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Regarding Wii/Devolution Support

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 Unfortunately, the software that has been discussed previously to set up a PPP emulation server is horribly out of date and does not build nor work properly on the OS I have set up on the server here.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).

20 Responses to “Regarding Wii/Devolution Support”

  1. That Guy says:

    This doesn’t surprise me at all. The guy spent the time to develop a “piracy protection” scheme for his loader for a system that hasn’t had a new game released in years. Regardless of the controversy surrounding that, the fact that he took the time to add that made him seem a little “off”. I have seen this with a lot of developers. One of them loses their shit and then does something completely irrational. Good luck on the PPP emulation btw. I was tempted to set one up myself.

    • BlueCrab says:

      I don’t blame him in the least for adding piracy prevention code to Devolution. I’d likely have done the same type of thing if I had written it. After all, look at the Sylverant PSO Patcher disc — it intentionally doesn’t work with any CD-R copies of games. This was due not only to laziness on my part (it would’ve been more code to support CD-R copies), but also because I didn’t want to encourage people to pirate the game.

      I don’t really care if a system’s been dead for many years, pirating games is still illegal (unless it’s been dead long enough that the copyright on the games has actually expired, but then it’s not piracy — of course, there’s no video games where this is true in most of the world).

      • That Guy says:

        What if your game is scratched (which is actually more common than you think)? Why would someone waste the hours spent adding something like that to a launcher when it could have been used to making it more useful or fixing bugs? It makes more sense on a server since you are the one hosting it. Other than the PPP emulation, this guy isn’t repsonible for anyone. Piracy is bad, but if the games aren’t in production anymore, than the company isn’t making any money. Coupled with the fact that Gamecube games are now extremely expensive due to collecting and that PSO was already a rare game, it is hard to find the game for less than 50 bucks now and on top of that, it could be scratched to the point where it can’t make a 1:1 rip that the loader needs. This is coming from someone who owns all the PSO games other than the XBOX version.

        • tueidj says:

          What bugs would you like me to fix?

        • BlueCrab says:

          Maybe he didn’t spend “hours” doing it. Who knows. Either way, it’s his piece of software, and he can do what he wants with it. As I said, if I was developing it, I probably would’ve spent time adding some sort of piracy prevention measure too. I’m sure that tueidj doesn’t want to be held liable for any illegal uses that people come up with for his software — adding piracy prevention code pretty much clears him there.

          Also, please don’t turn this into a flamewar… If you have suggestions for bugs in Devolution that tueidj should spend time fixing, feel free to contact him with them. Attacking him for his own decisions in his program is not a good thing to do.

  2. tueidj says:

    As I already explained to you I am not willing to waste any time supporting a project where issues are not just ignored, but the person attempting to report them gets abused by staff members.
    Despite your apparent respect you were content to take no action against Ives publically call me an arrogant troll, so you shouldn’t really be surprised if I decide to act like one towards you.

    • BlueCrab says:

      You have been told that the issues you’ve complained about (Endless Warp, etc) are not unique to unofficial servers (and certainly not to Sylverant) — more than one time, by more than one person. For instance, look at the post in the forum right now of Nico0020 confirming that the bugs existed on Sega’s server and actually caused him to give up on online play with the Gamecube version. These same issues existed on Sega’s server. They have existed and still do exist on Schtserv. There’s no practical way to fix them on the server, as they are mostly bugs in the game itself.

      PSO has always been a very buggy game. Sega/Sonic Team made a lot of stupid mistakes in it. Some are easily worked around, others not so much. If you’re implying that I haven’t tried to fix the bugs or work around them, then you’re wrong. I spent a lot of time trying to work around bugs in the game, usually to no avail. It is unfortunate, but that is life.

      I don’t claim that Sylverant is bug-free. I never have done that, and I never will. I don’t claim it is as stable/correct as Sega’s server was. After all, they had perfect knowledge of the game, something that I certainly do not have.

