Pay for maps

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Pay for maps

Rolf Larsson
The tripleaengine is opensource, it can not be charged or used for commerical interests. Maps, however, are not. So I just want to start the discussion of introducing pay for maps.

The system should be both, like it currently is, allowing maps to be there for free, as well as those beeing charged. Existing maps should not be affected.

How it could work: Certain essential parts of a map could be loaded from a/the server, like xml, polygontextfile etc.. Those parts would be not available/stored offline, or only in some kind of demoversion, containing only limited stuff, which would be overwritten, when a Useraccount is identified as having purchased a map. PBEM/PBF? no clue, but this requires to be online at some point, too.

Range: I thought about 5-15/20$, while a fixed percentage like 20-40% goes to triplea donation directly and is beeing used to pay maintaince costs/ reward coders. Those who contributed earlier could be included somehow.

Compared to a place where you can play a single buggy map only, for, I donĀ“t know how much they want for it...

Pro:
- Maps of outstanding quality, beeing improved and maintained until they are perfect.
- Those who contribute would be slightly rewarded, would be still more contributaion and commitment, than it pays back.
- All maintaince costs could be paid (Server, websites, advertisements, etc. ).
- Logins/accounts would be fix, means less droppers and bad people among those pay players. Banning etc. would not result in just a new name, but be a severe punishment for those who massively violated lobby rules.

Contra:
- Engine changes are needed, some security aspects need to be considered.
- Management is needed, someone who is responsible for the money and how it is distributed, someone who handles those lists of players/accounts for maps.
- PayPal accounts are needed, and amazon gets richer even more.


What do you think about it?


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Re: Pay for maps

Veqryn
Administrator
There are a lot of things to consider for this.

A couple things immediately pop into my head:


1. If we start charging for maps, or for anything actually, would that change TripleA's culture for the worse?
In other words, if people start thinking that they 'deserve' to be paid such and such for contributing, because they see one or more other people getting paid something, will this stop them from contributing for free like they would have before?

I could actually see a situation where the amount of contributions of time and effort (coding, map making, etc) and normal donations, both go down, as people start assuming that they deserve some money before they contribute, or that triplea doesn't need donations because we 'make money'.



2. I have spent 3 years contributing to TripleA, and my # of hours spent purely on coding and other things vastly exceeds whatever any map makers have spent on their projects.  If someone just throws together a map, what right do they have to profit from it when behind the scenes it was actually me doing 99% of the work?
I would honestly say the only people who deserve any "map" related donations or money made, are Sieg (and maybe him sharing a little with EB) for his great maps (namely NWO), and you & hepster (for TWW).  This is because you guys are the only ones to spend so much time on the balancing and testing, and the continuous improvement of the map over time.
But obviously there are some other map makers who, while not being as committed as above, are still around and still balancing their maps.  How would we even decide about their compensation, if any?  Would they feel slighted that some new map is making money, while NWO is included with TripleA so therefore makes no money, or that I don't think map "xxxxx" shouldn't be on the pay-for list, etc etc.



3. What happens if we have a pay-for system for some maps, and then either the map maker leaves or disappears, or feels that his map isn't making enough money and decides to "take his toys and go home".  Does the map disappear too?  Are we forced to "de-list" the map?  Do people have to keep paying money to the end of time to use the map, even if the map becomes several years old?
I do not think that map makers should have that much control over their map, that they have the right to have it de-listed or removed from the world, etc.  Maps are open source, and the second you publish something on this forum or in our databases, it is open source too, like it or not.  
I also feel that people who pay for stuff should only have to do so in cases where they are really getting something out of it.  I don't think anyone should have to pay for something a year old, or in cases where the map maker is no longer actively contributing or maintaining the map (but had originally been, and had gotten it on the pay-for list or w/e).  



4. Will this ruin our culture of modding?  EB and many others could never have made their mods of NWO if Sieg had the map on the pay-for list.  
And if that happened, then NWO never would have gone from a "mediocre map with potential", to the "world class map" that it is today.



