DOES ANYONE REMEMBER GAMINGGROUNDZERO? (REMEMBERING GAMINGGROUNDZERO)

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Since there are some GGZ archivists around here, maybe someone will help me find this.

Not sure if it was Mecha Cow or MoogleRacer who did this game and it was encrypted af when it landed on my sorry paws over 15 years ago, but it was a crazy game that had Jean-Claude Van Damme as a protagonist, with a lot of pseudo-bugs and strange happenings, with tremendously weird graphics and a story that was just as bizarre. Has anyone else ever heard of it or did I Mandela Effect the living shit out of a whole RPG Maker game ?

author=JewelKnightJess
Someone remembers me! Haha. I'd like to think someone out there might still be using some of my stuff!


Damn I remember you too. You, ValentineEnigma, Xeno Drogen and some other people I never got to see again after the demise of my AOL account.
author=JewelKnightJess
I used to chat to Wishmoo a lot via AOL, back when my username was Android18a/Sephie. I kinda looked up to her a bit myself, she was like a cool aunt or something to me. I know she had drama in the community but I remember her being very kind and caring. And I really enjoyed the activities she organised in the forums. It's something I try to foster myself now (although I'm more into the Warhammer twitter community these days). I hope she's ok, it's been a long time since I spoke to her.

If anyone remembers at all, here's my website from the wayback machine!
https://web.archive.org/web/20050310003832/http://www.silentdream.co.uk/index2.htm

It's mostly my RM2k Charasets, of which most ended up in the GGZ Resources section towards the later days of the site's life!

I still speak to a few of my friends from the era, although not quite as often these days as we've all drifted away. I love seeing how some of the RM2k community we had back then have gone on to be successful like Matt Herms and a bunch of the pixel artists! I think that's really nice.

These days you can find me on social medias @jewelknightjess - mostly Twitter but also Instagram when I have anything to share. :)

It's been kind of a rough year so I haven't had a chance to add to this. But I just wanted to say It's really cool to get a different side of the story but it's also very cool to finally meet some of you guys. Thank you guys for continuing to share your stories.❤

It means a lot here. Thank you.

@Kryon, I'll add this request/description to the archive thread.
WOW. It's been a long time since I heard the name "GamingGroundZero" but I just randomly stumbled on this thread looking up old RPGMaker content and noticed recent activity. You guys realize this whole debacle is over 20 years old now? Let me get you caught up on the history probably no one knew about.

Yes, I am the real QHeretic from those days (I stopped using that screen name a looooong time ago). I was 16 at the time. I'm now 36.

Wishmoo was my mom, and embarassed my early motivations of running a website as a kid. It used to just be a hobby I relatively enjoyed, until she sort of forced her way into my internet life and RPG Maker community. I stopped being really invested or even remotely involved with anything GGZ around the time she took everything over and started demonizing the community, so I really would like the history books to strike my involvement or any kind of responsibility from the record. This period of about 3-4 years was a dark stretch in my life I look back at and wonder how things got so out of control and crazy.

So rewinding just a little bit. I believe the year was 1999 when this all started. We had just gotten the internet and moved to Delaware, and for the most part I only used it to play online games (like Quake, at the time). At some point I got into the old RPG Maker, pre-RM2k, and enjoyed making games on it as a hobby. At some point I took this hobby and expanded into making a website revolving around RPG Makers, mostly failed projects - but "The Heresy" was the original name of my first successful page and small community. I had befriended a dude in the community who was also into RPG Maker and we sort of forged a small alliance and ran The Heresy as a team. You may or may not remember this person of great significance in this whole drama. His screen name was "Illustrious".

I don't remember the details of how it got to the next part, but my mom started talking to this guy, probably just out of simple concern as a single parent - since he was significantly older than me and talking to a 14-15 year old on the internet regularly. At some point my mom warmed up to him a little too much, and then suddenly I got the news that he's coming to visit us for a short period of time (forget how long but it was like a month or two IIRC. Just to hang out for the summer). At the time it didn't cross my mind that they were romantically involved in any way or that there was any alterior motive to this guy visiting. I was, of course, just a kid.