      People have taken your posts talking about these issues to be trolling, especially as you’ve brought them up more than once even though people told you that the same bugs exist elsewhere and even did on Sega’s server. Unfortunately, often the response to posts that appear to be trolling is to troll them back or to call them out on their trolling nature. Could things have been handled better all around, sure — but that’s an all around comment, not calling any one person out.

      You’re (of course) free to do what you like with your server, and in the end I’ll deal with whatever that is. That doesn’t mean that I have to like or find that decision acceptable. Nor does it mean that the community at large will do so either. The fact still remains that you took these actions and didn’t even tell anyone until a week after the actions were taken. I wrote this post simply informing people as to what happened.

      • tueidj says:

        You are the forum moderator and you verbally shut down the topic. Don’t blame me for complying (although apparently forum rules don’t matter anyway, rule #1: “Attacking other members verbally is strictly prohibited”) and not communicating my intent when you gave instructions preventing me from doing so.

        • BlueCrab says:

          I gave you no instructions that would have prevented you from sending me a private message. I just asked you guys not to fight, so as to actually enforce that rule you’ve so aptly quoted.

          I also would like to point out to you that the first comment I see as anywhere near “abusive” or “verbally attacking” in the recent exchange is this comment that you posted that appears to be verbally attacking the people developing the server (i.e, me) and trying to use it (i.e, those using emulators): “Maybe their QC never experienced that because they were using original copies of the game, on real physical gamecubes, on SEGA’s official servers. Not some dodgy downloaded ISO, on a crappy emulator, on an unofficial server pieced together from packet captures.” After I noticed that post (and Ives’ reply, which came in between the time I noticed your post and when mine went into the thread), I acted as you suggest that a moderator should. I acted to moderate the situation and cool everyone down so as to not escalate things to outright attacking and abuse.

          If you have something else that you feel is in violation of the forum rules, then by all means contact the administration of the forum (i.e, |darc| and myself) through a private message. That’s how things should be done.

          • tueidj says:

            “That’s how things should be done” he says, after publically airing his grievances in a news post, on facebook and on the forum. I doubt you could be much more hypocritical if you tried.
            To top things off, Ives chimes in claiming a local PPP server will reduce lag – an idea which I proposed to you years ago, which you ignored/chucked in the too-hard basket.

            You admit things could have been handled better, but at the same time you refuse to accept any blame or take any action to repair the damage. Instead you chose to fan the flames of yet more PSO drama under the guise of “disclosure”.

            • BlueCrab says:

              So, do you suggest that I should have just not said anything publicly? That I should just ignore the pleas of Wii users to fix the problem? That I should just ignore the fact that you’re directing users who have made the conscious decision to connect to my server over to someone else’s server entirely, without contacting me or even the administration of that other server to tell them what you’re doing?

              I have not personally attacked you at all in any of this. I have not fanned the flames, and I’ve asked people even here not to do so themselves. I simply told the story as it was. The only thing even remotely close to being an attack was the part about null routing not being deserving of respect. If you think that’s fanning the flames and your comments have not been… I’m not sure how to reply to that, actually.

              Also, I never shrugged off having a local PPP server, and it has always been on my todo list. I just didn’t want to rely on slirp+socat, especially since slirp really REALLY doesn’t like 64-bit FreeBSD (it casts pointers back and forth to 32-bit integers, which breaks the entire program on FreeBSD on 64-bit architectures, since FreeBSD actually uses the upper 32-bits of the 64-bit pointer). Even with all the fixes in Debian’s source tree (including yours related to 64-bit machines) doesn’t fix it on FreeBSD. I’m sorry that I’ve put off doing the PPP stuff for this long, but it’s obviously jumped up the todo list quite a few pegs since the start of this whole situation. I’m also sorry that I don’t have the time to devote to Sylverant (as well as all of the other open source projects that I either contribute to or maintain wholesale) that I would like to have — unfortunately, real life (graduate studies, family matters, and my job) tends to dictate that to me.

