Installing Sphere

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Installing Sphere on a Linux box is not more difficult as doing this task on a Windows PC. Either way you will have to have basic knowledge about your operation system, and you should not rely on that you simply have to doubleclick like mad to get the beast up and running.

Even more, this tutorial will assume that you are using a shell on the linux box, and that you have root access. You do not trust your skills to type a command without mistakes, or no one will trust your knowledge enough to give you system administrator privileges on his Linux PC? Well, then - your busted. Go home, and play Solitaire on a neat little Windows box, ok?

Finally, this tutorial will NOT cover the ways to get the necessary files onto the Linux server. If you cannot figure this out yourself - read the last sentence of the paragraph before. THIS IS NOT A LESSON "Linux for Dummies"! Do your homework, and learn. There are many books about Linux' basics, even E-Books you can download free of charge. Surfing to will be a good point to start.

One last word about syntax: LINUX commands and filenames are case sensitive! So if later on a file cannot be found it usually is because you typed something like "sphere.INI" instead of "sphere.ini".

And in this document lines in italics are denoting what you have to type into (or read from) the shell.


On the Linux box you will need a MySQL client installation. You do not need a server if you do not plan to use the database features, but Sphere will not start without the proper MySQL client libraries. Period.

You also need access to a Sphere prerelease FOR LINUX, the default script package for this version, and eventually additional libraries (libboost for recent releases).

Installation Step-By-Step

1) As user root, create a user named 'sphere'. Set or create it's home directory (usually /home/sphere/), give it the correct owner and permissions:

useradd -d /home/sphere sphere
mkdir /home/sphere
chown sphere /home/sphere
chmod 700 /home/sphere

2) Copy the files from the Sphere LINUX package and the scriptpack into this newly created directory. Create all missing directories like "save", "logs", "accounts" as they are named in your sphere.ini and spheretables.scp. You should end up with a structure like this:

/home/sphere --- spheresvr
               | sphere.ini
               | sphereCrypt.ini
               |-------------------- accounts/
               |-------------------- logs/
               |-------------------- muls/
               |-------------------- save/
               |-------------------- scripts/

3) After copying all related files to their respective positions, make sure that they all have the correct permissions and ownerships. Still as root do:

cd ~sphere
chown -R sphere *
find . -type d | xargs chmod 0700
find . -type f | xargs chmod 0600
chmod 4700 spheresvr

4) Still as root, print the shared library dependencies:

ldd spheresvr

the output should be something like this:

longbow:/home/sphere# ldd spheresvr => /lib/ (0x4001f000) => /usr/lib/ (0x40071000) => /usr/lib/ (0x40243000) => /usr/lib/ (0x402ea000) => /lib/ (0x403c9000) => /lib/ (0x403ef000) => /lib/ (0x403fa000)
/lib/ (0x40000000) => /lib/ (0x4051c000) => /lib/ (0x4054a000) => /usr/lib/ (0x40561000)

LOOK FOR MISSING LIBRARIES! If something is missing, just install it. You should know how to do. If it's just libboost what is missing, you have got this with the preparations. Copy it into /usr/lib/ and type:


Test the Installation

It does matter if you start your test as user root or user sphere... But setting the permissions of the spheresvr executable to 4700 forces it to always be started as it's owner, and if you followed the earlier instuctions, that owner is sphere. So start it like this:

cd ~sphere

You will get the usual startup yaddayadda, perhaps including some warnings such as:

longbow:/home/sphere# ./spheresvr
WARNING:(sphere.ini,587)'scripts/spherestatusbase.html' not found...
ERROR:(sphere.ini,587)Can't open web page input 'spherestatusbase1.htm'
Sphere Version 0.56b [Linux] by, compiled at Sep 15 2006 (23:23:07)
Signal handlers installed.
Expansion maps supported: T2A, LBR, AOS, SE, ML
ERROR:(spheretables.scp,59)Unable to open directory scripts/custom/
ERROR:(spheretables.scp,59)DirList=-1 for 'scripts/custom/'
Allocating map sectors: 0=7168 1=7168 2=900 3=1280 4=32761
Indexing 211 scripts...
Loading scripts/sphere_defs.scp

Finally your Sphere will tell you something like:

Loading save/spheredata...
Loading save/spherestatics...
Loading save/sphereworld...
Loading save/spherechars...
166 Objects accounted for
Option flags: CommandSysmsgs + NoHouseMuteSpeech
Experimental flags: DiagonalWalkCheck + ScriptsReturnStrings + NewTriggersEnable + NewPositionChecks + WalkCheck + ScriptProfiler + SizeOptimize,, Lang=English, TZ=0
Startup complete. items=0, chars=0
Creating thread.

