ChipIn model for the Construct Project.

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Post » Sat May 09, 2009 3:17 pm

I'm new to this forum but I have been using makers for quite some time and I'm really impressed by the amazing quality of Construct. I'm also a huge fan of open-source projects and as much as I wish to donate money to all of them, I have to spare to those I really like and help me in my life.

So, my suggestion is to improve the quality and rate of development of this project while allowing developers to earn some money by replacing the "donation" model for a "chipin" model of development. Here's how it could work: The bulk of the program continues being developed as always, but side features (such as Mac, Linux ports, and other extra) could be listed in a page with ChipIn ( http://www.chipin.com/ ) links and meters to gather funds for their development. The amount required for each side project could be discussed on forums and also their viability before setting up useless or less important side projects ChipIn meters.

The idea could be expanded to the main program later. I believe it's a neat way to keep everything Open Source while adding some incentive for people to help fund the project and other things.

Anyway, if you care to discuss this idea any further feel free to do it, that's why I posted it here. :D

PS: Btw, I'm really interested in a Linux port of this program, I would gladly pay for it under a "ChipIn" idea to be developed. My suggestion for a Linux port is to use OpenGL for graphics, KDE for GUI and Autopackage ( autopackage.org ) for content distribution.
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Post » Sat May 09, 2009 10:49 pm

that's an interesting model for funding
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Post » Sat May 09, 2009 11:08 pm

It's an interesting idea. It raises some questions in my mind though. How would we determine the "cost" of a feature like a Linux port? I guess we could estimate the hours work and the hourly wage, but what if we turn out to be way off the mark? Do we collect the total cost upfront or work as we get funds? What if we start work and donations dry up half way through, do we just give up on the work we've already done or what? What if we collect upfront but then run out of time because we're only spare-time developers and may have other commitments? Will we have angry users who donated but arent getting results as quickly as they wanted?

I can see things potentially getting ugly whichever way we organise this. It needs some careful thought. What do you think?
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Post » Sat May 09, 2009 11:21 pm

I have seen this model working with a very good success rate on content sites and project sites. On open source projects it's still not widely used, but those who use it, usually never touch "closed source" ideas again to fund their projects. If done right this can usually pay for every project cost, including the developers life budget eventually becoming their main source of money, however I would not count on it to be used to pay for Ferrari's. 8)

[quote="Ashley":ab2y89ln]It's an interesting idea. It raises some questions in my mind though. How would we determine the "cost" of a feature like a Linux port? I guess we could estimate the hours work and the hourly wage, but what if we turn out to be way off the mark? Do we collect the total cost upfront or work as we get funds? What if we start work and donations dry up half way through, do we just give up on the work we've already done or what? What if we collect upfront but then run out of time because we're only spare-time developers and may have other commitments? Will we have angry users who donated but arent getting results as quickly as they wanted?

I can see things potentially getting ugly whichever way we organise this. It needs some careful thought. What do you think?[/quote:ab2y89ln]

It really needs some careful thought. Which is why I said that you should discuss with the community which side projects would be worth paying for. It's also a good a idea to try to increase your user base by being active within the internet and open source circles, promoting in a respectful way your project.

You should start with something small and increasing the budget and time of each chipin overtime as you get the feeling of how your user base is reacting to it. Not defining a $1 million chipin on the first try nor something smaller than $500. Also it's up to you to create a policy of refunding a % of each contributor if a ChipIn project goes wrong, this might ease the bad feeling generated by a failed project.

EDIT: The project is Open Source so you don't need to deliver every advanced feature in a month. I'll give the example of a Linux port, it surely requires a great deal of planning and features to be implemented, so the first chipin would cover a "0.1" version of it, with it's short term and long term roadmap explained. You can launch 0.1 version of the port and release it as the chipin is nearing it's completion or choose to keep the progress open for everyone to see and perhaps let them help with the coding. There are many ways to do it, so it's pretty much up to you to find the best one.
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 1:16 am

i think the idea behind this is to see which features users find to be worth more or worth paying for though this IS the first time i've heard of chipin ...
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 1:50 am

How come these threads never start with " I just made a huge donation to the project, and I'd like to share a few things I'd like to see happen."?
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 9:30 am

We could just try it and see what happens. This could serve as motivation for the developers and third party devs.

