Addventure, The Unending BE
|Type of site||Interactive Fiction|
|Launched||June 19th, 1998|
The Unending BE Addventure is an Interactive Fiction site, referred to simply as "the Addventure" in the rest of this document. The Addventure is an adult-oriented two-dimensional (multi-threaded) story, with an initial emphasis on BE but has expanded to include many other interests. As of March, 2009 over 150,000 episodes had been written. The number of distinct authors is not easy to determine accurately, but is approximately 5,800 named authors with an even larger number who never sign their episodes.
The Addventure began in June 1998. Except for occasional outages due to server issues, and one major outage due to a flamewar, the Addventure has been in continuous operation ever since. It is hosted by the BE Archive, and was originally set up by MarkT. MarkT ran the Addventure until 2003-2004, when it was taken over by Adama.
June - Allen S. Firstenberg launches the first Web-based addventure.
January - Firstenberg releases version 2.0 of the Addventure source code; this is the version that the BE Addventure code is based on.
June - The BEA goes online.
July - The first Continuous Story - a precursor to the Addventure - begins at the BEA, "The Amulet".
May - Firstenberg's original Addventurers site freezes its games due to space issues, and never opens them up again.
June - The Addventure goes online at the BEA, created by MarkT using a modified version of Allen Firstenberg's software. Many of its earliest contributors came over from the Addventurers site.
July - MarkT posts the first Addventure Index, which only lasts for a month.
August - The Addventure passes 1,000 completed episodes.
January - Addventure file storage is split into separate directories in groups of 1000 episodes to avoid Linux memory issues.
March-April - MarkT does a lot of repair and revamp work on the Addventure code. This greatly reduces the incidence of errors on the Addventure.
June - First instance of an Author inserting himself into an Addventure storyline.
July - More Addventure repair work, this time just fixing broken episodes caused by the previous problems.
October - Because the Recent Episodes function is hogging so much CPU, the function is disabled and replaced with the current static Recent Episode List pages which are updated once a day (or once an hour for today's list). The Treeview function is rewritten as a more lightweight script for the same reason. Also, the Addventure passes 10,000 completed episodes.
January - The Members Area of the Addventure, also known as the Enhanced Addventure, opens.
July - The new Addventure Index goes online, created by Adama.
September - First appearance of the original Backstage, created by L.E.
October - The first serious foreign-language (German) episodes are created, soon leading to a relative flood of foreign-language episodes that has never let up for long.
November-December - The Great Flamewar of 2000 - At the end of 2000 a flamewar arose, and grew so great that it threatened to consume the Addventure to the detriment of all. The Addventure was shut down for a month so that people could cool off and the flame episodes could be deleted. Ever since then, any time a new flamewar threatens to erupt people mention this outage in fear. The main participants in the flamewar were furries and anti-furries - as a consequence of this conflagration, the amount of furry content remains low to this day.
January - The Addventure comes back online after the flamewar cleanup.
February - The start of the new Backstage storylines, a strange and unique setting on the Addventure.
Beginning of a project to upgrade the BE Addventure code with code from version 2.1 of the original Addventure, plus new code from Dmuk and Adama. The project is never completed, but some 2.1 features are incorporated into the current code.
June - Adama becomes a co-administrator on the Addventure, eventually becoming the sole administrator.
July - At the sysadmin's request, some of the more expensive Addventure calls are set to disable themselves if the machine is too busy to run them.
February - The Addventure passes 100,000 completed episodes.
April - After the BEA's credit-card provider demands the censorship of certain words on the BEA, the Addventure is modified to censor the same words on newly submitted episodes.
August - Comments feature added.
How it works
Software: It runs on software originally written in 1995 by Allen S. Firstenberg for the original Addventurers site, but which has been modified by others since then. This accounts for its fairly primitive look and functionality; two reasons for not doing a complete update of the interface are a) time and b) worry about compatibility with older or odder browsers. (Hell, someone complained when I changed the background color of the main Index page...)
Unlike newer interactive-fiction games, episodes are stored as flat HTML files rather than records in a database. This means that viewing an episode is extremely fast and puts no burden on the server, but it also means that the Addventure takes up a huge amount of disk space -- one HTML file for every non-backlink option that exists, whether it's been taken or not.
There is a small database which tracks basic information about each episode, but that database is only used for the various utility functions (tree view, chain view, backlinking, etc.) and for constructing the Index pages.
The system does not allow options to be added to episodes after they have been written, though that has been suggested in the past. Episodes cannot be edited after they've been created either, except by making a request to Adama.
When a new episode is created, a background process looks up the parent episode and puts an asterisk next to the option that was taken, so readers know which links they can follow. The process only runs once every fifteen minutes, so it may take a little time before the asterisk is added.
