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!
Eleven years is a long time to cast one’s recollection lines back into the memory pool, but several moments from the initial launch of World of Warcraft remain firmly embedded in my mind. I’ll always remember the chaos of those initial weeks, my first steps as a Dwarf Hunter, and the joy that this game I’d been anticipating for three years was finally here.
Over the next four years, I would rack up a lot of terrific memories from the game. I’ll always be fond of my guildmates and their antics. I won’t forget how questing used to be before the hub system came into vogue. I’ll always laugh at that time that a friend put me on auto-follow and I jumped off a cliff and instantly transformed my Druid into her flying form.
So what is your favorite World of Warcraft memory from the past 11 years?
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 see a bizarre MOBA/adult cartoon crossover, a special character that you can only play for two months, a sexism-free MMO, and more videos than you can shake a stick at (provided that your stick-shaking capabilities are limited to five).
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.
I freely admit that I never actually played Glitch, but I was glad it existed and sad at the people who never even had the chance to play it. So it does my heart good to see that Eleven is rallying on full steam ahead to produce a playable version of the game for everyone. You guys keep doing your thing.
Meanwhile, there were no other beta things happening, and by “no other beta things” I mean “several other beta things.”
We also have a full list of games past the break, and of course, we’d love to know if there’s a game on that list which shouldn’t be or one that jumped statuses without telling us. Games are sneaky, sneaky things.
A new state of the project post is up over at Eleven, stating that while the game is struggling with tech issues that’s preventing a wider expansion of the alpha test, the team is making strides toward fleshing out the Glitch remake.
The devs said that they’re doing another quality assurance pass through zones. They’ve also delivered the new vanity wardrobe system, given NPCs the ability to move, gotten housing to work in the test environment, and been relying on the community to help name items in the wardrobe.
While the alpha is still only 53 people, the team hopes to expand it in the future and encouraged fans to sign up for the test and forums: “While progress may have slowed down a bit due to outside obligations and our fun architectural issue, be certain that we are very much committed to seeing this through, so we’ll get it working one way or another.”
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.
Are you keeping an eye on Eleven, one of the two Glitch revival projects that have received Tiny Speck’s blessing? It’s posted a new behind-the-scenes video this week, one that might be a little technical for someone who really just wants to log in and play, but it shows how the game’s platform structure injects dimension and interaction into the world.
The game opened its alpha to 13 testers in December, widening the base to 32 players in January.
The video is below. Stay tuned for this week’s Jukebox Heroes, in which Massively OP’s Justin Olivetti explores the recently released two-volume Glitch soundtrack.