The history of SS13

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"The empire, long divided, must unite; long united, must divide. Thus it has ever been." - Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Luo Guanzhong

A contemporary course in general Space Station 13 history.

Other sources that couldn't fit in the text are listed below any relevant sections.

Paleolithic Times

In order to properly understand the true cultural significance of Space Station 13 beyond the simple "funny space game", it must be understood the BYOND that surrounds it, which is where we will start.

BYOND began in 1994, when Dan Bradley approached Tom Hehre with the idea of creating an online multiplayer dungeon crawler game (think of it like Diablo) from scratch. The next year, in 1995, the two now graduated physics students formed a company known as "Dantom International" (Dan + Tom = Dantom) to develop this game. However, as the scope of the game became more and more complex, they realized they would never be able to achieve their original goal and decided to repurpose their project into a game making program, essentially to allow others to finish the game for them. This game builder was given the name "DUNG", an acronym for "Dantom's Universal Network Game", which can be interpreted as either a clever shortening of "dungeon", a poop joke, both, or neither.

Much like today's BYOND, it used a special programming language called "DM", presumably as in "Dungeon Master". Originally, DM was a system for creating spells in the MUD (multi-user dungeon) Dan and Tom were initially developing. However, it grew so incredibly complex that it started becoming the game's very own proprietary programming language, prompting Dan and Tom to switch to developing a game engine.

Also like modern BYOND, DUNG was intended as a quick and easy way for people to quickly and easily create actual games without having to deal with the major road bumps of hardware networking and GUIs. Quoted below:

DUNG is not revolutionary in providing this technology; networked graphical games have existed for quite some time now. Until now, however, creating such a game required a large amount of programming knowledge, especially in the frustrating field of networks and graphical interfaces. How many creative game ideas were abandoned because the otherwise capable programmer became overwhelmed with the [intricacies] of the interface? Many, to be sure. The advantage of DUNG is that these elements are automatically handled for you. You can design simple DUNG worlds, such as graphical chat servers, in a matter of minutes. And if you are interested in making more complex worlds, you can use the powerful DUNG language, DM to complete the task much more readily than with a traditional language. [1]

Once again much like today's BYOND, usernames were called "keys", fitting into the vague dungeon-crawler metaphor. Interestingly, users were granted a key for only a limited amount of time. If someone wanted to keep their key permanently, they had to participate in the testing for DUNG, create and make games, and submit them to a particular Dantom-related email. If the Dantom team liked their creations, the team would grant the user the privilege of permanently keeping their key, and possibly other perks, including advertising and even hosting their games.

In 2000, DUNG was renamed into the more marketable BYOND. However, the original start page for DUNG has been preserved on an obscure page located on a cycling website. One of the cyclists featured on the site, BIKE GOD, was one of the members of the Dantom team (I'll let you find out who).

The BYOND Revolution

Despite the name of this section, for the most part, BYOND was basically the same thing with a different coat of paint after being rebranded from DUNG, aside from the renamed tools and the endless cavalcade of BYOND/beyond puns that still goes on today. BYOND still billed itself as a powerful yet easy to use engine that was going to empower creators (which were often referred to as "wizards", old habits die hard) and revolutionize the Internet (I suppose it did, in its own way). DM was still called DM, though this time it meant "Dream Maker", and like today, it had single inheritance and the area-turf-object-mob system that mappers today know and love. Dream Seeker was a thing as well, although it was used both for hosting games and joining them, rather than having hosting handled by a different program (Dream Daemon) like today.

BYOND also still sold itself as a step up from the older multiplayer dungeons of DUNG, offering many improvements that were revolutionary at the time but are today quite commonplace, across games in general and in SS13 in particular, such as embedding icons in text and using hyperlinks (modern GUIs). This time though it also its emphasized its compatibility with older MUDs, noting its ability to interface through telnet for telnet-based MUDs (something which it can still do today).

Many of the first BYOND games were card basically online versions of simple tabletop games, e.g. card games, word games, and board games, often with copyright-friendly names of varying cleverness, e.g. Una vs Uno. There was an occasional role-playing, usually inspired by some kind of popular anime, which in the early 2000s was Dragon Ball Z. Several have been lost to time and copyright hunters, but some still miraculously remain viewable on BYOND. Among them are Drummond Cribbage, XO, QuickStep, and Lexiconomy, which are also some of the oldest games still on BYOND's Hub. There are also still a few titles from Dan himself, including Golden Stool and NightMud, which hearken back to the Night Soil: the quest for the golden stool RPG from DUNG.

