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tonywob

Payware/Freeware

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I'll reserve judgement once I see some reviews of the product, but regarding the price, I have to agree, as an unknown developer, $70 is priced far too high. My guess is they've seen how desperate people are for better weather in XP10 (Just read almost every "Should I buy XP" thread) and have priced accordingly. 

 

Either way, it looks like some people will pay this to support a new developer which is a nice gesture, but it really makes me question continuing to write freeware  :Tounge:

 

Edit: This thread was split from this topic http://www.avsim.com/topic/496459-enviroweather-revolution-for-xp/page-2#entry3496845

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but it really makes me question continuing to write freeware

 

Specially when it is so high quality like your World2XP, without which XP10 would never look as it can... Same for Andra's mesh, and PilotBalu's OSM sceneries...

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I'll reserve judgement once I see some reviews of the product, but regarding the price, I have to agree, as an unknown developer, $70 is priced far too high. My guess is they've seen how desperate people are for better weather in XP10 (Just read almost every "Should I buy XP" thread) and have priced accordingly. 

 

Either way, it looks like some people will pay this to support a new developer which is a nice gesture, but it really makes me question continuing to write freeware  :Tounge:

personally i have always wondered why you dont go premium.  leave the old version for free if you want, and charge for the current one. For that you can offer support and maybe write an installer/host the files. At the end of the day 30-40 dollars for something that i use on every flight is a bargain.

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personally i have always wondered why you dont go premium.  leave the old version for free if you want, and charge for the current one. For that you can offer support and maybe write an installer/host the files. At the end of the day 30-40 dollars for something that i use on every flight is a bargain.

yup and throw in some photosceneries with slight color corrections (:P) and we are all set , and you could charge happily and provide scenery better looking and more realistic  than that of ORBXs !

 

(you are right to assume i am only talking without actual knowledge of how to make sceneries for X-plane)

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I'll reserve judgement once I see some reviews of the product, but regarding the price, I have to agree, as an unknown developer, $70 is priced far too high. My guess is they've seen how desperate people are for better weather in XP10 (Just read almost every "Should I buy XP" thread) and have priced accordingly. 

 

Either way, it looks like some people will pay this to support a new developer which is a nice gesture, but it really makes me question continuing to write freeware  :Tounge:

 

I donated for W2XP and would gladly have paid a premium price tbh. I was discussing XP11 with a friend last night and we were talking about the new European/German autogen. The thought crossed that we would gladly pay for a regionalised scenery library for Ireland/UK, I'm sure others would for their regions. I imagine it would be easy enough to get pictures for the available housing stock in an area on a major property sale website and build models accordingly. W2XP and Ortho4XP are the best things to have happened in the XP10 run imo.

 

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personally i have always wondered why you dont go premium.  leave the old version for free if you want, and charge for the current one. For that you can offer support and maybe write an installer/host the files. At the end of the day 30-40 dollars for something that i use on every flight is a bargain.

 

Freeware and Donationware have one big advantage though, in that you don't need to provide help and tech support to end users. It's always appreciated with free releases, but it's a requirement when you start charging money. There are some other things like an expectation to fix bugs, figuring out how far you'll go with a return policy and so on. But support is the big one. Some people can be unreasonable about support issues; expecting immediate replies to email from small one-person developers, getting angry when something doesn't work, etc.

 

Having done some tech support in a former life, I can understand not wanting to get too far into that, unless the financial reward would justify it.

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Sorry for making this topic go off-topic, that wasn't my intention with my comment. I tend to agree with Paraffin, these are all issues that put me off releasing any payware (It's bad enough with freeware), but I'm not ruling it out for future scenery packs.

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Sorry for making this topic go off-topic, that wasn't my intention with my comment. I tend to agree with Paraffin, these are all issues that put me off releasing any payware (It's bad enough with freeware), but I'm not ruling it out for future scenery packs.

 

 I can't believe that your GBpro is free, when you look at the efforts of ORBX. you fly high above that!

I for one would certainly be more than happy to pay for your excellent work Tony!

Phil

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 I can't believe that your GBpro is free, when you look at the efforts of ORBX. you fly high above that!

I for one would certainly be more than happy to pay for your excellent work Tony!

Phil

I think that donation gets the same result...

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 I can't believe that your GBpro is free, when you look at the efforts of ORBX. you fly high above that!

I for one would certainly be more than happy to pay for your excellent work Tony!

Phil

I think you mean this addon right?

http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/34232-gb-pro-v2-detailed-vfr-scenery-for-great-britain/

 

Becuase it incorporates the work of others ( World Models, Open Scenery X etc ) and honestly when I was still using FSX and P3D having ORBX was a must. ORBX terrain is done really really well and looks a lot better than any terrain done for X-Plane. No offense meant to anyone. But having it for a sim that's riddled with blurries is pointless, to be honest. 

