The Gamemaster BBS

The place to talk about the iconic BBS era
Kracken
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:12 pm

The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Kracken »

Started BBS'ing around 1992, Montreal 514 area, 2400 baud.
Just hooking 2 pc together and exchanging files through Y-modem was a revelation to me. The possibilities of extending your computer became endless (no more floppy trades!)

A friend told me about Juxtaposition BBS list, which was the central area-code hub. D/L the list, then tried all BBSes on it..
There I found this unique BBS called "The Gamemaster" where dozen of people could interact at the same time (TC) and moreso with some type of D&D game (TA)
or Flash Attack. That was it. The future, now. This OMG feel will always stays deep down.

Networking was an alien concept for me back then. Even without money and a 1MB 386SX16, I wanted to mimic what GM was and start a BBS of my own.

MajorBBS was out of reach, sO I started with WWIV, then Renegade. Single node. Frontdoor for FIdonet and Francomedia echoes. Used my parent main line for
receiving calls :) So they got me a dedicated line to solve the problem. This is when I started experimenting multi-node BBS (Desqview) along with this 4MB
RAM upgrade.. MajorBBS Test drive was great, but little could you do with it, aside from salivating at the possibilities (that was the point..)

I had this real MUD door called "Kylon's World" where one could mimic the feel of a true multiline majorbbs, but that was just faking it
Yes the two lines didn't last long, I knew I was pushing my parents nerves/limit so that stayed just a POC.

GM was my first contact with this new thing called "The Internet". If one could download many programs through local BBSes, imagine hookinh up through
FTP/Archie onto ftp.funet.fi.... SO much stuff to test and enjoy. IRC and FSERVE. Later did I learned that GM was enabling all this through MajorTCP.
They also had that UNIX gateway so it's from there my first LYNX session with those weird "http://" addresses or checking @gamemaster.com e-mail through PINE.

little did I knew that this would boom in the coming years.

daniel_spain
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:39 am

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by daniel_spain »

Kracken wrote:
> Started BBS'ing around 1992, Montreal 514 area, 2400 baud.
> Just hooking 2 pc together and exchanging files through Y-modem was a
> revelation to me. The possibilities of extending your computer became
> endless (no more floppy trades!)
>
> A friend told me about Juxtaposition BBS list, which was the central
> area-code hub. D/L the list, then tried all BBSes on it..
> There I found this unique BBS called "The Gamemaster" where dozen
> of people could interact at the same time (TC) and moreso with some type of
> D&D game (TA)
> or Flash Attack. That was it. The future, now. This OMG feel will always
> stays deep down.
>
> Networking was an alien concept for me back then. Even without money and a
> 1MB 386SX16, I wanted to mimic what GM was and start a BBS of my own.
>
> MajorBBS was out of reach, sO I started with WWIV, then Renegade. Single
> node. Frontdoor for FIdonet and Francomedia echoes. Used my parent main
> line for
> receiving calls :) So they got me a dedicated line to solve the problem.
> This is when I started experimenting multi-node BBS (Desqview) along with
> this 4MB
> RAM upgrade.. MajorBBS Test drive was great, but little could you do with
> it, aside from salivating at the possibilities (that was the point..)
>
> I had this real MUD door called "Kylon's World" where one could
> mimic the feel of a true multiline majorbbs, but that was just faking it
> Yes the two lines didn't last long, I knew I was pushing my parents
> nerves/limit so that stayed just a POC.
>
> GM was my first contact with this new thing called "The
> Internet". If one could download many programs through local BBSes,
> imagine hookinh up through
> FTP/Archie onto ftp.funet.fi.... SO much stuff to test and enjoy. IRC and
> FSERVE. Later did I learned that GM was enabling all this through MajorTCP.
>
> They also had that UNIX gateway so it's from there my first LYNX session
> with those weird "http://" addresses or checking @gamemaster.com
> e-mail through PINE.
>
> little did I knew that this would boom in the coming years.

Kylon's World! the door game that muinet created Mutants from. great game.

