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PC Games (Games) IT

Last Chance to Help Free Ryzom 280

An anonymous reader writes "With the consistent influx of MMORPG's in the last few years it was obvious that many would fall by the wayside, one of those to fall is Ryzom, as you might be aware it is now going to be up for sale, and in an enterprising move for open source there is an initiative to buy Ryzom and put it under the GPL, much like Blender was in the past. However, time is short, apparently "Pledges must be made within the next few days, since the deadline for the final bid is expected sometime before Wednesday, December 19th". Already there is over 150,000 Euros donated and the FSF has donated 60,000!! If you (like me) can see the benefit of having a fully developed MMORPG that is completely open source just donate a little, quickly!"
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Last Chance to Help Free Ryzom

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  • Suckitude? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ninjaesque One ( 902204 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:02AM (#17285964) Journal
    If everyone's the equivalent of a dev team member, then what's to stop everyone from making a monster at the start that dies in one hit and drops a trillion gold?
  • by huguley ( 87575 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:05AM (#17286010)
    The cheap part is the code... How is the project going to be hosted?

    Last I checked it still cost money to put a cluster of computers on the internet.
  • by rblancarte ( 213492 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:05AM (#17286018) Homepage
    The market has spoken, this game was not worthy. I get that the cause is noble and all. But just because it becomes open source, etc, doesn't mean that this is a good game.

    Now, I do see some advantages of having an engine like this open sourced, so I guess just for having this bit of code out and about, that could be a good thing.

  • benefits? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Boeboe ( 815330 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:09AM (#17286084)

    If you (like me) can see the benefit of having a fully developed MMORPG that is completely open source just donate a little, quickly!"
    I do not see the benefits actually, can anyone explain?
  • Re:meh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt ( 931443 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:14AM (#17286150) Homepage
    The same thing could have been said about Netscape. The point is that this gives people a point to rally around, and something to improve. It's classic Cathedral&Bazaar stuff.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:18AM (#17286206) Journal
    And of course it's their money, but it still seems like an odd use of 60,000 Euros of donations to the FSF.
  • Surely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by goldcd ( 587052 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:18AM (#17286208) Homepage
    To keep this thing ticking over you need full time sys-admins, support teams, server farms, bandwidth and various other reasonably expensive things.

    Open Sourcing it would seem to alleviate the expense of the actual game developers, but not much more.

    Now the game has already been written, so I'd have thought dev expenses would currently be minimal - so not too much saving moving it to OSS.

    The first load of expenses are fixed(ish) and have to be covered, so either OSS as a whole is going to have to pay for other people to play - or people themselves will have to pay to play - and we can't let everybody run about compiling in their own stuff...and the more people come in, the more it's going to cost to run..

    And it's not even as if the damn thing is covering it's costs at the moment - hence the sale...

    The whole concept seems bizarre.

    Seemingly there is something that is losing money, so OSS thinks it's a good idea to buy it?

    Imagine this were some failed Microsoft product - would the OSS community all start bouncing on their chairs clammering to take it over and give up on this 'Linux thing'?
  • by Viol8 ( 599362 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:23AM (#17286264) Homepage
    They were called MUDs.

    What surprises me is that no one has written an open source 3D graphical MUD (which is all MMORGS are) from scratch yet. I realise its difficult but when has something being difficult stopped many projects before?
  • by rar ( 110454 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:27AM (#17286288) Homepage
    Can someone who knows about this tell me if the textures, art, and models are included in open-sourcing this? Preferably in a commerical-use-friendly license? Because then I would absolutely consider donating.

    A large library of free 3d-models with textures would be incredibly useful as a starting library for other open-source engine projects.
  • by TBone ( 5692 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @11:51AM (#17286668) Homepage

    ...The point is to create (or buy and free, in this case), a complete MMORPG gaming system. It's the MMORPG version of the Unreal Engine, for comparison's sake.

    So the game wasn't that great. It's open source now, get a group of people together (a la Legend of the Green Dragon [lotgd.net]), and make a new world system based in the engine.

    So it might take several servers and people to run the system. Set it up distributed, get someone to contribute the services of their 3DNS server somewhere, and now not only are you distributed, but you have geographical load balancing.

