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The real history of PlaneShift development and its "business" model

3hundred3hundred Hollywood, CAMember Posts: 7
The real history of PlaneShift development and its "business" model



The original PlaneShift idea was started by Luca Pancallo in 1992 as a graphical 2D MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) with four people on the team. They are Luca Pancallo (project founder and programmer), Mauro Zanetti (settings writer), Stefano Oggeri (3D artist) and Danilo Moretti (2D concept artist). That was over 15 years ago, as of July 2007.



Make no mistake about it; this was a commercial project from the get-go, funded by the real investments from a real commercial company, and promoted as such on major computer expo shows (SMAU '96). The original team never intended to work for free or for the project itself to be free. This was not some "goodness of heart" or "hobby" endeavor.



In 1998, the PlaneShift project has failed after the company making the investments had a major change in its management. The new management was not interested in providing further funding for the game's development. This was a rejection that the team could not handle, so they left the project completely. No one was motivated to look for other funding opportunities or to even continue working on the project for free. Lack of commercial support and funding have killed the game at this point.



Only in 2000, after the commercial failure, PlaneShift was restarted by Luca Pancallo as a new and free 3D project, with a new development team made of volunteers. This time Luca was not a programmer and has not written a single line of code for the 3D version. Keep in mind that despite a complete failure commercially, Luca Pancallo states that PlaneShift 2D MUD was "a lot better in comparison" to other existing graphical 2D MUDs at the time (year 2000) and that other graphical 2D MUDs at the time were "not very exciting". Here, you are expected to believe that this was solely the new management's and not the project's fault. That was over 7 years ago, as of July 2007.



All of this, including the cited statements can be confirmed at this web site:

www.planeshift.it/news_1992-2000.html

* web archive backup link for the source above *



The first major exposure for PlaneShift 3D happened in 2001, when PCGamer UK (October issue) has published a brief review of the game, stating that "it doesn't look at all innovative":

PlaneShift review in PCGamer UK (October 2001 issue)



www.planeshift.it/pix/PSinPCgamer_small.jpg

* web archive backup link for the source above *



The following is from "QuantumG", an ex-PlaneShift developer's blog:

rtfm.insomnia.org/~qg/planeshift.html

* web archive backup link for the source above *

"Early on a few warning bells sounded in my head in regards to the leader of the Planeshift project. When he talked about Open Source (he never seemed to use the words Free Software) he always seemed to apply requirements to other people and not to himself.



...



Also in that early time there was some talk of "changing the license" and in particular about changing the license in the event that the GPL is ever "found illegal in court."



...



On the 2nd of January 2005 I contacted the FSF in regards to a copyright violation on my contributions to the Planeshift project. The leader of the project had made a win32 binary release and placed the entire thing (art, binaries and third party libraries) under the restrictive license. I assumed this was just a mistake but I was not sure what rights if any I had being that I had written so little of the code that was being infringed.



The FSF responded two days later and informed me I had the same rights as every other contributor to the project, regardless of how much they had contributed. They instructed me to confront the creator of the distribution and inform him that he is in violation of my copyright, then point him at the documentation supplied by the FSF for bringing your distribution into accordance with a GPL license.



When I confronted the leader of Planeshift I was informed that there was no mistake. He had simply decided that the binary release of the game needed to be all under one license, and of course that license was the restrictive Planeshift license. Obviously I told him that he couldn't distribute my work in that manner. I was then horrified to discover that he believed I did not own the copyright on my own work.



...



As for the licenses of the third party libraries we were using (Crystal Space, Cel, and Cal3d) he was quite willing to violate those licenses until such time as the authors of those projects told him otherwise. If you have half a clue about copyright law you know that the only way to assign copyright is with a written legal document signed by all parties. You can't do it implicitly, and you can't do it accidently.



...



So when the leader of Planeshift told me I have to assign my copyright to the Planeshift team or I can't be a member of the Planeshift team, I obviously told him where to stick it.



I sent an email to the other members of the Planeshift team informing them of my ejection. As far as I know no-one else has assigned their copyright to the Planeshift team at the time of this writing, but this is probably because the leaders have yet to put the effort into printing out copyright assignment forms and mailing them to the members.



...



And it didn't end there. After much discussion the leaders decided they wanted to remove my changes from any future distributions - just in case they need to change the license in 5 years time and couldn't find me. My offer to assign my copyright to the FSF (who will no doubt be around and are easy to find) just struck fear into their hearts, I guess, cause they were even more adamant about removing my changes. So they asked me to supply a list of everything I had contributed and was claiming copyright on.



...



Happy that I had washed my hands of the situation I decided to get back to working on decompilers. Not five minutes ago I received an email from the leader of the Planeshift project exclaiming that I can't claim copyright on the formating changes I had made to the code! Let this be a lesson to all, when you join a project where the leader has no concept of copyright and no respect for the philosphy of Free Software then expect to get into situations that are just Plain Shifty."

