18 February 2007

Opioid2D alpha 3

I've just uploaded the alpha 3 release of the Opioid2D framework. You can see the list of changes here. And download the release from the below links:

The usual disclaimer about the framework's alpha status still applies. There are some big internal changes underway. I would especially appreciate feedback from Linux and MacOSX users, as I haven't been able to test the latest release under those platforms yet.

14 February 2007

Opioid2D New URL

I'm currently in the process of creating all new pages for my projects and migrating to a new server and domain. The new home of the Opioid2D project TRAC will be at http://trac.opioid-interactive.com/opi2d/, and the Subversion repository can be found at svn://svn.opioid-interactive.com/shang/opi2d/trunk.

A new release is also much overdue, so I'm trying to get the official alpha3 out within a week.

02 February 2007

Alternatives to the Demo/Full Game Model

A common way to sell shareware games is to offer a demo version that is feature-limited and often time-limited as well. The most extreme cases let you play the game for 30 minutes before locking the demo and preventing further evaluation. As a consumer, these time limitations really bug me, and it often feels like I don't have enough time to make an informed decision about the longevity of the game. Now that I'm going to be selling games myself, I'll have to decide a strategy that is lenient enough that my consumer self would find it appealing, but at the same time aggressive enough to create sales. This leaves time-limitations right out. My personal distaste for them is too great to include those in my own games even if it'd guarantee more sales (and I'm not so certain that it would).

What I'd really like to do is to offer a compelling and functional game for free. Something that doesn't have any obvious or crippling limitations and that can be enjoyed as a complete (albeit simple) game. So instead of a trial version and full version, I'd like to think of my games having a basic version and a premium version. I.e. the basic version would be a complete game in its own right, but by paying for the premium version, you would get an extended game experience (for example, more maps, more game modes, maybe a basic game that is single player only and a premium version that has multi-player support).

I guess the risk from the business side of things would be that if the basic version is "too good", most people won't be willing to pay money for the premium, but I would like to believe that the opposite could be true. That if a gamer gets a really fun game for free, he would be more likely to spend a little cash to expand that experience.

This is certainly not a new and radical idea (for example, if I remember correctly, the original Doom used a model like this). It just seems to me that lately many small independent developers opt for the heavily restricted demo versions that, at least for me, lessen the interest for that particular game instead of making me more likely to pay.