File:PlaneShift logo.jpg
Developer(s) Atomic Blue
License Content: Proprietary[1]

Source code: GPL [2]

Engine PlaneShift Engine

Crystal Space for 3D[3]

Platform(s) Macintosh, Windows, Linux, BSD
Release date(s) Under development. Last release on December 10, 2009 (0.5).
Genre(s) MMORPG
Mode(s) Multiplayer
Media Download or BitTorrent
System requirements Minimum
  • GHz CPU
  • 512 MB or more of RAM
  • 64 MB 3D video card
  • 1.0 GB free HD space
  • 56 kbit/s or faster Internet connection


  • GHz CPU
  • GB of RAM
  • 128 MB 3D video card
  • Broadband Internet connection
Input methods Keyboard, mouse

PlaneShift is a cross-platform fantasy MMORPG in development.[4] As of 2003, it was the first FOSS MMORPG to reach 100,000 registered user accounts.[5] Client software is available for Linux[6][7], Windows[8] and Mac OS X[9][10]. It is a no-budget project produced by a group of developers, founded by Luca Pancallo,[11] and guided by the Atomic Blue non-profit organization[12], bandwith for the servers is completely donated by sponsors.[13][14][15] The server side engine code is completely written from scratch by the PlaneShift team, while the 3D rendering features are based on the Crystal Space 3D engine. The game engine is released under the GPL.[16][17][18] The content is released under a proprietary license.[19][20]

The game is free to play, with no monthly fee,[21] no premium upgrades, and no advertising on the site or in game.[22][23][24][19]


The game is currently in the alpha stage of development at version 0.5, codenamed Arcane Chrysalis. Currently planeshift is under heavy development being ranked at the 99.905th percentile of all projects on sourceforge[25], with 10,656 individual source file changes in 2009 [26] 12,117 in 2008 [27] and 11,812 in 2007 [28] (The year the project moved to sourceforge from the old CVS) as well as over 2,600 individual source file changes this year.[29] (This is not including changes to art, music, or anything else not covered under the GPL) For perspective Crystal Space the most active project on sourceforge of all time, has over 5,100 individual file edits this year, a number of which were done by Planeshift developers. [30]

The PlaneShift development team is made of developers from all around the world, located in the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia [31][32]

The first major version (0.1) released on May 2, 2002 was codenamed Atomic Blue.[33][34] The next version (0.2) was released on March 7, 2003 and codenamed Molecular Blue.[35] The Molecular Blue server was shut down on December 16, 2004 and replaced on December 24, 2004 with version 0.3, Crystal Blue[36]. This was subsequently replaced by the version codenamed, Steel Blue on March 2, 2008. [37] The current version "Arcane Chrysalis" was released to the public on December 10, 2009.[38][39]

PlaneShift has been mentioned to have a mature and well established codebase, having increasing development activity year over year, and having a large active development team. [40]


PlaneShift is set inside a colossal stalactite named Yliakum, divided into eight levels, of which the lower two are flooded.[41] Life is possible because a huge crystal, named The Azure Sun, draws light from the surface of the planet. PlaneShift currently has 12 playable races[42] that all have their own homelands and characteristics[43]. Outside of Yliakum are the Stone Labyrinths and through these the player can access even more areas, like the cave in which the stalactite hangs.

History and politics[]

Yliakum's history is classified into five different epochs. The races of Yliakum were created by Talad and Laanx, the two chief deities of the setting.[44]

Yliakum is governed by eight "Octarchs", one representing each level of Yliakum. Under them are lesser representatives, twenty in each level (160 total), called "Vigesimi". At the beginning of every year there is a meeting of all Octarchs and Vigesimi that lasts for several months, where they address issues pertinent to Yliakum's inhabitants. Ochtarchs generally remain in power for life.[45]

The main currency is the Tria, triangle-shaped coins made of sturdy alloys, metals, or crystals. The crystal mineral can easily be found in the mines and is transparent or light green in color. Magically forging the crystals produces a perfect triangle with rounded-off edges. There are other units of currency, including Hexas (hexagon shaped coins that have a 10:1 exchange rate with the tria), Octas (octagon shaped; 50:1 exchange rate) and Circles (circular gold coins; 250:1 exchange rate).[41]

The Death Realm[]

When a character dies they are transported into the Death Realm,[46] a large network that the player must navigate, full of annoyances like dead-ends and perilous walkways. Upon return through the portal back to life a temporary stat penalty occurs. The Death Realm will be expanded in future versions to be very expansive [47] and include many traps and puzzles for players to solve before returning to life.[48]



One of the main goals of the PlaneShift staff is to inspire roleplay between the players.[49] This is accomplished by extensive attention to roleplay details, background stories, books, and quests. New players are encouraged to read the guide set forth by the staff which details how to properly act in character[50]. In the world of Yliakum are GMs who help the players stay in character, along with players who spend a lot of time to develop the persona of the characters with which they play.