So things started out pretty chill and fun. Illustrious (aka Jeremy) seemed cool and we all were getting along pretty well for the summer. We eventually moved into a larger house and this is where things really started to change. My mom had been completely sucked into my RPG Maker community, and she was the one who pitched the name for the new re-design of The Heresy which was of course "Gaming Ground Zero". She also now was developing a strong desire to make her own game. She was super busy writing this really thorough story whenever she wasn't at work, and had all these ideas and plans for this enormous production she had in mind. The game was to be named "Tabernacle", and to give her some credit, it was pretty well written out. The only problem was that she had no clue how RPG Maker worked, and was not very technically savvy at all. She started latching me into doing all of the work for her and soon turned this into a bit of an enslavement, using threats and coercion to get me to do the programming for her several hours a day.

This was also around the time she drew the attention of a lot of people in the community because, i'm sure we all remember, she had some "issues". Let's expand on this a bit. My mom was always bit of a basket case. My childhood growing up under her care was rifled with abuse and some horrific incidents that i'm sure psychologically scarred me pretty deep along the way. But not to get too into that stuff. She was a textbook narcissistic personality so naturally the internet and her ego clashed. And clashed HARD. Anyone who wasn't kissing her feet was out to get her, and she very quickly devolved into this depraved addiction for "ruining people", and she used my technical knowledge to do it. I remember her using me to spy on friends, or strangers I never met or cared about. She had me numerous times trick people into installing trojan horses on their computers, and teach her how to use the monitoring side of it so she could monitor them whenever she felt like it. It was all forced, she held threats over my head constantly to do her bidding and many of those threats were that she was going to throw me out on the street, or that i'd have to sleep locked in the unfinished basement we had in the house, or she'd destroy my computer. Under that duress, I even went so far as tricking some of her most "trusted" friends into being spied on because she constantly was developing suspicions about them too, even though they were devoted allies to her all the way. They probably still to this day don't know that she was spying on them, printing out encyclopedias worth of paper evidence about them, so that if they crossed her she could "ruin them".

She "ruined" god knows how many people, I lost count. Whenever someone really got under her skin she went on the warpath, and she'd start e-stalking them, finding their places of business, their parents, and using all this (very likely illegal) evidence she collected to get them fired from their jobs, or to ruin their family lives, and in a couple instances I recall she got people arrested. I don't know how the fuck she did it. She had this way of manipulating people into doing anything she wanted, and she often managed to get her way.

Things were falling apart at home though. Illustrious, who was only supposed to stay with us for the summer, had now been living with us almost 2 years straight and was having a hard time keeping a job. The relationship between him and my mom was becoming strained, and they fought constantly. He would recede into his room for days at a time, drinking himself into a stupor and we'd never see him emerge from that room during these stretches. As a side note, Jeremy was in the marines when he was younger (or so he claimed). This becomes relevant now.

I remember waking up really late one evening to them having a really intense fight, and Jeremy was getting unstable. He was drunk, and threatening to become violent. I forget how it ended up happening, but I said something harsh to my mom and out of nowhere he clotheslined me to the ground and then kneeled down and started choking me REALLY hard. This 30 something old guy with marine-level training essentially was using lethal CQC force on a 16 year old kid. My mom freaked out and tried to talk him down from whatever psychosis he was in. After she threw him out we had to call the cops on him because he was running around our front yard naked and laughing like a maniac. That was the last we saw of Jeremy. Or at least, the last I saw.

The rest is a blur, but the abuse got worse. My mom got sucked deeper and deeper into this spiral of depression, anger, and constant paranoia about people in the community. I had long stopped being involved in the whole community, even though people frequently brought me up as Wishmoo's accomplice. Realistically speaking, I was under duress for most of my appearances and often had her standing over my shoulder telling me what to write in forum posts. One time I didn't comply she chased me into the basement with a baseball bat. But for the most part I just lost interest in RPG Maker altogether, partly because of her, partly because of creative walls I kept hitting with the software. I had sort of sunk into online games full time and tried to avoid anything GGZ for most of the time it existed.

