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Twoflower

Paid Alpha Style

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It's been suggested in other threads, but I figured I'd centralize the chat.

Here's an idea Double Fine may want to look into -- developing SBDF9 in Paid Alpha style, similar to how games like Minecraft and SpyParty work. I think this particular game suits the model very well.

Users buy into the alpha when the game is core-functional but has very few features and little content. Over time, the game builds up and outward, with free updates for buyers as things go along; sometimes even with weekly snapshots for the brave. Community feedback rolls into the process as it rolls along. Eventually the game is solid enough and has enough features to go beta, and the price goes up. Eventually it's feature "complete" and gets an official release and higher price point. Updates typically continue after that, but the primary experience is now finished.

Given the way SpaceBase works, with emphasis on starting new bases to experiment and fiddle around, it could work. A traditional point and click adventure or other story driven game doesn't fly well under this model, but a "toy" style game works perfectly with it. Plus, this frees you up from needing a traditional publisher, although you'd have to pay to host the file downloads (or work through Steam Greenlight).

...admittedly I'm suggesting this mostly because I wanna play SpaceBase without having to wait for a publisher's whimsy to latch onto it. But hey!

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I would totally buy into that. I think Autonomous could lend itself to the same model.

Certainly something for the fine folks at DF to consider in the new year.

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Kerbal Space Program is doing pretty well for itself using this model but I don't know if it would be well enough to support operations, any middleware fees, and other overhead costs. Maybe if they did like google and had a few hours per week to dedicate towards upgrading their pet projects or if they were ever idle, waiting for something else in the pipeline to finish.

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Oops, i just posted about Prison Architect in the other topic. Very simular game, payed alpha style reached about 20000 people and gennerated $600000. Could see that happen all the way. Esp. since it seems to be possible to work on such a game without a big size team permanently devoted to just this project alone.

It might also do very good on mobile. No Free2Play... maybe subscription based like Wrestling Revolution (even if you don´t care about wrestling, check out the free version just to see how great the guy managed to create gesture based controles for a fighting game) or by cosmetic iAP.

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I don't know if it would be well enough to support operations and other overhead costs.

A good point. Minecraft is a tough parallel since its success created the need for everything that has become Mojang, not sustain it from the outset.

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I really like the idea that Anna suggested when they were discussing the games with the whole studio. She suggested that they could charge for events. I love that idea. I'm not a marketing analyist, but if SpaceBase was on my iphone and everyonce in a while I got a notification that said something like:

"In this week's episode, a strange pod has been detected floating close to the SpaceBase.

'Captain, the debri seems to be...'

'What is it Engineer ? Speak up man!'

'Well it seems to be sending and recieving communications from someone ... in this room.'

DUHn DUhn Daaaaah!

Is it an artifact from an extinct alien race? A message from humanoids in the future? Or could it just be particularly nice looking space debri? Find out for only a dollar."

I would totally buy that.

I mean. . . based on what I've seen.

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I really like the idea that Anna suggested when they were discussing the games with the whole studio. She suggested that they could charge for events. I love that idea. I'm not a marketing analyist, but if SpaceBase was on my iphone and everyonce in a while I got a notification that said something like:

"In this week's episode, a strange pod has been detected floating close to the SpaceBase.

'Captain, the debri seems to be...'

'What is it Engineer ? Speak up man!'

'Well it seems to be sending and recieving communications from someone ... in this room.'

DUHn DUhn Daaaaah!

Is it an artifact from an extinct alien race? A message from humanoids in the future? Or could it just be particularly nice looking space debri? Find out for only a dollar."

I would totally buy that.

I mean. . . based on what I've seen.

I wouldn't buy that, and not just because I don't have an iPhone, iPad, or iAnythingElse. I don't want a free-to-play game where I have to pay for anything interesting to happen and it basically becomes a subscription fee. I'm not going to gradually pay $30 plus for a game that reasonably should cost $10-$15 at full price and will probably go on sale for $2.50 before a year has passed. However, I think the paid alpha is a very good model when used by someone you trust. The ability to play each iteration of a game in development and give feedback on updates is fun and valuable.

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How about those releases be scenarios like in the SNES version of SimCity. You start a scenario unrelated to your main game and have to accomplish a set of goals. And to go with the alpha side of this thread, the people that buy into the alpha get the first "season" of scenarios with their purchase free while others that wait will have to buy the season. And for those that have the scenarios downloaded those assets can show up in the main game of base building.

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I would buy the alpha of DF-9, when it gets regular updates. The scenarios are a neat idea, but that sounds very down the road. I would be happy to get more tiles/characters and mechanics in every update so my base feels more alive with every update.

Also it would be cool if the game allowed people to import their own tiles and heads.

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We talked about some kind of long-term ongoing development of this game, where we release it in some kind of essentially-complete form, but plan to continue updating it for (hopefully) years. Of course those possibilities are all contingent on actually getting the game greenlit in the first place! Even the amount of money that the Introversion guys raised for their Prison Architect alpha would be not enough for DF to afford being able to make the game (sadly), so we'd have to be very very careful about promising anything like that unless we were completely certain we could get it funded.

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I can see that, as they are a one man team for most of the development, i am sure they will still make a good amount of money once it is finished. It would be be great to have a "full team" behind a game in this genre, but i can see how it is a risk since no one knows how it would do beyond the nerds.

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Well honestly I would highly consider making spacebase first before the other games. Dorf fort and similar games are super popular right now and don't really show any signs of becoming less popular. I think this SB would be the best bet for now specially since this game could be easily made for ios and other mobile systems which these types of games sell like hot cakes.

As much as I like the other games (I think Black Lake might be my new favorite) SB is your best bet in garented sales.

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Well honestly I would highly consider making spacebase first before the other games. Dorf fort and similar games are super popular right now and don't really show any signs of becoming less popular. I think this SB would be the best bet for now specially since this game could be easily made for ios and other mobile systems which these types of games sell like hot cakes.

As much as I like the other games (I think Black Lake might be my new favorite) SB is your best bet in garented sales.

Let's hope we can get some people with money to agree!

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Well honestly I would highly consider making spacebase first before the other games. Dorf fort and similar games are super popular right now and don't really show any signs of becoming less popular. I think this SB would be the best bet for now specially since this game could be easily made for ios and other mobile systems which these types of games sell like hot cakes.

As much as I like the other games (I think Black Lake might be my new favorite) SB is your best bet in garented sales.

Let's hope we can get some people with money to agree!

Hey I'm a some people with money! What slot in my computer gives you guys money?

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