Author Topic: Would it be possible to have a GOG, Desura, Humble Store version at some point?  (Read 3703 times)

Offline Riabi

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The only reason to not release the game DRM-free is because you want DRM on the game. You could at least be honest about that and not claim to be against DRM while selling titles that are Steam-only.

Steamworks. Look it up sometime. Steam provides actual features for games that none of those other stores do.

Seriously, spend some more time learning and less time spewing off like a total moron.

That's not a bad argument, but, it's more than that. There is a question of time. I know I don't work for Arcen anymore, but, this is what I saw when I was working here. (also, this is all info you can get elsewhere on the forums here, if you look hard enough). With a company like Arcen, a LARGE, and I mean very large, portion of sales come via Steam. And, to make and to maintain (honestly, the maintenance is the bigger part of this for someone like Arcen) a stand-alone version costs more time and money. IMO, having looked at the sales numbers, it's hard to justify spending a lot of time and money working on a non-steam version when so few people actually seem to care that much.

The same goes for all the other places. For every store Arcen sells on, they either have to a.) Sell steam keys through that store or b.) Spend time and effort (and sometimes money) building and patching yet one more version.

Additionally, keep in mind that if you were to take one of Arcen's "Steam-only" games, use Steam to install it, then copy the game files from where ever Steam installs them, then you have yourself a DRM free version. One that runs without Steam.

Offline x4000

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A couple of notes:

1. If you find that hard to believe about GOG.com, then I'm sorry to hear that, but that is what they have told us.  I wish it were not so, or we'd have all our titles on there.  We do sell Shattered Haven through them, and all our titles except Bionic have standalone versions.

2. If you buy the game on Steam (any of our games) and just copy the game files somewhere else, then you can run the game wherever.  It's not tied to the steam client in any way.  However, at the moment we have no way to distribute updates to linux customers other than via steam, which is why all our games that have linux support are steam-only right now (aka Bionic), and all the others have no linux support but are sold elsewhere.

3. Bionic is coming to Desura this week actually (more or less, in terms of timeframe).  But if you consider Steam DRM and Desura not DRM, I don't know what to tell you.  They're the same thing, basically.

4. As noted, we are planning a linux updater, and at that point we'll have standalone versions of both Bionic and TLF.  The Humble Store guys are great, and we plan to work with them, but we haven't even had time to get our backlog titles on there yet.  There's just so. little. time.

EDIT: Partly ninja'd.  Hey Josh. :)
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Offline doctorfrog

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This isn't doing much for bringing the things back on topic, but I'd definitely like to see a Bionic Dues expansion (or just more development of the base game) in the future. In my mind, it's the most promising Arcen title of its moment since AI War, and I'd hope that the current winds of roguelike love could puff out its sails a bit.

Offline doctorfrog

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4. As noted, we are planning a linux updater, and at that point we'll have standalone versions of both Bionic and TLF.  The Humble Store guys are great, and we plan to work with them, but we haven't even had time to get our backlog titles on there yet.  There's just so. little. time.

EDIT: Partly ninja'd.  Hey Josh. :)

And another bump. I didn't catch this bit the first time. It will be nice to have an install of both Bionic and TLF that I can keep updated without using Steam. As it is, I avoid it, not "like the plague," but I prefer to be without it as much as possible, plus I take my games on a flash drive quite a bit. Thanks for making that a future feature, it helps me out.

Offline x4000

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Yep, that's coming for TLF in the coming week.  Bog GOG.com and the Humble Store will be carrying TLF at launch, or very close to.  GOG is also going to be adding some of our other titles later on, and we'll be doing the same with Humble I'm sure.  The linux updater will be something we backport to Bionic before we put Bionic on GOG or Humble.
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Offline Vinraith

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4. As noted, we are planning a linux updater, and at that point we'll have standalone versions of both Bionic and TLF.  The Humble Store guys are great, and we plan to work with them, but we haven't even had time to get our backlog titles on there yet.  There's just so. little. time.

