Back in 2009, a tiny little game called Landwirtschaft Simulator appeared. It was a 3D farming sandbox game published by Astragon aimed at the German market, where you could run your own farm, complete with tractors and crops.
Crucially, the game is built on a very open platform. Using simple LUA code and a 3D editor, you can change just about anything in the game. Farmers, being ingenious DIYers, soon began creating their own mods for the game, adding their favourite tractors, crops and even animals.
Two issues quickly presented themselves. Firstly, the game, the community and most of the mods were entirely in German. Secondly, there was no central place to upload and share those new mods. Enter FS-UK.
We provided an English speaking platform for players to understand and play the game, as well as a central place for budding content creators to learn and share mods, one of the first being a mod to turn the game into English language.
Almost overnight we gained our first 5,000 members, growing to 50,000 in the first year. Initially we were running on shared hosting with a very simple templated CMS, but this was soon outgrown.
In 2010 we deployed a completely custom built CMS with many bespoke features around mods for Farming Simulator, which now had an official English release, as well as a cult following.
LARGE SCALE (VIRTUAL) FARMING
By 2012 Farming Simulator had sold over 1 million copies, and FS-UK was serving out over 100 terrabytes of user-generated content per month. We were serving upwards of 150,000 members and had our own server farm to support the website.
Today, we're on our 4th version of the bespoke CMS. Supported by the AWS platform, we still serve the best quality user-generated content ever made for Farming Simulator. We have a small team of volunteers which check every submission for quality, which makes FS-UK a desireable and highly-regarded place for both players and modders alike.