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Thread: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

  1. #21
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Rejigged the "What's best for my game" and such. One of the things I've been thinking about is the issue of framing your sales or how the sale of your game gets framed by customers.

    By this, I mean it's important to attach not just products but sometimes ideas or causes to what you're selling. With Indie Game Bundle, it wasn't just a valuable sale with games as the product, there was a cause attached for Linux and Mac buyers (outside of charity). By buying the game, they were buying into a cause - more games to be made for Mac and Linux which lead to higher donations amongst Linux and Mac users, leading to a disproportionately large amount of revenue from them. Much of the discussion around Humble Indie Bundle wasn't just how good the deal was, but by buying this would create better chances for more and better Linux games to come.

    In this sense, it's just as important through marketing and other means to make it clear they're not just buying an end product, but supporting something. From the development as already discussed here, but also larger goals like more and better games for Linux. This has sometimes lead people to being happy about being treated like a second class customer (most Linux ports that come years later and are more expensive than the Windows counter part by that point), as they're not just buying an end product.

    Make it clear that they're buying into supporting your development, not just a shiny end product. Do everything to make them feel a part of the project, and not just a number on a financial sheet. Do what free software does best: Make people feel involved, informed and like they're having a positive impact.

    As always, more feedback and ideas welcome.

  2. #22
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    I've been kicking around a business model for an open source game, for a while; it goes something like this:

    A webcomic (graphic novel, what ev..) with advertisements and possible small-run printing, based on preorders or otherwise obvious demand. One purpose of the comic aside from stand-alone entertainment, is to illustrate game mechanics using a natural flow of events. (explaining how the game works, while staying "in character"..) Potential developers should be able to read between the lines.. or see the forest through the trees.. or whatever.

    The persistent (online/multiplayer) world has a free (trial?) mode, but requires payment for full access. Trial mode simply allows you to control an animal, but not a person. (no ability to gather inventory, limited overall playing options, only one available player slot, etc..) Payment is monthly or annual, with the typical discount (1+ months "free") for annual payments.

    I would only do a micro-payment store if I could keep prices .. uhh, well.. micro. Anyone who has experienced the typical micropayment feature, today.. knows that it's basically the payment model with the biggest potential for a rip-off.

    Another idea I have is a persistent online world that is free to download and play. The only thing you can pay for is land, so everything is based on the price of your virtual real estate.

    Episodic (offline/single-player) games would be free. They would be provided for three reasons; practice for developers; development of overall story/setting; relevant training before accessing the persistent version of the game world. Y'know like Final Fantasy Online would not have worked if they didn't have such a long track record of popular single-player games to back it all up.

    Whichever variation on this idea I went with, I'd probably stick a donation link upon anything that was offered for free.. just in case. Code would be open source, but with possible limitations on reusing graphics, proper nouns from the existing games, etc.. (probably a dual license, similar to Planeshift)

    Alternatively, I think some sort of a distribution/prototyping platform would be helpful for FOSS games. If we all had a de facto platform to use, where a scripting language drove the game logic, it'd be easier to market a ton of games at once.. the strong ones would naturally survive, because the numbers would speak for themselves. Imagine client software for multiple platforms, allowed to communicate with a single lobby server. Whether you're on Linux, Windows, OSX or even your PS3, you are offered the same list of games.

    This is similar to Graal Online's software model.. a fluctuating list of games built using a provided scripting language. The difference would be allowing people to run their own servers.. and keeping the code in the hands of the volunteers and not some greedy business.

    How about we get the Gnome foundation to build a gaming platform like that? Modules can be provided to cobble together whatever kind of game you want.. and it can just use Lua, Python, etc, so forth.. then if you like a game enough to donate, Gnome handles the donations.

    rockin thread
    Last edited by djinnkeeper; June 4th, 2010 at 09:54 PM. Reason: typo

  3. #23
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    That got me thinking. I was thinking another thing that could be done for people who don't have a subscription with Avaneya is to allow them to roam the online multiplayer world for free, but as an observer or non-participant only.

