The History of Acheron.org
hard to believe, especially looking back, that acheron.org
is now two years old, 730 days,
etc.. This article will explore the history of acheron.org
from its very beginnings as a small, shit worthless page
to its comparatively larger cousin as it is today.
were many highlights and a few disappoints over the two
years that acheron.org has been around. The following will
try to explore them all.
a guy called rGt and myself (wk - weeping killer - yes,
I know the name sucked) opened an art scene related BBS
called acheron. With another site, Incubus, under our belts,
we were well placed to open a board which we knew would
attract the crowds. And that it did just that. Almost immediately
acheron became a success. We had every iCE pack ever released
available for download, and pretty much every demoscene
newsletter ever written (well, almost).
have one thing though, affils. Rgt and myself quickly set
about getting our BBS affiliated with every group we could
think of. About this time I was making my foray into the
IRC world of the scene. We quickly sent an email to Rad
Man about getting the Australian HQ for ACiD Productions.
What followed was a tale to be told.
Man black mailed us, err, informed us that he would give
us the ACiD OZ Agora if we purchased an Official ACiD Productions
T-shirt. Rgt and myself debated spending $50 on a bloody
shirt for about 10 minutes before I conceded. I had a job,
he, the poverty stricken bastard, didn't. Of course, not
knowing any better, I went off to my local bank to get a
bank draft. Not too long after I received my T-shirt which
I have never worn and the ACiD OZ Agora.
late-1996 saw the dismal death of acheron the BBS. Somehow,
the BBS's own sysop, Rgt, had uploaded a virus onto the
Incubus machine, which then promptly spread itself over
the network and killing acheron in the process -- every
file and ANSI screen (that's why there are no screen shots).
first web site
night, whilst laying in bed whimpering about the loss of
our prized possession, and secretly plotting the death of
my counterpart, I came across a cool idea inside my head.
What if acheron became a site on the Internet? And with
that thought in mind, it did. I don't think I was too sure
about what the hell the site was about, so I just did the
obvious thing and made a site about the art scene in general.
web site that followed was one of my first, so you can pretty
well surmise that it sucked considerably. It was a frames
based layout with 'trying to be trendy' graphics and of
course, no content. The site somehow got a few interviews
with well known old schoolers, but not much else. This site
top of page
to the rescue
March 1997 the new design of acheron was launched, mainly
thanks to Colornox. He redid the graphics with a more 'scene-ish'
feel to them, modeling them partly on the ACiD Artpacks
site (which he also did the graphics for). The site however
did not have any real navigation structure, as the menu
was placed over on the right hand side (a pretty bad place
in web design).
no disrespect to Colornox, the graphics were fine, but I
think he was trying to design acheron totally, and therefore
not giving me the freedom to do what I wanted with the site.
The site was buggy was well, and frequently displayed incorrectly
on larger screens and resolutions.
content of the site however was not really a major problem.
The updates slowly kept coming, mainly interviews than anything
else though. The files and gallery section were still defunct,
and rgt slowly diminished into obscurity. The site was still
not where I wanted it to be.
A new course, a new design
the start of 1997, I got into a course at University, a
Bachelor of Multimedia. This course, even in its first year,
taught me a lot about what good design was all about, especially
on the web. I quickly realised that acheron was pretty piss
poor, and promptly set about redesigning the site mid-1997..
new design was focused around a Roger Black approach, using
mainly red, black and white. The
design was favoured by the scene, and many still like it
to this day. It is under this veil that acheron.org became
a much more popular site. The content started rolling in,
all mainly in response to maestro's "My Message to
the Scene" article, which sparked the whole "ANSI
IS DEAD" debate that went on for months.
1997 saw acheron feature the ACiD Gear line, and was the
major news event on the site at the time. Around this time,
CIA announced via acheron that they would be releasing a
huge #50 pack. They made a huge thing about it, even making
a banner especially for acheron.
on the subject of banners, the third design of acheron was
first time these were seen. The central idea behind them
was to provide a free place for scene groups and sites to
advertise there latest offerings and themselves. It was
a great hit, and many people with the scene utilised it.
it was around this time that a warez group of some kind
decided to rip the whole acheron design. It was amazing.
