All MMOs are rubbish, blah blah blah. World of Snorecraft, blah blah blah. Well, make your own bloody MMO, then. How? With the complete source code and art assets from fantasy monster-biffing game The Saga of Ryzom. It's had player content-building for a while, but this is extraordinary. The devs have just made the whole kit and kaboodle open source, free to use and modify for anyone. They're continuing to run Ryzom as-is meanwhile, which is an interesting one - are the fans loyal enough to keep paying for it, or will they head off and try to create their own servers with this code?
More importantly, will anyone make a fully-fledged new MMO as a result of this uber-generous offer? Even more importantly, which one of you is going to make RPS: The MMO? Four opposing and equally useless factions, Dave Tosser as a dungeon boss, Summon Infinite Bear powers and Kieron as the troll-king - it's so beautifully suited to it. Details and links to the Ryzom new deal below.
Here's yer source code (or at least it will be soon), and here's yer art assets. And below is the official word on the open source move, in case you want to do any reading between the lines. Also worth reading is the official forum thread, in which existing fans of the game express various forms of surprise, joy, disappointment and non-plussedness.
PARIS, FRANCE, May 6, 2010 -- Winch Gate Properties Ltd, the developer and publisher of massively-multiplayer online science-fantasy role playing games, is proud to announce the release of the source code and artistic assets of the popular MMORPG Ryzom to the Free Software Development Community.
Developers can now access the source code of the end-user client, content creation tools and server in order to make modifications, enhancements or to create their own virtual worlds. This move marks a milestone in Ryzom's long history and dedication to the free software movement. In order to ensure that Ryzom continues to grow and foster as a free software project, Winch Gate is now releasing Ryzom under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU Affero General Public License.
Winch Gate is also excited to provide the free software community with high quality professional artistic assets including 3D objects, animation tracks, particle effects and thousands of textures. All of the Ryzom artistic assets will be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike to ensure that they and any derivative art will be available to all free software projects. These assets will be hosted in a new online repository in partnership with the Free Software Foundation.
By freeing Ryzom code, Winch Gate is transforming the MMORPG marketplace and is setting a precedent for how gaming software should evolve--in freedom. The source code released totals over two (2) million lines of source code and over 20,000 high quality textures and thousands of 3D objects.
Welcoming the news, Free Software Foundation executive director Peter Brown said, "This is a unique opportunity for the free software movement and the emerging free gaming field to accelerate the production of free games and 3D worlds. We recognize the importance of gaming and the current dominance of proprietary gaming software, so today represents a significant breakthrough from which our community can benefit." The FSF has published more information about the scope of today's release, and suggested ways for developers to get involved
Vianney Lecroart, Chief Technology Officer of Winch Gate says, "The Free Software community often has a difficult time finding great graphical assets that they can use in their own projects. We are sure that the thousands of textures and 3D objects we are releasing under the CC BY-SA will help a lot of Free Software projects."
Winch Gate intends to incorporate certain code changes and enhancements into the official version of the Ryzom game. All code developed outside Winch Gate's in-house development staff will be thoroughly reviewed to ensure quality standards, stability and security. In order to engage and foster growth in the Ryzom project, Ryzom will have a group of community managers who can manage patch submissions and feature requests. Support will continue to be given for the official Ryzom software only, with third-party projects unsupported by Winch Gate.
Initial projects will include bug fixes and porting to operating systems such as GNU/Linux and Apple Mac OS X. Timeframes for these enhancements will vary depending on the scale of the project and the project team. The level and world data associated with Ryzom will not be released as free content and their use will remain exclusive to players of the Ryzom game.
The source code and additional information will be available from the Ryzom Core Development Portal
The Ryzom's free media assets are available from Ryzom's Asset Repository