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Zoo Tycoon Volcano (known colloquially as ZTV) was one of the most sucessful Zoo Tycoon fansites, and by far the most famous - and infamous. It was started on July 16, 2006 by Zooasaurus Rex. It is known mainly for it's downloads, controversies and its focus on extinct animals and dinosaurs. After the Zoo Tycoon Official Forums ended, many "evacuees" were forced to move to other forums and so Zoo Tycoon Volcano (among other sites) received a host of members. As of January 17, 2009, the site had 4,256 members.
The site was started in July 16, 2006. It was suggested to it's creator, Zooasaurus Rex, by fellow member catc. At first the site was not very successful, and at times came close to shutting down. Zooa even took a break, hiring helper admins Zebu and Mint. While Mint remained on-site for years before demotion, Zebu quickly faded away. Zooa, King Hoopla and Angilas44 worked on many of the site's first downloads. Eventually, the growing download database and addition of role-playing games attracted members. The site quickly became one of the most devoted and popular Zoo Tycoon communities over the years, especially due to its focus on extinct animals and dinosaurs.
On the 23rd of March, 2008, a hacking group called the g00ns hacked the main InvisionFree site and the .NET accounts of several InvisionFree sites, replacing them with a vulgar message. The site at the time held the domain www.zootycoonvolcano.net, which several visitors used. It was deleted, and ZTV could only be accessed from it's InvisionFree subdomain afterward. Many visitors were lost for days, weeks and even months for some. In the resulting confusion, most members were under the misconception that the g00ns had targeted ZTV specifically. While it is now common knowledge that the g00ns targeted invisionfree in general and almost certainly didn't even know of ZTV's existence, the hackers still maintain a fierce, ominous reputation in the site's collective consciousness. It is common, for example, for a ZTV-themed story to feature g00ns as the villains.
The second blow came over a year later, in June 2009. Details about the actual hacking are hazy, but the site was hacked completely, for good, destroying everything. The staff quickly migrated everyone to a backup site that they had created a while back in case of such an emergency, and things became relatively normal after that, although not without the occasional shock spam. ZTV continued peacefully for five months.
But then, not long after Caldera Unlimited went down, ZTV was cracked again. Those wanting to access the site were met with the phrase "They giveth, they taketh away", as well as an oddly disturbing banner of a golden masked face with two laser red and pupiless eyes, courtesy of King Hoopla. Foxie had given the former administrator KH an admin pass. Therizinosaur went to the demoted Incinerox, asking what had happened, but he was unable to prevent the crack. Visitors are now greeted with a sad reminder of the old ZTV's former glory,
"Welcome to an empty fortress A mighty wreck that once was proud Ate alive by oxidation Abandoned by a crew of cowards Navigation systems failed Computers crashed and they all fall down Possibly I've seen too much Z-T-V I know too much"
This passage is a modified passage of the Megadeth song, Return To Hangar.
Also, directly under the passage is an image of a DNA helix interrupted by an altered version of the infamous skull and crossbones, emanating a sickly green glow.
Gone was what ZTV seemed to be, until a backup site, created in case it was needed, due to the previous hackings, was opened to the public. ZTV even has a mascot representing this rebirth of the forum, a sinosauropteryx named Chongsheng, although there are rumours of the mascot changing. KH no longer feels any desire to attack ZTV, since the supposed purpose of it was to give ZTV a new start, which it has been granted. ZTV's conflict with the infamous "Ch0des" group has ceased. In fact, many have become advisors and mods on the site and were contributing members in regards to reviving the site.
ZTV remains active, although it has never returned to the pre-hacking golden era, no longer focusing on Zoo Tycoon. Its standings have increased due to affiliation with Tesara and other websites. Nowadays it tends to focus on the social aspect of forums rather than on Zoo Tycoon, harbouring a more mature community. While ZTV is one of the more intelligent and wittier Zoo Tycoon communties out there, it's important to know that discussion is not as molly-coddled as is at such sites as Environ or Tesara, with plenty of profanity and a less tolerant view towards fools. As long as one jumps in with a thick skin and doesn't mind being shoved around a bit, ZTV is a place to find a home in.
