And now for a little history.

Way back in 1994, when the Internet was a harmless baby, "surfing" referred to an outdoor recreation, and "Yahoo!" was an expression of glee, Dan approached me with the following proposition: Let's build a game. Back then, in the midst of our fruitful college years, we were devoting much of our free time to attempting to destroy quantum mechanics, but despite numerous attempts had not yet succeeded. Frankly, it was wearing me down. This sounded like the perfect diversion, so I prodded on: What do you have in mind, fellow scholar, slayer of the quantum fallacy? Little did I know that this seemingly innocuous inquiry would lead me down a path so full of ideas and inspirations that once trapped, I would never again escape into the safe haven of the world for which my degree was intended. Unless you, too, want to succumb to the same fate, I advise you to stop reading now!

Dan wanted to build not just any game, but an online, graphical game. At the time, this struck me as quite revolutionary. I had only first experienced text-based online games a few years before, and recalled my amazement upon first interacting with another person whom I had never before met. Actually, I recalled my stupidity, for that first encounter involved me making a fool of myself by mistaking this fellow player as a computer-controlled being--and being perplexed by its intelligence! To combine this interaction in a graphical setting would be tremendous indeed.

Over the next few months, the workings of a system began to fall into place. Soon we had little sprites moving around on screen, bumping into walls and other players, players on other machines even! But we realized too, that we had our work cut out for us. Just over the horizon, huge companies were amassing scores of programmers and artists to shape what would become the online gaming revolution. We were only two inspired souls--and neither of us could draw a straight line!

It was at this point that we made what would be the biggest decision of this project, one that would shape our lives for many years to come. Why not let other people write the game? Instead of forcing the players to conform to our system, why not let them build their own system, why not let them build their own net dream? We knew that if we could provide the tools to make this process exciting and enjoyable, the netizens, in all their collective creativity, would do the rest. They would do it better than we could, and it would be a lot more fun than letting corporations rule the field alone.

It is up to you to decide whether we have been successful in this goal or not. Dan will now take the helm and guide you through the inner workings of this Dream Maker. May your journey be safe, and your dreams bountiful!


The development of the BYOND system has been driven largely by the innovative community of users who have tested it and made insightful comments during its beta-testing phase. BYOND continues to grow to this day, and will likely do so as long as the people are there to push it to new and wonderful directions.

Special thanks goes out to the current group of developers, the class of '2000, so to speak: Nick "AbyssDragon" Cash, Erron "Dragon" Flaherty, Jeremy "Spuzzum" Gibson, Julio Monteiro, James Murphy, Joanna "Zilal" Panosky, Mike Schmid, Gabriel Schuyler, and Chris "Manifacae" Sivak.

And an extra debt of gratitude is reserved for Ron "Deadron" Hayden and Guy Tellefsen for not only being excellent developers, but for helping edit this manuscript. Any errors which remain are claimed by Dantom and may be attributed to endemic feature creep.

Tom of Dantom
June 9, 2000
Irvine, California