The Blue Line: About Us

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archibalduk
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The Blue Line: About Us

Post by archibalduk » Sun May 09, 2010 10:43 am

Our 'about us' section is somewhat old now and desperately needs an update. I'm going to write something new for this within the next month or so. The original 'about us' was written when we moved back to our original site after having merged with Sortitoutsi.net for a while. I think the new 'about us' should be more of a description of what we are and what we do as well as perhaps a brief chronology of the site's history.

If anyone has any suggestions then please post here :thup:



The Blue Line Site History

Soon after EHM 2004 was released, Archibalduk started one of the first NHL:EHM fansites. It was also the first to have an expansive collection of add-ons (mainly graphical) for EHM. Archibalduk doesn't really know what possessed him to start a site - he'd always been a big fan of CM/FM but never really thought of starting his own site.

This first site opened on the 27th June 2004 and was hosted on Geocities.

At first, it was a very basic design and simply had a list of files and descriptions. The files were hosted on a seperate Geocities account so that once the bandwidth was exceeded, the main homepage would still be accessible. Archibalduk started the site at first to host his own add-ons but then he started indexing files hosted on other personal sites. The site became less of a site about his own add-ons and more of a central place where people could find all add-ons. The site simply linked to the page where they could be found.

He started a project of creating facepacks for all British Elitle League teams by e-mailing each team, asking for permission to use their photos. Some e-mailed back and others never replied. The people he was able to get in touch with at the Manchester Phoenix were the most helpful. They said that it would be a breach of copyright for Archibalduk to do it. If, however, Archibalduk gave them instructions on how to name the files and the dimensions of the images then they'd complete the project themselves. They would even then host it on the Phoenix website. That was a pretty cool achievement.

A few days after Archibalduk's site had been opened, Octavian contacted Archibalduk with his desire to create a new website, one for which he had already aquired his own webspace. Archibalduk jumped at the opportunity and together they worked on the site. Octavian concentrated on the php and Archibalduk concentrated on the graphics. They worked together very well and had great fun doing it.

The original site was at www.e-melk.com/tbl, but is now located here: http://www.ehmtheblueline.com/v1. They came up with a number of prospective names for the site - Archibalduk suggested "The Neutral Zone" and "The Blue Line". Archibalduk preferred the first but Octavian preferred the second. They finally agreed to use "The Blue Line" in a decision that has served them well. It's a great name for the site and quite easy to remember.

They spent about a week working on the site. It was officially opened on the 7th July 2004.

Devils88, who Archibalduk had been in contact with since starting his Geocities site, joined TBL as a mod. Sadly Archibalduk and Octavian have lost contact with him but are hoping that their paths will cross again sometime soon.

At the beginning of August, Archibalduk went to the Netherlands as part of the process he was undergoing to obtain his law degree. This meant that he didn't have access to the internet for about a month. In the meantime, Octavian moved the site over to their own domain for the first time: http://www.ehmtheblueline.com and kept the site going. The site was a resounding success and they were by far the best EHM fansite on the net.

Things started to tail off because the scene went pretty quiet. The game had been in release for some time and there weren't a lot of new people being drawn to the scene.

To give the site a fresh look, Octavian used his excellent php skills to integrate the site and the forum into one area which they called the 'portal'. This generated more interest in the site again. Even though things were slow with the scene the users that had frequented the site before heard the news and came back to check things out. The site's activity picked up again as people resumed posting. They managed to develop a nice little community and many of the users even started organising online games.

After The Blue Line had been around for a few months Archibalduk had been in contact with Marc Duffy at Sports Interactive, the makers of EHM. Marc was very enthusiastic when asked about having some EHM affiliate websites. After being established for six months, TBL became an official SI affiliate (26th January 2005). It was an honor that was extremely satisfying for both Archibalduk and Octavian. It was great to know they had earned official recognition for their hard work.

Tasku, who had been a member of TBL since the very beginning became a mod in March 2005. He has always been a knowledgeable and consistant poster. In addition to that they knew he was an all-round nice guy. He helped Archibalduk and Octavian brainstorm ideas for how to get the site busy again.

Just as they were doing this, they learned of an announcement that 'Susie', the number one CM/FM site, would be expanding into EHM. This got Archibalduk rather worried because the Football Manager scene was much larger and more established than the EHM scene. They'd surely have thousands more users, and they also had close contact with SI.

It felt like the beginning of the end. While Archibalduk worried, unread emails awaited him letting him know that right from the beginning Susie wanted him on their team. Once he actually recieved that news, Archibalduk and Octavian discussed the matter. They eventually decided that it would be a good idea to join forces.

