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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:43 pm 
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I have frequently witnessed players, both new and old, who are confused about various aspects of Plasma, CWE, PhysX and more, sometimes not understanding what each term means or confusing different things together. The purpose of this thread is to try to explain clearly and concisely some of the aforementioned aspects' significance. You might already know all or a great deal of what follows, but hopefully some people might find it informative.

If you have suggestions or corrections you would like to submit, feel free to post them here.

General

General information about Uru's technical aspects.

Plasma is the game engine powering Uru - that is, the piece of software which ties everything together, grabs the content and turns it all into a game which we can enjoy. Cyan has used Plasma in other Myst games, including realMyst and Myst V, albeit with significant modifications for each game. The version of Plasma powering Uru was almost entirely made open-sourced (some components, such as CCR functions, were stripped out before release) on the 6th of April 2011 in the form of the CyanWorlds.com Engine.

The CyanWorlds.com Engine (CWE) is the open-source version of Plasma, released under the GPL license in April 2011 by Cyan Worlds, Inc.. Over two years have since passed, and the engine has been forked (a process by which a few developers decide to create their own version of an open-source project, without necessarily contributing code back to the original) by various groups, most notably H'uru, but also by other groups and individuals, including The Open Cave, myself, the creators of the various bots and so on. OpenUru.org is in charge of preparing fixes for submission to Cyan by testing them on their Minkata shard before submitting them to Cyan for inclusion in MO:ULa, Cyan's shard. The term CWE can also include Cyan's Max plugin for Age creation.

MOULSCRIPT, also known as moul-scripts, is the name commonly attributed to the Python code used to script Uru. This can include everything from the pellet bake ovens to management of the entire KI.

PhysX is a proprietary physics engine created by Ageia, now a part of Nvdia, and used in Uru to provide all the physics calculations - walking, jumping, collisions, etc.. Note, however, that when Uru developers say the physics code has been changed, unless otherwise specified, they mean the code surrounding PhysX has been modified - not PhysX itself. Long-term plans include replacing PhysX entirely with another library, most probably Bullet, in order to provide cross-platform compatibility (Windows, Mac, Linux...).

Bink is a proprietary video file library and format used by Cyan to display videos in Uru (such as the Cyan logo video). Due to recent legal issues, Bink support has had to be removed from all CWE clients - including Cyan's MO:ULa client, as it is based on CWE. A solution might eventually be in the works, but it is not a particularly high priority now.

Groups
Uru's open-source development is possible thanks to many individuals and groups working together. Here are some of them.

OpenUru.org does many things for Uru (one of them is hosting the New Greeters' website), but when it comes to open-source Uru development, they are known primarily to developers as being the link with Cyan. They host the Minkata shard, a testing shard for new contributions and bug fixes, which are tested before being submitted to Cyan Worlds, Inc. for inclusion in MO:ULa. They also host the Cyan and OpenUru.org code repositories for Uru.

The Guild of Writers, although it was originally created for the sole purpose of Age creation, includes a small group of developers called H'uru whom, amongst other things, code for Uru. They forked CWE shortly after its release and have since added numerous fixes, improvements and new features, all of which are on display on their Gehn shard. Some of these fixes (including the improved cursors) have since made it back to MO:ULa.

Clients
Since Uru now is open-source, a great variety of clients are available for use by anyone. A client is the piece of software that lets you access an Uru server; it's the actual game you play. Different clients can be used to access the same server, although by default, players use the shard client. Those with technical knowledge can compile additional ones to suit their needs.

Note that all of the following clients are CWE clients.

Shard clients are clients automatically provided by shards (such as MO:ULa, Gehn, Minkata, TOC, Destiny...) and intended for the end-users. These can vary greatly from shard to shard, as not all possess the same fixes and changes. Shards usually distribute external clients, but some can also provide internal clients.

External clients are clients intended for end-users, that is, regular players - the one you use to play on MO:ULa is quite probably an external client. Internal clients are clients used by Cyan employees, by developers who either need to test the code they've written or who wish to hack the game in an authorized way (Grey Hats), or Age developers who need to test out their Ages. H'uru regularly builds and distributes internal clients for demonstrative purposes.

Bot clients (such as those used for Lyrobot, MagicBot, Mir-o-Bot...) are modified internal clients which, when combined with modified Python code, allow the creation of bots - automated players which can respond to triggers, such as chat commands.

Other clients include the Marker Editor and the Skydiving client.

Non-shard clients need to be updated when the shard is updated, to match the new build ID (for example, MO:ULa was recently updated to 1.918, which means clients have to bump their build IDs from 912 to 918 to work).

