A Short History of Paintball Net

Back in 1996, my brother “Dug” created what he called an “action MUD” based on the multi-user dungeons popular in the 80’s and 90’s. He named it “Paintball Net” (PBN for short).

Paintball Net used ANSI text terminal commands to create a combined roll-and-scroll and animated text experience. ! (exclamation points) were trees, _ (underscores) were grass, ^ (up carets) were mountains, and more. Your “avatar” was a  “Y” (uppercase y) and enemies were * (asterisks). You used MUD-like commands to move around the world and target your paintball gun and buy and sell and more. I wish I had a screenshot of what the first version looked like, but you’ll just have to imagine. 🙂

Dug asked me, DavidRM, to create the GUI for the game. That was 1996, and I had just purchased Delphi 2 and wrapped up my first “learn Delphi” project. Paintball Net sounded like a good next step, and “PBTerm” was born. I *do* have screenshots of that.


Oh, yeah. Love those 16-color Windows graphics. 😉

During the years it was online, the game evolved and upgraded to look more like this (with new artwork by Lars Ricaldi):


We were never going to win any awards for our graphics, but we had a very devoted player community. 🙂

Paintball Net was online from the summer of 1996 through the summer of 2000, when we took it offline to focus on other projects. The game was never huge, but we had thousands of players come through over that period. And since then, every year at least a few of the players have reached out and asked/begged/pleaded/demanded that we put it back online.

And here we are. Well, here I am. Dug decided to sit out the revival, but I’m here. And he’s kinda here in spirit (he designed the game, after all).

Now Paintball Net is played in your browser–just about any browser on any device you care to pick up and point at it, and there have been a few changes/improvements–but it’s still pretty much the game we put online in 1996.

If you played the game in the 90’s: Welcome back!

If you’re a new player: Enjoy the game!


Click Here to Play!

Archive (even more history!)