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Thread: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by mastablasta View Post
    So basically selling the service not the software?! While the software would be free for everyone to modify it the way they want and as it feets their needs.
    For the most part, though there are other things. Branded merchandise like discussed above, spin off (physical) media like comics if the game has a consistent story, special edition versions which come with various bonuses, convenience items, etc. Other options may even be crowd funding. Hopefully this thread can bring a wide range of ideas and explore them.

    A musician by the name of Jill Sobule for example was able to create a successful way to do crowd funding:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/200...32015685.shtml

    She even had the idea of letting people in to the process by selling tickets to see her record the album (with different tiers based on your personal interest):

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/201...14258829.shtml

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    Smile Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Currently, I'm thinking this would be media like screenshots and videos of in development stuff that would be posted to a subscriber only place or subscribers would be notified earlier (they would be allowed to be passed around and posted elsewhere, but subscribers would get the first opportunity to see it). Perhaps subscribers would get access to readily installable weekly builds of the game, again that would be freely distributable, something along those lines anyway. I think it'd be about having first opportunity, rather than exclusive opportunity.
    That is an idea that I have been flirting with, but I don't think that that will be the major source of project sustainability alone.

    Though I'm still wandering myself about the sustainability of this in regards to certain developers and members of the community who may be dedicated enough to provide these things on their own for everyone else, but it may still be nice as an assured thing on the subscriber side.
    Definitely. It's nice to know that people are taking interest in the project as well.

    The order and location these servers would be added may be based on subscriber location, so subscribers who may be unable to get decent lag free servers at their location with the current crop of community and even "official" servers would be assured that their area/country would be put on a priority list to deploy new servers.
    I'd like to keep all of the servers synchronized, as in all part of the same Martian planetary game world. But localization of the gateway servers might be useful. I think Starcraft did that.

    Maybe periodical release of DVD's and/or thumb drives could be sent out to subscribers - they would carry all game content up to now as a backup convenience and could be branded, perhaps even with game manual and/or tricks and tips guide.
    I think some Avaneya bling is a possibility. We're already discussing releasing the soundtrack in redbook format later. But periodical releases of DVDs / thumbdrives is an option for people who have a slow connection. Given the size of the cinematic and other game media, it makes sense to have that option.

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by kiplingw View Post
    That is an idea that I have been flirting with, but I don't think that that will be the major source of project sustainability alone.
    True, but I think the best offering will most likely be a mix 'n' match of various things. Rather than perhaps trying to think of one big idea or offering, bundle lots of smaller ones as part of a whole package (in this case the subscription, but could be applied to other areas)

    I think some Avaneya bling is a possibility. We're already discussing releasing the soundtrack in redbook format later. But periodical releases of DVDs / thumbdrives is an option for people who have a slow connection. Given the size of the cinematic and other game media, it makes sense to have that option.
    Ha, bling made me think of gold Aveneya themed chains and the like. But yeah, stuff like the soundtrack is a great idea. There's a big market out there for things like videogame t-shirts and posters/paintings and all sorts too.

    Though this may introduce an issue of how much you give with the subscription and how often if you decide to make some of these goodies part of that. It'd be a good idea I think to have them be able to be bought on their own without a subscription, but depending on how much the cost is to both the player and obviously to you some of these things would be provided automatically.

    Perhaps it'd be a good idea to have a tiered system. People who just want decent/good servers, fund development and the first access to update/content information would pay x price a month. People who are more into it could choose the option for regular send out of up to date CD/thumb drive version (say every 4 - 6 months) and the soundtrack or something comparable would pay + $5 a month, scaling up to the highest tier with CD/Thumb drive sent out, various artwork and so on.

    Taking that even further: There may indeed still be crossover. People on the lowest tier may indeed still occasionally or as a one off want to buy the CD version, or the soundtrack, or the gangsta chain, so perhaps an incentive for all subscribers regardless of tier would get a discount on the items as they're sold through the store. A gangsta chain that cost $15 for example would come down to $10/12 for subscribers and similar with other items.