    Commenters are talking about this as if the idea that a group of people on the IntarWebs can't democratically organize a large distributed server environment and keep it running the latest code and staffed with admins. I wouldn't mention that to the people at all of [undernet.org] the various [efnet.org] irc networks [freenode.net], who have been doing exactly that for years, you might discourage them and make them shut down networks that have been running for longer than a decade.

    And even if the whole Massive part of the game doesn't take off, who's to say specialty environments won't crop up, with admin tools and pre-formed game world content, a la AD&D or GURPS Modules and Expansions, letting players run actual 3D immersive campaigns on a single server somewhere for relatively small groups of people. For that matter, the idea of online 3D Battletech with the whole army of people that I used to play with years ago, instead of going through all the work to build huge tables, seems like a pretty fun concept.

    The fact that such a beast could be released to the public is a good thing, even if you didn't like what the front end (Ryzom) was; the backend is what's important here. It's like the Unreal engine - there's a lot of games using it. Some of them suck, some of them are pretty good, but the content, and the engine to support the content, are two separate things. Yes, the bad (in the opinion of some people) content comes with it, but so does the engine that will let people drive whatever content they want.

  • The FSF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InfinityWpi ( 175421 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:05PM (#17286882)
    Y'know... if that's where the money I donated to the FSF went... screw them. No more donations. That's like donating money to the United Negro College Fund and finding it went to buy scholarships for upper-class basketball players. A nice gesture, but -so- not what it was intended for.
  • Re:Surely (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Squiggle ( 8721 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @12:55PM (#17287794)
    For me, keeping the game running is secondary to getting the rest of the code base and art and other resources free to go along with the NeL GPL engine. For the sort of coding I do, access to that code is much more valuable than the engine code.
  • by Kedian ( 142868 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:22PM (#17288288) Homepage
    Wow. Not only do 90% of the commenters miss the point, they are woefully uninformed as to the goals and the outcome of the project.

    First of all, the FSF did not just mail the Free Ryzom project a cashier's check for $60,000. The *pledge* has conditions: mainly that the software and artwork be released under entirely free licenses. Many commenters seem to be particularly confused as to what is free and what is not: let me clarify. The goal of the Free Ryzom project is to license the client, the *server*, and all of its related content, code and technology under free software licenses. All of it. The entire thing. Ryzom's Social Contract is modeled on Debian's, with slight modifications - including the assertion, which is rather revolutionary as far as MMORPGs are concerned, that the avatar belongs to the player.

    This would be an entire commercial MMORPG - client, server, libraries, artwork, models, etc - entering the free software realm. People who can't understand the utility in this need to have their heads examined. As another commenter put it, I'm sure a bunch of other people said "What good is Netscape, anyways?" many years ago.

    The project proposal would create a French non-profit that will function as the caretaker of the existing Ryzom shards. The players will determine how Ryzom will evolve as a game. And, again, 90% of the people commenting are missing the big picture, and why the FSF made its pledge: this will enable anyone to build MMORPGs using the Ryzom engine as a base. The FSF sees this as a stellar opportunity to push the advancement of free software gaming - a typically neglected arena. This is also a wonderful opportunity to bring the tools for making MMORPGs back into the hands of the users, and allow anyone to set up a world and modify it however they like. The FSF feels that this donation will encourage, in time, a vast collection of unique worlds, all based around the same basic toolkit.

    An auxilliary effect will hopefully be to help advance the cause of free software drivers. After all, complex 3D applications are pretty good for testing, eh?
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:27PM (#17288380) Homepage

    Also, it begs the question: if the bazaar model is so great, how come the only games that it's produced are cheap knock-offs and clones of popular five or ten year old closed source games?

    Open source development of abandoned commercial games doesn't even seem to achieve much: WarZone 2100 was open sourced 2 years ago [sourceforge.net], and all that's been achieved in that time is a POSIX port, plus the addition of some crash bugs.

    This kind of pokes the argument that open source promotes diversity in the eye with a sharp stick.

    As an ex professional games developer, I think that the open source guys clamouring to get their paws on Ryzom are in for a shock, if they think it's going to be easy to adopt, adapt and improve it. In my experience, successful games development means running the project with a fist of iron, and ruthlessly preventing developers from falling noff into fugue states where they get obessed with their own little area of navel lint. It will be very interesting to see how Ryzom develops (if at all) after it's open sourced.

