In this section you can read about the birth of MPLAY – how the whole thing started a long, long time ago. I’ve also included some nice, vintage screenshots. I suppose this might only interest 'diehard-fans' of MPLAY. Please don't ask me for copies of the old betas.

"The Jurassic Period"
MPLAY was not originally released under the name MPLAY. On April 29th 1999 the application called EricPlayer was released in 0.1 beta state. It was basically made just for fun; a joke-application for my friends. EricPlayer was a very basic mp3 player with the odd feature of a looped movie of Eric (you know - the jeans manufacturer Levi's commercial mascot!) moving to the music.

EricPlayer 0.1beta had no functional counter display, it did not support volume adjustments, the songslider was not functional and it required songs to be located in a 'Songs'-folder (no drag-and-drop). And it had several crashing bugs!

But it was great fun to view Eric moving and grooving to the music - sometimes it looked just like it was in sync (which it wasn't!).

Here you can view the very first splash screen.

Only a few days later, severe bugs forced me to upgrade the application to EricPlayer 0.2beta. The major difference was less crashes, but if you look closely at the screenshot you'll notice minor changes to the interface as well.

EricPlayer did not have it's own website - instead I uploaded the application to a few Hotline servers. I was a bit afraid of distributing it officially, since I used a movie clip of 'Eric' without Levi's approval.

But watching Eric headbang to my mp3s was fun, so I decided to keep him anyway. Tricky situation! A friend of mine suggested that I should contact the Levi's Corporation to get their approval, although I still doubt that they would have approved.

"Eric Evolution"
Big changes were made in EricPlayer 0.3beta - and I'm not only talking about the new, black design. I added support for playlists and provided (rudimentary) support for drag-and-drop; you could now drag an mp3-file (one at a time, though) to the playlist. Rewind and Fast-forward buttons finally worked (but not very well).

Noticeable similarities with today's MPLAY were taking form; The "hide/show playlist" arrow and the playlist buttons to the right lived on to this very day (with only the Prefs button added later)! The screenshot shows a counter as well, but it did not work...

Moving on to the final EricPlayer release (May 7th, 1999) - EricPlayer 0.5beta - we have a functional counter at last. The buttondesign is slightly changed, and the in-joke name of the TV-screen has changed from CONY to SONYO (I'd be surprised if anyone ever noticed this).

The 'splash screen' also received a face-lift. At this point, I felt the player was almost too good to be 'just a joke-app', and after some hesitation I decided to drop good old Eric... I felt the player needed a more serious approach and MPLAY was about to be born... Here you can view the enhanced splash screen from the final release of EricPlayer.

"EricPlayer is Dead – Long Live MPLAY!"

On May 11th, 1999 MPLAY was born. The initial release of MPLAY recieved the same version number as of the last EricPlayer release; 0.5beta. In fact, it was basically the same player, but with a new design. And no Eric. In a way, it was EricPlayer's strict cousin that saw the light of day. The objective of the design was quite clear; unlike EricPlayer, this player should have a clean and sober design. Of course, the splash screen was changed as well.

I was quite satisfied with the new player. I thought it had all the vital functions needed, and with just a few improvements it could easily make the leap to the 1.0 official freeware release. Boy, was I wrong!.

I made a simple website to host MPLAY and quite soon the requests came dropping in from users. I was thrilled that anyone, besides me, actually used this mp3 player (keep in mind, though, at this time only a handful of mp3 players existed and iTunes 1.0 was two years from being released)!

As requests increased in number, so did the features in each beta. I really tried hard to make everyone satisfied. And with every new feature added, a few new bugs got added as well. At this point, features were added at a very fast pace!

The 'ErPl' creator code
Ever wondered why MPLAY uses 'ErPl' as its creator code instead of MPLY or something similar? It's the legacy of EricPlayer! In fact, when MPLAY 0.5b was released - and for a while co-existed with it's 'cousin' EricPlayer 0.5b - they were playlist compatible!

