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Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar Fig Coins and Keys Fri 25th Feb 2011 11:31am

Category: Business

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.

Fig Coins
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).

Earn without giving...
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 '', 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.

Buying Keys
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.

A thriving market!
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.

In conclusion...
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.


98 Commentson 56 roots

cipherfalcon`s Avatar
Rating Orb cipherfalcon 18 United States Melancholic 11C 7F
6 years ago | (1)
I'm just wondering, but does that mean that you can play the games on any computer without having to buy them again? And is there any other way besides paying via credit card/ debit card to buy the fig coins and donate, because my parents would probably not let me use thier credit card for anything I want online, unless they are ordering some thing for my birthday or school, and my dad would likely yell at me for asking.
Blitz`s Avatar
Rating Orb Blitz 14 United Kingdom MelancholicSanguine 31C 0F
6 years ago | (1)
Personally, I think this is a good idea. It would easily give you enough money to get by and encourage you to make games which everyone likes and still allow you to make the kind of games you want to make too. You would have a lot of control over the money flow and you should be able to regulate the site quite well.

I recommend you design a section of the site for other people to make games and make a profit from them (giving you a small share of the profit too). After someone makes a game and requests to put it on your site you would need to have a group of trusted individuals (the more the better) play and rate the game. The rating from these people should determine the cost of the game. This would encourage people to make extremely high quality games. Bear in mind that if you want this idea to flourish you will need to keep the prices low. If someone is displeased with their purchase they will be unlikely to trust you with their money again.

There should be two ways each game is rated:
1. Yourself and trusted individuals will have one place to rate the game.
2. The plebeians (aka normal people) who play the game will also be able to rate the game but they will be using a different rating system from the "trusted individuals so that when someone wishes to play a game they can see both your opinion and everyone else's opinion. (The plebeians should be paid a small amount for rating the game in order to encourage as much ratings as possible. Perhaps this amount should be a percentage of what the game cost when they bought it).

Both rating systems should have some affect on how much the game costs. You can tweak with this however much you want. I recommend you design a system where the more ratings from the plebeians, the more weight the plebeian rating has on the cost ( for instance, if only one plebeian has voted then the weight of the overall plebeian rating will be only 1% while the trusted individuals will have 99% of the voting weight. Each rating changes the cost of the game). You could also base the voting influence of each plebeian on how much said plebeian has contributed to the site (when you begin you have a low influence and as you contribute more and more (buy more games) your influence increases. Newgrounds does something similar with their rating system. This system would encourage people to contribute more so that they have more of a say.

I understand this will take a while to design but it is a nice idea and could earn you a bit of money too. I'm sure I have been far from making myself easy to understand but I have done my best and given you about half a plan of how to design the cost of each game. Don't worry about getting anything right on your first try, just update the game and the longer you keep the site the more you will come to grasps on how to tweak the system. Perhaps my system is too complicated.

Ok, now for the obvious. People will be trying to find new and more corrupt ways of earning money. The obvious option would be to create a million accounts and reap in money and give it all to their master account. The obvious solution would be to only allow one IP address per account. One way to make life much harder for people who wish to cheat the system is to make it impossible to give other people your "fig coins" for free. You will probably want to enact some sort of trading system where Fig hunters can sell their keys for fig coins. You can tweak this however you want. In the end you will need to do what you think is best.

I hope I helped by giving you a few half made ideas. What do you think? Would anything I have suggested work?
kiyotakimine`s Avatar
Rating Orb kiyotakimine 20 United States MelancholicCholeric 20C 0F
7 years ago | (1)
I like this idea it would be nice to see you make some money. I'm planing on saving a bucks for whenever the next Mardek chapter comes out, and maybe i'll check out Alora Fane or perhaps one of your other projects down the line like beast singer if you still have plans for that. Unfortunately i'm not too keen on paying for raider, but i wish you the best on all your projects.
Bepedos`s Avatar
Rating Orb Bepedos 19 France MelancholicPhlegmatic 25C 14F
7 years ago | (1)
Quick question, have you considered using micro-payments options like Allopass to sell your games ? I know a good part of the money paid by the buyer goes to them, but it could really increase the number of people buying your games, since a lot of potential customers are quite young and probably don't have credit cards. The amounts of money involved are adequate, and you could make purchasing your games this way a little more expensive to compensate for what they take.

