TSN, INN – Screen Shots and memories

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    • #20658 Reply

      Ken, Roberta and et all,
      My wife and I met in Yserbius (she in California and I in Boston) and will celebrate our 10th wedding aniversary shortly.
      Thanks for all the many hours fun, friendship, and even love.
      Here are some screen shots of those wonderful days.

      Oh NO!!!!! The dreaded clock — what I used to pay for entertainment!

    • #20659 Reply

      (One of the game rooms)

    • #20660 Reply

      (Woot — Da wife gets to be a beta tester (that means me too!))

    • #20661 Reply

      (Yserbius and Cawdor Images) Yserbius


    • #20662 Reply

      (Cawdor game Images (and hacking too)) For those of you with and eye for detail, you will see my wife and I have impossibly high levels (sorry Ken). And NO I didn’t use Vitamin F. I had already figured out a way to hex edit memory using Norton Utilities and some other DOS utilities.
      OK — I’m sorry, I played Yserbius through and hacked Twinion and Cawdor (ok I cheated in Yserbius, but only a little). I’m sorrrryyyyyyy. Please don’t banish me. I was young! Misguided! I’ve (mostly) reformed my ways.
      But I got a wife out of the deal. 🙂
      Da INNs!!!!!! Where all the real action was….

      Hey Ken! Check out this interface! Who needs 3D anyway??

      My Lovely Wife

    • #20663 Reply

      (AOL Games Channel???? The end of an era) Here is INNs good-bye letter in the original format (sniff).

    • #20664 Reply

      (re: AOL Games Channel???? The end of an era) It’s OK to post these here – in your other thread you thought you had mis-posted them. How did you get these now? Do you still have the source software that somehow allows you still view these pages? Is it possible to re-post these pictures in a format such as GIF or PNG that will not add compression artifacts? Is it possible to re-capture these pictures through the Windows clipboard system thus changing their resolution from 320×200 to 640×400?

    • #20665 Reply

      (Source of images) I got the pictures originally by using the screen capture utility in Wordperfect (I think version 5.2). The origianl images are in WPG format. I converted them for this site to JPEG.
      There were a number of interesting DOS utilities at the time that allowed you to “multitask.” Well, sorta anyway. The utiltiy loaded into memory, you hit the hot key combo and a sequentially numbered file was produced. You could even select the portion of screen to capture. I used other similar “multitasking” utilities in my aforementioned nefarious activites.
      Anyway, no, I haven’t recreated the service — those are all original images as they appeared at the time in 1996. I just keep shuffling the images from one computer to the next.
      What’s funny is that at the time I was worried about how much space it was taking on my 200 and some odd MB drive.
      Shortly after INN shut down I upgraded to a Cyrix 150+ (for Windows 95). Anyone remember those? Nice chip. But I have more images, mostly of the posts from the very last day. I took them because I realized it would all be lost once the service shut down, and I wanted to have a final record.
      I will endeavor to convert them and post them at some point.

    • #20666 Reply

      (re: Source of images)

      Hi Cyriak,
      I run the fauxinn.com website, and I’m the project lead for the TSN-remake. We opened up a section recently on our forum, called the scrapbook, where we’re trying to create a collection of screencaps so we can figure out how TSN worked, and what it looked like. I was wondering if you’d mind me posting your images there? I think they’d be a great help to our cause, since screencaps are so hard to come by.

      Also, if you have any other pics you want to send, please send them to me atjldougl@fas.harvard .edu 🙂 I’ll be happy to convert them for you and post them!


      FauxINN website

    • #20667 Reply

      (re: Source of images) Jason:

      Good luck with your FauxINN project! You can’t imagine how much I wish INN existed — just so I could play it. I really miss it… Yes … you have my permission to “borrow” the images from here of INN for your site. Factually speaking — all images are/were of Sierra copyrighted material —so, it’s not clear that anyone, other than possibly Sierra owns them. I have no right to “give” you anything (or, for that matter, to have it myself).

      Speaking of lawyers… here’s something interesting…

      Recently, I spent an hour on the phone with lawyers for American Online. Apparently, they somehow wound up being the owners of INN. You cannot imagine what a pioneering effort INN was. The Internet did not really exist yet, and modems were barely running at 1200 baud (some people were just starting to have 2400 baud).

      I had the foresight to patent what we were doing. Apparently, AOL understand that owning the patents on key aspects of multi-player games is important and called me recently to ask about the patent. I’m listed as the inventor, along with a few other Sierra folk. AOL has been working on getting the patents through the filing process for over 10 years! I had no idea this was going on. I remember filing the patents, and that they were very broad (we really were first in MANY ways).

