[MUD-Dev] Libs for 3D Client/Servers

Dave Rickey daver at mythicentertainment.com
Wed Jul 4 13:25:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


-----Original Message-----
From: Travis Casey <efindel at earthlink.net>
> On Tuesday July 03, 2001 17:10, Dave Rickey wrote:

>> The key point would be graphical assets, I'd suggest hard-coding
>> that format and make it unchangeable by the users.

> I'm not sure what you mean here -- do you mean that the format is
> unchangeable, or that the graphics are formatted in a way to try
> to make them unchangeable?  I doubt you can do the latter (after
> all, the client has to be able to decode the format), and I'm not
> really sure what the point of the former is.

By "Hard-Coding", I mean create an engine-specific published format
which you would support, and a converter for .3DS files.  Use your
own specs for animations (skeleton, keyframe, etc.), multitexturing,
skinning, make it a flexible format but one that you cooked up
yourself to be compatible with your engine.

> If the art is not truly needed for the game (i.e., if it's easily
> replaceable by drop-in other art), you could make a case for it
> being "merely aggregrated" with the client, and keep it under
> separate copyright.

That was basicly what I was thinking of.  Even though they might be
distributed together, the art and the engine that uses it are
different things.

>> So I'd "copy-left" liscense all of the graphical assets and
>> scripts, so that the dragon model created by Joe Artist can be
>> picked up by Sam Scripter and given a skin made by his art
>> student friend without a lot of fuss, but under a liscense
>> (perhaps based on the FreeBSD or LGPL liscense?) that allowed the
>> operator to make a profit.  And I'd keep the engine itself under
>> a traditional liscense, so I could make money selling copies of
>> the base client and maintain control of the core codebase, keep
>> it from forking into incompatible versions.

> This is the only part that wouldn't work under the GPL.  You could
> sell copies of the base client, but you wouldn't be able to
> prevent forks.  (And there wouldn't be much reason for people to
> buy your base client... once someone out there had a copy, they
> could give it away to others.)

Yep.  Open-Source works well for a lot of things, but for niche
products it can be it's own worst enemy when the branches lack the
critical mass to sustain a community.  Since graphical assets seem
to be the critical path for OLRPG's, making sure that one game's
assets can get reused seems critical.  Once somebody has gone to the
effort to create a dragon model, that model needs to be freely
available for modification and re-use.  If there are alternate
versions of the client out there, you can easily wind up with assets
that are not effectively available to you because of
incompatibilities.

I've followed WorldForge and Sphere, and they are powerful and
flexible platforms.  But they lack a critical mass of graphical
assets (that don't belong to EA), and are already fracturing into
incompatible subsets (within themselves, never mind between each
other).

--Dave Rickey

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