UOX3 stands for Ultima Offline eXperiment 3, and can basically be described as an Ultima Online server-emulator. It allows anyone and everyone to run their own private Ultima Online shard (either offline or online) which they may then connect to using either the official UO Client or a custom one.
Nothing! UOX3 is free for everyone. It's also in most cases free to play on any UO servers set up using UOX3 - that is the moral code MOST users of UOX3 follow. Not to mention that charging people money for playing on your shard is illegal and will almost certainly bring Electronic Art's legal-team down on you.
Yes. UOX3 is Open-Source. Anyone can download, modify & re-distribute it at will, as long as they follow the terms of the GNU General Public License AND the specific addition for UOX3 saying:
"In addition to that license, if you are running this program or modified versions of it on a public system you HAVE TO make the complete source of the version used by you available or provide people with a location to download it."
UOX was the first incarnation of the UO Server emulator, and was created by a fellow nicknamed Jaegermeister. It was short-lived, however, and Cironian aka Marcus Rating rewrote it and released it as UOX2.
Later on he rewrote UOX2 completely and released UOX3 - which he eventually also open-sourced - which is still the same version we're using now, though quite a lot has changed since then, and a lot of people have contributed to what we're using right now.
Running an UOX3 shard, developing the UOX3 code, distributing the UOX3 program - all that is perfectly legal. There are some more complicated issues however, when it comes to client-files distribution (custom maps, specific versions of client.exe, etc). I suggest you read up on the following document, written by Knox: legality.txt (Note that this should not be considered as legal advice!)
If you need any help with UOX3, you have several options:
- You can peruse the UOX3 Documentation and help files (also available in your UOX3/Docs folder).
- You can post your problem on the UOX3 forums, or simply look up the solutions to similar problems.
- You can come visit us in our IRC channel and talk with users and developers of UOX3 directly.
- You can check out Xuri's UOX3 Guide, which contains information on how to use many of the features available in UOX3.
So you think you have what it takes to create your own server emulator for <insert favourite MMO>? In that case, I'll forward you to an excellent guide, called "Introduction to Server Side Emulation", by Corillian. It takes you briefly through the history of MMO server emulation, and gives you some insight into how exactly the process of creating a program like UOX3 takes place.