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Recreating Yserbius, TNT (The Next Thread)

Locke

Active Members
#1
I've been thinking about this for all of, oh, 20 minutes and here are some thoughts...

o Creating a new incarnation of Yserbius is going to be the only viable option. Translating everything coming in from the game client and hacking the game client to actually connect in a new method will be too time consuming.

o So, the easiest option would be to use a modern language that's easy to work with (.NET or even VB6) to recreate the game -- I personally would want it to look as close to the old game as possible, so we could get a lot of screen rips and use those textures for the display window and to skin the client.

SERVER SIDE
- Handle logon/logoff.
- Handle new account creation.
- Handle client-side validation...
- Handle player to player communication (in tavern, group, or area map)
o Player location
o Player stats
o 'Fog of War' for maps
o Any other needed validation
- Storage of all information would be done via a database (MSSQL/MySQL)
o Server could then handle web access of player info.

CLIENT SIDE
- Facilitation of logon/logoff
- Replicate functionality of tavern, guild and volcano

FUN STUFF TO ADD
- Support of guild creation/memberships
o Allow customizable ranks/titles/positions
- More robust in-game communication support
- Web integration so in-game mail could be read/replied via web

Like I said -- it's after about 20 minutes of thinking about it... Music would be easy to rip, the pain here would be getting quality images of the different tiles, creatures, etc.

With that all said and done, are folks generally looking for an exact reproduction in terms of game content? Or is this more of a 'moving forward' type thing?[/list]
 

Navic

Inactive Members
#2
Locke, are ya a programmer? :D

The only person we know programming a resurrection of Yserbius is Xenther (xensoft.com). I guess the rest of us, who would like to help, are wanting for some direction.
 

Locke

Active Members
#3
I'm a business web/database/application developer by day and an MMORPG developer by night. :) Mostly doing application to web-migration stuff lately, but I am a programmer, heh!

I guess the biggest thing in creating anything is getting the input of people who are going to be your players. Granted, I haven't really looked through a lot of the older posts, but step one would be for all of you to post what you want to see in a recreation...

Exact duplication?

Same style but new content?

Look/Feel?

Add some modernization?

I did take a peek at Xensoft.com (currently down, but I looked at the cached pages), and it looks like he's doing a complete overhaul, using OpenGL graphics... something which, admittedly, I've no experience with, though I can do some mean stuff with Photoshop. If I were to do anything, it would be focused more on the gameplay we were used to and not so much on modern graphics, which some people may or may not want, but it's what I know I'd be capable of.

Locke
 

slohand

Yserbian
Staff member
#4
I have always said

I have always said, It would be easier to Create the Yserbius Game from scratch in another Language such as VB, C++, C#, or whatever we had. Capture all of the graphics and textures and use them in the build, Combine all our knowledge into a Knowledge base of how Yserbius was played, Quest, Stats Armor etc etc , everything we can possibly figure and then for what we cannot figure set a standard like perhaps implement AD&D Rules for determing damage and AC and such so that it is a standard by which most people have played. In a First version we should focus on the shell, perhaps get us to a Login in and Character Creation Screen and then move into the Tavern and get it functioning, then we move into the Volcano and Have the entire Dungeon Totally empty of Mobs, quest etc, just have the ledgesm doors, telports, etc working and be able to navigate through the entire dungeon and then create a program on the side that would populate that dungeon with mobs both randoms and fixed at the same locations in YS and have that additional program also be a Quest engine. Once This was in place it would make it easier for adding levels, Quest and Mobs in future releases. We would want in a later release to start incorporating newer and nicer graphics but that could come later.
Tools I have currently have at my disposal to donate
Lightwave 7 and 8
Bryce 5
Maya 6
Milkshape 3d
Mojoworld 2
World builder
Vue 5
TrueSpace
3D Studio Max
Rhino
Soft Paint
Poser 4 and 5
Deep Paint
Photoshop CS
Paintshop Pro 9
Macromedia MX
Microsoft Visual Studio 6 (VB C++ JAVA FOXPRO INTERDEV)
Other nice programs I use for Ray Tracing

Anyhow this is just my two cents worth not sure it is even possible I am experimenting currently with VB and game creation using Direct X9 SDK and 3D RAD Game Engine and am currently making a FPS as a test, Converting this to a 2d or sprite mode would be something to look into once I fully understand everything. But this is a ongoing project with me I like everyone else have other things that must occupy pary of my time
..... Slo
 

Tiger

Active Members
#6
Agreed, pretty much what I've been saying in regards to client side first, getting a server up so we can get into it and then work on it... If we're goina start over and just implement elements of Yserbius, then it would probably be easier to just do fresh graphics, update to atleast 256, instead of 64? Yserbius currently uses...
 

