Cyan Worlds has thrown open the Myst Online doors for new developers and writers.
For those who were unaware, Myst Online: Uru Live for the PC lives. Again. In fact, the game has now gone open source, granting a whole plethora of new possibilities for the persistent universe based on Cyan Worlds' classic Myst franchise.
But first a little background. Myst Online was originally the multiplayer component to 2003's Uru: Ages Beyond Myst PC game. The component didn't ship with the final product, but was planned to be added at a later date. However Cyan Worlds halted development of the multiplayer component in 2004. Thus, dedicated fans kept an unsupported version running on Cyan-maintained servers until GameTap decided to officially resurrect Myst Online in 2007.
Over on Tom's Games (before it got flashy), we were actually working on a hands-on feature regarding Myst Online just before GameTap decided to pull the plug on the MMOG (based on a lack of subscribers). But apparently that wasn't the end, as Cyan Worlds regained the rights from Ted Turner's game service and relaunched Myst Online as a free-to-play MMOG last year.
Now the developer is opening the doors to those wanting to contribute. Thursday Cyan said that the sources for the MOULA client engine and development tools (CyanWorlds.com Engine) will be made available as open source on OpenUru.org. MOSS, a MOULA server replacement, will also be released on the specified website.
"The goal of the open source CyanWorlds.com Engine and the MOSS server is to provide a "playground" where new writers can learn their craft, and new maintainers can inspect it, and new cartographers can map it," the company announced on the MO forums. "The Cyan Worlds MOULA servers will continue to provide a (relatively) safe environment for the D'ni faithful to mingle and share."
"The path forward from here seems fairly obvious and very exciting - with amazing parallels to the D'ni universe itself," Cyan added. "As new writers arise with new books, the books are tested and documented - and books that are approved by some new kind of maintainers guild will (hopefully) find their way to the MOULA server where the public can enjoy new worlds once again."
Cyan said that these are exciting times for the MMOG, but not without risk, pointing to possible disagreements and "strongly expressed opinions" within the developer community. There will be hard decisions and there will be mistakes made along the way. "But keep in mind that the big picture is a lot like rebuilding a long dead civilization - and the forest of common goals far outnumber the few trees of differences," Cyan said. "Let's keep it civil."
Looks like it's time to pay New Mexico another visit.