Silent Walk 2…

Silent Walk 2 after the break…

Silent Walk 2…

There are many aspects about the Internet 1.0 that I yearn about. I miss the days of unbridled freedom that the early Internet possessed. I miss the sort of irrational optimism that the Internet could solve “everything.” I miss the hypertext mark-up language wars of “Blink” and “Marquee.” There was a complete and totally fun innocence about the Internet 1.0 that will never, ever be recaptured – Not by Apple’s stranglehold on what can and can’t be placed onto an iPhone, not by some silly little game someone plays on Facebook, not by tablet computers… The Internet 1.0 is sort of like the 1960’s – Either you were “there” or you missed out on experiencing it.

There are also many aspects about the Internet 1.0 that I will never, ever miss. I don’t miss dial-up modems, extra telephone lines, slow uploads and downloads… What I definitely do not miss from Internet 1.0 is the absolute dearth of freeware. Children who only grew up after the Internet matured will never understand a day when there were websites dedicated solely towards 3d gaming (polygon- or voxel-based) gaming. Children today will never understand a day when there was a website dedicated solely towards when computer games (not console, computer) went “gold” (as in, the game was ready to be mass produced to be sold on CD-ROM).

I am always amazed by the explosion of freeware and open source software that is available nowadays that Netizens would have died for just 12 years ago.

Take, for instance, the Silent Walk FPS Creator (or Silent Walk 2.1.1, as it is more technically known). The freeware program purports to be a design program to make simple first-person shooters. No coding required. At all. There isn’t even an opportunity to write code.

Granted, Silent Walk 2 is quite a bit too simplistic for anything other then the most rudimentary first-person shooter imaginable. Even “Quake 1” would be a little too advanced to be recreated in SW2. To be fair, Silent Walk 2 has a successor in the works, “ATMO” (I think that’s an acronym but I’m not certain), which looks to be fully capable of more complex game creation. SW2 isn’t the only first-person shooter creation program out there. Reality Factory, Sauerbraten (Cube 2), Irrlicht, Crystal Space, Revert3D (haven’t forgotten about that one), the Unreal Development Kit, all of the idTech engines up through Doom 3… Even the modelling program Blender has it’s own game development system. And those are the programs that I can remember instantly – I’m sure I’m missing a few other programs out there. All free. All available to be downloaded… Right now.

Whenever I have pessimistic thoughts concerning the current state of the Internet, I have to remind myself that I live in an era of the Internet where game creation is limited only by the amount of time and skill one has to devote to their efforts. That wasn’t the case with Internet 1.0.

As bad as we feel it may be in a Facebook / Zynga / Google / YouTube / Steam / iTunes era of the Internet, I’m glad that I live in an era where you don’t have to think to yourself, “If only there was a [this] so I could make [that].” We live in that future now and while I may not be grateful for other contemporary aspects of the Internet, I am still grateful overall. So, to all of those programmers out there who have sacrificed thousands of hours to provide freeware applications and utilities, I say “Thank You.” You’ve created the future that a lot of us hoped the Internet would become someday and you accomplished it a lot sooner then a lot of us expected.

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