    Suffice to say there seems to be a fair few options in making money just in this discussion for subscription alone Perhaps the assumption that FOSS games can't make money won't survive much longer.

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    Smile Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Hey modplanman. Sorry for taking so long to reply. I've been busy trying to get these design documents done.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    True, but I think the best offering will most likely be a mix 'n' match of various things. Rather than perhaps trying to think of one big idea or offering, bundle lots of smaller ones as part of a whole package (in this case the subscription, but could be applied to other areas)
    You're right. Other than membership subscriptions to play online, other things can be beneficial too.


    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Ha, bling made me think of gold Aveneya themed chains and the like. But yeah, stuff like the soundtrack is a great idea. There's a big market out there for things like videogame t-shirts and posters/paintings and all sorts too.
    The soundtrack you can read a bit about here. The best music we are likely going to release on at least redbook separately.

    Artwork would definitely be cool too. T-shirts, maybe too. Though the only t-shirt I ever got from a website was one of these. And even that was a gift from the owner of the site. I think I still have it somewhere.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Though this may introduce an issue of how much you give with the subscription and how often if you decide to make some of these goodies part of that. It'd be a good idea I think to have them be able to be bought on their own without a subscription, but depending on how much the cost is to both the player and obviously to you some of these things would be provided automatically.
    Definitely. Is there is a web store, people will be able to buy other things without having to get a membership. However, it would be nice if buying some things, like the redbook soundtrack, came with a month free subscription as a bonus.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Perhaps it'd be a good idea to have a tiered system. People who just want decent/good servers, fund development and the first access to update/content information would pay x price a month. People who are more into it could choose the option for regular send out of up to date CD/thumb drive version (say every 4 - 6 months) and the soundtrack or something comparable would pay + $5 a month, scaling up to the highest tier with CD/Thumb drive sent out, various artwork and so on.

    Taking that even further: There may indeed still be crossover. People on the lowest tier may indeed still occasionally or as a one off want to buy the CD version, or the soundtrack, or the gangsta chain, so perhaps an incentive for all subscribers regardless of tier would get a discount on the items as they're sold through the store. A gangsta chain that cost $15 for example would come down to $10/12 for subscribers and similar with other items.
    The ladder system gets complicated and I don't know if my brain can handle that. I'll give it some thought though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Suffice to say there seems to be a fair few options in making money just in this discussion for subscription alone Perhaps the assumption that FOSS games can't make money won't survive much longer.
    That's a goal.

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    The soundtrack you can read a bit about here. The best music we are likely going to release on at least redbook separately.
    Wow, that's some talent you have there. Wouldn't be surprised if you could become a millionaire from selling the music alone

    Artwork would definitely be cool too. T-shirts, maybe too. Though the only t-shirt I ever got from a website was one of these. And even that was a gift from the owner of the site. I think I still have it somewhere.
    Haha, probably true that T-shirts may be a little more limited than artwork related things would be. Check out the Valve store and see some of the stuff they stock and see if it gives you any ideas, both for t-shirts and other things (in case you're wandering, Valve are the makers of various games like Half-Life series, Team Fortress 2, Portal amongst others).

    http://store.valvesoftware.com/

    Definitely. Is there is a web store, people will be able to buy other things without having to get a membership. However, it would be nice if buying some things, like the redbook soundtrack, came with a month free subscription as a bonus.
    That's a good idea, hadn't thought of that. Perhaps it'd be worth it to experiment for a while to begin with and see what works best either way, like whether subscribers getting discounts produces more store purchases vs how many store buyers become long term subscribers. Though I was just thinking that maybe the 2 would work well together, like 2 sides of the same coin. Non-subscribers get an extra reason to buy related items and get a chance of getting hooked on the subscription service, whilst subscribers feel they're being treated well and become a little more receptive to buying some of these extras, though maybe that'd be verging on giving too much away.

