This past Saturday, we posted a column discussing open source MMORPGs — and specifically, how rare they are even after thousands of online games have been launched over the years. In providing examples, we overlooked one interesting title that might be one of the bigger open source graphical MMOs out there: PlaneShift.
PlaneShift is a multinationally developed MMORPG that’s been online since 2002 in several iterations. It may have a lot in common with other fantasy MMOs, but PlaneShift does differentiate itself with more of a focus on mysteries, exploration, death by aging, a death realm, and of course, the open source nature of the project. It is completely free to play, if that’s a consideration.
“PlaneShift is an open source project, based on community contributions, and made to ensure people can learn from what we made, and we can learn from them,” the team said. “Code is under GPL license, this means you can get all our source code, study it and reuse it in any way you want as long as you keep it open (GPL) and give back to us your changes.”
While the code is open source, PlaneShift’s art, music, writing, music, and models are all proprietary, so you can’t just copy everything wholesale and run your own carbon copy PlaneShift server.
It’s a more wild and wooly project than you might be used to, but it’s interesting to see the developers work on ideas such as utilizing the Unreal Engine. The dev team hosted a public Q&A last week, with another one planned for later this month.