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Illarion - the game created by the first Tibians (and CipSoft)


Intermediate OT User
Jul 3, 2007
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So how many of you have heard of Illarion? It was created by some of the first Tibia players (Alatar the Sage, and other members of Lostboy's guild "The Guards"). It was released in 1999 and is still up and running today, although not very active. It is completely open source (since day one) as the developers are strong believers in FOSS. It seems the team of developers have changed a bit throughout the years but in its core it is still the same game.

Old domain: illarion.de (which can be searched for in web archive)

Alatar the Sage was one of the very first Tibians. He created a lot of content in Tibia, and then also created the fansite World of Tibia (www.tibia.de) among other things. Some history about Illarion can be found here. The CipSoft founders themselves even helped develop parts of Illarion, and vice-versa. They know each other very well IRL, which can be seen here.

Alatar was credited on the official Tibia website in 1999.

Here are some very old screenshots of the game. You can see some Tibia-influence :D

Below you can see old Guard members playing both games, e.g. player Bror. Many of them quit Tibia and moved to Illarion, among other games.
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Excellent, I'm just so amazed at how Tibia was created, the history, what influenced the developers, etc. There is no other game like this for me, but perhaps that's just because I played it during my young years and it has then been stuck with me. What amazes me is just how they thought of everything, but it must be of the feedback they received, or is Tibia just an imagination of Knightmare?
Excellent, I'm just so amazed at how Tibia was created, the history, what influenced the developers, etc. There is no other game like this for me, but perhaps that's just because I played it during my young years and it has then been stuck with me. What amazes me is just how they thought of everything, but it must be of the feedback they received, or is Tibia just an imagination of Knightmare?
In the early days (client 1.0 - 5.0) it was basically just a learning ground for CipSoft as they were trying new things. They started off by using Ultima's game engine and some graphics, and slowly but surely made their own. They were terrible at graphics and content (they still are), so anything the community came up with was welcome. Deuderonomy and Knightmare came up with a lot of the lore and concepts of the game back then. CipSoft eventually started handing out their game editor to players so they could create new areas, towns, spawns and NPCs. Most players at that time were into multi user dungeons (MUDs) so a lot of inspiration came from other MUDs, as well as fantasy books and Dungeons & Dragons. It was a bit of a mix. And then CipSoft just stuck with whatever they had and kept adding on to it until this day.

For example, if a lot of the early players would have been big fans of science fiction, we probably would have had more space stuff in Tibia today.

I wonder what the true idea about Tibia was, before they got influenced by other players. Perhaps they just wanted to create chatroom in 2D where players could share stories with each others. Not much is known about Tibia 1.0 and 2.0, but I know for a fact that in 3.0 there were already a lot of players that were leveling up. Powergaming had already become a thing by then. Although the most players were only around level 5, there were some players who were lvl 15-25. This is at the very end of 1997 and early 1998. So if they had planned that Tibia would be just for roleplayers (and not powergamers), they had already failed that idea in their first year. Even though that the death penalty up until Tibia 4.0 meant you'd lose everything you had, that still didn't stop some powergamers from playing.
Awesome, I am surprised I hadn't heard of this! Or maybe I had and totally forgot =|

There was another game built by an early Tibia player that I played extensively along with a whole bunch of old Anticans like Halfhigh - it was called Castles, and later Castle Age. It was made by Ricochet, but eventually shut down. It came back a few years ago for a brief time, and then was shut down again. The domain is still active though: https://castleage.net
It was a game much like Travian and others like it, but predated them. Good times.
Very cool to see, had not heard about Castles / Castle Age. It seems like there were quite a few programmers among the early Tibians. A lot of people were creating content for Tibia, as well as creating their own games. I wonder if anyone of them released any successful game that is still online today (with players).
yea his old fansite alatar.de lands on the game page now
I wonder what the true idea about Tibia was, before they got influenced by other players.
just wanted to share this view from 2000~
Our plans for the future.

After the update to Version 6.0 with a more powerful host, lots of new graphics, and a new homepage, we are ready for new tasks.
The new server can cope with many more players, and they surely will come. So the map still has to be enlarged and new areas have to be created. With the help of our map designers and graphics artists, we intend to build some thematically new regions like an ice-world and a desert. We want to insert more monsters and items and implement so-called product cycles where players can produce objects starting with raw materials.

In order to enable players to gain experience points not only by fighting but also by solving quests and by manufacturing goods we will redesign the skill system. Also the fighting system, the magic system, and the professions need a review.
Additionally, we want to improve the intelligence of the monsters in order to make fighting against them more interesting and implement some still missing features like large objects and means of transport.

