MedievaLands is a remake of The Shadow of Yserbius: an old school multiplayer dungeon crawler with grid-based movement, turn-based combat, and many puzzles and quests to solve in an expansive dungeon that goes deep into the earth and into the timeless beyond. Monsters have awoken in the dungeon of Yserbius and now plague the island of Twinion. Will you rise to the challenge?
By ZaneDubya on Sept 14, 2021
In all seriousness, it has been almost exactly a year since I have had any meaningful updates to share. I am pleased as Punch to break the dry spell and bring some good news back to you. Today I am going to talk about a brand new way to interact with Yserbius. Then I am going to share the latest bug fixes, and give kudos to our reporting adventurers. As brief preface, this is a 'breaking update' in that it will require people with Clients older than last month's minor update to download the client from the website. I always recommend that you delete all old copies of the client before downloading the new one. With that out of the way ... let's dive into the update!
The big change to report is a complete overhaul of the user interface for exploration and combat within the dungeon. This update addresses one of the major problems I have had in introducing Yserbius to new players: the user interface. The Yserbius UI was amazing for 1992, and it is a joy to return to if you played the game back then. But for new players the dungeon interface doesn't make much sense. It's interesting to compare the first few screens you see when you boot up the game to the interface you are presented with when you enter the dungeon. The gallery and character creation screens all have very clear button, text input, and text display controls. They are early renditions of the exact same controls we see in our modern applications for desktops thirty years on. By comparison, when you enter the dungeon, the user interface design principles shift and what you are doing and what you are interacting with is somewhat obscured.
Of course, it is not fair or worthwhile to judge Yserbius by modern UI standards, and I'm not going to do that. Today we have a shared understanding of the metaphors we use to indicate interactivity. Yserbius simply came about before many of these were explored. For that reason, the UI sometimes doesn't make sense to someone who never played this old game.
Exchange clues and gather a party in the Tavern.
Defeat Monsters and grow in power.
New features include health bars and item tooltips.
Explore, quest, and solve the mystery of Yserbius!
MedievaLands is free to play! Download the client for Windows and MacOS here:
The game will copy itself to your Documents directory under /Games/CommunityKit. It does this so it can update itself in a known location. Each time the program runs, it checks for updates and automatically patches itself.
IMPORTANT! This is not an official release, just a closed-source hobby project. I do not have the permission of the creators or owners of The Shadow of Yserbius.
Hi, this is Zane! I am the developer of MedievaLands. If you see me in the game (my handle is ZaneDubya), please say hello!
I am a huge fan of the original games, which were created by Ybarra Productions for The Sierra Network (later renamed The ImagiNation Network). Like so many, I enjoyed the dungeon that seemed to go on forever, and fell in love with the welcoming Yserbius community. It was one of the first online 'third spaces' - a home away from home. MedievaLands is my remake of these favorite games from my childhood.
The MedievaLands game engine is written in C#, with the server running on .NET Core 2.1 LTS on Linux, and the client running on the FNA Framework on Windows and Mac. The total server/client codebase is approximately 146,500 lines of code, including 45,000 lines of map scripts transpiled from x86 machine code of the original game to C#.
The first release of MedievaLands took eight months to create and was released with support for Shadow of Yserbius on March 29, 2019. After a few months of furious bug fixing I spent seven months of focused dev time adding support for Fates of Twinion, and the doors to the dungeon of Twinion opened on March 6, 2020. I've been fiddling with the game ever since, spending weeknight and weekend hours to add new features and fix bugs. Including time time spent deciphering the Yserbius data formats and game mechanics, I estimate that I have spent more than 3,500 hours on the MedievaLands project.
My hope is that MedievaLands will be a fun adventure for new players and a welcome respite for returning players. You can always come home, although you may need to rebuild that home from scratch.
The original Yserbius game was developed by Ybarra Productions, and was available on The Sierra Network between 1991-1996. I would be remiss if I did not mention the original development team of Yserbius - we should recognize their excellent work.
IMPORTANT! The people listed below have not participated in building MedievaLands, nor have they endorsed this project in any way.
Shadow of Yserbius 1.0
Designed by Ybarra Productions, Inc:
Scot Amos Wendy Barlow Fred Butts
Karl Buiter Sharon Chercowy Mark Dickenson
M.S. Dunhour Roy Eltham Botu Green
Aubrey Hodges Paul Lavelle Russell Lieblich
Mike McAulay Leonard Micko John Miles
Michael Moore Andy Riedel Donna Taylor
Andrew Townsley Joe Ybarra
Special Thanks to Ken Williams and all our
friends at Sierra On-line and TSN