Locke

Active Members
#7
Re: I have always said

slohand said:
I have always said, It would be easier to Create the Yserbius Game from scratch in another Language such as VB, C++, C#, or whatever we had. Capture all of the graphics and textures and use them in the build ... perhaps implement AD&D Rules for determing damage and AC and such so that it is a standard by which most people have played.
Let's see... logically thinking, the early stages of development would probably go something like this:

- Write a basic server daemon to accept and acknowledge client input.
- Write a simple client to send input to the server and accept a response.

o This would allow the simplest method of communication and probably be the base method of communication for the game. IE, Client sends: "USERID:TYPE:ARG1:MESSAGE" which could be parsed as "4324731:TELL:Locke:Hello there!" or "4377322:MOVE::N".

- Allow client to chat with other clients.
- Create database schema to store player accounts and account information.
- Interface Server with database to be able to store/retrieve information.
- Add Account login/creation capability to server/client software.
- Track account's global location (login screen, tavern, guildhall, volcano)
- Creation of GUI for Tavern. (Population/updating of current players)
- Allow client to enter a global location (tavern to start).

Just getting to that point there is a lot of work for a single developer, but still doable. I'd probably wind up using VB.NET, mainly because it handles socket communication a lot more gracefully than VB6.

Recreating the volcano would be the monumental part of redoing this. As for adding in D20 rules, that might be interesting, but opens up a whole avenue of new questions and begs the analysis of how far do you want to move away? The old methods were simply based off of data types... a 'byte' data type was used for stats (max of 255) and damage/hit points was based off of an 'integer' datatype (max of 32767).

Tiger said:
Agreed, pretty much what I've been saying in regards to client side first, getting a server up so we can get into it and then work on it...
With this type of development, the work couldn't be done 'online' like a MUD or modern MMORPG. Rather, it would need to be completely done by developers in code and database.

Tiger said:
If we're goina start over and just implement elements of Yserbius, then it would probably be easier to just do fresh graphics, update to atleast 256, instead of 64?
If someone could do that kind of work... take the tiles and redo them in 32-bit color even, more power to them. :) Generally, it's going to be time consuming for an artist to redo every tile and creature and graphic than to capture to the old stuff. However, it would be nice if custom stuff was needed.
 

Tiger

Active Members
#8
Like Slo and yourself, I can do graphics easily enough... Think we need more programmers then anything.... Maybe you and Xenthar should get a conversation goin... Maybe it would be easier to switch to one of the languages mentioned...

If we moved away from the current Yserbius, then we'd be making our kinda like Emp did when INN went down to begin with.... And while that sounds like a good idea, I know how much work and time Mac and Beamer have put into Emp... And no offence to them, but it never did reach the level they were reaching for... Just didn't happen... I believe Mac and Beamer are doin the work themselves...
 

slohand

Yserbian
Staff member
#9
From what I understand

From what I understand Empiriana is not finished and true they did it all them selves. I mean hey guys we are not talking about a commercial application here. We could not by rights use Yserbius in a commercial manner. and besides who wants too. We could however create a near duplicate of it using our code,

dont get me wrong the Game is considered Abandon Ware but I would hate to see the massive head of AOL pop up just when we were going good, So even if it takes a bit longer I believe we should do to keep the cost at a minimum. We will not be charging for this, any cost with this are to be paid by donation only Thats one reason I made the new feature Donations part of those funds will be used to cover developement needs. what ever they may be. If Locke and Xenther are the Programmers then we need to try to help them as much as possible. Navic has done some awesome work with the game and speaking of which i need to get Locke in the Dev team so he can view the info and FTP info.