It is unknown if Tom (the other DUNG creator) never created any titles of his own or if he did and they were merely lost to time.

Just as it is today, and ever shall be, BYOND was free, but unlike today, rather than premium memberships with perks, BYOND used a variety of methods for funding. There was pedestrian fare, such as selling physical books about BYOND and DM and getting money from ads, and BYOND also proposed potentially offering game CDs and even commercially releasing games. Most curiously, BYOND also experimented with a currency called "BYONDimes", which a good analogue would be Steam Wallet funds.

It is unknown if there were actually any BYOND CDs or games released commercially.

People could buy BYONDimes via credit card or check at a rate of 1 BYONDime per 10¢ USD. They could then use the BYONDimes to purchase game content, with extra levels being BYOND's go-to example when explaining the system, and the money would go towards their creators. On the code end, buying content through BYONDimes was done through a simple inbuilt PayDimes() procedure. BYONDimes could also pay for various hosting plans from BYOND, which had names like "The Launch Pad" and "The Moon", on a X BYONDimes per day basis.

In addition to selling content, people could also receive BYONDimes through BYOND's developer referral program. If someone introduced another person to BYOND through a personalized link, and if that person bought a hosting plan or the DM physical guide book (which in BYOND's eyes meant BYOND was gaining a developer), that someone who shared the link would get a 10% cut of the proceeds as BYONDimes, with dividends being handled out on a monthly basis.

BYOND made its money through transaction fees incurred when people redeemed their BYONDimes for cash. If someone wanted to exchange their collected BYONDimes, BYOND would take 50 BYONDimes and 10% of the amount as a transaction fee and mail the remaining amount as a check. BYOND essentially acted as a retailer for wholesale content creators, handling the legal and security matters of credit cards for them, though BYOND did offer to assist high-volume sellers in becoming full-fledged credit card merchants. In some ways, it's similar to BYOND acting as a game development kit and networking platform for game developers, sort of like Roblox with less preying on children.


Space Station 13 is a free-to-play open source game played on BYOND. BYOND has been home to a whole great varied sort of games over its decades of history, but Space Station 13 has weathered the tests of time and stood above every one of them by all regards.

While all sorts of games such as Cow RP or the countless Naruto and Dragon Ball Z spinoff games have long since died out today in the 2020s, Space Station 13 has actually grown and evolved since its inception, recently with all sorts of influential public figures on the internet bringing attention to it and BYOND as a whole. But how did we get here, of all places?

It all began on the cold Wisconsin day of February 16th, 2003...

The original version of Space Station 13 was created by one man and him alone, Exadv1 (pronounced Exa-div One, a shortening of "Expert Advisor"). Chances are if you found your way to this article, you've heard the story about how the game started out as a gas simulator. Unlike many of the things that people say about the early history of Space Station 13, this one is actually true, the game really was originally designed to be an atmospherics simulator for a college project, to contribute to his engineering degrees.

While Exadv1 himself cites a lot of things as as "huge influences" on the game, the two works that directly caused him to make it in the first place involved the increasingly advanced computer simulation technologies being developed at the time. One was an article in Game Programming Gems 3 that outlined a basic framework for using cellular automata to simulate air physics, and the other being another BYOND game called Space Tug, an Alien homage game notable for its exaggerated hull breach physics. Together, both of these works is what directly inspired Exadv1 to implement his own vision of simulation.

While the man was building his atmospheric simulator, Exadv also took the time to build up the station and many of the departments around it. Many of the game's central mechanics we have to deal with today were added simply to make the air simulation more interesting, but mostly to give himself a break from the very mathematics-dense atmospherics coding. Plasma, every security officer's worst nightmare and every griefer's favorite substance, was added because Exadv wanted a flammable gas that was easily visible in the air and thus more pleasing to work with. Even the setting serves second fiddle to the atmospherics. Initially, the game was terrestrial and set on the surface of an Earth-like planet, but was moved to outer space as his excuse to include vacuum physics.

