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Synthetic Reality

How To Publish Your Own World

OK, you've created your masterpiece, and now you want to share it with the universe. How do you make it show up in the "Check On-line for New Worlds" list?

Well, you need to PUBLISH it, of course. And here's how to do that! (Hey, I did this, why didn't Dan publish it?)(Wait, I refuse to obey that!)


Create your world by hook or by crook and place it in the WORLDS folder of your own copy of Well of Souls. Test it to make sure you like it. If YOU don't like it, then think twice about publishing it :-)

Since release A57, your world's folder should NOT have a "savedHeroes" folder within it. If your world was created before A57, you should delete any bogus savedHeroes folder before publishing. Your real saved games are now in the WoS\Save folder, not the WoS\Worlds folder.


Next you will want to version your world so that people will be able to easily track when they need an upgrade. Also, playing in an un-versioned copy of your world will eventually get characters marked as 'modders,' so it's the polite thing to do.

  • Close any editors you have open, and incarnate yourself into your new world. You probably want to use a 'cheat' character for this purpose.
  • Type "/version" to bring up the Version Dialog for your world. If you haven't already created a Publishing Center or set the World Password, you will be prompted for that first.
  • Enter the new version number for your world (versions are decimal numbers, starting at 1.0000, and can only go UP in later releases).
  • Press the SET VERSION button and bang, your world is versioned! Unless something goes horribly wrong, of course...

When you next open the Version Dialog, there should be a comment on the order of "seems to be an official version."

If your comment is more like "seems to be a mod" then either your versioning didn't work, or you have since changed one or more of the world's files.


Versioning your world is all fine and well, but what you REALLY want to do is create the files that you need to upload to your web site. You do this by use of the PUBLISH button:

  • Bring the Version Dialog up by typing "/version"
  • Verify that it "seems to be an official version."
  • Push the PUBLISH button.
  • Fill in the form which is presented to you. This information will be recapped in the publishing instructions letter that you ultimately will want to email to me.
  • Press OK. This will run WinZip for you automatically, creating the world ZIP and INFO files you will need to upload to your web site.

Please note that this REQUIRES you install WinZIP(tm), available from It's a fine piece of shareware which everyone should be encouraged to register. I depend on WinZIP for security purposes (so people don't hand each other self-extracting archives with viruses in them, for example).


The PUBLISH button will also create a list of instructions as to what you need to do next. But basically you will need to:

  • Upload the world ZIP and INFO files to your web site.
  • Make a simple web page which is your world's Home Page (talks mainly about your world, not about you.)

Sorry, but Synthetic-Reality has no space to host your worlds. Check out one of the many (free) web-hosting sites such as,, or even (yuck) aol.

The mechanics of uploading files to web sites are not covered here, since they vary with the site. Your web host will be pleased to explain it to you...


Finally, email me to let me know you are ready to take your world public. Include the full URLs of your world's archive and info files. Once I do a little magic at my end, your world will appear whenever people select the "Check OnLine for New Worlds" option from within the game.

You only have to do this the first time you publish your world. After that, you can change your ZIP and INFO files as much as you like without having to tell (since people will always fetch the most recent files you have on your web site, you only need to tell when your actual URLs change - say you change web hosts.)

Here is an example email:

Dear mister samuel, sir, local deity of WoS and friend to all mammals,
I am pleased to announce the availability of my new world, "Inferno" 
which I hope you will consider publishing at your earliest convenience 
(and I understand it may take you days and days to do anything at all, 
because you are so busy making the world a better place). 

Here is the information you requested:

my name: Lord Weatherwax
world Name:  Inferno
world zip URL:
info file URL:
World Home Page URL:

Thank you again for your kind attentions.

Your eternal fan,

Lord Weatherwax

Before sending your email, ask yourself:

  • Does it properly suck up to Uncle Dan? He likes that.
  • Does it include all the relevant information, full URLs, spelled correctly? Capitalization?
  • Check those URLs one more time. Do they really work?

Uncle Dan does NOT like changing URLs once set, nor to discover that the archive file is corrupted. Beware the wrath of Uncle Dan. And try to provide the REAL URL, not some wacky redirector site.

In fact, the instructions created by the PUBLISH button have all the information I need, so it's fine to just send me a copy of that.


