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Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 09:09
by CrazyEddie
While I do not want this thread to descend into a discussion about revenue streams, this post does contain a lot on that subject :P

@Mikademus:
I absolutely agree with everything you said in your post, except the last point ;) Although, I do understand that there will be those who - like yourself - feel strongly that having a free tool is the only way. It would be great to hear from a lot of other people regarding this issue - but unfortunately, we again see that people are generally apathetic (at least until it's too late, then they'll come here and moan!).

Perhaps the main reason for me suggesting that I might write this skin editor was because once 0.7.0 is out I will be looking to begin a paid project of some description; whether it be something that might benefit the CEGUI project, or whether it is something totally unconnected to CEGUI, I will be spending a majority of my time on this other project once 0.7.0 is out. While I don't want to come across as having "thrown my toys out of the pram" or "taking my ball home", for my part in any skin editor project, the choice is stark: either I write it and charge for it, or it likely doesn't get written at all (since it didn't get written by anybody else in the past four years).

As a slight aside - and this is a totally genuine question - how do people think that the development of the CEGUI project should be funded?
- Dontations? For the first three years (or so) of the project - when development was at it's peak - we were accepting donations, we had one person donate.
- Advertising? This is something I personally detest, and based on past experience, does not perform as well as some would have you believe.
- Consultancy? So the way I fund a free project that takes many hours of my time, is to spend even more time working with it, while under the direction of other people? Err... no.
- ???

Now I'm not, of course, suggesting that charging for a skin editor would ever bring in the kind of revenue to fund a project like CEGUI, I did however think it was a good way to give the people what they seemingly want or need.

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Mon Aug 03, 2009 18:24
by Mikademus
I do not wish to hog or try to dominate this thread in any way, and so will post a reply and keep my mitts off until more opinions have been offered. I will also mention revenue, but I too would rather this does not become solely about that particular topic.

I still think my logic holds, and I think that charging for the skin editor (at least from the onset) will net you basically nil revenue, since you will in effect only gain income from your already exiting user base, which due to above mentioned arguments is relatively modest.

Therefore, I'd like to suggest a few alternative routes. The simplest is to initially make the tool free, and over time, as it moves from beta stage, start charging for it (you do need to make this intention clear from the onset or you'll get huge flak from this approach). Another (and imo good) road, is to always provide a basic (or the second-most recent) version for free and a premium (or current) version for a fee. Of course, you should be able to do all essential things in the free, basic version, but the premium might contain convenient and work-saving tools suitable for advanced or power users, who really are the ones that would benefit from those tools and that should have an interest in supporting CEGUI in the first place. I personally consider this second path a win-win solution.

A final addition, which is combinable with the above ones, is to charge for help. Of course I think that voluntary help should be free, and is good for community relations, but for people wanting more advanced and exhaustive help, do offer remunerated consulting.

I'd also like to suggest something addressing your final point of frustration -- lack of feedback: Simply offer free licences of the editor to people providing good feedback, bug reports etc, and people will have an incitement to feed you back (you are the arbiter of "good", just be fair). However, I also think that with increasing user base you will get more feedback, this is natural reciprocity in action. Of course, you will also get increasing amounts of spam, but hey, that's life, eh? :)

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 08:41
by CrazyEddie
Thanks again for the discussion. I think you make some valid and interesting points. I will also refrain from posting further on the subject of revenue in order that we might get some other discussion going here :)

Perhaps I will be able to begin work on the editor in earnest once 0.7.0 is out, and can make a final decision about licensing issues once there is something tangible :)

I also wanted to link this thread: viewtopic.php?f=5&t=2567 that I found yesterday, since that's relevant to this, although my own vision is, I believe, somewhat different to that which scriptkid had (more on this in the coming weeks, perhaps with mock-ups and such - depending on how public I decide to be with the design process).

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 12:15
by Pompei2
Hi,

I'm not much on this forum anymore as I have much to do.

Still, I want to give you feedback on this subject. Although the paid tool is a good idea, I personally wouldn't pay for it as I'm a programmer and wouldn't even use it if it was free :-) I prefer defining it in XML.
I think you should first determine what users you have most. If you have mainly open source projects that use your library, you won't get much ppl buying the tool. If you have a lot of indies or even big companies using CEGUI, you will definitely have ppl buying that tool.

IMHO that's the only important question.

Just as a side-note, we develop an open-source game and, long time ago already, have decided to donate 5% of all donations we get to CEGUI. Unfortunately, we have got no donations yet :-P but we hope they will come when the game is running. Why only 5% ? because we have a lot of costs for servers etc. and also donate a % amount to sourceforge and the OSI.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2009 18:09
by CrazyEddie
Thanks for the opinions, I guess I must agree that the take up would largely depend upon the number of artists vs coders - although for myself (primarily a coder, but with some artistic tendencies), the thought of doing another 3000+ line skin file by hand is far from appealing :)

Thanks also for the 5% donations! and while you're also still waiting for donations to your own project, the sentiment expressed is very much appreciated.