  4. #24
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    It'll be awesome. Graal comes to mind again. I can recall them having a guest feature, but you were a ghost/spectre/what ev.. Not only were you restricted from doing anything (other than floating about) ..but the players couldn't even see you.

    When Station.com went back to a pay-to-play model for their Infantry and Cosmic Rift titles, they offered guest accounts, where you could log in and play, but could not retain experience points (so you couldn't advance to better classes, etc) and could not name yourself.. you were simply ~Guest01 (and so on) Also, you'd be kicked automatically if a paying customer needed your slot. I remember reading a lot of whining.

    ..but mostly, I think the guest access thing is a great plan when properly tailored to the game. One of the things I had in mind was that you could invite a friend(s) to play as your pet or familiar.. maybe allowing them some bonus guest features. (because of their referral/invitation style introduction to the game)
    Last edited by djinnkeeper; June 5th, 2010 at 04:13 PM.

  5. #25
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    well, an ubuntu cd distributed with every motherboard box in the world would be nice just to spread the os to start. and a copy of game debs distributed in every motherboard as well.

    I wonder how much this would cost but I bet manufacturers would not mind the additional peny it takes to spend just to put one or 2 of these cd's.

  6. #26
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Long time no post, so revival time!

    Quote Originally Posted by djinnkeeper View Post
    I've been kicking around a business model for an open source game, for a while; it goes something like this:

    A webcomic (graphic novel, what ev..) with advertisements and possible small-run printing, based on preorders or otherwise obvious demand. One purpose of the comic aside from stand-alone entertainment, is to illustrate game mechanics using a natural flow of events. (explaining how the game works, while staying "in character"..) Potential developers should be able to read between the lines.. or see the forest through the trees.. or whatever.

    The persistent (online/multiplayer) world has a free (trial?) mode, but requires payment for full access. Trial mode simply allows you to control an animal, but not a person. (no ability to gather inventory, limited overall playing options, only one available player slot, etc..) Payment is monthly or annual, with the typical discount (1+ months "free") for annual payments.

    I would only do a micro-payment store if I could keep prices .. uhh, well.. micro. Anyone who has experienced the typical micropayment feature, today.. knows that it's basically the payment model with the biggest potential for a rip-off.

    Another idea I have is a persistent online world that is free to download and play. The only thing you can pay for is land, so everything is based on the price of your virtual real estate.

    Episodic (offline/single-player) games would be free. They would be provided for three reasons; practice for developers; development of overall story/setting; relevant training before accessing the persistent version of the game world. Y'know like Final Fantasy Online would not have worked if they didn't have such a long track record of popular single-player games to back it all up.

    Whichever variation on this idea I went with, I'd probably stick a donation link upon anything that was offered for free.. just in case. Code would be open source, but with possible limitations on reusing graphics, proper nouns from the existing games, etc.. (probably a dual license, similar to Planeshift)

    Alternatively, I think some sort of a distribution/prototyping platform would be helpful for FOSS games. If we all had a de facto platform to use, where a scripting language drove the game logic, it'd be easier to market a ton of games at once.. the strong ones would naturally survive, because the numbers would speak for themselves. Imagine client software for multiple platforms, allowed to communicate with a single lobby server. Whether you're on Linux, Windows, OSX or even your PS3, you are offered the same list of games.

    This is similar to Graal Online's software model.. a fluctuating list of games built using a provided scripting language. The difference would be allowing people to run their own servers.. and keeping the code in the hands of the volunteers and not some greedy business.

    How about we get the Gnome foundation to build a gaming platform like that? Modules can be provided to cobble together whatever kind of game you want.. and it can just use Lua, Python, etc, so forth.. then if you like a game enough to donate, Gnome handles the donations.

    rockin thread
    I like the idea of using a comic to illustrate certain aspects of the game to teach people how to play. That'd be something very useful and far more interesting than a plain manual or perhaps even tutorial, and could include all sorts of tips for people to improve themselves at the game. In a military focused FPS for example you could follow troops going through a sticky situation, and they bring up and use various things that were possible in game to get out of it.

