INN Barn Project

Sierra pioneered online multiplare gaming with their "The Sierra Network" (TSN) which later became the ImagiNation Network (INN). It also created an online community. There have been attempts to recreate INN, mostly through reverse engineering and use of DOSBox. Some older projects, Faux INN. and ImagiNation Network Revival are no longer active. A new project by James Leiterman, INN Barn is mostly functional. From the Facebook group ImagiNation Network (INN) Revival Comes this announcement:

INN is back! Check out the INN Barn server.

INN Barn (http://innbarn.com) is INN 2.4 in all it's glory. Almost everything is working, including Red Baron, all the 'cano games, and Boogers.

Come and play in the Clubhouse. Challenge someone to a game of boogers in SierraLand and remember the days of yore, when we all gamed incessantly on the INN network at $6 an hour.

This group is designed for people to meet each other outside INN and arrange for times and places to meet in the client. Invite your friends to this group and spread the word. Welcome home!

Some may find setting up ImagiNation Network Revival a bit intimidating. It involved editing config files and setting it up to run in DOSBox.

I have created an SHP installer that will automatically setup INN Barn. It includes the latest official build of DOSBox, 0.74-2. The installer will create a userbase with uniform INN setups to facilitate debugging and a smoother experience for all users. No manual configuration is needed. Just run the installer and setup your INN user profile when the program launches. If you wish to see what INN was like, download the SHP INN Barn installer and explore the Sierra worlds of the ImagiNation Network.

Install INN Barn Setup (Install File) [25.4 MB]

Note: INN Barn is a work in progress. There may be frequent updates of the INN Barn Proxy. Updating the proxy is easy. You will be notified everytime you log into the network of the latest proxy. To check which version you have just click on the "Help" > "About..." and it will display the version of your current proxy. To update just go to the INN Barn homepage and click on the "InnProxy.zip" link. Simply unzip it into your installed INN Barn folder. Say yes when it asks if you want to overwrite the existing file. Done. Restart INN Barn and have fun.

 

Box Front


INN Theme
(recorded from a real MT-32)


 

About ImagiNation Network:


INN News Letter Jan. 1993 -- Full Size 18.2 MB

 

From the Wikipedia article on the ImagiNation Network:

"The ImagiNation Network (INN), aka The Sierra Network (TSN), was the first online multiplayer gaming system.[citation needed] Developed by Sierra On-Line in 1989, and first available to the public in 1991, the ImagiNation Network was a unique online gaming network that gave subscribers from all over the United States of America a place where they could "play games, make friends and have fun". With a wide variety of games including RPGs, WWI aeroplane simulations, live trivia, and card and board games, almost every user could find something enjoyable to play. INN also featured an electronic post office, many bulletin boards, chat rooms, and the company boasted of having "more than 200 groups, clubs and special events online."

"Sierra On-Line founder Ken Williams wanted to create a network that even his grandmother would find easy to use, and to that end INN featured a unique emphasis on a friendly, graphics-heavy interface. Each user was represented by a persona which they assembled using INN's built-in 'facemaker'. The facemaker was incredibly detailed, with enough different options to construct over 84 million unique personas. Users could then indicate their level of skill in various games, in order to encourage fair match-making between players, and a short list of hobbies to help match interests with new friends."

And INN was eventually sold off:

"While TSN achieved over 30,000 paid customers, unfortunately, it was not profitable for Sierra On-Line, losing millions of dollars a year. Most of the loss was attributed to high bandwidth needs for some of the real-time games, and the inexpensive subscription model. In 1994, AT&T purchased a half-interest in TSN for 50 million dollars. Under AT&T's direction the network's name was changed to the ImagiNation Network, hourly rates were increased, and several elements of the network considered 'too risqué' were removed entirely. A year later, AT&T bought the remaining half of the network for an additional 50 million dollars, making Sierra On-Line one of the few companies at the time to have made money from online gaming.

"AT&T continued to make enhancements to the service until August 6, 1996, when INN was acquired by America On-Line for 15 million dollars. AOL shut down the ImagiNation Network early in 1998, ending seven years of operation."

 


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