Back in the infancy of the internet, we didn’t have quick and easy access to the graphical interface that the internet and computing now have. I’m not “old”, by any means, at 37, but it still very much makes me a generation removed from my high school students and their impressions of tech.
In the early and mid 90s, it could take 5 minutes to download a single crappy resolution photo. So, what did we do to game over the internet? We used our imaginations and we played by email (PBEM).
My buddy DJ and I have been developing a somewhat simple PBEM interface for Battletech using MS Word or Publisher. We combine a 2D map and use semi-transparent hexagon sprites to represent units. This makes any unit representable. It makes stacking hard, but we’ll work on that.
The attached pics shows part of an image we can work off of (I since have made higher resolution ones), as well as the turn info we send each other back and forth with the pictures. We use color-coded arrows to represent walks, runs and jumps, as well the starting hex of a move.
We use random.org’s dice roller to roll dice. Yes, there is trust that is involved with something like this.
So, this plays really slow. It took us several weeks to get through a 2 on 2 battle. Of course, the “slow moving” game isn’t new. People would play Chess via snail mail for long periods of time and it really isn’t any different from that. Think about Sebastian playing Chess against Tyrell in Blade Runner. We send each other moves when we have time. We’ve fallen off the last few months, but I definitely want to keep it going, and I have other friends who are interested.