This is a really, really great thing to read. I understood the Linux updater situation (though the irony that support for a more open platform required using a more closed distribution platform is really bitter), but have never been comfortable supporting single outlet distribution. This is problematic in the case of Arcen, because frankly you guys are one of the few developers out there where I'm inclined to buy everything you make just because you're you. I'm pleased that my cognitive dissonance on this topic will be coming to an end soon. :D

Offline doctorfrog

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Yep, that's coming for TLF in the coming week.  Bog GOG.com and the Humble Store will be carrying TLF at launch, or very close to.  GOG is also going to be adding some of our other titles later on, and we'll be doing the same with Humble I'm sure.  The linux updater will be something we backport to Bionic before we put Bionic on GOG or Humble.

That's just more good news. I don't expect GOG sales to blow the roof off of your house or anything, but it is my go-to game store. And of course, you can't trip over a nickel these days without accidentally buying a Humble Bundle.

Offline Chthon

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Yep, that's coming for TLF in the coming week.  Bog GOG.com and the Humble Store will be carrying TLF at launch, or very close to.  GOG is also going to be adding some of our other titles later on, and we'll be doing the same with Humble I'm sure.  The linux updater will be something we backport to Bionic before we put Bionic on GOG or Humble.

That's just more good news. I don't expect GOG sales to blow the roof off of your house or anything, but it is my go-to game store. And of course, you can't trip over a nickel these days without accidentally buying a Humble Bundle.
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Offline Misery

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I've said it before (er.... I think) and I'll say it again (and then probably repeat myself later on, too):  I still think Desura in particular is one of the best fits for the sorts of games you guys make.

I like Steam, but it can seriously tend to attract too much derpage from the MANY gamers who mostly play AAA exploding graphics-bomb type games (I made that term up just now), but Desura is pretty much focused on indie titles right from the start, and just doesnt have that issue in most cases.  I use it pretty frequently myself and have discovered many interesting (and some extremely strange) games that way.  It's a good service though it's launcher annoys me every now and then.  ...not that Steam doesnt do the same at times (installing .Net Framework!  For the 32957th time!)

Of course the fun part is getting the word out there in a general sense.... good luck with that. 

I've seen stuff on RPS about it, saw another new article just now on there (and made the mistake of reading comments... why do I do this to myself?), but I've not seen much elsewhere.  And RPS itself is.... ehhhhh.  I'll just say I tend to not always agree with them on stuff.

Offline x4000

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I've said it before (er.... I think) and I'll say it again (and then probably repeat myself later on, too):  I still think Desura in particular is one of the best fits for the sorts of games you guys make.

Most of our games are on Desura.  And aside from sales through IndieRoyale or whatever other partners of Desura, we've made about $200 in three or four years off of ALL our games with them.  Versus $750k total gross revenue last year, $500k of that from Steam.  GamersGate and other various places like that pay us more per month than Desura has in however many years we've been on there.

I know some other developers have made VERY good money with Desura -- they've made a living off of it, and in fact done better than some devs do on Steam.  But that's never been the case for us, for whatever reason.  Back when Direct2Drive was a thing, we had mysteriously low sales with them, too.  Versus everybody else had low sales with Impulse, but we made tons of money with them because AI War really matched their audience.

I think it's a mixture of both scale of audience at each place, and what they are specifically interested in.
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Offline Omgaar

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Steamworks. Look it up sometime. Steam provides actual features for games that none of those other stores do.

I fail to see how that is relevant, as the existence of a DRM-free version does not take those features away from Steam users. Plenty of games have steamworks features but also a DRM-free version. Monaco is a recent one that came out.


There is a question of time. I know I don't work for Arcen anymore, but, this is what I saw when I was working here. And, to make and to maintain  a stand-alone version costs more time and money. IMO, having looked at the sales numbers, it's hard to justify spending a lot of time and money working on a non-steam version when so few people actually seem to care that much.

