leave to form their own clubs.
  • In May, AOL moves quickly to secure control over SFOL and terminates the accounts of several hosts, including Stanley Parker. Mr. Parker sues AOL and wins a judgment against the company in court.
  • Splitting from FKA The United Space Federation (USF) is formed by Admiral Andy B. Clements in late 1994 with a single ship, the USS Excelsior. Andy skillfully exploits the problems of SFOL and recruits heavily. Soon, the USF launches the USS Stealth ) and later the USS Potemkin. The group expands rapidly and soon replaces SFOL as the largest sim club on AOL. However, during its time on AOL the USF remained isolated, but grew to over 22 active sims on AOL over a 1 year period.
  • On Prodigy, Starfleet Online continues to grow, unaffected by the events and lawsuits on AOL. By this point in time the SFOL on Prodigy is no longer connected to SFOL on AOL (if they were ever connected in the first place), and has become the largest club on Prodigy, dominating a majority of the Trek simming market there. In addition, to confuse matters, a third Star Fleet On-Line is formed in irc chat rooms by disgruntled members of SFOL on AOL. This third SFOL, created by Admirals Ryan and John Sisko, will go on to outlive the AOL and Prodigy versions of the club.

1995

  • Admiral TPau is promoted from SFOL to the head of Online Gaming Forum on AOL. TPau remains active in SFOL and Vice Admiral Data is later that year assigned to be supervisor of the Non Affiliated Gaming Forum NAGF.
  • In response to the problems at Starfleet Online (SFOL), and as a way to gain some control over the rapidly expanding private simming community, AOL creates the Non Affiliated Gaming Forum (NAGF) to provide private sims on AOL an area for message boards, file libraries, and more. The forum quickly becomes the hang out and principle recruiting tool for the majority of sim clubs on AOL. Ironically it is Vice Admiral Data who is placed in the position of Supervisor by Yvonne (Admiral TPau).
  • In early 1995, the highest ranking departure from Starfleet Online on AOL occurs. The Tigress, the publisher of SFOLs newsletter "CommLink," starts her own club, the Continuum Online (COL).
  • The breakup of Starfleet Online on AOL continues. All told, during late early 1995 some of the club's simmers and senior officers left to start or join new clubs. The dedication of those who left is even more remarkable considering SFOL hosts were given free and unlimited access to AOL at a time when regular members only had 5 hours of online time a month. Those who left ended up spending hundreds of extra dollars a month in order to stay online for more than 5 hours and run their clubs. Yet, despite the massive shock that the club sustained, SFOL gained a commanding position in the simming world by becoming AOLs official sim club. It is able to rebuild and remains a key player in the AOL simming community until it moves to the Internet in the early 21st century.
  • The Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) is founded on the Internet and later expands to AOL, becoming a very large and successful club. The ASG represented a further evolution of the sim club model. Up to that time, all of the sims in a club reported to one leader and the club only offered one kind of sim (ie Star Trek). The ASG established separate fleets with their own leaders, and offered Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, and SeaQuest sims in the same club.

1996

  • Paramount Pictures enters into a contract with MSN to operate the official Star Trek website, titled Star Trek: The Continuum, and a simming organization called Star Trek: A Call To Duty (ACTD) is established to provide role-playing activities on the site. Paramount than sues AOL for using the name Starfleet (as in having the official AOL sim called Starfleet Online). AOL is forced to rename the club Spacefleet Online. Starfleet Online on Prodigy is unaffected.
  • During August of 1996, Trek Online (TOL) is formed on Prodigy. At the same time, the UFP/SF is founded on AOL by Chip Rollins and eventually merges into TOL in January of 1997. The club's freewheeling, democratic, open door policy takes shape to counteract the closed, stubborn, and bureaucratic tendencies found in other clubs of the era. TOL works to redefine the concept of a sim club from a container for sims into a community for people. In the process, it gives rise to prolific simming thinkers and leaders - Chas Hammer foremost among them.
  • The Federation Sim Group (FSG) suffers a major split, out of which a group called the Warpspeed Sim Group (WSG) is formed.
  • The Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) absorbs the UFA, a group with talented members who become dedicated ASGers. Another small group, Science Fiction Association (SFA) breaks from the AOL branch of the ASG and establishes a small but successful group. Many members sim in both groups. A second small group, called the Allied Sim Association (ASA), is started by a former ASG member. Much like the ASG, the ASA runs sims of multiple genres and offers both AOL and IRC Sims.
  • United Federation (UNIFED) splits into three separate groups around December of 1996. The only group of sims to survive the split, under the command of Jon Shuni, is used to launch a reformed club in January called the Federation Sim Fleet (FSF). Over the next few years, the FSF, through a major recruiting campaign and a series of skillful mergers and acquisitions grows into one of the largest and most successful clubs of all time.

