German Atlantis (aka. GA) was my entry into programming. Before that, all I did was play games on my PC and edit my autoexec.bat using Qedit. When I decided to run a PlayByEmailGame, however, this all changed. I needed a compiler, and found DJGPP for DOS, a port of GCC! Then I needed an editor, and since I started using Emacs at university for editing (I used tin and elm as newsreader and mail clients, and Emacs as my editor, little did I know that Emacs itself contains a newsreader and several mail clients!), I started using a DOS port of Emacs, too.
This is when I started noticing the ever-helpful presence of Eli Zaretski on the newsgroups. He was involved in DJGPP and Emacs. Thanks.
Anyway, the game was a simple fantasy strategy game, where every player leads a faction, earning money, recruiting people, producing weapons, building castles, scheming and battling for power. It was based on Atlantis 1.0 by Russel Wallace. I started out by translating the texts, then I added new features such as a trade system, new spells, new weapons, and so it went. It never stopped.
And I learnt how to write shell scripts to send the mails for me, I learned that a few mistakes can eventually crash the university mail server (remember, that was at a time when I had Internet access from university only).
I stopped hosting the game some time ago, and the host that came after me abandoned it as well. But the players managed to rescue it, therefore the original German Atlantis game continues to run. The source is still available, though, and lots of people started their own games using the source, some adding their own modifications, some eventually starting over with a new idea. I sincerely hope that my original translation of Atlantis to German Atlantis and the distribution of the source was as inspiring for other people as it was for me.
The source, unfortunately, is not truly FreeSoftware, but it taught me the value of freedom!
This program may be freely used, modified and distributed. It may not be sold or used commercially without prior written permission from the author.
I was involved in coding and hosting the game from 1995 to 1999. The original game still has a homepage.
See the list of AtlantisGames for similar games.
My old faction homepage was hosted on Geocities. Here’s a local copy: Jünger des Blauen Mondes.
There’s a page on the German Wikipedia: Atlantis PbeM.