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Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
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Esenthel Offline
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Post: #1
Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
Many times I am approached by people offering some payments if I implement some element in the engine that they want in first priority, most of the time people can offer like 30, 50, 100$, which is ok for simple features, but not enough for more advanced features that take more time, even though I know more users would take advantage of the feature as well and possibly would like to contribute as well.

In the age of crowdfunding sites like kickstarter/indiegogo, everyone can see that lot's of money can be gathered and invested into the growth of the product from those websites.

I was thinking of doing similar thing with Esenthel, however the crowdfunding sites.. I'm not sure if they are a good fit for a continuously developed game engine.
Mostly because in those sites you get different kind of perks/rewards depending on contribution, however there's no such perk I could offer in the engine.
Unless it's a perk like that:
For 10$ You get thanks from me!
For 20$ You get thanks++ from me!
For 100$ You get huge thanks from me!

Yesterday I had an idea about doing this through Esenthel Store, using a "Donation" system.

How would it work?
I'd put a few "most wanted" roadmap elements into the Store, like this:
-"Donation in favor of Hardware Instancing"
-"Donation in favor of Larger View Ranges with better performance"
-"Donation in favor of Advanced Occlusion Culling"
-"Donation in favor of more improved documentation/video tutorials"
-"Donation in favor of Name Some Other Must-Have"

Now people could donate (completely optionally, entirely up to you) anything from 10$.
All of the money that would be raised from all users for some feature would be displayed next to the item, like this:

-"Donation in favor of Hardware Instancing (raised 2$)"
-"Donation in favor of Larger View Ranges with better performance (raised 2.50$)"

Depending on amount of raised money (if decent amount is collected), I'd simply bump the most wanted element into top of the roadmap, and develop it asap.

In order for an element to be considered priority, it would need to reach some minimum amount of money, if it hasn't reached that minimum - then it won't be considered priority.

Each element would have a different "minimum amount".

If there are 2 or more elements at the same time that reached more than the minimum amount, then the one will be developed that gathered more income in total.

Just to be clear:
-all elements from the roadmap intend to be developed either way
-this system only allows You (the community, "the market") to decide which elements are decided to be developed first

What are the advantages:
-you get to decide about roadmap element's priority
-more income motivating even better work on the engine
-in case of substantial amount of income, perhaps even possibility of hiring new people
-there would be no time limits for a feature (your donated amount won't get "lost" because time limit ended or something)

What are the disadvantages:
-if you donate some amount into pushing development of an element to first priority, it still doesn't guarantee that will be the case, because other people could potentially donate more money into other elements, making them bigger priority, and the element of your choice would still need to wait
-donations are transferred immediatelly (not when reaching the "minimum value" like on kickstarter)

I'm just throwing out ideas, and I'm interested on the feedback.

Basically I'm trying to find ways to push Esenthel Engine into better and faster growth.

Thanks!

This idea was accepted so I am summarizing the rules here:
  • Upon finishing work on previous elements, I proceed to selecting new feature for development
  • Element from Esenthel Store, Contributions section will be considered top priority only if it has reached specified amount of money (that amount is described next to each element in the Store), if it didn't reach the goal then it won't be considered priority
  • If many elements have reached their goal at the moment of selection, then the one which has gathered most income in total will be selected
  • If at the moment no elements have reached their goal, then no elements are considered top priority, and what to develop next is chosen by me
  • In addition to development of top priority features (those that reach their goal) I reserve the right to also develop small and quick to be made features at the same time (this also includes bug fixes)
  • Even if an element reaches their goal, you still can continue contributing to it (which will motivate me to develop extra features for it, or will reduce chances of other elements being bigger priority)
  • As with all elements in the Store, contributions are not refundable, if for some reason it will turn out that a feature can't be developed for some technical reasons, then I will allow the contributors to transfer their contribution to another element in the Store
  • There are no time limits for contributions, you can also contribute any amount of times and any amount of money (min. 10$)
03-01-2013 02:16 PM
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Rollcage Offline
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Post: #2
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
I think it could be a good idea. I'm all for supporting the engine and it's development. I guess the question is, is the highest donated item the only one that is given priority or do lower donated items get priority after that one is complete? Also how to gauge if enough money has been donated to an item? It's almost like you need a limit (like in kickstarter) where this much has to be reached for x item or it won't be successful.

