The Definitive History of Backwood Realm Systems: 1999 PDF Print E-mail

"Livin' In Buddha" Dominance

In 1999, I began my senior year of high school. I also began a two-period class at the NL Vocational Technical Center titled "Computer Programming II", which was based in Microsoft Visual Studio 6, particularly MS Visual C++ 6. We worked with 32-bit console applications and dabbled a bit in MFC stuff, but with only minor success. I was also a part of Business Professionals of America, though I wouldn't have called it a largely functional organization that particular school year. (More on this in the year 2000 page.)

I also wrote some of my first web pages, using both tripod's free hosting as well as's free hosting (which is no longer free today.) I had written extremely simple pages in 1998 as well, though most were short lived. I'm not sure, but I believe some of the earliest pages I made and put up were from as long ago as November 1997, though I'm not sure.

Anyway, in 1999 I managed to churn out more software titles (though most were unreleased) than any year before, and probably more than I ever will again in one year. Let's see...LIB, BibleSMART II, Logview and User Logger, Inventory Organizer, and Time Explorer were all completed in '99. Tired fingers that year, for sure.

The first thing I managed to program was "Bar Clock". I never released it, because technically it was just an experiment I did to see what ways I could use ASCII characters to make bar graphs. Plus, I needed something else besides "Yet Another Screen Saver!" to put on my old junk machines. Here's a sceenshot so you can see what the experiment turned out like.

The "Bar Clock"'s main (and only) screen.

I managed to code the entire game "Livin' In Buddha" completely on the fly. I made up the game as I sat at the keyboard and made it happen. I designed it to read your name from a file that you made up, so that it could store all of your player stats, making it a game you could finish over a long period of time. What most of you didn't know (mostly because you all never played it much) was that it couldn't be beaten due to a horrible coding mistake that went unfixed until almost 2001 (or maybe then) that looped you back to the fourth clan once you beat the 11th clan master. A raw deal if I do say so myself. Nevertheless, here's are several screenshots taken from LIB 1.0, released to the world on March 5, 1999. Do enjoy.

Ah. The beloved 1.x title screen from LIB.

Who can forget the church parking lot? (DON'T answer that!)

Livin' In Buddha credits.

Several utilities were written for LIB in the start, including PLEDIT, which allowed you to change any of the stats for any player in LIB 1.x.

In January or Febuary of 1999, I got my hands on an old Pentium 133 that had a bad primary IDE controller. We eventually got it functional, so I installed a copy of Wildcat! v4.2 on it, and my good friend Ben Dailey allowed me to set the unit up in his basement on a second phone line that they had installed for the Internet. So, for about 4 months, the Backwood Realm BBS came back to life, 24/7. It didn't get many calls besides myself and friends, but we still had some fun. The Screenshots on the first history page (1996) are actually from this setup of the BBS.

In late 1998, I was getting into writing my own utilities...programs that I used to help myself out, to make my programming go more smoothly. Sometimes, though, I just needed a logger or something to tell me which one of my brothers had been messing with my machine. So I slapped this little logger together. This is a later version, earlier ones were written sometime in December '98. Check out the screenshot captions for more info.

This program was started by AUTOEXEC.BAT on a DOS or win 95 system. It stored your name, login number, purpose of use, date, and time of login in a data file.

This is an early version of the Logview program used to view the data file created by user logger. This program probably represents the earliest use of the three line "Backwood Realm Systems" logo in a non-released pre-lib release program.

I have found an interesting tidbit! If you look closely in BibleSMART II, you will learn that there was supposed to be a BibleSMART 2.0. Why is that? Because BibleSMART II's version number is 2.1! I began to write a new interface somewhat similar to BibleSMART's interface, but scrapped it for the graphical interface of BibleSMART II. Here's a screenshot of the only functional part of BibleSMART 2.0.

The main menu. I still like the way I listed those question banks, but not enough to keep this design for a second version. It reminded me too much of the flimsiness of version 1.0.

"Inventory Organizer" is one of my most favorite pieces of code. It has a smooth interface, is completely configurable to your needs, and is just plain handy when you have a large inventory of electronic or computer parts lying around that you'd like to keep track of. I still absolutely love the way I did the interface for this program. Take a look.

Ain't the blue background for the menus just the coolest!? I'm gonna have to release this one sometime.

1999 also marked the first time I'd ever put my talent in the public eye in a way other than the internet. It came time in my 12th grade World History class to do a class project. It could be anything we wanted, as long as it could teach something and pertained to history. So, while most people set out to work on their posters and crafts, I got myself in front of the ol' keyboard and pushed out my first complete Turbo Pascal program, known officially as "Time Explorer". It was a program that loaded text onto the left side of the screen to tell a story. Kind of like my own personally built powerpoint. I have to say I impressed Mr. Tatom, I think.

The "Time Explorer" main output screen

A very characteristic-of-me credits screen. Notice how I called my little venture "Backwood Realm Software" at the time. I was worried that people would wonder why I called it "Backwood Realm Systems", so I just dropped it for Time Explorer and BibleSMART II. It didn't take me long to pick it back up, though.

My other "BIG" release of '99 was the second (completed) iteration of the BibleSMART series. I spent HOURS on this one, because it was part of a "Visual" presentation. It took around 7 hours (straight) just to design and implement the graphical elements of the program. It probably took another 24 hours worth of time to design all the questions (w/the help of Lacy White) and to design the question processing system. Hey, never mind all the technical garbage! It gives you a smiley face when you're right!

I wrote this game as a project as well. I took a Bible Literature class my senior year? of high school...Ms. Robinson was my teacher at Bedford-North Lawrence High School. She also had us do a project, somewhat similar to the one I did Time Explorer for. I was originally going to use BibleSMART 1.0 as my project, but I thought a newer game would have more merit. So, I designed BibleSMART II to be as spiffy looking as I could get it, and then presented it to the class. It was rather well received.

A nice high-quality title screen to catch your eye.

A nice set of question banks to confuse you. Sure beats the tar out of BibleSMART 1.0.

Finally, no more "fill in the blank" junk. And you don't even have to have your caps lock on like in BS1.0!

Another one of those typical BWRS credit screens.

Wow, what a year! The only other thing that 1999 brought me was my first copy of Windows 98 (first edition), and some updates to LIB that brought it up to version 1.2. Well, as if this page didn't take long enough to make, lets go on to the next year.