5. When would people have to pay for maps?  If someone pays to play TWW 2.5.5, will he have to pay again for TWW 2.6 or TWW 3.0 ?  If someone gives a large donation to TripleA, will they be forced to pay for maps too?



6. At the end of the day, there is no way to stop people from simply making a copy of TWW and playing for free.  Whatever solution is chosen, it must acknowledge this fact and not create a culture of 'breaking the rules' by being so harsh that people choose to break the rules and simply go around the system.  Worst case: someone forks the TripleA code and changes the name to QuadrupleA and then sets himself up as a competitor to TripleA (and offers TWW for free).  



IF we were to actually do something like this, it could possible look like the following:

1. The whole pay-for system would be controlled by the TripleA project admins (ie: me, sgb, bung) and a few trusted people who are major contributors.  Approval to be on the pay-for list has to go through this group.

2. All map source files would need to be held within one of TripleA repositories (ie: tripleamaps.sf.net)

3. All maps and their source files continue to be open source.

4. All maps continue to be downloadable for free, thereby allowing people to play for free.

5. The pay-for system allows certain players the ability to play maps before other people, on the online lobby.  For example: TWW 3.0 is released.  Anyone can download it and play it single-player or PBEM, but only certain people can play it on the online lobby for the next 1 month.  After that period, anyone can play it on the online lobby.

6. People can continue to mod the map, but the mods give money to the original creators unless the original creators decide they will allow the the mod maker to receive some portion.

7. The pay-for system has a membership list that allows people to only have to pay for a map once per year or something, and have access to new versions of that map for that entire duration.  This means that you won't be paying twice for 2.5.5 and 3.0.  Instead you will only pay once, and have access to all TWW releases for the next 12 months or something.

8. I think a range of $5 - $20 is acceptable depending on the map.  I think it should be split into thirds: 33% goes as compensation to the map maker, another 33% goes as compensation for the engine developers, and the last 33% goes to a fund for future work/costs for triplea.  That future work/costs fund would support things such as bung's actual costs to run the lobby server, or having to pay for someone to do PHP coding to fix the dice server, etc etc.  



I think the key thing is that no matter someone pays or not, both will be able to play and use the maps after a certain date as if they had payed.  Any other system and you risk people trying to go around it and hack our server or copy the map and find ways to play with their friends without being caught, etc.

Please contribute to the TripleA 2013 donation drive:
http://tripleadev.1671093.n2.nabble.com/2013-TripleA-Donation-Drive-tp7583455.html
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Re: Pay for maps

Rolf Larsson
Sure, there are a hell of a lot of things to consider.
Veqryn wrote
There are a lot of things to consider for this.

A couple things immediately pop into my head:


1. If we start charging for maps, or for anything actually, would that change TripleA's culture for the worse?
In other words, if people start thinking that they 'deserve' to be paid such and such for contributing, because they see one or more other people getting paid something, will this stop them from contributing for free like they would have before?

I could actually see a situation where the amount of contributions of time and effort (coding, map making, etc) and normal donations, both go down, as people start assuming that they deserve some money before they contribute, or that triplea doesn't need donations because we 'make money'.
I think this should be fully transparent for everyone, so everyone can see: Sever costs are not fully paid,
Mr. Veqryn was only able to make a big pizza party from his reward.  Could be even more attractive to see: XY was paid 50$ for contributing a patch...

Veqryn wrote
2. I have spent 3 years contributing to TripleA, and my # of hours spent purely on coding and other things vastly exceeds whatever any map makers have spent on their projects.  If someone just throws together a map, what right do they have to profit from it when behind the scenes it was actually me doing 99% of the work?
I would honestly say the only people who deserve any "map" related donations or money made, are Sieg (and maybe him sharing a little with EB) for his great maps (namely NWO), and you & hepster (for TWW).  This is because you guys are the only ones to spend so much time on the balancing and testing, and the continuous improvement of the map over time.
But obviously there are some other map makers who, while not being as committed as above, are still around and still balancing their maps.  How would we even decide about their compensation, if any?  Would they feel slighted that some new map is making money, while NWO is included with TripleA so therefore makes no money, or that I don't think map "xxxxx" shouldn't be on the pay-for list, etc etc.
If this is going to happen, there has to be a starting point. What is there already is free. Mapmaker XY spent about 50 more hours on the next version of his map and wants it to be added...something like this.

