First of all, Yden has entered the beta testing phase, and so far the reaction from the testers has been positive! Well... not vomit-inducingly negative, at any rate. Which is nice. I'm making final touches to the game and continuing my research about how exactly to release it.
I've also been prettifying this site a bit since it's likely to open to the public soon. Several previously out-of-bounds pages are now accessible!
I also discovered something called Patreon today! Maybe everyone reading this already knows about it - I feel like I'm out of the loop a lot of the time - but I've been thinking about it for the past few hours and it gives me a lot of hope.
Back when I ran my old games site, Fig Hunter, I knew that I got thousands of hits a day, and that my site and work were significant to many people, but I got basically no money for it. I tried asking for donations, but they were few and far between. Advertising revenue trickled in, but it was just pennies. I used to fantasise about there being some kind of slot that people could drop in a coin from their pocket out of appreciation; I knew that pocket change like that, donated by many people regularly, would add up to a decent salary. Sadly, there was nothing like that that I knew of at the time.
Patreon may well be the answer to this. It's based around the idea of donating money regularly to creators, either when they create a new installment of whatever it is that they make, or a small amount every month out of faith that they'll keep on making things. If an artist has 3000 regular fans, and each one donates $5 a month, that's a $15,000 a month regular salary.
Which is interesting.
Most of the creators on the site produce regular content like YouTube videos, web comics, or music, or writing or whatever, but I don't see why my own projects couldn't eventually find a place there.
Miasmon is designed to be produced episodically; I'll update the game with new story episodes and monsters each week or fortnight or month or whatever, once it's got started, and this system could work well for that.
Or even failing that, Alora Fane will consistently provide regular content updates in SOME form, since I make things every day and intend to use this site to build a world out of those creations. If nothing else, it'll eventually - hopefully - flourish into a positive community where many friendships can bloom. A regular haunt is no less deserving of donations than a webcomic or something, I feel.
But we'll see what happens. For the moment, it gives me a lot of hope about making money from my creations in the future, especially since the bleak money-making prospects have fuelled my depression for a long time, and were a big factor that led to me looking into the abyss.
I particularly like the thought of Patreon in comparison to Kickstarter, because it seems as if Patreon doesn't demand that you devote yourself to some kind of uncomfortable publicity stunt for a month, or that you make a whole bunch of 'prizes' for people who pledge different amounts. Just continuing to do what you do seems to be enough, which would be very relieving to me.
However, I'm curious about whether to try out Kickstarter anyway... MARDEK 4 has been in demand for years, and I know that I could earn at least some money from it if I were to devote the time to it. I keep putting it off though because I know that I'll have to work on it for many months and there's no guarantee that it'll even make any money when it's done. It's just too much of a gamble.
If however I do a MARDEK 4 Kickstarter, asking for some amount like $50,000 or even $100,000, and it actually makes that much, then that would definitely compel me to spend however long it takes working on it! I'd be happy to drop everything else in order to do so. If the drive failed, though, I'd not have wasted months on something unprofitable, and I could always try again later when things were better for me.
I'll be thinking about whether or not to do that, then.
I still need to decide what to do about Yden and AFC, since they don't fit into either of these models, really... I like the thought of integrating Yden into social sites such as Facebook, since I imagine a lot of people would want to share images of the people that they've made with the tool, and others who see those images might be led to find the game themselves out of curiosity. The "look what I made!" desire is strong with this game, I feel, and if nothing else it might be a way to draw attention to this site, after which my future projects might generate good money.
Things are looking up at the moment, anyway! I'm glad to be back on track again, and I hope that things will only continue to improve, and that I'll be able to provide you all with games that you can enjoy!!1
To update my list of things from the end of the previous post:
- Yay, maybe I can make money after all!!1
- Maybe I'll release Yden as a social-oriented browser game? I really have no idea.
- I still don't know what to do with AFC.
- Miasmon, being episodic, would be a great reason to use Patreon.
- A MARDEK 4 Kickstarter seems like a good idea, though I don't know when it will happen!
Oh, but here's an idea! What if I were to abandon the idea of releasing MARDEK in huuuge chapters that take months to complete, and instead released it in itty-bitty weekly installments instead?! Now THAT could be interesting!
I've been wanting to do a project like this for ages
, but I don't see why it couldn't work with MARDEK. Each update could be a single dungeon or something, with associated plot events of course.
I can actually seeing that working out a whole lot better than releasing the game all at once, actually... I'll certainly be thinking about it!!
It would mean that MARDEK 4 wouldn't exist as such... but that the MARDEK saga could get back up and running again within a month or two. What a thought!
My mind's been abuzz with ideas for the last hour or two, and so I'm updating this again because I feel like I've stumbled upon something that might really work.
I could possibly remake MARDEK as an episodic game set in the Alora Fane world!! It would have the same characters and overall story as the other three MARDEK chapters, but revised to match my current skills and values (while keeping the overall themes the same, probably). I'd start again from chapter 1, and I'd release the game in the form of a dungeon - with plot scenes - every week or two.
Miasmon, then, might be put on hold for a while. AFC could probably be released and kept up-and-running in the background; I wouldn't bother to sell it directly, but it might maintain interest in the site between my own 'official' updates. I could use Yden largely to generate interest rather than money.
I've been (rather pointlessly) darting between here and ∞ a blog post on Fig Hunter ∞
while I develop these ideas (at 3:30am...), and I can't promise anything or say anything for certain, but... wow. I feel like I have a clear and deeply motivating direction for the first time in ages!!
Maybe I'm just being naive... I really don't know. I'll be thinking about and planning it in more detail, at any rate!!