Monday, December 4, 2006

Gaming evolution

What if the world you lived it was about to vanish right before your eyes? No flash of light, no doomsday asteroid, and no cataclysmic tidal wave.

So then who is the apocalyptic villain? Bankruptcy. The online MMO (massively multiplayer online) game Ryzom has come under assault because of financial woes and there is a possibility that if the courts rule in favor of splitting up the franchise the world could disappear forever. According to the BBC, "the Free Ryzom Campaign is hoping to purchase the online fantasy game Ryzom from current owners Nevrax who will go into receivership in December." So far, the campaign has raised 60,000 euros in pledges from those faithful to the game hoping to see the perpetuation of its life.

This move is significant because if the Free Ryzom Campaign is able to obtain the popular MMO game they have declared their plans to release the source code to the gaming community. The source code is the underlying code of a program and is typically kept secrete by computing companies so they can charge consumers to use it. So if they source code is released gamers would be able to edit and alter their virtual realities freely and submit interface changes freely among the population. 

What we are seeing is an evolution of the gaming industry. Why hire programmers when you can dupe your loyal fan base into doing the work for you while pretending it is an honor to give them something they should have had access to in the first place?

John LaRue
DI columnist

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