Veqryn wrote
3. What happens if we have a pay-for system for some maps, and then either the map maker leaves or disappears, or feels that his map isn't making enough money and decides to "take his toys and go home".  Does the map disappear too?  Are we forced to "de-list" the map?  Do people have to keep paying money to the end of time to use the map, even if the map becomes several years old?
I do not think that map makers should have that much control over their map, that they have the right to have it de-listed or removed from the world, etc.  Maps are open source, and the second you publish something on this forum or in our databases, it is open source too, like it or not.  
I also feel that people who pay for stuff should only have to do so in cases where they are really getting something out of it.  I don't think anyone should have to pay for something a year old, or in cases where the map maker is no longer actively contributing or maintaining the map (but had originally been, and had gotten it on the pay-for list or w/e).  
I think it should not matter how old or how long a map is been in the payforlist, as long as people purchase it, but it can be set for a given amount of time, why not. If one is no longer supporting his map, it will be quickly known among players resulting in 0 new purchases, comments are possible, too. It can be made free after some time. The commitee of responsibles is going to decide, stops money for paying server costs, too, of course. A mapmaker should not have the right to remove his map, it should become free tripleaproperty if no longer supported or decided somehow, allowing to keep it in the payforlist to benefit coders and triplea maybe.
 
Veqryn wrote
4. Will this ruin our culture of modding?  EB and many others could never have made their mods of NWO if Sieg had the map on the pay-for list.  
And if that happened, then NWO never would have gone from a "mediocre map with potential", to the "world class map" that it is today.
Modding will be a difficult situation, has to happen somehow in corporation with the mapmaker himself, if no more xmls or saves are available to mod.

Veqryn wrote
5. When would people have to pay for maps?  If someone pays to play TWW 2.5.5, will he have to pay again for TWW 2.6 or TWW 3.0 ?  If someone gives a large donation to TripleA, will they be forced to pay for maps too?
Single time for all versions imo, but given the fact that some maps, if good enough, are played for years, 12 months seems fine if we talk about 5-20$.
Just 2 systems, single purchase per map, or purchase all at once, if donation is high enough, free access to all payformaps.

Veqryn wrote
6. At the end of the day, there is no way to stop people from simply making a copy of TWW and playing for free.  Whatever solution is chosen, it must acknowledge this fact and not create a culture of 'breaking the rules' by being so harsh that people choose to break the rules and simply go around the system.  Worst case: someone forks the TripleA code and changes the name to QuadrupleA and then sets himself up as a competitor to TripleA (and offers TWW for free).  
Yes there have to be a lot of coding and security handling, if someone is skilled enough to work around, he is very welcomed, because such a person will be an excellent coder and be rewarded for beeing on the right side.

Veqryn wrote
IF we were to actually do something like this, it could possible look like the following:

1. The whole pay-for system would be controlled by the TripleA project admins (ie: me, sgb, bung) and a few trusted people who are major contributors.  Approval to be on the pay-for list has to go through this group.
Absolutely, someone has to be in charge, but money, even such ridicules amounts we are talking about, can cancel friendships and make people nuts, so fully transparence is a must imo.

Veqryn wrote
2. All map source files would need to be held within one of TripleA repositories (ie: tripleamaps.sf.net)
Would vote for another location, private server, or something.

Veqryn wrote
3. All maps and their source files continue to be open source.
All those which are already there I would say. Starting point for paymaps. Has to be figured out how those new ones will be treated.