1997

  • The split between the Federation Sim Group (FSG) and Warpspeed Sim Group (WSG) comes to an end when a tentative merger agreement is drafted on January 1, 1997 between the two clubs and approved later that year.
  • Star Trek Sims (STS) suffers a major split in March when TrekGuru, frustrated by the direction of the club and its leadership, leaves STS and is followed by many of its sims. They form a new club, Final Frontier Sims (FFS). STS as a club manages to stumble on for two more years, and two sims from the club manage to survive on their own into 2001.
  • Shaken by the turmoil unleashed by unlimited billing and realizing the problems are beyond the scope of any one club, the leaders of most of the major sim clubs on AOL join together in a Sim Senate in March and meet on a regular basis to discuss the status of their club and problems facing simming. The Senate soon begins to organize the Simming League in hopes that a larger United Nations type organization can solve some of the problems of the day. Chas Hammer emerges as a primary leader in the movement and becomes the League President. On Prodigy, a similar grouping of leaders called the Association of Club Leaders comes together to deal with the problems there, but fails to evolve and soon disbands.
  • The Allied Electronic Sims (AES) is formed on August 20, 1997, by splitting from the Federation Sim Group (FSG). The group eventually grows into one of the larger and more successful E-mail sim groups on the Internet.
  • The Celestial Prime Alliance (CPA) is formed on August 31, 1997, by splitting from the Continuum Online (COL). The group's formation is spearheaded by Gem Rhee, Joi'Ahn Kethry and Fred Shedian.
  • Tango Fleet is founded and goes on to become one of the major influences on the simming community through their openness and charity. Their graphic work was seen on numerous sites and their helpful nature made them very popular with other clubs.
  • Bravo Fleet is launched by Mike Bremer and Pat Weber following what BF history calls "a very serious dispute" with the then CO of Tango Fleet. Bremer left with his sim, the USS Pegasus, and joined with Weber's young USS Miranda sim to form the new group. Unlike most other clubs of the day, Bravo Fleet holds its sims on exclusively on the internet and rapidly becomes one of the largest sim clubs. However disagreements over the way the group is being run leads to Weber leave to form Alpha Fleet.
  • Thanks to its stable, decentralized government, the Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) continues with success on both IRC and AOL. On AOL some of its sims overflow their chat rooms, causing COs to run their sims out of two chat rooms at once with resounding success. With the hiatus of a few (ASG) founding members, the AOL and IRC branches become more autonomous. This is widely considered the "Golden Age" of ASG simming.
  • The Science Fiction Association (SFA) closes it's doors after a year of general success. The leadership simply moved on, and realize that most of their members will sim elsewhere. Most members revive their participation in the ASG while others join the small but upstart Allied Sim Association (ASA).
  • Allied Sim Association (ASA) gains a surge of new membership as well as an ambitious pool of leaders from the dismantled Science Fiction Association (SFA). The Babylon 5 sims are particularly successful early on while the Star Trek sims build quickly. The (ASA)'s young membership quickly develop a strong friendship and regularly spend time together in the chat room "ASA Lounge." A culture of "Pick Up Sims" forms.

1998

  • The Non Affiliated Gaming Forum (NAGF) begins to provide private clubs the same resources AOL provides to Spacefleet Online (SFOL). This helps to level the playing field and allows the major AOL clubs that survived 1997 to get enhanced message boards, Rainman generated forums, additional conference rooms, and recruiting tools. Admiral Andy B. Clements (OGF Andy) is placed in charge of building these forums and later that year is assigned to be the NAGF Supervisor.
  • Around the same time, the Starfleet Elite Forces (SFEF) is launched by Lemax, and the United Federation of Populated Planets (UFPP) is created by O'Bhoy. Both clubs grow to become large and respected members of the simming community on AOL and, influenced by Trek Online, embody the new simming style - clubs that are open, focus on creativity and not cannon, and offer a diverse range of sims.
  • By the summer of 1998 chat rooms and message boards on CompuServe and Prodigy sit empty after hundreds of thousands of their members switched to AOL. Fleet74 on CompuServe dies, and Starfleet Online (SFOL) on Prodigy attempts moves to the Internet, but also fizzles out.
  • In order to give its members a voice in the club, Trek Online (TOL), Member Focused Simulations (MFS) and others develop some of the first simming republics. Their experiments prove successful and spread to other clubs, replacing the military chain of command system that had dominated up to that time with elections, assemblies, and constitutions.
  • Three midsize clubs on AOL merge to form the Online Simulations Association (OSA). While it's early success and dynamism inspires many other clubs to merge together, its subsequent collapse warns clubs about the dangers of large mergers.
  • The Allied Sim Association (ASA) shows its youth. It faces difficulties such as harassment by AOL members with "over head accounts" and attempted takeovers by larger groups. The young group loses it's lone Star Trek sim in the fray. The Babylon 5 sims continue with great success. However, in the summer a brief and verbally hostile dispute takes place and one of the ASA's crucial leaders resigns.
  • The United Space Federation (USF) takes over SFOL as the largest simming organization on AOL.

