- 1 The history of OpenKore
- 2 OpenKore today, and the status of the botting community
- 3 The people who made a difference
The history of OpenKore
This story is written by me, VCL. I'm the OpenKore project leader, and I'm one of the people who started OpenKore back in late 2003. I'm also one of the few people who haven't left the Ragnarok Online botting community. The first time I started playing Ragnarok Online was in May or July 2002, when iRO (the international server) was still in a period call "beta 2", and was free.
The history of botting
I first played manually, but it soon became boring and tedious. That's how I started looking at bots. I can't say a lot about the history of bots before I was introduced to them, so I'll just tell you what I know.
In mid 2003, there were many bots. I won't bore you with the details, but here are the most widely known:
|Name||Quality||What happened to it?|
|ApezBot||Sucks, a lot||Dead|
Yeah, you've read it right. They're all dead by now! With "dead", I mean:
- They're not being developed anymore by the authors.
- They don't work anymore on today's RO servers.
They died because their authors have lost interest in RO. </div>
That's great, but what about OpenKore?
You must have noticed Kore in the above table. The name looks so much like OpenKore! Surely it has got something to do with OpenKore... right?
Yes, that's right. Of all bots, Kore was unique: it was the only open source bot. Now, what was open source again? Open source means that anyone can view, modify and redistribute the source code. It may sound crazy to some people, but that is the sole reason why OpenKore exists today, and why I'm maintaining OpenKore. It encouraged people to contribute improvements back into the community, so that everyone can benefit.
Kore had one fatal flaw though: Kura, the original author who wrote Kore, didn't do anything with most of the contributions. Most contributions are just laying on the forum gathering dust, while Kura only merged a few contributions back into the main Kore program. It shouldn't come as a surprise that many contributors were not happy about that. As a result, many forks of Kore emerged.
A few prominent Kore contributors at the time were: Kura, Karasu, Solos.
Did you say "fork"?
<img src="/images/fork.jpg" alt="A fork!">
No, I'm not talking about that kind of fork! The forks I'm talking about are separate versions of Kore, maintained by other people. For example, one of the contributors, Solos, made his own version called Solos Kore (skore for short) which includes his own improvements. There were other forks, but not much is known about them. For some unknown reason, Kore's website went down for months, and Kura was unavailable during all that time. So all the users who used Kore moved to skore instead. Soon skore became the most popular Kore fork.
This is not to say that Kura isn't a brilliant guy though. He was. His technical skills were very high, and he wrote most of Kore's codebase. His project management skills could use some improvements though.
Skore seemed to have replaced Kore, but Solos had the same flaw as Kura: he didn't really merge contributions back into the main program. As a result, more forks appeared, this time based on Skore. To make matters worse, after a few months Solos mysteriously left - he probably lost interest in RO. Things became very ugly after that:
- iRO was upgraded to Comodo, which broke a lot of bots. Bots couldn't detect some players and monsters. As a result, not only could bots easily die, they also kill steal people.
- There were still contributors on the Skore forums. A fix was released by those contributors, but only Solos had access to the website (where the download page resides). So the modified Skore version, which was called Skore-revamped by the authors, was released by posting download links in 'sticky' topics on the forum!
- The download page on the Skore website was never updated though. So lots and lots of people tried the version on the download page, which didn't work, and came to the forum to complain that it didn't work - without reading the sticky topics on the forum which link to Skore-revamped.
We received new complaints every day.
Zzz.... tell me about OpenKore already!
OK OK, I'll go to the point! Obviously things couldn't go on like that. I had a lot of experience with open source project management, and it surprised me that neither Kura nor Solos used collaboration tools such as CVS. So I teamed up with the other Skore contributors, and founded the OpenKore project. OpenKore is based on Skore-revamped. OpenKore would not make the same mistake that Kore and Skore made:
- The OpenKore project encourages developers to unite and to cooporate. So that means less forks, not more.
- Through the use of collaboration tools like CVS (kindly offered by SourceForge, which hosts many open source projects), many people could work on OpenKore at the same time, thus increasing efficiency greatly.
- Multiple people could update the OpenKore website.
So if I ever leave RO or get hit by a bus, the other people can pick up where I left without having to reinvent the wheel over and over again. The "Open" part of OpenKore emphasises OpenKore's open source nature.
The original Kore website came back online, this time hosted on SourceForge (just like OpenKore). But Kore was as good as dead - Kura left the scene shortly after.
Prominent developers at this time were: xlr82xs, blueviper22, junq, Dn4cer, brokencard and myself.
=====> At this point, we are at late 2003.
One of the other Kore forks was Modkore, developed by Star-Kung. We at OpenKore tried to keep low-profile because the Skore forum was seriously polluted by people who post junk, and we didn't want those people to find OpenKore. As a result, after the fall of Skore, more and more people started using Modkore.