And if you feel bad about exploiting teenagers, remember that some people charge 3€ for a lousy phone ring or 1€ for a randomly generated love advice ... while you really sell something. And you can always put limits on how much Allopass codes one can use per month.
jojolagger`s Avatar
Rating Orb jojolagger 13 SanguineMelancholic 24C 0F
7 years ago | (2)
Here's an idea. Have there be several ways to get figs.
Have "beg" give a random number of figs between 1 and 10, and only once per day. That's 5.5 on average each day, or about 2 weeks for 110 figs.
Have a bonus for a highly rated post (+1.5 or better after 10 ratings), say 10 figs, limited to once each week.
Have Game completion give figs, using the % complete and a "game factor". Make sure that If you beat the game again, you only gain the difference. For example, CBC might have a factor of 2, and then getting 80% would give 160 figs. If I beat it a second time and got 95%, I only gain 30 figs (190-160). You can only gain completion figs once per game. Longer games would have bigger Factors.
A vacation mode, where you can't gain the other ways, but gain 2 figs everyday. (for when you know you will lose internet access)
Have special in-game shops with special items and power-ups to be bought. Let people buy special powers and extra life an so on.
You could also let people spend figs to avoid infractions (Based on the infraction and how many the person has received) and make shorter posts. (1 fig per character to short).
With this set-up, People who don't want to pay are only delayed at most a week or so, and you can still make money.
generale`s Avatar
Rating Orb generale 15 United States MelancholicCholeric 5C 2F
7 years ago | (3)
Okay, so I'm pretty newish to the site, I don't exactly get on everyday, but most days I do. I love the games you produce but I will agree with some other people in saying that you don't have the necessary manpower to produce enough games to get anywhere near enough members to support you. I love the idea for coins on sites like this. But I rarely ever buy them. I would like to be able to have some sort of way that doesn't involve me buying them but still requires me to do something for them. Like Yahoo or something like that. That sort of thing would work out fine, it's worked for them for years to say the least. I love all these ideas, and I approve of you having an income through your games, just not in this extraordinary way...I love your games but I wouldn't love them nearly as much if I had to pay for them.
generale`s Avatar
Rating Orb generale 15 United States MelancholicCholeric 5C 2F
7 years ago | (1)
Sorry sorry, I didn't make this 100% clear. I meant I love your games, but I wouldn't love them as much if I had to pay to put them on something that I'm not going to spend a gigantic amount of time on...if that makes sense. And I agree with making the levels that people make needed to be bought with Fig coins, but if the level is bad, and everyone buys it then it's just going to be a waste and no one will want to buy anymore. Jut making it a bad idea. In my mind I say just make some of the levels, like by people that have proven they make good levels paid levels. That way many more people get a few more games to play. And the ones that are amazing have to be paid for. Like if you made a game then I would like to play a teaser (if you will) of that level, and then the people that have yet to prove themselves can get ranked higher and higher until people have to pay for their levels. But not the ones that they made before they got to that particular rank. If this all makes sense, if not, just disregard all this :P
Fireaxe87`s Avatar
Rating Orb Fireaxe87 16 Canada MelancholicPhlegmatic 37C 6F
7 years ago | (4)
Building on the FHO-Fig Coin idea, Perhaps "small" levels made by other people might be free for an hour or so, and possably medium+ might cost coins to buy. Also, levels made by Pseudo might fall in the medium+ section, if he so chooses to make levels in FHO. Obviously, a game made with higher qualities might cost more, and perhaps might cost a max of 100 coins for a 5 star game, or 25 coins for an old 1 star. Mainly because it's a sub-game, not a game on thier own, and they might just be chunks of a game, not very big. Perhaps everyone might be able to make 1 basic game for free, only able to use pre-set monsters and basic tiles, grass, and wall, or something. Someone who has paid or something could make thier own monster, given that they have your OK ( or a close follower), to prevent a mere slime to have 1000 exp and 1000 gold per kill. Of couse none of this is manditory, but they might be a good thing to look in to, or expand.
Jim Faindel`s Avatar
Rating Orb Jim Faindel 16 Mexico MelancholicCholeric 7C 2F
7 years ago | (9)
Hahaha, it is hilarious how you always start your posts with "This is only an idea, i would love to hear your opinions" And 2 hours laters you are saying: "I apreciate your opinions, but it is MY page and those are MY games, so iam gonna stick up with MY ideas and iam sorry if you dont agree".
I understand that you are not a robot that lives exclusively to develop games and that you need money, but making people pay for your games would probably take away a lot of players from your games. People ask you to give more figcoins for free, and you ask "How would that benefit me?" and you have all the right to say that, but you cant realy expect EVERYONE to pay, especially when, like some people already said, there are TONS of FREE games all over the internet. If we are here in this forum, is because we LOVE your games, because WE consider them special and we are thankfull for all the effort you've put into them. But if you want to realese them to get cash, there wouldnt be anything like that anymore. This wouldnt be a a game, it would be a 3 years long period of grinding on a beg-button to buy ONE chapter from the games we've been loving for so long. By selling your work like this, to the best buyer, you are becoming less of a developer and more of a prostitute. And we dont want that to happen! We respect you, and we dont want to see ending up like zinga.