If somebody is dedicated to make Construct X360 compatible, I'd donate 50 bucks upfront and 50 bucks when the job is done and the Construct binaries run on an X360. 100 bucks isn't a lot of dough, but we can increase that amount when (third party) devs actually get a reputation on doing a good job.

If 100 people do the same, a dev could make 10k USD on that feature. Not a lot of money, but it could be a motivational help.

It'd be cool if we could create a pot where everyone can donate and the guy who actually delivers gets the money - is that model possible using chipin?
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 1:15 pm

[quote="newt":1ezi93rn]How come these threads never start with " I just made a huge donation to the project, and I'd like to share a few things I'd like to see happen."?[/quote:1ezi93rn]

I'm not sure what "these threads" you're referring to, but I just found this project, I'm very excited about it but I really wish for a Linux port of it for it to be that much important to me. Like I said I only donate to projects that really help me in a way or another in my life. In time if the project grows on me I'll probably donate a few bucks from time to time.

However with the amount of open source programs I use daily, I have to be very careful with donations, and I really prefer when I direct my money towards something I really want or appreciate, hence the ChipIn model, which gives exactly that feeling to those who contribute.

[quote="thomasmahler":1ezi93rn]It'd be cool if we could create a pot where everyone can donate and the guy who actually delivers gets the money - is that model possible using chipin?[/quote:1ezi93rn]

It is, though it requires some level of quality administration. For the chipin model to be used as a replacement to a commercial model it must have a very good planning and sometimes touches the very same problems you can find within those. It usually requires a good understanding of your user base and what are their needs, what can be charged and what must be charged. My advice is to take the chipin model with the same seriousness as you would take a commercial one.
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 3:12 pm

FYI we're not rolling in donation cash; in the past it has covered things like upgrades to the UI library (which we have to pay for), hosting and the domain name, but we haven't personally pocketed any of it yet. It's nice to cover the project's own costs without us having to pay out of our personal pockets, though, and it's still a nice motivational booster when we do see a donation.

ChipIn probably won't be necessary for the near future - we need to finish the 1.0 Windows branch before we think about any other porting. It's an interesting idea but I think it would have to be dealt with extremely carefully. If done wrong, we could end up looking like a commercial venture or something just for financial benefit of the developers, rather than a public open project.
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Post » Sun May 10, 2009 6:18 pm

[quote="Ashley":o2tcv0lq]FYI we're not rolling in donation cash; in the past it has covered things like upgrades to the UI library (which we have to pay for), hosting and the domain name, but we haven't personally pocketed any of it yet. It's nice to cover the project's own costs without us having to pay out of our personal pockets, though, and it's still a nice motivational booster when we do see a donation.[/quote:o2tcv0lq]

If this statement was towards me, then I should say that it never crossed my mind the chance that you're rolling in donation cash. The principle of a chipin model is to promote incentive of what is lacking to a donation model. In other words, kinda like "Hey I get this really good idea that you might be interested, care to help? But if you don't, it may never be completed." when donations feel like "The project is doing fine but if you spare a change or two it might get better.".

[quote="Ashley":o2tcv0lq]ChipIn probably won't be necessary for the near future - we need to finish the 1.0 Windows branch before we think about any other porting. It's an interesting idea but I think it would have to be dealt with extremely carefully. If done wrong, we could end up looking like a commercial venture or something just for financial benefit of the developers, rather than a public open project.[/quote:o2tcv0lq]

Most likely not the near future, after all the project got this far without it. You may know that the open source community is filled with paradigms, I know that some or perhaps many might see a chipin model as some sort of treason to it's principles, the same people that will curse you if you ever decide to close the source for lack of time/money to invest in it. In my mind is like choosing the lesser evil. New ideas never lack criticism and protest, once they are in place the early critics often look back and say "Wow, that actually works!".

Selling extra services, asking for donations, doing merchandise works to some extent with larger projects, but not with smaller and medium projects, especially with those related to gaming. Open source gaming might need a new direction to be viable in the future and I believe a chipin model is a step in that direction.

I also think that this project would have a larger user base if it had a Linux port, seeing as how the open source community tends to lean towards it (Linux) for obvious reasons. I might be so bold to say that what the Linux needs right now is a good toolkit for quality games and this project shows a lot of potential towards being it.

Just consider it, discuss this idea with others, try to filter empty criticism and let the critical thinking take place as it should. A healthy discussion will not harm anyone.
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