We started back in late 2011 when a popular TF2 trade server was shut down because the owner could no longer pay for it. To replace the old community, NeonHeights purchased a server of his own and began working on custom maps to use on it. The first maps that we used on the servers were trade_plaza and minecraft_plaza, which were fairly liked maps at the time. After a few months the server grew in popularity and established a group of regulars who were on the server all the time. Around this time, trade_ironreign_gamecenter was released, which became very popular and attracted a lot of new players to the servers.
We then began looking into expanding, and purchased an additional server to handle the amount of traffic we were getting. However, this became fairly expensive, so a donation program was set up. This allowed players to contribute $10 to the server’s monthly bill. Within the first week of the program being set up, we had raised enough money to cover two months of payments! It was such a huge success that we continued the program and set up a full list of donator perks that anyone who donates over ten dollars would have access too.
The final update made to GameCenter added so much that the map didn’t function correctly and was too slow for people to play on. GameCenter was abandoned and NeonHeights began exploring new ideas for maps. The idea to make a Minecraft themed map came up because of Minecraft’s popularity at the time, and the community had enjoyed past Minecraft maps that we had run. A few hours were spent designing a small Minecraft-themed map that players loved in beta testing (the map we now know as trade_minecraft_neon). Nothing but positive comments were heard about the map, so development on it continued. Over the next few months parts were slowly added to make it bigger and better. With the popularity of the new map, we continued expanding to keep up with the traffic that we were receiving.
Almost three years later we have a server group of over three thousand players, and nine servers which can hold up to 288 players at the same time. We’ve come a long way and we aren’t stopping here!