This thread is for the purpose of presenting and collecting information pertinent to the history of Graal Online and Zelda Online; mainly during the early years “1997-2000” but all history and information related to Graal/Zelda Online or about the admins and people who were involved in it to present day are welcome.
[Please note that posts made by me in here are a work in progress and may be edited or cleaned up later. Much of it is copypasta from my site and other stuff and may not format properly or appear at all on this forum when posted.]
Page 1: Introduction and General Information. - by Viper
About The Author: Viper is among the second generation/wave of Graal players who first played Graal in November of 1998 and was active in the main servers/community until 2002ish. Viper was a prominent member of the guild [Baddy]/(Baddies) between 1999 and 2000 under Clops and Gandarian and the leader of the guild Legion of Doom (LoD) between 2000 and 2002. Viper like many others gradually became disenfranchised with the GraalOnline administration and corruption particularly from Unixmad/Stephane and the bad direction the game was going which eventually lead to the for all intents and purposes death of multiplayer PC GraalOnline and anything the once resembled it. This lead to resistance/protest movements against GraalOnline including SG111’s Soundoff which I became apart of as I was a good friend of Shane “SG111” and Justin at the time. Unixmad and GraalOnline staff slandered/defamed such movements and anyone that opposed their 100% pay to play agenda as being “anti graal” and “cheaters and hackers” when in fact the exact opposite was true, most of us were Pro Graal and actually trying to maintain and restore some sanity and save the game. - Completely unintentionally, by accident, random chance and through the spreading of false rumors and defamation Viper became the flagship of the so-called “Anti Graal” and “Anti Unixmad” movements between 2003 to present day. I never was that “big guy” or really super special, super talented or anything. I’m just an ordinary guy who was an ordinary kid that just wanted to play a nice Online Zelda like game, have fun and have it stay good.
General History of the Graal Client:
Graal has it’s origins as small Java programming projects Bomberman and Java Zelda on January 17th 1998 the idea of which came from Chris Wright (SECAIN) of the SNES Emulation Centre and was published on Stefan Knorr’s (Informatik studies at University of Rostock Germany) page Stefan’s Page in 1998 Stefan’s Page in 1999 the first available incantation of Java Zelda is Java Zelda v1 later followed by Java Zelda v2 - Later on Java Zelda, Zelda Online was renamed to Graal and put on Stephane Portha’s Cyberjoueurs Page around December 7th 1998 (in fact Stefan Knorr made ALL the Java and other games for Cyberjoueurs/Stephane Portha) These are essentially the Java games from Stefan’s Uni-Rostock page and Java Graal is just a reskinned Java Zelda with different levels. - The PC Graal Client was and still is (up until version 6.1 when Stefan Knorr left) made using Delphi, DirectX and a mismash of compiled code and libraries. Gradually the zelda levels, tilesets and graphics were replaced with slightly different levels and tiles (Graal still to this day using heavily Zelda ripped off graphics and styles) and the world became what is know today as Graal Classic or Graal The Adventure. Versions 0.1 (1stGraal) through Graal1.1.9 saved online player data and most other things to files locally such as saved games to .gsave files or guildcodes to .gcode files ect… This obviously made cheating and messing with the online game super easy and effective and “many lulz” were had. From Graal 1.2 onwards a server side account and guild system is used with an increasing amount of actions being moved from clientside to serverside in future versions for the purpose of preventing cheating.
What is Graal?:
Graal was originally known as Java Zelda and Zelda Online which was a multiplayer java applet clone of Zelda Link to The Past created in late 1997 by Stefan Knorr, inspired by Chris Wright and originally posted on the SNES Emulation Centre. Graal The Adventure is a multiplayer PC clone of the SNES game “The Legend of Zelda - Link to the past” with features that allow for customization of levels, graphics, weapons, and scripts within the game and a server program that allows you to host your own custom world and play with others on a LAN or over the internet TCP/IP.
