Uru Goes Gnuru

The fans get together for an in-game party. (Only kidding, frightening Uru players!)

Myst-MMO, Uru Live, is to go fully open source. The MMO has had a troubled existence, managing the impressive feat of being axed twice, and yet still existing. Having been published by Ubisoft, then picked up by Gametap, Eurogamer report that the third attempt to revive it, developer Cyan World’s Myst Online Restoration Experiment (MORE), has also gone titsup. Their response is a rather exciting one – they’re turning the game over to the public.

In a new post on Myst Online: Uru Live (as the game is currently known), Cyan explain that their “resources” can’t stretch to developing anything that isn’t funded by a publisher. They explain the new plan.

“Cyan has decided to give make MystOnline available to the fans by releasing the source code for the servers, client and tools for MystOnline as an open source project. We will also host a data server with the data for MystOnline. MORE is still possible but only with the help from fans.”

Explaining that this move is “scary” to them, and saying they hope they will be able to provide new Uru Live content some time in the future, they also recognise this could make the game a little strange for the players, too.

“This is also a bit scary for the fans. We realize that this could turn UruLive into the “wild west” and lead to many fractured and diverse MystOnline servers. But it is our hope that with the help of dedicated core fans that a safe and secure MystOnline server set (many servers from around the world working together as one) can be created that will let people explore and live in UruLive.”

Quite how this will work is not clear yet. But Cyan are handing over everything to the users, from game code to server architecture. This is all rather new, so fans are just getting themselves organised to respond. There’s discussion on the Cyan forums, as well as a dedicated (but currently quiet) forum for the open source development. Cyan say the source should be released in stages, beginning in the next few days.


  1. Dain says:

    Quite frankly, this game has been a mess, some interesting ideas.. but badly executed… but since custom content creation has been what a lot of people have been crying out for from the start, this is a good move..

  2. Tei says:

    Geezz.. as a open source programmer, a MMO made opensource is a dream made true. but most people was expecting to get something like Ryzom (I think the FSF tried to make this posible, buying it..), something arcadey.
    I don’t know how well Uru can work as opensource.

    Because… RPG’s on the internet started as opensource, as MUD’s, and there are lots of opensource RPG mods. But 3D ain’t not cheap or easy (ask Google Livelly, ask anyone that has tried to add 3D to the web). So we have this need, here on the opensource community, to have something 3D, to create something like the Neverwinter 1 community, but with a true 3D MMORPG.

    Is sad, but most failed games end in a backup tape, forgotten somewhere, even on the trash.

    Anyway here I don’t see really cool stuff to come, maybe better clients.

    The opensource community, are somewhat weak at making better some game engines. The SDL version of Homeworld is somewhat “Meh”. So I expect a linux version and something along that lines. Not much more.

    But he!.. I am just a individual, and I have not much information about the topic. Maybe the foss community can make something great with this (I doubt it).

    Another important bit of importions… are the medias free in a useable way? withouth opensource multimedias (sounds, models, animations…) theres tons of work to be made, Is key to really have a free opensource proyect. Open source withouht freedom don’t really work. (Other than maybe the Quake engines, that have managed to go somewhere withouth the original medias, but that is rare, and is almost because you don’t really need much for a deathmach game, but for a MMO you need tons and tons of medias!).

  3. Benjamin Finkel says:

    I can’t wait to see where this goes. Uru is beautiful.


  4. Larington says:

    Interesting, this could also make a great teaching tool for games programming courses, I’ll have to forward this news to someone at uni.

  5. Mr Pink says:

    Best RPS Headline ever!

  6. Pags says:

    @Mr Pink: I think Conflict: Denied Ops, Allowed Trailer was better. Both are Walkerisms however.

  7. weegosan says:

    A contemporary and solid server -> client MMO (with things like latency smoothing algorithms etc) architecture is really something pretty special to be allowed to be open sourced. This could be a rather nice thing to trawl though.

  8. Down Rodeo says:

    Does anyone know what the actual licence is? I assume from the headline it is a GNU licence but then I also know from journalism that facts can be… blurred for a snappy headline (it’s cool, I do it all the time; it’s kind of fun).

  9. Dominic White says:

    I’m really glad to see this happening. Myst Online had some great ideas, and some excellent content, but the business model just couldn’t sustain it.

    If the fanbase can patch things up and get it standing tall again, I’ll be very happy.

  10. John Walker says:

    My headline was all about the pun, rather than factual accuracy. (That’s the RPS Promise!) They’ve yet to announce that detail, Rodeo.

  11. malkav11 says:

    That’s very cool. Personally I’m not hoping for new fan content (I can’t imagine it’d hold up compared to Cyan’s own creations) or anything like that, but just having the ability to set up and run Myst Online servers pulls the game from the graveyard, and I think that’s great. I’d love to see other defunct MMOs follow suit, like Earth and Beyond, Tabula Rasa (soon), Asheron’s Call 2 and especially Auto Assault – for which I have a great fondness but which did not work at all as a pay to play MMO game.

  12. Ragnar says:

    That is a really interesting and bold move. I sincerely hope this turns out well (so that other developers might be inclined to go the same path). One should realise though that it is not always easy to build a developer community around something which previously was closed sourced.

  13. James G says:

    Yay! Actually, its a ‘game’ which always tickled at my desire for exploration, but one I never got involved in. Still, regardless of the nature of Uru itself (which clearly has a limited appeal) this of course opens the door for providing an open source code base for several MMO projects.

  14. Pete says:

    But think of the piracy! .. no, wait.

    In all seriousness, I think it’s just the right sort of game for this, one with a small but dedicated and patient fanbase.

  15. Larington says:

    I do miss Earth & Beyond, they just needed to make the combat fun and it’d would’ve done great IMHO. Still think its a shame they didn’t/couldn’t/were-legally-obliged-to-not release the source code or some way of fandom hosting a server. Oh well.