Ryzom is not libre???

Ryzom is not libre???

Postby drummyfish » 10 Jun 2021, 13:30

So I was recently interested in compiling Ryzom and running my own server just for the sake of it, but turns out you can't do it -- at least that's my current understanding. It would also explain the lack of any unofficial Ryzom servers.

A forums thread here was touching on the topic of creating a custom private server. The responses given state that the server world data are proprietary and inaccessible, so you can't do it. Only small example world data are available and free. This seems to be further confirmed in Ryzom free release statment (archived): "The level and world data associated with Ryzom will NOT be released as free content". I don't know if this situation has changed somehow since, but I wasn't able to find much, so I suppose this still holds.

Now if this is indeed the case, there is an essential part of the game that is neither accessible nor free and you can't play Ryzom without it -- and you definitely can't replace this part easily. The game maintainers keep a monopoly over this "IP" and so, effectively, over the whole game. Many parts of the game, i.e. the client software, most assets and the server software, are libre, but it's not of much use if the essential part prevents you from copying, modifying and sharing the game. Indeed you can create your own world data, but then it's not the same Ryzom game anymore, not talking about the amount of effort you'd need to put into creating the whole world with all quests and cities yourself.

Basically it seems that only the framework (RyzomCore) is libre, not the game as a whole. Even proprietary games like WoW are in this sense more "free" as you can technically create a custom server that is identical to the official one.

I'd like to know if you know anything more about this plus if you think the game should stay in libregamewiki, because engines that require proprietary data (such as OpenMW) are left out of it as a rule. (I know there is a discussion tab on LGW but no one reads it and I would like this discussed). It would be a shame as obviously this game is huge and great, but if it's not libre we simply can't accept it.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Julius » 10 Jun 2021, 15:16

Yes that was always the case, although they did release a lot of the arts assets also as CC-by-SA.

There used to be a libre minimal version called Ryzom core or so, I guess that is what should be on the LGW?

Sadly the entire Ryzom open-source efforts never really took off. At least for the art-assets that was due to the 3Dsmax format used, which made it extremely difficult to modify and adapt the models and animations. (edit: there are manual conversions to .iqm and apparently also .blend these days)
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Alcyone » 15 Jun 2021, 08:32

Hi !

As Julius said, this situation is known. It is nontheless possible to set up something.

Khaganat is a french association which try to build, among other project, an MMORPG based on RyzomCore using it FLOS lore/universe Khanat (and so creating assets). Since the engine is quite old, there are actions of modernisation (e.g. create a new client with Godot). Essential issues are on one hand that the documentation is poor and it takes time to create it and on the other hand, as said Julius, working toward non depending anymore on non FLOS softwares and formats.

On the Khaganat website you can find some technical information on the subject : https://khaganat.net/wikhan/fr:mmorpg
English traductions does exist but are most of the time quite outdated, maybe you can use some service as Deepl to read it ?
Most contributor have a not good enough english to be able to work on the project with this language.

Do not hesitate to go to the XMPP channel krypte@chat.khaganat.net, it is the technical channel, you will surely find english speaker here to help you :D . Here is the general channel : khaganat@chat.khaganat.net.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Julius » 15 Jun 2021, 12:29

Ah cool, so that khaganat project is still reasonably active? I remember reading about it quite a while ago but not much since.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Alcyone » 15 Jun 2021, 13:41

Yes, still active. It suffured from the situation as every project but still active yes. The project is huge, so it's easy to think that not so much progress is done.

The MMORPG isn't the only project, I would say that a large part of contributors are here rather for the development of a lore/universe free as in freedom rather than the MMORPG.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby drummyfish » 16 Jun 2021, 19:18

Certainly a nice surprise for me, even if it was just for the development of the libre lore framework -- I think that's an important but overlooked part of libre games. Too bad it's not in English. @Alcyone feel free to create a page on libregamewiki about the project.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Kaetemi » 26 Jun 2021, 09:59

Hi,

I’m one of the major contributors on the Ryzom Core project. Have a look at the commit history for bragging rights. This thread seems like a good opportunity to provide some history and shed some light on the situation.

Originally, only the engine was open sourced by Nevrax as NeL. The intent from the beginning though, at least on part of some of the Nevrax founders, was to have the entire game as open source. Unfortunately not all the owners of the company back then agreed with this direction, so the open source commitment already ended up being half-assed from the start. Back then, contributions to NeL required a CLA, and Nevrax could keep their game closed source.

After the bankruptcy, the game was temporarily owned by Gameforge. The open source community forked off to OpenNeL, no more CLA applied, and many new contributors joined.

The community put a lot of effort in cross platform support on OpenNeL back then. When the current owner took over, they were very much interested in taking advantage of our work. That’s when Ryzom Core was established. The game source was released under AGPL, and graphics assets under CC-BY-SA. The new name for the combined project, Ryzom Core, was chosen by them for marketing reasons.