      The key thing to know here is that AOL understands the value of the patents, and that they are close to being issued. I doubt that your faux INN project is “in their crosshairs” …. but, it is possible that many other, larger, “infringers” are…

      -Ken W

    • #20668 Reply

      (re: re: re: Source of images)

      Hi Ken,
      Thanks for the words of support 🙂 Yes, I remember when I first used TSN, it was at something like 2400 baud (I remember how color printers were so hard to come by, and 1GB hard drives were $2000! And there was no way that’d ever fill up… of course now I have almost half a terabyte of stuff).

      I’d moved on, went to Harvard for my undergrad, and tucked TSN neatly into the back of my mind. As I near graduation though, I’d noticed how lonely my dad seems back at home, and how much he talks about missing TSN (even though it’s been some… 10 years?). So, I thought I’d give this a whirl and see where it went! :p

      I’m coding the back-end in C++, and the front-end is being designed in Flash, and the two are being linked together via TCP/IP. Somebody had mentioned trying to purchase the original INN code from AOL, but to be honest I was a bit scared what it might look like 🙂 Realizing that much of it was designed when TCP was in its infancy, and that it was essentially a proprietary network, I was afraid that it would take forever to re-code. In some ways, I guess we have it easier today, because we have a pre-installed network built for us, and a very established protocol (sockets), plus multimedia front-ends like Flash that make graphics, animation, and interactivity a cinch compared to those DOS days…

      Indeed, it’s scary about AOL and the patents. It reminds me of something I heard recently, about eBay being sued by a guy who insisted that he “invented” on-line auctions, and the ability to buy something at a fixed price on the Internet (what eBay calls Buy-It-Now). I understand the judge was quite perturbed over the case, but still awarded damages to the inventor. What was really ironic though, is that eBay bought the patents from the guy, after losing the case… Frightening, because if a court showed that the patents were indeed valid, it might prompt eBay to go after similar companies, and just focus on winning legal damages rather than innovating their product.

      I had noticed that the trademarks on TSN are all dead, I guess AOL got tired of paying for them. And of course, they do own the copyright for the images and so forth. However, I imagine that the most they’ll ever do is ask me nicely to cease my project, since lawyer’s fees for getting an injunction don’t seem to be justified in shutting down a non-profit site which can’t compete or pose a threat. Besides, as an open-source project, we can always pass FauxINN on to another person who wants to take the legal risks in hosting it, and I’m sure AOL will lose interest eventually.

      Well, I should probably get back to working on the server 🙂 If you ever get a chance, especially later, you might want to stop by some time, though… the website address is http://www.fauxinn.com, and I’m hoping to have at least something up and running by June (when all my finals are over!!).

      Best regards,


    • #20669 Reply

      (Additional Images) Jason,
      Basically, aside from captures of posts, the stuff posted here is pretty much all I have.
      As for AOL, well, the letter I posted from INN pretty much says it all. And like goof balls AOL didn’t do anything with it.
      As for ownership, I no more own the images than I would the Lincoln Memorial if I took a snapshot of that. They’re merely “pictures” I took of a fun place I want to remember.
      I’m glad you’re taking a shot at recreating the interface. Have you seen the M$ zone interface? Man, that’s just getting worse every day.
      What’s always bothered me, is that I know (in my bones, so to speak) that some programmer somewhere has the a copy of the TSN / INN source in a box somewhere. I don’t care what all the lawyers say, if I had been there, I have some source squirled away. I’ve always been amazed that it didn’t start making the rounds at some point.
      One other point — TSN / INN was primarily a client based network, in that the servers merely handled authentication, billing, bulletin boards and setting up IO between clients — much like ICQ operates. I think they said the original network started on four 386 computers. Not a whole lot of horsepower there. Anyway, the point — yes the point. If you start hammering away on the DOS client, you will get, IMHO, about 90% of TSN /INN, including all the graphics.
      Best of Luck

    • #20670 Reply

      Hello, I would like to invite everyone over to Yserbius.Org to see the what we are doing.. This site is dedicated to Archiving everything we can find left of Yserbius. Please come and view our Galleries and Forums if you have things that would fit our website please leave it with us to preserve for the ages. Even if but a memory fond or otherwise. Thanks for reading..

      PS if anyone remembers all of the host names in Yserbius,, ie Roleplay Inn I would sincerly appreciate this list as I am working on a project. email me atjglass@cianbro.com 

      Thanks again

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