1999

  • With the chaos of the previous years subsiding as clubs finally adapted to unlimited billing, the Simming League draws upon the new spirit of community and organizes the SciWorld Online Convention - the first ever online convention devoted to simming. For a week in March, clubs opened their sims up to outsiders and the simming world on AOL was united by a series of chats, workshops, games, and special events. The NAGF attempts to run its own version of SciWorld over the summer, but fails. In July, the League follows with the first Tournament of Simulations, where clubs competed to see who had the best sim.
  • Non Trek sims grow in popularity. An active fantasy simming community appears on AOL, as do Star Wars sims, lead by clubs such as the Republic of the Young, Star Wars Unlimited Fan Club (SWU), and Ashes of the Rebellion (AotR).
  • The United Federation of Nations (UFN) is absorbed by the Federation Sim Fleet (FSF) on May 17, 1999.
  • Trek Online experiences its "Golden Era." As the head of the Simming League it becomes a major leader of the simming community on AOL. It's constitution and sim style is copied by several clubs, and its focus on community produces a culture that goes far beyond simming.
  • Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) experiences a decrease in participation throughout both its IRC and AOL branches. While the decrease is by no means crippling, both branches begin to look to new and original genres to revitalize the group. Near the end of the year both branches see an increase in participation and begin to experience a second "Golden Age" of simming in the ASG.
  • With the core Babylon 5 membership holding strong, the Allied Sim Association launches an original fantasy sim and puts together a loose relationship with several independent sims and RPG groups. Unfortunately, despite claims that the membership rises to nearly a thousand through this merger method, the true (ASA) appears to fall apart some time in January due to a disagreement.

2000

  • The Evercrack Epidemic hits simming hard, causing hosts, simmers, and potential recruits to become addicted and disappear from the simming community.
  • In January 2000, Paramount Digital Entertainment, having discontinued it's contract with MSN two years earlier, drops sponsorship of Star Trek: A Call To Duty (ACTD). The exact reason for the separation remains unclear.
  • The Allied Confederation of Interstellar Planets (ACIP) is formed in January 2000, splitting from the United Confederation of Interstellar Planets (UCIP). The organization is founded by Evelyn K Hawke.
  • Due to policy disagreements, William Calhoun (OSA Calhoun) leads a split from the Online Simulations Association (OSA) to form the Interstellar Simulation Continuum (ISC). After Pete Anders (OSA Anders) retires, Ender Maki (OSA Maki) takes over the OSA. Maki later resigns the post to Matt Wood (OSA Matt), only to return to lead the group again and merge it into the Federation Sim Fleet (FSF).
  • The FSG splits from FSG. In a somewhat weird split, about six sims from the Federation Sim Group leave to form the Fantasy Sim Group.
  • The Starfleet Legacy Alliance (SLA) is formed by Seth Cotis when his sim and two others split from the United Space Federation (USF) on October 1, 2000. At a time when Star Trek sims focus on battles and violence, Seth focuses his club on professionalism and establishes a hands off approach to the management of the sims to allow maximum creativity. The SLA grows rapidly and soon takes its place as one of the largest and leading clubs in the simming community.
  • Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) sees great success with it's new sims on both the AOL and irc branches. The most successful on AOL are reality special forces sims. On IRC, the successful X-Men sims are joined by a sim based on wolves - called the Wolf Pack. The ASG also sees renewed cooperation between the IRC and AOL branches.
  • Allied Simulation Association is widdled down to one E-mail based sim on Yahoo Groups called "Babylon 6 RPG." Though the Babylon 6 RPG remains a successful and entertaining venture for nearly four years, the ASA is no longer in existence.

2001

  • Bravo Fleet, by this time made up of four 'task forces' suffers two major splits when approximately 1/3 (this figure is disputed by BF) of its sims leave to form Obsidian Fleet. Two senior members of BF (the TFCO and TFXO of Task Force 72) are amongst those to leave. [1] (http://www.deepspace12.com/2001news.htm) Another 5 or so sims also leave to form Deep Space 14. Despite this loss, Bravo Fleet goes on to expand to around 10 task forces by the end of 2002.
  • Chas Hammer announces his retirement as the President of Trek Online (TOL) on August 31, 2001. SO'koth Vidiot qul'tuq is elected the new President, but under him TOL begins a slow decline.
  • In the Alliance Simulation Group (ASG), the AOL branch continues to develop new sims from several genres. Though many of the new sims are short lived they seem to provide refuge for simmers who need a break from the standard Babylon 5, Star Wars, and Star Trek sims that still dominate the group's over all participation. Unfortunately, the IRC branch enters into a steady decline while the AOL branch suffers a sudden and drastic drop in participation. Bitterness develops within each branch and between the two branches.