              I’m not sure what responsibility you want me to take in all of this. I tried to act as a sensible moderator on the forum, but that obviously didn’t help the situation. I didn’t insert myself in that argument to fan it — I inserted myself in it to stop it before it rose to the level of a flamewar. It has now become something even worse than that. I tried to reach the olive branch out to you when you first told me you null routed us. You ignored me. I gave you almost a week to reply to my olive branch and you chose not to.

  3. bhd1223 says:

    Having been away for work I haven’t had a chance to play in a few months. Thankfully I didn’t run into this issue, but I’m back now and glad I saw this first. It looks like I made the right decision in grabbing my GC when I grabbed my Wii out of storage. Now I just have to sort out how I want to get that dang BBA working since I have no nearby ethernet connection. Hopefully those mechanicals keep working (reset button already broken) and the memory cards don’t die. As much as I prefer and enjoyed Devolution, it might be time to put it to pasture. A true shame that some people can be so petty over something so meaningless. Oh well, leave it behind and move on.

  4. JudgeX says:

    As a software engineer and lover of emulation, SEGA, and Phantasy Star, this whole thread and back and forth makes me sad to read.

    I think you guys should just start from scratch, admit that some wires got crossed, and do what’s best for keeping this interesting niche community alive into the future.

    In other words, put the ability to play and enjoy the game into the hands of as many users as possible. It is the user that is important here, not our egos, not our problems with forum admins or other members… but the average user… the guys and gals that miss Phantasy Star Online or have never experienced it, and want to try it out and make friends adventuring.

    Try to think of them, and figure out if the actions you have taken are unnecessarily preventing people from playing the game, and if they are, divorce yourself from your ego and this argument, and do the right thing.

    You’ll be thanked for it, things will return to normal, and we’ll all have learned a lesson.

    Or not. Your call.

  5. Aleron Ives says:

    Thankfully, the situation will soon be entirely under our own control, so no third party will be able to cut off server access to Wii users in the future. Once BlueCrab finishes the local PPP setup, Wiis will connect directly to the server, which also has the added benefit of reducing latency for Wii users.

  6. Mir_ppc says:

    I am kinda sad this happened as i never got the chance to use my copy of PSO for the gamecube on the wii to play with a friend in florida and another in canada. I guess because of this drama llama i will be forced to set up a PC2DC using my 9 dollar CHIP in a kind of modded wireless BBA setup. I hope there will be guides on how to find an alternative way.

  7. Jonathan says:

    Wow, a developer rerouting traffic because of a petty argument on an online forum is kind of disgraceful. “I don’t like what you said or how you handled something, so I will make my software block connections to your server!”, or worse yet “I will reroute them to another server without telling anyone!”, not exactly mature.

    Making something like PSO’s online features work on the Wii was an amazing thing that has no doubt cost a lot of time and effort, I’d even go as far as to call a developer that’s achieve that a hero since not everyone can own/afford a GC/BBA, or run Dolphin on their PC. And then also allowing people to connect to whichever server they want, that’s great! But this action makes that very same person look bad and petty.

    Yes, the developer created the software and should be able to do with it as they please. However doing the above as always will make people hope that someone else comes along and makes an alternative that is not controlled by someone who can cut you off at any point they want. And luckily, BlueCrab and Aleron seem to be working on it.

    • tueidj says:

