The official Ginever Entertainment website
|Parent service||Ginever Entertainment|
|Date launched||14 October 2005|
|Current version||v5.1 (2 October 2017)|
Origin of the name
The website has been operated under a variety of names since it originally launched. While Ginever.net is the name by which it is most well known, and the name which it has held for the longest period of time so far, it has only been called Ginever.net since 2011. Prior to that it was operated under various other names, including The Ginever Block.com (TGB), Legend Killer Productions.net (LKP), B-Cool, RJD Online and RJD Community Forums.
Most prominently, between February 2008 and August 2011, the site was named "The Ginever Block.com", which took its name from the "Ginever Block", a small educational study block located at S. Peter's Collegiate School in Wolverhampton. This serves as the origin of the Ginever name. Several members of the site at the time were students of the school, which helped to influence the decision. The real-life Ginever Block is used to teach mathematics and physics to students aged between 11 and 19, and was named after the Reverend John Ginever, who was Rector and Rural Dean of Wolverhampton from 1970 to 1989. Controversially, the school decided to temporarily rename the block to "The Ginever Building" in late 2009, and it is commonly believed that the name change was carried out because of the existance of the website, although this was denied by the school.
In July 2011, the decision was made to rebuild the site under the name "Ginever.net", a name originally intended for the Ginever Alliance's online multiplayer services. The suggestion to change the name was put forward by Kian Bradley, who complained about the length of the site's name and felt that the already owned domain "Ginever.net" would be a suitable replacement. The change was generally approved by all active members, and the new service was launched on Tuesday 9 August 2011. The site continues to operate under that name to this day.
Traditionally operating as an internet forum, Ginever.net has become less and less active in recent years as the popularity of internet forums has significantly dwindled to a fraction of what it once was. The majority of chat within the community has now migrated to Discord, relegating the website mainly to a supporting role.
In addition to providing support in the forums, Ginever.net is home to a number of other services. The site powers GineverAccount, a unified account service which can be used in other external services such as the GineverLauncher. It is also home to this wiki. In the past it has played host to various other services such as a JIRA bug tracker, an online translation service and a repository hosting system.
Before Ginever (2005-2008)
The service was first created by Robert Dennington in an attempt to learn more about the nature of internet forums and how they operate. In order to cut costs, a free forum hosting service had to be used. In early October 2005, Robert signed up with JConServ, but the quality of the service was inadequate. Seeking a better host, he found Greatboard, and the phpBB2-based RJD Community Forums officially opened on October 14, 2005. At approximately the same time, forum hosting service Forumer.com took over the management of Greatboard. After researching the services offered by Forumer.com, the members agreed to switch to Invision Power Board, and the service officially migrated to use Forumer's IPB 1.3 hosting service on December 14, 2005.
Approximately one month later, in late January 2006, the community agreed that the Forumer.com service was unsatisfactory and offered very little room for customization. It was agreed that the service should be closed and that alternatives to free forum hosting should be researched. While researching a potential future for the service, Robert founded B-Cool with Michael Denny in April 2006. Like the RJD Community Forum, it was hosted on a free forum hosting service (specifically Clic!Dev), and suffered from similar issues regarding the customizability.
In September 2006, Robert found the web hosting service 'Freehostia', which he believed would allow him to set up and customize a privately installed community forum. On 20 September 2006 he founded RJD Enterprise Solutions and purchased the domain name 'rjdonline.co.uk'. He then migrated both the former RJD Community Forum and the B-Cool Forum to the new domain, creating the RJD Online B-Cool Community Forums. After an agreement with Michael Denny, this name was shortened, and the service opened as the RJD Online Community on 14 October 2006, exactly one year after the opening of the original RJD Community Forum. The new forum was powered by a free copy of IPB 2.0.0 Final that Robert had previously acquired, and was hailed as a major milestone for the service. In an attempt to keep the B-Cool name alive, an affiliation ring known as the B-Cool Family was created in December 2006 in order for the RJD Online Community to easily affiliate with other websites.
In March 2007, the RJD Online Community began providing support for an upcoming new multimedia service called Legend Killer Productions, which had joined the B-Cool Family as an affiliate. The partnership worked so well that in May 2007 an agreement was made to host the forum on legendkillerproductions.net. The service migrated to LKP and became the Legend Killer Productions Community. The relationship between RJD Enterprise Solutions and Legend Killer Productions strengthened over the course of the year.
The tag line "Putting Wolverhampton Back on the Map" was used for a short time during the Summer of 2007.
In late September, the small free web server became crowded and could no longer support the forum properly, so a decision was made to rent a shared server from HostGator. By the end of October, the new server had been set up, and the forum was running smoothly again.
The early years of Ginever (2008-2011)
In January 2008, there was a dispute over the ownership of the domain name legendkillerproductions.net. In order to help resolve the problem, it was eventually agreed that the forum should move to a new home. After lengthly discussions over what the forum should be called, members eventually agreed on the name 'The Ginever Block', which was borrowed from a small mathematics building on the campus of S. Peter's Collegiate School in Wolverhampton. Robert purchased thegineverblock.com and migrated the forums to the new domain on January 17, 2008. A simple redirect was added to the Legend Killer Productions home page which pointed to the new domain. It is now common belief that the suggestion to call the site The Ginever Block was in fact simply a joke, but that the name was chosen anyway due to nothing more suitable being available at the time.
