Greetings BYONDers!

It's been a while since we posted the news, and we've been busy, so I wanted to give a quick update to hopefully entice you all.

  • The Internet was rocked the other day with the news of the exploitative HeartBleed bug. Just as a heads-up, our servers were not affected by this.
  • As many of you know, NEStalgia was accepted to Steam Greenlight some time ago, and today it was released! Congratulations to the Silk Games team! You can find the game here.

    This is a pretty big breakthrough for us, because it shows that a BYOND game can be mainstream and potentially garner many players beyond the community here. From a technical POV, we've used NEStalgia as a testbed for the standalone installer (including linking it to the Steam portal). Very soon we will be making that system more publicized (and documented!) because we would really like to see more games adventure out of the little BYOND bubble.

    We've gone back and forth with this, but tentatively our plan is to make the standalone system entirely free for single-player games and have it play an ad (similar to the pager) upon connection to remote games. We will probably set it up so that games using our merchant system will have the BYOND commission (currently 20%) go towards ad-credits so that any game with sales will basically be ad-free in this context, all while supporting BYOND. But, as with NEStalgia, we are very open and excited about working with individual games and surely we can come to a mutually beneficial arrangement (even if it is so simple as a one-off fee to create a standalone game). I have reached out to a few of the more popular games here and will do so more when this is ready. Feel free to contact us via support if you are interested in participating in this process.

  • Quite a few years ago now we promised a Flash version of BYOND. While we were able to get this into a pretty decent state and could have released it, some side issues ended up putting the whole system on the backburner. Recently we revisted this and opted to port it instead to HTML5 (using the very cool new Google Dart javascript replacement for you techies). It is actually a remarkably small piece of code, with the caveat that it includes almost no GUI support. The idea is that the web-version of BYOND will be more or less split from the existing, legacy version, with UI components completely designed (by the game developer) in html/javascript (or maybe something more modern like Polymer). Depending on how successful this is, we could then use this same system to embed these new BYOND games in standalone exes containing a single embedded browser component, mainly to support the client-server BYOND games you've all grown to know and love (as porting the server to a web-interface is essentially impossible).
  • One of the longstanding issues we've had in the development of BYOND is that it is built on some very old software. I was always adverse to updating this because, well, because it's just not fun standardizing 15+ year-old code. But recently we decided to take a crack at it and were able to update BYOND to a more modern compiler (VS2013 vs VS6 from 1998). While I doubt this will have a huge practical difference as-is, what it does allow us to do is start incorporating some more modern libraries. For example, one such request is to replace the usage of embedded IE-- which has a lot of compatibility problems-- with an outside library to give standardization. While this is not necessarily trivial, at least the option is now available to us, so hopefully you'll see some improvements down the line. We'll introduce the newer-compiler version of BYOND in an upcoming beta-cycle and we'll see how it goes from there.
That's all for now. Tell your friends about BYOND!
Despite BYOND being considered largely finished, this news is promising for our best year yet. Thanks again Tom, Lummox, for everything you do.
Amazing :D, great job.
I agree with everything already said here.
Very exciting news. To echo Ter: we all really appreciate your hard work and dedication to BYOND, Tom and Lummox.
I frankly think that NEStalgia could've done a better job with itself.
Despite advertising itself as a NES-esque game it did EVERYTHING wrong.
The music sounds wrong, the sprites are just flashy and aspect ratio is inconsistant, you get the idea.
But hey, this is not a NEStalgia topic so I'm pretty excited about the new code.
Regarding NEStalgia, I think every game is going to get criticism. I can tell you one thing that SilkWizard & his team did right though: they took advantage of opportunities to get the game exposure. Even if only 5% of gamers think your game is good, if you reach out to a million of them, you'll do OK! So I hope others follow this lead. We'll help!
Awesome! Great job and thank you as well. (:
They've definitely shown that it's possible to get out there, despite BYOND not being a well recognized engine.

Anybody who wants to criticize them for what they've done, should be welcomed to try their hand at doing better.