 

The rest of PlaneShift development history is a winding down path of failure, filled with slow updates, numerous bugs, unprofessionally designed content (quests, levels, missing character models etc), with quite a few developers, contributors and community figures leaving the project. The proof is in the game credits, forum history and the game (or shall I say "Beta") itself.



The project leader claims inflated figures of over 400,000 registered accounts in game now. However, ask him how many of those are active and inactive, how many have been registered but never used, how many have been abandoned after a single use and how many are unique and didn't come from the same IP. Ask him if the PlaneShift account page offers an option for each user to delete their account (the answer is "No"). The real picture is much less misleading. There are only barely ~100 people active at any given time.



This all leads to a strong point made in "The Myth of Open-Source" article on BusinessWeek.com:

www.businessweek.com/technology/content/jul2005/tc2005078_5465_tc121.htm

* web archive backup link for the source above *

"O.K., so I go in [and start to do my] total business presentation. This guy in the front row says "You've got to stop banging on people whose motivation is something other than money." There's always a Hari Krishna in the audience: "It's illegal to make money at this. We're all garage bands, and you sold your soul to the devil for a handful of dollars." So I go, "Have you contributed anything?" and usually they say no and I stop it there.



Turns out the guy is the founder of a pretty significant chunk of Linux, so Point A goes out the door. So I say, "You are what I call amateur open-source or hobbyist open source, which is you have a job and then you do this because that's your passion." And then somebody in the audience yells "You mean amateur open source as opposed to a**hole open source?"



So there's always that. It's normal. There are always a bunch of amateurs because they've never made money at it, and it kind of pisses them off that there was a way to do it.



...



Think for a second, who works for free? I think it gets perpetrated because it's such a nice myth -- you would get love and peace, the old hippie dream you know?



...



If you get free, you want a lot of it. If you give free, you're going to give until you're tired of giving, and that's exactly what happens in the open-source community."

 

This project is no longer "only a tech demo", it is officially called a "Beta", and if anyone tells you otherwise, point them to this presentation where the project's leader states that it is a "Beta":

crystalspace3d.org/downloads/conference_2006/movies/ps_big_xvid.avi



Draw your own conclusions.



* Sometimes the original source links disappear for various reasons such as change of a domain name address, restructure of a web site, move to a different server, downtime and so on. Web Archive backup links posted above allow you to see the original sources and their content as they appeared at or relatively near the time of this post. You can manually check the links yourself by going to www.waybackmachine.org and copying them into a search box.

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Comments

  • methulahmethulah CygnetMember Posts: 236

    Interesting. The world of Planshift is clearly modeled after PlaneScape so I really, really wish they'd done it well.

  • 3hundred3hundred Hollywood, CAMember Posts: 7

    If that's the case, you're going to be wishing for a very long time or likely forever.

  • maveric007maveric007 Crofton, MDMember Posts: 160 Uncommon

    very nice write up

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • AethiosAethios Cincinnati, OHMember Posts: 1,527

    I remember taking a look at this game, reading feature lists and such and it sounded good. After downloading the client, creating a character, logging in and realizing that literally EVERYTHING on the list (including combat) was missing or completely broken, I logged out and uninstalled. How this game is "delivering hours of fun and excitement to thousands of players" with literally no content at all is beyond me. It's more like a chat room than an MMO.

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • JannerJanner ShaftesburyMember Posts: 1

    Hello my name is Janner, if you have played this game, you would have at one point seen or herd of me .

    Now for the game itself, there is a great many who play every day, Yes it is buggy Yes it is full of odd things happening But hear is the deal, we play because we believe this game can amount to a really unique thing with are help. Yes are help the player, we test we report this is not working and all that.

    But we also have a great deal of fun, this game is about Role Play, how you do this is up to you, [there is a Roleplay Guide] we all have are own idea's how it is done, and this game lets you do it your way, of course there is the odd one who will go out of there way to spoil it for others, that is were the GMs come in to it.

    Also would like to add I also now am a GM, I truly believe this game can and will be a truly awesome game if we all pull together and help, I have been on both sides of the fence so to speak, and like in game The real me is a kindly person.

    As Janner I have clocked up 3307,4 hours, as my GM 1169.0 hours. In this time I have seen quests grow from basic very frustrating one word reply to a sentence or a few may get you what you want. Art is growing all the time and improving. New areas have been added and improved graphics. Crafting is being added, this open up the door for a lot of new areas to role play, also a few guilds now use this as a base for there guild. Fighting is slowly getting there, a lot of trial and error, but if you do not try it you will never know if it will work. PvP has been added in one room in arena, along with 3 weapons masters, these guys will run after you instead of walk, they also pack a punch, so be weary of them. Next I think in game help should get a mention, player player help is very common and is done mostly in a role play way, there is a tells, so that you may speak freely to each other, also a group function same applies hear. The in game help is run by players mainly sharing there knowledge of the game, without giving spoilers, also on line GMs will help there if needed. Another way for help is petitions, in the past not used very well, But now it is tacking off as GMs can now reply to you even if you are off line, a message is saved for you, so you know your problem has been looked at. Mining this has improved a lot from basic dig get ore to you get tired as you use up Physical Stamina, also better skill you have more success, loads more ores and crystals to find.

