Subnet Solution


This article is a follow up to >this one<, in which I expressed moral and technical problems that emerged while creating a HD version of Submachine Universe. Go read that one if you haven’t, it’ll make this one more cohesive.

First of all – thank you guys for all your comments, opinions and suggestions on what I should do in this situation. You really helped me to see the way. That’s why I’m doing this the way I am. I don’t want to keep you in suspense, so here’s what will happen and I’ll delve into the details afterwards.

I’ll be releasing Submachine Universe HD for free, as a downloadable game for PC and Mac OS X. It’ll be available to download just as my newer games, created in Game Maker on my website.

– From that point on, the Subnet will be updated regularly with new content on that free HD, downloadable version. These expansions will also remain free of any charge.

– Current small-windowed, online browser version therefore becomes obsolete and will be removed. You lose ability to play it in the browser, but you gain so much more, believe me.

– If you still want to pay for it, then please hold on to your money and spend it once my Big Game hits Steam. That will be exponentially more valuable than buying the Subnet right now.

Ok, Mateusz, that’s all great, but… WHY?!

I hear you ask, and just hold on for a minute, I’ll explain everything. Well, maybe not everything, like the meaning of life (32), but I’ll try to shed some light on why am I going with a solution that wasn’t even on the table in that previous article.

– Firstly and most importantly the Subnet was created for fans and in part by fans. As much as I hate the word “fan” as it doesn’t apply most of the times, here it actually kind of does. I’m talking about people who like Submachine so much, that they spend time writing theories about it, draw their own machines, locations etc. Some of them even created 3D renderings and real life models of parts of Submachine. As I said before, I can’t imagine this project stripped of that user-generated content. It would  be like ripping the heart out of it, and without it the Subnet is nothing more than bunch of empty rooms. All those people were making their contributions to the free version, and the only way to honor that is for the Subnet to remain free. As long as it is community-enhanced project, it has to stay free. So that settles the money issue right there.

– Secondly this move gets rid of the version multiplication problem. This one is more technical, but equally important to me. This solution allows me to keep the Subnet in just one version. No need for separate free, HD, enhanced, patreon-only or legacy builds. All reverted to the one and only free HD.

– Thirdly (thirdly?… Is there such a word?…) – let’s go back to your comments and suggestions. Most of you opted for the Steam solution, meaning recreating entire project in Game Maker and publishing it on Steam in due time. And I will, but that due time is probably several years from now, as I want to release my Big Game on Steam first, and then maybe go back to porting old stuff to it. And Steam version of Subnet will be drastically different from what we have now. That Steam version will have a price on it, so it probably will become a normal game, a large one, but stripped of user-generated content, rearranged and basically – completely new. But that’s ok, this current version of Subnet will remain free even then.

– Moreover, Steam version would mean abandoning current, Flash HD version. Which would be kind of sad, as I worked hard so it looks good. I just can’t toss it aside without sharing it with you. So once again, while selling it to you would be shady,  I can share it for free without any problems. I know some of you have been waiting for that HD version for a long time, and now postponing it another couple years when it is actually ready to be released seems kind of heartbreaking.

So…When’s the release date?

So here it is. A clean solution to all problems. Seems too good to be true, right? But you guys deserve this to be free as, in part, you’re responsible for it as well. I’ll be releasing the HD Subnet right after I finish two more locations for you to discover, which are kind of half-done.

You can wait a bit longer, right?

Cool.

See you later then.



Subnet Dilemma


Here’s the deal.

The Submachine Universe HD is actually ready and I’d be able to put it up in my shop even tomorrow. However, there are several non-development related problems with the idea of selling it.

~~~~

Problem 1: Creation of parallel versions of the Submachine Universe.

The first and biggest hurdle is that such a release would create a net of parallel universes of Submachine.  You see – all previous games I released were all done and finished. This one is not. It’s an open project, and I don’t mean it’s unfinished. It’s just open for future expansions, it always has been, it’s being expanded since 2010 up until this day. Yes, I changed something today in it. In it’s HD version, that is. The one that actually resides on my hard drive. I added main menu and in-game menu. You can control music, sound effects, window mode and so on. That’s because it’s fit to act like a standalone application. And here’s the issue. By releasing the HD version I’d be splitting the Subnet existence into two identities – the free online version, and the HD, paid version. Since I stepped away from flash, Subnet remains my only project that I still go back to in flash. I moved all other game design to Game Maker last year. This project is the only living reminiscence of previous era. But I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to maintain two different versions of it at once. You see, the online version differs from the HD version. Releasing the HD would have to mean abandonment of the free online. I’m not sure that’s what you guys would want.