After a few months of this, including a week for the foundations of our modern atmospherics code, SS13 was released in BYOND on February 16, 2003. The original lore, in all its confusing flowchart glory, was posted some months later.

In our best attempt to sum up the whole flowchart shortly, the United Nations (at the behest of the United States) launches the Space Station program, eventually creating the Space Station known as 13. The United States, who is basically running the whole show up until this point, calls up the expertise of one of the largest Big Tech companies in the world, Nanotrasen, to help them out with everything. The whole point of the Space Stations is to promote space commerce and rapidly promote research and scientific investigation into space travel, as well as secretly building up a defense network for the United States. Naturally, most of the research done on the station revolves around plasma, a newly discovered element that is notable for having no neutrons in its core, unique in that there is only one other element that has no neutrons, that being hydrogen, but only a specific isotope of hydrogen known as a protium. This is where the Syndicate comes in, a global criminal organization bent on destroying the sinful hegemony of the United States. Thanks to the Space Station program, their leadership no longer resides on Earth, as they are being hunted by the United Nations of human civilization. They seek to take over or destroy the various Space Stations in order to neutralize the defense network that the United States has built up for itself, harness the power of the plasma, and topple the United States.

The Archaic Age

Finally, with everything ready, he hosted the game on the BYOND platform.

Like many other things on the internet, it was not a very popular game when it started out. A few non-Exadv independent servers were available, but player numbers in total rarely reached the double digits. The peak player count for the year of 2003 was 10 players, if you can believe it. The hardcore community itself consisted of around two dozen people, with 5 of them, including Exadv1 himself, holding admin powers. Unlike today, most of them knew each other from other, far more popular BYOND games and would have had each other on their friends list prior to Space Station 13.

Much like modern times, most people spent their rounds battering each other with construction tools and creating increasingly creative ways of breaking the station. In this early primordial form of Space Station 13, there was no power wiring or electricity generation, everything constructed was just naturally powered by the floor of the station, meaning that while there were roles like the Medical Doctor, Station Engineer, and Toxins Researcher, these were mostly just roleplay titles as actual content was quite sparse. There was also no game modes yet, so many found themselves with nothing better to do besides beating the shit out of each other. (Un)like today, hardly anybody minded. Most people saw it as friendly roughhousing or a sort of "forgive & forgot" arrangement.

The sprite work was also quite archaic and basic compared to what we are used to today, as were nearly every single one of the mechanics (just check out a screenshot from this era).

The old look of Space Station 13

Of course, that's not to say there wasn't any negativity at all, hardly such. There was the natural tension between players who preferred roleplay and those who preferred action, and when hosting files were distributed later on during this era, there were plenty of admins and server owners known to abuse their powers. That said, any drama that came from this early era was of a hilariously smaller scope and is really peanuts compared to what goes on in modern Space Station 13 on a daily basis.

And that was pretty much all they ever did.

Initially, there were no game modes at all; the "round" only ended whenever someone decided to take down the server or the escape shuttle timer would run down. However, some weeks and months after the release, Exadv1 did add the five original game modes in order to keep the people entertained. You might recognize some of them.

  • Traitor: One crew member was actually a Traitor tasked with assassinating someone, usually the Captain. The crew could discover the name and identity of the Traitor by using research, of all things. Later on, traitors gained uplinks and access to a handful of weapons and tools.
  • Meteor: Poorly-drawn brown meteors that look more like meatballs would occasionally be thrown at the station over the course of the round, colliding into some random part of the station, tearing up any walls, windows, machinery, and people (though not any of the floors) in the way. Had (has) a rather poor reputation as being unfun.
  • Extended: No antagonists or hazards would spawn, so the station crew were free to build things and fight each other without any space rocks or Syndicate Traitors to interrupt their horseplay. So-called because the shuttle timer went longer than usual, i.e. the round length was "extended" for a while longer than it would normally be.
  • Monkey: One player was a monkey with a disease that turned other people into monkeys. Reception is still rather mixed on this one, even today.
  • Nuke: A small group of non-crew Traitors attempt to destroy the station from the outside with an atomic bomb. Unlike in modern times, the nuke required inserting the green disk, activating lots of weird random toggles until you got some combination right, and then inputting the special code.

