The Spring engine is inspired by the game "Total Annihilation" (TA) by Cavedog Entertainment. TA, released in 1997 is the best RTS ("Real Time Strategy") game "of all time" according to Gamespy.
The original TA engine was very advanced but still had some hard limits. Cavedog went bankrupt some years after it released TA. Before it went under it had released TA:Kingdoms but despite it had a more advanced engine it did not get very popular. So the community kept using the original TA engine.
Atari the current owner of the TA franchise, showed little intention to make a sequel. And Chris Tailor the lead developer of the original TA game was hard at work with his new company "Gas Powered Games" to make the "Dungeon Siege" games.
After some years of private development within the SY Stefan and the others decided to release Spring under the GPL. I was not around but I do understand that this was difficult choice as Spring represented a lot of work.
With this the Spring Project managed to attract attention from people that would otherwise not be interested. David Anderson was one of them, he started the multi platform port of Spring. Which now after a difficult start will replace the existing Windows only branch. Stefan Johansson was hired by Massive Entertainment and therefore stopped active Spring engine development. Still he is around and keeps XTA up to date.
- "Latest info about TA 2 & TA sequels + a little history of TA :" entry in the tauniverse.com forum