ID:132213
 
I think as we are drawing closer to a presumed Flash client release date, it would be extremely helpful if somebody in the know could give us a list of the things that are probably NOT going to be possible in the new client.

* Custom interface files won't work - does this mean we get a map/info/output/input panel in the default 3.5 configuration? Map left, info/output right?

* Will any of the mouse functionality be restricted? Of course right-clicking is impossible (unless this has changed in Flash in the last few years), what about some of the more precise drag/drop methods?

* Will fps settings still work as they do currently? Will there be plateaus for fps (e.g. multiples of 5)?

Because we're (hopefully) so close to an early release, I'd really like to ensure my latest work is compatible right out of the gate, especially as it relates to complex GUI interaction with on-screen elements, and I'm sure many other folks are as well.

In addition, this information could be shared in a broader way (blog posts instead of a forum thread) to help set a baseline expectation and quell any potential disappointment from the reduced featureset.

Thanks for reading!


~Polatrite~
I'm very curious about this subject too. I would love for my project, Prism, to be able to use the Flash client, if possible. It would be easier to develop it knowing exactly what kind of limitations of the Flash client will impose, than it would be to try to modify the game after the fact.
As we get closer, I'll release a detailed post on the restrictions. I'm already behind on posts as I was supposed to post something about the new website changes, but since those are (hopefully) just about ready, I'll just do that with the release this week.

Basically, as of now, the Flash client supports the full map, mouse, and keyboard functionality and most of the output box (images-in-output don't work yet). Sound works but we have to keep looking into it as there are issues with using MP3 (which is what Flash does natively). Custom UI's don't work, and we've moved away from the 'verb' style inputs by eliminating verb-expansion and the right-click foo (which no one seems to care about anyway). Right now, there is no on-screen input bar so we expect verb parsing (mainly "say" to come in through the input() proc.

Basically, if your game is map-based, it should work with Flash. There are no intentional restrictions on fps or anything like that; of course we can't say for sure how performance will be until it's more thoroughly tested.
In response to Tom (#2)
Tom wrote:
Custom UI's don't work, and we've moved away from the 'verb' style inputs by eliminating verb-expansion and the right-click foo (which no one seems to care about anyway). Right now, there is no on-screen input bar so we expect verb parsing (mainly "say" to come in through the input() proc.

So the game will run as if no interface file exists and developers will have to make their own macro or something to open an input for users to input commands?

Better than nothing, I guess. But, I'll be waiting for more options myself. Map control, output, input, and the ability to modify them, at least.

If I may, I have a couple other questions.

Will a BYOND login be embedded into the client? Or will developers control that stuff themselves? Teridal currently has it's own login system, but, I would actually prefer to have people make/login BYOND accounts for simplicity and subs and what not. If BYOND key login is embedded, I can probably do away with Teridal accounts and I wont have to make my own subscription system and BYOND can continue to get a cut of subs.

You talked about embedding ads into the client. Have you decided what you're going to do? I really hope you do not embed ads. Embedded ads pay the most money and you'd be getting paid way more than the developers themselves (plus self advertising on the client, plus web advertising, plus a cut of subs, plus BYOND members), not to mention you take away the developers ability to embed the ads themselves.

But of course developers couldn't embed ads themselves if they didn't have access to the swf. So the next question is, will we have access to the swf? Will Dream Maker create the file so we can put it on our own website, Flash portals, and embed ads, so on?

Sorry for all the questions, but if this is all done correctly, a lot of money is going to be made, BYOND and developers both, so I need to know whether I should continue my DM work or not.
In response to Aaiko (#3)
Aaiko wrote:
So the game will run as if no interface file exists and developers will have to make their own macro or something to open an input for users to input commands?

Yeah, currently it just has a very simple interface with a map, a divider, and an output box. There is also a custom-splash screen. You can style the splash, output, and input (popups) to give your game a consistent feel.

