I first encounted www.byond.com (Build Your Own Net Dream) while searching for a way to play Dragon Warrior on my computer. I found a byond game called Dragon Warrior Online and started playing around with it and a few other games on byond.
In 2003, I took a Computer Science class using C++. The Dream Maker program that came with byond had a C-scripting language that was very similar to what I learned in my class so I started messing around with it.
Rise of Heroes started out around June 2003 as a conglomeration of all the tutorials and demos that I was playing with. I learned about creating mobs and having them interact. I created test graphics (green slime) and began forming simple levels.
I found some graphics and started making more complicated levels. I added shopkeepers, spells, and inventory. Everything I added was based on using some demo or tutorial. Almost all of the gameplay mechanics were finalized with only the first town and noob cave in place.
The gameplay was fun. It was fast-paced. It was enjoyable to run around attacking enemies, casting spells, gaining levels, and finding items. More and more people began to join the game and demanded more content.
So I added a forest and uploaded a new version. Then all the players would romp around there while I frantically pieced together more content: another town, more forest, a graveyard, a crypt, more spells, more items.
And thus it continued. Each day, I would add new areas and the avid players would then grind away on those areas, leveling their characters and spells, as well as hunting down those elusive unique items with cool icons and powerful abilities.
As I created more and more content, I received help from the players. Many people sent me new icons for monsters and weapons. A buddy of mine created quite a bit of music for the game. I kept adding more and more content all the way up to the fourth town. I also finally published the game to the public hub at byond.
It was now about September 2003 and school was starting again. I was busy with school and work and had little time to update Rise of Heroes. It was hard to find a permanent server host for the game. Development came to a halt.
…or so I thought.
In 2004, I searched for Rise of Heroes to see if anyone was still playing it. To my surprise, it was still being played. I decided to post the source code so that others could continue the game where I left off. On October 23, 2004, I commented much of my code and then posted the entire source code and graphics as a demo so that anyone could download it, learn from it, modify it, continue it, or do whatever else they wanted with it.
After I posted the source code, I spent a few days replaying the game. Several players had characters that were nearly level 200 and wanted more content. I set up a final area (Pandemonium), which could be reached by walking into the Kishkan well after hitting level 100. I also added an ultimate shield, named after the first person that reached level 200. (During the course of development of the game, I had added several unique items named after my best players.) These were the final additions I made to the game and are in version 7 available for download from the hub page (aka the “original” Rise of Heroes), but are not contained in the available source code and the subsequent variations made by others.