History of Tau Online

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Sgt Dellius


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2002- The First Tau Online

Release Date: March 2002

[gal_img]1093[/gal_img]

[The first Tau Online homepage; a far cry from the current layout]

Initially, the site started small, naturally. The site's Creator, Tau Online, founded Tau Online on a free host, from his ISP sometime in March 2002.

On this fledgling site were Hints on Starting a Tau army, Galleries (Static pages, not dynamic one's like it has now), Battle Reports, Scenery, Painting Tips and Tutorials, Links, Army lists, and of course, a message board.

[gal_img]1095[/gal_img]

[The Link from the homepage to the forums, note the old avatars section]

The message board was vital to the continuation of Tau Online, providing a discussion forum upon Tau and every other 40k race. In addition, with off- topic sections, there was something for every 40k player.

Those Forums..

Although the link is no longer in use, http://www.tauonlineforums.proboards15.com was where the original forums originated. These forums had a few members initially: To my knowledge, around 10 or so when I (Farseer Del) joined on 02/28/03 at 15:05:43.

And, not meaning to sound like I'm bragging, but that moment was indirectly a turning point in Tau Online. (Edit by Tau Online: It really was!)

[gal_img]1097[/gal_img]

[The old forums. Still around, but more or less locked up in favour of our arguably better, newer forums.]

After My Arrival, There Were A Few Minor Changes

Most notably the fact a few members were ensnared from Eldar Online by myself . Possibly the most important of these was Wargamer, as his arrival saw the suggestion of a few new boards. Tau Online's old forums offered a few avatars made by another important member, Lord Commander Erebus (My older brother). The GIF's made by Erebus were relatively popular with users, including the now slightly infamous spoon and head gif. To the site itself, a jokes and house rules section worked their way on, most submitted by myself ( Del) or Wargamer.

[gal_img]1099[/gal_img]

[The old top 20 posters, a varied bunch of folks!]

Death or Resurrection?

Release Date: Early 2003

A short pause, and then, for a short while, Tau Online's main page was actually dead and the forums were dying too (they were only getting a few posts a day). But after 1 month of being as good as dead, an e-mail was sent out to all members of the forums. This was the last chance - if members responded to it Tau Online would survive, but if members didn't... you wouldn't be reading this!

Obviously people responded! This bought many members back. In late 2003/early 2004, Tau Online (Website not Forums) came back, with its second layout, and a new section: Fluff/Stories. The 2 URL's of the short-lived TOV2 Layouts are now inactive but below is a screenshot of it:

[gal_img]1101[/gal_img]

[Version 2 of Tau Online was a temporary "Revive Tau Online" thing!]

The Near Past

Release Date: March 2004

Due to growth, http://www.tauonline.org was bought, and Tau Online was finally big enough to be moved onto a paid host, with a big, fancy, paid domain name!

[gal_img]1103[/gal_img]

[The new forums. The same design, although new software offering a faster and more in-depth service to the old ones]

The third version of Tau Online saw many changes to the previous two versions. New forums themes were available, a neater design, and the milestone of 100 Tau Online members. This of course needed more global moderators, so, if my memory serves me correctly, I was asked to be the second global moderator at around 50 members.

[gal_img]1105[/gal_img]

[Version 3, the best so far]

Version 3 And A Half...

Release Date: June 2004

This upgrade was fairly small. There were a few visible updates- dynamic galleries (no longer in use), the design was made a bit lighter and the navigation bar was changed so it was more organised, and a few sections were added/removed and also a few behind-the-scenes changes were made.

[gal_img]1107[/gal_img]

[V 3.5: Lighter layout and neater navigation bar]

Version 4... Both Of Them!

Release Date: September 2004

As the fourth version of Tau Online came around, GOD (one of the global moderators) decided to step down as a global moderator of the forums due to the fact he would not be online as often. Probably on reflection of how big the boots the replacement would walk into were (especially since the other Global mod was a lazy good-for-nothing swine who only wrote the odd history article...) and also the growing size of the board, he was replaced by Farseer Tyrossand Wargamer. Fortunately, since both were respected members, the boots were filled well. GOD received a custom title in honor of his contributions to Tau Online, a small price for so much work.

The fourth version of the website soon swung around, as did the 4th edition of Warhammer 40,000. With a new Tau Online layout and new 40k rules, there was no surprise at many changes: New skins, boards, and of course, members. In addition to all that, RJay submitted a variety of great avatars for use by members. At the time of writing, I use one of these. (Sign up to the forums if you haven't already, and you can select them from your profile)

With increasing activity, the boards soon hit 20,000 posts and then 200 members soon after.

[gal_img]1109[/gal_img]

[Version 4: Offering a skin (theme) selector, more links to the forums (who's online list) and a new design.]

The Pause...

Over a year went by without any new versions were released. That's not to say nothing happened however; many miletones were met, and Tau Online has grown greatly (in forum posts and website articles). To summarise greatly, below are some of the things that happened:
  • The Tau Online newsletter was created, offering news and updates to its subscribers.
  • The galleries also went through a big change. They were still dynamic, although the coding behind the galleries changed. Before the upgrade they were run by the Coppermine gallery software. Although due to being hard to use I coded a new gallery system, which were easier to use and also you could login to them using your forum account so double registration wasn't needed.
  • Maybe not a change, but a big piece of news: the forums hit 500 members and 50,000 posts! Because of this two more global moderators were recruited; these being Arguleon-veq and .Mace of the forums was a suitable replacement. The navigation bar was re-organised to accomadate more for all other 40K armies - this release was also big due to this fact. Tau Online was seen as more for all armies due to this.
[gal_img]1090[/gal_img][Version 5: A new design, more support for other armies and a colour scheme selector.]

Version 6

Release Date: August 2006

Version 6 was released just a bit over half a year after version 5 was. The now familiar "Change Design/Color" feature was carried on in this version - you could select re-constructions of the previous website versions (mentioned above). Due to our growth, version 5 had quite a few articles in each category - over 230 unique articles! Due to this categories were broken up into multiple pages of 20 articles per page and you could filter by article type (i.e. you could see only articles of certain types). This helped to improve usability of the site. You could also comment and rate each article which was a useful feature to some.

Of course the forums were growing well also. It was released when there was roughly 420,000 posts and 4,000 members. Due to this there was a big moderation staff of 7 global moderators and 16 moderators!

[gal_img]1092[/gal_img][Version 6: A new design, an improved "change design" feature and the ability to rate and comment on all articles.]

The Future?

Well, as this article shows, we've come a long way. We started naturally small and now are currently getting over 700 posts on the forums per day. We're close to getting over half a million forum posts and over 5,000 members, and I'm confident we'll continue growing after that. Thanks for reading all.




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