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History of Tanki Online

On June 4 2013 Tanki Online celebrated its fourth birthday. Many important things happened, we all got a lot of valuable experience. New game objects and modes were added. An important event for the project was the emergence of technical support. This brought Tanki Online to a new level. We never stop developing the game and looking into the future. This article is for those who want to know about the past of Tanki Online and its origins.

Tanks for Two (late 90s)

About thirteen years ago, there was an ancestor of Tanki Online – a game called Tanks for Two. It was designed as an experiment, by young Anton Volkov (wolf) and Alexander Karpovich (karp) – founders of AlternativaPlatform and Tanki Online. Small, simple, with graphic that reminded players of old java-games for mobile phones and only two players – it was that simple.
Thanks to this project, there came the idea of ​​a tank multiplayer shooter.

Tanks (late 2008 – early 2009)

2 months before the start of active development of Tanki Online by AlternativaPlatform team, they came up with a demo what was supposed to demonstrate the possibilities of the server platform. The code name for the demo was “Tanks”. It was a multiplayer action game about tanks based on Flash. The demo was developed using the Alternativa3D 5 graphics engine. Tanks became the prototype of Tanki Online. Garage there was much more diverse than the one in Tanks for Two. Players had a choice of three types of tanks: light, medium and heavy. However, there was only one gun. It required one, two and three hits to destroy light, medium and heavy hull respectively. Tanks had only one map that actually was a single 3D-model (maps in Tanki Online are made of many blocks called props). It also contained water.
Here is an archive video of what the game looked like:

As a result of development, the team got prototypes of Smoky turret and Hunter hull. The dream of a multiplayer action game about tanks began to come true.

Tanki Online

Beginning (2009)

Closed beta testing of the new game called Tanki Online began on May 8, 2009. To participate in the testing, it was necessary to send a questionnaire to tanki@alternativaplatform.com
It is noteworthy that at this point, the game got an award at the Game Developers Conference (GDC 2009) in the category “Best game without a publisher.” This clearly shows that the game received international recognition already in the test phase.
Just one month after that, on June 4, open testing began.
The game was on main server in the beginning of summer 2009.

Community was just beginning to form itself. Everyone was new to each other. Developers played together with all the other players. Prices were completely different, the game was full of bugs, glitches and lags. In short, one may say it was total chaos … For example, Firebird had an awfully long visual after-effect on the enemy. This effect only vanished after server restart. Of course this bug was quickly corrected. Apart from hull and turret, it was also possible to change the tank’s engine. Various elements of tanks were gradually wearing out. Hulls – with each hit they got, turrets – from every shot they fired and the engine got worn out with the distance it covered. Life was difficult for newbies as everything was wearing out really quickly and there were not enough funds to constantly repair it. So developers had to give up these elements of gameplay. There were no second generation turrets and hulls, the barrel of Railgun had the length of Wasp and the damage it did was huge (M0 Railgun had a damage of around 100 HP) During that time, there was only one kind of battle supply – First Aid Kit. The picture on it showed a syringe instead of a red cross that we got used to so much. That’s why players that were using it were often called druggers while the supply itself was commonly known as “drug”.
At the same time we started seeing first players who were practicing parkour.
There was an idea of introducing a racing mode. Map-maker called Avocado makes a map called Monte Carlo that was supposed to become one of racing tracks. The idea was scrapped, while the map remained. It’s still quite popular with players.
Capture the Flag mode was added to the game on July 31, 2009.
Since then Tanki Online has changed a lot and now there are a few things that remind us of this period.

Late 2009 – Mid 2010

By the time the game already had 200 000 players.
That’s when double damage, double armor, nitro and mine supplies were introduced. From that moment activated supplies were shown on top of players’ tanks.
Administration started to organize various contests.
In 2009 developers decided to create a gun that could kill enemies and heal teammates at the same time. This is how Isida was born. Originally players could heal themselves using Isida (when shooting). This fact made Isida the most powerful gun hence unbalancing the game. Game designers had to remove this feature. Since then the turret became the Isida we all know today.
Coming close to the Christmas and New Year, a special gift for all tankmen was released – an experimental version of Gold Box with 1000 crystals in it. After that the value of the box was changed to 100 crystals and it was left in the game.
Physics of tanks weren’t perfect. There were various bugs in geometry of levels. For example, there was a so-called UFO effect:

The reason was simple: one of props had an invisible element stretching into the sky.
Lots of changes were coming soon. The game had already had around 500,000 players. A notable event was the appearance of the first marshal. His nickname was T7000.
At the end of 2009 AlternativaPlatform started working on a new project called Tanki Online 2.0 while continuing to develop existing Tanki Online. This was meant to be an absolutely new product with more realistic graphics, more user-friendly interface and a whole lot more useful functions (social networks, mobile platform, and so on). However, after a year and a half of development there was a change of plans and it was decided to cancel the project and add all the new functions (new server platform, updated graphics, etc.) into the existing version of Tanki Online step by step.

Era of the Second Generation

he name of the period itself explains global changes in Tanki Online. Second generation of weapons and hulls was introduced. They were three hulls: Viking, Hornet and Mammoth and three turrets: Thunder, Ricochet and Freeze.
Many new maps were added. The looks of the game changed significantly. Tanki Online had from 1 000 000 to 4 000 000 active players at that time.
The demand for first generation weapons dropped significantly. There were rumors about a mysterious gun called Shaft.

The making of Shaft (2011-2012)

One of the first pics of the long awaited gun:

This was the most awaited gun in the history of Tanki Online. The marketing department says that, when being first released, it was bought at a speed of 3 guns per second. The length of the gun was such that if you had it on a wasp, it would be two times the size of the hull. At first the shaft gun had a lot of disadvantages but the biggest of which was its inability to hold a full charge (it left the barrel as soon as you fully charged the gun). But there was one good point – the damage it dealt – M3 Shaft had a damage of 250!
Then it was temporarily removed from the game for rebalancing. Updated Shaft was able to hold its charge, but M3 damage was lowered from 250 to 200.
On March 25, 2012 Tanki Online welcomed its 10 000 000th player! His nickname was lYonsl.
The game was getting really popular.
On April 1 players spotted a strange item in their Garages – the Green Triangle. Lots of speculations were made regarding its origin and purpose. Many thought that it was an element of some quest. Players were even calling battles “Green Triangle”.
Developers introduced really expensive paints with good protection from various turrets.
On February 14, 2011 a new gun was added to the main servers – the famous Smoky XT. It was more expensive than a standard Smoky and had better parameters. During one week, any player with a rank of Warrant Officer 1 and higher could buy Smoky XT and use it till February 22. The next day Smoky XT’s damage was increased and it was decided to keep the gun in the game for two more days. The event got lots of feedback from players (not a surprise as there were no changes like that before). The new gun became a number one discussion topic both in the game and in the forum. At 4:00 (UTC+0) on February 24 Smoky XT was removed from the game forever.

Update 1.100 (second half of 2012)

September 6 became a really special day for the project as it brought two of the biggest changes in the game, a new game mode called Control Points and the new graphics.
3 days after the 1.100 update we saw the 15 000 000th player registering in Tanki Online, his name was adilov.amir.
In the beginning of October the Tanki Online forum was transfered to a new, more user-friendly engine.
On November 23 we saw the removal of Madness map from the servers because of its configuration.
December 17 brought us one of the most serious updates – rebalance. The update changed the characteristics of the guns and their availability according to ranks.

To be continued…