~~~~

Problem 2: Inevitable Steam version in the future.

Moreover, I feel that in time all Submachines will have to end up on Steam, which means they will have to be recreated in Game Maker (or some other, non-flash engine I’ll be sporting by then). That means a third version of  it would be created. And by then, previous, flash versions of Subnet would have to be abandoned as well. You see where I’m going with this? Releasing the HD version now creates more problems down the way and also renders the free online version obsolete. The problem really is with it’s ability to expand. If it was jut a simple game – no problem there. I’d just create a legacy build of a finished game, release it and move on. But here, things are different. Creating new version means future expansions will be created on that new version, previous ones are obsolete. I feel, I’m repeating myself here, but that’s the most important issue I’m  tackling here, that the online version would have to be abandoned.

~~~~

Problem 3: Simultaneous selling and giving out for free doesn’t make sense.

Adding to that, I’d also have to leave behind my terrible, terrible politics of trying to sell you something, and at the same time giving it you for free. I explained that before, I felt like you guys deserved free versions of all Submachines from main story line up until the end of main series, just because that’s the way the series started. As free online. However, during those 10 years monetisation profile changed several times, but this philosophy haven’t. Up until Submachine 10, you can play all these games free online, even as that model doesn’t generate any income for me anymore whatsoever. But now? It would be completely idiotic for me to try to sell you Submachine Universe with all it’s free upcoming updates that can go on forever, and at the same time give it for free. Again, we’re back to the subject of it being an expandable project. I can’t give it for free anymore. Therefore, releasing the HD version would mean the end of free online. So I ask once again – are you guys ready for this? I’m not sure I am.

~~~~

Problem 4: User generated content.

There’s also another problem. Submachine Universe utilizes content created not by me, but by fans of Submachine. I’m not sure whether they would find it fine for me to sell this project.

First and foremost I’m talking about Submachine theories, all written by players trying to get the hold of this whole Submachine mess. Besides theories, the project also has fans’ drawings, photographs, maps, schematics, 3D renderings and so on. So the question is: should I be allowed to sell all of this as a part of my game, or not? Should I remove all user-created content from it and replace with something I’ve written myself? That would be like ripping the heart out. Again, I’m torn on this. Need your opinion.