Kracken
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:12 pm

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Kracken »

daniel_spain wrote:
> Kracken wrote:
> > Started BBS'ing around 1992, Montreal 514 area, 2400 baud.
> > Just hooking 2 pc together and exchanging files through Y-modem was a
> > revelation to me. The possibilities of extending your computer became
> > endless (no more floppy trades!)
> >
> > A friend told me about Juxtaposition BBS list, which was the central
> > area-code hub. D/L the list, then tried all BBSes on it..
> > There I found this unique BBS called "The Gamemaster" where dozen
> > of people could interact at the same time (TC) and moreso with some type of
> > D&D game (TA)
> > or Flash Attack. That was it. The future, now. This OMG feel will always
> > stays deep down.
> >
> > Networking was an alien concept for me back then. Even without money and a
> > 1MB 386SX16, I wanted to mimic what GM was and start a BBS of my own.
> >
> > MajorBBS was out of reach, sO I started with WWIV, then Renegade. Single
> > node. Frontdoor for FIdonet and Francomedia echoes. Used my parent main
> > line for
> > receiving calls :) So they got me a dedicated line to solve the problem.
> > This is when I started experimenting multi-node BBS (Desqview) along with
> > this 4MB
> > RAM upgrade.. MajorBBS Test drive was great, but little could you do with
> > it, aside from salivating at the possibilities (that was the point..)
> >
> > I had this real MUD door called "Kylon's World" where one could
> > mimic the feel of a true multiline majorbbs, but that was just faking it
> > Yes the two lines didn't last long, I knew I was pushing my parents
> > nerves/limit so that stayed just a POC.
> >
> > GM was my first contact with this new thing called "The
> > Internet". If one could download many programs through local BBSes,
> > imagine hookinh up through
> > FTP/Archie onto ftp.funet.fi.... SO much stuff to test and enjoy. IRC and
> > FSERVE. Later did I learned that GM was enabling all this through MajorTCP.
> >
> > They also had that UNIX gateway so it's from there my first LYNX session
> > with those weird "http://" addresses or checking @gamemaster.com
> > e-mail through PINE.
> >
> > little did I knew that this would boom in the coming years.
>
> Kylon's World! the door game that muinet created Mutants from. great game.

Yep, pretty much the same gameplay :)
But Kylon internally had to handle interprocess communication, maintaining world state and user interactions through (costly) disk I/O with semaphore files, this along all possible complications with dropped carrier, ghosts lying there, etc.
Mutant (or any majorbbs modules) were just sitting ontop of stable APIs, all real-time routines natively handled.

Most doors are turn-based, maybe because of the challenge involving real-time, so simulating it in Kylon/Doormud/Lord2 was a laudable effort IMHO.
But I think Stryker's approach with a framework around the GSBL was the way to go (even more in the single-process DOS era)
One process, one variable space, mutiple concurrent "users" through channel servicing, abstractions like btuxmt() rtkick(), ready to be used by module dev to create rich, interactive worlds.

Questman
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Contact:

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Questman »

For DOS, it was really the only way.

Now I'd spin out containers for each module and have them managed by kubernetes; the base system would be its own container and there'd be APIs that would allow for interprocess communication. Kafka would be fine for streaming events

I mean, if we were starting from literal scratch :)
Founder, The Major BBS Restoration Project
Owner, Elwynor Technologies ISV
Former Owner, Galacticomm IP (2005-2020)
Contributor, Galacticomm IP baseline

Kracken
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:12 pm

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Kracken »

Questman wrote:
> For DOS, it was really the only way.
>
> Now I'd spin out containers for each module and have them managed by
> kubernetes; the base system would be its own container and there'd be APIs
> that would allow for interprocess communication. Kafka would be fine for
> streaming events
>
> I mean, if we were starting from literal scratch :)

Exactly, process isolation and "responsibilities" is so much easier with modern tech like docker and k8s..
As usual, the persistent volume layer will have to be on some fixed storage, but this is for any k8s projects anyway.