Eventually, the same month I turned 18 we got into this argument and she finally threw me out on the street as she promised she was going to do for years. I ended up having a friend pick me up and went on to a loooooooong and arduous (and abrupt) liberation into the adult world. I pretty much never saw her in person again after that, save maybe once or twice much later down the road, but I essentially left and never turned back. It was for the better. Without her in my life, the toxicity was gone and I realized she had been this ball and chain holding me back in life.

Anyway, Wishmoo died a few years ago. I don't even remember of what, probably heart disease, or lung cancer (she went back to being a smoker when I left). She had numerous health issues and was just miserable 99% of her waking life. The worst part is, my first thought was "good riddance". She was abusive, narcissistic, and a cancer in this world, and a horrible person. All the "friends" she made in the community, the very few - she put on a nice face to them but was always suspicious of them behind their backs and couldn't just trust anyone. Probably kind of awful for me to speak about her in this way, but that's the whole story of me and GGZ.
Damn, "What became of Qheretic", "What is Wishmoo doing now, "Why the Heresay to GGZ?" was the biggest mystery to me for a long time. It's surreal to have this out in the open and questions answered. I've personally talked to Illustrious on and off awhile ago and his recounts lines up (sans details that put him in a negative light).

As someone who was just some 11 year old lurker back in 2002ish who was desperately trying to recreate what Kindred Saga did and really enjoyed Angels of Exodus, it is bizarre to slowly find out over the years that there was way more going on than just hobbyists doing their thing. Presently as someone trying to piece together things, it's awkward addressing Wishmoo as someone definitely bad and abusive person yet also a hard to ignore part of GGZ's legacy. Wanting to document stuff about Tabernacle and wondering if I'll get into some weird legal trouble from a mysterious phone caller is definitely the stranger parts of looking back on RPGMaker. Though... I guess I don't have to worry anymore.

I'm glad that you moved on from such an abusive family member especially early in your life. I can't imagine what it's like to not have family stability beyond highschool but it sounds like you made the best of it going forward. Can't change the past but it's worth sharing perspectives on it.
Oh damn, you even remember Exodus. That was like my first RM2K project. I didn't realize there were still echoes of that era floating around like this, but I even found a "Let's Play" of the entire Kindred Saga on Youtube, and even an old custom battle engine demo I completely forgot I worked on (BEP?). This is blowing my mind right now.

So yeah, I'm sure some of the finer details and timeline aren't 100% accurate in my memory. It's been a long time. But the important ones are there. I don't think anyone could've understood what living with her was like, but I knew she had made a ton of enemies and was constantly trying to rope me into caring while I was always trying really hard to distance myself from all of it. It's hard to do as a minor. Now, I can't in good faith say that I was perfect in my own right. I was a little shit-stain as a kid too. Looking back I think a lot of it rubbed off on me from the toxic environment I was living in, but I was definitely no angel, and I did my share of things to antagonize her and rebel against her rule of law - but I think thats normal for a teenager.

As for "life after Wishmoo": things were pretty rough for the first couple years. I tried to get through college. I got thrown out of the house about halfway through my first semester and ended up staying in a friends' dorm who had an unexpected vacancy. After that I ended up moving into an apartment on-campus with a couple other graduates and slowly just kind of flunked out of all my classes due to my own laziness and addiction to WoW/FF11 at the time. I ended up homeless for about 3 months before getting my shit back together for a short time, and then ran away to the midwest to live with some online friends I had made along the way.

