Chip Rollins is a former simmer who established the UFP/SF in 1996 and served as a leading architect of Trek Online (TOL) in the mid 1990s. Because the sims of the UFP/SF merged into Trek Online and became the core of TOL, Chip is regarded as the first president of Trek Online. Chip also ran the Babylon 5 Division of the Alliance Simulation Group (ASG) in the early 2000s.
Chip Rollins joined the Alliance Simulation Group on America Online ca 1996. By August of 1996, he had risen to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade in the ASG.
- Also see: The Wars of Trek Online
In August of 1996, Chip was approached by the leaders of a protest movement on America Online who were aiming to start up a new simming forum. Chip agreed to help out in any way he could, and despite only being a junior officer in the ASG at the time, he was asked to organize a new Star Trek sim club for the proposed forum, which he did.
The protest soon fizzled, but Chip and his new club forged ahead. It's first sim, the USS Generation began simming on September 13, 1996. Within weeks, the Generation was joined by the USS Vindicator and the USS Endeavor.
In November, Chip re-branded the UFP/SF as the United Simulation Group (USG) and soon after completed a merger with the Independence Group, which brought its two sims and simming academy into the USG.
Personality clashes and differing visions for the USG rose to the surface in the weeks following the merger, particularly between Chip, Chas Hammer, Chip's Vice President, and Kris 'Scott' Perry, leader of the Independence Group. Matters came to a head on January 19, 1997, in a chat room called Stonewall. During the course of the chat - an event in TOL history known as the Battle of Stonewall - Chip, frustrated and no longer possessing the energy to run the club, resigned as President, leaving Chas Hammer in charge.
Despite the reversal of roles, Chip and Chas developed a strong friendship, and Chip emerged as Chas' most influential adviser. Chip was a sounding board, and he provided insight on both the good and bad aspects of proposals and matters in the club. In public, he was careful not to take a position, but instead asked probing questions to further dialogue and help people develop their thoughts. Only on rare occasions - when he truly objected to something - did Chip speak up, and when he did, he was so well respected that everyone listened and deferred to his judgment.
As Trek Online began to thrive, expanding to over 100 members and a dozen sims by the end of 1997, Chip faded into the background. In May of 1998, he retired from command of his ship, the USS Generation. At the end of 1998, Chip helped lead an effort to establish irc sims for Trek Online, but by this time he avoided attending most sims and club events. During 1999, he became even less involved in club affairs and retired mid year. As Chas Hammer noted, "Chip was a true gentleman. He helped us for two years after he left the Presidency to make sure his club survived - and than he faded away."
Despite leading what became a major Star Trek sim club, Chip first and foremost was a Babylon 5 simmer and enjoyed Babylon 5 more than Star Trek. The Alliance Simulation Group was one of the few clubs that offered Babylon 5 sims, and over the years Chip worked his way up the ranks of the ASG, eventually commanding his own Babylon 5 sim and running the ASG's Babylon 5 division in 2000 and 2001.
Chip was responsible for creating TOL's unique culture, which in many ways was an extension of his larger than life personality and wacky sense of humor. He was the one who came up with the Smite Button and made spam and jelly beans staple foods in TOL. During the dark days of 1997, when it was not clear that TOL would survive, his inside jokes and reminders that it was just a sim, don't take it too seriously, were able to help the club through that year and provide it with an identity that made people proud to be a part of TOL.
Chip played an active role in shaping TOL's government as it transitioned into a simming republic. It was he and Chas who had private discussions in 1997 about the long term future of the club, and it was the two of them who decided the best course of action was to form a republic. When Trek Online constitutional debates occurred in 1998, Chip was able to keep everyone focused on having a republic for big picture decisions only and steered people away from more extreme proposals by reminding everyone "You don't have to hold a vote in order to sim."