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15 Years On

Start: 2016-01-29 05:00:00
End: 2016-02-12 05:00:00

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Archive for the ‘Server News’ Category

Regarding Wii/Devolution Support

Saturday, May 28th, 2016

It came to my attention a couple of weeks ago that Wii users were unable to connect to the server using Devolution in the normal manner prescribed by it’s author tueidj. Being that I haven’t changed anything in the Sylverant code in a while directly related to logging in with the Gamecube version, I was naturally curious as to what was going on. To this end, I reached out to tueidj regarding the matter.

Upon contacting tueidj, he informed me that he had effectively blacklisted any traffic from his server to Sylverant (by a process known as null-routing any connections). The effect being that he blocked all Wii users from connecting to Sylverant unless they set up their own PPP emulation servers to do so. As of now tueidj is still null-routing connections to the IP address for Sylverant (if you were to specify 0 for a phone number and specify Sylverant’s IP for the DNS server), but connections that normally would go to Sylverant automatically (using 2 for the phone number) are being now directed to l33tserv instead. tueidj took this action without contacting anyone associated with Sylverant and with no warning whatsoever.

I have had nothing but respect for tueidj up until this point — he created Devolution and has hosted the requisite PPP emulation server for many years without any problems. I also respect that most Devolution traffic generally goes through his server and he can do with that server as he pleases. However, null-routing the traffic bound for Sylverant (and subsequently redirecting it to l33tserv) without even the decency to notify me is not exactly deserving of respect. Out of full disclosure, I should also mention the reason that tueidj has taken this action: he got into an argument with Aleron Ives on the forum (over something completely pointless) and I chimed in to ask everyone to chill out. That is it.

I have held up on writing this post for about a week after I found out about the issue, hoping that an amicable conclusion to the situation could be reached. However, it appears at this point that there will be no amicable conclusion to the issue with tueidj, especially being that traffic is now being redirected to l33tserv. Unfortunately, the software that has been discussed previously to set up a PPP emulation server is horribly out of date and does not build nor work properly on the OS I have set up on the server here. This unfortunately means that until I can develop a replacement for that PPP emulation software (I have begun on this task about a week ago now), nobody will be able to connect with the Wii to Sylverant (unless someone else sets up the PPP emulation server software successfully).

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Server Event: 15 Years On

Friday, January 29th, 2016

It was fifteen years ago today that Sega released Phantasy Star Online for the Sega Dreamcast in the United States. It seems fitting to do something to commemorate this anniversary, so we have a new server event that starts now.

Event Information:
Start Time: January 29, 2016 @ 05:00 UTC (@250)
End Time: February 12, 2016 @ 05:00 UTC (@250)

Description:
The original Phantasy Star Online for the Sega Dreamcast was released 15 years ago. Let’s keep the hunt going for 15 more years!
Your task is to hunt down the enemies that tormented all of those brave hunters that took to Ragol in the original Phantasy Star Online.

Prizes:
No prizes are being given for this event. This one is completely for the fun of it.

(Not So) Fine Print:

  • This event, like the previous two events, requires you to have enabled /trackkills on your account while logged in (with /login or /tlogin). It is only open to those with a registered account on the Sylverant website that have registered their serial number and access key on the site.
  • The /trackkills command must be run on each registered guildcard in your account for any kills made with that guildcard to be counted (results are aggregated across all guildcards in your account).
  • If you used the /trackkills command in the earlier events, unless you have since disabled it, your kills will be tracked for this event.
  • Only enemies killed in free-play will be counted — no enemies killed during quests will count toward your totals for this event.

Get out there and hunt down the creatures that tormented the brave hunters of lore!