While the Space Station 13 of today is regarded for its openness, the Archaic Age is regarded as the period of time where it was once hardly such a thing, in fact it was quite the opposite, the game and its mechanics were kept in extreme secrecy and fiercely guarded, to the point that there are recorded cases of people being banned for talking out of character about game mechanics and leaking other secrets of the code. The code itself was also closely guarded, so much so that only Exadv had it, meaning he was the only developer and the only person really working on it in this era of time. He would send the server files to his friends and other game admins as a compiled package (the .dmb and resource files only) for hosting purposes. It was also possible to acquire a version with defines, icon files, and the map files, allowing the code holder to edit the map, but having to send the updated map file to someone with the original source (Exadv) so they could compile it.

The Departure of Exadv1

After about three years, the popularity (yes, 10 players on a server was and still is considered a popular game) of Space Station 13 began to stagnate. Exadv, the holder of the original source files, began to get more and more busy with his life and began to lose interest in maintaining his creation as he gradually drifted away from the game to focus on other things. Over the next couple years, the community managed to remain active but stagnant. Exadv decided it was time to share the source code, and the friend group he gave it off to continued to develop his code and maintain the SS13 forums and website in his stead. Two people of the group who were not privy to the secretive and closed state of the code were a programmer going by AZA who attempted to remake SS13 four times with little progress on each of them, and a non-group member named Hobnob who was hard at work reverse-engineering SS13, carefully decompiling the bare-bones host files, eventually managing to create the first mapping tool the game had ever seen outside of the default Dream Maker client. The program was called Mapsub and it was released on the BYOND forums, and can still be found today.

With the departure of Exadv from the game, the remaining tiny community began to lose interest, and player numbers dropped by over three-quarters of their original values, back into the single digits, which wasn't really terrible for a BYOND game at the time, but it certainly wasn't a good sign.

What came next would change everything, and would be the subject of speculation and theorizing for almost an entire decade...

The Platinum Age

In March of 2008, the source code for Space Station 13 was unexpectedly made available to the public. The exact details have been hazy for a very long time, and there were many rumors spreading like a recently-oxygenated plasma fire on how and why the source got released as it did.

Immediately after the release, many suspected that a disgruntled programmer leaked the code, supposedly against Exadv's will. One of the most prevalent claimed that the code was actually stolen, with many versions saying one of Exadv's own friends had stolen a flash drive with the source code on it during a house visit, in some versions accidentally, some intentionally. Other speculate that Exadv merely gave a bare-bones version of the host files to somebody (typically AZA, one of the programmers), who, after some disagreements, (the particular disagreements vary) gave to another user, Hobnob, who then decompiled the code and gave it back to AZA, who then released it.

The exact details would remain unknown for years. Whatever did happen, the result remains the same.

Eventually, Hobnob and a few other users created the first open-source version of SS13. Thanks to the open source, Space Station 13 gradually improved in quality and gained popularity within other communities. Around the same time of OpenSS13's inception, the Goons from the Something Awful forums began to take interest in the game and a Goon-hosted server appeared. The Goons would find themselves taken very heavily to the game, dedicating themselves to it to this day, and working amongst themselves to create their own private codebase, all the while, the other communities worked on the OpenSS13 code.

Map of the OpenSS13 Originalstation (the Derelict)

The release of the full and complete source code meant the future of Space Station 13 as a community, and this public open source code would go on to be called OpenSS13. These are the oldest available versions of Space Station 13.

With the new influx of brainpower from the Goons alongside OpenSS13, many of the features common to every SS13 server today, such as the power network and the lighting system, arose shortly after the release. You can take a look at some of them here in the video below from 2015 of a couple of Goons figuring it out:

The Platinum Age is generally defined by Space Station 13's first increase in player count, with the Goons, Penny Arcade, and OpenSS13 programmers settling and growing rapidly. Player numbers reached unbelievable peaks of 18 players! However, each codebase still sat with its own slightly edited version of the original map made by Exadv. OpenSS13 used the OpenSS13 Originalstation map, while Goons used the Goon Oldstation map, the latter of which is better known as the Derelict.

