In what must be one of the most potentially exciting developments for independent machinima creators in a long time, we’ve just heard that Winch Gate Properties Ltd., the creators of the online MMORPG Ryzom, will be releasing the entire game as an open-source project. It sounds like the developers are keen to work with the community, and will be accepting the best 3rd-party developments into the main Ryzom codebase. Projects already underway include ports of the game to both Mac OSX and Linux.
This is fabulous news for machinima and anymation. An open-source licence like this gives the double benefit of a game that’s easy to modify (because the entire source code can be studied and adapted) and a game without the usual copyright restrictions on use.
The code for both the game client and server, as well as several content creation tools, will be released under the GNU Affero GPL licence. The assets (textures, sounds, etc) will be under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence.
I’ll have to be honest now and say that I wasn’t familiar with Ryzom before this announcement, but I’ll definitely be taking a look now! Open-sourcing a game like this is an incredibly bold move, which deserves the highest praise. It’s crucial that we take advantage of the opportunity, and use this resource to create things which Winch Gate could never have imagined. In doing so, we validate their decision to release the code, we provide exciting tools and assets for the rest of the community to use, and we’ll have yet another tool in our anymation library. Although Ryzom is not the most graphically sophisticated game on the market, the flexibility of an open-source codebase more than make up for that. So, here’s a challenge to the community: go make something cool.