NFSUnlimited.net Showroom is a web application on NFSUnlimited.net where registered members of the site can upload their screenshots from Need for Speed games. The application first came online shortly after the release of Need for Speed Underground and instantly became the most popular site feature.
The first showroom was launched shortly after the release of Need for Speed Underground and was the first such application on any Need for Speed web site. It's feature list included screenshot uploading, entry commenting, image rating on a scale from 1 to 10, browsing by car, the latest, top rated and most viewed entries and simple searching. Uploading was not restricted to registered members and was initially limited to 5 entries per selected name (later increased) and 800x600 image resolution. All entries uploaded were manually processed by NFSUnlimited.net Staff which resultd in entries appearing on the site up to 24 hours after they were uploaded.
In March 2004 a forum member GT3x24x7 started Pink CAR challenge, a competition where users had to design a car along with the specified rules. All the entries (max 10 as limited per showroom username) were then uploaded under the same name to the showroom and after a previously defined period of time the winners were announced from the following categories: entrant ratings (only votes from entrants in the challenge), user ratings (all registered users votes) and guest ratings. The car challenges quickly became a big hit and got their own website application after Showroom v2 was released.
Shortly after Need for Speed Underground 2 was released, the Showroom was upgraded to v2. Unlike v1, v2 required users to be logged in (and registered) but every uploaded image still had to be approved by an admin. Every user had a "garage", a place where all cars were listed. Garages had a few personalization options (custom image and description) and the possibility to post comments. Favourites were also introduced with v2 - every user could add up to 20 entries to their list of favourite entries which were visible by all users.
Two practices emerged in v2: downvoting and upvoting. Users often voted the entries, which appeared on the top spot of the user rating ladder, with the lowest possible scores and as all votes an entry received were visible to everyone, retaliation often followed. As this was an illegal practice in the showroom, countless users complained and administrators had to ban countless others, often with ip based bans (for those users with multiple accounts), which meant the banned persons could no longer register on the site.
With v2 another form of competition was also introduced: the Showroom Duels. Duels were possible between two cars of the same make and model. When a user challenged another and the duel was accepted, it appeared on the showroom challenge part of the website where other users would vote for one of the contestants. The one with most votes would then win the duel and receive SRChallenge reputation.
The version currently in use is the first to support multiple games with users having the choice of creating separate garages for every game. The v3 is a social application with user friend lists, neighbours (users with similar voting patterns), shoutboxes on profile pages for quick message exchange, groups and the integrated Showroom Challenges including duels and classic challenges. Additionally every entry can now have additional images which show up on the entry page, removing the need for users to edit the main picture with inset images of cars from different angles. Rating entries has been reduced to Star Rating which works only upward, meaning downvoting has been completely removed.