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hello: Pledge for an open source MMO platform.
Posted on Tuesday, December 19 @ 23:34:33 CET by julian

Opportunities



MMO engines are vast, tendrilous, sprawling things and take epochs of human hours to write. Looking at the code alone makes the technical scope of an FPS engine look like the assembly instructions for IKEA furniture. Because writing an MMO engine is so difficult, game producers fund the development of MMO engines on very guarded terms, making it extremely expensive to license the rights to develop using their technology. This would be fine if there were proven high-quality MMO engines out there under a flexible license, as there are with other genres of game, but this is not the case. As a result, the artistic and/or academic exploration of massive multiuser persistent worlds is largely limited to creating art and events in Second Life, which - to be perfectly honest - is not a platform without its severe limitations.

I've worked with a couple of these mammoth MMO platforms in the past, one of them by the name of NeL, from a company by the name of Nevrax. While getting art into the thing was a righteous pain in the asset (back then), the libraries themselves were very sophisticated. To give you some idea of what can be acheived, see here, here and here.

These same libraries were used to create an MMORPG not so long ago called Saga of Ryzom, which in a world after WoW, failed to pick up the interest it needed to satisfy the game's proprietors, Nevrax. For this reason the engine, game and all the artwork are currently on sale. Nevrax are now accepting offers.

The Free Ryzom Campaign

A group of former Nevrax employees got together and decided to start a campaign to buy Ryzom outright, in turn releasing all the code and artwork under the GPL and/or a GPL compatible license.

They already have EUR167,000 worth of donation pledges, with the largest (EUR60,000) coming from the FSF. Their target is currently EUR200,000. If they reach this figure - and Nevrax accept the offer - they'll hit you up for your pledge, the bonus being that you, every artist, university and media lab will have a very fine proven MMORPG to mod, extend, rework, contribute to and redistribute free of charge.

We have nothing this good at present; to date MMO development is a game for big boys with similarly proportioned lawyers.

If free access to a fine, proven MMO platform sounds like a good idea to you, put your pledge where your pout is!


 
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