    In game there is now over 100 quests, some are needed to get into the new area, fighting NPCs many more have been added as players requested more, new items for sale, new glyphs and spells, some with a new look, even new Monster NPCs doted about the place, some with a new look, more player models have been updated and new skins added. Could go on, but best to have a look for yourself.

  • TwinchaosTwinchaos Seattle, WAMember Posts: 13

    Very well written post!

    It sounds like PlaneShift "project founder" is bitter that he couldn't make any money with the commercial version, so he resorted to a "free" approach based on volunteers' efforts, meanwhile making apparently misleading statements about the purpose of the project's existence. It is very evident that he tried to downplay the reasons for his commercial failure on the web site and in the video presentation.

    Free doesn't necessarily equal quality. You wouldn't eat a rotten sandwich, even if it was free, would you? No, you'd most likely want a fresh one.

    This isn't a fully open-source project either. When artists have to deal with a proprietary license such as in PlaneShift's case, they'd usually like to get paid. If there is no monetary compensation, then the only reasonable alternative is open-source, especially if the project ever fails. It's not surprising why many wouldn't be comfortable with such a restrictive license.

    Regardless of what changes they've made in connection with assigning copyright forms to the team members, it obviously happened as a direct result of the ex-PlaneShift developer's unpleasant experience with them. It strongly sounds like they knew that they were wrong but did not want to admit it.

    If the "project leaders" treat others without much consideration, until a situation itself forces a change and legal help gets involved, is this really the kind of situation you want to be potentially stuck in?

    Extremely unprofessional direction and shoddy management are quite evident for this game so far. The result speaks for itself.

    Nobody likes rotten sandwiches.

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • FarquaniaFarquania ., FLMember Posts: 120

    IMHO, this game is really neat and the quests are fun.  And if you have so much time to waste gathering all this information, it is obviously not honest nor true.  You shouldn't say such things and this game is really fascinating aside that death can be annoying, such as if you fall off a ledge... lol.

    If you don't like it, don't play it.  I think it is a good thing to play in your free time and will only get better.

     

    image

  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAMember Posts: 8,912 Common
    Originally posted by Talad


    Your post is simply ridiculous, pointless and wrong. I laugh thinking at how envious you are to write such a post. I think I will not spend more time writing here, we enjoy making this game, and will continue to do it. You have no clue on how complex is to make a high-quality game with free resources, and we are doing our best. I suggest you to go do something good for your life.



    I laugh at "devs" who act like pompous fools who can't even fake professionalism when dealing with the public.

     

     

     

    Originally posted by Farquania


    IMHO, this game is really neat and the quests are fun.  And if you have so much time to waste gathering all this information, it is obviously not honest nor true.  You shouldn't say such things and this game is really fascinating aside that death can be annoying, such as if you fall off a ledge... lol.
    If you don't like it, don't play it.  I think it is a good thing to play in your free time and will only get better.
     

    He took what was probably not a lot of time to compile statements and articles publically available to anyone with a web browser. How does this make his findings untrue? Instead of being a fanboi, find and post accurate info refuting his claims, if you feel they are wrong. Personally, I'm inclined to believe him, especially when the "project leader" comes off as a pompous ass.

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAMember Posts: 8,912 Common
    Originally posted by Talad


    The point is that the article is drawing absurd conclusions.
    so you say. Please, enlighten us to what is absurd and the counterpoints to show why.
    Luckily seems not everyone is misleaded  ( the word is "misled". Pros use spellchecker)by it.
    Anyway the more you speak about it, the more we get new players!
    On the contrary, the community on this site has a habit of steering players away from games, if they are found to be managed or developed in less than ethical/legal means. So, if you have something valid to show that refutes everything posted by the OP, I'd highly suggest doing so if you are looking for traffic from here.
    I invite everyone to try the game and make yourself an opinion about it. Be sure to follow our development, we release new features on a regular basis (about every 2 months major features, weekly fixes and new bugs ;) ).
     
    Enjoy PlaneShift!

     

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAMember Posts: 8,912 Common

    Originally posted by Talad


    I just noticed now the article was posted by "an OP". Does this mean he is part of the mmorpg.com group? he has only 2 posts!!
    Believe what you want, but I suggest you to try the game and avoid listening to just one source, an OP with 2 posts.
    Heh, but I should listen to you, a person who claims to be the project lead of the game in question, has only 8 posts, and has nothing to backup his statements of the OP (original poster, as in the one who starts the thread. He is not connected to mmorpg.com other than being a registered user) lying., after being asked repeatedly to provide something to prove your assertions.