A 6 year relationship with this girl I had come to know from that group of friends started shortly after arriving in my new state, and a couple years in I finally got my foot in the door of my now 11-12 year career of software development - almost 99% self taught prior to starting a professional job in it. That relationship blew up for reasons of its own, but now I'm married with a woman I've known for about 9 years as of today, I'm a senior architect and life is pretty damned great. I feel like I shouldn't have turned out alright considering my childhood but I also think theres some good that came out of all those experiences - mainly that provided the foundation for my professional career in technology. In the end I managed to move past it all and succeed.
Kind of awestruck at the moment. If I can work up the nerve, I'll try and post something more substantial. But yeah, It's really cool to finally meet ya Qheretic. Trying to find words here. As hard as this is to talk about, It's really cool that you shared all this. it means a lot, more than you know.

Can we exchange emails or something? lol, shit.
Oh damn, you even remember Exodus. That was like my first RM2K project. I didn't realize there were still echoes of that era floating around like this, but I even found a "Let's Play" of the entire Kindred Saga on Youtube, and even an old custom battle engine demo I completely forgot I worked on (BEP?). This is blowing my mind right now.]


I think you might mean Exile? (list of GGZ games here) Angels of Exodus was originally Forever Across Dreams by Illustrious if that rings any bells. Though I recall you three collaborated a lot, like Illustrious working on Tabernacle's town, him basing a hacker character off of you. Regarding the BEP we incidentally found a version of the BEP that seemed to contain the earliest iteration of Kindred Saga before it went more FF7 inspired. Originally the BEP that was shared around had a gated forest but all along there was story and cutscenes that came along with the battle system. Was wondering how that developed.

I was also wondering about the RM95 days right before RM2K came out, if you remember the group KanjiHack or T-Nomad that was going to localize RM95 and the transition of Don Miguel taking over. GGZ seemed really involved with the RM2K translation beta, I thought that was interesting but probably a weird power play in hindsight.

I guess that's the perk of being part of the community situated during the early tech bubble era. Seems to be the trend among the other GGZ members that they get a head start tech industry wise even if small unsellable games made in illegally translated japanese software is purely passion at first. Idk hearing these types of recollections does make me appreciate how twist and turny life can be, and that you really don't know where you'll end up. Glad it's been good a outcome for you.
author=Darken
I think you might mean Exile? (list of GGZ games here)


Yeah thats it. I got the names mixed up in my memory. Still blown away from all the nostalgia now. I do remember KanjiHack, Don Miguel and all them. I don't think we really had any involvement in the translation of RM2K though, just that we got close to Don Miguel and helped distribute the original RTP files or whatever to the community when they were partially translated.

I vaguely recall RM95 because its what I got started with originally. I remember it was really limited - like custom battle engines were not viable and you were sorta forced into using a lot of the default content.

I did have a brush with an opportunity to get into a game dev career at one point thanks to a custom Starcraft 2 map called Smashcraft I built: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGyQQwYHL_k (RIP TotalBiscuit)

Riot Games emailed me and offered to fly me out for an interview because they liked the map so much. It ultimately fell through but I think I also decided around then that making games for work would ruin the joy of playing games for me.
Haha seems pretty on brand of you to make an entire arena battle system within a modding template. I do miss the era of Warcraft 3 custom maps or modding in general. It's understandable to keep it as a hobby though. As someone who worked at several animation studios the """passion""" can be a bit of a grind...

I imagine it was also a huge undertaking to keep up making an RM game along with a CBS. The only other few older substantial projects that managed to do that was Velsabor and a game called Philospher's Stone in which I think the author got permission from you to use some of the CBS eventing from KS? But yeah game dev has changed since then, but people still like using the old engine to make CBSes to this day.
QHERETIC!
Also, I FULL WELL REMEMBER BATTLE ENGINE PRIMIER

author=TheRealQHeretic
Oh damn, you even remember Exodus. That was like my first RM2K project. I didn't realize there were still echoes of that era floating around like this, but I even found a "Let's Play" of the entire Kindred Saga on Youtube, and even an old custom battle engine demo I completely forgot I worked on (BEP?). This is blowing my mind right now.


I don't know if you remember me, I was General Cecil on GGZ. I made the Descendant of Truth demo.