Ultimately, I feel like the goal should be a pure map interface, which is becoming more possible due to better on-screen text support. That kind of interface is much easier for us to port, too (eg, for creation of an iClient).

Will a BYOND login be embedded into the client?

Yes! This is something SilkWizard also is big on, and it just makes sense for third-party game distribution. What I'm leaning towards is a javascript popup (perhaps custom-styled) that runs on our site for account registration/login but is somewhat transparent to the user. We could also handle things like subscriptions and medal-display this way.

You talked about embedding ads into the client. Have you decided what you're going to do? I really hope you do not embed ads. Embedded ads pay the most money and you'd be getting paid way more than the developers themselves (plus self advertising on the client, plus web advertising, plus a cut of subs, plus BYOND members), not to mention you take away the developers ability to embed the ads themselves.

I think embedded ads would be a good revenue stream. However, if we can generate income from other sources, we don't have to go that route. There are going to be issues with this sort of thing when we do off-site distribution. So I haven't really decided yet, no. I will say that if we do embed ads, they will be as unobtrusive as possible, only appearing on startup while the game is downloading resources from the server.

So the next question is, will we have access to the swf? Will Dream Maker create the file so we can put it on our own website, Flash portals, and embed ads, so on?

The swf will just be a generic file that takes a url argument and connects to the game. Depending on how much we open distribution, you'll be able to take this swf+url and put it on your own site or outside portals. For the first run, I was thinking of just keeping this stuff on our hub where it's easiest to monitor, but ultimately, yeah, the goal is to let people put their games anywhere. We can't really enforce it anyway.

For me, the main issue is making sure we are connected to the revenue stream. This project basically makes no money despite having a fairly sizeable community. A web client should bring in more users but that doesn't necessarily do us any good (and in cases can be bad) unless we can make money from them. NEStalgia and some other games have shown me that a percentage cut-- we're leaning towards the industry standard of 30% instead of the current $1+10% (although for the typical costs of BYOND games that's about the same)-- can actually be a decent form of income. If we can get a few "hits" exposed through this system, it might just be enough to sustain the project without having to resort to all of these other systems. If we could do away with ads and memberships, I would, because I don't think they are really a stable business model. However, right now they cover our costs and not much else.
In response to Tom (#4)
Tom wrote:
For me, the main issue is making sure we are connected to the revenue stream. This project basically makes no money despite having a fairly sizeable community. A web client should bring in more users but that doesn't necessarily do us any good (and in cases can be bad) unless we can make money from them. NEStalgia and some other games have shown me that a percentage cut-- we're leaning towards the industry standard of 30% instead of the current $1+10% (although for the typical costs of BYOND games that's about the same)-- can actually be a decent form of income. If we can get a few "hits" exposed through this system, it might just be enough to sustain the project without having to resort to all of these other systems. If we could do away with ads and memberships, I would, because I don't think they are really a stable business model. However, right now they cover our costs and not much else.

I want BYOND to make as much money as possible also, but I don't want to get undercut for my own work in the process. If BYOND goes out of business, I go out of business; or at least get stuck with what I got. But there needs to be enough money left after everybody takes their cut (BYOND, PayPal, US government) for using the service to make games to make business sense.

I know you really don't want to do this because of all the paperwork, but honestly, the best solution would be for BYOND to be the central hub of money and you take a cut. Bring BYONDimes back, handle subs and take a cut, and share ad revenue with the developers - get people to come to BYOND.com to play games rather than relying on outsourcing so much.
In response to Aaiko (#5)
Aaiko wrote:

I know you really don't want to do this because of all the paperwork, but honestly, the best solution would be for BYOND to be the central hub of money and you take a cut. Bring BYONDimes back, handle subs and take a cut, and share ad revenue with the developers - get people to come to BYOND.com to play games rather than relying on outsourcing so much.

