She's gone from suck to blow!
Subspace began as a massively multiplayer (before that term existed) combat game dubbed 'Sniper' in 1995 (later reincarnated as Infantry) but was quickly renamed and re-themed; it was made by Virgin Interactive Entertainment (VIE) and was one of the earliest action multiplayer online games, and possibly the first semi-successful one. The game was evolutionary for two reasons— the ingenious server code allowed 28.8 modem connections (most common at the time of release) to seem like instantaneous reactions and it had deceptively simple gameplay combined with a depth and subtlety rivaling profesional sports and chess.
For two years the game was in open beta and several zones were hosted by the VIE servers. The problems started when the game went retail. The servers were still free, but you had to buy the game CD to play on them. The game wasn't advertised well (very small marketing budget) and in spite of a severely addicted, albeit small, player community VIE pulled out in 1997 and a year later turned their servers off with little more than a shrug.
Never take away a junkies crackpipe.
How many Assholes do we have on this ship anyhow?
Shortly thereafter the Subspace CD was cracked and the server software (included with the CD due to the foresight of one of the main programmers) so user-made and hosted zones were springing up all the time, but without VIE there was no central control or client code updates and cheating was rampant. In 1998, a West European company based in Finland had purchased distribution rights just before VIE pulled the plug and their servers were initially used as a crutch while the American community regrouped. Slowly the community came together as strong servers were set up on the east and west coast of the US. The cheating was still choking the game to death, but a loyal legion of volunteers kept the torches lit while a handful of programmers began a new project in secret.
You have the ring. And I see your schwartz is as big as mine.
In 2001 these programmers unveiled a brand new client for Subspace that had been reverse-engineered from the ground up to replace Subspace. This new client was programmed (without any access to the original Subspace code) by Mr Ekted and PriitK (aka Priit Kasesalu, one of the creators of Kazaa). It was called Continuum and allowed the community to eliminate cheating and continue the development of the game.
Although now roughly nine years old, Subspace is as popular and addicting as it's ever been. The old VIE zones are still there, now known as SSS zones (Standard Subspace Settings), but there's now all kinds of different zones and settings to play. The recent updates to Continuum as well as extensive cyberbot scripting throughout individual zones has allowed the entire community to constantly develop and evolve the gameplay and graphics.
For a little taste of nostalgia for fans and a glimpse into history for new players feel free to browse an archive of the Official VIE website from 1997.
Header Quotes ripped off from Spaceballs the movie.