I had to do some archaeology and forensics to understand what this project even was. It's some time in the early 2010s, and if you read about my other projects of that time, you might know that I had a thing for writing game engines with as few libraries as possible.

The repo seems to be a derivative of 4YTech and was an account system in front of the actual game Metaplains, an MMO. That repo handled authentication, registration, forgetting passwords, all that stuff, and simply passed some credentials to a Java Applet.

I had a hard time trying to get that repo up and running again, just because of all the moving pieces that were involved (not to mention that Java Applets aren't a thing anymore and haven't been for quite some time) but there is an archived version of it.

Applet-running browser extensions (like CheerpJ) seem to get stuck loading, however unzipped the jar files and found out that this MMO seems to be the exact one that I wrote this article about way back when!

Searching my GitHub for "metaplains" didn't yield any results. Since I was using Java, I assumed that this must have been back when I was using Mercurial for version control and BitBucket as a remote, as opposed to git+GitHub which I tend to do these days. No luck!

I ran a search on an old hard drive for "metaplains" instead, and found two projects in an old Dropbox backup directory called "amar-engine" and "amar-engine-dormant". There was a .git directory in both of them, and checking what the origin is, pointed me to my own GitHub! Both of these it turns out are on GitHub already, here and here respectively! Turns out GitHub's search just isn't very good.

The files on my hard drive were last modified in 2014, but the archive captures were from 2013, and there's a YouTube video from 2013 for the game engine. Searching my email archives, I found out that I first purchased the domain on Friday the 29th of June 2012. It's therefore very likely that Metaplains existed in some form in 2012.

I'm no longer sure of the exact order of things, however the most likely is that the top-down game from this article came first, then that morphed into the generalised Amar Engine over time. The three strongest clues that indicate this are:

  1. The amar-engine codebases contain unused tilemaps from the top-down game as well "metaplains" namespaces, meaning I must have started those off as a project called Metaplains which used those tilemaps
  2. The fact that I can't find the codebase for that top-down game, and wasn't using version control in 2012[1], leads me to believe that I modified that codebase directly into Amar Engine
  3. I can't remember what I called the top-down game, so it must have been Metaplains, as the engine isn't called that

So that's the mystery of Metaplains solved! Now we delve deeper into Amar Engine...

  1. Both my GitHub as well as my Bitbucket accounts date back to 2011, but it doesn't seem like I really started using them heavily at that point. The Amar Engine repo doesn't have a proper git history, only 4 commits, one of which is called "Add all latest project files". Given that on my hard drive it was in a Dropbox folder, that was probably my version control! ↩︎