The history of AKKAR



It all began in 2000 when I joined up with a local LARP organizer group called Sleipner here in Trondheim, Norway. At that time, Sleipner consisted of 6 people, and all the work was put in a Microsoft Access database. When updates was made to anything, a new copy of the database was given to all members. Obviously, this was a very unpractical method of sharing data, and someone - I don't remember who - came up with the idea of making a centralized system instead. That marked the beginning of AKKAR, although only on an idea-level.

In 2001, Sleipner was dissolved, and three of us sat down and created a new group which we eventually named Skyggenes Dal (eng: Valley of Shadows). Eventually - some time in 2002 - I began creating the centralized system using PHP and MySQL. It was never intended to be something else than a system for Skyggenes Dal, and all the developement was done in realtime on the actual installation that we were using. Eventually, others heard of this system and asked if they too could get a copy to use for their own LARP group. I had wrongfully assumed that everyone already had their own system in place for this sort of thing, and was surprised - and flattered - that others wanted to use the system I'd made. I started the necessary changes to allow anyone with a bit of know-how to install and use it, and named it RAsLAV - Roy Andersen's LRP Administrasjons Verktøy (eng: Roy Andersen's LARP Administration Tool). I announced a release on the forum of the norwegian LARP portal, laiv.org, in March 2003 but unfortunately that release never happened, mostly because I was just never satisified with the level of complexity of the installation, initial setup and future upgrades.

I eventually decided to start everything from scratch. On March 20th 2004 I sat down and started coding an entire new system, all the time focusing on configurability and ease of installation and use. I probably used around 1% of the code from the original RAsLAV, so the next version would be as good as a complete rewrite of everything. I got some help and motivational kicks from one of my room-mates, Helge Lund Kolstad, and in a matter of weeks a new version began to see the light of day. At this point I announced the new program as RAsLAV2 on the norwegian LARP portal, and asked for people to help out with testing it. The response wasn't quite what I had hoped, but thanks to a few very dedicated people signing up the testing went great, and soon most of the bugs and interface adjustments had been ironed out. I also wanted a new name for the project and was hoping to rename it by the time 2.0 was ready for release. But things happened, one of which was me getting burned out on coding, so it was released on May 23rd 2004 as RAsLAV 2.0.

In the following weeks, a few more bugs were found and fixed, but no new functions were created. Eventually, people outside of Norway got interested in the project and asked if a translated version was available. I never thought this would be necessary, and as it meant rewriting a lot of the code I basically put it on my "stuff to do when I feel like doing a major change" list. Just before christmas of 2004 I started feeling up to the task, and so I began the huge job of translating everything and putting all the language-specific stuff in separate files in order to make any other translations easier. I announced an early January 2005 release of the 2.2 version with the translations included, and that was more or less the only major feature I planned to put into that release. But, as usual, things happen, and as I revisited a lot of the code I started adding more minor functions, and then decided I might as well add some more major functions. I also finally renamed the project to AKKAR, which is a created abbreviation. Akkar is norwegian for squid, and the shared house I live in is called "Akkarheimen" (The squidhome) due to many people in my social circle refering to friends as "gamle akkar" (old squid - it's a warped version of a very common norwegian way of referring to old friends: "gamle ørn" (old eagle)). It probably sounds very strange in english, but here it's perfectly logical ;) Anyway, AKKAR now also stands for Avansert Kontroll- og Koordineringssystem for Arrangører av Rollespill (eng: Advanced Control- and Coordinationsystem for Organizers of Roleplayinggames), and it's the new official name for what was once called RAsLAV.

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