"The Long Road to 1.0" (a.k.a 'the Big Bug Bash')
The road to version 1.0 would prove to be a long and winding one, cornered by mysterious bugs and crashes. At one point I was ready to drop the whole project, frustrated by the numerous bugs, but somehow I persisted. Below is the abbreviated beta history:

beta 0.6 - (June 7th, 1999) Song position slider and a simple volume control added. Followed by 0.6.1 (bugfixes), 0.6.5 (support for other audio-formats besides MP3) and 0.6.6 (ID3 v1 support), 0.6.7 and 0.6.8.

beta 0.7 - (July 1th, 1999) The Preference-window was added together with features like 'Append playlists', 'Autoplay loaded playlists', 'Random playback' and 'Helptexts'. 0.7.1, 0.7.3 and 0.7.5 followed shortly (with 0.7.5, offering the 'Appearance' feature; a predecessor to skins; you could change the appearance of the slider and the buttons)

beta 0.8 - (Aug 25th, 1999) Support for video added. The multimedia angle of MPLAY was taking form and the subname was changed from 'MPEG Audio Player' to 'Multimedia Player'. Screen-redrawing techniques was improved to make the MPLAY window flicker less when updated. Those techniques also made way for skins...

beta 0.9 - (Sept 3rd, 1999) Support for skins. I was skeptical about skins for a long time; I was afraid MPLAY would lose it's original design. But this was an increasing demand from the users, so finally I added skin support. Now it was possible for anyone to change MPLAY's appearance (which of course ended up proving to be a quite nice feature). Now, EricPlayer's gray and boring cousin could look colorful and wild, as well!

beta 0.9.1 - (Sept 22nd, 1999) Support for audio mixing. The 'Mix-In' pop-up window saw the light of day (the predecessor to the TrackMixer window of today). It just contained one element; an adjustable value for the audio overlap of two songs. But the feature was very cool and suddenly MPLAY was one of very few players that could mix together two different MP3 tracks.

The 0.9 beta stage was a bug hunting process lasting from Sept -99 to mid-December -99. Following 0.9.1 was 0.9.2, 0.9.3, 0.9.4, 0.9.5, 0.9.51, 0.9.6, 0.9.7, 0.9.8 and finally 0.9.85. It was an open war against bugs and when 1.0 was released I was very satisfied with the result. MPLAY had grown a lot on the way thanks to interested and devoted users that kept sending me bug reports and suggestions.

"A life after 1.0"
Now with 1.0 finally released, I though the toughest part was made. I could now concentrate on something else and just make small corrections to MPLAY (well, I was wrong... AGAIN)!
In the following two years the followers 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 was released and more features were added in each version. Some memorable moments are:

Version 1.2 - (April 14th, 2000) Massive update which included the built-in ID3-tag editor and QuickReference. The Track Mixer was also updated with more controls. In the 3rd revision of version 1.2 selectable scan depth on dropped folders was added, as well as support for ID3 v2 tags.

Version 1.3 - (June 2nd, 2000) introduced the Tools menu for the first time. Also, after extensive research, I introduced individual settings for stereo balance, bass and treble.

Version 1.3.5 was cancelled before release, don't remember why.

Version 1.4 - (June 30th, 2000) The major new feature was the 'fade-out on stop/skip'-function.

Version 1.5 - (Dec 6th, 2000) MPLAY goes shareware! I finally decided to make MPLAY a shareware application. Hundreds of programming hours finally made me decide to charge for it. Also new in this version was VU meters and that the 68k version was discontinued.

Version 1.5.5 - (Dec 21st, 2000) Major new feature; the Trim function.

Version 1.5.6 - New Years Eve, 2000) Before I want to party I released a minor update (bugfixes and optimization).

Version 1.6 - (Feb 8th, 2001) MPLAY got a new, cool look! The built-in 'Classic' skin was replaced with a more OS X looking skin. Other new stuff was bitrate and mode display on MP3's, step- and fastmotion playback of movies, screen fades and so on...

This version proved to be quite long-lived. With only minor revision updates during 2001 the final 1.6.2r3 version was released on Feb 14th in 2002.

Version 1.7 - (Sept 18th, 2002) - MPLAY made the first step into 'the modern age' when it was released in this OS X compatible version. Although not adding any new features, this was a very important release because the application could now continue to exist on a new, modern platform. For many years only a few updates were released, mostly taking care of minor bugs.

Version 1.8 - (Jan 1st, 2008) - Apple decided to switch to Intel processors, and suddenly old software needed to be updated to work on the new hardware. After some hesitation, I decided to update MPLAY once more and the result was this Intel compatible version. And the future of MPLAY was once more secured...

That leaves us today with 1.9, and MPLAY returns to freeware. The road has truly been long! But as they say; "the goal of the journey is not the destination, but the journey itself"...

-- deepNiner