It began long ago, right here at this same desk...I discovered Doom! I was fascinated! I couldn't get enough...I'd stay after work to play against Vet students in the lab. Then it happened...I discovered tcpsetup. Jake Page (the author) was a god! We struggled for months trying to setup games using tcpsetup and celebrated everytime it worked! It was worth the 2 hours it took to get everyone connected! I was maintaining a list of ip numbers and email addresses of all the players. I found a need to organize all the players so we could find games easier.

I was slowing becoming a Doom master...only two people on the net could beat me...

One day I met this guy name Scott Coleman from UIUC. He played a descent game of Doom, but not good enough for me. I used him to record demos for the group. People said, "E1M1 is unfair! If someone controls the rocket launcher, he controls the game!" So we made a demo where I wasn't allowed to use the rocket launcher. I still won about 20-5. I also used to make a big deal about being a mouse player. Keyboarders sucked! I proved it time and time again... ;-)

I even managed to get my name listed twice in the Hank Luekert's Official Doom FAQ! I was a someone!

Then one day Scott sent me email:


Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 08:35:49 -0500


Subject: Re: game anyone?

From: (Scott Coleman)

I have some ideas for hacking TCPSETUP to make connecting with it easier. Interested in doing a little testing later?

Basically what I want to do is make TCPSETUP behave more like SER4, which has a built-in chat mode and game parameter configuration menu. If I'm successful, the new TCPSETUP would be able to

* Initiate and verify connections with all players in the game, and/or display diagnostics saying which players could not be found (so you know for sure whose setup is screwed) as well as some estimate of connection quality (e.g. PING times)

* Configure game parameters dynamically, so that all machines are guaranteed to be using the same set of game parameters

* Support a chat mode whereby players can communicate once connected. The chat screen would be very irc-like in form and function

* Support an online player directory, so that I can simply select "Jay" and "Face" from a picklist and press a button to connect with both of you

* Probably other whiz-bang stuff as I think of it or it is suggested to me

I've already emailed Jake on this, but he hasn't responded (might be on vacation or something). If he approves, I'm hoping some of these ideas might make it into the next release of TCPSETUP. In the meantime, I want to do some experimenting to see what's feasable.



Of course I was interested!

It wasn't until September 23, 1994 that we had our own working version of tcpsetup called iDOOM (v1.0). It was basically a simple replacement for tcpsetup that actually worked! You could play 3 and 4 player games. It also added the ability to have 1 player act as server and the other 3 connect by just typing the ip# of the server. The server would set all the game parameters.

Around October 14, 1994, Scott finished iDOOM 1.1. This version of iDOOM added a chat screen very similar to the current iFrag and Kchat chat screens.

October 17, 1994 - ideas for the first iFrag Frag Tracker are being discussed. Volunteers for test sites are requested.

October 23, 1994 - the first Frag Tracker is up and running for test purposes. iDOOM 1.1WB players can now find each other through a common meeting place.

Between October 1994 and January 1995, iDOOM goes through hundreds of betas and updates and fixes. In mid January 1995, with iDOOM now supporting Heretic, a name change is made. It's now iFrag.

By March 15, 1995, iFrag 2.1 as we know it today was finished. A few minor changes have been made since, but that was about it.


Date: Wed, 15 Mar 1995 09:58:33 -0600


From: (Scott Coleman)

Subject: iDescent

Are you at all interested in an "iDescent" project?


At this point we find out that the MILK project is already underway (for about 2 months). We feel the pressure to get something done first. I make a serious business proposal to Scott and we agree on a joint venture to create a program that would NOT be free (or rather, one that would have a shareware/demo version and a registered version). I saw $$$ ;-)

3/16/95 - I write a program call iSPY. It's basically a TSR that logs the use of the multiplex and IPX interrupts. I learn what IPX functions are used by Doom, Descent, and RoTT.

3/27/95 8:54am - I play my first game of Doom over Kali. It only works between two PCs, and Descent doesn't work, but it's progress! Only 12 days! ;-)

3/27/95 12:59pm - I play my first game of Descent through Kali (only played on my local network). Later that day Scott Coleman and myself play the first game on internet Descent using Kali (not *the* first game on internet Descent since IHHD has been used already).

We recruit iFrag players to help beta test Kali for the next month. On April 26, 1995 Kali 1.0wb is released to the public. Immediately everyone complains that it's too hard to setup...and I still haven't done anything about it except to write better DOCs and FAQs...

The future? Kali95! Well, the name might not be Kali95, but the result will be the same. Since you can run normal IPX games in Win95 using Win95's IPX driver and running Doom/Descent in a DOS shell, using Kali with Win95 will be as easy as connecting to your ISP as you normally would and then just running fuss...instant gaming!

Written by Jay Cotton

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This page was last updated on 12/28/95.