Well I will help all I can.
As before, I say make it close as possible starting with our own code, using grabbed textures later releases would improve upon graphics and code,,, just me... Slo
 

Spell

Inactive Members
#10
Recreating the YS community

Slo,
I would gladly assist in the development of this project. I have VB5, VS6 and VS.Net at my disposal. I think I have an old version of Photoshop around here as well. {Artistically Challenged}.
As for the old YS, just before Ken and Roberta sold TSN I created a Character Editor. It allowed the user to slice and splice Chars and Maps to create a specific group of characters to sign on with. (Very useful for those people with many characters), It also could modify stats, infact it was the only tool available that could reserect characters that had negative stats. I could even Set/Clear quest flags. And the piece de-resistance... You could take ANY level character On/Offline. I had completely decoded the map file and I was just starting to put the graphics together when INN bit the dust. All of the above happens offline before you signon, so there was no way TSN/INN could detect the tampering. I really wish I could find my Source Code... I've moved 4 times since then. Just ask Tiggy, I think I fixed a couple of his chars.

Let me know,
Spell
 

Tiger

Active Members
#11
Wow, I forgot about that tool... Man, that was back in the day... I knew you could do more then hassle Lady Kiri! Hehehehe... Though, more fun and fulfilling to get LK started on some tangent...
 

Spell

Inactive Members
#12
YS/Cawdor Char Editor

Well, after several hours of hunting, I found a version of my source code. It is written in Borland Turbo C (Some relic version). I haven't touched C in almost 10 years. If anyone is interested, I can send it to Slo and he can make it available for download.

Spell
:D
 

SirZantac

Inactive Members
#15
Whatever happened to FauxINN? They had succeeded in re-creating the facemaker/login routine and were going pretty good on making a SSI for the game.

My only other concern would be copyright issues as TSoY is probably not PD or OS yet.
 

Macros

Active Members
#16
Hi guys,

(Sorry in advance, this one is kind of long)

I finally had a few minutes to look through all the posts here. Its great to see someone actively working on a Ys recreation!

Having been down a similar road, I have a few suggestions if it helps at all.

First, it seems you have 2 choices here. To either create a new ys game or to create a faithful reproduction of the original Ys title.

If it were me, I'd start out with an exact reproduction, graphics and all, for a several reasons.

If you haven't created games before, you will get further quicker and with less problems if you use an existing design, i.e. Ys. Otherwise, not only do you have to figure out how to program it, but you also have to design the game itself. Don't underestimate how much work this is. 75% of your effort will be spent on design, with 25% spent actually implementing to that design.

(If you are really good at design, can get it spot on on the first try, and do all your design before writing a line of code, this is more like 30% design, 60% development, with the entire project going much quicker, but it is really really hard to get a final design without some kind of play testing, and that requires coding for design which takes you back to the 75/25)

I would guess the majority of the "indie" O-RPG development projects that burn out get stuck in the huge void between development and design. Since YS is so well documented (there are fantastic walk throughs right here on this site), you already have a spec. Now you can just make code to "do that" instead of trying to figure out what it should be doing at the same time.

If you use your own design, you will end up rewriting a lot of it as you learn and test. If you put together a Ys implemetnation, you then have working code and experience to use for your next ys.

If possible, I would suggest you go with Java. You might as well make it easy for the *nix and Mac people to have fun too.

Plus having the code base in Java makes it a lot easier to port it to a mobile phone someday if you choose. We ended up porting all the C++ code for Empiriana to J2ME/MIDP, and it was pretty much a complete rewrite of everything. Quite a lot of work. For that matter, you could even implement a web based applet client for your Ys. For a Ys game, you won't have any performance constraints/issues with Java, and J2SE's API's provide everything you need very easily.

The next thing is the intellectual property concerns. While I have not heard of anyone watching out for Ys copyrights, it's still a risk. If you distribute artwork or other content from Ys without permission, you will be violating copyright law.

If you look at the abandonware site Home of the Underdogs, a lot of old Sierra games were taken down due to demands by a software publishers' watch dog firm. While its not likely AOL is going to come knocking on your door (though its possible), an industry legal firm like that very well might. Right now, no one cares, but if you are successful in your efforts, you might draw their attentation at a later date. You don't want to put all this work in just to have it shut down, so you should formulate a plan before you get going.

I don't know first hand, but I have heard that some have worked to obtain copyright permission without success. The only safe option I have seen, is something someone else was trying to do before. That is to create a new client which uses the actual resource files from a Ys installation.