    Really, if you can't do better than saying his post is absurd, with no proof of it's absurdity on your end, I fail to see how anyone is supposed to believe you over him? Oh, because you have 6 more post than him? 

    I'm sorry, but if you really are the project lead for this game, you have provided more reason to be cautious of you and your company/game, than the OP's post ever could have done. I would strongly suggest you hire a PR person, or a community relations person, or anyone other than yourself when it comes to speaking to the public regarding your game. You just don't have the knack.

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAMember Posts: 8,912 Common

    Originally posted by Talad


    Ok, I will investigate on this OP and let's see what mmorpg staff has to say. I have only 8 posts because I usually work on the game instead of wasting time here. an OP of a forum is supposed to have a bit more, no?
    Did you not see or comprehend what I said?

    OP = original poster, nothing more, nothing less. He was the one to start the thread, i.e. he made the original post, thus making him the OP of this particular thread.

    As far as the issue of you having 8 posts, I don't care why you only have 8 posts. You were trying to invalidate what the OP said by the fact he only had 2 posts, yet you were supposed to be believed while only having 8 posts?

    Post count doesn't mean squat here, you don't need to have more than one or two posts to make a legitimate point. and please, by all means, do get in touch with mmorpg.com to clarify for you what is being said here. Here's a link for you: Admin@mmorpg.com

    Again, public relations and forum use are neither of your forte's.

     

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • ZorvanZorvan nowhere, CAMember Posts: 8,912 Common

     

     

    Originally posted by Talad


    I hope the above is enough to give you an idea why I consider that post wrong, full of lies and made to discredit the game. It's not a real review.

     

    Thank you. This was all I wanted to see. Now, we at least have both sides of the story to make a judgement from. You presented your counterpoints well, giving reasons for each. That is how you have to be on forums such as these. For example, if the OP had just made a post saying "This game is bad, don't play it!", little if any credence would have been applied to it. Likewise, when all you originally stated was "The article is absurd", it basically amounted to the same thing.

     

    At this point, I don't know enough about you OR the OP to say which of you would be telling the truth and which one would not. But now, after a full response from you, I am at least willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

    I do hope you get what I have been trying to convey (sometimes I tend to come off as an ass, even when not intending to). If you are proud of your work, and what you have created and how you have created it, you must be willing to provide constructive arguments and counter arguments to present your side of the issue when another person says something that could be damaging to you and/or your games image. i'll keep an eye on your project, and I wish you well.

    Edit: Far as public relations and forum speaking goes, there may be hope for you yet.  

     

  • 3hundred3hundred Hollywood, CAMember Posts: 7

    Hello,



    I stand by my original post and I appreciate all the compliments and support from MMORPG.com community thus far.



    Most of what has been posted are quotes from other articles and sources, so final conclusions are left up to the readers. My personal character in this matter is completely irrelevant. However, I'm not at all surprised by unprofessional remarks from "planeshift leader". He is only insulting himself in the end.



    Recently, the ex-PlaneShift developer's blog mentioned in my original post has mysteriously disappeared off the web, which may or may not be temporary. It's not a specific page that's missing but rather the whole domain and everything on it is suddenly compromised. In order to maintain the validity of the sources, the original post has been edited with additional web archive backup links that still hold the original articles and relevant content.



    This is a web archive backup link to the aforementioned blog that describes legal issues with "planeshift leaders":

    web archive backup link for -> http://rtfm.insomnia.org/~qg/planeshift.html



    After making the same original post on the official PlaneShift forum some time ago, it was almost immediately locked after a few spiteful remarks, which failed to refute any specific points in my post. That, in turn, prompted several people to question it in their own threads, which were being deleted almost as soon as they were created. This is a quote from one of the posts that hasn't been removed yet, as of July 2007:

    from the official planeshift forum

    I asked the question, ' Why does the Planeshift Team have a hard time keeping developers? ' and I must of struck a cord because my post was deleted instantly.



    Furthermore, I asked the question, ' Why was a certain other persons post locked and not replied to in the interests of Freedom of Speech? ' and that post was also deleted. He was not offensive, he was not attacking anybody personally, he was merely supplying facts of the project. If they where all false, then there would have been nothing to be afraid of and it would of been easy to supply the truth. I can only suggest there was some truth in his allegations...



    I think there's a clear message here folks.



    The way this project is managed deters quite a lot of developers (hence reason why nobody has joined in so many years), is purely managed in gestapo style...



    If you state anything to this effect or ask questions which get too close to seeing the real problems, you'll be silenced.



