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Searing Wet (1993-1994)
Phone: +64-3-3320813
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
Sysop: Scott McNabb
Software: Maximus

I ran Searing Wet sometime in the early 90s.

It ran on a 386SX PC, 20MB hard drive, and 1-4MB RAM (which cost me around $100 per meg I believe). It had one internal modem (for incoming connections to the BBS) and one external (for outgoing connections, sending mail packets etc), on dedicated phone lines. Originally it had 2400baud modems, eventually I obtained a deal for two 14.4k modems on a special Sysop deal from BOCA in the US. This awesome grunt of a PC cost somewhere between $2000-$3000. However it had a bloody clanker of a power supply, so some nights the pc box with just the power supply and phone lines connected would be in my closet with the door shut.

Fun fact: As I was living in a dual occupancy townhouse, the phone line from the street was already split, so I had to have another cable installed from the pillar box on the street to my house, which was at the rear of the property. This was done by some new fangled technique involving a underground hortizontal impact drill which punched its way underground underneath my driveway up to the side of the house, thus avoiding costly trench digging. It was extremely loud, and worked perfectly, although they accidently punched through the top of the sewer pipe on their way and had to dig down to it and chuck a bit of plastic with cement over it on top. Glad I don't live there now!

The BBS software was Maximus 2.01, and the PC ran the DESQview multi-tasking OS. Maximus was extremely flexible in that you could program almost every aspect of it, and made use of scheduled batch files also. DESQview allowed me to run it in the background.

I was a point/node in the following networks with these point/node ids:

I also had a Usenet feed from Equinox/Southern Networks, which I could import into the Maximus messagebase with the help of some programmer buddies Jeff Goulding and Robert Densie. This meant those who didn't have their own internet access/Usenet feed could dial in and bundle up a selection of Usenet groups for free.

However the main focus of Searing Wet was doors (online games [1]), and I tried to accumulate as many as possible, a lot were rubbish, only a few were great (Tradewars 2002, Land of Destruction/Devastation, Legend of the Red Dragon, and others I forget the names of). I also registered as many of the popular ones as I could including The Pit [2], to either get author support or unlock additional functionality, which many other BBS's in the area didn't do.

As well as BBS Doors I ran a number of VGA Planets games, and organised as many license purchases as I could with Tim, the creator, and even found a few bugs for him. VGA Planets was very popular as I could set up any number of games in whatever configuration the players wanted (daily turns, M/W/F, weekly, etc), and setup Maximus to process the incoming packets as apppropriate, and also provide private download areas for only those players to download their packets. Packet processing was very quick, so a few minutes after the processing time most players dialled in (usually automated via their terminal dialler) to collect. Maximus could also be configured to only allow certain users on at certain times, so post-processing I could allow only those players online to collect their files, or implement a 5 minute time limit after a turn was processed.

The opening ANSI welcome screen to the BBS I believe I commissioned an ANSI artist to design, and it ended up being an animated dragon which breathed fire and the words "Searing Wet" appeared. This was a nightmare for 2400baud users to sit through so I enabled it only for 9600/14.4k users, and 2400 users got a plain non-animated welcome. Actually I think I had tried to commission an ANSI artist, but he ended up not doing it so I just ripped one off from public domain and edited it myself.

The name "Searing Wet" came from my first listening of the Faith No More song "Caffeine", and the "smearing wet concrete" line to me initially sounded like "searing wet". Ta-da. Fun fact: When I bought that album from Echo Records on High Street they were still unloading the box, so claimed I was the first to buy it (from there anyway!).

Although I did not ask for donations, I did receive a few, even from a user in Wellington (which was odd). Most wanted to be able to reserve a time that they could dial in, but I think this was one thing Maximus couldn't do.

That's about all I remember! Hopefully the users who dialled in during the few years Searing Wet was running got some fun out of it.

Ummmmmm, yeah. See ya!

Scott McNabb
mcnabb.scott [at] gmail.com

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