You can safely ignore script warnings and errors regarding missing web pages. But if the sphere issues other errors, or terminates, dont just stare at the error number like the rabbit stares at the snake: The text immediately above the error will tell you what's wrong. So fix it. For example, after starting the server, if you see errors like:

16:55:FATAL:Segmentation fault 16:55:FATAL:Error Pri=1, Code=11, Desc='Segmentation fault', in CChar::CanMoveWalkTo() #1 "Check Valid Move"

...the filesystem ACLs may be wrong, specifically the ACLs on the UO mul and uop files in the UO client directory. There are numerous solutions, but one way to fix this is to change the permissions on these files to 644.

But I digress.... Assuming no catestrophic failures, you are now in the sphere console and can issue the common commands (type '?' to get a list). So create an account, activate it, edit the login.cfg (or host details) on your windows box with the client installation to point to the address of the Linux box, and be the first to log in.

To stop the Sphere, type 'S' in the console, then 'x'. Linux will tell you something about deinstalling handlers and shutting down. But often it will just "hang" after this, not really terminating. Clear this situation by typing CTRL-c

Preparing for production

Perhaps you closed your shell during the test. Then you should have noticed that the operating system killed your Sphere at the same moment. That's not a bug but wanted behaviour: Linux is a multi user os, and when a user logs out processes started by him shall not accidentally kept running.

But of course you will not be able to keep open the console all the time, at least if your Linux box can only be reached remotely, perhaps by ssh. If it's the main service running on the box, you should create a startup script what starts spheresvr in an endless loop, thus restarting it in the event it should crash. To do this, first install the 'screen' utility using the packet manager of your distribution. Then use the text editor of your choice and create a script like this:

cd ~sphere
while true; do
screen -D -m /home/sphere/spheresvr
sleep 30

This way the server will be run in a virtual window to what you always can attach with 'screen -r'. Read the manpage for screen for more information.

Then take it to the next level! Perhaps create an /etc/init.d/sphereserver script to start, stop, or restart the server... then softlink that script in the various /etc/rc*.d/ directories so that the sphere server automatically starts when the linux server is rebooted... maybe setup a cron job to automatically rotate and archive the log files that sphere creates.


Start by downloading Sphere. See the Where to get Sphere page for download links. You should end up with two different zip files, one containing the Sphere executable and the other containing the Script Pack.

  1. Extract the file to wherever you want to run it from. I would recommend "c:\sphere"
  2. Extract to the directory where you previously extracted the file in the previous step. Now you should have the directory scripts in "c:\sphere".
  3. Create three new folders, one named "accounts", another called "logs", and the third one called "save".
  4. Now, go to your "save" folder, recently created. And create an empty text file (I recommend using the Start Menu to access Notepad instead of "Right Click => New"). Write an empty line and add "[EOF]" in the second one. Save the file as "spheredata.SCP" (not .txt).
  5. Copy this file three times an rename them as: spherestatics, spherechars.scp and sphereworld.scp
  6. Go to the "accounts" folder that you created alongside the "save" folder, and do the same as Step 3 and 4, but name the files: "sphereacct.scp" and "sphereaccu.scp"
  7. Download the MySQL Library and place it into your Sphere Folder (remember: "c:\sphere").
  8. Now, configure your sphere.ini. This is a must before running Sphere for the first time!
  9. Double Click on SphereSvr.exe to launch the Console. This black window is your server console from which you can enter commands.
  10. Create an Account for yourself. In the console, type in "account add USERNAME PASSWORD". With whatever username and password you want. Then, type in "account USERNAME plevel 7" to grant your account Owner privileges.

Now you can go around your map and explore some parts of it. You can use the navigation bar on the left to read various tutorials to learn how to script and learn something about Sphere. After that, read the other articles and check the reference compendium if you need something special.


We currently have no guide for this OS. Anyway, the developers have posted a list of required stuff. Here is the list:

Compiled on:

FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE FreeBSD 7.0-RELEASE #0: Sun Feb 24 19:59:52 UTC 2008  i386


Using built-in specs.
Target: i386-portbld-freebsd7.0
Configured with: ./..//gcc-4.1-20071105/configure --disable-nls --with-system-zlib --with-libiconv-prefix=/usr/local --program-suffix=41 --libdir=/usr/local/lib/gcc-4.1.3 --with-gxx-include-dir=/usr/local/lib/gcc-4.1.3/include/c++/ --disable-rpath --prefix=/usr/local --mandir=/usr/local/man --infodir=/usr/local/info/gcc41 i386-portbld-freebsd7.0 Thread model: posix gcc version 4.1.3 20071105 (prerelease)

Linked Against: => /lib/ (0x281f3000) => /usr/local/lib/mysql/ (0x28206000) => /usr/lib/ (0x28265000) => /lib/ (0x2835a000) => /lib/ (0x2836f000) => /lib/ (0x2837a000) => /lib/ (0x28476000) => /lib/ (0x2848f000)

If you use this release, please check this topic.