Setting Up a Shard

This tutorial documents the smallest possible setup for a Shard. It is intended to be used on a "normal" PC, to develop ages or the actual server and client software. You can however easily build a "production-style" Shard on top of this.


You will need both a Windows machine for the client, and a Linux machine for the server. It is possible to do it all on one PC using a virtual machine and possibly Wine, but the exact details of such a setup are beyond the scope of this tutorial.

On your Windows box, you need to

  • Compile the latest version of the GoW fork of the Engine (CWE)
    • Make sure you are creating an internal build (which is the default). You can select that in CMake, "PLASMA_EXTERNAL_RELEASE" must be set to "OFF".
    • After starting VisualStudio for the first time, you can choose the build type at the top of the main window, in a drop-down menu: "Debug" or "Release" (or some other, rarely used options). I suggest to use "Release" there (Debug builds currently show assertion failure error messages on startup).
  • Install the and download Myst Online: Uru live again (MOULa)
  • Download the Python and SDL files

On the Linux machine

Server setup

The DirtSand server is not yet quite ready, we need to give it some final touches.

IP address

DirtSand also needs the IP address of the server it is running on. To find out the address of your machine, you can use the command "sudo ifconfig". Look for the line saying "inet addr" (if it's "", you looked at the wrong interface). Be sure to have some kind of firewall between you and the internet!

Now open dirtsand.ini, and insert your IP address behind "File.Host", "Auth.Host" and "Game.Host".


To complete the server, we need a minimalistic dataserver. First tell DirtSand where we are going to put it. In the "Paths" section of dirtsand.ini, change the following options (again replacing "<user>" by your username, and assume you used the default setup suggested by the DirtSand introduction):

File.Root = /home/<user>/dirtsand/data
Auth.Root = /home/<user>/dirtsand/data

We do not want to actually put any data on the dataserver so that you can still put whatever you want into the client folder. However, the client will still request some data and we must tell the server that there's nothing to reply with. The following command will create a bunch of empty files to achieve exactly that:

cd ~/dirtsand
mkdir data authdata
touch data/Internal.mfs data/InternalPatcher.mfs data/ThinInternal.mfs authdata/Python_pak.list authdata/SDL_sdl.list

That's it, the little fake dataserver is complete! It is now your responsibility to make sure all the clients (if more than one person connects to the Shard) use the same dataset.

Server startup

You are now ready to start the server and let it wait for a client to connect to:

bin/dirtsand dirtsand.ini
ds-902> addacct username password

The addacct command creates an account on the server that you can use to log in with the client.

Client setup

On the client side we now need to copy all the files together that are necessary for Uru to run. Start with an empty folder (I will refer to it as "CWE").

  1. Extract the Python and SDL files into it. You can remove the dat folder that was created alongside.
  2. Copy the dat, sfx and avi folders and the files "OpenAL32.dll" and "wrap_oal.dll" from your MOULa client to the CWE folder.
  3. From the PhysX SDK, copy the files Nx*.dll and PhysXLoader.dll to the CWE folder - on a default setup, you can find these files at "C:\Program Files\AGEIA Technologies\AGEIA PhysX SDK\v2.6.4\Bin\win32".
  4. If this is not the machine that you compiled CWE on (or if you want to install it on a second computer), download and install the PhsyX System Software.
  5. From the "dll" directory of the file, copy python27.dll if you created a Release build, or python27_d.dll if you created a Debug build.
  6. From the CWE build directory, copy the client (".../build" refers to the build directory you chose in CMake during CWE compilation)
    • If you created a Debug build, that file is at ".../build/Sources/Plasma/Apps/plClient/Debug/plClient.exe".
    • If you created a Release build, that file is at ".../build/Sources/Plasma/Apps/plClient/Release/plClient.exe".
  7. Download the resource.dat file and put it into the CWE folder as well (it contains cursors and images for the client).

Now the client just needs to be configured. Create an empty filed called "server.ini" with only two lines, telling Uru where to connect to your server:

Server.Gate.Host ""
Server.Auth.Host ""

Of course you need to replace the IP address with the one you also used for the dirtsand.ini configuration file.

Now the client is ready, however it needs to be started with additional command-line parameters to work without a proper dataserver. The easiest way to achieve that is to create a shortcut to plClient.exe into your desktop, then right-click and edit it ("Properties"). Select the "Target" field, and add " -LocalData" to it's end. Make sure there is a space between "plClient.exe" and the parameter!

Now you are ready to double-click the shortcut, enter the credentials you choose (when you typed the "addacct" command), and log in to your own, private Shard!


There are two fundamental limitations to this Shard, which is why you should not use it for anything but testing:

  • No dataserver: Uru assumes every client to have exactly the same set of files, which is usually ensured by a dataserver. This setup lacks such an auto-update mechanism, to make it easier for you to test new ages. This however means that the sychronization has to be done manually, which of course only works for very controlled environments.
  • No encryption: To make the setup easier, the connection between client and server is not encrypted. This allow replay-attacks to log in to another user's account if you can sniff their network connection. A production-style server should use encryption. See the README file shipped with DirtSand for how to do that.