May 22, 2013, 12:00:26 PM
Eclipse is a long standing community based around online game development, specifically MMORPGs. To aid people in their projects we offer a full set of programs and resources that, when taken full advantage of, will allow you to create your own fantastic online world. This includes a central piece of software called the 'Eclipse Origins Game Engine' which is an MMORPG Maker. This little beauty can be used to create an online RPG (aka, MMORPG) all by itself. It has everything you could possibly need - and it's open source! If you find that Origins doesn't have everything you need then you can simply pop it open in Visual Basic 6.0 and get to work adding in your own exciting systems. Our thriving community offers complete support for this MMORPG Maker. If you have any questions or want to learn through other people's tutorials then simply register an account and come hang out with us. We've got plenty of talented members who're willing to spend some of their valuable time to help you with your project. All that we ask is that you present yourself politely and have a thirst for learning. You've got nothing to lose, so come on over and become a part of the largest MMORPG development community around!
History of Eclipse
Hello there! I'm Robin, Eclipse's head developer. If you're willing to give me a few minutes of your time I'd like to tell you the history of our modest little engine. Eclipse has a history stretching back over 12 years - way back to 1999! The story is certainly a vibrant one and has several important stages. Believe me, you won't be disappointed.
The Mirage Years
Eclipse's original form was a small game called 'Final Fantasy Online' created by a bloke called Consty. Back then it was a simple server and client system with a GDI graphics engine. It had maps, npcs and movement. That was about it. Although it wasn't very complicated this basic structure stuck and 2 years later Consty came out with a brand-new game - Mirage Online! This little project was built using the much more powerful DirectDraw system which was available in DirectX7. This game enjoyed moderate popularity before eventually being closed and sold to an interested player called Shannara. Shannara continued to develop the game and at the same time licensed a copy of the source code to yet another player called Kael who used this to release a closed-source engine called 'Player Worlds'. This was a huge milestone. This engine could be used to create your very own online RPG game with absolutely no prior experience or knowledge. People flocked to it. For a long while Mirage and Player Worlds lived in peace - that is until PC appeared on the scene.
Into the public domain
PC was what you call a 'script kiddie' but he identified himself as a 'cyber terrorist'. Due to the nature of Player Worlds anyone who used it had a copy of the compiled engine. There were a few decompilers out at the time, however, which allowed you to revert the compiled project back into it's original state - source code and all! PC released this to everyone around both the Mirage and Player Worlds communities and threw everything into chaos. In the aftermath of this event Shannara decided to clean his hands of the entire thing and released Mirage with a notice that explicitly placed Mirage in the public domain. Anyone and everyone could now grab a copy of the source code and do with it what they pleased. Surprisingly this did not kill Mirage. Although many people took the source code and went off to do their own thing with it, Mirage continued on as a game and Shannara created a new community call Mirage Source which was built around people using the source code to develop their own games and engines. As such, Mirage and Player Worlds continued on and it was after these events which Eclipse's founder, Marshy Dearest, found Player Worlds and began his life as an amateur game developer.
Aah, Konfuze. The love child of Coke, GodSentDeath and Unreal. These three teenagers used Mirage's source code to release their very own engine. My God was it a success! This project had everything - Scrolling maps, visual spells, visual inventory, player to player trading, banks! This was a head above the rest and it was all thanks to GodSentDeath's programming. This is also where I enter the picture. I'd been lurking around Mirage and Player Worlds and watching them develop but it wasn't till Konfuze was released that I actually signed up and got my name out there. Konfuze was absolutely amazing for its time. Compared to the stuff you find in Origins it was horribly weak, but when you first logged in it just felt like it was on an entirely new level compared to Mirage. The community was strong and Coke set up some new ideas on the website such as VIP membership and a top-list of all the games that were around. Its success was short lived, however, as GodSentDeath caught wind that Coke was going to shut it all down and release Konfuze's source code to everyone. He was annoyed at this decision and decided to release it himself. He called it Elysium Source.
The legacy of Elysium
Elysium Source was, rather unsurprisingly, a huge success. Having access to Konfuze's source code opened up all sorts of possibilities. People once again became excited and began to fervently release pages upon pages of fantastic source code modifications which added all sorts of functionality to the engine. This continued on for quite some time until GodSentDeath became bored with his project and went off into the real world, never to be seen again. For the next few years Elysium was quite prosperous. It had many off-shoots though, and the market became incredibly saturated. The administration team of Elysium saw many changes through this time. Pingu and Ozzy were the two main players. It was Pingu's release of 'Elysium Diamond' which was what Marshy Dearest took as the basis for Eclipse and it was under Ozzy's reign that I took my position as a community moderator. Of course, whilst Elysium was still going strong so were the other communities that it owed its origins to. Personally I became an active contributor to all of the communities and eventually became the administrator of Mirage, Player Worlds and Elysium.