Once your world has been published, you can modify your files whenever you like, so long as you keep the filenames the same (full URL must stay constant). Remember to always "/version" and PUBLISH to create the new ZIP and INFO files for each release of your world. Then everyone playing WoS will be able to get automatic upgrades. You do NOT have to send an email announcing your upgrade (but feel free to anyway).

During development, you might want to share your world with some friends before publishing it to the world at large. Just email them the ZIP file you made and then they should use the IMPORT command in the game to unzip and install it. In general I prefer that we all use ZIP files and not self-extracting archives to help insulate ourselves from possible viruses.

About File Names

Most web hosting sites won't let you put spaces in a file name, and since the filename of your zip file is also the world name which appears in the menu, this is a bit inconvenient. Some sites won't even let you use capital letters. And since your URL must exactly match the file name's capitalization, it is important to show great care.

In general, the World Publishing features will replace spaces with underscores, but otherwise attempt to keep your world named the way you wanted it.

Where are the ZIP and INFO Files?

Well, the helpful page of instructions displayed after pushing the PUBLISH button does its thing should give the full path to the files for you, but here is the theory behind it:

  • Only VERSIONED worlds can be PUBLISHed. The PUBLISH button will be dim if the version comment is "seems to be a mod."
  • When you push PUBLISH, a new folder is created with a name like: c:\WoS\Publish\WorldName\1.0001\ (where worldName is your world's name, and 1.0001 is your most recent version number)
  • Inside of that folder are two files: The World ZIP file containing all the files of your world, and the World INFO file (ok, it's a .TXT file) containing simple version information about your world. (Basically, players will download the small INFO file in order to determine whether or not they need the big ZIP file)

Please note that the Publish folder ends up keeping copies of every version you have ever PUBLISHed (even if you never actually uploaded that version). This can be useful when you realize you accidentally deleted all your custom monster skins.

It's up to you to decide when, if ever, you want to delete things from your Publish folder.

What's all this about Publishing Centers and World Passwords?

The first time you ever use the "/version" command on your PC, you will be asked to create a publishing center. When you version your world, it will be credited to that publishing center. So people will be able to see who made the world.

The first time you set a version on your new world, you will also be asked for a World Password. You will need this each time you subsequently change the version number. (Otherwise you might have helpful friends releasing versions on your behalf.)

If you make additional worlds in the future (on that PC), they will be credited to the same publishing center.

If you lose your publishing center, or world password, well... you won't be able to make a seamless new version. You can still version again for your next release, but ALL EXISTING CHARACTERS (for everyone who has ever played your world) will be marked modders when they play your next release. This is a bad enough thing that you want to avoid it.

In fact, your publishing center is just a single file, called "pubCenter.dat" and you can (and should) take it with you if you move to a new PC.

HOWEVER, you should NOT give it to other players, unless you want them to be able to publish in your name. (which you might want to do under some circumstances. Generally, however, you don't know anybody that trustworthy.)

Hey, Dan never published my world! How come?

There could be many possible explanations to this. If I didn't seem to send you an email explaining why, consider the following:

  • Maybe I didn't get your email, or perhaps I just flaked out. Sorry.
  • Did you follow the instructions above, exactly? Or did you just send me an email with a random link or two in it? I need ALL the information described above. Remember, the PUBLISH button makes ALL the files you need AND it composes the email you need to send me. Just send me a copy of that set of instructions it displayed for you (it probably left a copy of them on your desktop)
  • Did you set up your website file hosting before sending me the email? I need all the links in the email to actually WORK. I can't publish worlds in advance of you actually crafting them/hosting them.
  • Did your world actually represent sufficient 'effort' on your part? Or was it just a renamed copy of Evergreen with a couple monster names changed? It's ok to make worlds like that for your private consumption, but theres no real need to make other people download them. This is a subjective judgement on my part. I apologize if your world was a LOT of effort on your part, and I just can't see it.
  • Did your world properly credit the previous world authors who inspired you? Provided your maps, music and skins? You'd want people to thank YOU wouldn't you?
  • Did your world's home page have an excessive amount of popup advertising on it? If your free web host has excessive popups, chances are it is limiting your download megabytes anyway, so look for a different host.

