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Type of site
|Created by||Colin Barker|
|Alexa rank||7,249,915 (April 2014[update])|
DDR:UK is a United Kingdom-specific Dance Dance Revolution (DDR), Dancing Stage (DS), and music gaming community on the internet. Its main components are the website and forums, also collectively known as "DDR:UK". Although the community is mainly focused on the United Kingdom, members from all around the world are welcomed, with a large portion of the userbase being located in the United States of America, and smaller groups from Japan, Europe and Central America. Likewise, the community offers resources not just for players of Dance Dance Revolution, but other games in Konami's Bemani series as well as Pump It Up and In the Groove. In addition to the website, the DDR:UK community provides IRC servers for public use, organises events and tournaments for music game players, and even has a hand in producing its own arcade game.
The DDR:UK website is home to over 145,000 members from all around the globe. The main website displays prominent news items, relaying items of interest to the community on the subject of topics from new music game releases to upcoming DDR:UK events. The website also features a commercially available blog feature for paying members. The website also regularly offers up opinion polls for its members to vote in, which deal with everything from opinions of upcoming releases to polling for statistics of connection speed and event attendance.
The section DDR:UK is most well known for outside of the United Kingdom is the simfile downloads archive. So-called "bumper packs" contain Dance Dance Revolution "stepfiles" that allow Dance Dance Revolution songs to be played on simulators such as Dance With Intensity and StepMania. The archive is notable for two reasons. The first reason is that the "packs" are the most accurate set of simfiles available, with a dedicated staff continually updating the archives to ensure accuracy in steps, music, and graphics. The second reason is that the archive is the most comprehensive, offering downloads of songpacks for obscure Dance Dance Revolution games which were never released outside Japan or which are very hard to find. A good example of this is the re-release of Dancing Stage, of which only around five working machines are in existence. Without the DDR:UK simfile archive, the eventual decommissioning of the last machine would mean that the unique songs it contained are lost forever.
Step Chart Generator
An extra feature of the website includes the Step Chart Generator. This is a simple script which allows the members of the site to view step charts of songs that they select. A step chart is a graphic that shows where the arrows will appear if the song was played on a dance machine, on a single page from top to bottom, left to right view. The idea for the step chart came from an older website called "ZXY" which created step charts from the arcade releases of Dance Dance Revolution and displayed them on their website. Eventually the site went down and Lawrence from DDRuk requested a step chart generator. Created by Psyko, the step chart generator now can accept user created step files, to create a step chart with.
DDR:UK was first thought up in September 2002 by four people currently known on the website as "The Core Four". These people are GalFord, Lawrence, Cellexe and Myst. The domain "ddruk.com" was obtained on the 9th of September 2002, and then configured to point to the web server which DDR:UK was to be hosted on. During the next few days DDR:UK was written up from scratch using a standard PHP and MySQL system. The final parts to the system were put in place on the 11th of September 2002, with the first user being inserted into the database Thursday the 12th of September 2002 at 00:27:52 GMT.
On 23 January 2003, DDR:UK saw its first spot in the lime light when an old staff member of the website, Zell_KFF, organised a small section in the British Newspaper The Daily Mirror. We were put under the "Site of the Day" in "Amyi" area. On 13 November 2003, DDR:UK once again saw itself on TV Sky (free channel), on a show called "Gamerweb", where DDR:UK member Slammer gave a review on the, at current, game "Dancing Stage Fever" for the PlayStation 2. A screen shot can be found here Sky and a few radio stations then came to the European Championships which were held in Namco Station, Westminster, London. Sky was there filming for the TV show Gamesville while the BBC were there taking notes for a news article. The show is no longer shown on SkyTV, however permission to upload the video to DDRUK is still being sought after. On 3 February 2004, BBC produced the news article on the BBC News Website. On 5 February 2004, Colin Barker aka Myst was then invited to go on to BBC Radio 5 Live, which was then broadcast to the UK at 11pm GMT. The audio from the radio show can be downloaded here. On 7 February 2004, The Times, another British newspaper, then produced an article, for which the interview was taken just before Colin went to the BBC Radio 5 Live interview, this article was then put in the newspaper. On 20 April 2007, DDRUK helped with the piece on The Paul O'Grady Show, which featured Kyle Morris on a Dancing Stage SuperNOVA. The show then went on to explain that more information could be found from their website.
In the early hours of the 18th of August 2006, the events equipment store was broken into and burgled. DDRUK prepared a press release, that contained details of what was stolen and how it affected the website. This was then distributed amongst the different media on the internet and newspapers, in which provoked a large Donation Drive to help DDRUK back onto its feet. The information was published on a number of websites and media. The coverage was successful in gaining back enough equipment to be able to attend future events, with the different communities contributing. However none of the stolen equipment was ever recovered.
DDR:UK is a regular visitor to many different events around the United Kingdom and Ireland. DDR:UK has also hosted tournaments such as the "DDR:UK UK Championships", "Burning The Floor" (named for the Dance Dance Revolution song) and "DDR:UK Xmas 2K4". The events are advertised on the page and typically have a high attendance rate, both of participants and spectators. Events may be added to the website's event calendar. From here, members may flag themselves as attending an event, allowing for automatic attendance sheets to be generated. Event organisers can use the calendar therefore to book restaurant seats or simply get an idea of the numbers that will be attending an event.
DDR:UK is a regular, official, exhibit at the London MCM Expo, hosting two competitions for players and visitors to enter. There are prizes involved for the winners, although many simply enter for the fun of competing. The London MCM Expo happens twice a year in May and October, and held the DDR:UK UK Championships for the last two years. In the BBC Three documentary "Lord of the Dance Machine", it stated that these championships allowed the UK Champion to enter into the World Championships. DDR:UK also attends IMAF, where they run the Games Room area. The event this year is being held in County Hall, Westminster, London, UK.
DDR:UK run large scale games rooms at events such as Anime Conventions. The DanceDX machine made its first appearance at a UK anime festival called Tokonatsu in 2004 and again in 2005 and 2006, this was also the first UK anime convention / festival to have an arcade dance machine present. From this DDR:UK were asked to then run its first games room event at AyaCon in 2005, this was a success however the location of the games room compared to the rest of the convention meant that it was difficult to find. The last large scale anime event DDR:UK attended was AmeCon, where we ran a much larger games room in the central building. This was a huge success also, with consoles and games equipment from all ages, as well as the DanceDX machine making an appearance. In November 2006 DDR:UK attended was Auchinawa, an anime convention and Japanese Culture event which ran in Glasgow. Officially sanctioned website "meets" regularly take place through the year. Members typically organise meetings amongst themselves and attend for a variety of activities, typically a stint at a video-game arcade followed by food or, for the older members, a night in a pub. Members can often be spotted wearing customised t-shirts sold by the website.
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