      You (and several others) seem to have missed the point.
      It was never my intention to completely prevent access to Sylverant. In fact right from the beginning, Devolution was coded to allow the use of other PPP servers besides my own – it would be pretty dumb of me to think blocking access to it from my own PPP server would block ALL access, when I was the one who coded it to explicitly prevent such a thing (in case my server ever went down or became permanently unavailable).
      The point was for me personally to not have to bother dealing with Sylverant’s staff ever again. Over the years I have reported several issues, with both the server code and in-game issues (dodgy quests, menu lockups etc.) which were found by myself and other people. But the most recent time I tried to report something, Aleron Ives (who has always looked down on Devolution from day one, even though it doesn’t suffer from the same bugs as the PC emulator that he always uses) basically told me to go fuck myself and Bluecrab’s only response was “please don’t fight”. So I took action to comply – I removed any need for me to deal directly with either of them.
      Funnily enough that somehow spurred the eternally too-busy Bluecrab to do some coding to implement a “workaround” that I laid the groundwork for nearly 4 years ago, when modem emulation was first added to Devolution. Now I don’t have to deal with them, and they don’t have to deal with me – which would be fine and dandy except for Bluecrab’s public bitchfest, which seems to focus more on inciting people to pick up their pitchforks rather than a simple “Hey, if you’re using a wii you’ll need to use this login info from now on:”. I guess the “responsible” thing to do would have been to set up my own blog and post all of this drama rubbish there first, rather than keeping my business to myself?

      (For the record, the connections are rerouted to prevent the game appearing to have frozen – otherwise dumb people pull the plug on their console and lose all their unequipped items. L33tserv is the obvious choice since it doesn’t require any registration before connecting. I did the same thing when schtserv went down and I didn’t hear Bluecrab complaining then…)

      • BlueCrab says:

        You seem to miss the point that you were essentially acting like a troll on the forum. Act like a troll and you will be treated like a troll. That is the nature of the Internet.

        Many of the “issues” you reported have existed on every PSO server — including Sega’s. Your posts stated otherwise and even went as far as to say that issues didn’t exist on Sega’s server because Nintendo’s QA would’ve found them along the way. Many people have said to you in threads that these issues are not unique to Sylverant and that they did exist on Sega’s server, yet you continued to insist otherwise. In the thread in question, you were openly fighting with a member of the staff, so I asked EVERYONE (NOT JUST YOU) to stop fighting, in keeping with the rules of the forum that state that trolling and such is not allowed.

        I’m not sure where you get the idea that Aleron Ives looks down on Devolution, because he’s never stated that. He has pointed out certain issues (like with lag that was often reported to us) when people were using your PPP server. If that’s looking down on Devolution, then how is it any different than your complaints about bugs on Sylverant? Are you looking down on Sylverant? By your definition, it certainly seems like you are. After all, reporting issues that you’ve heard of is looking down on the software, as you’ve demonstrated here.

        As for my public “bitchfest”, where do you see me bitching before this reply? I reported what happened. I stayed as neutral as I think that I could possibly stand to be. I’ve stood up for you in this thread when people were bitching at you and asked them not to do so. As I’ve already asked in the thread — what would you expect me to do in this situation? Should I have just not said what the situation was at all? Should I have just ignored it so that people would place the blame on me for something that I had no control over? That would just plain be stupid. I did not know that I would actually be able to get a workaround in place in as short of a period of time as I did, and it still would be entirely pointless for me to shoulder the blame for something that was entirely NOT MY FAULT as I had already done for more than a week at that point. That’s all that a simple “use this information for devolution” post would’ve done — it would have made it look like it was my fault, especially without explaining why the change was needed.

        As for me being eternally busy — that’s because I’m trying to make something out of my life. Being a PhD student is quite a draining experience. Between research, teaching classes, keeping up with my own studies, and other personal issues that I’m dealing with, I have almost no time to do anything for any enjoyment. I don’t understand why you’re trying to make my personal life an issue in all of this, and I really don’t appreciate it.

        As for redirecting to l33t when Schtserv was down, I knew nothing about that. I had no reason to know anything about that. I don’t see why you’re bringing that up at all. That said, doing so without any notice to people is not what I personally would do, even if the server was down entirely as was the case with Schtserv.

        As I even said in the post, I’ve had nothing but respect for you up to the point of this whole situation arising. You have written a wonderful program that has helped a whole lot of people enjoy Gamecube games on their Wii in ways that Nintendo had not supported — not just PSO. I’ve defended you in the thread up to this point. However, you appear to completely ignore that point and accuse me of doing exactly the opposite.

        I’m locking this thread now, because there’s no reason to keep it open any more. All that will do is fuel more bitching and flaming.

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