The Powder Toy game was originally written by Stanislaw K Skowronek (aka Skylark), and was available at powder.unaligned.org. The powder.unaligned.org server was written & maintained by Brian Ledbetter (bri3d), and Powder Toy saves could be uploaded to it between January 2009 and January 2010. But then Skylark stopped working on TPT, and the server was shut down.
Later in 2010, Simon obtained the source code for TPT and took over development. Since the old server was inaccessible, he had to make a new one from scratch, resulting in powdertoy.co.uk. All saves uploaded to powder.unaligned.org were presumed deleted. However, a backup of the old server was recently found, and a copy was given to jacksonmj and Simon. The saves have been made available here by jacksonmj.
The saves are accessible in three ways:
The replica of the old server is read-only. You cannot upload new saves using these modified versions of Powder Toy, and you cannot login, vote, comment, tag, or report saves. To do those things, use powdertoy.co.uk instead of the replica of the old server located here.
Beware: the old server was almost entirely unmoderated. For now, it has been left this way. This is for two reasons: to give an accurate picture of what the old server was like, and because moderating it would be a very big job. This means it contains numerous things that are against powdertoy.co.uk rules including: abusive and useless tags, various vote gimmicks and reminders to vote, insults, self-voting, and nudity.
Windows downloads might not work on XP (although you should really be using a more recent version of Windows by now. Or you could switch to Linux instead). Mac users are on their own, sorry (you might be able to run one of the Linux or Windows downloads in a VM, or using Wine).
Almost the only thing changed in these downloads from the original versions is the server URL.
Most of the syntax is exactly the same as powdertoy.co.uk, with a few extensions. Most things can be combined, although only one search: and one sort: specifier can be used. These can be used on this website, and in both downloadable versions.
Which is the first save ever? The first save which still has a database record is save id:16 "Simple Nuke " by Skylark. Most of the earlier saves have been deleted, but for some saves only the database record was deleted, the save data file still exists. These can be found in the OrphanedSaves folder (zip file also available). The earliest one in there is save id:12, title and author unknown, made using Powder Toy version 20. save id:0 was not created earlier than save 12, as it has a file modification time at the beginning of Feb 2010 (roughly when the old server was shut down).
Can I steal someone else's saves from here and publish them on powdertoy.co.uk? No. Some of the current users and moderators were around in the powder.unaligned.org era, and are likely to notice and report the save, or apply the banhammer. In addition, note that many of the old saves contravene current powdertoy.co.uk rules.
Can I get my old saves from here and publish them on powdertoy.co.uk It's probably best to wait. Verifying that accounts on powdertoy.co.uk are the same as powder.unaligned.org accounts is a bit tricky, but may happen in the future. Another difficult task is verifying which powder.unaligned.org account originally made a particular save, since there was so much copying on the old server. For now, copies of old saves uploaded to powdertoy.co.uk are at risk of being unpublished for stealing. Also, some form of semi-automated import may happen in the future. Feel free to download copies of your saves to your computer though.
Are there any significant differences between how powder.unaligned.org worked compared to powdertoy.co.uk? Yes.
Who is this ballsup person I've heard mentioned by old users? In short, an old user who was an enormous nuisance. Much stealing of saves, spamming, trolling, self-voting, etc.
Is the old server replica running exactly the same code as powder.unaligned.org? No. The server code has been completely rewritten, since it contained a few security holes, and although I didn't benchmark it, some of the SQL queries looked like they might run unnecessarily slow. For speed, sorting by votes does it by overall number of votes for a save, not the number of votes on tags matching the search query. Additionally, search has been changed to look in titles as well as tags, since so many of the tags are irrelevant or otherwise useless. However, all the data - saves, users, tags, and scores, is exactly the same as it was on powder.unaligned.org.