WSO Palace Newsletter - April 2001
===================> WSO PALACE NEWSLETTER <==================
h t t p : / / w w w . w s o . n e t
APRIL 2001 PALACE ISSUE: 001
1. You MUST Restart Your Palace
2. Prop Flushing for a Healthy Palace
3. Special PServer Code Available
4. Scripting Errors and Rebooting
5. PalaceTools.com Live Palace Directory
6. How to Control Annoying Visitors (Snerts)
7. My Palace Won't Restart!!
8. Removing Old PServer Logs to Save Space
9. Using Gatekeeper
10. Making and Using Backups
11. Finding and Fixing Script Errors
12. Palace Manuals Available
13. What's the Deal with InstantPalace?
14. Naming Files Correctly
15. What is the PalacePresents Moderator?
16. WSO Referral Program Can Save You Money
-> Useful WSO Links
Newsletter Back Issues - http://www.wso.net/news.htm
Palace News Back Issues - http://www.wso.net/pnews.htm
Referral Program - http://www.wso.net/referral.htm
Tech Support - http://www.wso.net/support.htm
This newsletter is a result of weeks of work. We welcome
articles for possible inclusion in future issues. Your ideas and
feedback are greatly appreciated!
You can find this newsletter on our web site at:
-> ARTICLE #1: You MUST Restart Your Palace ====================
Starting now, you need to reboot your Palace every few days.
This is because of a memory leak that was never fixed by
communities.com before they went under. What is a memory leak?
It means that your PServer starts to use more and more physical
RAM on the host machine, causing it to slowly run out of free
memory. This can not only affect your palace, but every user on
that particular machine.
If you decide not to do routine reboots, we'll have to implement
an automated reboot. We believe most people would rather control
their own reboot time though, so please make a point to reboot
your PServer every few days.
When doing this reboot, you should take advantage of the down
time to make backups (see article #10).
To shut down your PServer, just go in to your palace in owner
mode and type `shutdown. If you have Automatic Restarting and
Log Rotation on in the SupportCenter (which you probably do),
your palace should be back up within 5 minutes. There are some
reasons why your palace may not restart properly (see Article
-> ARTICLE #2: Prop Flushing for a Healthy Palace ==============
Flushing your props will clear out any unused props in your
pserver.prp, free up disk space, and reduce lag. If you have
prop rooms at your Palace, make sure you dump your props from
your rooms into hidden rooms so they will not get purged off
This method only works on v4.5.1 Servers, if you're on an older
version of the PServer, you'll have to go through all of your
prop rooms with a blank prop bag on your client, click each
avatar, and then flush.
To flush, type `flushprops -1 while in owner mode. This should
flush any inactive props over an hour old. On v4.5.1, when you
flush props it purges props as well. If you're on an older
version such as v4.1, you'll have to flush and then
`purgeprops -1. This will clean out your prop file and reduce
lag and disk space usage.
Again, these are no longer recommendations, they are requirements
for WSO Palace customers. If you are not quite sure how to do
this, please contact email@example.com. Give him as many
details as you can, including the name of your palace, its
address and what you've tried so far. The more info you can give
him, the better he will be able to help you.
-> ARTICLE #3: Special PServer Code Available ==================
Since the demise of communities.com, a slow trickle of special
server codes have started to float around the Palace scene. We
feel that since communities.com is now no longer in business,
these codes can be shared freely.
An unlimited PServer code will be made available to all WSO
palace customers. This code enables all flags, including
Guest=Member support and ClosedServer support. This server
registration enables guests to be members, so that all the fake
client "reg code" generators are no longer needed since everyone
can automatically be members.
Please be aware, this code (and its increased functionality) are
NOT supported by WSO in any way. We simply want to make it
available to you. It is up to you to use, learn, and understand
the code and the extra features it enables.
If you are interested in using this code with your Palace,
please e-mail PalaceHelp@wso.net. Indicate that you have read
this letter and that you understand Article #3 fully. Indicate
the name and URL of your palace. We will then install the code
and you'll just need to reboot your Palace to make it active.
-> ARTICLE #4: Scripting Errors and Rebooting ==================
One misconception about errors in .pat files is that they are
actually caused by the restarting process. This is not true.
Errors can be created while the PServer is in use, but will
continue to work. It is only when it is restarted that it is
checked for errors. So, it would appear that the process of
restarting causes the error, but in fact, it was caused while
the PServer was in use.