They basically stole the HTML code, images such as the arrow
(same filename) and even the colour hex codes for the orange
links! Of course, we felt we had to run a news story about
of 1997 saw Acheron gain its domain name, and become acheron.org.
The site also got considerably more space than before, meaning
that the photo gallery could make its return. I suppose
this was a big turning point for me. It was at this point
that I knew I had made a commitment to acheron, and indeed
btw, acheron used to be on lit.org, and this was the reason
the photo gallery had to take a holiday.. )
to the frames
amongst the sudden redesign fad starting with artpack.acid.org,
April 1998 saw the release of yet another new acheron.org.
This time, I had opted for a faster, frames based layout.
The site introduced quite a few new features, including
the art gallery and pack reviews (thanks to The Extremist
of Operation Rescue).
with a new design, also came a new hosting service for acheron.org.
run by some scene guys, was the new company chosen to meet
acheron's needs. The server was much faster, and shit, the
connection rocked. Many people used to complain at how slow
acheron.org used to be, and I don't blame them.
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The age of bland
July-August of 1998 Rw, the man responsible for Element
Design, approached me about the amount of bandwidth
that acheron.org was pulling per month, around 2+ gigabytes.
This quite a high number, and alarmed me considerably. I
promptly set about designing a new site which would use
minimal graphics, therefore reducing the amount of bandwidth
-- and how much money would be pumped into the hosting fees.
site that followed I was not too happy with from the outset.
To me, it looked very bland and far from what I really wanted
the site to be. At the time however, I felt that I had to
do something, otherwise the future of acheron.org might
have been at stake. And yes, the bandwidth problems ceased,
and site became even faster than before.
just wasn't good enough
A lot of people to this day still dislike the previous design
of acheron. In late September I formed a little mailing
list of scene buddies and we talked about what was missing
from acheron. Spot also approached me around this time,
stating that he thought acheron needed to get back to its
'scene roots'. I agreed with him. So a new design was brought
up, as well as things like a fully-fledged discussion board.
This mailing list was very productive, and gave me some
I set about redesigning the site. Immediately a black background
was chosen, as many many people to this day still comment
on the old acheron design that had the same background.
Colours appropriate to the name of the site, (which means
the river in Greece which is fabled to run to hell), utilising
reds, yellows and oranges.
new design was launched in October 1998, to a very favorable
reception. I think I had finally designed a site which had
an easy navigation system, looked pretty cool and had the
things that the scene wanted. The discussion board came
online one month later, and I haven't looked back since.
The awards thing
Awards 98 was supposed to be a great event, with a democratic
voting process so that the entire scene would be able to
contribute. How wrong I was, and the few that actually supported
the whole thing: Cthulu, etc..
some people cheated the system, a doubt remained as to whether
any of the final results would be real or be tampered with.
Therefore, it would be rather foolish of me to continue
with such an exercise, and would be unfair to the winning
or losing artists in the long run.
The future of acheron.org
Acheron will continue to serve the underground art scene
in the future. In 1999, we will try to make acheron an even
better place to find out what's happening in the scene,
to find the latest packs, view some great art, and above
all, have some fun.
also like to thank the people who also work in the background
to keep acheron afloat, namely the staff writers and those
who have contributed over the years. Spot I would like to
thank a lot, as he has written quite a few articles and
presided over a number of interviews that I myself could
not have done. Inazone, for being the cool voice of the
moment. Exocet, for converting those damned packs. Creator
for looking after a few Blender Kombat events. Pariah, Meatpod,
Crowe, and all the others who have given something back
to the scene.
Mongi. Without Mongi, hirez.org, Mr. Eh's first dream, would
not be online today. Now the sister site to acheron, I'm
sure hirez.org will service the hirez scene with as much
determined effort and attention to detail as acheron has
serviced the art scene. I'm sure the scene wants to see
been a great two years..
Topic this month:
What do you guys think of acheron.org? Has it been a help
to the scene over the years or a hindrance? What are your
highlights of the site, or how has it helped you or your
(General Art Discussion)