Is there a time limit? like 30 days or is it continuous?

I think:
When people give donations they should have to rank the features they want priority on instead of donating towards just 1 feature. This way if their highest priority doesn't "win" then the donations goes towards the highest donated item in their list.

smile
03-01-2013 02:35 PM
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rstralberg Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
Could be a nice thing. I bought the engine a couple of days ago so I would not donate tomorrow, but later perhaps grin

My Blog is at http://mrstralberg.blogspot.se.
Chat account Skype (rstralberg)
03-01-2013 02:42 PM
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Flexman Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
I'll be in line to show support. I'm thinking of buying in next pay day anyway.

But I'd buy into that. Although ALL the above things I'd like to see supported in the engine. Produced a roadmap that everyone can see, stick to it and ask us for some monies. If developers can see they are all going to get new toys...eventually...everyone will be more likely to rally around a single funding campaign. IMHO.

You can put contributors names in a header file comment smile Forever marking their contribution to ongoing development.

I'm not a regular user of the engine yet so I can't comment on priorities. But good luck and I'll be watching what happens.
03-01-2013 03:14 PM
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Esenthel Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
Thanks for the feedback guys smile I've updated my first post to include a bit more details.

Quote:I guess the question is, is the highest donated item the only one that is given priority or do lower donated items get priority after that one is complete?
Each element would have its own "minimum value", it will be considered as priority only after it has reached more than the "minimum value".
If it hasn't reached the "minimum value" it's not treated as priority yet.

Quote:Also how to gauge if enough money has been donated to an item? It's almost like you need a limit (like in kickstarter)
I'd need to specify the "minimum value" for each element in its description.
The difficult task for me would be to set a "right" minimum value.
Just an interesting fact, both kickstarter and indiegogo websites require that you specify a minimum value, however in indiegogo you can select an option in which you will get the funds even if you didn't reach the limit.

Quote:Is there a time limit? like 30 days or is it continuous?
There's no time limit, it will not expire or something.

Quote:When people give donations they should have to rank the features they want priority on instead of donating towards just 1 feature. This way if their highest priority doesn't "win" then the donations goes towards the highest donated item in their list.
I see you're taking this to the next level smile More advanced option, yeah it's interesting, but that would need some kind of more complex rules, and more complex coding on the Store side (javascripting, php), I'd like to avoid doing too complex system if that's possible.

(03-01-2013 02:42 PM)rstralberg Wrote:  Could be a nice thing. I bought the engine a couple of days ago so I would not donate tomorrow, but later perhaps grin
Yeah, I'm not trying to leech out money or something grin just trying to implement good business system for the better growth of the engine, that's completely optional to participate in.

Quote:You can put contributors names in a header file comment smile
Haha

Quote:I'm not a regular user of the engine yet so I can't comment on priorities. But good luck and I'll be watching what happens.
Thanks a lot, yeah I have deep passion for making it the best! smile
03-01-2013 03:45 PM
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Shatterstar Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
hmm...I would say send people an esenthel t-shirt if they donated 50 dollars or more, but i looked up the delivery on it. It would take around 600 pln...which is almost 200 U.S. dollars just for a two pound box with small dimentions to ship to the U.S. I can't believe it cost that much money for you to send something as small and simple as a t-shirt to the U.S. maybe if you made another small video game and didn't put it up for us to buy in the esenthel store yet...you could give that away as a reward for those that donated 50 dollars or more. is there some kind of way you could set up a special download just for them? also include the source code on that, and you'd probably get people from in here to donate as well. Also wasn't you making a game that had Oriental influences once...with like a ninja or something...I can't really remember. anyway, whatever happened to that?
(This post was last modified: 03-01-2013 03:52 PM by Shatterstar.)
03-01-2013 03:50 PM
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Scarlet Thread Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
That's a great idea. I love it. Personally, I don't think I need anymore reward for donations than some of the favorite features coming earlier than expected.
03-01-2013 04:56 PM
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Rubeus Offline
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Post: #8
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
I wasn't too fond of the idea, but I think Shatterstar was onto something. I like the t-shirt idea. It would be cool to buy them from the store, or as a reward for donating X or more towards a feature.
A flat rate box from the US to Poland is $24(I'm sure they will have a similar rate the opposite way), though, which is better that $200, but still not too feasible for a shirt.
03-01-2013 05:26 PM
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Rubeus Offline
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Post: #9
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
How many people are far enough along and in a tight enough crunch that they will be willing to pay another $100+? Most of the important things are high enough on the list that they will be done before the majority of games are ready for release.
That's why I think something tangible would work better. That way, it won't just be paying for something they will get eventually.
If it's just about raising money, why not do some store sales? Put up a limited time offer for some source codes, or a 2-for-1 deal or something. I'd probably buy some[more].

