I remember the exact moment when I showed my father the finished SIM 1.0.
I sat on a slightly disfigured and disgustingly brown office chair, one of the early kinds before ergonomics had come into play. He sat on a slightly better looking blue chair with a back that reached from the shoulder blades to the tail bone, quite an improvement over my chair which pressed crudely mid-back.
We were examining Jennifer Stewart's stable page, the neon pink text blinding both of us as I explained the basics of SIM horse ownership.
SIM horses were comprised of several factors at the time. There was an owner, obviously, and a color, gender, and age. The horse has a name, and in most instances, parents. Horses had races, and races had factors too, such as a date, a purse, and entries. Entries had horses and owners connected to the horse.
After listening to me explain all of this, he said, "This sounds like a database." It was right there that I was introduced to FileMaker, a database system that would be able to run the SIM online with the biggest perk I could imagine. At the touch of a single button, a script would run, updating every single horse's age plus 1, meaning I wouldn't have to change the ages by hand.
The actual setting up of the database didn't take nearly as long as inputting all of the old races, horses, and entries. A transaction database was set up, giving everyone the amount of money they had at the end of the old SIM, and on April 16th, the SIM's loyal players were invited back to start anew with the SIM. The homepage was still HTML links, but everything "inside" was database driven.
It is interesting to see where some of the players were at the start of SIM 2.0. Jon Xett started with $3 million and change, but Ara Davies began with $10 million and Ladonna King with $14 million. That's not too far off of where they hover now, twenty SIM years later.
A player received exactly $14,000 when he or she signed up (what possessed me to pick that number?), and sign up people did. Over that break, Robin Tan joined the SIM, followed minutes later by Brianna McKenzie. Ryen Hanna, Susie Raisher, and Ally Seattle (later Ali LaDuke) were followed by Lisa Lange and Sean Feld. By June, the starting rate had risen to $30,000, where it would stay for years.
Races were carded to begin on May 6th, 2000 - Kentucky Derby Day 2000.
I remember that day as well - I loved Fusaichi Pegasus, but I had to take the SATs that morning, and then go to a school function that afternoon. I watched the race on a 3 inch TV with very little signal up in a classroom, and the audio was going in and out. I could hear the announcer call Wheelaway in front at the 1/8th pole, and I was NOT okay with that at all, but finally audio and video came together in time for Fusaichi Pegasus to fly over the line as if he had wings. When I got home a few hours later, I ran the first races of SIM 2.0.