Sylverant is an open-source Phantasy Star Online server written for Unix-like operating systems.
Sylverant was originally started as a port of Sodaboy’s PSO Blue Burst Server “Tethealla” to Unix-like operating systems, however, at this point there is no longer any of his code present in the server. However, the name Sylverant actually traces back to this heritage (I do not know if Sodaboy’s naming of Tethealla follows what I thought it did, but it seemed good at the time, also, yes I do know its Sylvarant; I didn’t want any unnecessary confusion with the Sylvanet open shipgate for Tethealla (amongst other reasons)). I started this port, stopped, then started again. Either way, Sylverant wouldn’t exist today if it weren’t for the fact that Sodaboy’s server existed when I was somewhat bored and looking for something to do. A big thanks to Sodaboy for his work on Tethealla, even if I’ve never talked to him personally.
It was around August of 2009 when I realized that the 10th anniversary of the release of the Dreamcast was coming up soon (09/09/09), and I was trying to think of something creative I could do for that date (I do a lot of stuff on the Dreamcast, in case you didn’t know). It was about that time that I thought that I could probably tweak what was Sylverant at the time to work for the Dreamcast versions of PSO (which would have been a LOT harder of a task than I had initially thought if it weren’t for some other events that occurred around this time).
So, with this goal in mind, I set out to figure out how to get the Dreamcast versions of PSO connected to Sylverant. I already had code that could decrypt the packets from the Dreamcast version (Sodaboy had Fuzziqer Software’s encryption code included with Tethealla for its encryption), but I had no idea what exactly I was looking at from decrypting packets exchanged between Schthack’s server and my Dreamcast (while a lot of Blue Burst’s packets are much like those used by the Dreamcast version, the header is different). I would like to thank Schthack and the team maintaining his server for their hard work, as without that I wouldn’t have any idea how many things work.
It was around this time that I discovered that Fuzziqer software (aka, Kohle (gee I wish I had known that when people mentioned Kohle’s server to me)) had released the source code to newserv, a PSO server for PSO PC, Gamecube, and Blue Burst that had been worked on for a long while. This source code also came with a complete suite of quests for the game (which I am currently using on my server). I’ll freely admit that I would probably not have known how the header for the packets for the Dreamcast version of PSO worked if it weren’t for his code. I augmented my documentation that I learned from reading Tethealla’s source code with the few bits I needed to support the Dreamcast version (which I got from newserv), and with pieces that Tethealla either didn’t document or didn’t support (yes, this is why there are names that look like those in newserv in my code (I didn’t copy his code) — I’m not an asshole and I don’t copy people’s work without giving credit where it is due). I’d like to thank Fuzziqer for newserv and for all the hard work he put into it. Much like with Tethealla, I probably wouldn’t have gotten this far without his server’s push in the right direction.
And that’s pretty much what has lead to the initial release of Sylverant. Its been a long road, but I like to think its been fun. Hopefully this clarifies the history of the project for anyone that’s interested (I know there’s at least a few of you). I had an itch to scratch (there were no PSO servers for *nix), and I have to say I think that I’ve successfully scratched it. Thanks again to Schthack (and his team), Fuzziqer, and Sodaboy for their work on PSO in all its various forms. These guys are the true ones that did all the hard work of reverse engineering the protocols, I don’t claim to have done all of that myself.
Now for the boring legalish stuff: Phantasy Star Online and all related trademarks are property of Sega. The Sylverant server is not associated in any way with Sega, nor was it developed or sanctioned by Sega. All other trademarks used herein are property of their respective owners, none of which are associated with the Sylverant server project.