The original Facepunch forum was established by Garry Newman in 2004. It was originally 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.
Established in December 2004, Facepunch was 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.
Following the forums' shutdown, what remained would be the official Discord servers for both Facepunch Studios and affiliated games, such as S&box.
In a bizarre twist of fate, due to Garry's frustrations with the difficulties of following discourse on Discord, and wanting a more feasible way of getting feedback and concerns for things being implemented in Facepunch games, a brand new Facepunch Studios forum was created on the 21st of November, 2020.
Following intense discussion on Knockout over the following day, in one of the threads on the brand new forum, Garry stepped up and discussed his feelings on the matter, confirming what folks suspected the new forum would be for, among other remarks.
Man you guys fucking hate me eh.. I want to clear a few things up.
Our forums started off as a forum for Garry's Mod. They got quite large because of that. We made general sections and people joined for Garry's Mod and drifted into the general forums. This is how our community grew.
People often talk shit about me, saying I was an asshole because I banned people so much. I seriously think was part of the appeal to people too. Other forums at the time were that desperate for members that they treated them like eggs. Soft warnings, Medium warning, Hard warnings. We just banned people for a while. That was the punishment. As much as people talk shit about it now, like it was a power trip, it was why our forum wasn't as full of idiot posts as most forums of the time. People were scared to post - which meant that they put thought into it. I'm not saying it was the right way to go about things now - but it was then.
The problem was that over the last 5 or so years I didn't have time for the forums. I didn't post in them, I didn't read them, I didn't visit them. I tried a bunch of times to convert the forums to something I could be interested in, and it pretty much always met résistance and I lost confidence in it, and ultimately never made it work.
So then the idea of moving the community to here came about. A community run forum, where the community could look after itself. It could grow in any direction it wanted without me being any kind of bottleneck. I wouldn't have the guilt of neglecting it anymore. I wouldn't have the guilt of killing the community, it'd just be transplanted into another place.
One of my biggest regrets is not preserving an archive of the old threads and posts. We couldn't hand them over to you guys because of the data protection laws. Keeping them around would mean we'd need to code and maintain a whole mechanism to delete threads and posts upon user requests. This meant that it couldn't be a static site, we'd need to maintain a database copy somehow. That means running a database with everything in - which is pretty much akin to running the forum anyway. In retrospect it doesn't seem like that much of an issue - but at the time it seemed like more trouble than it's worth. But like I say, I wish I'd made other logical decisions around that now instead of focusing on the legalities.
So yes, I've started looking at forums for our games again. I'm avoiding having general forums in the hope that when people get bored of the games they just leave the forums. I'm not coding it myself, I'm going for the east option of using discourse - so it's not going to have all the cool custom stuff KO has.
I know a lot of this is already known and probably changes nothing, but I felt like you all deserve an explanation anyway.
[The end of the original forum] could have had a lot more warning and a slow transition. My thinking at the time was that first of all I'd fucked you all around for too long, so to just pull off the plaster and get it over with - it's going to sting but it's done. Secondly the second we suggested that the forums were closing it'd all be just spammed to hell anyway - so advanced notice would be a waste of time. I didn't feel any ill will against the community. It felt like a kid had grew up and left home.—garryjnewman; 22th of November, 2020
Given the nature of the new forum, it won't be recorded on this page, and whether or not it'll receive its own page is to be seen.
However, after Garry's posts and the subsequent 'discussion' that occurred following them, another bizarre twist occurred in the form of Garry finding a backup of the old forums. Further discussion occurred, trying to figure out what would be the best way to handle it, especially given the issues mentioned earlier would still persist. One thing was universally agreed upon, however, and that was the preservation of the Facepunch Games sections, due to the amount of useful info they have pertaining the studios' own games. By December 19th, these sections, the Garry's Mod and Rust sections, were merged into the rebooted forum. Aside from the FP Archive, this is the only archived material from the old forum.
- 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
- Facepunch Games (Knockout!) - forum.facepunch.com: https://knockout.chat/thread/18680
- General Discussion (Knockout!) - My Subscription tab changed into a URL link to Facepunch.: https://knockout.chat/thread/18681
- Facepunch Games (Knockout!) - "forum.facepunch.com" (post #160): https://knockout.chat/thread/18680/8#post-617625
- Facepunch Games (Knockout!) - "forum.facepunch.com" (post #591): https://knockout.chat/thread/18680/30#post-632779
- Facepunch Games (Knockout!) - "forum.facepunch.com - gmod/rust forum archive now available" (post #676): https://knockout.chat/thread/18680/34#post-650354