In 2009, as Space Station 13 servers were getting up to 25 players at peak time, Goon coders and mappers were by far the ones making the biggest advances. Eventually, in 2009, Goonstation successfully produced a second map for the game, Donut Station, a major accomplishment at the time. Because Goonstation was closed source, nobody else could use the map, so they were stuck with the OpenSS13 version. The popularity of SS13 steadily increased through 2009, eventually leading to the creation of new maps in 2010, Ovary Station, which were a huge step forward for the game at the time, as it along with Donut Station brought a whole host of other additions and changes as part of the map, including much improved sprite work, the addition of functioning power wiring and electrical systems, the Pathology (Virology) system, the roles of the Chief Engineer, the Research Director, the Quartermaster, Miners (and mining), the Head Miner (since merged into Quartermaster), the Cook, Mechanics, the Singularity Engine, and the infamous Clown.

The release was accomplished by forcibly rewriting of much of the old Space Station 13 code, much of which was still corrupted with technical debt by Hobnob's failed reverse engineering attempts. In April 2010, as player numbers on servers were hitting 40 players, Goonstation had their improved and rewritten code released publicly as revision r4407 after a very large amount of community pressure, kickstarting a great explosion of codebases, although it would be the last time they would ever officially release their Goon code for a very long time to follow.

Wow, that's insane. It's a fucking miracle that even compiles at all.

Tom, owner of BYOND, regarding the Goon's r4407 revision of SS13 (and his first recorded swear on the forums)

The Golden Age

This Goon code proved to be a massive leap forward in terms of technology and design, with much of the ancient spritework and damaged code from prior reverse-engineering attempts greatly optimized and with a much simpler syntax. The Golden Age is characterized by community outreach, as news of this new, incredible, and most importantly free game began to spread to places such as Bay12Games, Newgrounds, 4chan, more foreign communities moved to get in on the hype.

A typical round in the Golden Age

Taking the released r4407 Goon code, 4chan's Traditional Games board, /tg/, and Bay12Games would go and branch off into their own player bases, both of which with their own set of coders, spriters and code, based on r4407 of Goon code. The three player bases slowly gained player numbers. Goon with two servers, /tg/ and Bay12 with one server each, with the three communities each having their own policies and expectations for players, covering the full spectrum of gameplay. You would go to Bay12 for the high class Star Trek-tier roleplay, /tg/ for braindead chaos, and Goon for the traditional in-between experience of the two, with other communities coming in throughout the rest of the Golden Age, with NoX and Yog in late 2010, Facepunch in 2011, Lifeweb in 2012, /vg/ in 2013, and a whole bunch of others in between then, all releasing and working on their own versions of the code at this time.

Throughout the Golden Age, there would also be many sorts of petty servers coming and going, rising and falling, all the while without much drama in between, although the servers listed before are the ones that stuck through time and age. Developers and players mostly stuck to their own little groups and shared what progress they could with each other. There is not very much else to say about the Golden Age, as there was very little drama or motive to record anything, as the servers were mostly too busy establishing themselves and their code.

However, in 2013, many servers began to hit some major road bumps and growing pains...

The Silver Age

In May of 2013, /tg/, the second largest community in the game behind the Goons, would hit a major snag. This would only be the first event that set the theme of "growing pains" that the Silver Age is known for. The long-time /tg/ forums and wiki were locked without warning! The administration frantically worked to get a new website up. While the administration team managed to successfully transfer all information, however, the old site remained online with no links to the new location, and in these old days before Peer-to-Peer communications programs like Skype or Discord allowed for easier distribution of news, many /tg/ players would go to the old forums page and find it deserted, assume that the /tg/station project was put on hold or cancelled, and come back again to the old forum page the next day only find the same thing. This unfortunate circumstance would prove to be devastating to /tg/, although somewhat beneficial to the game as a whole, as their players would hemorrhage to other codebases rather than to other games. Because of this, it took the rest of the Silver Age for /tg/ to return to its former player counts.

We still don't know why the /tg/ forums and wiki were locked the first time around.

But that's not all in store for /tg/, as this new site would only last a year. It would happen again, but this time it was deliberate.