Most versions of Graal contain a built in level editor that allows for the creation of overworlds, underworlds, dungeons, houses, and levels of all types using a tile placement system, signs where you can put messages, warp links that link the levels together and allow the player to travel across to specified levels, and NPCs “non-player characters” scripts that enable customized actions, weapons, baddies and many other functions. Placement of tiles and objects is done via a 2d x,y location system with each tile being 16x16 pixels. Normally level files are saved as .graal , .nw or .zelda but they can be saved with any extension and still work normally. Overworld levels can be linked together where players can see there current location on a map, this is done via specified text files normally bigmap.txt and minimap.txt with each level in parenthesis and separated by a comma with the bigmap image usually being map.gif or map.png and the minimap being map2.gif or map2.png
Graal has a scripting system using NPCs “Non-player characters” to manipulate players and objects within the same level or server the language is known as Gscript and using syntax, arguments, and operators to carry out commands. For a basic understanding of the Graal NPC system please take a look at Graal NPC Guide 2.3.1 and List of Graal 2.3.1 NPC Commands
Origins of Graal:
Graal began as a small java project by Stefan Knorr known as Java Zelda. Inspired by Chris Wright this java applet was featured on “The SNES Emulation Centre” Stefan Knorr made a server and level editor which created and expanded a user base for Zelda Online and the game became somewhat popular. Eventually the name was changed to “Graal The Adventure” to avoid copyright issues and the client was changed to a windows based Delphi DirectX program. The former success of Graal was due to the player base, the content created by the players, and the free and open nature that the game once had that allowed players to play for free, play freely, interact and contribute. Once a weasel named Stephane Portha “Unixmad” showed up that free spirit was killed off and the game and most of it’s players diminished.
There are different communities related to Graal, the split originally occurred around February 2001 as a result of the end of free play, the GraalOnline pay to play platform and the general corruption and nastiness that came from Stephane Portha and GraalOnline. As of now there is
GraalOnline: The “Official” Graal site and server. a 100% closed pay to use platform which since 2008 consists mainly of apple mobile iProducts most of which Stephane Portha rips off from other developers. It is now filled with wannabe trendy elitist brown-nosers. No longer is there a sense of community. Nobody there develops anything original or meaningful anymore. That place is filled with elitism, snobbyness, ignorance, lies and hatred. That place is kind of like being locked in a gym shower with a bunch of 12 year old boys playing with their iPhones and the occasional 50 year old unixmadesque pervert. If I was you I would avoid that place like the plague…
Graal Reborn: The currently active alternative Graal community also known as Open Graal. The spirit of Graal Reborn is that of freedom, independence, openness, choice and development. Graal Reborn is an open source server, list server and NPC Server alternative for Graal clients 1.3.9, 1.4.1, 2.1.7, 2.2.2, 2.3.1 and some other versions. Anyone can make a server/playerworld, develop content, or even modify or develop the server source codes openly and freely. If you don’t already know about them I strongly recommend you check them out at Graal Reborn
Stinkybear!: Not really a large developed community, but definitely worth a look. StinkyBear and Spider’s Page of Stuff has been around since 1999 and has lots of unique and SuperFun content. It has a IRC and Graal server mainly consisting of a small group of old friends including Spider, Corson, Owl Shimy, Frequent, and some others. StinkyBear!
The UGCC: Originally known as the Unofficial Graal Communication Center, The UGCC is a forum community created and maintained by WarCaptain and some other former Graal players. The UGCC
Graalians: A unofficial free to use forum community. It’s basically the same as GraalOnline’s official forums except you don’t need a paid account to use them and you usually don’t get banned for posting a little bit of criticism and free thought[update you do now] . Most of the users are official GraalOnline users, iPhone players and trendy yuppie brown nosers. Like the GraalOnline forums and user base these forums are kind of like being locked in a gym shower with a bunch of 12 year old boys playing with their iPhones and the occasional 50 year old unixmadesque pervert. Still there are some reasonable people there and it’s better than nothing. Graalians [update: Unixmad essentially stole the domain and runs it now.]
5b. Past communities: Websites, forums and communities from the past that are no longer active.
SG111’s Soundoff: Created by SG111 and Viper SG111’s Soundoff was a blog, guestbook, message board and more. SG111’s Soundoff was created in 2001 in response to the negative changes, activities, and corruption coming from Unixmad and some GraalOnline staff. SG111’s Soundoff was one of the first sites and tools to speak out, openly criticize, and fight against the censorship of Unixmad and GraalOnline. A great place in Graal history check it out SG111’s Soundoff
Other notable mentions include Graal Downloads, OpenGraal, Anti-Unixmad, Anti-Graal, The Hack Corps, The Black Graal, shockedfrog, and graal.goth.net, but most of these sites are long gone or broken, if you are interested you could always try searching for them on google or archive.org
6. Different clients and versions:
It is important to know about the many different versions of the Graal client and other programs such as when they were made, what features they have and how they behave.