Some weeks later in February 2008, Robert suggested that the board should be updated to the latest revision of IPB at the time, IPB 2.3, in order to resolve numerous issues with the outdated IPB 2.0 codebase. The idea became popular amongst members, and the forum was successfully upgraded in late February 2008.
After the release of IPB 3.0, members decided to migrate to the new codebase, and on August 15, 2009, the forum was successfully upgraded to IPB 3.0. As part of the upgrade, a new tag line was introduced: "Making your lives slightly less pointless since 2005".
In late 2009, Medessec, owner of the Medessec Organization, agreed to move support for his services to The Ginever Block, and became the site's second official affiliate. It was at this time that the nature of the B-Cool Family was debated, and eventually it was decided to discontinue the now-aging B-Cool franchise. This led to the creation of The Ginever Alliance. Medessec became the deputy executive director of the alliance and an assistant administrator of The Ginever Block.
After the formation of the Ginever Alliance, the decision was made to set up a wiki in order to replace the Medessec Archives. The GineverWiki consequently launched to the public in January 2010.
After some agreement between the various parties, it was decided to stop renewing the unused Legend Killer Productions domain, which expired in March 2010.
During May 2010, the first staff election took place, allowing members to apply for staffing positions and then vote for the people they liked the best - as a result, some considerable staffing changes took place. On June 1, 2010, the forum was upgraded to IPB 3.1.0 and suffered minor skinning issues as a result - it took a further upgrade to IPB 3.1.1 and a skin release on June 28 for all of the skins to be reinstalled again.
In January 2011, the server hosting many of the sites in the Ginever Alliance, including The Ginever Block, underwent a major restructure that affected some areas of the forum and caused some services to be down for several days. After resolving this issue, the site then continued to operate normally for another 7 months.
The non-profit years of Ginever.net (2011-2016)
During 2012, the site was upgraded to IPB 3.3 and the board was configured to have fixed-width skins. A JIRA bug tracker was also launched. The site otherwise remained largely identical to before. This lack of any substantial change largely continued during 2013 and 2014 because almost all free development time was allocated to Robbit. Some planning occurred as to how the next iteration of the site should be developed.
In April 2015, the site was upgraded to IPS Community Suite 4.0. (This upgrade was originally scheduled for 2014, but was delayed due to the protracted development schedule of the IPS Community Suite.) The new website was the first to be completely self-hosted; as a result, it now supported IPv6, and was more responsive due to reduced server load. Additional services launched during this time included a Weblate translation system and a development blog powered by IP.Content.
Restructuring under Ginever Entertainment (2017-present)
The operating authority for the website, the Ginever Alliance, entered into financial difficulties at the end of 2016 and was closed down. The responsibility for running Ginever.net was subsequently handed over to Ginever Entertainment upon its formation in January 2017. Because the service as-is had too many expenses and inadequate funding to cover them, a total shutdown of all Ginever.net services occurred on 13 March 2017. The only exception was the GineverLauncher, which continued to operate from emergency servers so that development of Spellmaster II and Intryon could continue.
It was initially planned to redevelop the website using a new framework called Hammerspace in order to avoid paying the licensing fees for Invision Community. However this proved to be far too much work. For this reason, the development of Hammerspace was dropped, and funding was found to pay the licensing charge. Some portions of Ginever.net were then relaunched.
The main website and account system became available again on 2 October 2017, upon which time the site was upgraded to IPS Community Suite 4.2. The development blog powered by IP.Content was also brought back. Following on from this, the wiki was reopened in May 2018, extensively modified to integrate better with the rest of the website. The site was also upgraded to Invision Community 4.3 at the same time.
September 2018 saw the release of the Ginever Project Manager (GPM), a new IPS4 application written from scratch for Ginever.net which provides bug tracking and development blogs for Ginever projects. The old JIRA bug tracking database was then imported to GPM using a specially written JIRA-to-GPM issue conversion tool. The development blogs operating under IP.Content were also transferred to GPM. Further updates to GPM to fix bugs and introduce minor improvements continued over the latter half of 2018.
As part of a longer-term objective to restore the Ginever services lost at the start of 2017, the Mercurial hosting service was re-opened in January 2019, with all source code stored on other platforms being transferred there. The new hosting service uses SSH for authentication in a similar way to Bitbucket, which works around the requirement for 2FA when pushing and pulling source code.
March 2019 saw further extensions to GPM, adding the ability for projects to store and list downloadable files. This serves as a replacement to the downloads system which comes with IPS4. The main benefits of the new system are that the downloads for each project are stored within the site's official project page, right next to the dev blog and bug tracker, instead of being stored in a separate area of the site which requires users to hunt for them. The new project download page also allows download instructions to be displayed for files that cannot be sourced from the main website and have to be sourced from other places (e.g. the download page for GineverLauncher-based titles can instruct people to install the GineverLauncher; the download page for Steam-based titles can display where to purchase the game on Steam, etc). This helps to better unify the public project information.
After the download function was added to GPM, many of the legacy projects were re-uploaded to the website. These projects had previously been removed from the site to avoid users being confused and thinking that the legacy projects were still supported. This is less of an issue with GPM, which clearly lists legacy projects with low priority under a specially designated section, and clearly displays the date when support became discontinued for each legacy project.
Many other services continue to remain offline for the time being, although there is hope they may eventually return.