Server Status
Patch Server is ONLINE.
0 hunters connected

Login Server is ONLINE.
0 hunters connected

Active Ships:
Iselia
    2 hunters online
    1 team active
Vega
    0 hunters online
    0 teams active
Altimira
    0 hunters online
    0 teams active
Palmacosta
    0 hunters online
    0 teams active

Total Hunters Online: 2
 
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News

Voice Chat

September 19th, 2014

Everyone probably knows by now that PSO itself doesn’t support voice chat (except for the Xbox version, which isn’t supported by any server anyway), which can get pretty annoying when you’re trying to discuss things with other people while you play, especially if you’re playing on the Dreamcast or Gamecube and don’t have a keyboard handy for the console. To this end, I’ve set up a Mumble server for anyone who wishes to use it to use while playing.

EDIT: Since it appears to be unclear to some… This does not allow you to use your Dreamcast or Gamecube microphone for voice chat in PSO. This functionality is not built in to the game and it would be inconceivable to add it to the game. This setup allows you to use your PC or smartphone to do voice chat with others who connect via their PC or smartphone while they’re playing on Sylverant.

Mumble is an open-source, multi-platform Voice-over-IP (VoIP) client and server, designed for low-latency voice communications, such as would be useful for online gaming. You can get a Mumble client for pretty much any OS out there (OS X, Linux, Windows — even for iOS or Android too) for free and use it to connect to a variety of Mumble servers. For more information on how to connect to the server that I’ve set up, continue reading…

Read the rest of this entry »

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Today is the 5th Anniversary of Sylverant

September 9th, 2014

It is also the 15th anniversary of the release of the Dreamcast in the US.

I’d like to thank everyone who plays PSO on Sylverant for making my work on it worthwhile. It always makes me smile to see people use the software that I write. :)

Over the past year, I’ve been pretty busy with real life. I earned a Master of Science in Computer Science degree in December of last year, and begun work toward a PhD in the same subject in January. Sylverant has seen a few bits and pieces of improvement over that time, however. Work has continued (albeit slowly) on server-side drops for all versions of the game, and has recently reached the point where server-side drops work even during quests. Ship administrators can specify whether quests allow drops of rare and semi-rare items on an enemy-by-enemy (or type of enemy by type of enemy) basis, overriding the game’s restriction that no rares ever drop in quests (only while server-side drops are on, of course). I also released the source code of a new DNS server for use with PSO, designed to prevent DNS amplification attacks from affecting the server in the future. Other than that, things have been relatively quiet, other than the small trickle of other bug fixes.

Anyway, thanks to everyone for playing here, and hopefully I will be able to continue to post these kinds of posts for many years to come.

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It’s been a while…

June 10th, 2014

… since the last time I posted, so I figured I’d make a post.

Not much has changed around here in the past few months, at least not until the other day when someone started trying to use the Sylverant DNS server (along with a few other PSO-related DNS servers out there) in another DNS amplification attack. If you were following along on my Twitter (or on Facebook), you might have noticed a few messages to that effect about a week ago. You also might have noticed that I’ve written a new DNS server to use here that should be a bit more resistant to such attacks in the future. I guess we shall see.

One nice thing about this new DNS server is that I designed it to be possible to use for pretty much anyone hosting a DNS server for PSO. It’s easily configurable, and should run just fine on pretty much anything (*BSD, Linux, OS X, Solaris, … and Windows without needing anything like Cygwin). You could probably run it just fine on a Dreamcast, if you really wanted to. :P Hopefully some of the other servers out there might be able to make use of it in preventing attacks in the future. :)

EDIT: Just because I can, I just confirmed that the DNS server does actually run properly on a Dreamcast. :P

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Much Dogecoin. Such donate. Wow.

March 1st, 2014

I’ve been asked many times since I started Sylverant how to donate to support Sylverant or to show appreciation to me for writing/maintaining it. My answer has always been the same: I don’t want donations that aren’t actually needed for keeping things going. As Sylverant has been graciously hosted for free since I first set up the server back in 2009, there has never been any point to me accepting donations. That still hasn’t changed to this day, and hopefully won’t change any time soon.

That said, I thought it might be fun to allow people to donate with the idea that donations would go into a pool that would be used on the server in some way. I’ve toyed with a few ideas in my head such as special events rewarding hunters for killing certain enemies in-game (yes, Sylverant can actually track and store that data, although it doesn’t at this time). So, I think I’ve come up with a good way to make that happen in the future without having to deal with any real money.

Starting today (well, last night really, but I doubt anyone noticed it), I’m accepting donations in the form of Dogecoins. Dogecoins are a crypto-currency, much like Bitcoin or Litecoin (it is actually derived from Litecoin). They are commonly used for tipping people on Reddit these days, so this seemed like a logical choice. It doesn’t cost anything to get started with Dogecoin other than potentially a bit of your time (you can even find sites that give away free Dogecoins), and it is all open-source too. So, to that end, there’s a new donation button on the site underneath the .beat time widget. Once we get a bit of a stash built up, I’ll start thinking of how to actually put them to use — after all, it doesn’t do me much good to spend time working on a feature that people aren’t going to use. ;-)

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New account management pages are now live

February 1st, 2014

So, some of you might know how much I’ve complained in the past about PHP and the account management (key registration, etc) stuff that I wrote in it for the Sylverant website. A while back, you might remember that I switched the ship status display over to being done in Python rather than in PHP. Well, when I started that little project, I also decided to rewrite all the rest of the account management stuff in Python as well. Now, several months later, I’ve finally gotten around to finishing all that up and pushing it out live to the website.