To be blunt, if I wanted to just give more money, I would have waited the 2 more days and paid the $150 price for EE2.0. I'm willing to support a company, but not for no return.
03-01-2013 08:22 PM
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Zervox Offline
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Post: #10
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
For many this isn't a no return, considering you have more of an say as to what reaches higher priority. And the roadmap trackrecord of time isn't exactly ideal to follow, considering alot of the features which are in the middle of the list were once almost on the top. Some of them are even almost at the bottom now.
Some has been there for years. Voxel Terrain(was once close to the top), has been there since I started using EE(just as an example) 3 years.

Not sure how many times for alot of the features on the Roadmap I was thinking, "Oh yes, finally he will start developing that feature after those two" only to see overtime the list got larger and larger and they dropped further and further down. wink
(This post was last modified: 03-01-2013 08:38 PM by Zervox.)
03-01-2013 08:32 PM
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Dalmat Offline
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Post: #11
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
Im in,

As soon as it starts the better, all of us would gain with this. I cant see how could this be no return?.. What we really need to know what would be the price range? I think that this community is large enough to gather smaller ammounts quickly..
Just go for it and see what happens..
(This post was last modified: 03-01-2013 09:03 PM by Dalmat.)
03-01-2013 09:02 PM
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knocks Offline
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Post: #12
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
This is a solid idea better than ideas previously discussed.
03-01-2013 10:19 PM
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Ozmodian Offline
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Post: #13
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
I think it is a great idea. I do game programming as a hobby and have found Esenthel has taught me a lot more than engines like Unity and Torque that I used previously. I am not sure how many other people here use Esenthel as more of a hobby but I certainly would donate to EE to support it and keep it growing. I would love to donate to getting more source code examples because I end up learning so much from those and it allows me to play with different things.

From the poll results so far, it is looking like people agree that this is a good idea. Good luck with it!
03-02-2013 12:07 AM
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gwald Offline
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Post: #14
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
That's a good idea but I wouldn't donate
After 'donating' we'll still be paying full price for v3.
And lets not forget the announcement of leadwerks v3!!! (from a $200 engine to a $3k)

You should work you're store, like Rubeus said or better still turn it into an eco system and let the community sell through it and you get 1/3 (see unity store).
Use coupons.

Quote:You can put contributors names in a header file comment smile
Haha
?? I actually thought it was a good idea!

I don't think you can accept donations being commercial, it's more sponsorship.
And sponsors should be acknowledged.

Yes, I would pay for API reference document that I can print smile

All the best esenthel

My Blog
http://www.esenthel.com/community/showthread.php?tid=6043

I hang out at Esenthel IRC Channel
http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=#Esenthel
03-02-2013 12:20 AM
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Scarlet Thread Offline
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Post: #15
RE: Question about Crowdfunding - Donation system
Imo I think there is nothing much to lose. Its not compulsary to donate and you dont get anything less than others if you dont donate... I.e. you will still get the features even if you dont donate.

I have the Esenthel logo so I can print my own tshirt for cheaper than it would cost EE to make and send them. Im here for an awesome game engine and not a fashion parade...

hehe but heck thats just my opinion and everyone is different..
(This post was last modified: 03-02-2013 01:08 AM by Scarlet Thread.)
03-02-2013 01:05 AM
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