  • by quintesse ( 654840 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:36PM (#17288522)
    Think about it a bit more:

    - if the game, all of it is free, people can go and do whatever they want, which includes finding a way to keep the current players happy. If there are enough people who are happy with the game there will be a way to continue it. If a company buys it you can be sure it won't be thinking first about keeping players happy, it will be thinking about making money.
    - why do you think it's "funny" that the server won't be free? Didn't you just say you wanted Ryzom to continue? How they heck do you see that happening without earning some money somehow? Of course, it _might_ work, like somebody mentioned before people have been operating networks of servers for things like IRC for ages. So _if_ somebody comes up with a way to run Ryzom in a way that doesn't cost any money you won't have to pay. Even so, you can do whatever you want, just run a server and offer your services for free!
    - I don't see what good it would do to restrict the graphics/sounds to Ryzom. You'd still have a project that is dying and no incentive from anyone to help fix the problem. I certainly won't put any time in a project if I can't do what I want with it.
    - It's when the company gets bought by another company that you can kiss your unique game goodbye because it's obvious that _something_ has to change, just throwing more money at it is not going to solve the problem when your competitor is a hugely successful game as World of Warcraft. Or it must be a company with very deep pockets whose CEO just loves playing Ryzom and wants to keep it just the way it is (improving it of course, but keeping the spirit). I just don't see that happening.
    - Yes you are lazy ;-p
    - All there is now are PROMISES of donations, no refunds. When the judge says they can make a real offer they'll contact you to get your money.
  • by GodInHell ( 258915 ) * on Monday December 18, 2006 @01:48PM (#17288730) Homepage
    So.. you didn't donnate to the FSF to promote free (as in birds) software?

    Look, the ideal here is to create a new culture for the MMORPG community that matches the idea behind all the other open source projects - let you build your own system to your own specs for your own goals, without putting in all the dev time and work it takes to get the foundation down. MUDS have survived for decades on the idea that anyone can write a persistant world where people can come and play.

    This is to be the MUDing of 3D worlds. Every person who wants to design a few meshes and work up a couple maps can create a world for their buddies to come play in. With a bit of additional development the community could produce a product which creates "small worlds" for people to get together in. Perhaps even taping some of the other potential uses of MMORPGs, like conducting on-line confrences and visible databases. There are reasons to promote the "freeing" of a generic 3d world interface.

    Can't imagine how that would work? Imagine logging into a library as a floating eye-ball (not graphically, but just limiting the avatar to a floating camera). Ctrl-F to bring up a search window. Type in name of author or title.. boom, the camera jumps to the shelf that has a visiual representation of your file.. which you download by double-clicking on it. Around that file are visual representations of other files matching author or subject - just like a real library. just as a quick example.

  • Re:benefits? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Monday December 18, 2006 @03:09PM (#17289990) Journal
    Another benefit would be the ability to migrate the client to other platforms, and hedge against forced obsolescence. If you and your friends (or larger group) didn't want to upgrade your gear, you could always fork an earlier version of the engine and host your own game for the FPS challenged - unlike commercial games that evolve away and above marginal users ability to keep up.

    As a pure money-making enterprise, PC game development shops focus their dollars on the platform most likely to provide a return on their investment - e.g. MS Windows - with a smaller, lagging amount reserved for Apple (if they even support Apple), and next to nothing for FOSS (Linux/BSD et al). I know game shops that ported early versions of their games 5+ years ago to Linux, but dropped the support due to a lack of return on the investment.

    My thought is if FOSS makes it easy for developers to port their current Windows apps as a planned adjunct to their existing development, and also have key tools/engines that are open source, we can attract more of the mainstream game producers to make games for Linux, or at a minimum port their existing Windows games to Linux. By lowering the bar to entry into the FOSS market, they would be more likely to take advantage of it. Many of them probably won't due to percieved threats to their IP and competitive advantage. My hope would be the titles that I enjoy would take advantage of it to get my entertainment dollars; if they did I could remove the last vestage of MS Windows from my network, and gain the benefits of my high-end system for things other than gaming and listening to music.

    Failing that or in addition to that - the FOSS world would at least have the tools to build our own stuff on par with mainstream games, without having to reinvent the wheel, and different groups could handle the upgrade path as they desired. So I see it as valuable from that perspective.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller