Seems to be taking a while to get CBC out, since email communication is fairly slow. I'm just waiting for another email from my sponsor - Kongregate - now which I should maybe get tomorrow, or soon at least, and after that I'll be able to release it. I'll announce here when I have.
The slowness of the sponsorship stuff is what leads me to writing this post... amongst other things.
I've been working on Alora Fane lately... really slowly. I was so eager to work on it before I began; I planned it all excitedly and in great detail, looking forward to the day that I'd be able to actually start programming it.
Once I did, though, it all went downhill because it turns out that some of my ideas for various technical things (like how to have the engine draw maps) worked better in theory than in practice...
I've done most of the basic engine stuff now, I think, but I've not actually started making any of the story events (I have *planned* them though). I wanted to do that after all the structure was laid out, which isn't my usual approach (usually I make the technical stuff as I go along with making plot events).
I should be able to start them soon though...
The plot is fairly long, it seems. I meant it to be short, but I also wanted it to be long enough to be satisfying... Like most of what I do, it's grown larger than it was meant to.
It'd be longer than MARDEK if I did it as planned. I've got all the story sorted out from beginning to end in event form, and amidst the events there'd be about fifteen dungeons. Fifteen! That's quite a lot...
I've divided the plot up into chapters, though not in the same sense as MARDEK's chapters. Some chapters would have one dungeon, others have four, some have none at all. So they're all of rather variable length, and mainly exist as a way of breaking the plot up into related chunks.
I intended to have all the chapters exist in the same game, like in Deliverance; they'd only really be formalities to remind you that your goals have changed, or something, rather than distinctly compartmentalised experiences.
However, I realise that it'll take me ages to actually finish them all and get the game 100% done... And my motivation to work on it has been poor enough lately, so I wonder if I could even handle it, see it through to completion? D:
SO. I thought to the 'premium membership' stuff I've mentioned before...
I really HATE going through the sponsorship stuff, and I don't really earn all that much money from it anyway. Not enough to live off, anyway; nothing like enough...
It'd be so much nicer if I could just finish a game then upload it here directly... That way, none of us would have to spend months waiting for other people to tell me it's okay to show it to you.
However, if I did just upload them when they were done, I'd also like to get money for them or else I'd not be able to do this full-time...
The premium membership thing that I mentioned described a monthly payment system; you'd pay once each month, or for several months in one go, and you'd be able to play all the full versions of all the games on the site until that time period ran out.
That's all good and fine for games that constantly have new content added to them, but for games that are released once and not changed after that (except for fixes), it isn't really fair.
So instead, I wondered whether I could make it so that you'd pay to sort of... *activate* a game for your account, or something?
Let's call them 'Keys'.
Say for example I released Alora Fane a chapter at a time (if I did this, I'd reduce the number of chapters by combining some, so that each one would be long enough to be worth buying), I'd charge a small amount (say, a dollar or two, maybe) to buy a 'Key' for that chapter, which would be linked to your account... You'd get a special snazzy icon for that 'Key' on your userpage or something, and from that point on, you'd be able to play that chapter at any time (assuming you were logged in with that account).
I suppose it'd also make sense to allow people to pay for all the chapters' 'Keys' at once, at a discount.
For example, it could work like this:
- First, I'd release Chapter 1, which would be short and it'd introduce you to the settings and the gameplay. Either I'd charge a small amount for a 'Key' to it - $2, say - or I'd make this one free so then people know what to expect from the others.
- A few weeks later, I'd release Chapter 2, and charge $2 (or whatever) for its 'Key'. If you went to the page where you'd play chapter 2, or got that far after playing chapter 1, and didn't have a Key for it, you'd be told that the game and page were locked to you.
- Later, I'd release chapter 3 and you'd need to pay for that separately too... and so on, up to maybe chapter 5 or 6 or however many I decided to do.
- Or perhaps you could pay a one-time fee of around $10 or $7.50 or something to buy Keys for all the chapters... though if they'd not all been released yet, this would have to be a move made out of trust. Unless I only made the discounted 'buy them all' options available once they'd all been released... HMM.
(Or had a 'buy all currently released chapters' offer which changed every time I released a new one?)
I'd also do this when releasing Raider and Deliverance chapters, as well as other games.
I hope I'm making it clear what I actually have in mind...
Unfortunately I wouldn't allow you to download the games, because that way piracy lies, and I really do need to make money to survive. So you'd need to be online to play them (though not necessarily connected once you'd opened the game's page in a tab)... But that shouldn't be too much of an issue in this day and age.
I'd really love to be able to do this, because it means I don't have to deal with 'middle men' and can release games as soon as they're done, and I only have to worry about editing the versions on my own site (since they wouldn't be released elsewhere).
I'd be able to react better to user feedback too, probably, since the games would be less 'set in stone'.
But what I need to know is whether people would be willing to pay for this kind of thing. If enough people would, then I might do it... It would certainly be much easier to manage my projects and I think I'd get a whole lot more released this way.
But if people are unwilling to pay, then SIGH, I might have to just go down the sponsorship route and we'll all have to wait months after a game's finished before it's publicly playable...
If I've not been clear about what I've been trying to describe, I'll try to answer any questions to clarify things.