Character creation[]

PlaneShift features a character creation tool containing two options. The first option is to choose to make a "quick" character, in which you choose a "Path" and a character is randomly generated for you. A "Path" reflects the career (or job) of the avatar in his youth, and has associated events which will drive the final skills and stats.

Alternatively you can choose to make a character with the "custom" method. Starting from scratch allows you to choose every aspect of your character from childhood, life events, parents, race, name, and appearance.[51][46] Only after choosing all of these options are your character's stats revealed.


File:PlaneShift screenshot 4.jpg

A character fights in the arena.

Yliakum is populated by many creatures that can be fought for loot and experience, ranging from simple rats up to large creatures which may require many players to defeat. Players may also engage in duels on a voluntary basis, which requires both parties to agree to the conditions of the duel. There is also a Guild system, where players can create and join Guilds. If two players' Guilds are at war with each other, they do not need to agree to a duel in order to initiate combat with each other.[52]

Players may fight with bare fists, known as melee, or wield a variety of swords, axes, daggers, and hammers.[53]


Planeshift magic comprises several distinct "Ways" (Schools): Crystal Way, Red Way, Brown Way, Azure Way, Blue Way, and Dark Way. Casting spells requires combinations of special magical items called glyphs.[41]


Crafting, as the art to create artifacts from certain ingredients, is available in PlaneShift for the creation of weapons and shields, but also for the creation of food.


Characters attain Progression Points (PP) when they successfully engage in combat and uses of certain abilities. These are spent at NPC trainers to increase the power of various abilities. PlaneShift uses a skill based progression system, without the mandatory paths found in other games (ex.: wizard, warrior, etc..).[54][55]


Quests provide rewards such as mounts. The NPC dialog system in Planeshift is a mixed system, made of predefined answers you can pick from a list and free text (similar to the one used in Tibia and EverQuest ). In addition player characters can communicate with computer-controlled characters (NPC) by typing in words and phrases, and NPCs will answer with a basic intelligence. [46]


PlaneShift uses Crystal Space, an open source game engine. The source code for the client and server, that the game employs, is open source under the GNU General Public License.

All other elements like artwork, ruleset, dialog, etc. are proprietary[36] and licensed under a custom license: the PlaneShift Content License (PCL). The PCL prevents modifications, redistributions, and assigns the copyright of accepted contributions to Atomic Blue under work for hire clauses. This license also forbids using the content for profit or for unofficial hosting.[19]

PlaneShift’s licenses have been mentioned to facilitate creativity among the development community, while preserving as unique the creativity of artists and designers who contribute. [56]

Awards and Notable Mentions[]

In 2003 PlaneShift was elected the "Most Promising Linux Game" of the year.[57][58]

In 2004 PlaneShift was featured in an Open Source study made by CSC as an example of an Open Source videogame. [59]

In 2008 PlaneShift had been invited as an emerging technology, to speak at GoogleTalk events in Google headquarters. [60]

In July 2008 PlaneShift reached 500.000 registered users.[61] This however doesn't reflect current user numbers, as this is over the course of the previous 4 years. [62]

Considered by the CSC; to be one of the most sophisticated open source multiplayer games. [63]


Planeshift has been criticized as being generic but good with its visuals, by borrowing from the ideas of other MMORPGs.[64]

Latency times have been known to cause a disruption in playing the game partly due to lack of paid hosting services.[65][46]

Notes and references[]

  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2
  24., PC Gamer UK October 2001
  36. 36.0 36.1 Linux Format March 2005 Issue 64, Pg 13
  38., news pages 2002-2009
  41. 41.0 41.1 41.2 TUX December 2006 Issue 20, Pg 60 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "tux#20" defined multiple times with different content
  43. 3.2. Overview of the Known World
  44. PlaneShift - A 3D Fantasy MMORPG
  45. PlaneShift - A 3D Fantasy MMORPG
  46. 46.0 46.1 46.2 46.3 (in Spanish)
  47. PlaneShift - A 3D Fantasy MMORPG
  48., under Death Realm FAQ
  50. PlaneShift - A 3D Fantasy MMORPG
  52. "PlaneShift Player Guide - Combat". Retrieved 2009-07-23. 

External links[]

ca:PlaneShift es:Planeshift fr:PlaneShift nl:PlaneShift pl:PlaneShift ru:Planeshift MMORPG sv:PlaneShift