In response to Tom
Tom wrote:
The point is that everyone has their own idea of what is important.

What is important to BYOND, Tom? (And with less negativity about pulling the plug would be nice.)

Since we really do need to be making money, I've tried to look at things that could help in that direction but those have mostly been unsuccessful. For example, we put a great deal of work into this "credits" system because some users convinced us they would use it within their games, but really no one has.

First, Since the funding started your money making should have at least multiplied by 4 or even 5. How has that help?

Second, Personally, the "extra" clients should be just a side project. Hated the idea of the Flash client and as I guessed, it was a total failure and waste of time and money. Concentrate on DM, DS, DD and its VM. For instance, capability to ARM is better than to HTML5.

Third, catering to your users is good, perfect. But, how do the new possibly interested people know of anything current, new and coming? You mentioned "credits", I had to look for that on the reference!

BYOND needs to add a Features and a What's New page. Instead of clicking all the way here, at the page you should have a "What's New" page. Just below "Build your own net dream", that text should be bigger also!

"What's New" should also always be present, visible and available at every page. Next to "Community". Not Hidden on "Developers".

Its a link of excitement! What's New!? Features! Examples! Videos!(Tho not required.) Its the Link people go to get even more excited about the product!

And you know, I just thought about a "What's Beta" page, same thing but more out there than going with 2 or 3 clicks to find.

1 Click would take you to any place of instant importance.

And if you need some tips on how it would look, by information, well, http://www[dot]yoyogames[dot]com/studio/whats-new

A lot of our technology and site changes go the same way. I don't think people really understand what a tricky business keeping this all together is.

The site is not bad, but as mentioned above, it could be improved.

How about an updated Blue Book? A request I have asked for years and the last time I mentioned, in the style I mentioned, a lot of people agreed that it was a good idea.

Cater to your user base but don't forget that you supposedly want to add more users and instead of doing everything so indirectly, do your part. You have forgotten that. What was BYOND and Who is it aimed at? And how have you done better on that?

Obviously, I don't want BYOND to end. I still check the site every now and then. Sadly, its not exciting. The presentation of features is horrible and all in some wall of text. You, Tom, speak of updates so rarely that it feels like a life event. I want more.

BYOND can do better. You can do better.
The issue you've overlooked largely is that BYOND was running a deficit of about $4k a month in terms of commitments to employee wages, prior to the contribution bar. In most business scenarios, you can run that for a month, two months, then your employees rightly start moving off elsewhere. So BYOND should be developmentally dead already, really, by most conventional business logic. That's quite an important thing to understand, when addressing the topic of new features.

In BYOND's case, there's a particularly good working relationship, that's allowed that to continue much further than it ordinarily would have. The introduction of the contribution bar, and it's associated funds raised, help address that deficit. I think it would be rather facetious to suggest that the mere introduction of the contribution bar now means BYOND is proverbially rolling in cash.

So I think we should get those two points clear, before proceeding, because I'm feeling that a core part of your post is set against a backdrop that BYOND can do XYZ in terms of development, but simply isn't choosing to do so. Which is not the case. Tom's description of the platform as being essentially "feature complete" (regardless of whether you or I happen to agree) is a pretty accurate description of the state of play, developmentally.

So, when you take that all in account, you're left with a situation where-by there's not some vast amount of income to drive new developments with, and the platform is essentially mature, slow developing. Something akin to ... apache, perhaps. That sets your expectations (or, it should). You don't really place much expectation of new features on what's essentially a mature / service maintenance only platform.

So what would be a somewhat unreasonable expectation would be if say ... I was holding out for BYOND to produce an amazing new set of feature supporting native 3D rendering on clients. Being upset, similarly, that this feature hasn't been implemented yet, would also be pretty daft of me. If I need that in a platform, then clearly BYOND isn't the one I should be using, I should be looking elsewhere.

What would be reasonable though, is if my game plans happen to fit BYOND's development and deployment model well, but I'm finding ... the lack of ability to load up maps at runtime natively, is causing me problems. It would be reasonable to say "I could do with this to make X happen much better, what do you think Tom?"

You've gotta set these expectations properly and understand the context, particularly before you start lecturing about how the platform hasn't met them.


ARM vs HTML5, we can debate. But, we'll do that in a separate topic. There's a very good case to be made for a web client in general, that works for desktop and mobile devices.