Veqryn wrote
4. All maps continue to be downloadable for free, thereby allowing people to play for free.
Those existing ones I would say. For the new paymaps, there should be some kind of demo, containing limited stuff, beeing playable only 3 rounds or something, depending on how it is realized and should work.

Veqryn wrote
5. The pay-for system allows certain players the ability to play maps before other people, on the online lobby.  For example: TWW 3.0 is released.  Anyone can download it and play it single-player or PBEM, but only certain people can play it on the online lobby for the next 1 month.  After that period, anyone can play it on the online lobby.
Useless, take it or leave it, if a demoversion is available, anyone can check it out and decide to buy or not, or wait 3-5years(whatever the timeperiod is) to play for free.

Veqryn wrote
6. People can continue to mod the map, but the mods give money to the original creators unless the original creators decide they will allow the the mod maker to receive some portion.
Difficult, has to be a corporation somehow I think.

Veqryn wrote
7. The pay-for system has a membership list that allows people to only have to pay for a map once per year or something, and have access to new versions of that map for that entire duration.  This means that you won't be paying twice for 2.5.5 and 3.0.  Instead you will only pay once, and have access to all TWW releases for the next 12 months or something.
I thought about: once purchased, all next versions are free for you forever, but 12 months sounds ok, too. Given the fact that some people play maps for years. Server maintainance etc.

Veqryn wrote
8. I think a range of $5 - $20 is acceptable depending on the map.  I think it should be split into thirds: 33% goes as compensation to the map maker, another 33% goes as compensation for the engine developers, and the last 33% goes to a fund for future work/costs for triplea.  That future work/costs fund would support things such as bung's actual costs to run the lobby server, or having to pay for someone to do PHP coding to fix the dice server, etc etc.  
The reason I suggested something like 20-30% only is the fact that it is adding. Let it be 30% and you have for example 10 paymaps, each is 10$ and each purchased 10 times. Simple math, no need to present the result, but sure, it has to be parted fairly and in best interests for triplea.

Veqryn wrote
I think the key thing is that no matter someone pays or not, both will be able to play and use the maps after a certain date as if they had payed.  Any other system and you risk people trying to go around it and hack our server or copy the map and find ways to play with their friends without being caught, etc.
Again, if someone is so skilled, he just has to contribute a patch from time to time and be able get free access as a coder or be rewarded enough to buy for himself and his friends, but it is a sport for some people. Let it be a few years, you still have to buy A&A classic, it is not for free after so many years, maybe not the best example.

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Re: Pay for maps

VictorInThePacific
In reply to this post by Rolf Larsson
Here's a suggestion: voluntary donations.

Example. Some people here might be familiar with "The Guild". (If you're not, you might want to check it out.) As I understand it, they just went ahead and did it, and got quite a ways just by self-financing. Then they ran out of money, and they asked for donations. They got so much, and also sponsorships, that they made several more seasons, and may well still be going. BTW, this alone tells you something about the quality.

I'm not going to put any serious thought into this particular thread, but it seems to me that, whatever you want to try, it will probably be a big headache for the site administrators.
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Re: Pay for maps

Zim Xero
IMO, you need to find an alternative to TripleA for making money... perhaps a splinter site.  To convert an opensource project into a micropay bazaar is asking for trouble and detracts from the original intent of our community site.
'thats the way it is' makes it neither desireable nor inevitable
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Re: Pay for maps

Veqryn
Administrator
In reply to this post by Rolf Larsson
I have no way of coding a "demo" game system.  Actually I have no real way of coding anything listed in this thread.

I think the "early access" way would prevent people from cheating, more so than actually "selling" the game would.

Whatever we do, if anything, is probably a long way off.

So in the mean time, I think TWW should just run a small donation drive (just for TWW), and continue maintaining and updating and releasing TWW for free as normal.