But Modkore - surprise surprise - suffered from the exact same flaw as Kore and Skore! Well, not exactly the same. Star-Kung did use CVS, and Modkore had multiple developers. But Modkore didn't have the cooperation and contribution culture as OpenKore had. So OpenKore slowly gained more developers, while Modkore's number of developers remained pretty much constant. A rough estimation of the botting market share at the time is:
The pRO catastrophe
Fast forward to early 2005. Many things have changed since 2003: iRO is no longer the only non-Korean RO server. Chinese, Japanese, Indonesian, Thai, Malaysian and Philippines servers emerged. In fact, the Philippines server (pRO) was (and still is!) the server with the most people! If you visit RO botting forums, 80% of the posts are posted by Filipinos, and almost all questions are about Modkore. Ironically, most questions were about where to download Modkore.
<img src="/images/waterfall.jpg" alt="">
Something weird was going on with the Malaysian server (mRO) though. OpenKore didn't work correctly on mRO. OpenKore developers and contributors fixed that after a few months though, while Modkore did not. A few months later, in March, pRO's server was changed in the same way. So all Modkore bots suddenly stopped working on pRO! Oh no, what now? Has the Lord abandoned us? What will become of our botting life? But wait, rumor has it that OpenKore works on pRO. In fact, it does work on pRO because mRO support was fixed!
Well, it shouldn't be hard to guess what happened. The effect on OpenKore was like a waterfall. Here's a nice graph to illustrate my point:
<img src="/images/openkore-modkore-revemu-graph.png" alt="Look at the market share changes!">
Furthermore, Modkore went closed source in mid-2005. I believe their reason was to prevent people from making kill stealing versions of Modkore. I believe it was a mistake to go closed source. Again, the benefits of open source far outweight the risks. And it's actually illegal to make it closed source, as Kore is open source and licensed under the GPL.
Oh, and have I already mentioned that Revemu has completely died? Revemu has been broken since late 2003, when iRO Comodo came. Not only was Revemu closed source, they also had very few developers. During mid 2005, someone raised the question of open sourcing Revemu on the Revemu forums. Most of the responses, even from the users, were negative, and were like:
- "But people will steal the source code and claim that the program is theirs!"
- "Hackers will put viruses and trojans in Revemu!"
Bollocks of course. OpenKore is the living proof that being open source brings more advantages than drawbacks. But whatever floats their boat.
Not everybody on the Revemu forums was anti-open source though. Some people want it to be open source. Some of the OpenKore developers went there to clarify why peoples' fears against open source are irrational. But a Revemu forum moderator deleted the pro-open source posts, not even allowing fair discussion. That's how anti-open source they were. Eventually they opened a poll. In the first few weeks, most people voted for "give source code only to a few selected people". After a few weeks, "open source Revemu" became the prominent choice. But the decision was already made - Revemu was not open sourced.
Well, we all know what happened to Revemu. Have you ever heard of Revemu before you read this page? Have you ever used it? No? Well that illustrates my point.
As time passes...
...new developers come and go. Developers who came, contributed, and went, include: jojobaoil, anu, fov, Ven'Tatsu, aputs. Without their contributions, OpenKore would not be what it is today.
Today, Modkore is almost inactive. They have almost no developers anymore. Star-Kung seems to have left the RO scene.
mRO and pRO are not the only servers that constantly change. Other servers change too. Each time, OpenKore must be modified to support the changes.
Various bits and pieces
- There were many other Kore forks, in particular Chinese and Japanese ones. Very little is known about them though. All of them are closed source. As mentioned earlier, it's actually illegal to keep it closed.
- VisualKore started in mid 2004, based on OpenKore. It differentiates from OpenKore in that it's a more polished product. However, I've made it a policy to keep OpenKore free and open source forever. (Editor's note: VisualKore is now not developed, not supported and not working anymore. Open source still survives.)
Lessons to be learned from history
- Open source is good. Period. If you don't believe me, look at what happened to Revemu.
- Being open source is not good enough. The project must also be managed properly, or you'll end up with a fragmented community.
- RO servers change all the time. OpenKore must be constantly updated, or it will stop working.
- The constant influx of developers is what made the difference. Developers come and go. Without new developers, OpenKore will grind to a halt, and will die.
OpenKore today, and the status of the botting community
Why are you still reading this? Oh well, it doesn't matter, it just matters that you are reading this. :)
The Good (^ω^)
OpenKore has accomplished some good things, and we should be proud on that.
- OpenKore has about 95% market share. Some people still use Modkore - it still works on some servers. In fact, OpenKore is the only actively maintained bot on earth.
- Most of the posts on botting forums are about OpenKore.
- We have a better website and documentation than any other RO bot has ever had. For instance, Revemu only has a forum - downloads are linked from forum topics! Kore, Skore and Modkore only have a manual. OpenKore on the other hand has an informative website.
- We have developer documentation. Kore, Skore and Modkore didn't even try.
- Our community is international.
The Bad (¯Δ¯)
Not everything is so rosy though:
- Documentation isn't 100% complete. Some configuration options are not documented or badly documented.