The new URL for the account management stuff is https://wsgi.sylverant.net/account.py, rather than the old http://sylverant.net/account/ . For the time being, both will be available, but at some point in the fairly near future, the old account management page will be taken down entirely. If you have any links/bookmarks on websites pointing to the old pages, please update them (I think I got all the links on this site, so if you see one that’s still pointing to the old stuff, let me know). Also, if you find any problems in the new account system, let me know.

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Updating…

January 20th, 2014

So, to those who didn’t see it on the Twitter feed, I’m doing a bunch of updates to the OS on the server right now and the server will be down for a bit while I get things going.

EDIT: I’ve been at this for over 4 hours now, and I still don’t have everything back up yet. I’ll continue working on it when I get up in the morning.

EDIT 2: There’s still a lot of work for me to do, but I think that I can safely bring back up the PSO server. So, I’ve done that. I’ll still have to do a number of reboots along the way, probably, but I’ll time them when nobody’s online.

EDIT 3: So, I think the update is completely done now, save for rebooting one last time. So, once the server clears out, I’ll do that.

EDIT 4: Something screwed up… I’m working on resolving it now.

EDIT 5: Well, it’s still not quite right, but I suppose it’ll do until I figure out what’s actually wrong. At least everything is back up for now.

EDIT 6 (and hopefully the last one): I think I fixed the issue now. Weird voodoo bugs with files not being updated properly during the kernel upgrade are not cool.

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To the idiots…

January 18th, 2014

To the idiots who thought it would be cute to use the Sylverant DNS resolver to launch DNS-related attacks, you really are not amusing. Thanks to you idiots, the DNS server I host is now locked to only provide the addresses for PSO-related hostnames. I’m also reconsidering whether I should host said DNS or not at this point, since it is obviously more trouble than it is worth. Not that I expect said idiots to ever read this post or anything else anyway.

To those who aren’t amongst the idiots, I guess this needs a bit of explaining… One of the options for connecting to Sylverant with certain versions of PSO for the Dreamcast (Network Trial Edition, USv1, EUv1, EUv2) and all versions of PSO for Gamecube was to use the Sylverant server as your DNS in your network configuration. This works because I host a DNS server that provides the IP addresses for certain PSO-related hostnames that the game uses to try to connect to a server. All of these addresses resolve to the same IP address as the Sylverant server itself. For convenience, the DNS server could also be used for general day-to-day use and with other online games, as it would recursively look up any hostnames it did not know about, and return the correct IP address for said servers by way of (primarily) Google’s Public DNS server. However, someone recently decided it would be a good idea to use this service that I provide (the DNS server) to launch a DNS query amplification attack (see here for more info on what that is). Thus I have had to stop allowing recursive lookups to prevent someone from performing such an attack. What that means is that the Sylverant DNS is now not usable for general day-to-day lookups (not that I expect many people were using their Dreamcasts for web browsing), nor can you use it in your network configuration for playing games like Quake 3 Arena on the Dreamcast any more (which was probably more commonly done).

I highly suggest that anyone playing PSO on the Dreamcast that does not already use the Sylverant PSO Patcher disc consider doing so in the near future. I may end up having to discontinue the DNS service if people continue to abuse it, so I’d like it if everyone was prepared for that possibility.

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Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2014

Well, another year has gone by, and Sylverant is still around. That’s good news, I suppose. :)

I don’t really have anything Sylverant-related to post about, but I wanted to ensure that everyone knew I was actually still around. Follow along below the fold if you care to know why things have been so quiet around here lately…
Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s that time of the year again…

September 9th, 2013

Yes, it is September 9th once again. I’m a bit late on the post, so I’m sure it is the 10th by now for a good portion of the people around here, but it still needs to be said.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the Dreamcast’s release in the US and the 4th anniversary of Sylverant. Hopefully we’ll see many more of these posts in the years to come. :)

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Sylverant PSO Patcher 2.0 Released!

July 26th, 2013

Now, from out in left field, a release…

Tonight, I have released version 2.0 of the Sylverant PSO Patcher. This version is almost a complete rewrite from the old version, fixes various bugs, and adds a few new features. Here’s a brief overview of what’s new:

  • Added support for patching the hostname in and booting the PSO Network Trial Edition.
  • Added support for patching in the music for the Palace and Spaceship stages into the main bgm table. This way, quests that use these stages in non-battle mode (Prospective Horizons on Altimira) can use the correct background music. This patch is optional. When you see the note about pressing Start for all patches or A for not patching the music, this is what is being referred to.
  • Fixed booting of many import games that would not boot with the older version. This version still won’t boot Windows CE-based games, but it hopefully will work with just about any other game you throw at it, if you choose to use it as an import boot disc.
  • Finally, and most importantly, this release fixes the issues with battle mode timing out immediately on all Dreamcast versions when using the patcher. No, there was never any bugs in the server with regard to this, which is why it worked for people that used PALv2 and didn’t use the patcher at all.

Due to that last fixed issue, it is recommended that all users update to the new patcher if they ever intend to play in Battle mode.

You can find the downloads on the Downloads page on the Google Code project. As with previous versions, there are downloads for the source code, plain files, and a self-booting CDI image (the CDI image was built by Aleron Ives and should be in the data/data format).

 
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