Ryzom is an MMORPG with a rather strange story, good graphics and a GPL’d engine, NeL. Recently, Nevrax, the company behind NeL and Ryzom, went bankrupt and Ryzom will soon be sold off to the Chosen One. As with most GPL works, there’s a happy little community around the game, and they didn’t want to let go. In fact, they were willing to actually buy all artwork and data for the game and that’s where the FSF stepped in with 60,000 USD pledged for a total of upwards of 140,000 USD to the cause.
The game is free (as in open-source), and if the deal does come through, the game data will probably go under a Creative Commons or freer license. What this means is that though the official server will have a pay-to-play model, any of the private servers will be able to work legally and use all of the work done by the community while being able to easily modify the game if they so wish to. The possibilities are endless! To you freeloaders out there, there you go!
Also, this isn’t just any old game that died out of it’s own lameness. It’s ranked up there with the giants (Everquest, EVE, Guild Wars) and beats out some of the most-touted games there (City of Heroes, WoW, for example) at #4 at mmorpg.com. Also, the game supposedly only needs a steady bitrate between 2500 B/s (on a highly populated scene) and 250 B/s (on an empty scene) and that should be easily available on the lowest of broadband connections. The graphics are pretty awesome and the provided Ryzom Ring encourages user-made maps and scenarios and in the original game, these were actually accessible on official servers through terminals ingame.
Hopefully, there will be a native linux version if the whole thing works out. Sure it works in Wine, but why not go the whole hog and support that last 3% of the desktop market too :) Well, okay, may be it’s just me being selfish. Still, I’m a long way from playing that game as long as I’m stuck with my graphics card. The game requires a card with atleast 128MB memory. Ah well, perhaps later.