Much of the rest of your post, would be addressing website, communication etc. To which, I somewhat agree, and maybe Tom does too. But, it's a bit below in the priority list, and against the backdrop as I've explained, you can see why it's not really happened yet.
One thing you guys should know is that the introduction of the contribution bar hasn't significantly improved our financial situation, because most of the contributions are just Memberships that people were buying before. Typically we were making about $3K per month prior, and now we'll have months where we do $4-5K (thanks mostly to a few very generous donations) but a lot where we don't. We do make some money from the pager ads (and I think this method scales nicely) but the website ad revenue has decreased a lot due to less site traffic. But, say in a good month we make $7K-- that is simply not a good long term goal for a project that wants to grow. It is perfectly fine to keep BYOND alive though.

I don't mean to be negative-- the hope is that one of these developments will take off and we will really get the spike in traffic we need to do well. But it may very well not happen, and I just want you all to know where we stand. BYOND is capable of doing a lot today and even if the site/hub were to go down, it would be fine (we would certainly find a way to allow users to transition keys). I want people to understand that when considering their own game development.
In response to Tom
Tom wrote:
I don't mean to be negative-- the hope is that one of these developments will take off and we will really get the spike in traffic we need to do well. But it may very well not happen, and I just want you all to know where we stand.

I've probably missed the reply somewhere, or it wasn't answered, I don't know. But probably worth asking.

Were things like Steam's software page, or other websites considered to be a possibility for BYOND to be added on? I am unsure about how much steam's software page is looked at, but with 6 million and over simultaneous steam users, I'm sure there's gotta be some in there that check it out. While waiting and hoping for the 'big push' is fine, smaller steps are usually a way to get closer to this bigger push. As I've learned first-hand in a lot of situations. Heck, I've even found an indie website that lists game makers and whatnot. Could even try and get added on that.

Any publicity is good publicity, if 10 people were to see BYOND on that indie website, we'd still have had a (Very minor) success.

Tom wrote:
I don't mean to be negative-- the hope is that one of these developments will take off and we will really get the spike in traffic we need to do well. But it may very well not happen, and I just want you all to know where we stand.

That's exactly my point. Your roadmap is highly dependent of your user base to do good for you. I'm not saying that's completely horrible. But, Where is the promotions from BYOND? How has the ease of use improved? What gets people here and stay here, using the software?

Efficiency and Presentation will help. And a complete up-to date newbie guide.

Someone needs to take a week and figure out how to make the site newcomer friendly and update the blue book.(EDIT: Did not meant that it would take a week to update the Blue Book, might take longer, maybe a month, I would guess.)

DM is supposed to be easier and about gaming, the target demographic would probably be around the early teens. If you want to grow you must make things incredibly easy to get their feet wet.

I don't think my advice, given above, is horrible, and it shouldn't really take much time to do, atleast the site stuff. And an updated guide, shouldn't be that much time consuming, a week or two? A month?? Make it an ebook then! Something easier to keep up-to date and give out easily. I'll pay for an official guide, because it follows the plan of BYOND. The promotion of building each persons own net dream.

Do also consider adding a "Made with BYOND" intro or something when games are loading. Maybe work a licensing model with that.

(And, I would have liked for you to answer my questions, Tom.)
take a week

I think you vastly underestimate how long that's going to take.
In response to Ter13
Ter13 wrote:
I think you vastly underestimate how long that's going to take.

Adding two pages to a website and two links of those two new pages to the main page should not take much.

A "What's New" page, simply mentioning BYOND's newest and stable features.(Pictures optional, but highly recommended)
Link next to "Community" above.

And a "What's Beta" page, stating what's being worked on and a road map. Link next to "What's New" above.

And two links, of those pages, below "Build Your Own Net Dream" from the main page. ->

Does not seem like much work. The gains should be better than the cons, that's for sure. Lowers clicks and time to information. Shows that things are being worked on, easily.
Improves presentation and efficiency. And creates excitement.

That sounds more reasonable than your first wording of said feature. I agree that an up-front "What's new" and "What's upcoming" announcement on the pager and site would have some desirable results.

Updating the blue book, though, would take a lot of time.
In response to Ter13
Ter13 wrote:
That sounds more reasonable than your first wording of said feature. I agree that an up-front "What's new" and "What's upcoming" announcement on the pager and site would have some desirable results.

Updating the blue book, though, would take a lot of time.