This wasn't because they thought they were fighting a losing battle. It was because it would represent another step up in the building of TBL. They'd be working as a part of a larger team. With that would also come better contacts with SI. They would gain exposure to what was already a large number of users in the Susie forums.

It also meant stability and the ability to focus more because running the site would be less work. It took a lot of time and effort to run TBL - something neither of them at the time had much of due to their studies. TBL joined Susie on the 30th March 2005.

Originally, it was just Archibalduk and Octavian in charge of the EHM section of Susie. Soon after our appointment, Minstrel joined to help out. His speciality was graphics and he was keen to join when asked. TBL had been the only EHM site that provided him with a location to host the custom files he'd created for each NHL team for EHM. He knew if there was one group he'd dedicate his time and effort to they'd be it.

Minstrel got a head start on designing new graphic projects for the soon to be released second version of EHM as an early tester of the game. Once the game was released the new site hit the ground running in providing content with a new skin and several other projects. He dedicated himself to the success of the site from both a graphics and community angle. He created guides to the games graphics and worked with Archibalduk to help write the definitive guide to playing/working with EHM 2005. He also arranged a partnership with Double Minor Hockey Network to help bring in more North American users.

After about two months, Tasku joined. He had been contributing a lot to Susie (like he had done previously with TBL) and so they appointed him as a mod. Archibalduk was leaving to work in Finland over the summer so it was best to bring in a fourth person to help out Octavian and Minstrel. They all knew they could trust and count on Tasku.

Archibalduk, Octavian, Minstrel and Tasku had in no time realized that they made a great team. They were very successful in taking Susie from having no EHM community to having arguably the most popular site on the net for EHM (other than SI Games themselves of course!). There were no other sites that were serving more than a handfull of EHM files while they had 200+.

Everything was running well up until mid-July 2005 when Susie was suddenly closed by the admins for personal reasons. In the days and weeks to follow the four-man EHM team decided to rely on themselves knowing they made a great team. As a team they decided it would be best to again go it alone and resurrect TBL. They'd re-dedicate themselves to building their own community from top to bottom.

The third version of TBL was built upon the Mambo platform. This allowed the site to keep the things that previously made it successful while also giving them tools to build the future of the site. The new system helped them to bring added functionality to the site. It represented the first time that TBL has used the Content Management System.

This third 'rebirth' version of TBL was launched on 22 August 2005 and grew through the continued contributions of the TBL team and of course with the help of the EHM Community. Afterall, serving the community is why we're here, doing it the best we can is what continues to drive us and enjoying the ride continues to be quite a nice bonus.

The fourth version of TBL was custom-coded by Archibalduk beginning in Februaury 2006; codenamed 'TBL X-Gen'. We wanted to make the site feel more cohesive and continue to improve ease of use while adding more options and a better look for users.

Luckily this drive to keep on top of the needs of tommorrow's TBL would be rewarded when the Mambo-based script that was currently running the site's files and 'front page' areas were exposed as security concerns when the script wasn't being actively updated by its authors.

These security concerns brought about the early release of the new files area when our Mambo-based files area had to be disabled. The site was forced to become forums only for a few days when hacking attempts of the Mambo system caused us to take our old 'main site' down for good. The fully featured version of X-Gen launched on the 17th of August 2006, right around our re-launch anniversary!

X-Gen officially brings us fully away from the security concerns of the past and happily into the new generation of TBL with fully integrated forums, files, documents area and image galleries. We hope you enjoy the new site as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.

As time passes it becomes ever more fitting that we've adopted the phrase "The Blue Line Never Dies." It's not just a catchy slogan; it's a promise. It is what we've always been about and it's what remains most important to us, to create and maintain a place all EHM fans can happily and proudly call home.

We thank you all for helping us to build our dream. The future is a clean sheet of ice, so to speak, and yes my friends; The Blue Line Never Dies.

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axwel3221
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Post by axwel3221 » Sun May 09, 2010 1:21 pm

Blue Line never dies! =D> :groupwave: :ohyeah: :banana:

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McQwak
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Post by McQwak » Mon May 10, 2010 10:51 am

It's great story.
But it ends in 2006. What about write something down about what happened then? Next mods/admins (no word about B72?)... Or can you share some site stats with us? Total files/posts/users counts, site popularity etc. Maybe some graphs by months?

Overall :thup:

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bruins72
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Post by bruins72 » Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:43 pm

I didn't join the team until sometime after this "About Us" ends. I was just a regular poster. I was made a mod along with Batdad, Catchup, Shadd666, and Devils88. We've added more mods since then. This site has had a lot happen since the past few years. We could add mention of the Lidas Roster Updates. That's been a big part of TBL history.

Any other ideas?


Last bumped by archibalduk on Sun Jun 03, 2018 8:43 pm.

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