NeL is a framework built to encourage and facilitate the creation of open-source MMORPG projects and worlds. It contains all of the essential functionality needed for a mid-to-large scale MMO. All of the essential 3D, sound (including spatial sound,) physics, landscape/terrain, data loading and core network services are available. NeL has a robest pre-built shard-based network framework ready for developers to build game logic upon and ready to scale to whatever the developer needs. One NeL's fundamental differences between most of its open-source competitors is that NeL has been in development since 2001 and is the framework behind the commercial MMORPG Ryzom (

Why We Are Applying

Through the years of being open-source NeL has attracted a great number of students who have experimented with NeL or used it for their projects and thesis papers. In addition to that NeL has a great number of deficient areas, especially in the tool chain, that we would like to get updated to remain competitive with other open-source projects as well as remain a viable alternative to commercial packages suck as Torque. This will be our first year applying and participating in GSoC.

Organization Administrator

Vianney Lecroart (Google Account: ) will be the NeL organization administrator. Vianney has been with NeL since its conception and is currently working on a commercial MMORPG based on the open-source framework: Ryzom. Vianney is the CTO of the Ryzom project.

Matt Raykowski (Google Account: )has been active in the NeL community since 2003 and has been a contributing member especially on the build tools side as well as maintaining his own project based upon the framework. His current focus is on the tool chain and the technology demo Snowballs. By day Matt manages a team of developers and administrators. Matt Raykowski will be the backup organization administrator.


The entire NeL framework source code is licensed under GPLv2. The documentation is licensed under Creative Commons.


The NeL community has generated a list of features, bug fixes and updates that have accumulated over the past couple years:

Development Forum

The NeL community has recently converted to Redmine and now uses its forum. It can be located at:

Nearly all of the community members also use IRC to communicate and collaborate: / #nel

Application Template

We would like students to apply with the following template:

Potential Mentors

  • Vianney Lecroart (Google Account: ) (IRC: ace)
    • Vianney was chosen as a mentor because he knows NeL better than anyone associated with the project. The majority of the code that may be touched by a student was written by or architected by Vianney.
  • Matt Raykowski (Google Account: ) (IRC: sfb)
    • Matt's long run in the community and his large contributions in areas as deep as replacing STLport make him an ideal candidate. Matt's delving deep into seldom used modules of NeL provide him with a wide range of knowledge and his expertise with the build systems used in NeL mean he can get a student up-and-running quickly.
  • Robert Wetzel (Google Account: ) (IRC: Spexius)
    • Robert's contributions both in the build system as well as his numerous bug hunting expeditions prove his capability with the framework. Robert has also spend a tremendous amount of time within the 3D system and sound system make him the ideal candidate for anything building against NL3D, especially low-level work such as any work on the shader system, updating drivers or implementing new ones.
  • Cedric Ochs (Google Account: ) (IRC: Kervala)
    • Cedric has been an active community member in both NeL and Ryzom since 2004. His active "hacking" work to write tools and fix bugs in Ryzom gave him early exposure to NeL. He has gone on to spend a fair amount of time working on NeL and is specifically knowledgeable with the tools and processes.
  • Goncalves Nuno (Google Account: ) (IRC: ulukyn)
    • Goncalves has been active in the Ryzom community and in turn in the NeL community since 2004. He has a variety of achievements with Ryzom bug hunting and tools creation using the NeL framework. During the last bankruptcy Goncalves also began to write a variety of tools for resurrecting the media and a replacement server (loosely termed Ryzom emulator.) This experience has proven his ability to work with the tool chain, understand and write network services for shards and demonstrates a deep understanding of workflow within NeL.

Backup Mentors

  • Jan Boon (Google Account: ) (IRC: Kaetemi)
    • Jan's activity on the project has been largely centered around updating and modernizing the Snowballs technology demo and working within the sound library. Jan has most recently contributed a new Xaudio2 driver for NeLSound.

Disappearing Students

The NeL organization administrators and mentors will do their best to maintain good contact and communication with the students assigned to our poject we realize that there may be students who are unable to perform the work they signed up for or become unavailable to do this work. To accommodate this we have chosen a variety of ideas that are important and drive the project forward in meaningful, valuable ways but are not crucial to the inner workings or infrastructure of the framework or project. The failure of a student to complete a task will not be harmful.

We will first do our best to mitigate the possibility of disappearing students by refining our selection criteria. It is important that we understand the motivations of the student, where their core interest lies, whether they have the time necessary to take on the tasks they desire and ultimately to ensure they have the necessary skills to succeed at the tasks that interest them. We will also provide structure for the students to collaborate and communicate their progress, challenges and needs. This will provide them with a way to get answers to questions, feel valued and for us to be able to track their progress and advise them where necessary. In addition to the collaboration tools available to us (e.g. forum, IRC) we will make use of our wiki as well as our bug tracker to maintain a task list and track progress. This will help us and the student be transparent and accountable.

If a student does disappear we will determine the nature of the code they were working on and whether it needs to be transitioned to a community member and then inform Google of the change in status for that student.

Disappearing Mentors

The pool of potential mentors we selected all have a deep understanding of the NeL framework and tool chain, none of them are specialists in a certain area and so have the capability to mentor on near all of the ideas listed. We intend to not have more than 2 students per mentor. If a situation arises that a mentor has to leave the project we will appropriately move the task to another mentor that has less active work on their plate and thus are better suited to the passive task of mentoring.

In addition to the potential mentioned above there are a handful of other individuals who will be willing to mentor if necessary whose skills are more focused and specialized within NeL. If they are relied upon they will be chosen based upon the ideas that the missing mentor was responsible for.

Encouraging Students Interaction Within The Community

The NeL community is very active in IRC and we will encourage potential students to join in, ask questions and get to know us better. We feel that it is important for person to know the community and to judge for themselves whether they're a good fit. We're more interested in long-term members of the community who enjoy the work and the project than getting easy one-off-tasks done - people are more important than the work.

Encouraging Students To Remain

The NeL community is a pretty close and friendly community. We won't hesitate to make students feel like part of the community and we hope that they enjoy their work with us. We're hoping that the work they do will encourage them to stay and work with the project to attain its long term goals or that as a result of working with the project they will join one of the many projects based on NeL and thus contribute indirectly to the project.