You then distribute your new client without any of the Ys content. When the end user installs your client, they configure the path to a Ys directory on their computer and your client pulls the content it needs from there. The end users would need to have ys for your client to work (yes, I know its easy to get, but so long as you are not the one distributing it, you are not infringing, this is a lot like what is done with arcade ROMs for MAME. )

Also as a side note, someone mentioned the 20d rules, if you do decide to design a new game model as well, keep in mind that Wizards of the Coast owns the rights to the 20d rules and to use them requires a license from them. Something that titles like NWN pay dearly for. So you can make something similar, but I don't beleive you can use their exact rules without either permission or infringement.

Another side note, I saw someone else talk about the original midi files from ys, I beleive they are all in the YS directory in xmi format, xmi is an extended midi format from the old Miles Sound system. The Miles Sound system sdk came with a utility to convert mid to the xmi format. I do not know if there is a reverse tool or not, but one might be found. Empiriana used Miles Sound back in the DOS days, so if you need the old SDK we can probably dig it up, but Miles is still around and you can find their latest sdk which still supports XMI here: http://www.radgametools.com/miles.htm . If someone can dig up the xmi spec, it shouldn't be too difficult to write a converter.

As for the decision between new versus original Ys design, you also should consider why people will play it. I would guess most people will try it just to remember what it was like back in the day.

If you go to a new design, that's no longer possible, it will be something different. People will probably no longer view with nostalgia, but will begin to compare it against the other MMPORGs in terms of how fun it is. Take it from me, that's a tough battle to wage with few resources.

Besides, to date, no one has pulled off the Ys reproduction, someone really needs to do so before it gets any further into the past and few remember what it was like. That might as well be you. The first actual reproduction will be a permanent milestone in the history of ys, while a new game with a Ys theme will simply be one among many.

I think its great you guys are doing this! I'd love to help, as this will undoubtably be a lot of fun, but it will be a while before I have any significant time to spare. If there's any advice I can give that would help, just let me know.


Best Regards,
Macros
 

Lord_Cie

Inactive Members
#17
Macros said:
The next thing is the intellectual property concerns. While I have not heard of anyone watching out for Ys copyrights, it's still a risk. If you distribute artwork or other content from Ys without permission, you will be violating copyright law.

If you look at the abandonware site Home of the Underdogs, a lot of old Sierra games were taken down due to demands by a software publishers' watch dog firm. While its not likely AOL is going to come knocking on your door (though its possible), an industry legal firm like that very well might. Right now, no one cares, but if you are successful in your efforts, you might draw their attentation at a later date. You don't want to put all this work in just to have it shut down, so you should formulate a plan before you get going.
Damn, and I don't think you can buy any of those old games outside of ebay. In the event of a remake, http://www.agdinteractive.com/ would be a good act to follow. Their King's Quest remakes have been around for a while, and without harassment from the lawyers, so it seems.
 

slohand

Yserbian
Staff member
#18
hey

I would definitely say Macros is a voice of someone who knows whats going on. having Created and implemented Empiriana and now with the release of Emp II on the horizon. all this information will be invaluable before this project is done I am sure. Thanks Macros for the input,, be sure and keep an eye on us when you have the chance... Slo
 

Macros

Active Members
#19
Yes, I agree, it's ridiculous.

While ID releases much more valuable source code for things like Quake 3, someone else screams bloody murder that the 5 people that care are able to download Man Hunter from an obscure web site.

As for the KQ remakes, they probably have permission. The KQ franchise wasn't encumbered by the TSN/INN/AOL snafu. So whereas the rights for the INN properties are somewhere in limbo, you can probably get ahold of someone at Sierra and if you throw enough cash, can get rights for their other classic franchises.

One last note, I didn't mean to discourage you all from creating your own game in Ys' image. That is definitely more fun from the development point of view. Just that if your team hasn't designed games of this nature before, the learning curve may burn some or all of your team out.

Focusing first on the technology you will need (by implementing Ys' design), and then later applying your own design to that technology (with a follow on Ys2), gives you a much greater chance to succeed where others have failed.

Plus you can design Ys2 while developing ys1.

Either way, I hope you guys do great with it!

I'm looking forward to being able to submit bug reports instead of always having to fix them! :wink:

Best Regards,
Macros
 
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