Myst Online, which this past summer was shut down by GameTap, is now going to find a second life as an open source project, according to developer Cyan Worlds. The company has released the source code for the game's server, client, and tools, the first time it has ever "let a product freely roam in the wild," as it said on the Myst Online web site.
Players gather in Myst Online, before it went offline
After GameTap ceased hosting Myst Online, Cyan reacquired the rights to the game and launched MORE (Myst Online Restoration Experiment). At the time, the developer hoped to host the game while turning over the creation of new content to the fans, many of whom have been avid followers of Myst since the first game was released in 1993.
When credit problems roiled Wall Street around the same time, however, Cyan had to put the project on indefinite hold, citing the "significant, although indirect, effect" of those macroeconomic problems. Rather than leave Myst Online on the back burner, the company recently said: "All of us at Cyan and everybody that has ever worked on the creation and building of the dream called Uru Live (a.k.a. Mudpie, Until Uru, Myst Online: Uru Live and MORE) can not just let it die!"
So, as Cyan continues to work on small projects, such as a version of Myst for the iPhone, it hopes this open source release will allow Myst Online to continue in some form, given the current state of its available resources. "It looks like we will only be able to concentrate on projects that are fully funded for the foreseeable future," the company said.
It added: "This is also a bit scary for the fans. We realize that this could turn Uru Live into the 'wild west' and lead to many fractured and diverse Myst Online servers. But it is our hope that with the help of dedicated core fans (if you are reading this, it probably means you) that a safe and secure Myst Online server set (many servers from around the world working together as one) can be created that will let people explore and live in Uru Live."
For its part, Cyan "still [has] hopes that someday we will be able to provide new content for Uru Live and/or work on the next Uru Live."
Myst Online came to the Mac via TransGaming's Cider technology, which was also behind the port of GameTap from PC to Mac. As a result, the game only ran on Intel-based Macs, and it's reasonable to assume that any future version of the game will have the same requirement.