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Plague Fest is a multigaming community, founded in June 2006 as the second Zombie Mod server in Counter-Strike: Source. The community thrives in-game, on the forums, and regulars meet up daily to chat on Discord. Since opening our doors we have expanded our arsenal of game servers and branched off into additional games. Fueled by donator and admin subscriptions, we've shaped this community into something for the players by the players.
Plague Fest initially began as something entirely different. It started as an idea on the FacePunch forums back when Garry's Mod wasn't on Steam (circa late 2005 / early 2006), but the idea wasn't a zombie oriented server or community. The idea was a simple 32 slot regular CS:S server that the members of FacePunch forums could play on with each other. The thread that started the idea quickly gained ground and by 30+ pages there was a clan formed and the name FacePunchGaming, or FPG, won the poll.
After playing regular CS:S with each other and trying to get a server foundation going (map rotation, configurations, et cetera), we decided to try and setup some scrims just for fun. We ended up setting a few up, only to be slaughtered. It was becoming rather evident that FPG as a competitive clan wasn't going to go over too well, and it was better off as a general fun community. The regular CS:S server would have players from FPG now and then, but it would never max out or go above ~15 players.
Around this time, Zombie Mod beta was introduced to CS:S and the only server running it was [CSSMC] by Spinner. Spinner was running the beta on a Windows box, with a 20 slot server, and sure enough it was full all the time. Back then, Zombie Mod was in the very early stages of development. The models had no animations, night vision was a constant effect, and many of the features we use today were not present. Players would constantly get stuck in props and not be able to get out (which lead to the introduction of !zstuck, which was later changed to a teleport command, !ztele).
Regardless of Zombie Mod's limitations, Brian became a fan of the mod and ended up creating a promotional video which grabbed Jason/c0ldfry3's attention (original author of Zombie Mod) after it was posted on the AlliedModders forums in the Zombie Mod discussion thread. Because of the promo, Jason and Brian got to talking about the mod in general over MSN messenger.
With the regular CS:S server for FPG not doing so well, Brian decided it might be a good idea to try out Zombie Mod. Problem was, Zombie Mod wasn't available for download, it was in closed beta on one server only. However, that server was running on Windows, and Jason had a build of Zombie Mod available for Linux, but no one was testing it. Brian took this opportunity to get Zombie Mod going under the once regular CS:S 32 slot server, as it was running on a Linux box. Jason agreed and helped with the initial setup and getting it running. Once we were stable, the server filled up in no time. This was a big moment for us - we had never been full before and the server was packed with players having fun on the now 2nd Zombie Mod server in CS:S.
Due to the success of the newly acquainted Zombie Mod server, the idea of FPG gradually diminished as the server became the official Zombie Mod server ("ZombieMod.com :: Plague Fest :: FastDL") to help promote the mod. On June 4th 2006, PlagueFest.com was purchased and forums were setup for the server and a community began to form.
Zombie Mod server MOTD circa 2006
As the server grew, CPU use became an issue with our game server host. Back then we weren't on our own dedicated servers. We relied on a game server rental company (DRGServers) who didn't like that our CS:S server was using 3+ times as much CPU as any other CS:S server they were hosting. Because of this the server ended up moving several times, to newer and better dedicated servers, but these moves weren't always for the better. They would often mean IP changes, and that caused us to lose the majority of our player base. Zombie Mod has always been a resource whore, and because of this issues were very common and Zombie Mod servers required far more resources and powerful hardware than regular CS:S servers. This made finding affordable server hardware that could support the servers to improve server and gameplay performance rather difficult, and attributes to why we were a single Zombie Mod server for about 4 years until 2010 when we began to expand once better hardware was available and we had the funds to support it. We didn't even consider expansion due to low funds and high costs, and Plague Fest wasn't bringing in enough money via donations and admin subscriptions to cover the bills, but once Plague Fest actually started paying for itself, we began to expand.
Because we were a 64 slot Zombie Mod server at this time, which was constantly full, we decided that the first server we should add to our arsenal is simple - another Zombie Mod server! This became Zombie Mod #2 (which has since been retired). From here we ventured off into Zombie Escape and even non-zombie oriented game modes, such as Mini Games and Gun Game. Soon after a 24/7 Lila Panic maps Zombie Mod server was suggested by the community and surprisingly picked up ground. Since the release of CS:GO in August 2012 we've added servers for Zombie Mod, Zombie Escape, Jailbreak, and Mini Games. We also explored Minecraft and Team Fortress 2 as possible games to expand into and we're continually searching for new avenues to branch into in hopes to better the overall experience at Plague Fest.
None of this would have been possible without the dedicated staff and loyal community throughout the years. Thank you to everyone who has been with us, either in the past, the present, or the future, through the good, the bad, the just plain ugly, or the absolutely wonderful - it certainly hasn't been easy, but you've all made it worthwhile.