The Definitive History of Backwood Realm Systems


1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007

"If you have any more questions, then you have no business owning a computer." -Matt Abel, in the "Mechanical Man Simulator" install program, October 3, 1997

Wow, 1997. Thinking back to this year in BWRS history, I think of the BBS in it's prime: Every night, at about 10:00 pm, I'd unplug the phones in the house so they wouldn't ring when the BBS was being called. The Backwood Realm BBS operated from 11PM to 7AM every day in the first several months of '97. I ran the doors LORD, Planets: TEOS, among several others.

1997 was the first year I thought to actually call my little operation something. I wouldn't have bothered, except that I'd taken some interest in programming in BASIC. I had written my first program in 3rd grade in the "computer room" at Lincoln school. It was written on a Tandy TRS-80 in Tandy BASIC. It counted from 1 to 1,000,000 on the screen. Copied it from a book myself.

Anyway, I thought that if I was gonna program stuff, I'd have to have a company name. My buddy Matt Abel had been calling his BBS the "Late-Nite BBS", and had labeled some of his programs with "Late-Nite Systems". I suppose I was being a copy cat, but I took the name of the BBS and slapped "Systems" on the end...and the "official" entity of "Backwood Realm Systems" was born.

I began to experiment with basic, having very little training, except what I picked up from Matt, who was in a programming class in the Vocational Building next to my high school.

I decided at one point in September '97 that I wanted to write a game. I knew no graphics programming, but had picked up a little bit of file I/O from Matt. I thought to myself that "if I can write a game that can save data, it'll be a good one!". I set out to write a door game called "Operation Redneck: Elimination of the Freaks!". After I realized I didn't know enough programming syntax and logic to write a random-selection fighting routine like in the BBS door LORD, It was never finished. 

OREF Title Screen and Menu

OREF Main Menu

The very incomplete but half-functional OREF fighting screen. This is a similar style to what I would later use for Livin' In Buddha. Yeah, I grew up rather redneck. I was so immature....but hey, I was 15!

Compare this to the OREF Title Screen/Menu. Kinda looks like I copied it, right? Surely not...

I continued thinking of other things to write...and I suddenly came up with an idea. I really liked the "Action word" feature in the Wildcat! BBS software, so I decided to write a home PC version. On the bbs, while in chat, you could type !Smile and it would print "Tim just smiled!". I liked it, and knew I could make a BASIC program do it, so in one day, I managed to collaborate w/ Lacy White on the phone to construct a set of action words for my first full-featured software release on October 11, 1997: Chatterbox 1.21. I'm not sure why it's 1.21 instead of 1.0...I guess that's just the number I gave it. Check out the pics below!

My first functional installer, TALLinstall 2.0. Of course, for Chatterbox 1.21.

An example of Chatterbox getting to know me.

Chatterbox in Action!

My second (and final) 1997 Project was "The TALLman's DOS Enhancement package", which unzipped several useful DOS tools into your computers \DOS or \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory (folder for the layman.) The biggest reason it was posted here in pictoral form is because of it's extremely funny credits screens. Read them, and it'll probably give you a good picture of how I looked at life at the time.

ScreenShot of the TALLman's DOS Enhancement Package main screen

The 3 Credits screens. "Paco Spock" was what Abel and I had affectionately name a lizard I had seen in my basement. I don't know why we named it that, probably because it was 3 in the morning and we'd had too much caffiene. I really did like Landon, Abel and I just tended to poke a lot of fun at his gothic look and interests. Trust me, he defended himself equally ;)

Click for page 3.

Page created 1/28/2003
Last edit 2/19/2007