    Episodic games that tie into a larger one also sounds interesting. In terms of developer experience, I think it'd be useful to also explore different genres, which could then be built on when moving into other completely new games/series. You could explore background stories through different perspectives and means that way too.

    I'm not so sure on the free trial thing...it seems too arbitrary. Should always be focused on providing *reasons* to buy, and not simply setting up walls everywhere and locking people out in those kind of ways.

    In regards to a Steam-a-like, I think the biggest problem with things previous attempts at Steam-like software for Linux is that they forgot the most important part: Actually having some kind of decent store front and other features like backup and in-game messaging. It'd be great to see something like Tux Games to turn into a more complete service, and not like a rather basic and very old looking store front. Even just a visual make over would make it so much more usable.

    That got me thinking. I was thinking another thing that could be done for people who don't have a subscription with Avaneya is to allow them to roam the online multiplayer world for free, but as an observer or non-participant only.
    That seems like a pretty cool idea. Another way of doing this would be a live stream on the web site, maybe with an attached live chat/irc. New players and people not part of the game would get a good idea of how it works. It'd be cool to see what impact it'd have on strategies of players as they observe and take in other ways to play the game and formulate their own as they're watching and discussing them. Perhaps one stream for noob players without subscription, and another for subscribers where they can discuss tactics and watch more advanced games in peace?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cresho View Post
    well, an ubuntu cd distributed with every motherboard box in the world would be nice just to spread the os to start. and a copy of game debs distributed in every motherboard as well.

    I wonder how much this would cost but I bet manufacturers would not mind the additional peny it takes to spend just to put one or 2 of these cd's.
    Luckily for you, Canonical has plans for installing Ubuntu along side Windows on devices like netbooks via Ubuntu Light.
    Last edited by Modplanman; July 18th, 2010 at 05:50 PM.

  7. #27
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Long time no post, so revival time!
    That seems like a pretty cool idea. Another way of doing this would be a live stream on the web site, maybe with an attached live chat/irc. New players and people not part of the game would get a good idea of how it works. It'd be cool to see what impact it'd have on strategies of players as they observe and take in other ways to play the game and formulate their own as they're watching and discussing them. Perhaps one stream for noob players without subscription, and another for subscribers where they can discuss tactics and watch more advanced games in peace?

    Yup. Maybe a live Theora stream on the web of an active city in Avaneya. Great idea.

  8. #28
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    I've updated the OP with a further resources section - any central places to get free software compatible assets (textures, models and the like) please suggest for their inclusion. I also added 2 particular new means of getting funding.

    The first is Kickstarter, a way to make a public proposal and set a funding goal. In doing so, normal people like you (but maybe not me) can pledge money to the project. If it reaches its funding goal, money will be paid and obligations will have to be met. If the funding goal isn't reach, no money changes hands and everything is back at square one. The free software, distributed social network project Diaspora already has used this service successfully.

    The other is flattr, which allows people to flattr things in a similar way to "like" or digg widgets. In doing so, assuming you have set up an account, money that people put into flattr monthly will be shared out equally amongst the projects they've "flattr'd". Several FOSS projects are already using it, to some success it seems (http://flattr.com/category/software/day/open-source).

    There's also links to the Ryzom (MMORPG) assets freed by the FSF and an open resource of motion captured animations in an open format.

    I highly recommend reading the "Against Intellectual Monopoly" book too. It's awesome and a great way to understand copyright and patents, their history and business models throughout time that are without need of them.
    Last edited by Modplanman; August 11th, 2010 at 06:35 PM.

  9. #29
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Can't believe you are not linking to opengameart.org (see links in my sig)

    Thanks for mentioning our dev forum though

  10. #30
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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by J.K.Makowka View Post
    Can't believe you are not linking to opengameart.org (see links in my sig)

    Thanks for mentioning our dev forum though

    Added to the OP, I remember checking it out a while ago but had forgotten about it. Definitely a great resource that deserves attention .

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