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VIE SubSpace
SubSpace is a massively multiplayer online game of death. Specifically, it is a top-down shooter much like Asteroids, in which a player chooses between 8 Ships to fly around and shoot other players with. Over time, other game types were developed for SubSpace such as Rabbit, Flagging, Soccer, Speed, King of the Hill, and more.

Currently, SubSpace is run by its playerbase and distributed as a player-made client, Continuum. Also, some servers are running a player-made and Open Source server software, ASSS.

Some SubSpace dates can be found in here.


SubSpace began as a massively multiplayer (before that term existed) combat game dubbed 'Sniper' in 1995 (later reincarnated as Infantry) but was quickly renamed and re-themed; it was made by Virgin Interactive Entertainment (VIE) and was one of the earliest action multiplayer online games, possibly the first semi-successful one.

For two years the game was in open beta and several zones were hosted by the VIE servers. The problems started when the game went retail. The servers were still free, but you had to buy the game CD to play on them. The game wasn't advertised well (very small marketing budget) and in spite of a severely addicted, albeit small, player community VIE pulled out in 1997 and a year later turned their servers off with little more than a shrug.

The server software was included with the CD due to the foresight of one of the main programmers, so user-made and hosted zones continued to be made, but without VIE there was no central control or client code updates and cheating was rampant. In 1998, a West European company based in Finland had purchased distribution rights just before VIE pulled the plug and their servers were initially used as a crutch while the American community regrouped. Slowly the community came together as strong servers were set up on the east and west coast of the US. The cheating was still choking the game to death, but a loyal legion of volunteers kept the torches lit while a handful of programmers began a new project in secret.

In 2001 these programmers unveiled a brand new client for SubSpace that had been reverse-engineered from the ground up to replace the aging VIE client. This new client was programmed by Mr Ekted and PriitK (aka Priit Kasesalu, one of the creators of Kazaa). It was called Continuum and allowed the community to arrest cheating and continue the development of the game.

Although now roughly nine years old, SubSpace is as popular and addicting as it's ever been. Some of the old VIE zones are still there, now known as SVS zones, and many more new kinds of different zones and settings have emerged. The recent updates to Continuum as well as extensive bot & scripting development throughout individual zones has allowed the entire community to constantly develop and evolve the gameplay and graphics.

For a little taste of nostalgia for vets and a glimpse into history for new players, there is a mirror of the official VIE website from 1997.


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