At last it is YOUR choice, and YOUR work. But ME, and EVERYONE else here who love your games would really apreciate if you gave this a second tought, or made it more possible to people to actually play the game as it is, and perhaps using the coins to buy extra features, or enhacements, or mini-games or what do i know.

By the way, happy Birthday Pseudolonewolf, hope you had a good time celebrating, and thanks for reading our huge complaining comments.
Zaknafein`s Avatar
Rating Orb Zaknafein 16 United States CholericPhlegmatic 111C 41F
7 years ago | (2)
This sounds... interesting, to say the least. Now, I realize most of the positive and negative aspects of this system have already been explicated below, so I'll not discuss much of that. However, I have been wondering about the implementation of the Fig Coins system, and how one might earn coins without paying. Now, I know that many other members have suggested ways to earn coins without a monetary donation, and I realize that you have rejected most of those suggestions (if not all) on the grounds that such suggestions don't benefit you or the site in any way, which is true. So, I hope that you don't think I'm posting this just to weasel my way out of giving, because I honestly think that this suggestion could benefit the site. Whether you think so is, of course, another matter altogether, and I understand that this entire thing is still in the planning stages and any or all suggestions are subject to your preferences.

Anyway, what I would like to talk about is the (relatively) new feature of Reviews on this site. I understand that, when first implemented, you had hoped that members of this site could produce a somewhat large amount of quality reviews, in order to perhaps generate more views for this site as a whole and hopefully expand your base audience. I also understand that this hasn't exactly come to be. There haven't been many Reviews (ninety, total, not published, at this point, I believe), and I'm fairly certain that the general enthusiasm of this site's members for writing Reviews has been somewhat... subdued. Why? I believe it's because most members who could write a Review don't see any benefit in writing a review. There isn't enough of an incentive.

Now, here comes the nice idea of Fig Coins. Members can gain coins through "begging", or just paying their way. But, in order to remedy the lack of Reviews, could we perhaps allow those who write them to gain a small number of coins for their effort (ergo, 5-10, or maybe 10-20, depending on the quality?). Granted, I don't know how many people would be willing to write Reviews anyway even with such an incentive, and I don't know if you consider an important enough contribution to this site to warrant such a reward, but I think it's something to consider. Of course, I imagine that, if you decided to implement this at all, you wouldn't want a large number of low-quality reviews, so perhaps you could institute a graduated amount that rose according to the Quality Stamp, or even deduct coins if a person wrote a Review that was rejected (which really shouldn't happen if the person puts enough effort into it and isn't breaking some rule or somesuch).