And speaking of your world's home page! You have to host your world files anyway, there's no reason to not have a little home page for your world!

People will see that page when they browse the "check on line for new worlds" list. It's your chance to convince them your world is a fun place to be. Plus you can add any special instructions for getting patches, downloading without requiring winzip, etc.

This is also where you MUST explain to the potential downloader if you feel your world is appropriate for kids, etc. You MUST provide an honest evaluation of your world or I cannot publish it.

It's always sad when a nice world has no home page to brag about it. Pity the poor world, unloved by its creator.

Hey, I REFUSE to follow your simple rules!

So, all the time I hear: "I don't like winZip, I can make zip files, XP has zip support built in, I refuse to install WinZip just so I can accurate publish my world in a way others can enjoy it! I insist instead on making a defective ZIP file on my own and then dooming people to download 50 megabytes only to have it end up not working, because I am an egomaniac and I know best and you're trying to restrict my creative vision!"

Actually, all I am trying to do is prevent the frustration that comes from downloading a 50 meg world which then fails to install. Well, and to deny you the right to creatively install any viruses your PC might have picked up on other people's PCs.

But if you MUST 'know best'...

I insist on the following:

1.) You host the files correctly and send me an exact copy of the publishing instructions with full working URLs and no handwaving about where to find things. And by 'files' I mean BOTH the .zip AND the .txt (info) file. Both of which are created automatically for you when you push the PUBLISH button.

2.) Your ZIP file actually works when installed by WoS.

Here is how to manually create a working ZIP file:

  • Start with a computer where a working and versioned copy of your world is installed to "...\wos\worlds\yourworldname" Spaces and punctuation marks are not allowed in world names, use underscores if you must.
  • Do NOT just rightclick on 'yourworldname' and select 'add to zip' as that will result in your world being installed to "...\wos\worlds\yourworldname\yourworldname"
  • Instead, open your 'yourworldname' folder and select ALL THE FILES AND FOLDERS INSIDE IT. And THEN right-click and 'add to zip' and give the resulting zip the the name of your world

It's not HARD to do, and yet no one who hates WinZip seems to be able to manage it (or even test their work before asking me to publish it), hence my frustration after providing a nice simple one button way to do it right :-)

And here is how to TEST your ZIP file:

  • Start with a computer which does NOT have your world installed on it (be sure to always keep your World Development folders backed up). Get a copy of your ZIP file copied to that computer. (Ideally you will have uploaded your ZIP file to your webhost and given the URL of the file to a friend, who has now downloaded it and saved it somewhere on their computer)
  • Start WoS on that computer and select 'Check online for new worlds'
  • On the lower right of that dialog is an 'import...' button, click on that
  • Follow its instructions to browse the hard drive to find that copy of the ZIP file and 'import' it.
  • When that completes successfully, return to WoS and try to play the world. If it hangs on the loading screen forever, then look in "..\wos\worlds\yourworldname" and see if the files are there, or if there is just another folder in there, like "..\wos\worlds\yourworldname\yourworldname" as described above.
  • If it looks like it installed OK, trying creating a new character in the world and make sure you are not told "would have to mark you as a modder because this is a modded world" (which would imply the world is not versioned correctly, or the ZIP file did not include all the necessary files).

And my apologies to anyone who just plain can't install WinZIP and make this all trivially easy. I don't mean to sound testy, I just get sad when I see all that work made pointless by a poorly formed ZIP file.

Legal Stuff

Synthetic Reality cannot be held accountable for mischief perpetrated by individual world designers, so use common sense and a quality virus checker when downloading *anything* from the web. However, if you allow Well of Souls to automatically install the world for you, you can be sure it will not execute any.. um.. executables, and no files will be installed outside of your Wos\Worlds folder.

Synthetic Reality reserves the right to pull any world from the master directory for any reason, but will opt to support free speech wherever possible. If your world is violent or foul, please describe it as such on your world's home page (using G-rated language to do so, please). The goal is to let everyone know BEFOREHAND what they should expect and give them plenty of warning before they encounter anything they might find personally distasteful, while at the same time not limiting the creative expression of the world author.

  Copyright 1999-2014, Synthetic Reality Co. All Rights Reserved