Bit odd of you to leave out Dom to say the least...
I'd like to see the history of this section from others viewpoints (Dom, Mike, and anyone else who still lurks from the old days)!
I remember, way back in 2005. office.boy over at http://script-o-matic.net
started running a v1 server, I looked into it a little and found out some geezer named 'MDK' had created and released an emulation of Habbo V1 (ofcourse this later turned out to be JoeH and DeK's work). This server went viral, and alot of people who were at the time scripters on Habbo (like me for example!) suddently became interested in emulating Habbo.
Lots, and lots of time was spent on this version of the server. Hundreds of different tutorials about how to add furniture to certain areas of the one available room began to hit forums, code fixes, and updates were constantly being talked about, some released! ThuGie appeared and after some work with the V1, everyone began discussing if we could emulate Habbos latest version (which was at the time, v9).
As most of us were scripters, we could easily log the information needed to do this. However, none of the guys working on emulating the V9 really understood the structure of the messages. ThuGie was the first to have a shot, and released a server that would allow the client to connect to you, and then the server would instantly ban you with the "@c" message. This was great, we had a connection!
Some one began work on a class that would change "@c" into 35. The first B64 decoder/encoder. It looked something like this
Public Function B64Length(ByVal TheString As String) As Integer
Select Case TheString
B64Length = 0
B64Length = 1
B64Length = 2
B64Length = 3
B64Length = 4
Still in VB6, nasty right? People would just laugh if they saw something like that now! It's hard to believe that, that function was used for a very, very long time and only allowed us to decode/encode up to 1000. I forget the name of the guy that wrote it, but we all really, really appreciated it at the time. It was used until Jeax released a .dll he wrote in c# that properly encoded and decoded everything we needed (and even this was re-wrote and implemented into Vb6, as no one could use it properly in their servers!)
The very 'first' private 9 server is disputed, it's hard to define what one person would call a version 9 server. Flex had a server that was released before USA111's, and before mine! You couldn't use private rooms, but you could login, register, change your looks and mission, and most importantly you could enter and walk around public rooms. this was a _massive_ leap. The first iteration of my v9 server was released shortly after. You could now enter private rooms and talk! You couldn't walk, place or move furniture, or interact with the room at all. Days after I released my server, a guy by the name of 'Genaga' released his server. It allowed you to fully interact with private rooms, you could purchase, place, move, pick up and interact with furniture and other users in private rooms. A massive milestone.
A month or two after that, USA111 released his v9 server. it had all of Genaga's features, but was better. Genaga's server was all formed in one module. Just one, there was nothing else. USA111's server, split up code into more logical steps, and started to show early stages of OOP.
It was then massive challenges came up for V9 developers, lots of people were now doing it. 'Mark' appeared with his V9 which was very, very popular at the time. It was essentially the most used, all of these servers were still flat file. This is also around the time that 'Otaku Hotel' (what is now Phoenix, by Sojobo) appeared, and started to be sold, it was entirely based on USA111s work.
All of this work was still v9 based and in VB6. Habbo had released Habbo v13, and no one could modify their servers to get it to work. Until I teamed up with USA111. We released 'USA111 and Myrax's V13 Server' compiled, it was massive. USA111 left shortly after and without my permission, released the source-code. This created a massive boom in developments.
I'm pretty sure this is the stage where users such as Nillus, Moogly, mirkan, Donkjam, NGansta and Hebbo hit the scene. We still did not have SSO login, but hundreds of variations of USA111 and my server started hitting ragezone and hw-forum (which is now otaku).
I did not like that my work had been used without permission, to started another server with Nitrojan and well_thats_not_funny, called 'Project Xeon'. It was v9, and the very first Habbo emulation that used Habbos encryption. office.boy helped us alot, and infact logged around 100 keys from Habbos server (so that we could use the encryption properly!), only later to be told by me that you could use any random key!
A foreign user, that no one had really heard of before (and again, i've forgotten his name, apologise) claimed that he had cracked 'sso login'. And he had! it was still flatfile based, and forced the user to store all user data in the /web/ folder where the login script was, but we finally had SSO login.
Project Xeon evolved with this, and began to implement mySQL. it certainly wasn't the first server to try (and I don't remember what was), but use of mySQL in servers was still relatively unheard of and no one did it. After obviously hearing about my work with mySQL, Nillus asked me for help implementing mySQL into Debbo (which was now on its third, or fourth iteration). I said I'd help him, but don't think i ever actually got around to it, he learnt off his own back!
Sometime between then, and the next paragraph 'MeGrim' (no idea who it was!) began publicly advertising his complete V7 server. It had everything, everything. Camera worked, moderation tools worked, public & private rooms worked. It was just perfect. it's homepage can still be found here Habbo Hotel - Huoltokatko
(though i think it has been updated since its initial release, note it is no longer online). This server was never released.
My memory gets cloudy around this point as so much happened. I think it's now 2007, and Jeax has released his server 'Project Warlord' (the server before Project Cold Coffee!). it was in C#, and everyone was excited. It was a new language, it was faster, smoother, and had much cleaner code than almost all of the VB6 servers.
People like Nillus and I quickly snatched up the source and began to learn from it, this is when Nillus started the 'Holograph' server. Project Warlord pretty much hit the deck, few people could figure out how to use it so they just never bothered. This is one of the reasons Holograph was such a hit - it was easy.
We're now in mid 2007. Jeax has released Project Cold Coffee, and Nillus some iteration of 'Holograph'. Holograph took lead, again, it was easier. VB6 servers slowly began to die and be wiped out of the scene, it became 'nooby' and 'idiotic' to program in VB6.
This is around the time I drew the line, and stopped publicly working with emulations. I tried to keep track of the thousands of renames and rips that appeared, but I just couldn't do it. There was no real 'milestones' after this. Nillus successfully programmed Battleball after many failed attempts, including some by me, and continued to release the most easy to use and popular servers.
JoeH began work on Thor (Habbo V9), which he released using a MSSQL database. I think this was around 2009. Nillus took it and used it as the base for woodpecker (and blunk). Again, because no one could really use it, it didn't take off either.
Sojobo took holograph when it was released, and used that as the new source for his sold work, and did the same when uber was released (except he bought the rights to uber).
I never kept up with CMS or customs development, so you'll have to excuse my lack of knowledge in that area. Like all peoples recounts of the past, mine will not be complete. but I think it helps serve some insight into what happened back then.