2002

  • The Simming League begins a painful transition off of AOL and onto the Internet.
  • The Star Trek Simulation Forum (STSF) is formed on July 31, 2002, by splitting from Spacefleet Online (SFOL). In the course of the following months, approximately 1/3 of the operating advanced sims move to the new group. The STSF becomes the largest home for games formerly associated with AOL's SFOL. By October 2002, the organization is recognized and advertised on the official Star Trek website.
  • Spacefleet Online (SFOL) is converted to member run status by America Online and loses AOL sponsorship on December 2, 2002. Thirteen days later, the group's official forum is closed.
  • Conditions deteriorate in the AOL branch of the Alliance Simulation Group. Low rank administrators attempt a take over, the Advisory Council fights among itself, and two key leaders retire. The AOL division is ultimately reduced to one sim that is occasionally active. There is a glimmer of hope when a few inactive sims appear ready to start up, but they lose participants and collapse again.
  • Utilizing custom made Account Management Systems, both the Federation Sim Fleet and Starfleet Legacy Alliance become dominant sim clubs.

2003

  • With the Simming League sputtering, clubs and captains establish other methods to keep in touch. One of the most successful ones is the RPG-Captains mail string, a simple forum for simming leaders to discuss and learn from each other. It's approach to discussion with no rules or set membership requirements causes it to attract many members.
  • The Galactic Freedom Command (GFC) is formed in 2003 by splitting from Spacefleet Online (SFOL). Approximately 10% of the games that had been associated with SFOL in June 2002 leave to form this new group. Currently, it remains the second largest home for operational sims formerly associated with AOL's SFOL.
  • Due to dissatisfaction with President Penny Boopter, Trek Online (TOL) splits into two in April when half of TOL's sims leave and follow SO'koth Vidiot qul'tuq to form Rogue Fleet.
  • The New Worlds Project, an original science-fiction play-by-post club, launches utilizing the e-107 content management system.
  • The last official sim of the Alliance Simulation Group AOL branch is run on Halloween night on the only ship in the ASG that seemed to remain consistent through the turmoil of the previous two years. While no one seems aware that it will be the last sim, a handful of retired members return for the final sim. At the same time, participation in the IRC branch of the club appears to be limited to "hanging out" on the main channel.
  • Spacefleet Online (SFOL), long starved and abused by years of neglect and lack of resources from AOL finally breaks with the service and moves onto the Internet as a private sim club. The move is a rough one, with several games not surviving the relocation and only further hurting the group's already reduced schedule.

2004

  • Seth Mattinen, web master, long time member and admiral of the Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) officially declares the AOL branch closed on July 29th with the full support of what few members were lurking on the Log Boards as well as the last official CinC and DCinC of the AOL branch. The closing of the AOL branch is preceded by the closing of the IRC branch by Admiral Nakoma on June 19th.
  • In July, Penny Boopter resigns as the President of Trek Online (TOL) and hands the remains of the club - which consist of a few half function sims - over to Chas Hammer who promptly disbands the club.

2005

  • Star Fleet On-Line (the one formed in irc rooms around 1994) suffers internal conflict that results in the formation of StarForce Simming (SFS) on May 5, 2005. The new group is spearheaded by Derek Graham.
  • In June, Spacefleet Online (SFOL) (from AOL) mergers into the Federation Sim Fleet (FSF), but retains its own identity as a subfleet in the FSF.
  • On July 19, 2005 Seth Cotis, the leader of the Starfleet Legacy Alliance (SLA) dies from diabetes. The SLA, Federation Sim Fleet (FSF), Simming League, and large parts of the simming community mourn his loss. Pamela Kyle was elected by the SLA Council to replace Seth as the Moderator Chair.
  • Over the summer, the Simming League holds the first successful Tournament of Simulations since 2002. This marks the resurgence of the Simming League.
  • There is brief discussion on the AOL branch's website of the Alliance Simulation Group about re-grouping and creating a new sim, but in the end nothing happens.

2006

  • In February, growing tension within the Starfleet Legacy Alliance (SLA) over the future of the club after Seth causes Stuart Collis to leave the club, and his sim, the USS America, votes to leave with him. Stuart soon launches a second sim, the USS Horizon.
  • In March, the first SciWorld Online Convention since 2002 is successfully held by the Simming League.
  • In April 2006, the StarForce Simming (SFS) group collapses. The flagship of the forum, run by Derek Graham, is the only survivor of the organization's brief existence.
  • In May, the Starfleet Legacy Alliance enacts a new charter, and in June, Pamela Kyle resigns as the Moderator Chair. In August, Warp is elected the new Moderator Chair.
  • On September 5, 2006, Trek Online is relaunched as Trek Online sims & games.