Recently, the site converted to zetaboards, allowing access to new features that could not be found with invisionfree. As of 2015, the site no longer focuses on the Zoo Tycoon franchise, and is mainly a general discussion forum.
When ZTV was started, members were required to be thirteen years of age or older. This turned away many younger members, leading Zooasaurus to repeal the rule in late 2006.
At one point on ZTV, the staff had added a XAT chat-box due to popular request. The chat-box was a great success at first and allowed members to talk to each other at the same time. Problems arose due to flaming and banned members returning, and the Chatbox was removed. Mint created a secret Chatbox called Cbox de ZTV and distributed it's link only via PM. As many members came in, it spawned controversies and Zooasaurus declared it broken away from ZTV, and it was retitled Cbox de Pals. A number of other boxes (Elite Chatbox, GT's Box, DG's Box, ch0desbox and Bloodline Uchiha) have since spawned.
During 2008, ZTV came under fire due to site-wide arguments between staff, leading to many promotions and demotions. One major conflict involved two groups each led by a moderator. One was the Purple Box led by Mint. The other group. led by ZooMaster, was known as the Orange Ribbons. The orange ribbons had the support of most of the promenient admins and mods. However, members such as Flames, wildcat, and many others got fed up with the Orange Ribbons and switched sides. The central fight at the time involving ZooMaster and FelixPrismus over many issues, including the NHU issue (see below). ZooMaster eventually resigned administration and left due to "perversion" as he claimed, as well as other factors, and FP also later left. The arguments have mostly ceased, although FP has since returned - though not to his old position.
By June 2008, many members began to see ZTV as corrupt due to certain staff that were in power and certain rules that existed on the site. The flight of FelixPrismus was the last straw for them. And so they branched away to form another site known as Zoo Tycoon River. However, this site did not last very long.
Over time, as the sitewide wars increased in frequency and intensity, ZTV began to separate into two schools of thought. The first group consisted of traditionalists who supported such things as strict rules, a kid-friendly posting environment, and NHUs. This view was promoted by members such as ZooMaster. The second group was made up of more rebellious members who supported more lenient rules, more emphasis on the social aspect of forums rather than ZT2, more freedom when it came to swearing, and limitations on NHUs, among other things. Many members including FelixPrimus, Flames the Dragon, Mint, Panda King, and wildcat promoted this view. As the fights wore on and on, it became harder and harder for the staff to maintain the traditional image of the site, and by the end of 2008 the latter school of thought had eventually won out. Gone were the days of swear-free forums, Non-Humans, and instant suspensions whenever someone acted remotely unpleasant. ZTV's power and influence had shifted, and even Zooa and DragonGod came to accept the change.
Beginning in about 2007 or so, some members of the forum began claiming that they were not human in real life, often claiming to be super-intelligent animals or even extraterrestrial beings. These members were called Non-Human Users, colloquially known as NHUs. They were supported at first with nearly half of the member population claiming to be NHUs. Led by raptorking any questioning of the NHUs met with warnings. However, arguments began in early 2008. The offenders were banned, but more serious arguments broke in early June 2008. As a result, a new rule was made, stating that any member that bullies or harasses a NHU will face suspension, or even banishment.
The NHU rule was later taken down in September, however, due to the issues arising from suspending such large numbers of members. At the same time, NHUs were beginning to lose their priveleged position that they enjoyed for so long as the novelty of the phenomenon began to wear off. Many NHUs got bored of the whole thing and admitted that they were human all along. A topic was later started in General Discussion that involved several members, including staff, confronting longtime moderator and former admin Fennec Nichov in hope of forcing him to stop claiming to be a Fennec Fox. Several members (later revealed to be members of the Sons of Liberty) discovered evidence on FN's wikipedia page that he was making the whole NHU thing up. After a heated debate the topic was closed by Moderator wildcat due to the fact that little more could be accomplished through the topic.
A Unification forum was created by admin Mint and the first topic started was one about ending the NHU war. Later, as this proved to be ineffective, a new rule was made by King Hoopla that no member should declare to be any species in particular on ZTV. After one last heated argument in the unification form around November 2008, the phenomenon went out like a candle flame. A few more NHUs gave up their act in the fallout, while others have since left the community entirely, including Fennec Nichov, who has been missing for two years and even assumed deceased by some.