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ORBX terrain is done really really well and looks a lot better than any terrain done for X-Plane. No offense meant to anyone.

 

None taken but you might be doing XP scenery wrong. :P

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I've split this thread from the enviro topic as it went completely off-topic (and it was my fault)

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I really appreciate all the comments guys, but I'm not asking people to start paying, my original comment about questioning writing freeware was meant as a tongue-in-cheek remark to people handing out $70 to an unknown developer to support them  :wink:. 

 

 

 


Becuase it incorporates the work of others ( World Models, Open Scenery X etc )

 

Slight correction here, all the UK buildings I used from world-models are actually my own work. I use some objects from OpenSceneryX, but the vast majority of the scenery and work is done by myself (Unfortunately, as it's very hard to actually get other developers to help out). For normal W2XP scenery, most of the buildings come from various sources (Mostly R2 and FF), but again the majority were made by myself and users are free to use whatever they like. For Norway and Denmark, I also made all the artwork but I didn't add them back into the library for other devs because it's the third time this year that I've had to ask a payware developer to remove my models or W2XP from their payware scenery, and most don't listen or ignore it. 

 

Any future sceneries I do (including New Zealand) won't use any libraries at all. I hate downloading an airport or scenery and finding I have to download piles of libraries to use them.

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Any future sceneries I do (including New Zealand) won't use any libraries at all. I hate downloading an airport or scenery and finding I have to download piles of libraries to use them.

 

Really with you on this one Tony. I am glad to hear you feel the same way as I do about this. Having to start looking around for libraries when I find gray boxes etc, finally annoyed me to the point of no longer adding scenery to my X-plane installation. I content myself with what comes with the updates from WED (a small number of which I added myself).

 

Regards

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Freeware and Donationware have one big advantage though, in that you don't need to provide help and tech support to end users. It's always appreciated with free releases, but it's a requirement when you start charging money. There are some other things like an expectation to fix bugs, figuring out how far you'll go with a return policy and so on. But support is the big one. Some people can be unreasonable about support issues; expecting immediate replies to email from small one-person developers, getting angry when something doesn't work, etc.

 

Having done some tech support in a former life, I can understand not wanting to get too far into that, unless the financial reward would justify it.

 

Well of course it could be more work. But lets be honest, tony does support people anyways on forums already. On avsim if someone has a question he is always there to help. I am not saying that it is no work, but my feeling is that the amount of stuff he has released for free already you can gauge the amount of support you will receive for a product.

 

On the plus side he is doing scenery. That is, in comparison the aircrafts, relativley stable. So having a good installer and a good beta team, should get you already in a good place. At the end of the day, you never know how many people would actually buy, but my guess is more than donate.

I think that donation gets the same result...

Yes but let's be honest here. If toni would get anywhere near the amount of donations that he has downloads for his software, he would be running around in gold plated macbooks :D

 

The sad truth is that for most people donationware = freeware. The only way that is different if you look at g2xpl with the forced donation.

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So having a good installer and a good beta team, should get you already in a good place

 

Very much true. Sometimes I've rushed out a release only to find I messed up a certain tile. With large scale sceneries it's even very difficult for even a team to find all the bugs. If anyone is interested in testing out a small area in New Zealand then I'll release a small beta in a few days.

 

 

 


Yes but let's be honest here. If toni would get anywhere near the amount of donations that he has downloads for his software, he would be running around in gold plated macbooks :D

 

Ha ha, ain't that the truth. 

 

One thing that often surprises we with freeware software is that people rarely actually thank the developers (6 comments per 1000 downloads or so). e.g. If you download an airport or aircraft on x-plane.org, go into the comments section and say thank you and rate it. Believe me, it means a lot and gives motivation to continue developing knowing that people are actually using it and enjoying it, and it won't cost financially.

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Well of course it could be more work. But lets be honest, tony does support people anyways on forums already. On avsim if someone has a question he is always there to help. I am not saying that it is no work, but my feeling is that the amount of stuff he has released for free already you can gauge the amount of support you will receive for a product.

 

I'm working in customer support for a big telecommunications company, as well as for vFlyteAir and Aerosoft, and in the past I had my own roguelike RPG where I regularly got support requests (oh... this is so long ago... maybe I should continue work on it...), so I want to add my two cents.

 

First, it can be very rewarding if you can help a customer to solve a technical problem, esp. if this affects your own product. That's why I like working in this type of customer support. In the ideal case, you get some useful information by the customers and then you figure out step by step why something does not work as expected and find a solution. If you enjoy this kind of detective work, this can be a very enjoyable job.

