Close-sourcing the HTML5 exporter

Discussion and feedback on Construct 2

Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:35 am

Deadeye, I was just thinking out aloud about charging for updates and I am surprised that you can not think of any, that do this sort of thing. Adobe suite? True it is not a game making software but essentially they charge you every year for roughly the same product. Add to that list MS office etc. But the main point I am making is this, we have to be pragmatic about this. Very successful open source projects such as Gimp, Blender, Open Office etc have scale on there side. Take Gimp for instance because a large amount of people wanted a free alternative to photoshop and a lot of those people were developers, there were always enough of them to improve the product. When some developers stopped contributing, there were others who would come along and fulfill their role.

Now the question this community needs to ask themselves is this...How many developers are there working on construct? One, Two or Three maybe? From what I have read about Ashley, he is a student about to graduate. I am sure that the main reason why he (along with the rest of the developers) wrote construct was to create an awesome 2D game maker, but I am also sure he did it so that he could show to potential employers "look what I have made give me a job". So when Ashley gets a job and works the insanely long hours developers have to put in, with the best will in the world, how much more do you think construct 2 is going to be developed? This is not even to mention the likelyhood of Ashley gaining more responsibilities over time, i.e. wife, kids etc. The Ashley of today I am sure will disagree with me, but the Ashley two or three years down the track (if we are lucky) will leave this project. So then the likelyhood is that construct will be a dormant project waiting for another developer with time on his hands looking to pick it up. This wait maybe a month, a week, a year or forever.

So my argument is this: Ashley (and the other developers) have proved themselves (in my eyes anyway) with all the free work they put into construct 0.X. If we can not find away to keep these developers working on this project, then unless there is someone else who will take it up then I can see the time when construct becomes dormant. So I hope we can find a way (one way or another) to keep this project going, because the size of this community proves that construct is one of (it not the best) 2D game maker out there and it would be a shame to let it die.
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:07 am

I don't really think it's down to the feature set of a pro version or having a start screen to avoid piracy, that would sadly happen anyway as soon as a price was put on something even if it was low cost. It could help avoid it a bit but that's just another problem software developers have to deal with these days.

Like i said earlier HTML5 and Javascript are free and easy to do code formats so with a exporter like that the price and options available could be a major factor. Anything up to $80 is reasonable in my opinion and i would probably pay up to that much if i thought it was worth it feature wise.

That would be my opinion though, these days many people think a game development app like GM for $25 or a top of the range iPad app for $2 is overpriced so i think the developers would have to try and find the right price point also.
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:15 am

I'm more in support of close sourcing the ide, watermarking the exports,
I don't think there should be "pro" closed sourced plugins. A stable more powerful construct could beceome saturated with amazing plugins if all other plugins are opensource as a form advanced documentation. Add-on development should be absolutely embraced and encouraged, with the same liscense as c1, where community made plugins can be distributed freely, or commercially without interference from scirra.
Also, programs that charge for advanced features always feel like ripoffs. Opening up a watermarked c2 as a new user, and being overwhelmed by all the available fx, behaviors, and objects is what'd make me reach for the wallet. Not struggling to extract fun out of a crippled version while staring longingly at screenshots.

About the exporter thing though, it should be navigated with care. The liscense should prohibit the creation of exporters to platforms already done by scirra, but I wouldn't underestimate the eagerness or ability of c2's future community to create exporters. It could be a huge draw. People would kill for the ability to export to android and iphone from a program as easy as construct. There will be many who want to create such things. Holding back the community from creating exporters could close off a huge potential userbase. I think there should be at least one opensource exporter to learn from, the freedom to create exporters free or with a charge, but also a a clear path to partnership. Meaning I go to download the exporter sdk, and on that same page I learn that there are profit sharing opportunities for exporters to the major platforms.

That way, when I consider making a free android exporter, I will consider the possibility of profit and
Instead of my own selling ability offsite, my android exporters could be sold in the construct store, scirra gets a share, but now instead of lucid's random android exporter, its owned and maintained by scirra, and can be included in deals like the c2 super mobile exporter pack

The very worst that can happen, is that scirra becomes the amazing tool notorious for having several free exporters to many different platforms, which means more copies of the main program sold.

.as. far as compiling parts of the source code as a form of piracy, I think there are much easier ways to steal software
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:39 pm

[quote="SwissCM":388yrlxi]Well this kills any enthusiasm I had for the project, so much for donating.[/quote:388yrlxi]
I should have mentioned: obviously if we went closed source and commercial we'd either refund everyone who donated or give them a free license worth more than their donation - we don't want to leave you out in the cold! We appreciate your generosity! There'd be an awkward couple of weeks of transition but it'd be necessary and I think we can do it fairly and without leaving anyone screwed over.

[quote:388yrlxi]HTML5 would have been the best option as the baseline exporter since the code it generates is pretty much open and relatively unobfuscated, which would allow a good codebase to work on to create new exporters.[/quote:388yrlxi]
Considering the javascript sources are incredibly difficult to protect since they're just plain-text files, it would probably only be the C++ sources to the DLL that got closed sourced.

[quote:388yrlxi]Of course the poll is just an empty gesture, I doubt the results of it would sway your opinion one way or another since once a project starts seriously considering going down a closed path it's basically a done deal.[/quote:388yrlxi]
We don't make decisions solely based on a forum poll but I put it there as a quick way to get overall feedback from everybody, so lurkers can put in their view without having to type out a full "I support this" or "I don't support this". It's still a really useful indication of whether or not a decision we want to make is popular: if it's overwhelmingly popular, we can go ahead, if it's incredibly unpopular, we know that if we go ahead anyway, we probably need to do something or change something to mitigate the unhappiness it could create. So no, we're not going to make this decision solely on a forum poll even if it goes against us, but it's still important information to take in to account.

