What is UOR [from the UOR author]

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ma...@warzone.com

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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Hello all.

There's been a bit of talk about UOR in this here newsgroup, and silly me had
never bothered checking it out before. :-)

First off, I'll answer a few snippets extracted from previous conversations:

"Noah" <noah...@nowhere.net>, from is almight fake address, once said:
> Actually though, from what I could tell looking at websites, the people who
> are making those servers don't have a CLUE what kind of mind-bogglingly
> large undertaking has overtaken them. Doubt if any of 'em have ever worked
> on a project with > a million lines of code...

I kinda resent that remark. I obviously can't talk for Marcus Rating (the guy
who is working on UOX3), but *I* for one have been gainfully employed several
years in the multiplayer gaming industry, and think I have a serious clue.
:-) And judging me by my website is kinda like judging Ghandi on his sharp
dressing. :-) I don't *do* website. The only reason I'm stuck with one is
that I need _some_ means of conveying information to people that offers at
least a modicum of convinience.

Noah wrote in message <6cn9ho$c...@examiner.concentric.net>...
> [...] more than likely, their versions will require an administrator
> type person that will control everything in the game according to what the
> players do. Respawns, who deserves a skill or stat increase, etc. I think
> they will, however, at least get it so NPC's and monsters can move on their
> own.

BZZT! Wrong. :-) I dunno about the plans Marcus might have for UOX3, but as
it stands UOR already has skill and stat gain. Monsters respawn (when the
feature is enabled, which it isn't because the monsters are really, really
dumb right now) without intervention.

At any rate, rather than attempt to respond to every little snippet I can find
on the 'net, I'm going to include my FAQ verbatim; which can also be found
along with tons of other info on UOR at the UOR homepage:

http://www.warzone.com/~uor

-- Marc A. Pelletier / Coren
Ultima Online Revisited


[-- snip --]

* What is UOR?

UOR is a network server that is compatible with OSI's Ultima Online client.
It is a different game than UO, but uses the same user interface.

Since it's a completely different game; certain things work in unexpected
ways, the game mechanics are different in many aspects, and it's a fun new
twist on a good friend. :-)

UOR, however, is a work in progress. The author (that's me) has only been
working on it part-time for barely three month, so don't expect to have all
the goodies you can get in the real UO yet!

By the way; I kinda dislike the name server emulator which has been used
frequently when referring to UOR. UOR doesn't emulate a server, it /is/ a
server. Calling UOR an emulator is kinda like calling every computer since
ENIAC a computer emulator.

... just a pet peeve of mine. :-)

* How many players can UOR handle?

That is a difficult question to answer at this time. One of the limiting
factors is bandwidth (one has to be able to support peaks of 20kbps per
players at least). The second issue is one of processing power. The current
test server runs on a high-end pc, and my latest experiments allow me to
expect it will be able to support 250-300 users without breaking a sweat.

UOR runs under unix, and was written with portability in mind. My experience
with multi-player game servers (this isn't my first after all) :-) allow me to
expect that with sufficient bandwidth, a midrange workhorse (like, say, and
alphaserver 8000) could cope with several thousand players. But a single
shard's worth of space wouldn't be enough for that many players anyways. :-)

* How's lag in UOR?

I basically face the same difficulty OSI faces on that frontline. Part of the
lag issue is one of Internet connectivity, and there is absolutely nothing I
can do about that. Another one is that when there is a lot of activity around
your character, the server must send you lots of information about it;
sometime this becomes more than you can receive and keep up with unless you
have a fast network connection (faster than a POTS modem). This is also
something I can do nothing about.

There are a few-- shall we say-- infelicities in UO's network protocol that
could be fixed for significant gains in performance, especially over laggy
internet connections [OSI has well demonstrated skill at PC programs, and the
client is a wonderful piece of work, but the inexperience of their programmers
with network multiplayer gaming is most evident in the design of the
protocol]. However, I can't change anything about the protocol on my own since
that would require changing the client to match.

A few of the architectural decisions I did take, however, will make lag be
somewhat less of a hassle when everything else is equal; foremost is my
avoidance of distributed architecture which completely removes the issues
surrounding server lines and assorted problems. I also have a few other tricks
up my sleeve, but I'm not giving those away. :-)

* I cancelled my account with OSI. Can I still play UOR?

Probably not.

Although at this time you still can play with the experimental server, it is
very likely that in order for UOR to receive OSI's blessing it will have to
verify that you indeed have an account in good standing with them.

Then again, we have to wait and see what OSI has to say on the subject. Given
the choice, I would rather make UOR free to play in but that takes a backseat
to cooperation with OSI.

* How much will playing UOR cost?


It will cost you the price of the UO program itself (which you probably
already paid) of course, and probably the $10 USD monthly fee to have an
account with OSI (see the previous question).

While I will not charge anything further to play on my shards, some other
people who run shards may wish to charge additionnal fees (provided the
arrangement with OSI will allow it at all).

* When will you release the server program?

Basically, never. Though multiple shards of UOR will exist, they will be
handled by serious applicants in whom I have sufficient trust that they will
run a serious game, including providing support for players and maintaining a
fun universe.

If your interrest lies in having your private server where you and a couple of
your friends/guildmates can meet, you might want to take a look at Cironian's
UOX3 which is more suited for that task.

Although my laziness makes certain UOR is written to be as maintenance-free as
possible, running a server where hundreds of players roam and play is a
serious undertaking-- especially if you take into account the arduous task of
keeping them happy and well fed with monsters, quests, etc. Since my name, and
ergo my professional reputation, is tied to the players' perception of UOR, I
cannot allow a substandard game server to exist.

* Why is UOR better than UOX?


It's not.

UOR hasn't been written with the same objectives UOX has; UOX is meant to be a
small server to play around with, and with which an average computer-literate
person can set up a game server with some ease. It probably will never have
all the features of a full production-level game simply because it's not
trying to be that.

UOR, on the other hand, is a more complex beast to run and maintain. It runs
exculively under unix, and requires significant systemic resources. It
requires a mostly dedicated computer to run and will snarf through bandwidth
with a ravenous apetite; more likely than not only dedicated people would want
to bother in the first place.

* Can players play monsters in UOR?

Not yet, but that is in the planning stages. Some client interface issues make
that a difficult proposition, but I've figured out ways around most of them by
now.

One thing for sure, only small intelligent humanoids will be playable by
players; that basically means orc, lizardmen and ratmen right now. Maybe
liches, but I doubt it.

* What about notoriety? Will there be any? Will it work the same way?

Notoriety, crime and guards are handled very differently in UOR. You might
want to read up on that in the docs section of the UOR homepage.

As a quick sumarry, notoriety exists but works much differently. Guards are
not gods wiedling the infinitely powerful halbers of instant doom. And crime
is neither the quick road to riches nor the instant doom they are in UO.

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ma...@warzone.com

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Feb 27, 1998, 3:00:00 AM2/27/98
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