    This project does not have a community mindset, is not open and doesn't really desire the support and contributions from the public. This project is far from being openly developed. In fact, I find how its managed and the way it treats its contributors to be quite immoral and unethical to say the least. It advertises a totally different message on its web site than what is relayed from the actual structure of the team. A disgrace to the open source community. Its lies lies and damned lies...



    The unethical management of this project and failure for it to acquire developers is most likely going to stunt its growth. It will come back to bite in the end.



    ...



    Since PlaneShift has been given its own space on MMORPG.com in 2004, not once has the "planeshift leader" been concerned about his project enough to post any updates or to answer any questions. All of a sudden, he registers in 2007, just after my initial post, to try and convince everyone that it isn't a threat to him, and to suddenly post "updates", all the while complaining that I "only" have 2 posts. Quality over quantity. Keep in mind that there have been two "don't play this game" threads here for a very significant amount of time prior to this.



    Meanwhile, people on the official forum have been asking why the regular monthly questions about the game haven't been answered and are long overdue.



    As far as "free traffic" from this site that "planeshift leader" desires so much, it's an acceptable "risk". Traffic isn't made up of mindless drones. MMORPGs are huge time-sinks, so people are much more careful nowadays about their choices and research.



    Thanks.

  • TwinchaosTwinchaos Seattle, WAMember Posts: 13

    Nothing that "planeshift leader" has posted so far is convincing enough to refute the facts provided by the OP. He can spin it and claim that he has a passion for the game or that he's doing "good" for the community, except none of it changes the facts posted by the OP, and sounds more like an advertisement than an explanation.

    There is absolutely nothing to be envious about in this failure of a game. If one is going to be envious, there are a lot better and way more successful and popular projects that people actually get paid for. In fact, looking at the Crystal Space presentation, it's clear that the "project leader" is envious of other games like WoW, DAoC and EQ.

    If you remove everything that the OP personally added to the post and just keep the quotes from the articles and the video, then you only have facts, which still put PlaneShift and its leaders into a very unattractive light. Let's not forget that "planeshift leader" first resorted to insults and unprofessional remarks, as well as claiming that everything that's been posted is "untrue" or "absurd".

    Which parts are "untrue" or "absurd" exactly?

    **********

    That fact that PlaneShift was hoping to make money but ended up as a commercial failure? - verifiable

    The fact that PC Gamer UK called it "not at all innovative"? - verifiable

    The fact that an ex-PlaneShift developer's copyright was infringed upon and his rights not respected? - verifiable

    The fact that "planeshift leader" did not respect third-party licenses until he was told to stop? - verifiable

    The fact that PlaneShift account page, in fact, still does not allow users to delete their accounts? - verifiable

    The fact that several developers, contributors and community figures have left the game, often in disgust? - verifiable

    The fact that Luca Pancallo calls the game a "Beta" in the video, while many fanbois swear that it's "only a Pre-Alpha"? - verifiable

    The fact that his project is closer to an amateur/hobbyist open-source rather than a true and professional open-source? - verifiable

    **********

    Let's see what the "project leader" himself states in his video presentation here:

    crystalspace3d.org/downloads/conference_2006/movies/ps_big_xvid.avi

    I'm going to use direct quotes and time indexes from the video, so everyone can confirm it on their own.

    Video Time Index 2:07 in a media player and 11:08:29 on the screen clock



    ...but then the project had some issues because we were also a commercial project started with the idea to make money out of it, and some of the contracts that we were waiting for didn't arrive in the end, so we decided to stop the project and do other things.

     

    This proves that the project wasn't started as some kind of a "hobby" or "out of goodness of one's heart", as they claim on the official forum for an overall PlaneShift intention. It was clearly trying to make money at first. Having failed commercially, the team has left feeling dejected. The "project leader" claims that it was because they were at "that age of their lives" but do you honestly believe that it would've been an issue, if they've gotten a contract and funding? Is it therefore not reasonable to conclude that lack of commercial support and funding have killed the game at that point? The OP was completely right about this.



    Video Time Index 4:24 in a media player and 11:10:46 on the screen clock

    it was created to meet the commercial standards...



    Is this what they call "commercial standards" after over 7 years of development (over 15 to be technically correct)? The game is supposed to have 12 races, 8 levels of Yliakum, a huge cave with a city called Kadaikos, Death Realm, possibly the surface of the world and possibly original realms of all the races.



    5 races still don't have their own character models at all (for years) and 3 races are missing models for an opposite gender (also for years). Many of the existing models are wooden and buggy, the animations suck, held items/weapons don't align etc. There are numerous texture and world geometry problems, collision detection problems, crashes, disproportionate dimensions of buildings in relation to characters.



    NPCs are dumb as a stump, quests have horrific dialogs that have not been proof read for atrocious spelling. Magic system is half-broken, majority of weapons and armors are not implemented. The GUI is incredibly clunky (for years) and things in it still don't align properly. The calligraphy fonts are a mess, especially when they're used for a lot of small text. Many skills are not yet implemented and haven't been for years. And it goes on and on and on...



