Mar 20, 2023 at 1:05pm #215581
I’m unsure if this has been asked previously, but here it is again. Ralf, do you have a Patreon or other means of providing continual support for Vorpx? The single price seems like I’m getting a whole of stuff for not a lot of money. Besides, single-price software invariably dies when market saturation is reached. I would like to see Vorpx continue being actively developed, so if I can contribute somehow, I would gladly do so.Mar 20, 2023 at 2:06pm #215583
I’m not really a fan of Patreon for software and similar things. It absolutely has its place for podcasters, Youtubers, artists in the broadest sense in general who rely on an audience of some kind. In my personal coordinate system providing software falls in a different category though. Probably the biggest issue being updates, locking even bug fixes and maintenance releases behind a monthly payment just doesn’t feel right. Never say never, but unless at some point I’m forced to do that, I won’t consider it. I don’t claim to be the good Samaritan next door, but that has always been too cynical for my taste. Doubly so for vorpX, where game updates can break things anytime.
There will be some form of license renewal in the not too distant future though. 10 years of completely free support (for those who bought 2013) on the other hand is indeed way more than what was originally planned.
I’m currently weighing a few options and have to see what is easiest to implement. Either 18-24 months free updates and then a paid upgrade at a reduced price or alternaticely 3-4 years of free updates and a full new purchase after that. Financially the same, what it will be in the end will depend on what is easier to do with the current licensing/store implementation.
There probably will be a handful of people who got so accustomed to free stuff over 10 years that I’ll have to deal with a few inevitable complaints, but in the end hopefully everyone will come to the realization that free updates forever are just not a reasonable thing to expect. Especially not for something like vorpX, where a version purchased 10 years ago would be completely useless by now without continuous updates.Mar 20, 2023 at 9:57pm #215588
Honestly, Ralf, I don’t think anybody can logically complain about paying an upgrade fee for a major version release. With that said, I can understand when people get angry after paying the upgrade fee, and the new version is just a bug-fix release. This is where it gets tricky, the aforementioned anger is understandable on a surface level, but in reality, they are paying for another 12 months of rolling updates.
As you’ve mentioned, Vorpx requires constant updates in order to maintain ‘lights on’ with existing games. So if they stop paying, eventually the games that once worked will stop working, this could be viewed as a bit of a shafting too!
My two penneth:
I’m a firm advocate of the pay-what-you-can philosophy, some people just can’t afford to pay money for software. Acknowledging this and giving it to them for free is a nice thing to do but will also gain you a cheerleader, not only in them but any reviewers that pop along. On the other side, some people will be doing OK at work and want to pay more than the asking price.
I would suggest this approach, pay-what-you-can with the option for one-off donations and/or recurring payments. I genuinely think this will generate more money by simply opening the software to a wider audience. I’m not sure how the profiles are made, could these be created by the community (aside from copying another profile of course). There are loads of people out there that would definitely get involved in creating new content for Vorpx if they can. I digress.
My personal experience with Vorpx has been awesome. In the short time I’ve had Vorpx I have already lined up loads of old games which have been given a new lease of life thanks to VR and/or immersive mode. Deus Ex – awesome. Dying Light 1/2 – yes! Cyberpunk – Judy! Days Gone – eternally grateful. All of these feel totally different now. Thanks to you and Vorpx’s Immersive Mode, my games catalogue has more or less doubled in size. I have some spare cash, so I want to give extra to keep this train rolling. I suggested Patreon because services such as that mitigate any technical limitations.
There are other mods out there that add stereoscopic rendering or VR to flat games, but they all require you to edit the game files or run through some obscure instructions. I think Vorpx could become the one-stop shop for VR/Immersive mods. This would require it to become more community driven though if external developers such as myself could be given the ability to add profiles for new games, we would have Week 1 support for most games.
Just a thought. The bottom line is that Vorpx is great and I, like many others, would like to support you/it.Mar 20, 2023 at 9:57pm #215589
Sorry, I didn’t realise how long that rant was, I’m pulling a late one at work, and I’m a bit wired from the coffee.Mar 20, 2023 at 10:15pm #215591
Thanks for the super nice ‘rant’! The forum software considered it spam first, but I could salvage it before it was gone. As an additional way of support maybe Patreon is worth thinking about, but as a sole way of distribution it just isn’t what I want to do.