 

When doing freeware, as with my roguelike mentioned above, the expectations are not so high. If you get an email "it does not work" without further information, you are free to answer with a sarcastic one-liner like "what does not work?", because after all it's free and people either use it or not, and you have no obligation to support them. It's not kind, and you probably won't have a lot of users with that attitude, so you better be kinder, but it can be done.

 

When doing payware, this changes. Once people pay, they expect -- and have the right to expect -- really "great" customer support -- even when they send you one-liners like "It does not work, if it does not work within X days, I want a refund". In my overall experience (not just X-Plane), 60% of user requests are a variant of this kind -- without any further details, sometimes not even the name of the product they talk about. As a pure developer, you might think the people failed to pose a proper request. But as support staff, you need to help customers to tell you what's wrong, before you can even start to help them. And don't take the people in forums as typical customers. A lot of requests come from people with very basic computer knowledge. They buy a product, install it (hopefully in the correct way) and expect it to work without further configuration or fiddeling.

 

Most customers are very friendly and patient, but sometimes the patience is lost over the course of several days (while you exchange emails to find out the issue, and to try to solve it). And well, then there are some people, who are not patient at all, but expect 100% solutions one hour after they sent you their email, regardless of time differences, weekends etc.

 

You also have to deal with requests like "will there be a free upgrade for XP 11?" or (more angry) "Why is this upgrade not free???" or the likes. :)

 

So... long story short: Don't underestimate the additional workload once you HAVE to provide customer support and once you HAVE to issue bug-fixes in a short amount of time. It's not so much the amount of time -- it's the constant attention that is required: It might be just two hours per day -- but these are also required on weekends (because most people have time for X-Plane in their freetime, and then the questions arise) or when you are on vacation. I sometimes fail with that when doing vFlyteAir support, when I recognize forum requests too late (sorry for that...)

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Great post Mario and I agree with everything you say. My job as a programmer also requires offering support (often to clients in different countries and time zones), sometimes I'll get a request at 11pm (As it's morning in New Zealand) or on a Sunday night needing to upgrade software on a server. The major difference between this and flight simming is that bugs can effect how a certain customer works that day as opposed to just an inconvenience when having fun.

 

 

 


When doing freeware, as with my roguelike mentioned above, the expectations are not so high. If you get an email "it does not work" without further information, you are free to answer with a sarcastic one-liner like "what does not work?", because after all it's free and people either use it or not, and you have no obligation to support them

 

Yes, it's unbelievable how many of these emails I get. I generally hold-back on the sarcastic remarks and redirect them to the forum where other users generally take care of it for me. I have some classics like somebody complaining his house had the wrong roof colour and others offering to pay me $1 if I set it all up for him over a remote desktop session and getting angry when I refused. I will try my best to reply to people who give information and are polite.

 

I'll admit I sometimes get a little miffed when I see others developing similar products to me on FSX and charging €30 for it. e.g. Shortly after I released Denmark Pro, a similar payware scenery appeared. It's also the same for New Zealand, there are similar things for FSX all payware and subscription based. I nearly released my EGGP as payware as I even paid for licensed imagery to include, but changed my mind at the last minute and I admit this was probably a mistake on my part.

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of course, payware does change the perception of entitlement from people.  But at the end, right now you receive these emails anyway and reply to them for free, so it is not like you have zero support at the moment. Also having an official forum for support here or over at the .org will get you the same people helping.

 

Right now you have thousands of downloads and support requests from those. Going payware you will have less customers but they could have more open to sending mail. Of course it is a gamble, maybe you get 300 customers and 600 mails the next day. But my experience with scenery problems almost always boils down to a) libaries not loaded or B) sorting issues in the .ini   once that is sorted, i never have any problems. I think the support is not too extreme (admittedly it is just a gut feeling)

 

i still think if you and andras work together you could fast become the orbx of x-plane and the go-to place for every scenery developer :D

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Great discussion !

 

 

 


For Norway and Denmark, I also made all the artwork but I didn't add them back into the library for other devs because it's the third time this year that I've had to ask a payware developer to remove my models or W2XP from their payware scenery, and most don't listen or ignore it.

 

Tony, would you please name those who didn't comply, so that we don't make the mistake to buy something from them ?

 

Thanks,

Pascal

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An interesting discussion here indded.

 

So Tony, why not really trying it out (release a payware scenery)?! You may start with a smaller scenery at first just as You have considered with Your EGGP scenery to see if and how it all works out.

 

I mean - and as pointed out above - we are talking about add-on-scenery here, so a dedicated betateam should help to iron out most of the potential conflicts which may appear in advance and the rest can most likely be discussed and/or solved via a dedicated subforum here (or whereever You choose).

Because indeed, offering adequate support is no easy undertaking, but it should overall be manageable for add-on scenery.

