As many of you, our visitors, may have noticed, very bad and controversial things have been happening on the site lately. The time for answers to just what has been going on has arrived.
Several weeks ago, the 1.07 patch for Serious Sam: The Second Encounter was released via our multiple-download location file system, allowing users to download the file from a number of mirrors, without being forced to wait in line at FilePlanet.
A few days after it's release, I posted a reply to a thread on BeyondUnreal relating to the patch. In it, I expressed my humor at the fact that people were given a choice to download from non-Gamespy servers, from a site hosted by them, as well as the fact that this was actually allowed in their rules, and that barely anyone had downloaded the patch from FilePlanet. Shortly after this being posted, Sluggo(A Gamespy Admin) emailed Vesto(the site director at the time) telling him I was to be removed from the site for my comments.
Vesto agreed to allow Gamespy to remove my FTP and email access, but left me as an administrator and moderator on the forums. The next day, Gamespy deliberately broke our file system. One of the files in the file system had been modified and one of the lines of code had been commented out, practically rendering the system useless. Also, GSI had modified the forums to remove me as an administrator. Both of these actions were carried out without anyone being asked, informed, or given a reason for this being done. Where's the proof you ask? Well, Vesto, myself, and Gamespy were the only people with access to the files involved. My access was revoked, and this occurred while Vesto was sleeping, without his knowledge. Also, when asked about it, it was confirmed by Sluggo that they in-fact did do this.
During the calm before the storm, stem(Another Gamespy Admin) made himself an administrator on our forums. This, along with everything else, was done without [dev]mystic(the new site director)'s knowledge, let alone permission. While in the actual administration panel of the forums, logs show stem modifying my user account, and getting the IPs I've used:
6964 [GSI]STEM 14:24, 7th May 2002 user.php doips XXX.XXX.XX.XXXThe next day, when I tried to login, I couldn't, as my password had been changed by a Gamespy employee. My email had been as well, preventing me from getting a new password. I requested that one of the forum moderators reset my password for me. This happened several times, and after a few days I couldn't access any site on the entire Gamespy network. Apparently, Stem's trip inside our forum administration panel had allowed Gamespy to get the IP addresses I use at home and at school, and place a block on them through their firewalls, blocking me from the entire network, including the forums, which I'd like to point out that I paid for and own.
6963 [GSI]STEM 14:23, 7th May 2002 user.php doips XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
6962 [GSI]STEM 14:22, 7th May 2002 user.php doips XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
6961 [GSI]STEM 14:22, 7th May 2002 user.php edit user id = 2108 XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
6960 [GSI]STEM 14:22, 7th May 2002 user.php find XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
6959 [GSI]STEM 14:22, 7th May 2002 user.php modify XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
6958 [GSI]STEM 14:22, 7th May 2002 index.php XXX.XXX.XX.XXX
I was not going to let Gamespy block me from the community which I have been a part of for the past year, and have invested time, effort, and money into. So, I began browsing the forums again via an anonymous web proxy. Gamespy persistently banned each new proxy that I used, and then banned my account on the forums entirely.
In addition to this, there are frequently errors on the main site, which appear for lengthy intervals. The file system also breaks "randomly." Whether this is a coincidence or not doesn't really matter. I made a promise to the community when I began working on the forums; I vowed never to let Gamespy's corporate policies and agendas hurt the community. The fact that the hosts of our website could and even did modify and intentionally break the key aspects of Seriously! and the Serious Sam community threatens to destroy everything that myself and the rest of the staff and forum moderators have worked to build up. We are no longer going to allow ourselves to be pushed around by "corporate community killers," as they have been branded by Gaming companies such as Epic Games, as well people who have observed their tactics first hand.
When details of Gamespy's action leaked into the community, chaos, confusion, and a sense of anarchy and rebellion against Gamespy Industries ensued. Many of the community members were screaming for something to be done, while getting nary a "no comment" from the site staff. Now you know that we have been listening, and planning to make sure that the place you love as a Serious Sam gamer will be around in the best way possible for a long time to come. Gamespy's policies are corporate, and interfere with our goal of doing what is best for the community, not ourselves. With every decision we make, we ask ourselves, "Is this good for the Community," not "Is this going to make us money?"
In summary, Gamespy's policies and the way they have treated sites on their network have always bothered us. Their recent actions against the Serious Sam community, and their recent change in their hosting policy to require more intrusive advertisements on all webpages across the Gamespy network have left us with only one obvious option: to move off the Gamespy network. Welcome to our new home, on our own server, which we have complete control over. This is being paid for by the staff, and will be picked up by banner revenue as time goes on. If you're looking into buying games or computer hardware, see if you can do it through one of our banners. It doesn't cost you anything, and it helps support (one of) your favorite gaming sites.
Welcome to SeriousZone.com! You can find the forums at forums.seriouszone.com. Our thanks goes out to Croteam for making such great games within a year of each other and supporting us every step of our existence, to the members of the community who have helped make this arguably the best gaming community there is, and to anyone else who I may have forgotten!