Unfortunately, while there were a lot of capable volunteers at the time, the person in charge of the official Ryzom servers since then has been largely ignoring the open-source community, except when they need free labour done. Any attempts by the community to implement new features have always been cut short by an unwillingness to make changes to the network api in the commercial game, or to rebuild runtime data to support those new features. In reality, any features that compete with the personal projects of the “main developer” have always been deliberately ignored. Two years ago, they “accidentally” deleted the entire server code from the core branch.

Let's be real here. The commercial Ryzom game is definitely not run as an open source project. They do not contribute much to the open source repository, nor do they collaborate with the open source community unless they need some free labor done. Nearly all real progress on the project gets done without their input. They use open source as a marketing gimmick, and as a source of free labor.

Several years ago, “because it was difficult for the community to contribute”, they created the Ryzom Forge program. In reality, nothing more than a new CLA disguised as an NDA, for people who want to contribute to the commercial Ryzom game.

The majority of new features to the commercial game are added through the in-game browser, rather than natively to the game. This allows them to create an entire set of useless web browser mini-games inside the game as closed source features. If you try to run their branch of the game and server, the user interface is full of non-functional web browser frames.

Fortunately, the web content they’re adding through that system is of such low quality, that nobody in the Ryzom Core open source community is interested in it anyway. The open source branch does not include any of those features for good reason.

Regarding the 3ds Max models, it is a bit of an issue, especially with the bezier patch landscapes. We do already have a fully featured tool that exports meshes and skeletons from Blender files. But it seems the commercial game’s team so far still pretends it doesn’t exist. They can use the lack of Blender support as an excuse for not adding any new high quality graphics content to the game.

Their real problem is that they don't have the technical skills required to maintain the entire graphics pipeline. Any assets they add have to be built manually. Any changes that require assets to be rebuilt are simply impossible. Their development workflow is largely dysfunctional and bottlenecked by their “main developer”, who put himself in a position where he's the one to manually process anything that gets changed, rather than empowering the community. They do not even trust their own volunteers to run their own full development shards locally.

The Ryzom Core community has had the entire pipeline functional for years already, yet the Forge team conveniently still uses a lack of good tooling as an excuse for not providing substantial new graphical content to players. We've spent the last years debugging and fixing issues in all of the tools and released assets, by ourselves. When the Forge team asked us help with rebuilding landscape, they went silent as soon as we asked them to help in verifying that all the rebuilt data was correct. This is all work done by the open source community, no help from them.

On the topic of Khaganat. It seems to be more of a story project at the moment, than actively producing anything using Ryzom Core. Have not heard much from them, recently. I believe several of their members also signed the new CLA with the commercial Ryzom game owner, to be part of the Forge program. However, as far as I know, their development did not go much further than recoloring textures, reskinning the U, and placing some NPCs in the game. I would not call them very active anymore, as far as their involvement with Ryzom Core goes.

We're currently in progress of testing a new Quick Start package for running your own Ryzom Core server. This package is preset to give you the entire development workflow for graphics, programming, leveldesign, debugging, and publishing to production. The first release is focused on just Windows as a development environment. Since that's what the original developers used, we know for sure all those tools are feature complete, and this will serve as a known working reference.

Currently we have nobody maintaining the Qt ports of the leveldesign and graphics tools, and they no longer build on the latest Qt. We'd welcome any help with assembling a package for other platforms. The most important here is to have a unified folder structure.

I'm also setting up a new public server for Ryzom Core online soon, which should make it easier to try out development on just the client code as well. This will also include the Ryzom Ring, which is the player oriented level editor that was mysteriously removed from the commercial game.

I very biasedly agree that the commercial Ryzom game should be removed, and replaced with Ryzom Core. With the Ryzom Ring included, at least it is playable as a storytelling environment. Re-implementing the missing data, that's necessary to make the actual gameplay functional, will still take some time.
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Julius » 26 Jun 2021, 13:11

Cool, thanks for sharing these insider details with us. Really does explain some of the issues with the commercial game :-/
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Kaetemi » 27 Jun 2021, 02:09

Regarding the sound data, it is not possible for them to release it under a free license, since it's based on commercial sample libraries that prohibit re-licensing. This is something that will need to come from the open source community, but I don't know if it's realistic to expect so much work from anyone with the current state of things. Music might technically be possible, but they haven't released that as free media either.

All the 3D assets, including the landscape assets, are currently available under both CC-BY-SA 3.0 and FAL 1.3. I'm adding licensing clarifications to the repositories on GitHub.

What would really help to have them release publicly are the complete set of "Georges" sheets. That is, all of the player skill bricks, items, and all the creatures. That would give a lot of creative power to the public. At this point, it's just a hassle to recreate, since a large part of that data are just configuration parameters for hardcoded features, so any recreation would end up being pretty similar.

As far as the actual mob placement and quest leveldesign goes, I can live without it. We have more interesting plans. :)
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Re: Ryzom is not libre???

Postby Julius » 29 Jun 2021, 02:49

We now have a IRC channel to discuss Ryzom Core: https://freegamedev.net/irc/#ryzom
(bridged to #ryzom on libera.chat)
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