INN Barn

An ImagiNation Network host re-creation w/proxy, which supports the client version 2.4 from 1995

INN Barn Logo

The Story of INN Barn:

INN Barn has been running since May of 2019 and was created by James "Jim" Leiterman and designed to restore some of the functionality of the former banks of DOS servers. The server is a multi-threaded 64-bit host handling many of the original membership and object connectivity and storage features.

In the middle of January of 2019, Jim was contacted by Christopher Smith to see if he had the original source code for the ImagiNation Network. Chris had stumbled across Jim's online portfolio, which had indicated that he was employed with Sierra Entertainment between February of 1994 to November of 1995. He was part of the applications group and was tasked with cleaning and preparing the DOS server code for 3rd party developers to use in an SDK (Software Developer Kit) and an API (Application Interface) with standalone offline servers, and also making various mix and match flavors of DOS-extenders together with compilers and linkers. This involved him having hands on the application side of the server code. Then while the server group was designing the new UNIX based servers, he had moved a game specific portion of the server code from DOS to Win32. As part of that new development, he would travel to train 3rd parties to develop games for that new system. He had also built new SDKs as a hybrid for the new system, that allowed for development without having to wait for the new system to become active.

Now to answer Chris's question, the answer was no... Jim did not have the original source code. Jim had moved onto other game development and had left INN behind him. Although, in February of 2019 he had spent his free time pumping life back into the game to revive INN, which today is called INN Barn. For a long time he has helped design and build servers for other gaming networks, so he believed with his lengthy experience and skill set this project would be no different than any others, hence easy! To his surprise, it turned out there would be bumps along the road that would trip him up. After being pointed at a version control dump of application code check-ins, which offered some clues, however ultimately he had to figure out a bunch of stuff that had been forgotten over time including stuff that he had never encountered before. Also, the merging of new and fast technology communicating with very slow legacy technology designed to run on slow computers (in modern standards) with low baud modems was a challenge for him to overcome.

A long story short, what is operational is the end result. It took about three and a half months to build this server and Jim had some technical hints and clues from work that Chris had done in his previous attempt. Chris was also very useful in the debugging stage when trying to find bugs by helping to test and figure a possible reason why they may be occurring. This product has not been heavily used or load tested so problems are definitely going to show up along the way.

There are no Customer Support Representatives or Sysops, although we do have helpdesk support for users, which can be reached by contacting [email protected]! The Member and Email Id's are automatically set, which in the initial release of this server, they had to be manually set by the user after the first time they created their persona. The email, store, trivia, and most BBS (Bulletin Board System) functionality is not supported in the current version of INN Barn. Some of the Top 10 scores are operational, and some of the BBS based scoring is not.

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INN Barn contains no proprietary code, although the source code is not available for use by the general public. A backup plan exists to keep INN going in case this server becomes no longer sustainable.