P.U.R.E. has gone Commercial.

P.U.R.E. has gone Commercial.

WolfeGames and projects headed by Argh.

Moderators: Moderators, Content Developer

Locked
User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

P.U.R.E. has gone Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 00:42

ImageImage

As of today, May 15th, P.U.R.E. is now available to the public as a commercial game. We'll be doing various PR / sales things to get the business side of things going over the next couple of days, so I will probably be very busy and not really around.

There will be a free Demo, which includes some single-player missions, Space Chickens and working multiplayer.

What we're basically going to do is to continue to issue updates as quickly as possible, adding new content, until we're roughly on a par with a low-end AAA title. This is a risky strategy, but we have a lot of manuevering room, and hopefully we'll slowly build an audience as the game continues to evolve and become more and more polished.
Last edited by Argh on 15 May 2009, 23:05, edited 2 times in total.
0 x

==Troy==
Posts: 376
Joined: 29 Oct 2008, 15:55

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by ==Troy== » 25 Apr 2009, 00:49

Goodluck with it. Do not forget to make all of the sources availabe to public. If game gets popular, watch out for the piracy, which is in this case couldnt be simpler.

Personally, if someone will ask me to bet, I would bet that this will fail, unless you spend twice the money you will earn on advertising (Garry Garison or Robert Hainlain used to say "ads can make you buy cat shit and feel happy about it", not implying that PURE is that bad though)
0 x

User avatar
SwiftSpear
Classic Community Lead
Posts: 7287
Joined: 12 Aug 2005, 09:29

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by SwiftSpear » 25 Apr 2009, 01:17

==Troy== wrote:Goodluck with it. Do not forget to make all of the sources availabe to public. If game gets popular, watch out for the piracy, which is in this case couldnt be simpler.

Personally, if someone will ask me to bet, I would bet that this will fail, unless you spend twice the money you will earn on advertising (Garry Garison or Robert Hainlain used to say "ads can make you buy cat shit and feel happy about it", not implying that PURE is that bad though)
His dev costs were only his free time, so he can't fail, every sale is profit.
0 x

User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 01:27

I think we'll do OK, with very low sales for an indie game on a major distribution platform... and we aren't done talking to Steam yet, that may happen as well. Nobody is going to get rich, though, unless something extraordinary happens. And we're under no illusions about that.

Here are a few links you folks might find interesting, though:

http://www.gamedaily.com/games/pure-/pc/game-main/list/
http://news.bigdownload.com/tag/wolfe-games/
http://www.gamershell.com/download_43430.shtml
http://www.moddb.com/games/pure/downloads - note, that's just RC6 alone, the downloads get reset when you take stuff down, so the total's more like 20K or so for the last year and a half

Except for GameDaily, most of that's the past two months. What's been going on, outside this fishbowl, is a lot different than people here have been aware of. I chose not to reveal that, because frankly I didn't see the point, it would have just made the usual nonsense worse, and I was already sick and tired of it.

I also suspect that when Stardock announces the deal and we send out press releases, we'll make the news in a lot of places we haven't been able to break into on our own, too. But I could be wrong, we'll be a low-key nothing release from a company nobody's heard of, we'll sell 100 copies to the gullible, and that will be all. Stranger things have happened in my life. But at least from now on, I'll be able to say, "yeah, I did this".
0 x

BaNa
Posts: 1561
Joined: 09 Sep 2007, 21:05

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by BaNa » 25 Apr 2009, 01:37

so are you making your own server or will the ppl who come online meet up with the hardcore?
0 x

User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 01:44

Good question.

Basic answer is, we're probably going to use the community server until we get paid our first royalty check, and then I'll burn however much it takes from that to get a separate server group set up, so that we're not flooding the server, should the game be reasonably successful.

TBH, though, the number of customers it would take before we overwhelm the servers, based on Tobi's napkin-math estimate of when the protocols might break, is so high (5K at least, I'd guess, because they can't all be online at once) that I'm sure I can come up with more money or resources fast at that point, because people will know they'll get paid.

We're just going to have to play that by ear, unless somebody wants to maybe offer me 3-4 dedicated servers using round-robin DNS with reasonable bandwidth over the next three weeks. But that's a lot of time and equipment to ask for, when I have no way to guarantee payment on delivery. Just being real here.

I'm like a restaurant, which needs food delivery from vendors on credit... only I don't know whether anybody likes the food enough to pay for it yet. People would have to have a pretty high tolerance for risk to participate on that basis, tbh, and I assume most of the people with those skills are rational.

