14 December 2006

Is Ryzom.org Going to Be Massive?

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about attempts to take the MMORPG Ryzom open source; now it seems that these have received a big boost from a surprising quarter:

Free Software Foundation announces that it will officially support the Free Ryzom campaign (www.ryzom.org) with a pledge of $60,000.

The Free Ryzom campaign was established to purchase the online game and universe known as Ryzom, property of the now bankrupt Nevrax company, and release the entire game as free software.

As stated by Peter T. Brown, Executive Director of the Free Software Foundation, the FSF considers the Free Ryzom campaign "a high priority project for the free software movement". The aim of the campaign is to publish the source code to the entire game under the terms of the widely-used GPL, as well as publishing all of the artwork and other content under similar free licenses.

The Free Ryzom campaign represents a unique opportunity for the free software movement and the emerging free gaming field. A fully free MMORPG (massively multiplayer online roleplaying game) engine and client/server architecture would allow the development of a myriad of universes, each one evolving its own philosophy and unique content - but sharing in general technical improvements. If successful, this campaign would allow any user to create their own universe and produce their own content based on the Ryzom/Nevrax architecture.

What's particularly interesting about this move is that it confirms how MMORPGs and virtual worlds are moving into the mainstream: after all, the FSF has only limited resources, and would not choose to spend its hard-earned dosh on anything that it does not perceive as pushing forward its cause in a major way.

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