    Video Time Index 4:39 in a media player and 11:11:02 on the screen clock

    ...be competitive on what we can, obviously, but be competitive with commercial games.



    This is a direct opposite to what they constantly stress on the official forums. You will always get an "official" response that the game is not meant to compete with commercial games at all, as an excuse for everything. That they are not a commercial company and therefore their game cannot compete with commercial standards. That it's "just a hobby in spare time" and that they "sacrifice" their free time to work on it, and therefore no one should question the results, no matter how bad they are. Is this a result of massive miscommunication within the team or did the "project leader" lie to the audience at Crystal Space conference in an attempt to give himself more credibility?



    Video Time Index 4:47 in a media player and 11:11:10 on the screen clock

    ...we want to be the "linux" of online games



    There is no way you will ever be the "linux" of online games with such an unprofessional direction, lies and horrible treatment of developers and contributors. Not to mention a completely classless behavior on the forums.



    Video Time Index 5:48 in a media player and 11:12:10 on the screen clock

    ...we have to compare ourselves with the new products, so we play new games and we try to get ideas from the different games, like Everquest, World of Warcraft or uh, Dark...



    (he forgets the full name of "Dark Age of Camelot", and only utters "Dark..." while peering into a presentation page.)



    The .PDF file that this presentation was based on can be found here:



    www.crystalspace3d.org/downloads/conference_2006/planeshift_conf.pdf

    And on page 7, it also states that "feature-wise", the game is modeled after WoW, DAoC and EQ. However, this is once again a direct opposite of what goes on the official forums where they constantly rip on how bad WoW and other commercial games are, and that PlaneShift is "nothing like them". If you ever bring up any positives from those games, they'll ask you to leave and play those games instead of admitting that they have a problem.



    They also claim on the same page that "no commercial MMORPGs are satisfying to 'pen and paper' players yet". That commercial MMORPGs lack "realism, flexibility and immersion", and that monthly payments "pressure" people to "get their money's worth instead of enjoying the world".



    Funny, I have never felt "pressured" to get my money's worth because those commercial MMORPGs that I play are so rich in content, completeness and imagination that I don't even think about money. It's just too exciting to see what happens next because the developers have bothered to actually implement interesting and professional content.



    On page 16 of the .PDF, they also claim under "Results Achieved" that the game has "Duels" and "Wars". In an interview on mmosite.com, the "planeshift leader" claims that there will even be major wars between the "Death Realm" and the "Living Realm". However, on the official forum, he and others make completely different statements that "PlaneShift isn't about wars", that all races co-exist peacefully, that "this game won't have much PVP". Some nuts actually asked to remove PVP completely and to make PlaneShift a "utopia". But for all their complaining, they still won't remove PVP. Why? Because they know that even more people would dump this game, which means less inflated account number figures in the future. Pure hypocrisy.



    Video Time Index 16:23 in a media player and 11:22:45 on the screen clock

    ...some people register just to see how the game looks, so they just download it and doesn't play much, so don't expect to see so many people online... at the moment we have from 100 to 150 people always online.



    That's quite an understatement but also proves that the OP was right once again about the inflated account numbers and server population.



    Video Time Index 16:41 in a media player and 11:23:03 on the screen clock

    we are still in Beta but the game is playable...



    What's this? A proof that "project leader", indeed, called the game a "Beta"? What do you know! The OP was right about that one too!



    The best part happens at Video Time Index 1:05:24 in a media player and 12:12:29 on the screen, when Crystal Space conference staffer tells "planeshift leader" that he's taking too long and should wrap it up soon. That statement could also be applied to the whole game.



    In regards to the proprietary license, the video also makes claims that it's for "protection" (mafia often uses the word "protection" to sound more convincing) and that they don't want other games using their art, and that they want to do "whatever they want" with PS art. Isn't the idea of open-source to be OPEN? This sounds too much like free-loading on others' work for your own personal benefits only but without paying a dime for it.



    How about a little more evidence that the developers were not treated well, had numerous internal problems, power struggles, and often just left the team in the end? Here are some forum post links from regular community members and their quotes:



    http://hydlaa.com/smf/index.php?topic=26545.msg308102#msg308102

    I can't say whom because it would be a breach of confidence so you'll have to either take my word or don't. I personally know 3 different developers who have left because of politics because I maintained contact with them for quite a while after they left. I was fairly good friends with 2 of them and one of them was someone who helped me with a ton of different things when I first arrived here. Some had personal problems with others in the dev team, others felt that their concerns were being ignored - I know they were trying to help, and I agreed with some of what they tried to do. Too bad some of them left.



    I don't know about any others but I do remember all kinds of accusations of social engineering by Moogie to hurt some devs and vice versa personal problems, etc... Politics play a role, there is no doubt.