Patreon is absolutely the right tool for artists, podcasters, YouTubers etc. But for selling software, and that’s what it is in the end, it’s just too close to today’s rental models because you pretty much force your customers (or followers if you like) to pay for even the smallest update or bug fix. Not my thing. Although I’m slowly starting to get old, so maybe it’s just me. ;) What looks like cynicism to me, apparently looks way nicer to others for some reason.
When I did more 3D and GFX work than programming back in the day, I happily paid Adobe, Autodesk etc. hundreds of Euros each year for updates, thousands in case of Autodesk actually, but the moment they decided it’s a good idea (which business wise it probably was) to enforce that via a subscription, I was out right away. Would feel odd to do something fairly close to that myself now…
If you want to invest some time creating profiles, shoot me a mail to support at vorpx com, I can help with that. Would be awesome.Mar 20, 2023 at 11:36pm #215592MarcDwonnParticipant
I’m not one to write long posts. But i want to say that i’d gladly pay for an upgrade from time to time. It would be well deserved. With vorpX i’m getting experiences that no other software can get me.
Maybe those updgrades will some day come with an improved documentation, and maybe one day the Z3D part could be more accessible for user profile creation? These are some of the things that i’d like to see anyway. But i digress, sorry. :)Mar 21, 2023 at 7:27am #215593adzterParticipant
No software I own (predominantly music DAW sw & plugins) have ever come with perpetual updates.
When there is a new version that offers new & improved features, every user has a choice. You can keep using the sw you own as is and pay nothing. Or, if those new features have value to you, you pay an upgrade fee. Makes sense to me.
The new desktop viewer, alone absolutely falls into that category imho. Not to speak of the other improvements.
Which reminds me, Ralf. Is there an ETA on the next BETA? Very keen to try it out!Mar 21, 2023 at 10:12am #215594
I’ll be a bit more careful this time, but if nothing important comes up that requires more time, it will be out later this week.
Disclaimer: just like last time there always may be some last minute showstopper, so consider beta release dates something that may get delayed any time.Mar 21, 2023 at 3:37pm #215602RJK_Participant
If i may throw in a thought about “Donations”.
On my webpage, i have many visitors every day. I couldnt really say i am unimportant for many people using the VorpX Gamelist, the Game Engine Comparison or looking for informations for one of another of my 630 vorpx profiles. I regularily get emails with questions about the above and suggestions for new games to fix. In the past say 5 years ive got altogether maybe 5 donations from Vorpx Users, even my website has a nice “Donate” button. I spoke to other “devs” and they experience just the same. Not that i do not appreciate the 5 or 10 Euro from a user and would never complain. Its just the truth that 99,9 % of the people will never donate thinking everything in the web must be free. And i do understand that very well too, its just not possible to donate for every software one downloads from the web. Youlld probably become poor doing so.
For a professional like Ralf it wouldnt be good advise to “hope for some money” on patreon or whereever. Doing so could turn out quite embarassing too like for example only 7 users decide to support VorpX at the end this way even Vorpx has thousands of users. You never know! Just some thoughts …Mar 21, 2023 at 3:45pm #215604
Brief addition from me, typically belongs to my replies when a similar topic comes up, but forgot it this time:
If you use a user profile from an author that has a donation link in the description, consider donating to the profile author. What RJK_ describes above is indeed somewhat embarrassing, guys. You can do better than that. :)Mar 21, 2023 at 4:59pm #215606mr_spongeworthyParticipant
A complex subject for sure. I could see several routes, and am personally happy to pay a bit more for vorpX over time. Nobody here wants to see vorpX go the way of other 3D products. As a general rule I dislike subscription software, and even though it does make those companies plenty of $, it also drives away a lot of potential future users, as well as a lot of long-time users. Take Adobe as an example; no longer a part of any workplace I’m associated with, but was at one point absolutely dominant. Users have moved to products like Pixelmator Pro, which may not offer 100% of the functionality, but offer a very compelling feature set in a product that can be purchased for a reasonable price and then maybe have a small upgrade cost on a major revision only.