    The ladder system gets complicated and I don't know if my brain can handle that. I'll give it some thought though.
    Perhaps I made the example too complex. It'd probably be better to stick with a few, well defined options. As is always the case more may be added over time depending on player demand and such, but initially it could be simply be a 3 or even just 2 tier system. First would get the usual service + news/info access for $15 a month as an example, and the second option would be paying $20 a month or so that would get them the fairly regular send out of preloaded CD/USB drive and whatever else makes sense as part of that.

    An example to illustrate this may be Nine Inch Nails, even if they don't use a subscription model. Instead of simply selling their recent albums like normal, they give them away for free but provide other options that give people a reason to buy. They provide about 5 different options for their Ghosts album, one of which was limited in production so has since sold out.

    http://ghosts.nin.com/main/order_options

    The main difference here would be the recurring nature of a subscription. This is obviously covered by the fact you're providing an ongoing service, but if you were to do higher tiers, every few months or once a year if artwork was part of the subscription, then a new piece of artwork or artwork book would have be sent out.

    It might be useful to think of the store as an experimental area. As items are added, based on sales/demand and feedback you get from selling them in the store an item may eventually make its way as either part of one of the already existing tiers, or made part of a 3rd or even 4th (though may be best to cap it and stop spiralling into too many options).

    For example, people who feel the price of say, a poster is too little on its own to justify buying it (but indeed still think it's a cool item) could be made part of tier 2. In essence, as the store grows so too would various data and feedback on items, giving you a better idea of what might make sense to make part of the subscription, as part of what tier or even as part of a new one and so on.

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    Smile Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Wow, that's some talent you have there. Wouldn't be surprised if you could become a millionaire from selling the music alone
    Hey Modplanman. Thanks for writing again. Actually, I've reasoned that the proceeds from the sales of the soundtrack will go to the musicians, after the cost of getting the discs stamped and such. I'd like to see them rewarded, even though some are just volunteering their time and music.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Haha, probably true that T-shirts may be a little more limited than artwork related things would be. Check out the Valve store and see some of the stuff they stock and see if it gives you any ideas, both for t-shirts and other things (in case you're wandering, Valve are the makers of various games like Half-Life series, Team Fortress 2, Portal amongst others).
    I remember Valve well. I loved the original Half-Life and the sequel was quite good too. Depressing, although I'm not one to throw stones, given the project.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    That's a good idea, hadn't thought of that. Perhaps it'd be worth it to experiment for a while to begin with and see what works best either way, like whether subscribers getting discounts produces more store purchases vs how many store buyers become long term subscribers. Though I was just thinking that maybe the 2 would work well together, like 2 sides of the same coin. Non-subscribers get an extra reason to buy related items and get a chance of getting hooked on the subscription service, whilst subscribers feel they're being treated well and become a little more receptive to buying some of these extras, though maybe that'd be verging on giving too much away.
    Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Perhaps I made the example too complex. It'd probably be better to stick with a few, well defined options. As is always the case more may be added over time depending on player demand and such, but initially it could be simply be a 3 or even just 2 tier system. First would get the usual service + news/info access for $15 a month as an example, and the second option would be paying $20 a month or so that would get them the fairly regular send out of preloaded CD/USB drive and whatever else makes sense as part of that.
    I'd rather not send out USB keys every month because that is a lot of garbage produced. That is probably the greatest asset the package manager has in my mind that no one ever talks about. This really got me thinking about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    An example to illustrate this may be Nine Inch Nails, even if they don't use a subscription model. Instead of simply selling their recent albums like normal, they give them away for free but provide other options that give people a reason to buy. They provide about 5 different options for their Ghosts album, one of which was limited in production so has since sold out.

    http://ghosts.nin.com/main/order_options
    It's funny you should mention Trent's work. He's been a major inspiration and I love that album. We're actually considering using part of it in the game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    The main difference here would be the recurring nature of a subscription. This is obviously covered by the fact you're providing an ongoing service, but if you were to do higher tiers, every few months or once a year if artwork was part of the subscription, then a new piece of artwork or artwork book would have be sent out.
    I was considering releasing a hard copy of a book containing sketches, concept art work, schematics, and so on of behind the scenes as in the making of Avaneya. But that is a long way away and assumes that people even enjoyed the game in the first place. Time will tell, my friend.