For a guide on what to do if your WSO Palace won't restart, see
For help on what to do if your pserver.pat has errors, see
-> ARTICLE #5: PalaceTools.com Live Palace Directory ===========
Palacetools.com is doing a great job of keeping the Palace alive
and well. They have created a new Live Palace Directory so that
active palaces can be found on the Internet.
WSO has configured its machines to communicate with this live
directory. All that you need to do is sign up to be in their
index. You can do that here:
Once done, you'll be contacted and given a Live Directory Key
by PalaceTools.com, then:
1. Turn off autorestart for your Palace in the WSO SupportCenter
2. Shutdown your palace using the owner 'shutdown command
3. Edit your palace/psdata/pserver.prefs file, making the line
that has the word SYSOP in it, look like this:
Instead of the x's, put in your Live Directory Key. Note, keep
the quotes around the key.
4. Go back to the WSO SupportCenter and turn ON autorestart
5. Your palace should be back up in about 5 minutes and your
listing at Palacetools.com should begin to update soon after
that. If your palace does not restart, see Article #7.
This procedure is also outlined on our web site:
-> ARTICLE #6: How to Control Annoying Visitors (Snerts) =======
Snerts are a constant problem on Palace, and unfortunately there
aren't a lot of ways to get rid of them. As you know, they can
banjump, and there are programs out there that generate new
PUIDs for them. Generally, the ways that we recommend for
dealing with the problem is as follows:
1. If they aren't doing anything destructive, but just being
annoying, ignore them. Make sure that your users understand how
to "mute" and how to "hide from". As a general rule, people who
are being annoying are doing it for attention. If they aren't
getting what they want, they will go to someplace else.
2. If the person is being destructive, you want them off your
server. Ban them for life. If you make a habit of banning for
life with no reprieve, word will get around and you'll have
fewer problems. Sometimes this will mean that you have to ban
the person several times, for various PUIDs (because they can
If you have a person who keeps jumping bans, start tracking them
and watch what their IP address is. If they keep logging on with
different PUIDs, but from the SAME address, ban the IP address.
You have to be careful with this one, because some ISPs use
dynamic addressing, which means every time the snert signs on,
he has a different IP address. If you ban one, and the next time
he has a different one, you may end up disallowing a REAL user
connection (AOL is a good example of this).
On the other hand, most people with cable modems (which are
becoming more and more common) have static IP addresses. If your
snert logs on several days in a row with the same IP address.
3. Protection from destruction. There are some things that the
palace owner can do to help themselves:
a. If you're using the newest server software, install and use
GateKeeper (see Article #9). This keeps someone who has a
version of the hacked client (that allows them to be a wizard)
from doing so. Yes, gatekeeper can be a little annoying to use,
but it's worth it.
b. Keep "authoring" TURNED OFF, unless you are actively
c. LOCK the scripts in the rooms. You can use the same "lock" in
each of the rooms (to keep from forgetting what it is).
d. Turn off "cyborgs" in any rooms where you don't really want
them to be active for playing. While you personally may not like
this one, because it means that you cyborg scripts don't work in
the room, it will help if you get someone who is trying to lag
the server or do massive "room kills".
4. Report the snert to their ISP. You can often trace the IP
address to see where (what ISP) the user is coming from. You can
write to the snert's ISP, and report their unacceptable
behavior. However, before going this route, you should know that
MOST ISPs won't do anything about it. A DOS attack is
technically illegal (DOS = Denial Of Service). However, in most
cases, what your snert is doing is NOT considered a "DOS"
attack. That would be something like "pounding" your server with
hundreds of connections per second.
In most cases what the snert is doing is being "annoying". If
you tell the snert's ISP that "Snerty has logged onto my server
and is using foul language" or "Snerty has logged onto my server
and follows me around talking to me" or "Snerty has logged onto
my computer and is wearing unacceptable props," the ISP is going
to say "Well, YOU are running a server and allow this," which
is basically true, because the software does allow it.
Technically, your snert isn't doing anything that violates the
terms of service with the ISP, nor is it illegal.
5. Keeping the above in mind, if your snert is logging on and
doing something that is destructive: When you write to the ISP,
before they can DO anything about it, you have to be able to
prove that the snert is actually doing something destructive. If
the snert is crashing the server because they are exploiting a
"loophole" in the software (a bug in the software), technically,
that's not illegal either. It is considered the responsibility
of the software's manufacturer, and the responsibility of the
PServer owner to fix such bugs so that killing the server by
exploiting them is NOT possible.