While an episode is being written, any other user who tries to write that episode will see a message that the episode is currently in use and cannot be submitted. This can be a problem if the original writer navigates away from the page, or closes his browser; when navigates back to the episode he will get that message too and will be unable to continue submitting it. Fortunately, there is another background process which runs every half hour, which cleans up any "in progress" episodes which haven't been updated in over two hours. If the original writer waits 2-2.5 hours, he will be able to submit the episode again.
Glossary / Common terms
Author/Avatar - Within the context of the Addventure, an Author is a case of a writer self-inserting himself into the story as a character. Often leads to a collaborative storyline featuring multiple writers writing about each others' inserted selves. The alternate term Avatar began to appear after someone objected that an actual Author appearing in a storyline should be all-powerful (because he's the one writing the episode) and therefore could never be a victim; an Avatar thus is a representation of the writer but without any author-like powers (though that line blurs a bit in the Backstage).
Backlink - An episode option which links back to an earlier episode rather than leading to a new episode. The earlier episode must have been created with the "Linking Enabled" option checked.
Brand New Day - A certain type of Restart, which features a character waking up in the morning. The episode usually gives only a minimal description of the character, and the options indicate different ideas for new storylines. The episode is usually Linkable. The implication is that this kind of Restart is like the movie Groundhog Day in that linking back to the episode causes all continuity to be reset. Episode 2 is the primary example of this; many other restarts have copied its style, often with the words "Brand New Day" in the title.
Celebrity storylines - Story lines typically involving female celebrities being altered in some way and engaged in Addventure scenarios. Usually involves some form of humiliation.
Commentary episode - An episode which consists entirely of comments on a storyline or author, or send a message to other authors, with no actual story content. Essentially treating the Addventure like a message board. Discouraged.
Episode 2 - The starting point of the Addventure. The most frequent Backlink target. "Linking to episode 2" is a (discouraged) way of cutting off a storyline.
Fanfic - A thread written using characters from outside sources such as movies, television, or comic books. The two longest-running fanfic storylines are Ranma 1/2 (initially involving MasterPC) and PokeWomen (a version of Pokemon featuring sexy female monsters). There is a quite lengthy storyline D-gals involving female characters from Disney cartoons, usually Jasmine from "Aladdin". There are also many notable storylines featuring DC and Marvel superheroes (especially the X-Men) and TV cartoon characters like Bonkers, Gargoyles, or Kim Possible.
Fatesplit - An episode which is similar to a List episode, in that it contains just enough body to introduce a list of options. Used in Linear storylines to provide a point of divergence, to allow the plot to go in multiple directions.
Handle - The Author's name, or at least the name they prefer to go by. Sometimes have minor variations in spelling. Some Authors like to use alternate handles -- sometimes because they want to disassociate certain episodes from their "main" writing, sometimes because they like to pretend to be different people, but usually because they want to use certain names for certain types of episode. Though sometimes it's just because they want to be funny.
Linear storyline - Most storylines branch off in many different directions, as is appropriate for a two-dimensional form of storytelling like the Addventure. However, occasionally two or more authors will decide to collaborate on a long storyline which follows a single path, with no side branches. This often results in a longer and higher quality story, though that may be more due to the dedication of the writers than the linear nature of the story.
List episode - An episode with no body, just a list of options. Often part of a chain of list episodes, which are used to get round the six-item limit on options. Frequently the options are a list of characters the author wants to see other people write about, but has little intention of writing about himself.
Merger link - A Backlink where the target episode reflects the influence of the source episode -- usually by having characters from the source episode show up in the target. This must be set up in advance, since the target episode where the characters arrive is written earlier than the source episode where they depart. It's called a Merger link because it merges two storylines together. (Note: This is Adama's term, it's the best he could come up with.)
Metafiction - In general, any storyline where writers become involved as characters (Authors), or where the characters become aware that they're part of the Addventure. Especially true of Backstage storylines.
Orphan episode - An episode whose own parent does not contain a link to it. In the early days these might be caused by software problems on episode creation; nowadays only occurs when the parent episode has been deleted. Orphan episodes are sometimes used as a way of extending the parent episode in a direction not covered by the existing options, but are most often used to create a Restart.
Recent Episode Lists - The standard pages that show episodes submitted in the last 1-40 days. The best place to go to find out what's new. Because these pages are so commonly used, anything that disrupts or breaks the pages causes a lot of complaints.
Restart - An episode - sometimes at the natural end of a storyline but more often purely arbitrary - where a new and unrelated set of options are offered. Sometimes this will include a starting text, sometimes merely story ideas.
Sandwiches - Several years back it was jokingly suggested that particularly obnoxious writers, especially those who flamed other peoples' storylines, should be given a sandwich so they'd go away. For a brief time you would actually see "Give him a sandwich" posted as an episode option, or other sandwich-related text, as a hint that the previous author should shut up. The fad did not last very long, probably due to hardly anyone knowing what it meant. I think at least one Sandwich Shop setting was created during this time for this purpose.