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by kiplingw View Post
    I'd rather not send out USB keys every month because that is a lot of garbage produced. That is probably the greatest asset the package manager has in my mind that no one ever talks about. This really got me thinking about that.
    I see what you mean. I certainly agree it'd be worth at the very least limiting how many you send out in any given period. It might be better instead of monthly or so updated USB/CD's to go with a more fuller yearly reward for the subscribers, which would contain a little more and would be a nice goal for subscribers to have.

    I was considering releasing a hard copy of a book containing sketches, concept art work, schematics, and so on of behind the scenes as in the making of Avaneya. But that is a long way away and assumes that people even enjoyed the game in the first place. Time will tell, my friend.
    Of course, but it's always good to have a pipeline of ideas behind you regardless, so you're never left thinking "'k...now what?".

    I was thinking about ways to make it clearer to prospective subscribers that they're funding the development itself directly, and not just paying for an end result. Would it be possible have a system where development progress of major updates is tracked, and put along side a total of cost to produce?

    Think the Wikipedia "We need $200,000 by Wednesday!" with the bar underneath to show total raised, plus something like the system that the developers of Star Wars: Imperial Winter has (though maybe not so specific and complex):

    http://www.imperialwinter.com/?sec=progress

    I think it'd really help drive home the point and does so in a way that would be effective and quick way to do so, though I wander if it might be a bit redundant with ongoing subscriptions. It wouldn't be done to the extreme "Gives us money now!" that it might normally be phrased, but serve as a good reminder of how the game partially depends upon that.

    As a side note, the recent news of Humble Indie Bundle games going open source indicates good things for commercial FOSS projects as a whole. Not only was the response overwhelmingly positive from everyone, including people who had already paid, but people are continuing to contribute. It's also nice to have the code so various other projects can also benefit.

    ---------

    I'm thinking of ways to improve the OP. If there's any thing specific that people get confused on, bad phrasing or simply more ideas to add, feel free to suggest anything. Will also add some data and info for Humble Indie bundle, and see what else I can dig up.

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    Smile Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    I see what you mean. I certainly agree it'd be worth at the very least limiting how many you send out in any given period. It might be better instead of monthly or so updated USB/CD's to go with a more fuller yearly reward for the subscribers, which would contain a little more and would be a nice goal for subscribers to have.
    Yup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Of course, but it's always good to have a pipeline of ideas behind you regardless, so you're never left thinking "'k...now what?".
    Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    I was thinking about ways to make it clearer to prospective subscribers that they're funding the development itself directly, and not just paying for an end result. Would it be possible have a system where development progress of major updates is tracked, and put along side a total of cost to produce?
    That's a good idea. I'll think about that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    Think the Wikipedia "We need $200,000 by Wednesday!" with the bar underneath to show total raised, plus something like the system that the developers of Star Wars: Imperial Winter has (though maybe not so specific and complex):
    Yeah, I've seen such things before on other sites and I think that's a good idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by Modplanman View Post
    I'm thinking of ways to improve the OP. If there's any thing specific that people get confused on, bad phrasing or simply more ideas to add, feel free to suggest anything. Will also add some data and info for Humble Indie bundle, and see what else I can dig up.
    I'm thinking you've done a pretty good job so far. If anything comes to mind, I'll let you know.

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    I've updated the OP with a crowd funding section, and some more clarifacation on the Humble Indie Bundle in the PAMAYW section.

    I've also added a "What's best for my game" section, which both helps to clarify when you should use a particular model, and a nice way to further explain the motivation and reasoning behind making the article/thread.

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    Re: Ideas to Fund & Promote FOSS games

    Very nice. Reading it now.

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