Look, I don't know if you consider Reviews to be important whatsoever to this site. And I don't know if doing something like this would result in a substantial increase in the number and quality of Reviews submitted, by I think it's worth a shot. I understand it doesn't give you a direct monetary reward, but the reason you introduced the Review section in the first place was to generate more hype for this site, correct? Hopefully, with more and better Reviews, you'd have more customers coming in to read them, resulting in an indirect gain for you, which is what you wanted originally, methinks. The point of adding a "reward" of coins would be to simply increase the quantity of Reviews (and hopefully the quality, too).

I don't know if this would be worth adding to the site. I don't know if it would pay off. And I'll understand if you think it isn't worth the head ache, or that it simply won't generate enough new income to compensate for the lack of income caused by adding this. I just think it'd be worth a try, maybe, just maybe. And if nothing happens, and this whole system--Coins, Keys, and all--never comes to be, I won't be all that upset. Because it truly is just an idea, and you can do with it what you wish.
Green Reuben`s Avatar
Rating Orb Green Reuben 16 New Zealand CholericPhlegmatic 167C 2F
7 years ago | (2)
Coins for reviews is a good idea. Reviews seem to have already brung in new members and with some incentive to make reviews the site will have more content which will help in the early days of the new system when it is brung in.
This the only site I've seen that reviews online games (it would be good the see people reviewing commercial games).
Idk`s Avatar
Rating Orb Idk 16 Canada SanguineCholeric 12C 95F
7 years ago | (7)
Wow, this is quite a gamble. I'm pretty sure you've realized this already, but I'll point it out in case other people didn't. Most sites that offer a kind of currency are usually huge with tens of thousands of dedicated members. Here, you may have like 10000, and that's probably quite generous. You can't expect people who casually play your games to pay for premium material. Plus, it'll be annoying to buy something worth one dollar with a credit card. And it's not like your games are of very high quality compared to say Halo or World of Warcraft. I'm not saying you fail as a developer, but that you don't have the manpower to produce great games. Would I have paid to play Mardek? Hell no. And there are probably plenty of morons like me that will say the same thing. We're just too lazy or disinclined to pay for another Internet game. I understand that you need money. I understand that you're not getting an adequate paycheck. I understand that there are few alternatives. However, make sure you know what you're doing. I really wish for this thing to go well for you. I really do. Just be cautious with this. And do I support it? I wouldn't support it, nor would I condemn it. This project can really go either way.
Pseudolonewolf`s Avatar
Rating Orb A β Pseudolonewolf 23 United Kingdom MelancholicPhlegmatic 2257C 559F
7 years ago | (6)
Based on other feedback over the years, many people have a different view to you of what makes a 'great game'; it's not all about graphics and polish and swanky features. Some people would rather play Final Fantasy IV than Halo.
Many people have shown a willingness to pay for my games, and I try to make what I myself would want to pay for.
Also, I've seen other games on other sites of the same level as my own selling well enough to make a profit for the developer, and these games are often made by one person alone. I wouldn't be trying this idea if I hadn't seen it work before, or if nobody showed interest in buying what I make.
JoRiver`s Avatar
Rating Orb JoRiver 15 United States MelancholicPhlegmatic 19C 8F
7 years ago | (2)
I don't think the problem is that people do not want to pay for it. I mean, this is one of the first comments on "Clarence's Big Chance", a game which all things considered did not take too long to make (not nearly as long as Mardek 3): "This is the first game on Kong that I would gladly give money to. I would easily pay 30 bucks to get this on the DS, maybe more." Not to sound like a sycophant on this site or anything, but what do you think that person would have said if he saw Mardek 3, a game that easily takes 40 hours to play minimally (I have a save file at 80 hours and growing)? No, I do think people will pay for this, and even people who cannot pay for them (myself included) probably acknowledge they are worth paying for. I myself do not play console games - they do not catch my attention nearly as much.
The main problem, or concern rather, is whether this is the most profitable way to go about things, a concern I raised earlier, and I will not bug Pseudolonewolf by mentioning it again. Also, I read the argument of someone in the "Fig Hunter Games" forum, who brought up a rather significant concern with the business model (basically, how this would work in the long-term). But this seems to be just an idea for now, and we will have time as a community to check it out and see if it works, I hope.
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