SRB2 Leaves SSRG
In Aug 2001, Johnny Walback and the SRB2 team leaves SSRG after I retired from SSRG that month and handed it off to Stealth. They cited that they could not get along with Stealth and choose to get hosting elsewhere.
After much work and contribution to the site, Kaoslord retires from Emulinks. Kaoslord was responsible for implementing the code for Emulinks from scratch by using PHP and MySQL technologies. I later took the responsibility of maintaining the code base.
On an up note, SSG (Sonic Secrets Group) joins the ‘Zone. The Green Hill Zone joined the ‘Zone earlier in the year, but it would not be until later on in 2001 that the move of the site to the ‘Zone's webserver was completed.
Events of 2002
Retirement from Retirement
After being I retirement from the ‘Zone for 9 months, I return. Why the change of heart? Many pages were becoming out of date. I had the summer off, so I figured I would make the most of my time and help tidy-up those sites. To make sure I did not undergo more than I could handle, I decided to limit my commitments and my involvement with the public by limited what sort of sites I would host, along with what tasks I would and would not do for staff members. I also came back to help aid in the growing dilemmas facing SSRG and the Sonic hacking community at the time. The community was endanger of collapse, so I figured I should step in else watch a community I help build destroy itself. It later proved to be a futile attempt.
Major Changes at 'ZRN
Also in June, ‘ZRN undergoes a major change. Other than the obvious change of a major facelift, the network’s structure is redone from the core. This change to the network structure changes it from a collection of stations that tend to play the same music to stations that focused on a playing a unique theme of music, such as Sonic Team music from Sonic the Hedgehog games, Mario Game music, Megaman music, Video Game remix tunes, etc. The new structure has become quite popular.
Other Notable Events of 2002
In November of that year, Metalix and the Sega Programming Network joins the ‘Zone and the ‘Zone itself hits the 1 million hit mark!
Events of 2003
The Fall of SSRG - Late January
For several years, SSRG stood as a corner stone to the ‘Zone’s success. For those that are unfamiliar with SSRG, the site dealt the hacking the Sonic line of games, along with discussing secretes pertaining to these games as well. Associated with it was a Sonic hacking scene, that encouraged people to learn about computers by studying the SEGA Genesis console and how to hack ROM images of the games.
For the past year and a half, the Sonic hacking scene had degenerated from a nice little community where you could learn about computers and talk about secretes to the games to a community of immature preteens, only interested in arguing, being a jerk to one another and seeing Sonic and Co in obscene positions. Though I retired from SSRG, I returned to try in vain to change the matter by stepping in and doing something about it, but all I was able to draw were complaints and stupid comments from immature community members. The nice folks of the community were leaving in droves and were being replaced with more jerks.
After a failed final attempt in trying to help the community, and SSRG, SSRG was shut-down. There are many reasons why I closed SSRG. A paragraph does not serve the subject mater any justice. The fact that the community had change for the worse and that there was no hope was a major factor in my decision-making.
In Feb of 2003, the S&K Lock-On Technology Guide and the Sonic CD Beta pages were resurrected and relocated into the "projects" section of the ‘Zone. I restored them because I felt they were the most notable sections of SSRG.
Activities at Fanmade.Emulationzone.Org
In February, the maintainer of the Megaman FanMade Games HQ retired. Control was passed on to a different maintainer, who then relocated to another server in June because we could not afford the bandwidth the site was drawing.
In March, I got a letter from the IDSA stating that a Mario-themed video game fan site on fanmade.emulationzone.org was in violation of copyright laws. I was forced to close that site down. I also fired the old maintainer, (it was his job to avoid such instanced,) and took over the Fanmade section of the ‘Zone. I also changed the hosting policy, stating that I would only host projects that are endorsed by staff members.
Sonic Blur's MAC apps leaves the 'Zone
Sonic Blur moves his MAC projects site off of the ‘Zone and onto another server, citing uneasiness with potential changes to ZTNET hosting policies at the time. However, SonicBlur remained as a contributor to 'ZRN by running the Sonic-themed station and by taking on the responsibility of being the archive maintainer for ‘ZRN.
For the record, the staff was debating if we should go ad-free in exchange of paying a few bucks a year per person. It was canned because establishing a fair bandwidth pricing policy that asked sites that used the most bandwidth to donate the most was not easily attainable. Furthermore, managing a small pile of cash and enforcing any pricing system was not worth my time.
Major Emulinks Milestone Accomplished!
Though this may seem insignificant to outsider, internally, this was a huge deal! In late April, the staff at Emulinks reached a major milestone by processing all the remaining submission in the Emulinks submission queue! This queue had grown to a size of a few hundred entries and took almost two years to process. Emptying it allowed the staff to focus on other matters, such as looking for dead links, updating reviewed, etc.
After sticking with the ‘Zone for several years, Tristan of TSSZ merges his site with thesoniccorner.com. Tristan remains an affiliate by continuing to provide news headlines from around the gaming industry and by remaining an affiliate with ‘ZRN.
Interview with the Webmaster
Later that month, I was interviewed by the Daily Iowan for an article on emulation, entitled "Being game for piracy". The reported thanked me for my input, because he found it extremely useful and helpful in getting his article out on time.
Other notable events in 2003
In August, Striker of SSG begins his Phantasy Star online site. SonicBlur retires from Sonic Spin on 'ZRN, passing control over to Dreadknux, who then renames the station to Sega Sonic Radio.