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Winch Gate's  Ryzom  Now Open Source

Winch Gate's Ryzom Now Open Source

May 7, 2010 | By Eric Caoili

May 7, 2010 | By Eric Caoili
More: Programming

Developer and publisher Winch Gate Properties announced that it has released its source code and artistic assets for subscription-based sci-fi PC MMORPG Ryzom in partnership with the Free Software Foundation.

With Ryzom now open source, developers can access the source of the end-user client, content creation tools, and server in order to make modifications, add enhancements, or even create their own virtual worlds.

Winch Gate says it wants to ensure that the MMORPG continues to grow as a free software project, so it's released over two million lines of its source code under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU Affero General Public License (GNU AGPLv3).

The artistic assets -- which includes more than 20,000 high quality textures, thousands of 3D objects, animation tracks, and particle effects -- are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike and will be hosted in a new online repository by the Free Software Foundation, ensuring that derivative art will be available to free software projects.

Initially developed by French studio Nevrax, the sci-fi game launched in 2004 as The Saga of Ryzom. Several different companies have taken over operations for the game since then, implementing various paid and free subscription options; Cyprus-based Winch Gate is the latest owner of Ryzom, and employs several workers from the now defunct Nevrax in its staff.

Winch Gate says it will incorporate certain code changes and enhancements into the official version of Ryzom once its developers have reviewed the material to ensure quality standards, stability, and security. To help grow Ryzom, a group of community managers will managers will oversee patch submissions and feature requests.

The MMORPG's initial projects will include bug fixes, as well as porting the game to other operating systems like GNU/Linux and Mac. Winch Gate notes that the game's level and world data will not be released as free content, as their use will remain exclusive to Ryzom players.

"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," says Free Software Foundation executive director Peter Brown. '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."

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