It's my birthday today. I'm 23.
'How does it feel being 23?', you may ask. Well, for me personally, it's not a great feeling, since my youth is running out, and it's even more worrying that I've not yet got a solid way of surviving and earning money; my future's too foggy for my preference.
But enough about that!
I want to continue on from before about the 'Keys' concept, and payment for my games. I feel I should be refining the idea until I come up with something that works, and it'd be nice to start actually implementing it soon so then I can release Alora Fane in chapters which could be bought, rather than having to wait months to get it fully finished then sponsored.
A few months ago, I mentioned a 'fig coins' idea (I'd prefer to call them something more interesting though).
It seems that this idea of doing a site-specific currency isn't uncommon; I've seen it on a few of those sites that are fuelled by referral links, like games made by the people who did that MyBrute thing, Kongregate has 'Kreds', and doesn't the Wii shop use something like this? I'm not sure.
You'd have an amount of Fig Coins which you could spend on games, or give to other people, or what-have-you. You'd be able to buy them in bulk, fairly cheaply; say, $1 for 100 coins (I'll work out the exact figures when I need to, to make it balanced).
However, you could also earn them in other ways.
Each day, perhaps you'd be able to press a button somewhere on the site (I'd be tempted to call it 'Beg' or something), which would get you one fig coin. It'd only be usable once a day, however. This way, being a 'devoted' member would be enough to 'buy' games eventually.
I'd also want to use referral linking... This is the thing where you have a link like 'http://www.fighunter.com/?referrer=5352', which you try to get people on other sites to click. I know they're annoying... but they're also an effective advertising tool. Probably. As well as a satisfying aspect for the actual 'player'.
For every person referred to the site who then made an account, the referrer would get some coins; maybe 10, or 1, or even 100; again, I'd have to work out the exact numbers later.
I imagine you'd be able to give coins to other members for whatever reason you wished, so maybe this could cause people to do favours for eachother, or to give donations to people who they liked (like giving tips on Kongregate), or whatever? It could be interesting.
Now, the 'keys' that I mentioned before... These would be actual objects which you'd buy (rather than just a string of numbers or an invisible permission); you'd have a 'Keys' section on your account pages, and it'd show icons for each individual key you'd bought, each with their own design; an Alora Fane key might have a leaf-shaped head bit, a Raider key might look rather sci-fi in its design...
This way, people would be able to openly show off what they'd bought, and you'd be able to see how much of a supporter someone was (as well as their game preferences) by looking at their account page. This may have some psychological influence on some people, encouraging them to get keys...
The Keys would be bought with Fig Coins, and they'd vary in price.
I'd try to release every game that I made in short Chapters or Episodes or whatever, just so then I could get each one out quicker and so that people became hooked and kept checking back for the next part, y'know? I think it might be more exciting to get five Alora Fane chapters over the course of four months rather than having to wait six months to get the whole thing all in one go.
The prices would depend on how well I thought the game might do; how popular it'd be. Raider episodes, since I know they'd not be as appealing as my RPGs, might go for something like 100 or 200 coins, while chapters of more intriguing RPGs might go for 500 coins or even as high as 1000.
There may be other features that you could buy with the coins, too, though I'm not sure what; perhaps special account features, like new colour schemes or, uh... I'm not sure.
I'd like to have the music albums linked to the coins system, but I don't know if I *can*, since they're on that Bandcamp site which isn't linked to this one... Maybe I'll have to work something out.
Perhaps in the future I could even host Flash games not made by me on the site, using the same payment method? Hmm.
The point of this system is to encourage a thriving community and benefits even for people who can't pay.
If there's a new Key for sale for about 200 coins, then you could either pay like two dollars and have it instantly, with little fuss, or you could spend weeks scrounging about until you had enough. Obviously paying is infinitely easier, and is a direct gain for me, but I think that people will use the referral links and loiter about enough to contribute something anyway even if they don't actually pay directly.
I'm not sure how well this'd all work. It's just an idea... but it seems like an improvement over just getting people to pay with no other options.
Oh, also, FHO would mainly work on this currency. People could make adventures, and potentially charge money for people to play them (perhaps each adventure would have a key of its own to buy?), which would earn the adventure creator that amount of coins directly.
Designers would be able to offer their Adventures for free, of course, but if someone's spent weeks on one, he might ask for 50 or 100 coins or something if people want to play it, and, uh... Well, I'll have to plan this out in detail when the time comes.
Again, I'd be curious about what people think. While I do want to make money, I also want to have a system that is enjoyable. This is a games site, after all.