Multiplayer: Prior to Graal version 1.2 multiplayer simply consisted of typing in your name, the server IP or domain address and the port number, there was no account system, online progress was saved as local save files on your hard drive, the same was true for guild codes. This made it easier for players to cheat and use guild codes to guilds they did not belong to, these issues were the main reason for the addition of accounts and content being saved server-side after version 1.2. The account system has basically remained the same from 1.2beta until today with only a few minor changes and the addition of player worlds, list server, and NPC Server. Every version of graal communicates using simple TCP packets and starting in 1.2.8beta2 UDP packets were added for smoother and less laggy player movements note that UDP is optional and can be turned on or off or switched to a specific port in the client options.
Compatibility: Zelda Online and Graal Java - ZeldaOnline and the early Java applet of Graal were made using an old version of java around 1997 to 1998. It was likely written with the Java AWT API from JDK 1.1 (RLSD 1997/02/19) and it runs using JRE 1.1.7B or newer of Java. It should be natively supported by Netscape 3 or newer and most other java enabled browsers, PCs, and other devices, but due to their age there may be some issues running them on newer versions of java or certain web browsers or devices.
Most executable PC versions of Graal were designed using Delphi and DirectX libraries spliced together with some open source codes that Stefan Knorr ripped off from others such as Torque, Zlib, JccVsd and many other source codes, templates, installers and libraries without giving credit or making the sources available. Most of the Graal clients were developed when Windows95 was the most commonly used OS.
Every version of Graal up to 1.2.7 was designed for Windows95 with DirectX 6. Newer versions that provide lighting effects such as v2+ to v4+ require DirectX 8.1 and Windows98SE however most 32bit versions of Windows will run most versions of Graal. There may be some issues if you try running some older versions of Graal with a 64bit Windows OS.
Many versions of Graal can run with a complete and proper WINE setup in Linux, but they were not specifically designed for that.
I recommend having a 32bit version of Windows XP and or Windows98SE available on dual boot, a virtual machine, or better yet a separate computer specifically set up for legacy programs. (Consider Pentium 2, 3, AMD K6 or Athlon era CPUs with 128 to 512mb of ram and a PCI or AGP graphics card such as the Voodoo2/3)
Versions of Graal prior to 2.3.1 will use 100% CPU Usage, if you have multiple CPUs or a multi-core CPU then Graal.exe will use 100% of one core.
This behavior is normally non disruptive and other programs will still run fine, although your CPU may run warmer and consume more power while Graal.exe prior to 2.3.1 is running, this issue is marginalized with multi-core CPUs and power saving features but may be a problem on older laptops that overheat easily.
CPU activity and power consumption can be managed with software such as RMClock or Asus EPU-4 Engine.
Memory, resources or hard disk space should not be an issue as long as you have more than 64MB of ram, a larger than 1GB hard drive, a Pentium CPU faster than 100MHz, and a 2MB PCI or better graphics card. I’ve ran Graal 1.2.5 with as little as a 75MHz Pentium, 8MB of ram and a 14.4 modem and it will technically “run” with that but it’ll be slow and not much fun to play. Do note that more NPCs, players and activity in the same level and lighting effects will slow you down and require more resources to run smoothly.
History of the Graal Client
Graal has it’s origins as small Java programming projects Bomberman and Java Zelda on January 17th 1998 the idea of which came from Chris Wright (SECAIN) of the SNES Emulation Centre and was published on Stefan Knorr’s (Informatik studies at University of Rostock Germany) page Stefan’s Page in 1998 Stefan’s Page in 1999 the first available incantation of Java Zelda is Java Zelda v1 later followed by Java Zelda v2
Later on Java Zelda, Zelda Online was renamed to Graal and put on Stephane Portha’s Cyberjoueurs Page around December 7th 1998 (in fact Stefan Knorr made ALL the Java and other games for Cyberjoueurs/Stephane Portha) These are essentially the Java games from Stefan’s Uni-Rostock page and Java Graal is just a reskinned Java Zelda with different levels.
The PC Graal Client was and still is (up until version 6.1 when Stefan Knorr left) made using Delphi, DirectX and a mismash of compiled code and libraries. Gradually the zelda levels, tilesets and graphics were replaced with slightly different levels and tiles (Graal still to this day using heavily Zelda ripped off graphics and styles) and the world became what is know today as Graal Classic or Graal The Adventure. Versions 0.1 (1stGraal) through Graal1.1.9 saved online player data and most other things to files locally such as saved games to .gsave files or guildcodes to .gcode files ect… This obviously made cheating and messing with the online game super easy and effective and “many lulz” were had. From Graal 1.2 onwards a server side account and guild system is used with an increasing amount of actions being moved from clientside to serverside in future versions for the purpose of preventing cheating.