- Developer documentation also isn't complete.
- I wrote 95% of the developer documentation. :( That also means that if I get hit by a bus, developer documentation development will come to a halt.
- Despite all efforts in improving website usability and documentation quality, we still have n00bs. Those people don't read anything and go straight to the forum to ask stupid questions. Moderators and long-time users are fed up with them.
The Ugly (¯×¯)
- We have a huge lack of developers!
- Most people these days are "leeches": they use OpenKore, and they ask for help on the forums, but they don't contribute anything back.
<img src="/images/noooo.jpg" alt="Noooo!">
With "ugly", I mean very ugly, even alarmingly ugly. Let me first define the term "support community". Of the entire OpenKore community, only a part is the support community. People in the support community actively contribute back to the community. Contributions can include:
- Source code. That is, helping with OpenKore's development.
- Documentation, guides, manuals, FAQs, etc.
- Moderating the forum and keeping things clean.
- Well, anything that improves the state of the community.
The support community is very weak at the moment. Let's take a look at most the posts at the forum:
- "Help meee plzz!!!"
- "Hlp me it dosnt work!!!"
- "OMG send me config plz!!"
Well, you get the point (I hope). Too many people ask questions, but not enough people answer them. Most people just come here, ask a question, and then they go away without bothering to help other people (the leechers). They just want zeny and items, not realizing that such behavior will make things more miserable for everybody, including themselves. This is how the ratio looks like:
<img src="/images/openkore-community-leechers-support.png" alt="OpenKore community: leecher-supporters ratio">
Especially alarming is the lack of developers. We have only about 3 active developers at the moment. As opposed to 15,000 users (probably more). People ask for feature requests all the time. They report bugs all the time. Furthermore, there are a few thousand private servers out there, and each day people come to our forum to complain that OpenKore does not work on their private server. Well, OpenKore won't work on their private server unless someone develops support for that server - but we have too few developers and we're all very busy!
Unless these things are dealt with, the community will go down hill, and in the near future nobody will be able to bot anymore! This is no joke, nor am I trying to scare you: I'm just being realistic.
What can I do?
<img src="/images/we-want-you.jpg" alt="We Want You!">
You can make the difference! In fact, people like you are the ones who make a difference. OpenKore is created by the community, for the community. Join the support community! Join us to make the botting community a better place! You don't have to be a developer to be able to help.
- Be helpful. Answer peoples' questions on the forum. Write/improve documentation, guides, etc.
- Read the OpenKore todo list to see some things you can do.
- If you have an idea that's not on the todo list, be my guest and add it. :) Or better, just do it!
- If you're a developer, please join our development team. You don't need to subscribe or announce yourself, just posting your contribution on the forum is enough.
The people who made a difference
- kLabMouse - Project Leader
- jerry - rRO support (xkore1 bot)
- manticora - rRO support
- 4epT - rRO support
- List of GitHub contributors
- abt123 - tRO support and other plugins
- arachno - macro plugin author
- Click - rRO support, WX interface and other plugins
- eddga - rRO support
- ezza - macro plugin development
- heero - pRO support
- piroJOKE - rRO support
- VCL - Retired Project Leader
- h4rry84 - moderator, admin of Indonesian OpenKore forums, documentation writer
- Raider - moderator
- avokato - ex-documentation writer
- SkyFX - ex-moderator
- --Roger-- - ex-moderator , ex-admin of Brazillian Openkore forums
- abdullah - aRO support
- aquintus2 - fRO support
- ChaoticGood - Admin of Filipino OpenKore forums
- Don Delavitto
- EverythingIsAllright - help in fixing critical bugs
- Francesco24 - fRO support
- lkm - Admin of Chinese OpenKore forums
- PlayingSafe - bugfixes, plugins
- Rodrigo01 - Admin of Spanish OpenKore forums
- ryanblonna3 - XKore Proxy fixes
- skseo - Ex-admin of the Korean OpenKore forums
- SuperN00b - Admin of Filipino OpenKore forums
- Tic Or Tac - Admin of French OpenKore forums
- tmrcik - fRO support
- uPantcho - Poseidon tweaks
- vit - rRO support
- [GM]#05 - rRO support
Documentation and Translation
- abt123 - Thai Translator
- alvarosou - Portuguese Translator
- Azraelus - VisualKore FAQs
- clarious - Vietnamese Translator
- dency45 - Filipino/Tagalog Translator
- diinie - Thai Translator
- h4rry84 - Indonesian Translator
- Littlewens - Tranditional Chinese Translator
- manticora - Russian Translator (http://rofan.ru/viewtopic.php?t=2662)
- Mushroom - Portuguese Translator
- Opo - French Translator
- Pachu - Spanish Translator
- Thrice (Projekt gKore!) - German Translator (http://www.ingamers.de/ro-openkore-download-konfiguration/projekt-gkore-21943.html)
Contact us (IRC, forums) with any comments regarding that list, such as misattribution or absense of people who contributed or assisted with code, documentation and support.