From SimHQ Towers: Confessions of a Sim Site Owner

-or- I Was Skinny and Had Hair When I Bought This Place

by Doug “guod” Atkinson

Wasn’t the Site Once Owned By…?

SimHQ has had six owners since it was started in 1997. They are:

Frank “Crimson” Morissette, Founder (1997-1999)
Robert “Baron” Litchfield (1999-2000)
Dan “Crash” Crenshaw and Pete “Pygmy” Marone (2000-2001)
Bubba “Masterfung” Wolford (2001-2004)
Doug “guod” Atkinson (2005- )

During this week of SimHQ’s 10th Anniversary celebration we will hear commentary and reflections from most of them. Each owner of SimHQ has had a unique challenge (or challenges) to deal with. During this week you’ll learn some of those challenges for the first time, and maybe remind you of events long forgotten.

You have now read stories how it all came together. I am now about to tell you how it almost came apart. Were it not for the support and encouragement of the terrific SimHQ staff and you faithful community members, we would have been long gone by now.

It all started innocently enough.

As a devout flight sim nut who would spend hours each day flying, I looked around for a local LAN group to fly Falcon 4.0 co-op missions. Imagine my surprise when I saw a post by Bubba “MasterFung” Wolford, SimHQ’s hardware editor at the time talking about LAN events… and he lived in the same area as I did. What luck!

There’s a lot of sim history there to be cared for….”I sent Bubba an email and was thrilled to hear back from him, “How about next Saturday. We have a bunch of people coming over.” The day was a blast, but we never got around to playing F4 co-op. It was mostly Rogue Spear and as I remember, a couple of other shooters. Oh well, next time.

We did start talking about the site and I mentioned to him that I had sent Dan some ideas for the graphics on the site. Dan and Pete were just about to release the new site (the famous “simhq3” version) so I archived my ideas. Bubba asked to see them, and we started to talk about ideas. At some point later, Bubba told me he was the new owner of the site because Dan and Pete were just too busy with work to keep the site involvement going. We spent a long Saturday talking about ideas and plans for the site. A new look was planned (it had now been a while since Dan had released his version). I went back and worked on some layouts. The next Saturday we picked the winner and I started recoding.

We worked hard getting the site transferred over. Damn hard. I had been in graphic design for a long time, but at the time, not that many years doing web development, so I learned a lot. Fast. But too many late nights and weekends for months on end plus a fulltime day job meant I was rapidly approaching burnout, and my tenure at SimHQ was about to be concluded. Or so I thought.

“Doug, I need to find someone to take over SimHQ.”

“…huh? What do you mean Bubba? You’re tired of it?”

“Tired, but getting busier with the new job. Are you interested?”

“…huh? Me?! Hell no! Sorry, I already have a 12-hour a day job plus a long commute. If it was after I retired yes, but not now. The expense and the time….”

A few weeks more pass.

“Doug, I’d really like for you to consider taking the site. You’ve worked hard on it.”

“Bubba… thanks but… uhhh, no. I just can’t, no! Sorry.”

A few weeks more pass.

“Doug, please consider it. There are other people interested in it, but we want to keep it with those who we know will take good care of it. There’s a lot of sim history there to be cared for….”

“Bubba… man. I would love to but… uhhh…would they take care of it? Could all of us keep contributing with the new owners?”

A few weeks more pass.

“Doug, please….”

“Alright, alright…”

My fate was sealed.

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