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 08:20
by Mikademus
Slightly unrelated, but I'm a bit curious: Would you develop this editor using something like wxWidgets, or would you actually make it using CEGUI itself? It would be easier, I think using Qt or wxWidgets, but on the other hand, it would be an excellent way of use-testing CEGUI and to test your skin live in a demanding environment by setting the editor's skin to the one in making :)

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2009 08:35
by CrazyEddie
It's a good question :)

The tool will almost certainly use wxWidgets - mostly due to the freedoms allowed in the license, and also the facts of familiarity and consistency with the existing tools. I don't think using CEGUI itself for such a tool is the way to go - though I do agree that it would be a good test bed for all things CEGUI - the fact is that CEGUI was/is intended mainly for simple in-game GUIs (yeah, really!), and it's a matter of using the right tool for each job; so my opinion is that CEGUI is not the right tool for this particular job.

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 19:56
by jacmoe
I am totally for this idea! :D

One of the main quacks that people have against CEGUI is this: how awfully awkward it is to create skins. :)
I'll gladly shell out the mere amount..

The only thing which came close to this was the Gimp script posted a while back.
I haven't tried it - mostly because I am not a very proficient Gimper :wink:

Would be create if this tool could 'cook' several images into one, like - IIRC - QuickGUI. (Ogre Addons forum).

Still, I think CEGUI kicks all the other GUI libraries asses. :P

Keep up the good work, Paul. :)

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:49
by CrazyEddie
Hey! Thanks for the vote and continued encouragement and support :)

I think having a tool to take multiple images and output an fully fledged imageset is certainly something to be considered (if not for this tool, then definitely it should be a function for the imageset editor tool). Hopefully the 0.7.x series of CEGUI will address many of the more pressing weaknesses in CEGUI and allow more focus to be put onto all of the tools - though a skin editor will be my own focus (especially if we go with a paid tool).

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 11:21
by jheld
Hey CE,

I've been using CEGui for a few months now and am happy to give some general feedback. Don't take people's relative silence as disinterest. My personal experience is as an engineer and businessman, but am still new to the games community (as the Ogre3d folks can attest to). CEGUI, so far, has been *smokingly* easy to get up and running. I've been very grateful to use it. Silently, up till now, but grateful nonetheless.

My candid opinion covers things people on this site already know-- CEGUI is useful and straightforward, but skinning is a bit of a pain, due to the text/xml format. If you were to offer a GUI skinning editor I'ld definitely pay $15-20 for a polished online download, 'cause it would make it much more powerful and make MY life easier. Not sure if the recommendation helps but if you are looking to raise cash (externally of bootstrapping approaches), get as many endorsements as you can. We all know that bootstrapping gets old after a while :)


Cheers
Jason

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2009 15:58
by CrazyEddie
Thanks for the post and feedback - it's highly appreciated.

Don't take people's relative silence as disinterest.

This is one of those difficult situations. While in our heart of hearts we know without any hint of a doubt there are people who successfully use CEGUI every day, and many of those people we never hear from - ever. The flip side of this is those people we do hear from; largely (but not totally, of course) it's negative - because it has to be if people have got issues, problems and complaints. For myself, it does tend to occasionally wear me down mentally. Having said this, I'm still here; the bastards won't beat me! :twisted:

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 05:38
by jheld
Ha! Yeah that's true. Hang in there. Maybe what you can do is just track the number of downloads. If the number is high enough, take it to potential investors. Actively seek endorsements from some of those video game colleges that are springing up all over the place. It's a crappy market to raise capital (thanks to our friends at GFC/Enron/Citibank/etc etc yada yada), but in the spirit of leaving no stone unturned it might be worth a shot.

Jason

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 08:52
by CrazyEddie
Thanks for the ideas :) I think in the new year (not that far away now!), I may start investigating certain possibilities in a much more serious manner; by that stage we'll likely be at 0.7.1 and possibly have a first version of the skin tool approaching a usable state - meaning that the library itself should be settling down again and we'll finally have a 'complete' set of tools. As things stand at the moment, the project is not bankrupt or anything like that, though I believe that it's important that - approaching a 1.0.0 release - these previously neglected aspects of the project need to be given more consideration (basically so the project can more easily stand on it's own).

CE.

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 14:52
by maori
sounds Great CE

cant wait :pint:

Re: Falagard Visual Skin / Scheme Editor

Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 09:17
by singbol
And I also support you!It's now not that convenient to get a new skin~~~Waiting for....