Recently we had an interesting question come in from reader and Patron Rasmus Praestholm, who asked me to do a little investigating: “What (if anything of substance) exists in the MMO field that’s not only free, but open source? The topic of open source came up briefly in a recent column, where Ryzom was noted to have gone open source at some point. But have any serious efforts actually gotten anywhere starting out as open source?”
As some graphical MMORPGs pass the two-decade mark in video game history and are being either cancelled or retired to maintenance mode, it’s an increasingly important topic when it comes to keeping these games alive. Not only that, the question of open source MMOs involves the community in continued development, with the studio handing over the keys to an aging car to see what can be done by resourceful fans.
But has anything much been done with open source projects in the realm of MMORPGs? Is this something that we should be demanding more of as online gaming starts using more accessible platforms such as SpatialOS? Let’s dig a bit into this topic and see what we turn up.
Your favorite game is going to die. I wrote about that. Some games are never even going to get to launching in the first place, unfortunately. But then there are these titles: games that went the distance when it came to development, marketing, promotion, testing… but somehow didn’t quite manage to stick the landing past that. These are the games that, in Transformers terms, are the hi-then-die cast of the MMO space.
That doesn’t always mean the games are bad, mind you. Some of these games were great fun. But through a combination of business model issues, publisher issues, player population, and just general weirdness, these titles couldn’t make it to a year and a half in the wild. Heck, some of them couldn’t even make it to a year and a quarter. And if you want to peruse this list and wonder why all of these titles are gone but Alganon is somehow still operating… well, we’re just as confused as you are.
Last week, we introduced the first part of our guide to the best upcoming, in-development indie MMORPGs — yes, the list was so long that we had to split it lest our CMS explode! So this week we’re back with the other half of our list, a quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: We’re not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, we won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns.
On with part two!
We are fast approaching the late, lamented Glitch’s birthday on September 27th, and to mark the occasion, we thought we would check in with the progress of both of the game’s community reboot projects.
Over in Children of Ur, the team released its “Cuteness Update” earlier this month. Players can witness cubimal racing in the streets, enjoy a bag for music boxes, and stay in touch with others thanks to the new friends list.
Meanwhile, Eleven continues with its extremely small alpha, although the devs are hosting a drawing to pull out additional testers (you’ll need to enter before next Monday if you’re interested!). The project’s lead developer also recently posted a roundup of AMA questions and answers.
When you write for an MMORPG website that covers literally hundreds of games and could probably add in hundreds more that are extinct, are in operation only overseas, or are so incredibly niche that their creators’ moms don’t even know about them, you start devoting a large portion of your brain to trying to keep details about all of these games straight. This not only results in forgetting two of your kids’ names (after all, space is limited), but it’s nearly an impossible task. There’s just too much out there.
And lately I’ve noticed that the staff and readers alike have started to become incredibly confused regarding all of the indie MMOs that are oozing through the development process in their 72 planned testing stages (the other week I could swear that I saw a game declare itself to be going into “state semi-regionals”). There are too many games, some of which look far too similar, and it’s stressing us out.
Enhance your calm, citizen. Here’s the first part of our quick and dirty guide to many of the indie MMORPGs in development and some of the key points about each. Hint: It’s not asking whether they are a sandbox with open world PvP because of course they are. As a side note, I won’t be covering most of the survival sandbox and mere multiplayer titles, as that would be too great for the scope of this guide. And if you’re interested in these games, then you’ll definitely want to track our Make My MMO and Betawatch columns. Then stay tuned next week for the second half of this list!
This week in MMO crowdfunding news, Elite: Dangerous released an absolute space-ton of new videos out at Gamescom: one on crew, one on ship transfers, one on hyperspace, one on environments, one on capital ship docking, one on port services, one on the planet map… really, it’s nuts, and that’s all in addition to yesterday’s deluge. Little did we know they weren’t even close to done then!
In sadder news, we’re bummed to report that 3001SQ’s Kickstarter ended unsuccessfully. “While we didn’t reach our funding goal, we will continue with developing the procedural generation system and VM integration to get a networked build that allows docking with stations, and finish the initial nandOS specification,” the devs told fans.
Finally, check out this series of time-lapse gifs showing off player construction in Camelot Unchained. The same epic Redditor put one together demoing Crowfall’s player kingdoms too. Let’s make ’em fight!
