So I have a finished a game. (Dramatic pause while the applause dies down...) Does anyone have any pointers towards resources on the net concerning publishing via freeware or shareware?
Do folks normally just wing it when they publish using these sorts of licenses (e.g. put up there Copyright by Me text and upload it to TuCows and be done with it?)
I would expect that there are some caveats to publishing using these methods as well as some tried and true paradigms. I''d love to see an article here about publishing in this manner.
Its single player, but actually I''m not interested in really selling it. Most likely, I will release it as freeware, or some derivitive. It is actually more of a "Get your feet wet" sort of experience in developing a game from end to end. (Design doc to Help Files..)
One of the objectives I started with when writing the game was to publish it on at least one internet website. I''m interested to know what sort of licensing terms, copyrights, etc. That people think are appropriate for this style (freeware) and for other similar styles (shareware), etc.
I''d love to here your comments on selling it via shareware. As I said earlier -- I think this is a GREAT idea for an article. Its something I don''t see discussed much elsewhere.
I suggest you polish it up and sell it as shareware just for the experience. Use kagi.com or reg.net for payment processing, and see what happens. You''d be suprised sometimes the reaction you get. I did a cheesy Asteroids clone back in 1992 and posted it to a BBS (yes they still were around back then!) and since I''ve gotten over 3000 registrations!
It''s not the revenues I appreciate most, it''s the fan mail and satisfaction of seeing my game reviewed on web sites, and published on shareware CDs that matters.
My apologies. I would''ve responded sooner, but I''ve been trying to finish up a proposal/game design document. =)
Ok...to sell a game via shareware...there are several approaches, and which one is right depends on your particular game.
If your game is one with a lot of replay value, you can sell it with a time-limited evaluation period. For instance, you give the user 30 days (or less, its up to you). If they like the game and keep playing, when the 30 days is up and you don''t let them play anymore, they''ll pay. The trick here is to *not* limit any features of the game. It''s *all* there for them to play. Your time-limiting feature doesn''t have to be foolproof. Just "enough" to thwart the 99% of people who would try to beat it. And that''s not tough.
If your game has more of a "level" format, then you''ll want to follow the Kommander Keen and Doom route: Include only a few levels with the shareware product and sell the rest of the levels. Sell several sets of levels and even sell them for a reduced price in a bundle. Even here, you''re not feature-limiting the sotware. You''re just limiting how much "fun" they can have before they have to come to you for more.
If it''s a combination of both type of games (a lot of replay value and has "levels"), do both. Give a subset of the total levels available, *and* time-limit the software.
The "Do''s" of Shareware:
1. DO make it incredibly stinking beyond any shadow of a doubt EASY to pay. Setup and account with Kagi (http://www.kagi.com) or DigiBuy (http://www.digibuy.com) or *someone* to handle credit card payments. And then put a button on the front of your game (hidden after they pay) that automatically access the payment program or web page.
2. DO modularize your sales if at all possible. The easiest customer to sell to is the one you''ve already something to. Exploit that. Split your product into a "base" product and several optional "add-ons", each with their own price, plus a price for the bundle.
3. DO support your users/players who email you. I suggest to anyone who buys shareware to send an email (about anything) to the author of the shareware to see how long it takes them to respond. If you can''t respond in at most 2 days, you shouldn''t be trying to sell shareware.
Here are some "Don''t''s": 1. DON''T make it hard to figure out how to pay you. This is the flipside of #1 above. If the user has to figure out which menu has the "Register" option, you''ll probably never see their money.
2. DON''T make it hard to enter the registration keys (or install the new levels). Make this process as painless as possible. After all, they *paid* for this.
The "trick" to selling shareware is to *know* what people like about your product, and then make that what they have to pay for. Do they want "more time" to play it? Make time what they have to pay for. Do they want "more fun" in the form of more levels? Make levels available for them to buy. Lots of different ones.