Like so much of the crazy stuff with this game, I could have solved this with a modest budget, but that's the one thing I haven't had. I've had a lot of active support by a lot of people, some really lucky breaks, and some amazing last-second stuff... but money's been very, very tight. Just how it goes.
0 x

User avatar
Jazcash
Posts: 5302
Joined: 08 Dec 2007, 17:39

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Jazcash » 25 Apr 2009, 01:57

Well, good luck, you've certainly done your bit towards PURE. I hope your hard work pays off.
0 x

User avatar
aegis
Posts: 2456
Joined: 11 Jul 2007, 17:47

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by aegis » 25 Apr 2009, 01:58

is the only additional thing you'll need with a ton of users a lobby server?
0 x

User avatar
smoth
Posts: 22300
Joined: 13 Jan 2005, 00:46

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by smoth » 25 Apr 2009, 02:13

good luck.
0 x

User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 02:15

is the only additional thing you'll need with a ton of users a lobby server?
Basically, yes. In a perfect world, there are a lot of things I'd like, of course, starting with Spring 0.79 being available and reasonably stable by release, but that's just wishing, it's not a deal-wrecker, imo. There are lots of "what ifs", starting with the stability of SpringLobby and the mysterious stuff going on with my maps and ATi cards (man, I wish this engine was more stable on their hardware!), all of which involve things I either am too stupid to fix, or can't find time to QA. It's just how it is. At some point, we had to make a decision, and this is the time.
Well, good luck, you've certainly done your bit towards PURE. I hope your hard work pays off.
I'm not anything like done yet. That's one thing I should stress.

We're planning on continuing the release-early, release-often cycle that we've been doing on ModDB, and that was the subject of a lot of Q&A with Stardock. They say they can handle it. I'm going to find out if they mean that.

I like the model, where the game just keeps getting better. I hate it when a game's OK, then the developer abandons it immediately after release. And unlike a AAA studio, where it either moves 50,000 copies in the first month or everybody gets fired, I can afford to do that, on very modest sales.

So... about every two weeks, for at least the first 2 months, you can expect to see new stuff in the game. We're going to have Sea, I'm in the process of revamping the Chickens from the ground up, so that they can become a third side (again, all GPL, so CA can take them back into their bosom, should they be inclined) and maybe the Nanos (after totally re-imagining their art, of course, into a more commercial format). All of that's speculative, but it's what I'd like to see happen. We'll just have to wait and see.

Basically, we've had to focus really hard on getting it ready for the big step, but a lot of what's planned is going to add a lot of new things to the game. I know that's been hard to see around here. Adding new content is actually one of the easier bits. It's all of the fixing and polishing that's hard.
Last edited by Argh on 25 Apr 2009, 02:17, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

User avatar
SwiftSpear
Classic Community Lead
Posts: 7287
Joined: 12 Aug 2005, 09:29

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by SwiftSpear » 25 Apr 2009, 02:16

This is selling through a stardock online distribution service?

Anyways, you really need to get advertising up the wazoo, or your only sales will be the 1 or 2 springers who liked pure alot and have money to throw away.

Submit a trailer on gametrailers user videos, drum up support on moddb, try to get an interview or something from kotaku or one of the other game sites. Your average spring project is about the same quality as most of the low end commercial RTS out there. If you advertise decently you should be able to pull passable numbers, if not good.

It's not a good plan to wait until pure has shipped live at stardock to announce to the world at large that you've gone commercial. AA games usually have a 3 month adveritizing binge leading up to ship date, you'll do yourself service to get as much excitement going as possible before the ball drops.
0 x

User avatar
Peet
Malcontent
Posts: 4381
Joined: 27 Feb 2006, 22:04

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Peet » 25 Apr 2009, 02:17

Argh wrote:Basic answer is, we're probably going to use the community server until we get paid our first royalty check, and then I'll burn however much it takes from that to get a separate server group set up, so that we're not flooding the server, should the game be reasonably successful.
I hosted ~90 people on a tasserver without any issues on my PC with a dismal ADSL connection, just to put the necessary server resources in perspective.
0 x

User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 02:23

This is selling through a stardock online distribution service?
Yeah. They have a million customers. They're basically Steam's smaller rival. We'll be seen by them, it's not like they'll just throw it up there and hope somebody buys it, hehe. And we'll be talking to them about how that works, and getting things done, over the period up to release. I don't think we're going to have a giant advertising campaign on a speculative basis from them, but if they just put up our logo and announce that we're on sale, that will probably be enough to get the ball rolling. A million people is something like 3 times as many views as I estimate we've had worldwide. That's a lot of eyes.

To put it into perspective, if I sold to 1% of that audience, then I can make a decent grant to fund GPL game engine projects, and still make enough money that I don't have to work this year on anything that I don't want to. Or maybe just go for broke and seek proper venture funding, and build the games that I actually would like to make someday.
It's not a good plan to wait until pure has shipped live at stardock to announce to the world at large that you've gone commercial...
Well... again, this has to do with stuff I haven't been talking about, but let's say that while I haven't done a perfect job, and we haven't ever penetrated the largest online mags (no PCGamer article for us, yet) we've been trying to make all of that happen, with a patient strategy of news releases and such. And a ModDB announcement will be made over the next 24 hours or so, now that we have Stardock's official blessing.