Read on for more on what’s up with MMO crowdfunding this week and the roundup of all the crowdfunded MMOs we’ve got our eye on!
What’s the weather going to be like today in your game?
You might just have to ask this if you’re apt to play Children of Ur in the future. The Glitch remake has just patched a weather system into its alpha build. The interesting twist? “Weather in different hubs is based on real cities around the world.” It’s not clear which real-world cities will be tied to which hubs.
The Alpha 1.4.4 update included a few other small items, including edible eggs, resizable chat windows, plenty of bug fixes, and a full range of assets delivered to Wintry Place (in case of sudden blizzard with the new weather system, we assume).
This week, Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft’s sixth expansion, Legion, will indeed arrive this summer as planned. August 30th is the big day. Got your preorder in yet? Here’s what else is new in the land of MMO beta testing:
- Tree of Savior banned 3000 cheaters and dealt with pricing fallout from scheming arbitrage artists.
- Tree of Life — yeah, all the trees are confusing — launched its beta (along with its cash shop).
- Origins of Malu announced it has suspended its development as it shops for investors.
- Camelot Unchained announced its beta one release has been delayed, likely several weeks.
- Nexon’s flying MMORPG Riders of Icarus began its second round of closed beta.
- Hi-Rez’s shooter-hybrid Paladins patched its closed beta with, Dragon Punch, which pushes live new champion Drogoz, The Greedy.
- Guild Wars 2’s live beta test of world linking for WvW began today.
- Cube World is alive!
- Fragmented released a trailer ahead of next week’s Steam early access launch. Stress tests are ongoing.
- Glitch-spinoff Children of Ur updated its open alpha with a new build.
- The Black Death lurched like a plague-ridden zombie into Steam early access.
- Nexon launched the alpha for LawBreakers with a new trailer featuring no less than Ice-T.
- The Culling’s first big early access patch introduced female playable characters.
- Asta’s still in beta too, but it’s also getting a big content patch.
Check out our complete list of games in testing below!
What’s a Glitch remake without a hearty dose of skills and buffs? A poor remake, that’s what! Fortunately for Children of Ur, the TinySpeck-sanctioned fan project has included these features in its newest alpha build.
One of the changes that the team is making in the remake is in how skills are leveled up: “In Glitch, you had to wait anywhere from five minutes to a few weeks to learn a new skill, time spent staring at that little green progress bar. Not anymore! In our game, you learn skills by practicing, like in The Sims. Each time you do something related to a skill, you gain points for that skill. Once you hit a certain number of points (varying by skill and current skill level), you level up. ”
When Glitch was canceled, it crushed the hearts and dreams of those few who knew, understood, and loved the game. Since its downfall, the quirky browser game has grown a cult following and even (tiny) sparked two attempted revivals. Today we’re talking with Kaiyon Alatar on how Eleven will bring back Glitch’s world — just perhaps in a new way.
Join us after the jump as we talk with Alatar about Eleven’s progress, how it differs from Children of Ur, and what you can do to help!
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. See any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we’ll look at the incredible account of a gamer who donated hundreds of items of Blizzard memorabilia to a museum, marvel at castle sieges in Archlord 2, give you a heads-up on SWTOR’s expansion, and more!
Children of Ur, one of two main Glitch revival spin-offs, hit another milestone recently with its alpha 1.1 update.
With the new patch for the browser-based title, testers will encounter many more NPCs and have an easier time navigating the world thanks to GPS directions and teleports. The UI has been tweaked as well, with new options such as colorful emoticons. There are many other small additions, such as dev name tags and salmen (Glitch spelling) trying to swim without water.
The Children of Ur project started up back in December 2013 after Glitch’s shutdown and subsequent release of its art assets. One other Glitch spin-off, Eleven, is also attempting to emulate the spirit and style of the original game and is also in early testing.
As we continue to discover in the years after Glitch’s closure, this was one underappreciated, unusual, and quirky MMO that deserved a lot better than it got. However, its post-demise career has been astounding as fans and former devs have made efforts to reconstruct the game, preserve the art, and (most germane to this column) remaster and release the soundtrack.
Composer Daniel Simmons ran an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a proper OST release, and his $8,000 request quickly bloomed into almost $57,000. Fans appreciated the bizarre mix of musical genres and the fun personality that this soundtrack exuded, and I was really excited to see that it recently released for all to enjoy.
So whether or not you played Glitch, join me on a journey through one of the strangest and most endearing scores in the MMO space.