The exponential growth of the Space Station 13 community in general and /tg/ in particular through the Golden and Silver Ages in player numbers, administration team size and overreach, and developer numbers and involvement began to cause tension, as a division formed between the "old guard" Golden Age players and the "noob" Silver Age players, so much tension to the point that the class divide would spread to the administration team, until sometime around Easter of 2014 when it all came to a head, in which a number of admins and developers from both sides of the schism were purged from the community, leading to the creation of yet another branch of Space Station 13, NT Station.

The original BoxStation (then known as the tgstation) with the separated Prison Station. You might notice that some things are out of place compared to today...

One of the staff members removed from power in /tg/ was also the one in charge of running the new /tg/ website, which they promptly closed down for obvious reasons, once again forcing /tg/ to migrate their forums and wiki to a new domain, having very much the same effects on the player base as the first domain migration had. /tg/ wouldn't be the only community with growing pains, however...

In the summer of 2013, Yog, the fourth largest community in the game behind Bay12, would also undergo a schism, due to one of the staff members, 05rHardy, disagreeing with the host ElitexHitman's inability (or lack of interest) in solving the heavily overloaded server's constant disconnects and lagging issues. The resulting fighting nearly put an end to the Yog subcommunity as a whole! However, once 05rHardy and ElitexHitman left the scene, the remaining developers succeeded in solving the old issues of instability, allowing the new Yog13 to take its place. Yog13 has been relatively stable ever since then.

Surprisingly, despite the constant class divisions, increasing population, and ever-growing server instability, 2015 would show itself to be a relatively drama-free year, though with many changes to come, much like the Golden Age. /tg/'s original host from 2010 had decided to pass the torch to a new host that year, who would proceed to open up crowd funding for the server, allowing for superior development and equipment. Only a few months into their tenure, however, the second host would again pass off the title to /tg/'s third and current host, MrStonedOne.

2016 is arguably the true claimant to the title of Golden Age, but was usurped due to it probably being the most dramatic year yet. Numerous servers in 2016 would see player count peaks in the 60s, 70s, and 80s that wouldn't be matched until the Dark Age. With these new players, came new attention. Space Station 13 was beginning to be picked up by public figures of influence, such as internet content creators and gaming magazines, bringing even more new people into the game. These new players would go on to contribute to all kinds of code bases, rapidly building on to the game at a speed not seen since the Goon's 2010 revisions. It was around this time in 2016 that Colonial Marines, by far the largest and most popular subcommunity in modern times, would come into being, initially a server that ran 24/7 Xenomorph game mode. That was the golden part, but here comes the dramatic part...

Because on March 1st of 2016, somebody leaked the Goon code! A shadowy individual, 0xCSRF, breached the security of the Goon code repository on BitBucket using an administrator's password that he got from the Xsplit data breach back in November 7th of 2013. However, 0x did not release the Goon code right away, but instead threatened the Goon subcommunity unless they paid a ransom. A player named ErikHanson paid 0x $400 in Bitcoin to not release the Goon code, but surprise, 0x leaked it anyways, posting it publicly on Github. The Space Station 13 community rallied around the plight of the sacred Goons, with developers from various code bases refusing to use the Goon code on principle. Even still, the Goons decided to just suck it up and release the code themselves, once again leading to another age of prosperity like in the Golden Age, as the once closed Goon developers began to reach out to other communities, and visa versa, making a record number of code developments in the weeks after the code was released. In the end, the Goons were saved by the injection of foreign developers, and not destroyed by it like the Goons thought. Many other communities attempted to create branches using the Goon code, however these servers often found themselves sidelined to the rest of the main Space Station 13 communities and couldn't pick up a stable population after the initial "honeymoon" period of the Goon code leak died out.

It was also in 2016 that Rocket2Guns, the lead developer of the DayZ ARMA mod and DayZ game, said that he would be making a Space Station 13 remake called Ion. This was probably the first recorded attempt by a professional group of developers to actually remake the game outside of the now ageing BYOND platform. Not much came out of it other than a neat trailer, as the game would eventually be cancelled and the assets would be flipped into another game called Stationeers which did end up releasing in 2017.