Funny you mention containers, because out of nostalgia/fun I dockerized an old linux MUD that I used to play through GM (spending a year long worth of credits in the process!). It works pretty well, you simulate the old linux env/libs to the process, expose port to outside net. Add a telnet gate and it makes an easy way to extends one's BBS !

daniel_spain
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:39 am

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by daniel_spain »

Questman wrote:
> For DOS, it was really the only way.
>
> Now I'd spin out containers for each module and have them managed by
> kubernetes; the base system would be its own container and there'd be APIs
> that would allow for interprocess communication. Kafka would be fine for
> streaming events
>
> I mean, if we were starting from literal scratch :)

so years ago i wrote a tyele-arena standalone server, not to release but for my own "learning" experience.
and looking at my server.cpp code the continious-loop process i use "very much like major bbs i would assume"
wasnt very hard, parsing the input strings into blocks of text input[256][256]; again not too bad.
so my question.... has anyone tried starting a small major bbs server from scratch?
my project im about to start on is ripping a worldgroup 3.0 down to the barebones and going off that
but has anyone considered doing it, i mean all the code is there to do the modules and the api and you
could eliminate alot of things Stryker NEEDEd to use because he was playing in early dos (3.3 for file locking i think? maybe 5)
but not as the mainline project just a side project to try it out.
Speaking of do we have a home hq online anywhere?

daniel_spain
Posts: 268
Joined: Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:39 am

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by daniel_spain »

Kracken wrote:
> Questman wrote:
> > For DOS, it was really the only way.
> >
> > Now I'd spin out containers for each module and have them managed by
> > kubernetes; the base system would be its own container and there'd be APIs
> > that would allow for interprocess communication. Kafka would be fine for
> > streaming events
> >
> > I mean, if we were starting from literal scratch :)
>
> Exactly, process isolation and "responsibilities" is so much easier with
> modern tech like docker and k8s..
> As usual, the persistent volume layer will have to be on some fixed storage, but this
> is for any k8s projects anyway.
>
> Funny you mention containers, because out of nostalgia/fun I dockerized an old linux
> MUD that I used to play through GM (spending a year long worth of credits in the
> process!). It works pretty well, you simulate the old linux env/libs to the process,
> expose port to outside net. Add a telnet gate and it makes an easy way to extends
> one's BBS !

now you see why i had you always work on my logical problems with Tele-Arena! you go!

Questman
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Aug 07, 2020 2:12 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC
Contact:

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Questman »

If you look at majorbbs.c, you'll see that essentially they already did strip it down quite a bit. Almost everything is a module - even the BBS mainline is a module technically. So you could pull everything out by just disabling all of the modules and using the core API to handle the accounting functions and such.
Founder, The Major BBS Restoration Project
Owner, Elwynor Technologies ISV
Former Owner, Galacticomm IP (2005-2020)
Contributor, Galacticomm IP baseline

Kracken
Posts: 61
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:12 pm

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by Kracken »

Questman wrote:
> If you look at majorbbs.c, you'll see that essentially they already did
> strip it down quite a bit. Almost everything is a module - even the BBS
> mainline is a module technically. So you could pull everything out by just
> disabling all of the modules and using the core API to handle the
> accounting functions and such.

Yep, it was my understanding that 5->6 switch was a major overhaul on the architecture, and addons became "modules" and no longer required to be compiled in the main BBS.
From my tests, out of a virgin 6.x, you could strip everything but the "Main Executive" and "Data entry service" to get a very minimal but functional BBS.

User avatar
enusbaum
Posts: 17
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:47 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC
Contact:

Re: The Gamemaster BBS

Post by enusbaum »

daniel_spain wrote:
> Questman wrote:
> > For DOS, it was really the only way.
> >
> > Now I'd spin out containers for each module and have them managed by
> > kubernetes; the base system would be its own container and there'd be APIs
> > that would allow for interprocess communication. Kafka would be fine for
> > streaming events
> >
> > I mean, if we were starting from literal scratch :)
>
> so years ago i wrote a tyele-arena standalone server, not to release but for my own
> "learning" experience.
> and looking at my server.cpp code the continious-loop process i use "very much
> like major bbs i would assume"
> wasnt very hard, parsing the input strings into blocks of text input[256][256]; again
> not too bad.
> so my question.... has anyone tried starting a small major bbs server from scratch?
> my project im about to start on is ripping a worldgroup 3.0 down to the barebones and
> going off that
> but has anyone considered doing it, i mean all the code is there to do the modules
> and the api and you
> could eliminate alot of things Stryker NEEDEd to use because he was playing in early
> dos (3.3 for file locking i think? maybe 5)
> but not as the mainline project just a side project to try it out.
> Speaking of do we have a home hq online anywhere?

This post is basically the purpose behind the emulator. Even runs in Docker :)
Developer, Reverse Engineer, MBBS/WG Enthusiast
Maintainer of The MajorBBS Emulation Project (MBBSEmu)

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