But is this a valid test of the open source concept?
Not unless it actually succeeds. As with many past attempts to grasp open source the way a quicksand victim grasps a vine, Myst open source is an act of desperation.
Second, Cyan Worlds is not really in a position to fund further development. It's trying to make the game work on iPods, which might bring in some bucks.
But the rest of the development work is being tossed over the side in the hopes a community will magically appear, catch it, and turn it into something.
Given some help this might actually happen. A general purpose game engine, under open source, might enable a host of new games to emerge. If gamers can be turned into programmers.
Unlike the situation 20 years ago I don't know if that is possible. My son is an avid gamer, but he has resisted my every effort to turn him toward programming. Just because you watch TV doesn't mean you're going to produce a TV show.
Of course, one kid does not a trend make. It is possible that a host of unemployed, game-fanatic programmers are going to ride to the rescue of Myst Online and turn it once again into a magical realm.
However this is not the way to bet.