Congratulations to everyone involved, your hard work has paid off and BYOND can only continue to bloom!
I'm really excited that a game created on BYOND was greenlighted on Steam! That's definitely going to be a huge motivator for game developers on BYOND. It'll also be a great way to attract game developers to create using Byond.

Thank you Tom!

: )
Quite tired, so I may be misunderstanding this, but if I read this right, you wish to place ads on the standalone version as well..

While, financially speaking, this will be great for BYOND, but not so much for a game that gets a lot of attention. We've already had some posts and questions regarding the advertisements currently, but when you have a few thousand people trying out your game, you're gonna lose some over the fact that they have to sit out an advertisement.

Any way, is there any more news/advancements on threading and the like?
Well, the ads is a difficult decision because, basically, BYOND makes very little money for us and it is a way of keeping us in the loop. But if your game uses subs that go through BYOND, the cut of those subs will serve as credits in place of the ads (at a rate of perhaps $5/1000 ads) so that would be a mutually beneficial compromise. We could also probably just work something out where you could license the standalone system.

The threading is still a work in progress. Unfortunately it has proven to be much more difficult than we anticipated, but we'll have some better debugging in the next version. We're going to disable it by default and move the beta cycle to stable shortly, since there are features in the beta that we'd like to be released and only the threading bugs have been holding them off.
Debugging for threading or just in general?
For the threading.
In response to Tom
Tom wrote:
$5/1000 ads

That's pretty generous. So basically, what Tom's saying here, is that for every person that donates $5 to your game, they pay the way of the next 999 plays.

Let's say you have a game that's played by an average of 5,000 unique users per month, with an average of 10 connections per user per month. That's 50000 potential ads. Normally, BYOND would make somewhere around, what, $1 per 1000 ads? In order to have no ads for this period, you'd have to generate about $250 in revenue for that month.

In order to make $250 in revenue, you'd have to have 50 regular subscribers at $5. Essentially, your playerbase would have to have 1 subscriber for every 100 users. That's not a difficult goal to reach, considering in the downloadable world, 5-10% is totally doable. 1% is more like what you tend to get from the drive-by-mobile games.
Pretty cool news, thanks for the effort you guys at byond.

As for ads on the standalone, i'd want to think i could just pay a lump sum or the 5$/1000 ads off myself up to a certain amount before the game went live via the installer or byond initially. As i'm sure, if based purely on subscriptions, that at the start gamers would likely not yet be at a stage in a game to feel like subscribing, thus leaving such ads prevalent for at least the first flock of people to see, and that might perhaps be enough to ruffle the feathers of the important early visitors.
This would be why the option of prepaying for a set amount of time/numbers within which the game would stay ad-free, could be nice to allow one to wait until they thought subscriptions could take over.*

* I guess, though, this might already be something that is potentially negotiable under a 'mutually beneficial agreement', and if so then great! :D.
Good idea, Turboskill. Certainly we could have the dev purchase credits ahead of time, or we could possibly come up with a flat one-off fee. We could also pre-credit ads so that the dev has some time to fund the account if it is his intent never to show them.

Honestly, I don't like ads, but I had to come up with a way to keep us in the cycle because, unfortunately, the memberships don't really make enough (and I think the incentive of the memberships to disable the ads is one of the main reason people buy them in the first place). I like the idea of using subs because it is mutually beneficial-- the dev makes money and keeps his game ad-free, and we effectively make a little bit of money per player that can really add up (ad up?) for games that get a lot of traffic. I only want us to make money when you make money.
Tom and Lummox, I really appreciate the effort put into Byond and it's community. DM was the stepping stone I needed to acquire the fundamental skills required for general purpose programming.

Byond has made it possible for me to extend past DM into other languages, and has taught me to use the tools within each individual community to create my own dream no matter what it may be. I wouldn't be a programmer if it wasn't for my stop here, and there is no other place I'd have rather started.

As for NEStalgia, I congratulate Silk Games development team. My inspiration of success is inspired by their success.
A welcome update :)

Are you considering bringing in more volunteers to work on the project, something you said you've considered in the past?
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