I’ll try to keep my thoughts brief (hahahahaha, right…)
1) Charge a small amount per-game for the profiles users actually use. It could be built into the vorpX client (a real PITA I bet). So a customer has bought the base product for a reasonable price, and if they don’t really use it for many games they aren’t out a lot more $. You could include an ‘out of the box’ base number (100?) of supported games, and then charge for the additional profiles. The user would click the game title, see “Basic Z3D Profile for Starfield: $1.99”, or “Advanced G3D & AFR support for Starfield: $5.99” or something like that. Enter the card data (have it stored) and *bang* they’ve got the profile. You could even figure out a way to monetize profiles created by users, IF they wish to take part. If RJK builds 10 perfect G3D profiles, maybe 50% goes to Ralf and 50% to the profile creator when a users buys a customer-created profile? You get the concept. (I expect implementation of this might really suck though.) This would also be a way for Ralf to feel like he isn’t wasting his time refining profiles, since those profiles would immediately produce at least a small return. (I would be happy to pay for perfected G3D profiles for games that already have Z3D only, or a less-than-perfect G3D experience.)
2) Charge for major product upgrade cycles. So much simpler than my first suggestion, but with some downsides. For example, no matter how good your product is, some people will have problems with the new revision, and/or simply like the prior version better for whatever reason. These people will be VERY vocal about their dislike to the new version they “paid for.”
3) Charge a very small subscription fee for a certain tier of the product only. For example, maybe all Z3D profiles are included, but all more advanced profiles (G3D) are subscription based. IMHO this would have to be a fairly low price-point as people are getting overwhelmed with subscription services of all kinds.
@RJK: I’ll try some more of your profiles if you get time. I admit that I notice rendering issues that many people overlook or just don’t seem to care about. I would be *overjoyed* to find properly working G3D profiles of some titles (no shadow issues, no disabled shadows, no lighting issues, etc.) If I use some profiles that work really well I’m absolutely happy to donate. If I haven’t donated already it’s probably because I haven’t found a G3D profile that works as I wish for any title for which I needed one.
@Ralf: You are basically the last 3D solution out there for old 3D systems as well. I know you’re full-speed-ahead into the VR experience, but there is an untapped / abandoned market out there. Add a few more G3D profiles and more 3D modes for old displays and projectors, and hopefully the word will get out in those communities that used to rely on other products.Mar 21, 2023 at 5:17pm #215607
Just to be clear before this turns into a ‘will vorpX die?’ discussion: there is no reason for any such fear. Wouldn’t have been possible to provide a decade of free updates if vorpX had been at the verge of collapsing at any time, obviously. At some point there has to be some monetization of updates though, that was planned way, way earlier originally. Since the OP asked a related question and incidentally I’m currently weighing more concrete options anyway, I considered this a good opportunity to slowly prepare you for the unthinkable. :)
As far as the VR focus is concerned: that’s what vorpX has always been about. S3D output has been added because some of you wanted it. Maybe there will be a few extra output modes at some point that are currently missing, which would be easy enough, but not more. Unless something fundamentally changes in regard to popularity of S3D-gaming again that’s how far as I’m able to take things.Sep 2, 2023 at 6:21pm #217384ithilienxParticipant
Lately, I often have the same thoughts about chipping-in more for your software. Vorpx is the only reason I keep playing Elder Scrolls Online. I even thought of getting another copy and installing on my other computer just to contribute. The improvements over the years have resulted in near perfection. It is so much better quality/experience from earlier versions and I look forward to updates.Sep 5, 2023 at 9:14pm #217464DemuseParticipant
Personally, when I upgraded to a new PC and a new VR headset, I paid for a new copy of vorpX. That felt like the least I could do. Still a ridiculous bargain for the number of hours of enjoyment.
I’ll pay $90 CAD for a new game but only if it works with vorpX. Ralf deserves a piece of that, for every game I buy. If I could tip $5-10 for each new game I play that works well, that would have added up to hundreds of dollars by now. I’m embarassed to do the math on how many hours of my life I’ve spent with vorpX, but it’s measured in thousands.
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