Experiment in Kickstarter
We finally reached the point that we are ready to release Basis. As I mentioned before it is free in all ways possible, private or commercial use. It is proven to be usable in-game, and easy to implement into various frameworks and libraries. So, we have decided to start a kickstarter for it.
Here it is.
The big question
Why kickstarter if it's free? Is that sort of an oxymoron?
We have worked very hard on this, and lately it's come to the point that it is like working a second job. Combine that with our every day lives with our churches and community, families, and actual job, and it's not certain we can keep it going like this. So, basically we have 2 options in front of us:
1) We can put it on the back burner, working on it a few lucky hours a week. We fully intend to build Basis all the way to our final stretch goals, but it may take a very, very long time like this.
2) We can try to get the support of the community, asking for funding and for others to spread the word. Basically, the more we get funded, the longer we can put off doing #1.
There is really no in between for us. I personally have really enjoyed building this to where it is at even now, but it's a point that we'll have to let the online community decide where it goes from here. Honestly, we have no idea what to expect!
Our own questions
You've probably heard the expression before that something is worth what you pay for it.
If we're giving something away for free, will people even feel it is worth anything? The intention from the beginning has always been to give this away, and we don't plan on budging there.
When a beginning photographer saves up his or her money for, say, Photoshop... with the money they worked so hard to earn, chances are they'll take the time to learn it and value it very much. On the other hand, the things we get for free - we put no sacrifice into, we invested nothing of our own into it - their value is much less to us... typically. It's very plain human psychology.
That doesn't mean that putting a price tag on something makes it worth more, but if you put that price on it and people are willing to pay it, it's worth more to them, which in turn gives your product perceivable value.
Even the reward tiers were hard to come up with - what more do you offer people when you're giving the product away after all!
Do people still want this? We started working on this 2.5 years ago. Since then, a couple other amazing products have been released, namely Spriter and Spine. Both of these are shaping up to be fantastic packages with a lot of innovations. They also were both kickstarted successfully. They also both have a value attached to them.
So, being #3, will people even want this? We feel we are bringing enough new things to the table for there to at least be a chance, not to mention the free-thing could actually be an advantage (we have no idea how this will play out), and our workflow is definitely different than the others. Naturally we are biased and feel it is a better, faster workflow. Will other people?
Is Windows only going to hurt? Often there is a complaint if something isn't cross platform. This is understandable - everyone wants it native to their system. It does run very well under WINE, but I know it's not the same. This was a hard decision to make, but it seemed that since it won't really add anything to the software itself to make it cross platform, and since it is already well under way, it would be better to make it fully featured and work very well as it is. The OS and Window code is pretty well segregated, so we made it a stretch goal to port it. It shouldn't be too much work, but it will require some intense research, testing, and in the case of OSX, we'll have to buy a computer and learn some things we wouldn't have had to otherwise. That is no problem, but we decided making a great animation tool would come first.
Our hope is to get the support of the game development community, as well as get the word spreading around to others. Again, at this point, we really can't predict one way or the other what kind of reaction we are going to get to this. So, we are prepared to more than abundantly succeed, as well as completely fail, and anything in between.
Do feel free to check out Basis though, and whether you support the campaign or not, enjoy it and use it and even contribute to it! We have forums for discussion, and we're always looking for people to contribute runtime implementations for other frameworks, libraries, and software.
And if you like it, let other people know about it!
I'm sure I will be doing another journal at the end about the success/failure and our take on it all. Thanks for reading