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A Veteran's Introduction
I visit this forum occasionally (more often recently) but a quiet forum is a lonely place and it can be discouraging so I thought i would make a new topic to express my appreciation and thanks for this project and what the Open.MP team are doing - because the work you're doing is important and many of us are watching and waiting.  Perhaps all the activity is on Discord or your social media platforms but I like message boards so I'm going to make this topic and express my thoughts the old fashioned way on a forum, the original gangster.  So I'm here to write about my favourite PC game - yes it's just a game but GTA: San Andreas is special and for many of us it was part of our childhood.  But for me I also associate SA:MP with some of the best years of my life.  Looking back into the past I can honestly say that no other game or online multiplayer experience compares to the great times I had back then.  And that's what I would like to write about here (and probably much more) so prepare yourselves for a really long read, sorry it's just my style.

I come here to check for new information and to maintain some connection to a SA:MP community and I know the feeling of seeing a message board that doesn't have much activity as I'm an administrator of another forum that's been abandoned except for a couple of ocassional visitors.  I registered here recently and this is my first submission but I bought GTA San Andreas in 2007 and I've been involved in SA:MP since 2008 so I'm a veteran.

But before I continue I just wanted to say thank you to the Open.MP team and for all your own contributions to this project.  I recently returned to SA:MP so I'm not familiar with all your names but I remember Y_Less from the early days obviously, he's like the celebrity rock star of SA:MP and I'm amazed by the Open.MP team's programming knowledge it's well beyond my own capabilities.  I don't really understand most of what you discuss when it regards programming but I've been coding (or scripting as we used to say) since 2009 and I'm still doing it now when I can in the evenings and when I'm not working in a job that I sometimes think is just an inconvenient distraction - but it pays and I need the money.

I'm probably older than most people still doing things with SA:MP today and was likely to be older than most players when I started back in 2007.  It's a gaming experience that pulls you back and the nostalgia doesn't diminish as the years pass by.  I think it's the potential of SA:MP/Open.MP that is so interesting and basically it's just a great game and even more when you understand what can be done with some programming knowledge.  I associate the world of San Andreas (and Los Santos in particular) with many special memories and better times in my life.

GTA: San Andreas is a world in which you can step back into and forget about your worries and that's a good thing to do sometimes.  Many years ago I would play SA:MP for so long into the night that I would begin to imagine it was real life.  What I mean by that is that, even now, I can almost imagine Los Santos as a location that exists somewhere because I have recollections of moments in so many places.  I can drive along streets of Los Santos and still remember what happened there, right there under that golden sunshine where my radio played those great songs with the echos of gun battles going on around me.  Or standing on a hill near Mount Chilliad, that was where I once ran with others pretending we were being chased by a bear, but we escaped the beast and had to wait for another friend to come and pick us up "bring a four door car!" we'd shout.  Or witnessing a huge gathering of players waiting for a bus ride to Las Venturas, we all get on and have an adventure.  Even at obscure and remote places things happened that I still smile about now, recollections return to mind of a funny event on a street corner or of meeting someone in a shop that I would help that couldn't type English well in chat, he became a regular player and improved his language skills but like so many other players they're all gone now.

Moving from the single player experience to playing online was really exciting, honestly I still remember the feeling of connecting to a server for the first time.  The sense of so much potential and adventure was incredible, sharing experiences together with real people.  For months I had been playing the single player missions alone and to experience the same cities and familiar locations with actual players was really strange.  One of the first servers I started playing on regularly was a role playing server with freeroam aspects.  Even now around 15 years later I still code and develop a server swith the same kind of social and economic system.  I’ve hosted many servers and managed teams, administrated a couple of forums too but like many veterans from the early days, life has a way of eventually taking your attention away.  Perhaps some of us wanted to move on and do something else, some of us needed to grow up or take a break, start a job or make a family.  Yet I often regret leaving SA:MP and I'm missed it since to be honest.  As I mentioned earlier when I began playing I was probably older than most players but I’ve now reached my forties, are there many of us here that old?  I could type up many paragraphs (and have in the past on other forums) about my memories and experiences on San Andreas Multiplayer but I will say that after all that time I still can’t compare the depth and nostalgia of SA-MP to any other games, the game occupied a special time in my earlier life that I really miss.

What frustrates me most now is that I can’t devote as much time as I would like to programming and playing on SA-MP but I do try to do something regular that contributes to my own server project.  One night I might spend time making an object map or another evening I may work on trying to fix a mission that isn’t working correctly, another day could be spent typing up /help guidance into dialog boxes or setting up some nice scenes with interpolating cameras.  Often I think about ideas before sleep and I can honestly say I’ve kept myself awake going over the possibilities of new features but that’s what this game does for me, it still interests me all these years later.  I hope some of you can relate to the fascination and attraction of SA-MP and it’s great that Open.MP exists to provide the potential for life to return and continue across San Andreas for many thousands of players.

I first started managing a server back in 2009 (with average players being around 30 and peaking at 100) then I ‘retired’ in 2011.  Last year I opened a small server for a short time, a project which I had worked on for many years.  I could only keep the server online for about 2 weeks and I never got more than 10 players really but the experience was useful for me in seeing how SA-MP had changed and in some unfortunate ways how it hadn’t changed.  But I realised that my server was never going to be online for long.  Three reasons really, the first was I couldn’t find anyone else to help manage and moderate the server - it's difficult to find friends that you can trust and that can give enough time online.  And those you know that could do the job well are usually too busy with other games or their own lives.  Secondly I encountered problems with cheaters (as usual) and finally I was uncomfortable paying so much money for a ‘hosted tab’ listed server - even with the average financial resources of an adult I feel it’s too much to pay and that servers regardless of standards should be able to get online at minimal or no cost (beyond hosting) which is why I’m greatly encouraged by Open Multiplayer, it’s a great project with a nice team of people, many of whom have talent and ability far beyond my capabilities.

So I will end my introduction soon and just say a few more things.  As well as introducing me to lots of great music because of listening to the radio stations of GTA, the game itself (and the friends I made playing it) helped and inspired me to create digital art which I intend to submit here on the forum.  But in conclusion I still miss those days of moderating message boards, creating graphics, programming in pawn and managing servers; it was an amazing combination of interests to experience during the best days of SA-MP.  I wish for such great days to return with Open.MP - thanks for reading.

(If anyone reading this is interested, I've added some images from my own untitled server project which may launch soon but is waiting for the Open.MP client release.

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The memories 😃
I registered this account just to post on this thread.

I share the same fascination with samp as you do, although I was literally a child when I started playing but that added to the sense of endless possibilities even more. I will never forget samp, I think about it every day. One of the servers that helped me escape the mundane reality was LSRP, and I could play samp easily for 8 hours a day without getting bored. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget samp and I think as technology progresses less people will appreciate the mod for it's quality and community and will judge it based by the old graphics (which imo just add to the experience). I wish the best for you and to keep working on your server.
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OG 2006 player here too :)

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So happy multiplayer keeps living even to this day!

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More GTA is always welcome :)
Honestly I feel the same, it's hard seeing the game you grew up fade away slowly, there used to be such amazing servers and communities that have all moved on.
it's nice that open mp exists but I feel like the majority of SAMP has rotted away already, it's not really any use anymore imo

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