>>  Rideas has been evolving since 1997. It all started when Oblivion at Alton Towers was under construction. I opened 'Matt's SW4 Site' to chart the progress of Oblivion, or Secret Weapon 4 as it was then known. The guest book was the most popular feature with people visiting from all over the World and leaving comments about our mysterious World First ride in the making.
>>  Click the banner above to take a look at the first version of "Matt's SW4 Site" from August 1997. Bare in mind that it was my first attempt at a web site!
>>  When Oblivion opened to the public, the site had received over 17,000 visitors. The day after opening I opened a new site, obviously called "Matt's Oblivion Site". The site was pretty much along the same lines as the SW4 site but it adopted the colour scheme of the ride and contained many photos of the ride in construction and the finished product. Below is one of the later "MOS" logos.
>>  After a few months of MOS, I felt that it was feeling slightly stale. Now that the ride was finished I couldn't update with any more news as there obviously wasn't any! I decided to create a site dedicated to Alton Towers. MAT Guide (Matt's Alton Towers Guide) opened in December 1999.
>>  MAT Guide contained information about every ride at the park with extensive sections on Nemesis, "The Lair of Nemesis" and Oblivion, "MOS". There was also an informal guest book called "The Tavern". Unfortunately due to abuse, this section had to close.
>>  It became apparent in early 1999 that an unbiased version of the MOS guest book was required. Previous attempts of creating a UK based news group had failed so I decided to design a new site. In February 1999 the UKTPDB (UK Theme Parks Discussion Board) opened. Originally using a threaded system covered in ads, I reverted back to using the AOL guest book program.
>>  The popularity grew and as ever, with it's popularity came a minority who were out to cause trouble. This made me decide to design a password protected board only allowing members to submit. This was a very crude system but worked for quite a few months.
>>  Work began in Summer 2000 on a new UKTPDB. Visitor and membership numbers soared during the summer with the UKTPDB receiving between 300 and 600 visitors a day. A new and easier way of managing the UKTPDB was required. Not having the time to learn CGI, I turned to Alex Taperek, who I know is very knowledgeable in the field of CGI. I gave him the outline of how I wanted the program to perform and he got to work.
>>  Later in the development of the new UKTPDB, Darren Smith got involved. After a few months of successful Radio 2000 broadcasts combined with UKTPDB chats we decided to turn Radio 2000 into UKTPDB Radio. Darren joined the growing UKTPDB team and redesigned the UKTPDB Radio service and with a little help from Alex, the quizzes too.
>>  Another new feature was the "G-Force" magazine. This contained UK theme park related articles, interviews and news. Darren Smith was also heavily involved with this section of the site too. Darren worked on "G-Force" from concept through to reality.
>>  Last but not least is our proof reader and tester, "The Ancient Mariner". The Mariner has been a regular contributor to my sites almost from day one. His poetic advice always goes down well! As he is famed for his language skills, he was pleased to take on the roll. He made a fantastic job of proof reading MAT Guide in November 1999. I challenge you to find one mistake after the Mariner has proof read this site!
>>  The beginning of 2001 saw a number of theme park / ride designers contacting the UKTPDB expressing an interest in being involved. This was very encouraging news. I decided that the site needed a new fresh look and a new name. I wanted a one word name for the site. A word that summed the site up. After a number of team brainstorming sessions in the UKTPDB chat room, I suddenly had a brain wave! Ride ideas > Rideas ! We all liked the name, so the domain was registered and work began on the new site.
>>  As the site's popularity grew (35,000 hits/week), I decided to devise a questionnaire to find out what members and visitors really wanted out of the site. After receiving hundreds of responses, work began on Rideas MKII in early summer 2001. We wanted to try and please as many members as possible with the changes. I hope we succeeded!
>>  I'd like to thank my team for their continued support and hard work. Special thanks goes to Alex Taperek, without whom Rideas wouldn't be what it is today.
>>  The following pieces from the Rideas archive may be of some interest:
Rideas MK2 - the first 10 posts!
>>  Thank you to all members for your continued support of Rideas. MK3 is in its initial discussion phase with some new and radical suggestions going into the think-tank. It will be a while before it makes an appearance on your screens though, as I have a busy life and Rideas isn't really one of the priorities at the moment!