[quote="redpicman":388yrlxi]...[/quote:388yrlxi]
I really hope I can always make time for the project and I have no intentions of ever leaving! But it is true that if we can come this far in our spare time, what could we do if we went full-time?

It would be amazing if we could go full time solely on donations, but we're simply not big enough to do that yet. It's obviously very kind of people to send money over off their own back, but in practice, the cold truth is this is not remotely enough to cover full-time work. It's a very, very long way from that. To demonstrate this, 0.x was about 250,000 lines of code, worked on for about three years by three people part-time, downloaded 275,000 times so far, and the donations have always been well below 100/month. Do a bit of math for the wages for three full-timers and you see it's not really making a dent on living cost. And if we went full-time, we can make Construct at least twice as good for everybody - I mean, C2 so far has still been a spare time project - think if it had a full time team behind it! Again, we appreciate the generosity of those who donate, but we're just looking at this in a real-world sense.

It's been really interesting reading everyone's views and nothing's set in stone so do let me know if you have more thoughts. I honestly don't have a clear pre-determined agenda that I'm following, I'm still trying to figure everything out, and what everyone is saying here is factoring in to that. The situation is just that it'd be best for everyone if we could go fulltime on this (personally it'd be my dream job! I do this all the time anyway), and the fact is, in order to do that, something is going to have to go closed source. We just can't figure out a good commercial business model if it's all open.
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:56 pm

[quote="lucid":1xftqbka]Also, programs that charge for advanced features always feel like ripoffs. Opening up a watermarked c2 as a new user, and being overwhelmed by all the available fx, behaviors, and objects is what'd make me reach for the wallet. Not struggling to extract fun out of a crippled version while staring longingly at screenshots.[/quote:1xftqbka]

I never meant that the feature restrictions on the free version should be crippling or restrictive. And I know I keep bringing up Unity as an example, but I don't think anyone who has ever used the free version of Unity would consider the paid version to be a ripoff.

As far as plugins go, I think something like shaders would be totally fair to reserve for the paid version. They're not necessary for game development, they're more like icing on the cake. Similarly you can't use real-time shadows or post-process effects in the free version of Unity. And you don't need to in order to make a good game, they're the same sort of icing on the cake. You can still use all of the core functionality without restriction.

As for restrictions on plugins, obviously you wouldn't need a touch plugin for mobile devices unless you've purchased the exporter for iPhone or Android. I suppose it would even be possible to provide a touch plugin with the free version so that you can develop your game, but restrict the exporter from building it if you don't have a mobile license. I'm not in any way suggesting that you shouldn't get certain common, every-day plugins or behaviors. The way GameMaker doesn't let you do simple sprite rotations in their free version is just plain ridiculous.

I'm working with a team right now and we're developing a game for the iPhone. They have Unity Pro and the iOS license necessary to build the iPhone app. But the game itself and the editor still run fine on my Windows machine even though I only have the free version. I can still edit the game, run the code, whatever... everything except build the app for deployment. That's not really all that restrictive.

As for the advanced effects or plugins there could always be a trial period on the "Pro" version so you can play with them to see what you're missing out on, which is something else Unity does.

I guess I'm just saying their business model is pretty smart, is all.
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:53 pm

I think it would be awesome for you guys to make money on Construct 2, and you deserve it, but please don't punish one demographic of game makers like Unity does.

Personally, I like Cockos' Reaper's pricing model. There's only one version of the software with one feature set. A full, commercial license is available for $225 USD, but a discount license is only $60. The discounted license requires that you either A. use it for only personal use, B. Use it commercially netting less than 20K, or C. Are an educational institution.
They also offer an uncrippled 30-day trial.

As a novice, If i want to make an album in Reaper and release it on itunes, it's totally possible. If it gets big, i pay for the big-boy license happily because I have big-boy money. Unity, on the other hand, requires the money before it comes in, but only if you're working toward a particular audience (?) So, if I want to release something with the same amount of effort, but a game instead of music this time, still on itunes.... i can't without spending 400 bucks? I'm fine with the existence of unity pro, some people would rather pay for assets than create them, that's fine, but the modular exporter is a catch 22 for a garage start-up because you can't even get the product out the door.

*i actually hate itunes with a passion. :)
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:11 pm

That's funny, just yesterday I read an article on Reaper's pricing model and I liked what they were doing. $225 isn't much for big business though - is that per user?
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:39 pm

As far as I know, it's per user. Unlimited installs on multiple machines (it's also portable), but only one user per license. License is provided in a keyfile which installs to the program directory, no messy drm or anything.

their purchase page will tell you a little more
http://reaper.fm/purchase.php

the numbers are different from first glance, but that's because they're in alpha for 4.0, so it's pricing for one less version upgrade ( you get two upgrades cycles per release ie. buy 2.58, get upgrades through 3.99)
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:22 pm

Unity lets you use it for free (not $60) and up to $100K in sales (not $20K). How is the license for that other software better than Unity?

[url:2i4ukkzs]http://unity3d.com/unity/licenses[/url:2i4ukkzs]
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Post » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:26 pm

Just want to point out there are other alternatives to selling a product.
Adds for example. Yeah I know boo / hiss, but let me ask this: Would you rather put up with a few adds, or pay for play?

Also what ever happened to that rts you were working on Ash?
I remember seeing a few screens, and thinking I cant wait to see what he comes up with.
Dude, be the dream, live the dream. :P
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