And here it is. All issues related to the release of Submachine Universe. There are several paths I can take from here, I’d like you to chime in and tell me what’s your thoughts on all of this.

~~~~

Solutions:

What can I do:

  • Business smart: release HD version now, effectively abandoning free online version. All future updates would appear on that paid version;
  • Legacy and free expansions:  release HD version as a legacy build, but keep updates free online, meaning the project would expand for free, but paid version would be frozen in time and left for dead.
  • Steam option: don’t release HD version now, wait until I’ll be able to create Game Maker version and drop it on Steam alongside all other Submachine games as one combo pack;
  • do nothing: keep things as they are now, which means project stays free online as is, Subnet HD stays on my drive and no one ever sees it.

And that’s all. As you can see the problem is a bit more complicated than one might think.

On the other hand, I might be overthinking all of this.

What do you think?

Let me know, the future of the Universe depends on it!



Seaweed begins


 




2016 wrap-up


Ok people, let’s do this. I know it’s a bit late this year but there’s an explanation. Hear me out. For no particular reason I decided to fight Apple tooth and nail in order to create legal and legit Mac OS X builds of my games from 2016 by becoming a certified Apple developer and I also decided to do it right after New Years. Why not. After banging my head against the wall for next few days I finally managed to do it, with help from much more skilled friend (thanks, Mike). Skilled, as in: more apt in deciphering what exactly it is that Apple wants you to do now: pay up, jump the hoop or roll over. Now that it’s done, and it’s a REAL milestone in my book, the only regret I have is that I can’t put it on my to-do list for 2017. Because… it’s already done. Oh well.

Let’s look back at 2016.

(more…)



Mac OSX games now available


Hey Mac OSX users! Finally some good news from me!
I managed to become a certified Mac Developer, which means I can bring you totally legit and legal versions of my games created in 2016. In other words: Happy New Year!
Before I let you go, there’s one important thing I have to say:

If you are on Mac OSX Sierra (the newest one) and these games are not working for you, there’s a simple solution. Just move those game files from Downloads to Applications. That fixes the problem and everything works fine.

Also: 10 Gnomes is a big file (all those photographs, you know), please give it some 5 seconds to load properly before deciding it’s not working at all…
Than You for your time and, well, here are all four .zip files for you:

Mission to the Sun
Mission to Earth
10 Gnomes in Pothia
Where is 2017?


Where is 2017?


download the game (PC and Mac)

let’s play: MarshmallowMatt

 



Mission to Earth


download the game (PC and Mac)

this is the last game in this series. it reflects the first one. It’s like poetry, it rhymes.



10 Gnomes in Pothia


10g_pothia_600

download the game (PC and Mac)

watch movie from location



Mission to the Sun


mission_sun_scr_1

download the game (PC and Mac)

5 reasons why Mission to the Sun is more important than you think!

Here we are. Mission to the Sun (MttS for short). The game that has become a meme over the years. The game that I’ve been putting on my yearly to-do list for… let me check… last four years. Yep, it’s marked as plan-B on my 2012 wrap-up (alongside another game from this series: Mission to Earth). Would you believe, that previous “mission” game was released four years ago. That was during the 2012 game creation madness, when I set out to create one small game every month. Those were the days… However, there were some heavy hitters in the meantime, like gigantic Daymare Town 4 and two last games from the Submachine series, the last one taking whole of 2015 to finish. And those “mission to…” games were being pushed to the side. However,  creating those games was a part of a bigger plan, namely finishing up my 10-year long adventure with Adobe Flash.

  1. Finishing up the Flash era. This game was kind of destined to be the transitional one since all those years back. My last (as in: the Last) game made in flash was Submachine 10 – for multiple reasons, one of them being I didn’t want to abandon people still playing flash games online right before the big conclusion to the series. That wouldn’t be right. However – after that was done it was time to move on. And here’s where MttS stepped in.
  2. Being my biggest gamedev experiment to date. Yes. As I was switching from Flash to Game Maker – it was obvious that before going big and bold – I’d need to create something small just to test things out, or to check whether I’m even able to do anything in the new software. Remember – I’m just an old fart used to comfy surroundings of Adobe Flash, switching to Game Maker could’ve been a fiasco.
  3. Being a successful endeavour, proving I can still do it. That’s right. It can be just a little avoider game, but to me it’s so much more. Now, knowing what I know about this new software, I can move to larger projects.
  4. Opening door to larger projects. Coming up next – new 10 Gnomes game. Some might argue that mechanically gnomes are way easier than MttS, and you would be right, however time-consuming-wise gnomes will take much more work. I already have the engine for gnomes, that wasn’t that hard, but now, adding about 70 locations and gnomes to them – that is a hard, blue-collar work right there. Ok, maybe I went a bit overboard with that blue collar, but still, lots of work to do. After that I’m taking on something that will create foundations for the inevitable big game – the platformer.
  5. Creating foundations for the big game. Right now, after finishing creation process of MttS I feel I can tackle something bigger and more complex. I’m still learning the language of Game Maker, I know that the code of MttS is a mess, but that’s why I still have three more games to do this year, to polish my skills and become prepared for what’s to come in 2017.

So this is it. This game was very important in my gamedev life, while still being so small. Do not underestimate the importance of this game. And go play it. Again: fun times ahead. Three more games this year.

You can help me create more games via donations on Patreon.



Submachine watercolor #4


sub_water_04


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