Additionally, keep in mind that if you were to take one of Arcen's "Steam-only" games, use Steam to install it, then copy the game files from where ever Steam installs them, then you have yourself a DRM free version. One that runs without Steam.

I'm confused. If the game is DRM-free on Steam as people claim, why would a DRM-free version on another site require more work? If they are both DRM-free then it's just the same game sent to two places, there is no need to maintain two versions. The inclusion of different operating systems are going to require much more maintenance than a steam and DRM-free copy (especially if the Steam copy is DRM-free like claimed), yet there doesn't seem to be people arguing that Arcen Games shouldn't have made a linux version of Bionic Dues and Last Federation, nor people arguing they should drop mac versions. People seem to praise them for the increased options players have when it comes to playing their games. Why is going Steam only being praised so much?



Also, concerning sales on the game mostly being steam copies. I bought steam copies of AI War and Valley because they were cheaper at the time and I knew I could just take the CD-keys and use the version on Arcen's website. So at least some sales would have been lost if those games were Steam only.


But it seems the game will be getting a DRM-free release anyway, so this is all irrelevant now. $20 seems a bit high, so I'll play the large (if anything like previous demos) demo to see how much I like the game and if I like it enough, buy it. If not, wait for it to go down a bit.
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« Last Edit: April 13, 2014, 11:44:25 AM by Omgaar »

Offline keith.lamothe

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I'm confused. If the game is DRM-free on Steam as people claim, why would a DRM-free version on another site require more work? If they are both DRM-free then it's just the same game sent to two places, there is no need to maintain two versions.
There's a key point you're missing: steam is currently the only way we have of updating the linux version.  Thus it's the only way to update the game, really, without leaving part of the audience without updates.

So we could easily have sold a DRM-free (and steam-free) version of Bionic on our own store, but people buying it from us in that way would not have gotten any updates.  Would you be happy buying a game only to find that only the people who have it on steam get updates?  I'm guessing that would have fairly catastrophic PR consequences, actually.

The thing that we're planning to change soon is to write our own updater, with support for linux, so that we're not caught in that dilemma.  We haven't done this before because frankly we're running as fast as we can writing games to make ends meet, and the updater will not be a trivial amount of work.  But it seems a worthwhile tradeoff at this stage.


Quote
The inclusion of different operating systems are going to require much more maintenance than a steam and DRM-free copy
Why do you assume that?  We use Unity, so we don't actually have to maintain multiple versions of the game for the different operation systems at all.  In fact, if you make a copy of the Bionic directory from steam and put it on a jumpdrive you can:

1) Take that jumpdrive to a different, say windows-based, machine (doesn't have to have steam) and start a game there.  No need to install from the jumpdrive, even, though load times would be slower I imagine.
2) Then save the game, take that jumpdrive to a mac machine (doesn't have to have steam), and continue the same save there.
3) Then save the game, take that jumpdrive to a linux machine (doesn't have to have steam), and continue the same save there.

You'd be running 3 different executable files, of course, but Unity's engine provides those, we don't have to do anything.  And the core files where the game's assets and code (that we wrote) are all the same.  So when we do a new update we only have the one version to touch.

There were some initial "getting this working at all" issues we had to solve when creating the first mac version we ever did (with AI War back in 2010) and I think there were a few gotchas (much less work) with the first linux version we ever did (with Bionic in 2013), but that was basically one-time-cost stuff, not ongoing maintenance costs.


Anyway, we're certainly willing to listen to arguments against particular distribution practices (have to download it through steam, etc), but we've found that the discussion is often unfruitful because the other side is simply unwilling to accept that they may not have all the relevant facts, and getting past the resulting incorrect assumptions proves impossible.  In some cases (not in yours) it goes beyond that to an obvious statement that they don't really care about the facts, they just want us to capitulate to their demands that we conform with their ideals.  Such conduct does not encourage me to cooperate :)

If you're willing to actually listen, and consider that you may not be right about every aspect of the issue, then I'm quite confident we can reach mutually acceptable solutions.


All that said, yes, we are moving away from a sole-distributor situation.
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