Signature Comments - Any text the writer puts into his signature besides his handle. Usually used to communicate with other writers/readers out-of-story, or to include hyperlinks (since those are forbidden in the body of the episode). Lengthy comments are discouraged because people complain about how much space they take up on the episode lists.
Stat file - The master data source that lists every Addventure episode. Used to generate the various Utility and Index pages.
Story Codes - In mid-2000 people started creating story codes (or tags) to put in front of their episode titles. This makes it a lot easier to browse through episode lists, because you can see which episodes belong to storylines you're following or avoiding. Sometimes codes will be entire words, but more often they will be two- or three-letter acronyms. You usually have to be familiar with the storyline to know what the code means.
10,000 Episode - Inspired by the anonymous author who made Episode 20000 into a special commemorative Restart episode, the episodes whose numbers are an even multiple of 10,000 have become special milestones that authors sometimes race to grab when they come up.
The Addventure Index, in its various forms, exists to help readers find episodes. The Index is currently updated a few days after the start of each month with the previous month's data. Occasionally it also updates in the middle of the month when new material has been added to one of the specialty pages.
With a few exceptions, all episode listings consist of the episode number, title, signature and creation date, with a link to the episode itself.
There are various types of pages in the current index.
Complete Episode lists
These pages list all episodes, organized in various ways:
- Episodes Listed by Date - sorted by date of creation, one month per page.
- Episodes Listed by Number - sorted by number, a group of 1000 per page.
- Episode Master List - sorted by number, a group of 1000 per page, but also including links to uncompleted episodes with the parent episode number. Also flags orphan episodes.
- Individual Episode Statistics - sorted by number, a group of 1000 per page. Shows the number of ancestors, descendants, and links (of various kinds) per episode.
Specialized Episode lists
These pages list a subset of episodes.
- Episodes that never appeared in the Recent Episode lists - Occasionally an episode won't get added to the Stat file, perhaps due to a race condition with another episode. This lists those episodes.
- Orphan Episodes - a list of all Orphans that have been taken, or that are available to be taken. The latter part has not been updated in a few years.
- The "ten thousand" episodes - a list of all episodes whose numbers end in 0000.
- The "ten thousandth" episodes" - a list of episodes based on their position in the Stat file (the 10,000th episode, the 20,000th, etc.). A list that can change any time older episodes are deleted.
- The "one thousand" episodes - a list of all episodes whose numbers end in 000.
- Episodes with images - all episodes which contain links to images.
- Episodes written in German/Danish/Spanish/other languages - all episodes not written in English.
- Linkable episodes - all episodes which have Linking enabled, so they can be the targets of Backlinks. Useful for looking up an episode that you want to link to. Also shows what episodes have already linked to these episodes.
- Episode Count statistics - shows the number of episodes completed, uncompleted, orphaned, and backlinked. Organized in groups of 1000 and 10000.
- Total Episodes Graph - a bar graph showing the total number of episodes submitted each month.
- Merger links - a list of Merger Link episode pairs. Sadly out of date.
- Sean and the 1000-episodes - a special kind of Merger Links page, tracking the storyline-hopping Sean.
Non-BE Content - The Addventure was originally created as a forum for writing about BE, however it has since grown to include many other kinds of transformation or fetish. Every so often an argument starts up, because some people feel that storylines should concentrate on BE, or at least involve it, and that storylines that do not involve BE have no place on the Addventure. more details to follow
Offensive Content - You wouldn't think this would come up in a place specifically set up as a porn site. But every so often a reader gets offended at the fetish a particular storyline is focusing on, and posts an episode protesting how sick anyone is who writes about "that stuff". On some occasions several readers complain about certain subject matter -- most notably anthropomorphics. more details to follow
Commentary episodes -
List episodes -
Non-English episodes - For years there have been a surprisingly large number of German episodes submitted, forming their own threads in the Addventure. Since 2008 there have also been a large number of Spanish episodes submitted.
Some people have complained about the existence of content that most readers can't read. more details to follow
Corrections - Some writers will post episodes which "correct" the mistakes made by another author in the previous episode. Often there's no harm done, and the original author acknowledges his goof. Sometimes, however, the correction is made rudely, or the original author may feel that the correction is pointless, and heated discussions can follow.
Non-porn storylines - Occasionally an author has tried to create a non-porn storyline, and objects whenever someone else adds a pornographic episode to the story. Perhaps an unrealistic expectation on a specifically pornographic site.
Celebrities - Writing porn about real people is always an iffy idea. People have gotten into trouble for writing porn about classmates or friends. Celebrities may be considered immune from this because they're public figures (and thus have given up many rights to privacy), but still...
HTML tags - Addventure episodes use HTML formatting, and with a few exceptions writers are free to use whatever tags they want in their episodes. However, writers frequently get them wrong (usually by screwing up the end tag). When the offending HTML tag is in the episode's title or signature, it can cause problems in the episode lists, which cause complaints until the problem is fixed - in the old days, it could only be fixed by someone posting a new episode with an HTML tag that fixed the problem.