I'm actually really surprised that the events between you and Wishmoo folded out like this, I didn't even know Illustrious was involved. We weren't exactly a very chatty community (at least, I never was)

I've had KS on my compy for a very long time.


I think I remember Exodus... Wasn't that one that the advert picture was one of the standard 2k charas on some kinda crystal tile map in the sky?

Anyways, it's good to see you again!
I remember your name, yeah! That game sounds familiar too
author=TheRealQHeretic
I remember your name, yeah! That game sounds familiar too


Q, it's been a very very long time for sure, but I wish you well and give all the thanks to the very early mentorship/friendship. I was Silvereye (and sometimes Lynck) back in those days, the pre-GGZ era with The Heresy going into GGZ as an o.g. "staff" member. I remember just kinda shooting the shit with you on AIM and getting pixel art critique from Illustrious a lot while I worked on my own adaptation of a Dragonlance-influenced RPG that I never released. Now I'm about to join Minecraft as a senior engineer after spending some time working on shipping the new Xbox to the world. I really do credit my time and experience with the GGZ/RM community being the seeds that led me to this point. I'm really glad to see you post on here, honestly made my night to see that. Take care
I got banned on the forums after a single post. To be fair I posted something like "I hear you ban people all the time".
KingArthur
( ̄▽ ̄)ノ De-facto operator of the unofficial RMN IRC channel.
1219
Quite a remarkable trip down memory lane, this thread is.
Honestly this is a highlight of 2020 for me. I never thought I'd ever get a chance to meet you guys, holy shit.
Thank you for dropping by and sharing these stories with us. It really means a lot. It'd be cool if we could get
some of you guys on rpgmaker cola podcast at some point. I think some of the stories here are worth telling
to those approaching rpgmaker for the first time. It really was a different time.
UPRC
Exciting, but ultimately pointless.
6273
QHeretic, damn son, I'm sorry that you had to endure all of that! I'm sure that, while those on the outside probably suspected your home life was probably not the greatest, I don't think any of us could have ever imagined it was anything like that. It's a shame that you had to cut her out of your life, but I can understand it since I did the same in my own life with my father some 15ish years ago.

Very eye-opening to hear your side of things, and very good to hear that you emerged for the better after going out on your own.

But all that aside, just very cool to see such an another old name wander into RMN to talk about the old days. It's a bit like if Don Miguel showed his face in 2020 or something, haha.

Also if you ever get the creative juices flowing again, or just feel like toiling with game making as an infrequent pastime, I'm sure we'd all love to have you around too!
It's a while since I checked into the thread, but I'm glad to see you're in a much better place now, Q.

I kind of feel bad that I had no idea this sort of thing was really going on behind the scenes. It seems I never saw the real face of Wishmoo. I'm so sorry that you had to go through so much.

I hope everyone in this thread is doing well during these difficult pandemic times, sending my love to everyone.
Oblic
Once a member of RMN, always a member of RMN!
1752
It's been a while since I've lurked the discussion forums here, and I have no idea what possessed me to click on this thread. I vaguely recall reading about some of this drama a few years back, none of which I actively participated in. I didn't really get into the RPGM community until about 2009-10, so I came pretty late to the party. All I can say is I'm glad that I found RMN before anywhere else. Even though there have been some tensions here and there, I don't really recall there being outright disputes or threats or anything that went beyond what I would equate to "high school" level drama. I am thankful that this community is still here after all these years, and even though I'm not super active, we all tend to get along.

Even though I never really got into the whole GGZ scene, my heart goes out to you Q. No one should ever have to go through what you did, and I'm happy for you that you were able to get out and find some normalcy. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that this community welcomes you wholeheartedly.
WIP
I'm not comfortable with any idea that can't be expressed in the form of men's jewelry
11363
Oh hey, it is QHeretic.

I got a "pre-release" copy of Don Miguel's RPG Maker 2000 translation from you over AIM.

Even us kids knew there was bad shit going on in that house. I do remember the word on the street about Illustrious living there. It all sounds really awful, man. Sorry.