Frequently Asked Questions About WorldForge

  1. What is WorldForge?
  2. When can I play?
  3. Where can I download the software?
  4. Is everything free?
  5. Are there any servers to connect to?
  6. Who's in charge of the project?
  7. What operating systems are supported?
  8. How does WorldForge compare to other games like Ultima Online?
  9. What's with all the different servers?
  10. What are the system requirements?
  11. Where can I see your screenshots?
  12. How do I join?
  13. How do I talk to the developers?
  14. Where can I get more information on CVS?
  15. Ooh, WorldForge is cool! How can I promote it?
  16. I would like to write an article about WorldForge or its games
  17. I want to use your software to build my own game, can I?


What is WorldForge?
WorldForge is a community of free game developers centered around developing software, music, art, code and content for free online games. At its heart the community is developing a flexible platform for online games, and a demo game Mason that runs on it.


When can I play?
Now, if you'd like, but keep in mind that many things are still under development. As we learn how to make games, and as we gradually improve our core libraries, you can expect to see the games grow in sophistication and coolness. WorldForge games differ from commercial ones in that we'll be continually improving and augmenting them.


Where can I download the software?
Useable software is available from our main download page.


Is everything free?
Yes. Most of our source code is covered by the GNU General Public Licence (GPL) and everything else is available under a compatible license. A few libraries are released under the LGPL, but we recommend the GPL for libraries too. We only accept code under GPL-compatible licenses. Our art and other content is covered by the disjunction of the GNU Free Documentation License and the GPL. You can, of course, create your own game using our source code and art. Make sure you know what the licenses mean before distributing WorldForge code or art!


Are there any servers to connect to?
Sure, check here for a current listing.


Who's in charge of the project?
Over the life of the project we have moved away from designating leadership roles, and instead try and work as much as possible on consensus between active developers. The Infra team coordinates different aspects of the WorldForge Web, FTP and CVS systems.


What operating systems are supported?
Client software is designed to be as cross-platform as possible. Currently, we have client software for GNU/ Linux, MacOSX and Windows. Most of the developers use a GNU/ Linux, and so it is the best supported. Server code is targeted only at a UNIX-like environment, and there are no firm plans to port it to other operating systems. If you want to see our software running on your platform of choice, please work with us to make it happen.


How does WorldForge compare to other games like Ultima Online?
One could look at WorldForge as simply a "free" version of Ultima Online or EverQuest, and while freedom is indeed important, it belies several fundamental aspects of WorldForge that are missing in commercial game systems. Most importantly, our source code is open and designed to be easy to get into and use. This means that WorldForge, unlike the commercial games, could evolve into an unlimited number of different kinds of games, as players and users tweak the system to create new things. The WorldForge framework also makes debugging and bugfixing much easier, as all users are able to look for problems.
In addition, we aim for a huge amount of flexibility through the use of externalized scripting. We intend to supplement this flexibility by relying on our gaming community to help us develop art, music, AI scripts, economic rules, etc. in a similar fashion that other commercial games rely on their modding communities to constantly reinvent their products.
Keep in mind that WorldForge is available to be used, modified, sold, and customized in any way you wish, as long as you keep the code free and open for others.


What's with all the different clients and servers?
You may have noticed there are a number of WorldForge clients and servers. This may seem like a lot of duplicated effort at first, and sometimes it is, but we encourage our developers to try new things. The binding element of the project is Atlas, which is both a client/server protocol, and a gaming 'middleware' system. This standard means of communications means we can develop a number of different clients and servers to serve different purposes, and still have them interoperate. For instance, the servers Cyphesis and STAGE are being developed to experiment with AI and performance respectively. At some point we can expect the functionality of the two to be merged. Our clients also serve different purposes. Some clients seek to experiment with 3D graphics engines, whilst others concentrate on 2D Isometric view points. There are a number of uncompleted projects, to be fair, but we still have plenty of room in our CVS repository for new experiments.


What are the system requirements?
We are aiming to keep our server's lean enough to run on a PII with a reasonable amount of RAM. Our clients will run on anything from a 386 (text based) to the latest 3D hardware. These requirements need discussion, and we would love player input.


Where can I see your screenshots?
Screenshots of all our client programs are availiable here.


How do I join?
To join the project go to the the mailing list page and sign up for the lists here.


How do I talk to the developers?
The best way to talk to developers is to use IRC. Just log onto irc.worldforge.org and join channel #lounge. Please read the rest of the FAQ before asking lots of questions though, since we put common answers there.


Where can I get more information on CVS?
Read The CVS Faq


Ooh, WF is cool! How can I promote it?
There are a lot of things that are okay, like putting up a banner on your own personal webpage, and putting a note in a .sig, or telling your RL friends about it. Announcements to newsgroups and bulletin boards should strictly be done by the folks who have already been given that job.
In addition, we request that massive public posts be peer reviewed.


I would like to write an article about WorldForge or its games
Very cool! We love seeing stories of our project in the press. Drop us a note at general@worldforge.org so we can come check it out.
...and may I include your art or screenshots in the article?
Of course, we love to see our work promoted! And we have licensed our work with the express aim of maximizing its reuse in other games, books, and articles. Just like GNU/Linux, we let you take our work, modify it to suit your needs, and even resell it for your own profit; however in exchange, we require that you pass those same rights along to the people you distribute to. There are several options regarding the legal reuse of WorldForge products, including individual pieces of art, text, or music:
  • You may create screenshots of our software, or quote from our website and use these in a published article as allowed under "Fair Use".
  • If your article will be licensed under the GFDL, then you are also free to reuse as much of our material (including logos, artwork, and any of the text from our website or games) as you wish, without express permission. WorldForge's charter is the advocacy of freedom of gaming, rather than freedom of publishing, but we sincerely applaud those who see the chivalry in making articles about game freedom, licensed in kind.
  • If your article will be released under an "open source" or "free publication" license similar in some fashion to the GPL or GFDL, then WorldForge can hold a project-wide vote to allow the work to be used under that license.
  • If you ask the individual(s) who created the artwork that you wish to include, they may grant you special permission to use the artwork under alternative licensing conditions. For example, they might be willing to let you use their work without having to pay for it, if you give them attribution in the article. You will need to make arrangements with each artist on a case-by-case basis, because WorldForge does not hold legal ownership of the copyright of their works.
  • You can also consider creating a separate "sideboard" GFDL'd article with the artwork in it, separately from the main article, which then can be covered under any other license.

Please note that using the GFDL does not imply that you must give up ownership over the copyright. It only specifies how you wish users to use your copyrighted work. And please respect the copyrights of our writers and authors; they chose to release the work under the GFDL rather than put it in the public domain in order to promote freedom, and we are certain you can see the importance for polite vigilance in protecting their work's freedom.

I want to use your software to build my own game, can I?
Our game engine and content have been released under free licences. You can use them to build whatever kinds of games you like, under the terms of those licences. Our software is licenced under the GPL, which means that you are free to use, modify and redistribute it, so long as you release the source code to any modified version you redistribute. You can supply your own content with the software under whatever licence you like, but we would encourage you to pool resources with the project and release them to under a free software licence. You are free to charge to connect to a game server and for any services you provide using our tools and media.