Servers
Clients need to connect to something, and that something is a server. Uru servers require special programs to work; currently, there exists only two such open-source programs, in addition to Cyan's server software.

Cyan's server software is used to power MO:ULa. Cyan apparently has no plans currently to release it as open-source. It runs on Windows machines.

MOSS is a GPL-licensed Uru server software used on Minkata and TOC. It runs on *nix machines.

DIRTSAND is an LGPL-licensed Uru server software used on Gehn. It runs on *nix machines.

Shards
Shards are Uru servers. The term refers both to servers running Untíl Uru servers and those running CWE-compatible servers.

Note: legally, shards are not allowed to redistribute content (Age files, music, etc.); therefore, the only way to obtain said files is to first download them from MO:ULa, then to copy them over to the shard's installation folder. However, since whenever MO:ULa gets updated the content changes slightly (apparently due to a bug in the build system), each new update breaks compatibility with the shards. These have to undergo a maintenance process to update their system to match the new content files; until this is done, new users are unable to sign in to these shards. More information available here.

MO:ULa is the shard run by Cyan Worlds, Inc., accepting some of the community developers' code for inclusion in their shard for each update.

Minkata is a testing shard run by OpenUru.org to test fixes before they are included into MO:ULa. Testers can be regular players - they just need to report their findings on the OpenUru.org forums when testing new features. Minkata generally serves as a short-term preview for the next build of MO:ULa.

Gehn is the Guild of Writers official shard, complete with all the latest fixes from H'uru. The shard offers a very different user experience from MO:ULa, as it benefits from many more bug fixes. While some instability can sometimes be experienced on Gehn, since it is a more bleeding-edge shard than MO:ULa, it is designed to be usable by the average player and to be an alternative to MO:ULa.

The Open Cave - MO:UL is a shard featuring the addition of commands similar to the MO:ULa bots' commands, various content additions to the Ages, as well as all the fixes provided by H'uru's CWE client. It is similar to Gehn, on a technical level.

FAQ
If a question gets asked enough times, I will add it here. If you have suggestions, post them below.

Q: Why won't my special client let me access MO:ULa anymore?
A: All clients are compiled with a specific build ID (for MO:ULa, these are 906, 912, 918...). When MO:ULa gets updated, the build ID gets bumped, and the server will reject any client with a different build ID. Therefore, if you have a 1.912 MO:ULa client, it will not work on MO:ULa 1.918. The developer of the client will have to release new version with the build ID bumped to match MO:ULa's new ID. This is the case for the Marker Editor and the Skydiving client.

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Last edited by Lyrositor on Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:56 pm 
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[RESERVED]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 9:56 pm 
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[RESERVED]

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Now that is informative..ty Lyrositor..hopefully this will clear up some gray areas..Hopefully people with questions will see this subject..

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 12, 2013 11:35 pm 
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Cool! I was thinking of writing one of these but I think you did a better job then I did.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:06 am 
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Lyrositor wrote:
...since PhysX is Windows-only.


PhysX is also Mac compatible!

How could it not be??

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:39 am 
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I think this is the issue with PhysX. It's is a bit over my head tho.
From the nvida site...
""" The PhysX SDK is provided to developers for free for both commercial and non-commercial use on Windows. For Linux, OSX and Android platforms the PhysX SDK is free for educational and non-commercial use. """

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 2:01 am 
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That is for the new PhysX 3.0 that you have to be a member of the NVIDIA Developer program to access.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 5:39 am 
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I did a little searching (for something unrelated actually) and found a cached version of the old MOUL website under GameTap (from like back in 2006 or 2007).

One of the selling points on the website was "play now on pc or mac!". Glad to know I remembered correctly and didn't just get the "mac support" idea from nowhere.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:23 am 
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As best as I can tell, that functionality was provided by the cider wrapper. I have searched for PhysX Mac support, but so far I have found no place where a 2.x Mac version could be downloaded. I will nonetheless remove that it is Windows-only, in case you're right.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:45 am 
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Great post. Thanks, Lyrositor. Perhaps it can be made sticky?


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 13, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Mac support for GameTap's Myst Online: Uru Live was under Transgaming's Cider.

Here's a Macworld article about it:
http://www.macworld.com/article/1054936/mystonline.html

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:58 pm 
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nice post! thank you!!

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 3:08 am 
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Lyrositor wrote:
[RESERVED]

What?

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2013 4:06 am 
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Ahlisendar wrote:
Lyrositor wrote:
[RESERVED]

What?


Reserved for future use/first post expansion.

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