The Bronze Age

Business as usual in a round of the Bronze Age

In 2017, the Goon code had once again gone back to its closed and private ways, with the security breaches being patched and the code secrets being altered to make them secret again. The Bronze Age is best identified by how the non-Goon code bases used the 2016 Goon Code to really shine and become unique from one another like they are today, with each server branching out to certain audiences of players. A ton of spin-off and gimmick servers popped up during the Bronze Age, such as InterBay/IS-12, FTL13, SCP-13, Lebensraum, a million different Fallout servers, that one Warhammer 40K server, and many others that are somewhere out there.

It's also during the Bronze Age that one of the biggest historical sources was discovered, as Exadv had been found, and many old things became clear with his clarifications!

When OpenSS13 was made all the way back in 2008, Exadv1 himself did not even know about the leak, as apparently he had left SS13 long ago to focus on real life. He had no recollection of any flash drives being stolen, because he kept the source code on a hard disk. In fact, there was no theft of any sort at all. Rather, he willingly gave a copy of the source code to AZA and basically just gave him permission to do whatever he wished do with it, including, implicitly, to release it. One of the old blog posts implies that AZA was the type of person who had this sort of privilege but unfortunately the Downloads page reminds lost to time, so we may never know for sure.

Historical discoveries notwithstanding, the general state of things continued on this path of "cultural identity" for the rest of the Bronze Age with little drama or deviations, very much like the Golden Age that came long prior, until the Dark Age descended...

The Dark Age

Every so often, Space Station 13 would occasionally experience a "tube tide", a reference to the cultural phenomenon of the "grey tide", a "tube tide" is instead a large amount of new players discovering the game at the same time, usually after being introduced by some YouTube content creator or internet streamer. This tide was different. It could hardly be called a "tide", but more so a tsunami.

On March 17th of 2019, a certain individual named SsethTzeentach decided that the cultural development of the Bronze Age was not going fast enough, so he decided to do something about it. He created a video about the game. This video has currently accrued 6,044,648 views at the time of this writing, bringing about hordes of his viewers onto this tiny game, which is by far the most amount of attention that Space Station 13 has ever had. Throughout the Silver and Bronze ages, the game had generally hovered at around 1,000 players, but Sseth's video would end up spiking that number to 15,000 players connected over the night.

Servers were overloaded. Panic bunkers were established. Multiple "Sseth Overflow" servers had to be established just to keep up with the influx of players and prevent a total collapse of the normal server infrastructure. You couldn't go for more than 3 minutes without a first-time connector trying to attack you, call you a racial slur, or experiment with water and potassium in your vicinity. Chaos and permanent bans were the norm.

When will it ever end?

The Modern Age

Eventually, it did end.

As the Dark Age winded down into 2020, the Sseth players would settle themselves into the various communities, eventually leveling out the once heavily inflated player count back down to to a more stable 1,800 players that is seen in modern times, yet the game remains more popular than ever, with an increasing amount of attention being brought on to it and an increasing amount of ideas being brought into its framework, such as the ever so elusive cyberpunk Lifeweb, the massed infantry offensives of IS-12, the close-quarters-combat of Colonial Marines, the stationless Ship Test, and the persistence of World Server, Space Station 13 has innovated a long way since the Platinum Age that the Goons started out with over a decade prior.

Space Station 13 in the Modern Age has grown too large and too chaotic to try and chronicle in just this one section (or even this one page), but to close off, one last event of note should be gone over.

On February 12th of 2020, a former coder leaked the Goon code from November 2019! Is nothing sacred to the Sseth tiders? As far as is known, the whole thing was caused by increasing tensions between the administration team and the development team. Five days later on February 17th, the Goons published an official statement about the leak and released the code, as of January 2020, in Goonstation 2020.

Not long after on April 1st, the Goons decided that the third time was the charm, and after 10 years, they made the Goon code open source. As mentioned there, there is still some hidden secret content that they keep, but most of the code is maintained publicly here. With the new openness and exclusive features of the Goon code now released to the public, it can only be assumed that the rest of the community will benefit from the Goon's achievements again, much as what happened in the beginning of the Golden Age and the Bronze Age, repeating the cycle and bettering Space Station 13 for all spacemen.

The Multi-Z hydroponics bay on /tg/'s IceBoxStation. Multi-Z had already existed dating back to the Silver Age, but thanks to the Goon code leak of 2020, it was made much better.