There was an interesting bit of news recently posed over at Heise Online.http://www.heise-onl...pen-sourced--/112247
Seems that Cyan, creators of the legendary Myst series of interactive fiction games, now plans to release the source code for their ill-fated MystOnline MMO venture. Details are sketchy, and the announcement over at MystOnline is interesting although specific details are absent.http://www.mystonline.com/
Open Source Uru Live
Shorah fans of Cyan,
As you may be aware, Cyan's situation has not improved on the "resources" front. We continue to work on small projects (including Myst for the iPhone/iPod Touch), and it looks like we will only be able to concentrate on projects that are fully funded for the foreseeable future.
However, all of us at Cyan and everybody that has ever worked on the creation and building of the dream called UruLive (a.k.a. Mudpie, Until Uru, MystOnline:UruLive and MORE) can not just let it die! (My definitions: "UruLive" is the original dream of the virtual world. And "MystOnline" is the current implementation of UruLive.)
So, 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.
This is a bit scary for Cyan because this is an area that we have never gone before, to let a product freely roam in the wild. But we've poured so much into UruLive, and it has touched so many, that we could not just let it whither and die. We still have hopes that someday we will be able to provide new content for UruLive and/or work on the next UruLive.
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 (if you are reading this, it probably means you) 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.
We also are pretty sure that releasing MystOnline will result in some pleasant surprises for us. Our fans have always been so innovative, creative, and resourceful!
This release will probably be accomplished in stages, but we hope to get things ready for the first stage very quickly. More details to surely follow.
Exactly how this will play out, and how much control Cyan will retain on code access and use, remains to be seen.
Making code "open source" does not automatically mean it will be "free and/or unrestricted." Take a look at Java, or Microsoft's latest "open source" forays, and you'll see how the term "open" can take on many different meanings. There is no indication that Cyan is contemplating anything like a GPL licensing model at this point. And it's doubtful that they will go that route.
In some respects it almost sounds like Cyan is asking for a code and content bailout
(as opposed to a cash bailout
) from its fanbase.
In the end, it all depends on what rights they retain; and under what legal terms they integrate outside contributions into their codebase. Hopefully they won't behave like Sun does with OpenOffice.
Still, if you're a coder (or just an armchair "code reader" like me), this looks to be an excellent opportunity to get a firsthand look at how a large-scale commercial MMO game is written. It's bound to be educational even if you never get directly involved.
Could be quite interesting.