Unfortunately, with communities.com gone, you have no recourse
there. So, in most cases it's impossible for the server operator
to "fix the bugs". So, you're stuck.
6. Generally, unacceptable behavior becomes a matter of dealing
with it on a community level. It's up to each PServer owner
and operators how they want to react to snert behavior.
If YOU react to the behavior in such a way that it's
interpreted by the snert as negative attention, THEY get a
big thrill out of it, and it reinforces the behavior. When you
have someone that is being a nuisance, ban them for life. Do it
privately and quietly. Never "pin" anyone (that's just public
attention). Never speak to a snert in anything but whispers (so
that other users don't even necessarily know what is going on).
Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet that can take care of
the situation completely. But using these techniques should
[Thank you to Tandika Star for help on this article.]
-> ARTICLE #7: My Palace Won't Restart!! ======================
If your Palace won't restart, it is probably for one of these
1. You do not have automatic restarting turned ON in the WSO
SupportCenter. Login and turn it on. Your palace should restart
within five minutes.
2. Your script file has errors in it (see Article #11). In this
case, check about the last 25 lines of your
/palace/logs/pserver.log file. If you see lines that look
similar to this...
Syntax error in hotspot declaration that began on line 6364
Syntax error in room declaration that began on line 6301
Script syntax error in psdata/pserver.dat line 6389
Error -1 Can't continue...
...you have an error in your pserver.pat file. You can either
recover using a backup (see Article #10) or you can try
debugging the script file (see Article #11). Please be aware,
these errors are not caused by restarting.
3. Your prop file has become corrupted. This happens less and
less with the new PServers, which is nice. But, it can still
happen. Keeping your prop file small and flushed is the best
preventive maintenance (see Article #2). To fix a corrupted prop
file (pserver.prp), either recover using a backup (see Article
#10) or simply clear the prop file and start over. A new feature
in the WSO SupportCenter will allow you to replace your prop
file with a blank one if necessary.
4. More obscure reasons include missing configuration files,
like palace/psdata/pserver.conf or, if you are using Gatekeeper
(see Article #9), your gatekeeper.so or gateKeeper.dat
configuration files. A missing pserver.conf or gateKeeper.so
file can be fixed by us, but a missing gateKeeper.dat file
usually means you'll need to start over using Gatekeeper. These
problems are quite rare.
-> ARTICLE #8: Removing Old PServer Logs to Save Space =========
Your Palace creates log files which are stored in your
/palace/logs directory. The active, running log file is always
named pserver.log. Each night around midnight, your log is
copied, renamed, and saved in your logs directory. Then a new
pserver.log begins for the current day.
Every few weeks you should use an FTP program to remove the old
log files as they can start to eat away at your available free
disk space. Feel free to remove any of the log files other
than the active pserver.log.
If you'd like some help understanding these logs, take a look
-> ARTICLE #9: Using GateKeeper ================================
Gatekeeper is a plug-in that allows you to restrict who is
allowed to use the Wizard and God password. It does this by
allowing you to register Owners and Operators. Anyone who has
not been registered, cannot become an Owner or Operator, even if
they have the password.
Gatekeeper is installed by default on WSO palaces.
Here is a list of the commands that you can use with the
'gatekeeper bless [screen_name]
'gatekeeper unbless [reg_code]
Blessing - Blessing someone registers them as a known Owner or
Operator and allows them to use the Owner or Operator password.
To bless someone, whisper 'gatekeeper bless to them. When you
first start using Gatekeeper, don't forget to bless yourself. If
you do not bless yourself and you log off the PServer, you will
not be able to become an Owner or Operator without editing or
erasing your gateKeeper.dat file and starting over.
Unblessing - If you need to remove someone from the list of
registered Owners and Operators, type 'gatekeeper unbless regkey
using their regkey from the list.
Listing - the command 'gatekeeper list tells you who is
currently blessed, listed by name and regkey
Check out the original Gatekeeper release notes for more info:
-> ARTICLE #10: Making and Using Backups =======================
Using the Palace backup utility available through the WSO
SupportCenter lets you backup and restore your most important
Making a backup that you know is not corrupted can be tricky.
As outlined in Article #4, you may have errors in your
pserver.pat file and not even know it until you try to restart.
So, lets think about this a little. That would mean you could
shutdown your palace with every intention of making a backup of
your script file, but what you really end up doing is backing
up a script file that has errors in it. How can you be sure?
Follow this procedure, it takes a little longer, but it will
save you grief down the road.
Test your script file to be sure it doesn't have errors by doing
a PServer 'shutdown and then letting the autorestart reboot your
PServer. If it comes back up, you know that you don't have any
errors. Then, immediately turn off autorestart in the WSO
SupportCenter and then do another 'shutdown in your Palace. Now
you can be confident in using the WSO SupportCenter Palace
Backup because you know you'll be backing up a good, working
If you don't do this, you may backup a corrupted script file
right overtop of your last backup (which may be your only
good copy left).
If you find your palace will not restart, please try the advice
in Article #7.
Next thing to remember is to always flush & purge your prop file
before doing a pserver.prp backup (see Article #2). This ensures
that you aren't backing up a bloated prop file that will just
waste your disk space.
One procedure you can try is to get your prop file "just how you
like it" and then back it up. If anything ever goes wrong with
it, you'll always have a backup that you can restore.
While the WSO SupportCenter Backup is handy, it can only save
one backup of your script and prop files at a time. If you
really want to be safe, periodically use FTP to download your
pserver.pat and pserver.prp files to your hard drive. Rename
them with the current date attached. Keep a few weeks of backups
and you'll always be safe. You'll want to do this procedure more
with your pserver.pat file than with your pserver.prp file.
PLEASE NOTE: pserver.pat (script files) should be uploaded and
downloaded in ASCII or Text mode in your FTP program. On the
other hand, pserver.prp (prop files) and graphics should be
uploaded and downloaded in Binary mode. These are modes you
can set in your FTP program. If you use the wrong transfer mode
your file will be corrupted and will no longer work.
-> ARTICLE #11: Finding and Fixing Script Errors ===============
The new 4.5.1 PServer has a "feature" that checks for bad room
spots as it starts, i.e. errors in your pserver.pat file. If
your .pat file has a bad spot (or your palace is being converted
from an older version and has a bad spot), your PServer will not
start. This is why it's important to back up regularly, incase
this happens you'll be able to just revert to your last backup.
There is no way around this feature. The only other option you
have to solve this problem (if it happens) is to manually go
through your .pat file and fix the errors. The pserver.log file
in your palace/logs/ directory will give you the line numbers
where errors appear to be. These line numbers are only a guide
and may not always indicate the exact spot of the error. Often
the error is above the indicated line number, it is just at
that line number where the PServer realizes there is a problem.
Finding and fixing errors in your PServer script file
(pserver.pat) can be confusing. Below are some tips for helping.
Keep in mind, there is no single best method.
A lot of people like to use UltraEdit.
This program does syntax coloring. Tandika Star has made an
Iptscrae "word file" for UltraEdit. You can find the definition
text file and instructions here.
It can't check your script for errors automatically, but by
color-coding the different commands it becomes much easier to
spot mistakes quickly.
The new PServers are particular about errors. Once you fix one
you get another. That's why it's good to make lots of backups.
You shouldn't use MS Word to edit your pserver.pat or any other
palace file because it's a word processor, not a text editor. A
word processor can sometimes put in other garbage that is more
than just plain text and then that can cause errors too.
If you are a Mac user, we suggest using BBEdit Lite for Mac,
which is free. You can get it at download.com. SimpleText should
also work as well, but BBEdit has more features. For Windows
users just use Notepad. If your file is too large for Notepad,
you can use WordPad, just make sure when you save it, you choose
to save it is Plain Text Only.
Hunt down the errors and try to fix them or just delete entire
chunks to find the problem area, then add things back in until
you can pin-point the problem. Try fixing one error at a time
because sometimes other errors are caused by the first one and
can "go away" after earlier errors are fixed.
It is a pain to have to go through the whole .pat file and fix
it, but lots of other people have to go through the same thing
with their v4.5.1 PServer.
If anybody has methods or special tricks for tracking down and
fixing .pat errors, please send them in. We'll include them for
others to use.
-> ARTICLE #12: Palace Manuals Available =======================
Now that thepalace.com web site is no longer available, all of
the original resources hosted there are gone, including the
For WSO hosted palaces, the following are the most important
manuals, followed by some that are relevant but less important.
These are unedited manuals, so some of the example might not
be relevant since the manuals were written several years ago.
Note that some of these manuals are in Adobe Acrobat PDF format.
Essential Palace Related Manuals:
Unix PServer: http://www.wso.net/manuals/unixserver.pdf
v4.5.1 Addendum: http://www.wso.net/pserverunix451notes.htm
Non-essential, but useful manuals:
Wizard's Guide: http://www.wso.net/manuals/wizard.pdf
Authoring Tool Guide: http://www.wso.net/manuals/pat.pdf
Moderator Guide: http://www.wso.net/manuals/moderator.pdf
Client software (palace browser):
-> ARTICLE #13: What's the Deal with InstantPalace? ============
InstantPalace is the Palace user software implemented as a Java
applet. This means that instead of requiring users to download
and install a separate piece of software, you can place
InstantPalace directly in a web page and users who connect there
can run it automatically.
InstantPalace is no longer being developed or supported by the
palace people (obviously). We install v2.0 Build 32, this is
the newest version available, but is still a couple of years
We install a full set of InstantPalace startup pages, including
a Palace Server monitor. Start your browser and enter the
Replace 'your.web.address' with your WSO web site URL.
Some things to note about InstantPalace:
1. You may need to use the Palace client in Owner (God) mode
and enter the command: `avatarurl on
Otherwise InstantPalace will not be able to see the avatars.
2. You must have your palace set to allow guests or
InstantPalace will produce an error.
3. Graphic filenames must be in all lowercase letters to work
with InstantPalace. Rename files like "Gate.gif" to "gate.gif".
(see Article #14).
There is a complete and total InstantPalace resource available:
-> ARTICLE #14: Naming Files Properly ==========================
When uploading your image files there are a few things to keep
1. File names are case sensitive
2. Do not use spaces in file names
3. Do not use punctuation in file names (i.e. */.,:;"'\&%$)
If you upload an image file named "sample.gif", then in your
pserver.pat file you need to reference it exactly like that and
not "sample.GIF" or "SAMPLE.gif".
Image files should NOT have spaces or punctuation in the name.
For example, a file named "cool room.gif" should be changed to
"coolroom.gif" or "cool_room.gif" to remove the space.
As a guide, you should stick with naming all files related to
the Palace and web pages in general using only lower-case
letters, numbers, _underscores_, and dashes.
-> ARTICLE #15: What is the PalacePresents Moderator? ==========
PalacePresents is a Windows plugin that hosts live events
through a Palace. All clients can view these events if they
have the default moderator viewer installed.
The events are run by a Owner or Operator with the moderator
plugin. Both users and moderators use the same plugin.
The events have several options, like background pictures,
questions, password protection, stage announcements, etc. The
moderator running the plugin controls this.
Once a public event is started, a message pops up to all users
who have the plugin, asking them if they want to join, along
with the event name. If the person clicks yes, a stage window
pops up on the screen (or on InstantPalace, it becomes the
entire room). Then the moderator selects users from the
attendance list and can put them on stage, take them off stage,
or remove them from the event.
People viewing the event can see the stage, but can only request
to go on or be added by the moderator, meaning they can't just
jump up, it's moderator controlled.
Viewers have a question input box (that can be disabled if the
moderator chooses). When a viewer types a question and hits
enter, the question gets sent to the moderator control screen
and is added to the question list. The moderator can then choose
from the question list for which one they want to be sent to the
stage. The questions are seen in a white text bubble, just like
a gmsg, only in the stage viewer window.
There is a downside to all of this is. PalacePresents relies
very little on the server, and mostly on the moderator PC. So
if you're going to run a large chat, you need a powerful PC.
Danny (our palace help person) learned this from the time he
held a chat with JBum and crashed with 40 viewers. He was only
using a Pentium 166 with 32MB of RAM however.
TechTV used to use this to hold large events with 200+ viewers
at their Palace. KoRn KoRner frequently holds events with
members of the band KoRn, and have set a new Palace Server
record with about 1000 event viewers at once! So as long as you
have a fast connection (more than a 56k modem), enough RAM,
and enough processor power, you can hold an event just fine.
Windows Moderator Plug-in:
Let us know if and when you'll be holding an event!
-> ARTICLE #16: WSO Referral Program Can Save You Money ========
Do you know a Palace owner at another host that isn't happy with
their service or just looking for a change? Tell them about
WSO! You can earn credit toward paying for your own account by
referring people to WSO. The people you refer don't have to be
Palace customers, you can get credit for anybody who uses our
web hosting services. You can find more info here:
Be sure to take advantage of the graphics and links provided
to help you get referrals. If you have any questions about the
referral program, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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