    Let's just say, i've heard of enough cases of powerstruggle going on, with the team against itself.
    People have left the team because of the ongoing powerstruggle in the Centralized controlled Planeshift team.



    That and some bickering between the team and it's members.



    We all agree on this point.



    From my personal experience, this game has a large number of so called "RP gestapo", "PVP noobs" and some people who enjoy both are stuck in between. In other words, just like any other MMORPG out there. There is absolutely nothing unique in PlaneShift's "focus" on RP. One difference, however, is that their main forum is usually populated with "regulars" who constantly complain about people who enjoy some PVP competition. It gets to the point of ridiculous.

    Another problem they have is they seem to be largely preoccupied with "punishment for dying". They want to discourage people from it as much as possible. They have something called a "Death Realm" where "people go when they die". It's nothing more than a stupid maze but with the passages you can fall from into a chasm and die again. That is considering how laggy the single server they have now in Singapore is. In the recent .019 release they have now added mobs along those narrow maze "bridges" and platforms that attack you, as you pass them. If you run, you can also easily get stuck inside geometry due to poor collision detection. Discourage people from trying new things, perhaps?

    To top it all off, the "Death Realm" is meant to be a place where "evil aligned players" reside. Who the heck enjoys this kind of crap (as in "mazes")? To take a page from numerous puzzle/quest design articles that work for both, Adventure games and MMORPGs, you avoid mazes and jumping puzzles as much as possible because it's a cop-out, it's a poor excuse to prolong the in-game experience because you lack creativity for something actually enjoyable. Save the "jumping puzzles" for platformers.

    After all, games are supposed to be fun, not feel like a job or a chore.

    Let's talk about their single unstable server in Singapore a little more. It's specs aren't very good. In fact, they are now having to juggle between reducing the number of mobs and other content. And the existing mobs still continuously fall through the floor/ground. That is considering that they don't even have a single level compete yet (out of 8 planned levels). Who is going to pay for the additional servers or better server specs in the future? Do you think sponsors are just going to shower you with offers on the latest and greatest servers to support a potentially large content (if it's ever completed, which is unlikely)? These are the things you have not thought through at all.

    I also fully agree with the comment that the "planeshift leader" is a pompous fool / a**. This may or may not mean anything but he uses the name "Talad", which is a male "god" in PlaneShift history. Out of three "gods" available, "Talad" is supposed to be a "good god" (as in "good" alignment), which many are supposed to "praise" in game. In fact, "Talad" isn't a very bright being that did not listen to the advice of "older gods" and "accidentally" disfigured a female "god" named "Laanx", who because of that disfigurement turned into a male "god". Utter lunacy! He clearly has some kind of an ego problem. Too bad "Vodul" (another PS "god") told him to go away at Crystal Space conference.

    As for the number of posts ( 8 vs 2), notice that "planeshift leader" registered only AFTER the OP, and that most of his posts are spam on this forum that could only be called "post building". Can you seriously trust a person who would even use a post number argument against someone? Totally classless!

    To conclude this post, I'd like to point out that had the commercial PlaneShift project not failed, there would never be a "free" PlaneShift. However, they are always trying to present it as if the project was born to be "free" and a "linux of MMORPGs", that it's "goodness of heart" that prompted such a decision, when, in fact, it's clear that it's only because the commercial version failed.

    How fitting that they've changed the PlaneShift graphic at the top to a picture of the "Death Realm" because this game is essentially dead. However, everyone is free to make their own decisions, so if anyone wants to try the "game", by all means. Perhaps then more people will realize what it is all about and start speaking out. Nothing like experiencing it first-hand and then realizing what you've gotten yourself into.



    <OP Edit: Fixed this forum's clunky formatting.>

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    [I deleted my previous answer..] This thread is made to discredit PlaneShift out of falsity, they don't deserve any answer. This thread contains false/misleading/offensive information. They have no respect for our work, no respect for open source and no respect for small projects.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
  • maveric007maveric007 Crofton, MDMember Posts: 160 Uncommon

    /agreed zorvan twinchaos





    Whole project should be open sourced art and all.

  • roahnroahn Somewheresville, ORMember Posts: 8

     

    Originally posted by Talad


    Maybe you downloaded the game like 2 years ago? We have combat, we have spells, we have quests, we have crafting now.
    It's still just a demo, not a complete game, but saying it's a chat room means you didn't try it recently, and your review is not fair.

     

    I have played Planeshift for a long time (about a year and a half), and have watched the game's lack of progress. Let me comment on Talad's remark.

    Combat: Yes, Planeshift "has combat," but it is not well implemented. For those interested in PvP, combat has gotten significantly worse. In older versions, you could time your attacks, making it somewhat challenging to get good at combat. But months ago, this was changed so attacks are very difficult to time. Basically flip a coin and hope you hit first.

