GTA Ideas Pages
Way back in December 1997, I got hold of a game named Grand Theft Auto by DMA design. Like many of us, my first encounter was via its demo on a magazine coverdisk. When I found myself playing the demo about a dozen times, I decided I had to go out and buy the game-now! I payed about 59,- DM for it at my local Softsale store and started exploring Liberty City. I can't remeber now what came first - checking the web and finding the Webring, Gouranga, and Zyntax's hacking FAQ as well as schu's small howto, or discovering that the *.fxt files were really text files. On December 14th, I cobbled together a quick DOS-based fxt2txt tool in C++ and submitted it to schu, producing the first GTA tool ever to be published on the web. I had no web page then, and just included my email address in the readme. This would ensure that I got countless emails from Win95 users who were at loss how to start a DOS program on the command line. It also ensured that I would hear from several other people interested in editing GTA levels.
For the time being, I found myself reading Gouranga daily and answering a few questions people had sent in. However, as I kept on playing GTA, more ideas came to me than I could possibly expect schu to publish. I decided to go on the web myself, produced a lowly collection of 4 HTML pages, and thus were the GTA Ideas pages born on December 17th. The design has changed a bit since, but you can still view the old site, if you wish. Like Gouranga, I chose a text-oriented format, because I wanted the pages to load fast and have them easy to modify. The "Website Journal" was on the frontpage from the start, because I wanted people revisiting the site to quickly find out what was new. I used StarOffice 4.0, my trusty Office package I was familiar with, which has very good Internet integration, knew HTML 3.2, and could be used as a Browser as well. In fact, I am writing this page with StarOffice now. Over the following month, the site grew quickly as I added the GTA Reference handbook and discovered more and more. On December 24th, GTA Ideas Pages were added to the GTA webring.
A busy time now ensued; what with a exchanging lots of information with a group of people calling themselves "GTA Editor Project", growing contacts with other GTA webmasters, foremost of all my neighbor on the webring, Klamy, and last but not least my computer science studies and other activities led to me quite neglecting the site. Imagine then my surprise when on a sunny morning 4 months later I received an email from a new webmaster named mugwum, who then called his site "Bubby's" and had just awarded me his second Site of the Week award. Much had happened in the meantime that many visitors of my site could not be aware of, so I imagined an awards ceremony where I would recount my recent doings and thank many people who helped me over the past months and kept me interested in GTA. Until this day, however, I have been unable to find the person who was sound-engineer to that ceremony...
By July 1998, new material and new ideas had accumulated that wouldn't fit the old format, which didn't really lend itself well to expansion, what with the nav bar on every page linking to all others, so I devised a new format and a new look and started converting the old stuff, integrating new articles, and finally finishing that work two months later when my new GTA utility Gman and the new GTA Ideas pages were released at the same time. The new GTA pages have over 50 new pages including two new GTA reviews, a new look and a new utility, gman. I made a Site Rollout Press Kit to publicize it.
That's about where I stand now; for more recent changes see the website Journal, as usual.
Have fun with GTA Ideas!
And feel free to share your ideas with me, there's an Email button on every navigation bar for a reason :-)
GTA Ideas Pages
by Michael Mendelsohn