I have to agree with what you mentioned that I wrote, my first post I did put a higher estimated time for the Blue Book. But, didn't on my second post. My bad there. I'll fix.
Everyone here is being nice to Tom.
I do agree with the addition of those pages, but as for the Blue Book and things like it... I honestly feel that should be done by the community. It has been mentioned many times, it is entirely within the communities ability, so why put the weight on BYOND? Granted, if it is done, and done well, then it'd be worth asking Tom to fully support it and feature it the way the Blue Book and such is, but that's the most he should be Required for.
In response to 2DExtremeProductions
2DExtremeProductions wrote:
Concentrate on DM, DS, DD and its VM. For instance, capability to ARM is better than to HTML5.

I missed this remark last time. Until you understand what HTML5 actually is, you probably shouldn't suggest that it's not the right approach.

ARM is a processor instruction set used primarily by smartphones and tablets.

HTML5 is a modern javascript-powered interpreted web-deployment platform... That runs on ARM as well as x64/x86 through various cross-platform browsers.

The suggestion that HTML5 is a mistake in favor of a mobile version is... Well, frankly a little questionable.
I understood and understand what ARM and HTML5 is.

HTML5 just isn't as performant yet, and Web Audio is not "there" yet.

Now, if we could package it with PhoneGap or a similar solution, that would be great. Is that in the plan?

Now, going the LLVM route...that would be something far better. (If my understanding of LLVM is correct.)
HTML5 just isn't as performant yet

As... What? ARM isn't an alternative to HTML5, which I think is what you are missing. They aren't comparable things at all. IOS doesn't toast bread as well as my toaster oven. That doesn't mean that it's a relevant observation.

EDIT: Isn't phonegap just a dishonest monetization scheme for inserting ads into other peoples' crappily written apps?

And what possible benefit could BYOND get from LLVM? Do you really think we're going to be running BYOND servers on our smartphones? We're talking about getting a web presence first and foremost.
As ARM/Native application.

Those "types" of "things" like PhoneGap, package the web app to be able to run it as if it where a native app, then you could use native API's also.

It would run "everywhere" natively.(With the required changes, of course.)

You can cryptocoin mine from a smartphone, why not run a lil game server?

And, I know.
Well, it's just of less value than a HTML5 client, as the HTML5 client offers web presence across platforms in general, and removes the install dependency we presently have for people looking to play BYOND games. So that is pretty much a no-brainer, in terms of being the first thing to develop.

That works in some form or other without need of extension on Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android.

For PhoneGap to work, you'd ... well, need the HTML5 client first.
The only way that its more value added with HTML5 > ARM is because of the web app packagers that exist, which lets you target the Apps stores. At least presently.

Tho, I didn't complain about HTML5. I see it as a good move.

Actually, I wish the developers would talk more about it all...

(And, I'm in a hurry and can only respond to these short messages and not the other thread.)

I think the point of contention is you seem to be proposing BYOND does an ARM port first, not a HTML5 client implementation?

Which seems to be neglecting the current "download and install" barrier to entry on Windows, the lack of playability on Macs etc also, which the HTML5 client addresses, but an ARM solution wouldn't. And those are two fairly big issues, definitely in the context of getting wider availability within PC / Mac markets. In fact the install barrier is perceived to be one of the bigger issues for smaller games, the kind BYOND game developers tend to produce being one-man teams.

Mobile apps in general implies you need to handle the touch-screen input aspect also, which BYOND /can/ do, but developers on BYOND (present or near future) won't have considered in their design, so less of our catalogue of both new and existing games translate well to mobile apps.

It just doesn't make sense to try for an ARM port first.
Last I heard wasn't the Flash client just a few hundred lines of code?

Why not document the protocol so we can make our own clients, and let the community deal with porting to ARM?
If "download and install" is such a barrier, can you explain the popularity of every other app in existence?

Gamers from the "hardcore" to the "casual" are used to installing software, everywhere, from phones to computers. Who is this "feature" aimed at?

I'm not saying its ^not^ a nice thing to have, I'm saying its just that, a nice thing to have.

Stephen001 wrote:
but developers on BYOND (present or near future) won't have considered in their design

Once again the main point that I have mentioned comes up.
What is BYOND doing to fix it?

To make money, you need games. To make games, you need developers. To make developers, you need to eliminate the barrier of entry completely.

BYOND, the software, has improved, no doubt about that. But the barrier of entry increased.

"Easy to get started" was forgotten. And that's what brings developers, games, players and money.

Update the guide. "Hand hold" people towards using the features. Tom said that BYOND is feature complete. Finish this awesome update and concentrate on bug fixing and teaching. Getting more developers is the "market" of an engine.

(Edited: Forgot the "not" above.)
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