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Some Newsβ€½

Saturday, July 4th, 2015

It’s been a while since there’s been any news here, but all in all that’s probably a good thing. It means that things are pretty calm and running relatively smoothly (which is always a good thing). Over the past few months, I’ve not had much time for working on the server, but there have been a few changes here and there. Here’s a little list:

  • Added NOL protection code
  • Small bugfixes to server-side drops (yes, I know there are still issues on PSOGC)
  • Made the quest list show quests for all episodes on PSOGC, not just the one that the game is set to
  • Fixed the quest list icons on PSOGC
  • Added long descriptions of quests on the Download Quest menu

Thanks go to Aleron Ives for nagging me to do all of these (and for filling in the long descriptions on the download quests). πŸ˜‰

Speaking of download quests, there’s been a few other interesting developments regarding them. First of all, Aleron Ives has gone ahead and added all the different language versions of the PSO+ quests that are available as download quests on PSOGC. (Thanks go out to Hayame for providing the quests from his Japanese copy of PSO+.) Also, I’ve added all the download quests I can find for PSOv1. Unfortunately, I’ve only got one language for each quest (Letter from Lionel is only in English, all the rest are Japanese-only). That said, we do finally have some PSOv1 download quests, which is a good thing, all in all. πŸ™‚

Anyhow, that’s all I’ve got for today. I hope everyone in the US has a great Independence Day (and everyone else just has a nice day regardless of it not being a holiday). πŸ™‚

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Server Event: Easter Egg Hunter Hunting!

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

I’m getting this organized a bit later than I would have liked, but I really wanted to have an Easter event, so here it is…

Event Information:
Start Time: April 3, 2015 @ 16:00 UTC (@708)
End Time: April 10, 2015 @ 16:00 UTC (@708)

Description:
Forest-dwelling monsters are stealing all the Easter Eggs that were hidden for the annual Pioneer 2 Easter Egg Hunt. Hunt down the monsters that seek to ruin the holiday for the children of Pioneer 2!

Prizes:
No prizes are being given for this event. This one is completely for the fun of it.

(Not So) Fine Print:

  • This event, like the one earlier in the year, requires you to have enabled /trackkills on your account while logged in (with /login). It is only open to those with a registered account on the Sylverant website that have registered their serial number and access key on the site.
  • The /trackkills command must be run on each registered guildcard in your account for any kills made with that guildcard to be counted (results are aggregated across all guildcards in your account).
  • If you used the /trackkills command in the earlier event, unless you have since disabled it, your kills will be tracked for this event.
  • Only enemies killed in free-play will be counted — no enemies killed during quests will count toward your totals for this event.
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Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Well, even if it is a few hours early for me, officially by the server’s time (UTC), it’s the new year. So, it’s time to unveil a new feature of the server that hopefully some people will find enjoyable. πŸ™‚

Last year, I started accepting donations in Dogecoins that would be put toward server events and whatnot. Today begins the first of these events! As of the time of the writing of this post, the donations wallet has just under 14,000 Dogecoins in it, so I’ll put 7,000 coins up for grabs in the event that starts today.

How the event will work is as follows, anyone who wishes to participate in this event (as well as any future events) must be logged into his or her account on the server (i.e, you have to have used the /login command in-game), and then must use the new /trackkills command. Once you do so, the server will keep track of the enemies you kill in-game and will automatically record them when you leave the team you’re in. Note: the new /trackkills command and enemy tracking now works on Iselia, Vega, Altimira, and Palmacosta.

For the current event running, your kill counts of certain Episode 1 enemies (no, I’m not telling you which ones, but feel free to try to figure it out πŸ˜‰ ) will be totaled up across all free-play (non quest, non challenge, non battle) teams that you participate in for the next month. At the end of the month, the top three players by that count will receive a prize. It’s as simple as that. First place will take home 4,000 DOGE, second place will take home 2,000 DOGE, and third place will take home 1,000 DOGE. Winners will be contacted by me after the end of the month to figure out where to send their winnings (and if any winners wish to reinvest their winnings in the donations pool, they are more than welcome to do so).

Anyway, I hope everyone enjoys our first server-wide event and I hope everyone has a great new year.

PS: Continue reading for answers to a few questions you might have…
(more…)

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Voice Chat

Friday, 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…

(more…)

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It’s been a while…

Tuesday, 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. πŸ˜› Hopefully some of the other servers out there might be able to make use of it in preventing attacks in the future. πŸ™‚

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

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Much Dogecoin. Such donate. Wow.

Saturday, 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. πŸ˜‰

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New account management pages are now live

Saturday, 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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To the idiots…

Saturday, 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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