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The History of DWI
I first started working on DWI in late 2000, after a friend of mine told me about this dance game that was just starting to gain popularity in North America, at least in this area. I was curious, but not overly interested. After all, I had Samba De Amigo for my Dreamcast to keep me happy - and there were no arcades near me anyway.
However, after hearing enough about DDR, I found an arcade machine and gave it a try for the first time. Very fun - but I found the way the steps were displayed very confusing. I much preferred the format that Samba used - notes moving outwards from a central point. That got me thinking - I could make a dance game that used Samba's format... so I downloaded the TinyPTC graphics library for Windows, and started working on it.
By this point, I had found other DDR simulators online and it became a challenge to me to try to do something better. In the months that followed, I threw together a quick song-select screen and tried to mimic the interface of 2nd Mix into the game screens. It looked awful, but I was happy with it. It also now let me play music from the official games I owned, without having to switch discs in my game console. (NB: You should have the rights to use any music you use with this or any other simulator).
In May, 2001, a friend of mine found out that I had been working on a DDR clone, and asked to see it. He was very enthusiastic about what I had done so far, and wanted to help if he could. He offered to make a bunch of announcer samples for the game. Egged on by his interest in the game, I decided to try improving the main program itself.
I had by this time imported 3rd, 4th, and 5th Mix, and wanted to improve the interface to make it more like these games. So I started work on it, completely redoing all the screens. Along the way I added Doubles and Solo modes, and added a way to do animations in the background during the song. djDH supplied a bunch of great announcer samples which I put into the game, and slowly the program evolved into a complete package.
DDRMAX was due out late that year, and I had heard about these new 'freeze arrows'. Intrigued, I tried to find out what I could about them, and implemented them into the game. I didn't have much to go on, so the initial behaviour was different than how DDR did it. However, it did make my program the first to support freeze arrows, before DDRMAX was even in wide release. Because of this, and additions to the MSD format to allow for speed-changes and pauses, djDH and I decided it was best to change the extension. We also thought it would be cool to put the program online and see what people thought of it. So we came up with a few different names, and ultimately, "Dance With Intensity" stuck. I preferred it to the other plays on the "DDR" name.
After much worry about what people would think, and whether it was right to release, we ultimately released DWI version 1.0 on December 14th, 2000.
I went on vacation soon after releasing it, and when I came back was pleasantly surprised that people enjoyed the program. This made me want to keep working on it, adding new features and fine-tuning others. Eventually, I moved from PTC to use SDL for graphics, and eventually, DirectX for even faster performance.
I wanted to implement the groove radar and newer, sleeker look that the new DDRMAX games had, but didn't want to do that and still have to maintain the older 4th and 5th-Mix screens. Eventually, I decided that it was time to get rid of much of the old code and start over, with DWI2.
DWI2 was a major reworking of the code, as almost every screen was changed to some extent. I also wanted to make the program look better overall, and worked hard on a new graphic design for it - instead of the grey, brushed-metal look of before, DWI2 sported a new, more interesting design of blues and whites, with much more detail.
DWI is still very much a 'work-in-progress' - it's a hobby project I enjoy working on in my spare time, and I'm glad people enjoy what I've done. There's still a lot of things I'd like to do with it. I am just one programmer, but I like to think that DWI offers users a clean, simple, and easy-to-use dance game that plays well, and innovates along the way.
Thank you for your support!
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