As of the recent v. 496 update, BYOND now supports "native" standalone games; that is, games that can be played without requiring the user to have previously installed BYOND. This replaces the older and clunkier "Make EXE" system previously bundled with Dream Maker.
You can generate a standalone version of your existing online or redistributable games via the new "BYONDexe" program found at the bottom of the Download page. Usage requires a product key attached to the game's hub entry. At the moment, we have activated these keys for all games that have a "Listed" status, but we will likely open this up further in the future. If your game qualifies, the hub editor will have a new "Distribution" tab from which you can retrieve the key and set various options. You can find further options and configuration details within the two README documents included with the BYONDexe download.
The idea here is to let you market and distribute your games just as if they were created in a more generic programming language; from the end-user's point-of-view, there is little difference. There is a huge audience of players outside of BYOND, and we encourage you to promote your games off-site in order to get them into your games. Off-site players benefit us in two ways. First, they bring more activity to games, which is beneficial to our on-site community. Second, they provide us needed income through the optional BYOND subscription service. You can charge for your game or for in-game benefits; BYOND handles the processessing and bookkeeping in return for a percentage cut (25% at the time of this writing). We hope this to be a mutually beneficial proposition. Some games have already made non-trivial amounts through this system, and this is with little outside exposure. With some actual marketing, the sky's the limit! Of course you can always make your game 100% free like the BYOND suite and live on Top Ramen like we have :)
We've been beta-testing these standalone features with NEStalgia by SilkGames. Silk has created an excellent page that is a great example of the off-site presence mentioned earlier. Check it out and try the installer to get an idea of what BYONDexe can do for you.
Flash FooAs promised earlier, we'll be soon releasing a Flash version of the BYOND client. After a hiatus to create BYONDexe and deal with various website, community, and software issues, we're hard at work on it again and are shooting for a beta release sometime this summer. Lest you think this is vaporware, here's an example of BYOND Flash in action:
At the moment (and for some time), the main hangup is with the sound format, due to the fact that BYOND games stream resources and all the native sound support for Flash is with the proprietary MP3 format, but we've found some promising Ogg/Vorbis based-workarounds. The system also only supports a subset of DM, primarily lacking the 4.0 skin/interface system, although that may be something we can update over time. But, as you can see, keyboard, mouse, input, output, and map-based support all works quite well, and this should be a very exciting direction for BYOND games!
Featured GamesRecently, LordAndrew has been on a quest to bring some regular game reviewing back to the BYOND community. His plan is to feature a new game each month; so far he's reviewed Alchemist (June) and Epic (July). To support this very cool effort, we're linking to these reviews from within the BYOND Pager news (which you should have seen if you got to this post via the pager). Hopefully we can get an active team of reviewers to help out in this effort and encourage the play of these fine games, old and new alike.
Beta TestingWe are going to be making a policy change of releasing developmental versions of BYOND daily when new fixes or features are added. Each new release will have a new (minor) build number. When we are satisfied that the builds are complete, we will mark the version as "stable" and release to the pager. You can get view the latest beta and stable releases from the Download page as well as from within the pager news.
That's all for now!