Or You may publish it via some 3rd party vendor who offers support for the products it distributes.

I am sure all of this is nothing new to You, but i, and obviously many others around here too, would really like to encourage You to seriosuly consider "going payware".

Your freeware sceneries have proven to be really amazing, so i most certainly dare saying that potential future payware sceneries from Yours will be of highest standard too and worth each and every cent.

 

To avoid potential misunderstandings in adcvance, I think it is just very important to make clear  what people are paying for and what they will receive in the end, so that they do not get the feeling that they have paid for something which in fact was not delivered. 

In terms of add-on scenery this means to make clear the area that is covered, the resolution of photolayers (if being used), a short description of models and objects implemented and so on.

Furthermore some clear and understandable guidelines of "how to" install and set it all up properly and how to delete it later on if needed - and sure, some minimum or recommended system requirements needed to make the scenery work.

Again - all nothing new, only my 2 cents, but i also think that it'd indeed be amazing to have some payware scenery available from You.

:smile:

 

 

 


For Norway and Denmark, I also made all the artwork but I didn't add them back into the library for other devs because it's the third time this year that I've had to ask a payware developer to remove my models or W2XP from their payware scenery, and most don't listen or ignore it.

 

That's odd indeed (to say it politely) ...

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Thanks Christoph, I hope you and the little one (Must be 1 or 2 now?) are doing well :-)

 

New Zealand will be freeware. Others are now get involved making landmarks and editing OSM, so of course I'll keep it freeware out of respect for them. I will likely only host the orthos for a few months (unless people really abuse the server), as it costs money per GB downloaded, and after that probably move them to a pay-to-download site. After that, I'll have another Norwegian airfield out.

 

Regarding other projects, I'm going to see what XP11 bring us. I think there is an opportunity here for some high-quality PBR textured airports and some regional autogen packs. I prefer making small regional airports instead of the large ones as I can spend more time on the finer details rather than releasing a large airport with generic textures and no character (Similar to what ORBX do with their fantastic airfields). Unfortunately most simmers prefer the larger airports, but I'm just not interested in doing them (There's no point working on something you don't like). I'm not ruling out putting a pile of effort into a certain popular US area and perhaps releasing it as payware.

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Thanks Christoph, I hope you and the little one (Must be 1 or 2 now?) are doing well :-)

 

New Zealand will be freeware. Others are now get involved making landmarks and editing OSM, so of course I'll keep it freeware out of respect for them. I will likely only host the orthos for a few months (unless people really abuse the server), as it costs money per GB downloaded, and after that probably move them to a pay-to-download site. After that, I'll have another Norwegian airfield out.

 

Regarding other projects, I'm going to see what XP11 bring us. I think there is an opportunity here for some high-quality PBR textured airports and some regional autogen packs. I prefer making small regional airports instead of the large ones as I can spend more time on the finer details rather than releasing a large airport with generic textures and no character (Similar to what ORBX do with their fantastic airfields). Unfortunately most simmers prefer the larger airports, but I'm just not interested in doing them (There's no point working on something you don't like). I'm not ruling out putting a pile of effort into a certain popular US area and perhaps releasing it as payware.

 

Hi Tony!

Thank You very much for Your detailed reply.

And yes:

Two and a half by now and although very charming sure keeping me and my girfriend very busy, hence far less time for flightsimming - but this will certainly change again one day or another sometime in the future :wink:

As for now though: Very much looking forward to Your NZ scenery and all the other sceneries from Yours that may follow afterwards - be it free- or payware then!

Thank You very much again for all Your developments and ongoing contributions to enhance the current (and future) X-Plane platform(s)!

:good:

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Thanks Christoph, I hope you and the little one (Must be 1 or 2 now?) are doing well :-)

 

New Zealand will be freeware. Others are now get involved making landmarks and editing OSM, so of course I'll keep it freeware out of respect for them. I will likely only host the orthos for a few months (unless people really abuse the server), as it costs money per GB downloaded, and after that probably move them to a pay-to-download site. After that, I'll have another Norwegian airfield out.

 

Regarding other projects, I'm going to see what XP11 bring us. I think there is an opportunity here for some high-quality PBR textured airports and some regional autogen packs. I prefer making small regional airports instead of the large ones as I can spend more time on the finer details rather than releasing a large airport with generic textures and no character (Similar to what ORBX do with their fantastic airfields). Unfortunately most simmers prefer the larger airports, but I'm just not interested in doing them (There's no point working on something you don't like). I'm not ruling out putting a pile of effort into a certain popular US area and perhaps releasing it as payware.

i think the mega airports are always done by the big companies. in fact i think doing something like dzerky (or whatever they are called ;) ) releasing the new york scenery and then the accompaning airports could be great. Doing something like this for states in the us, could be pretty great.

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