In parallel, we are already programming the DirectX client, that allows softscrolling, animation, and sound. It should also be possible to update the graphics online without having to download the entire package again. There will also be a client for wizards/game-masters that enables them to edit the map online in order to create quests more easily.

Later, we plan to outsource the Tibia server, so that some sys-ops can run their own worlds of Tibia on hosts all over the world. A central administration server will make it possible to migrate between the different worlds.
The permission of operating an own Tibia server will be given - along with a map editor and a lot of documentation - to some trustworthy and experienced users. If you have interest and the possibility to run a server, please let us know, but note that the decision will only be made when it is time to do so.

Feel free to comment on our plans. We will carefully consider each suggestion, but of course we will not be able to implement everything.

Last modification on this page: 04th November 2000
Copyright by CipSoft GmbH. All rights reserved.​
The history
of the Tibia project.

The idea of writing an online role-playing-game emerged during autumn 1995, when we realized the great potential of the Internet. Unlike the text based multi-user-dungeons at that time, our game should have a graphical user-interface, thus giving the player a better impression of the world he lives in.

In the Easter holidays 1996, the project started with concrete plannings. We developed basic routines for handling objects and implemented an editor (MudEdit) for creating the map and the objects. Moreover, we experimented with sockets and the TCP/IP-protocol in order to set up a communication between two hosts. By August, we had a server program running on Linux and a client program running on Windows ready and could do our first steps with an avatar on a map created by MudEdit.

During autumn, the functionality of Tibia grew rapidly. The avatars got names and individual outfits. They could take, drop, and move objects, as well as talk to each other. In the Christmas holidays, we enabled object-using, implemented the user management including saving the account data, and created the first version of our homepage. We were ready to go online! Tibia's birthday was January 7th, 1997, when we launched a permanent server on rrws27.uni-regensburg.de at the University of Regensburg.

Only few users came to Tibia, because the only advertising were some entries in search engines. Our first guest was Alge on January 10th, welcomed enthusiastically by three gods. Besides that, the development went on. The first non-player-characters (Sam) and monsters (trolls, spiders, cyclopses) entered Tibia. Of course, it was possible to fight against the monsters. Moreover, the third dimension was introduced, at least graphically, and there were papers to write permanent messages. Enough stuff for an update to version Alpha 2.0 on June 3rd, 1997.

In the summer holidays Tibia made great strides: temporal effects, cumulable objects, liquids, a new fighting system, the automap, movement in all three dimensions, different times of day and light sources, and a complete move/use-system. Additionally the small map (160 x 160 fields) was replaced by a bigger one (512 x 512 fields) that contained the first buildings of Thais (the Temple, Frodo's tavern, Gorn's equipment shop, Sam's armoury, the Castle) and several dungeons inhabited by new monster races. This was worth another update: to version Alpha 3.0 on October 28th, 1997.

More and more players detected Tibia, mostly from Germany but also some from all over the world. Some were even so fascinated that they created Tibia-homepages of their own. The first was Yorin's Tibia Homepage, published on January 28th, 1998. Meanwhile we developed a system for magic, introduced skills and vocations, and implemented the Royal Tibian Mail and the depot system. Additionally, we changed our homepage giving it a modern outfit. Tibia seemed to have grown up. Therefore we decided to start the Beta phase on May 20th, 1998.

This update was a great success. People stayed longer in Tibia, and so there was someone online nearly at every time. As the server got too small for so much activity, we bought a server of our own (tibia.uni-passau.de) and set it up at the University of Passau on July 2nd, 1998.

Unfortunately, due to the rapid growth the source code had become very opaque and unmaintainable. It was nearly impossible to add new features without adding new bugs. Therefore we decided to swallow the bitter pill of completely rewriting the server! It took us nearly one year to fulfill this task. On June 18th, 1999, we finally succeeded in starting phase Beta 5.0 with the new server, more stable and open to further ideas.

After that, a lot of improvements took place, too many to mention them here. Many users helped us by designing areas of the even bigger map (1024 x 1024 fields), drawing new objects, writing stories, or taking care of the game as a game master. The average number of players online grew from about 50 in summer 1999 to about 150 in summer 2000, thus making Tibia the greatest online role-playing-game in Germany.

Have a look at our plans for the future!

Last modification on this page: 04th November 2000
Copyright by CipSoft GmbH. All rights reserved.
Interesting they first mention the first player's name is "Alge". But here in 2004 they call him "Albe".