I just thought that I'd talk to y'all first, before I go do that. You guys deserved to hear about it first.
0 x

User avatar
Pxtl
Posts: 6112
Joined: 23 Oct 2004, 01:43

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Pxtl » 25 Apr 2009, 02:34

Honestly, though, your own masterserver is something that I'd invest in from the outset, at least when you start with your official "commercial" release - Spring servers are probably fine for "beta". It takes money to make money, y'know? I mean, add two masterservers to the default server-list, run the first one off your friggin' home cable modem using a dynamic-IP service, and then set the second one up to point to your planned future subdomain, if you don't have access to your host in such a way that you can point subdomains to your local machines. Otherwise, just set up a subdomain and transfer it over (with a backup subdomain for your cable-modem box if you have an outage at your ISP when you get a professional masterserver)

With your own masterserver you could enforce some security, investigate known hackers and ban by product key - tie the paying customers to a PIN or something, and leave the pirates to the ghetto of the Spring masterservers. But that would probably be coding you don't want to do, since there are security/encryption issues surrounding the product key.

I mean, the simplest approach would be just to feed every user a GUID as their product key, then make a secure web-app that takes that GUID and lets them set up a username/password for your personal masterserver, but that would mean setting up a complete web-app for creating Spring-PURE masterserver accounts.

I'd also consider sticking to TASClient, just because it's more mature, even if it's no longer supported - if it's possible to replace the news page with your own PURE page, that is. However, I could see that the bare-minimum of re-skinning for TASClient, given its build-path (Delphi, ouch) would be a nightmare.

Does Stardock have support for assigning product keys?
Last edited by Pxtl on 25 Apr 2009, 02:45, edited 1 time in total.
0 x

User avatar
aegis
Posts: 2456
Joined: 11 Jul 2007, 17:47

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by aegis » 25 Apr 2009, 02:38

you don't need multiple servers to run a lobby - tasserver doesn't support load balancing.
0 x

User avatar
Argh
Posts: 10920
Joined: 21 Feb 2005, 03:38

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Argh » 25 Apr 2009, 02:43

you don't need multiple servers to run a lobby - tasserver doesn't support load balancing.
Tobi will have to speak to that, but basically he said that maybe you could do it at the switch- put the first X users on one server, the next X on another, etc., and do the load-balancing that way. Or am I just totally wrong, and there's no way to scale it without lots of static IPs? I'm a blithering idiot when it comes to that stuff, and I have never even seen the server software, so I have no idea what it's going to take.

@Pxtl: lots of good questions and ideas there.

What I know is that they have a key that's generated for each order, as part of their GOO system of "portable DRM". I don't know whether they'd ever let me see that end of their operations, though.

Tobi was suggesting that I only let customers register for online play after I get some confirmation number from them, but I haven't the foggiest how to set that up in an automated fashion, and that's way out of my timeframe, in terms of what I need to have ready and when. There's no way I'm going to be able to develop that on my own in three weeks- that sounds like a fairly serious project for somebody with strong web-development skills.

I'll ask them a bit more about that stuff Monday or Tuesday, see if I can feel them out without letting them know that while I know warez copies won't sync pretty much the minute I update again (since I know that the first update's going to touch all of the major files), I don't have a good strong filter system in place. But they probably don't care one way or another- it's not like they're my publisher, or investing a lot of money in me.
0 x

User avatar
FLOZi
MC: Legacy & Spring 1944 Developer
Posts: 6109
Joined: 29 Apr 2005, 01:14

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by FLOZi » 25 Apr 2009, 02:46

£10 paypal to the first person who pirates it.
0 x

User avatar
aegis
Posts: 2456
Joined: 11 Jul 2007, 17:47

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by aegis » 25 Apr 2009, 02:49

it seems stardock has some sort of multiplayer system going on... maybe get a lobby working for it and don't even use tasserver?
0 x

User avatar
Pxtl
Posts: 6112
Joined: 23 Oct 2004, 01:43

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Pxtl » 25 Apr 2009, 02:52

I edited the above post with more thoughts - a bad habit, I know.

Unfortunately the only web-programming language I know is ASP.Net - not every low-budget ISP provides ASP.Net, since Mono is still viewed with suspicion and Windows servers are $.

I mean, I could probably make a simple "go here to fetch your username/password" thing with a standard ASP.Net if I had an ASP.Net server, a database to track the transactions, an API for Stardock to check the validity of the user's product-key (or a database full of keys that I could hit myself), and an API for the masterserver to force the generation of a new user. I assume the Spring Masterserver has a hidden user-ID that is unrelated to the user-name that this user-database could track, so that if the username changes the database wouldn't freak-out.

You'd also have to find a way to hack the Spring masterserver and Springlobby to disable creation of new users.

edit: I've never made anything front-facing and mission-critical, so I have no idea how secure my code is. I follow MS best-practices so the obvious exploits like unsanitized textboxes are out, and MS/ASP.Net provides a lot of security out of the box, but I can't promise anything.
0 x

User avatar
Pxtl
Posts: 6112
Joined: 23 Oct 2004, 01:43

Re: P.U.R.E. is going Commercial.

Post by Pxtl » 25 Apr 2009, 02:57

Three weeks? No fucking way, sorry. I could do it in three weeks if I were single, but I've got a wife and kid.
0 x

Locked

Return to “Argh's Projects”

cron