Facepunch was a forum established by Garry Newman in December 2004. It was orginally intended as a community forum for Garry's Mod and Facewound, and although it remained the official forum for both GMod and Facepunch Studios, it grew into an ad hoc community of its own, with many members no longer being regular players of GMod.
Facepunch was established in 2004 to serve as the official forums of Facepunch Studios, the development team working on Facewound. garry, a member of the team, was also developing Garry's Mod and rapidly releasing new versions, and so he used Facepunch as the official forum for his mod as well. The first version of the forum was phpBB-based, and got "exploited and hacked every week." Later, in April of 2005, the forum switched to vBulletin 3.
As GMod took off, it quickly became the primary focus of the forums, and Facewound was pushed to the side. Thanks to GMod's massive popularity, Facepunch quickly grew into a burgeoning community with thousands of active users. By December 2005, at just one year old, Facepunch had 5,000 active users and 850,000 posts had been made.
On January 8, 2009, Facepunch received its most significant software update since launch. The forum had been completely rewritten over a period of months, receiving an upgrade to vBulletin 3.7.4. Along with this came the removal of several major features, including smartness, instaban, custom forums and, initially, ratings. This was met with extreme criticism by many users, who longed for the features which they felt had separated Facepunch from other forums. On his blog, garry explained that some of the features may make a return, but that he wanted to "try it without them for a bit." He said that ratings would "probably come back, in a cut down form" such as a thumbs up/down system.
Ratings were reintroduced on July 24, taking the same form as before but with different ratings available. The list feature, which had shown which users picked what rating, was lost, as were the lists on user pages showing how many of each rating a user had received. The original ratings database was also abandoned, meaning that any ratings given before the switch to Facepunch 2009 were lost.
After another testing period, Facepunch received its second major upgrade on October 24, 2010. This time it had been ported to vBulletin 4 by compwhizii. The new version was criticised for being riddled with bugs, but it did bring back several features which had been removed in Facepunch 2009: ratings lists returned, as did the ever-popular Zing rating. This version was further improved by robotboy655. Following a major security breach and password leak in 2017, this version was retired on the 15th of March, 2018, and all posts were moved to the New Sites Forum. Publicly making posts was later disabled on the 19th.
Labpunch was a proposed rewrite of the forums that was revealed in early 2017, programmed by garry and available at lab.facepunch.com. Avatars were limited to 16x16, gold membership was abolished, and custom forums returned, among other additions and subtractions. Users were forced to authenticate their account using a third-party, here being Facebook or Twitter, rather than the system previously used. garry later killed the project in October 2017.
New Sites Forum
In October 2017, garry unveiled the New Sites Forum (popularly referred to as Newpunch, among other nicknames), planned to replace the vB4 forums. It is closer to the look and feel of vBulletin forums than Labpunch.
Gold Membership and the OIFY no longer exist, but garry plans to look into some of the features of the old vB4 forum and Labpunch in the future. Garry's Mod and Rust forums would be separate and self contained. Users are again forced to authenticate with another account, this time through Google Facebook, Steam or GitHub, however it is possible to link the account with vB4 accounts. BBcode is no longer used, the post editor now being fully WYSIWYG. A point system awards users one point for each post, and points can be redeemed for larger avatars, more ratings and new emotes.
- Garry's Blag - Forum History [external link]: https://garry.tv/2018/01/06/forum-history/
- Wayback Machine - Facepunch (June 1st, 2005) [external link]: http://web.archive.org/web/20050601033758/http://www.facepunchstudios.com/forums/
- Wayback Machine - Facepunch (December 8th, 2005) [external link]: http://web.archive.org/web/20051218095824/http://forum.facepunchstudios.com/
- Garry's Blofg - Stuffffff [external link; broken]: http://www.garry.tv/2009/01/06/stuffffff/
- General Discussion - Ratings are back!: https://facepunch.com/threads/778263
- General Discussion - Facepunch vB4 - PROBLEMS IN HERE THANKS: https://facepunch.com/threads/1012447
- Community Fund Discussion - "Goodbye, Oldpunch" (post #397) [link dead]: https://facepunch.com/threads/1596100?p=53204929#post53204929
- General Discussion - Labpunch, seventh time's a charm: https://facepunch.com/threads/1552764
- Labpunch [external link; dead]: https://lab.facepunch.com/
- General Discussion - "Forums Discussion v3 - Post about Tudd and win a 1 month ban" (post #3751): https://facepunch.com/threads/1576300?p=52816557#post52816557
- General Discussion - The Future Of This Forum: https://facepunch.com/threads/1583897
- General Discussion - "Forum Discussion v5 - Serious Post Zone" (post #838): https://facepunch.com/threads/1584775?p=52901161#post52901161
- General Discussion - "Forums Discussion v3 - Post about Tudd and win a 1 month ban" (post #3761): https://facepunch.com/threads/1576300?p=52816624#post52816624