I'm sure you'd get some donations from your hard-core enthusiasts.
Please contribute to the TripleA 2013 donation drive:
http://tripleadev.1671093.n2.nabble.com/2013-TripleA-Donation-Drive-tp7583455.html
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Re: Pay for maps

captaincrunch
I was basically hoping to own an eventual boxed disc of the game like every other main stream game has and then buy that. If I owned a cool game people liked I'd let it be downloaded for free and have just about everything for free and then ask for donations but also have a boxed cd and a cd lining booklet with additional info and artwork or whatever for it and also maybe it has some bonus maps only available with the purchased boxed cd. Most games these days have purchased "VIP" bonuses like not having to wait in a server line or maybe a colorful name or banner or maybe only VIP can play VIP purchased maps etc ...

At some point it would be good to somehow generate income for your game but I agree with Veqryn that you should be very carefull and tactical about anything you decide to start charging a fee for.
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Re: Pay for maps

Rolf Larsson
The idea was not about making money nor was it about changing triplea into anything, it was an idea to cover the maintainance costs as well as allowing very committed people here to, lets say, get a new piece of hardware, a new version of Photoshop or some pizza, for their commitment. If only the time should be rewarded, maps would be about 100$(50$ for Veqryn). If money should be made about 150$+.
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Re: Pay for maps

rajwarrior
In reply to this post by Rolf Larsson
From my understanding, Triplea open source license doesn't prevent you from charging a fee for game (or maps, etc), however, for any  items created the code and offered to others, you have to include both the original source code as well as the modified source code.  If that is correct, then there is really nothing in the way of someone purchasing a map, and rebundling into a free download, if they so desired.

But that's not even the real issue, which is is charging for a map a good idea?  I fully understand the time it takes for a coder to make a really good map and/or game, balance it, tweak it from time to time and make it compatible to the engine whenever there are major changes there.  BUT, when you considering charging for something you have to stop looking at how much time YOU'VE spent creating it and put on your marketing hat and find out if anyone would be willing to pay for it (let's forget about the fact that it could still be freely given away by others for a moment).

As free open source, people are grateful for the time you've invested.  When you start charging for a game, people expect it to be perfect.  Nobody cares anymore how much time it took you to create and manage it.  Can you manage the positive or negative reactions?  What do you do when someone wants a refund because it's not working as intended or as they thought it would?  How often will their updates come and when do they end, if ever (Microsoft doesn't give free versions of Office out when they upgrade)

That's just the tip of the iceberg from the coder's side of a paid map/game.  When you offer something up for a fee, you become a business, with all the business headaches.

The other side of the coin is would anyone buy it, or more properly, would enough people be willing to buy it to make it worth the hassle?  I'm sure that there are differing views on this, but I would be hesitant to pay for a game from an individual that may or may not continue to support the project.  However, I would not hesitate to give a donation to the same individual if I played their awesome map to show my appreciation for their work.

If mapmakers feel that their work is up to par and want some money for their time and effort, I say that adding a donation drive to map downloads would be the way to handle it.  When compared to offering a pay for maps options, I think that you'd find that the developer would make more money and the users would be happier.

My thoughts, for what they're worth.
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Re: Pay for maps

Edwin van der Wal
I agree,

a donation drive for appreciation for a map already created.. or a donation drive to motivate someone to create a map is the way to go (kickstarter like)

So create a "Show your appreciation for TWW, proceeds will go to the mapcreators and the enginecreators that made TWW possible [Pay here]"

or:

"Kickstart us to make the Ultimate Starwars boardgame, 20% will go the the engine creators to create feature x,y and z into the engine, 40% will go the the gfx people to create the skins and units and 40% will go the the map creator -- Target $200 to fund this project, 300$ will give you an extra skin and 400$ will have custom notifications and a PDF. 0-10$ donation you become a donator with name in the notes for $20 you can name a unit for $50 your name is engraved in the map as a VIP donator"


As for the OSS argument, maps doesn't have to be Open Source (just like images you can open with gimp aren't open source)... of course Maps released on triplamaps.sf.net are open source :) -- though personally I feel all maps should be released OSS as respect for the OSS engine devs.