I would love for BYONDDimes to be back, it made it easier to make money using BYOND when they were around. As for the advertising, I like that should be mostly up to the developer. You could make it so if they have enough BYOND Member supported features in their game, where people will want to get a membership, that their will be no penalty on the ad revenue of the developer and/or if they have a membership themselves. Then it's a win-win situation and everyone makes money.
In response to Zaltron (#6)
But Flash is dead ... We need HTML5, this is going to be pointless in a few more years...

[EDIT] BYONDDimes where great Tom I had over 1000 on my other account and since you got rid of them I lost that amount .. obviously
In response to A.T.H.K (#7)
Flash is not going to be dead for a long time. HTML5 will probably replace it at some point, but currently it's very difficult to do in HTML5 what Flash does easily. On top of that, Flash typically has better processing speeds.
In response to A.T.H.K (#7)
I think by a few, you mean like 5+, which is a good 1/3 of BYOND's life, but sure.

Not that we're knocking a HTML5 client, just there's no real waste in BYOND's choice of flash currently.
In response to Stephen001 (#9)
Stephen001 wrote:
I think by a few, you mean like 5+, which is a good 1/3 of BYOND's life, but sure.

Not that we're knocking a HTML5 client, just there's no real waste in BYOND's choice of flash currently.

It's really not a big deal to port the client once we have this all in place. Most of the work is just in the design and the protocol.
In response to A.T.H.K (#7)
A.T.H.K wrote:
But Flash is dead ... We need HTML5, this is going to be pointless in a few more years...

It's really not all that pointless because they're at least laying the ground-work for the network protocol for a minimal client, so clients in other languages or for other platforms later down the road won't take anywhere near as long. They'll be able to focus more on the issues specific to that language or platform than getting everything sent properly.

[EDIT] BYONDDimes where great Tom I had over 1000 on my other account and since you got rid of them I lost that amount .. obviously

I'm almost 90% sure that you can withdraw your BYONDimes from your wallet still. If not, I'm sure you can always use the support form and contact someone with the proper authority and they should be able to help you out.
In response to A.T.H.K (#7)
A.T.H.K wrote:
[EDIT] BYONDDimes where great Tom I had over 1000 on my other account and since you got rid of them I lost that amount .. obviously

We didn't get rid of them. They just can't be arbitrarily transferred around or purchased directly.
In response to Tom (#12)
Ahh well that sucks.
In response to A.T.H.K (#13)
Are any libraries / demos still around that even use BYOND dimes?
In response to Flame Sage (#14)
Pretty sure there aren't.
In response to Flame Sage (#14)
Flame Sage wrote:
Are any libraries / demos still around that even use BYOND dimes?

This system should of stayed in play... it would of been a minor cash grabber for BYOND, that being said if you sold a game "source" or "icons" to one person they could just release them in the wild, I suppose it is a win/win situation.
In response to A.T.H.K (#16)
My understanding is the micro-transaction mechanism meant people were inputting money from sources that then got back-charged, essentially making BYOND a loss, hence it was shut down as a payment mechanism.

This certainly continues to happen a lot with BYOND memberships, and contributes to the current yearly price we see.
In response to Stephen001 (#17)
That's a darn shame. I remember people being much more liberal with their dime spending back when they were around.

It's probably a lot easier to talk a parent into buying a chunk of game tokens rather than trying to get them to subscribe to each individual game.
In response to SuperAntx (#18)
SuperAntx wrote:
That's a darn shame. I remember people being much more liberal with their dime spending back when they were around.

It's probably a lot easier to talk a parent into buying a chunk of game tokens rather than trying to get them to subscribe to each individual game.

People were liberal with their dime spending because there were dimes in circulation and they had no worth outside of BYOND games. Unfortunately about half the dimes in circulation were purchased via fraudulent means. We literally didn't make a dime off this system. In fact, we lost money.

I agree that bulk token purchases make more sense, and from our POV it's better to get a single chargeback for $50 than five for $10. One thing we could do is bring back the option to fill your wallet, perhaps with a discount at larger (say > $20) amounts.
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