    Combat is terribly boring because of lack of variety. You will see people use one of only two weapons, since the game lacks any sense of balance, and one dagger and one sword are vastly superior to any other weapon.

    There are no bows, spears, slings or any other missile weapons in the game.

     In these duels, you will generally only see one spell used (Energy Arrow), again because of lack of balance. There are only around 15 spells in the game that can be cast, however most of them are broken, do nothing useful, or are vastly underpowered. I would say there are only 4 or 5 spells that have any use at all. Compare that to other free MMORPG games (Regnum, Rappelz, etc) which have hundreds of working, useful spells, making combat interesting and unpredictable.

    Fighting monster is laughable. First of all, around 50% of the time, the "NPC server" is down, meaning that you cannot attack monsters. Recently the NPC server was down for 13 out of 14 days straight. Planeshift people talk about how important RP is... that's because with the monsters not working, there's not much else to do except stand around and talk (AKA "RP").

    When the monsters are "awake," combat is dull. Monster AI is circa 1995, where they walk slowly toward you. None of them shoot at you.

    Skills: What skills? There are no functioning skills that you might see in other games. No thieving, lockpicking, cooking, etc. Crafting swords and daggers is it.

    Training: If you want to train weapons, you have to fight. If you want to train magic, you have to fight. Want to train mining? Gotta fight. Training your crafting skills? You have to fight. The only way to earn significant experience is... you guessed it... combat.

    Stability: Since the most recent update (3.019) the server has been crashing about every 10 minutes.

    Crafting: I have not personally crafted, because I have heard so many complaints about how boring it is, how frustrating it is, etc. Nobody has been  crafting in the last few weeks, since crashing every 10 minutes means you can never finish crafting a weapon worth more than junk.

    Models are seriously lacking. In six of the classes, there is no female model, so they all have to use one model. Male models are in a similar situation. In the year and a half that I had been playing, I saw only one character model added.

    Skins: Once your character is created, you cannot change his or her appearance except to put on armor. There are only two sets of armor so far (leather and chain). There are no capes or robes or other clothing.

    Monsters: In the time I have been playing, no monster models have been added. They have however added a slightly-modified skin to a monster, and given it a new name, but it's still the same behavior, same size, etc. Also two monsters might have the same name, model, skin, give the same reward and experience, yet one is wimpy while the other is quite deadly.

    Experience: The experience you earn while fighting monsters seems to make little sense. One trepor (an insect-like monster), for example, might give you 400 experience, while another identical trepor gives you 2000. You can imagine that this causes a lot of crowding around the ones that give good experience, while people ignore to onces with low reward.

    Mounts: There aren't any.

    Pets: You can acquire a "pet" from a quest, if you wish. This pet is basically a statue the does not do anything. It is supposed to be able to follow you, but 3/4 of the time, it doesn't work. It doesn't move, or fight, or do anything at all. To top it off, it vanishes about 5 minutes after you summon it, and you then cannot summon it again for 24 hours. They are completely pointless in Planeshift.

    Bugs: Oh man, the list goes on. I reported a bug back in December, a bug where people could quite easily and quickly duplicate any items, including the most precious of weapons or expensive magical glyphs. I told the GM I showed it to that this must be fixed soon, or others will discover it and destroy the economy. Know what happened? Nothing! Over the next several weeks, I watched as 1/3 of all the players suddenly all became instant millionaires. This was not fixed until some people forced the issue, spreading billions in cash and thousands of duplicated priceless weapons around. Within 24 hours, the bug was finally fixed. The person who made them fix this bug was banned for a year.

    Environment: As you walk around the land, you will find huge, empty areas. You can run for 30 minutes and not see a single monster, NPC or player. Most of the monsters in the game are packed densely in one building called the "arena." Oh, be careful as you walk around, as you are quite likely to get stuck on a surface and be unable to move. There is an "unstick" command that is supposed to get you unstuck, but half the time it doesn't work, and you must kill yourself to get out.

    Watch where you walk, as there are many places where you will suddenly fall off the world and die. These holes have not been fixed in the months that they have existed.

    It is my opinion that the Planeshift team is completely disorganized. I believe that their developers work only on what they consider fun and interesting at the moment. If a huge, glaring bug isn't fun to fix, it won't get fixed. If some useless new feature or quest sounds interesting to create, it will get added.

    It amazes me that 15 years of development has produced this half-finished pre-alpha "tech demo." Maybe Duke Nukem Forever will finally lose its perpetual place at the top of the vaporware list.

    I have recently moved on to other games that are actually fun to play. They are also free MMORPGs, I might add.

    -Roahn

     

  • TaladTalad PlaneShift Developer ItalyMember Posts: 80 Uncommon

    Hi, your review is pretty good, and I want to start another thread on it, just because I think it's a different topic from this one.

    Come to play or enhance our game PlaneShift!
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