The birth of the Eclipse
Even with all this history behind it Eclipse manages to stand up by itself. Originally advertised using Photoshopped screenshots of the unreleased Elysium version that Pingu was working on, it soon developed into something Marshy Dearest could be proud of. The community grew and through the years a number of developers created their own personalised versions of Eclipse. Probably the most famous of these developers is Baron. He created 'Total Eclipse' (...of the heart... No! Bad Robin!) which was well known as being the most stable and bug-free version of Eclipse at the time. Using Total Eclipse as a base another young developer came out with 'Eclipse Evolution', probably the most well-known version of Eclipse if only because of the amount of time it was the de facto version. It certainly had an impressive number of glossy features which attracted the newer crowd, but 12 years of development had really taken its toll on the poor thing and the very core was corrupted with irreparable damage. It wasn't till much later that 'Eclipse Stable' was released. This version concentrated on fixing up the bugs of the past but still wasn't enough to cover up some of the deep rooted issues which caused game development to be slow and keeping a game online to be almost impossible.
Once again whilst Eclipse was developing as a community so were its predecessors. Mirage, Player Worlds and Elysium were still running, albeit with a relatively small community. They'd seen their heyday and it was nearing an end. They continued on for a while but development was mostly halted and no new members were joining. The communities were just the same old people arguing over programming methods yet never actually making any games. It was a sorry state of affairs and an ugly end to a bunch of communities which had such a long and vibrant past. Eventually Magnus, the person now running Player Worlds, bought up Mirage and merged with several other engines to create the Online Game Core. The community lasted for a few months or so before being completely closed down. Magnus, much to relief to quite a few of us veterans, decided that enough was enough and killed Mirage once and for all. He sold off the domains to Coke and went off into real life. Coke tried to re-start everything with 'Mirage Realms' but ultimately gave up and killed them all off. He continues to work on a Java engine from time to time but is currently tied up in real life.
Back to our Origins
Now, you might think this would be the end of my little story (especially considering I titled off the last part as 'the end') but you'll forgive a man for wanting to tie up a few loose ends. I mentioned that I became administrator of various different communities over the course of time but I never actually mentioned how I came to Eclipse nor how I ended up becoming the head developer of Eclipse Origins. Well, during the last year or so of Mirage's life the community had become stagnant. We weren't advertising and the same few people logged on each day and argued between themselves. It was during this time that a bloke called Soljah registered an account and challenged us to a competition - a mapping competition between Mirage and Eclipse, to be exact. Both Eclipse and Mirage had grown arrogant over the years and were gloating about their superiority. I don't believe the competition ever took place, but I did end up chastising both sides for their silliness regarding the matter. It was through this incident that I became a regular member at Eclipse rather than just lurking in the shadows. After making friends with quite a few people I became confident with my social standing and started releasing tutorials, guides, resources and the such. I suppose I should tell you that by this time Eclipse's source code was a very large mess. Everyone and their grandma had added something to it during its 12 years of development and none of them were exactly experienced programmers. Not only that, but the community's knowledge and skills had grown stagnant due to the lack of new stuff being brought in. All of these problems added up to one thing which was that Eclipse Evolution, the latest version at the time, was unwieldy, bugged, unstable and also moderately dangerous in the hands of the ignorant. It was at this time that I came out with a very controversial project - Eclipse Origins!
Eclipse Origins, in a nutshell, was a complete re-write from a vanilla copy of Mirage Source 4, a version of the original Mirage source code which I had developed alongside DFA and Dugor. It wasn't simply a re-write of Eclipse, however, it was completely re-designed. It completely smashed the long standing conventions which people blindly abided by. Things which were never thought as possible were released with ease. Dynamic character sprite sizes, drag & drop spells, inventory and bank, graphical shops and player to player trading, dynamic animation sizes, y-based rendering and entire resource systems! I could go on, believe me. Let me just tell you that the year or so that followed Origins' release was an exciting one to witness. Suddenly the community had a fresh new take on things and began to work hard on new projects. I'd like to say it was I who was responsible for this new community spirit, but Origins was simply the trigger. People began to explore their own creativity and originality using Origins as a medium for their expression. It was potential that they had in them all along and all they needed was to have the key to unlock it. Although the last 12 years have been interesting, to say the least, it's time to shake them off. The weight has dragged us down and left us stuck in the past. We're now at the start of a new adventure. We're going to create our own history, a brand new one, and I want to invite you to join us. Help us move forward into the future. We'll learn from the events of the past but we will not let them hold us back. Grab a copy of Origins and let your creativity flow. Become a member of the oldest and largest 2D Online RPG community around and make your own page in this long, vibrant history.