As it turns out, an entire secret society had been formed solely for the purpose of overthrowing the NHUs, either by getting them all to admit their humanity or by undemining their protected status. Led by FelixPrismus and known as the Sons of Liberty, they succeeded in their goal. This secret society included many members who had been trusted by the supposed NHUs. Nowadays, the concept of NHUism has fallen into relative obscurity.
In mid-August 2008, due to the flight of ZooMaster, an extremely strict moderator, Shaz, with support from Spino, Flames and JVM, started a new Teenage Forum for members thirteen and older to discuss innapropriate topics normally not allowed. Outrage was stirred when underage members were allowed in and threats from United States government came into play (Dragonz, one underage member, is the daughter of a government official) The forum was briefly taken down a few days later by Shaz, but she later replaced it.
"Teen Role Plays", a separate but related controversy began as well, due to the explicit nature of some of them. All were deleted later that year by the staff, but without Zooa's consent. Staff wars brewed, but were settled as Zooa agreed to let the role-plays go. The Teen Forum was later abandoned due to the loss of activity and members due to the controversies. The most active role-play "If...", based around the idea of hormonal teenage ZTV members living in a large house together, continued into ZTH's Teenage Forum briefly, but was closed.
A small fraction of members and staff attempted to bring it back, but a poll among the staff found most members out of favor of returning the forum due to the many controversies it stirred. To this day, many members blame ZTV's current state on the Teenage Forum, claiming swears and explicit topics became prevalent because of it, although some argue that this was not the case until after the Forum's abolishment.
Some of the more mild topics of the forum are now covered in the Debates section.
There are many alleged incidents of 'flames' from staff to other members often told at other sites. Although many members and former members claim flamers in the staff are rarely punished, most topics involving such flaming were deleted by the times of announcement, or took place in C-Boxes or PMs. As these stories became further prevalent, moderator and later admin JVM announced if such flames take place, members may PM him for him to deal with it. Since then, the controversy has folded somewhat.
Zoo Tycoon Volcano maintained very friendly relations with Zoo Tycoon Hideout, and they shared many staff until and also shared many downloads - when ZTH closed it's doors, most of the downloads were moved to ZTV, with the exception of the Fiction or Reality user expansion due to the pack creator's wrath. They also were started exactly three months apart. ZTV also maintains affiliation with Caldera Unlimited, which it had been at odds with for most of it's original establishment. The former enemies have since become good friends. ZTV has experienced tension with Environ recently, but things have cooled down to recent policies on both sites to "ignore" each other. ZTV also maintains close ties with Tesara. Zoo Tycoon Volcano previously has had extremely tense relationships with main stream Zoo Tycoon sites. Fansites such as Zoo Admin, Zoo Mania, and others respected ZTV for its quality designers but frowned upon ZTV's more childish culture. These relationships were not helped by many members of ZTV irrationally attacking Artifex for keeping secrets about their methods of designing. They had tense relationships with ZKHIV in the past, but, have since made a peace treaty. However, some refuse to admit it exists, and continue to attack them offsite. However, this seems to have stopped, or atleast, slowed down. As of 2015, there has not been any major attack between either, and those who have done so have either "reformed", or have been exiled entirely.
The site is most famous for it's many exclusive downloads. It has a reasonably-sized download database, not including those dedicated solely to the task. The majority are prehistory related. Originally, some could be downloaded by guests, but now that has changed, as an account is needed, while the exclusives, which used to require 25 posts, now require 50 posts of non-spam to access. In 2009, most exclusives were moved to the regular database, but during Zoo Tycoon Hideout's cracking in 2010, a few ZTH downloads were made as new exclusives. Later the entire ZTH library was added in November 2010.
Zoo Tycoon Volcano is also the birthplace of many user expansion teams Mysterious Map Marvels, Marine Designers United, Cryptid Creators, Designers to Tha Max and Earths Creatures Reinvisioned, among others. The website had an official "ZTV" expansion team, named Xplosive Design Studios, which had made such creatures as the Humpback Whale and Frilled Shark, but it later collapsed when it's meshers joined Aurora Designs.