New, simple system for writing IF.

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Liz

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
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Hi all,

SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface both
for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.

More info at the SUDS site; www.sudsystem.freeserve.co.uk

Liz

Mike Snyder

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
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Liz <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7v1s7f$7kq$3...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...

> SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
> The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface
both
> for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
> Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
> sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.

Your site doesn't have any screen shots. Would that be possible? I'm about
to launch a web site for SAGE (Scripted Adventure Game Engine) and would be
interested in seeing what you've done.

Mike Snyder
Prowler Productions
http://www.prowler-pro.com/

Liz

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
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Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:7v1te4$q1a$1...@bgtnsc01.worldnet.att.net...
Urwurble. I'm sure it would, but not until next weekend at least, due to
absence of SO. You could download the programme, in the meantime. I'd be
interested to see yours too, so please post your URL!


Liz

Mike Snyder

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Oct 25, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/25/99
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news:7v21vu$bah$1...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...

> Urwurble. I'm sure it would, but not until next weekend at least, due to
> absence of SO. You could download the programme, in the meantime. I'd be
> interested to see yours too, so please post your URL!

Urwurble? I guess I don't know what that is... :(

Will try to download this evening, just can't really play around with
installing stuff at work -- browsing a web site with screen shots on my
lunch break is probably ok. :)

No web site for SAGE yet, but I might work on one this evening. We're
working on the game engine with the goal of porting it to the web. I'm still
undecided about whether I want to release a "development kit" (or language
specs) or simply use it internally for our games. We're not trying to offer
it as an alternative to existing systems or anything, we mainly need a
simple system we can convert to a web-based format to help promote our
pay-for-play online games. It sounds like your system has been in
development for a very long time (ours was born this month, lol).

T Raymond

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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"Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :

>SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
>The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface both
>for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
>Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
>sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.

I checked out your site. It all looks good. The only thing that didn't
look good to me was the 20 move limitation on the player for
unregistered users.

I'm a bit of a stickler for testing and testing, which is why I
haven't released a game yet. If I can't test my own game reasonably, I
can't expect somebody else to either. And while the concept of easy
programming sounds great, it can't be foolproof. There are bound to be
programming glitches, or just changes that the programmer would want
to check out.

I understand that one would want to get some kind of return on a
system that you put time into. I think this limitation may prevent
some potential users from checking out your system.

Just one opinion :)

Tom

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Tom Raymond adk @ usa.net
"The original professional ameteur."
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Mike Snyder

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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From: Liz <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk>

>I'd be interested to see yours too, so please post your URL!

http://www.prowler-pro.com/sage/ -- Just put it online a moment ago.

Liz

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...
> "Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :

> I checked out your site. It all looks good. The only thing that didn't
> look good to me was the 20 move limitation on the player for
> unregistered users.
>
> I'm a bit of a stickler for testing and testing, which is why I
> haven't released a game yet. If I can't test my own game reasonably, I
> can't expect somebody else to either. And while the concept of easy
> programming sounds great, it can't be foolproof. There are bound to be
> programming glitches, or just changes that the programmer would want
> to check out.
>
Heck, the same is true of any bought software. We've tested it to the
limits of our sanity and the best of our ability and will do our best to
promptly fix any bugs, solve any technical problems and incorporate
suggested improvements (within reason) free of charge to registered users.

liz

atholbrose

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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On Tue, 26 Oct 1999 12:48:06 +0100, Liz
<L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> wrote:
>T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
>news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...
>> I'm a bit of a stickler for testing and testing, which is why I
>> haven't released a game yet. If I can't test my own game reasonably, I
>> can't expect somebody else to either. And while the concept of easy
>> programming sounds great, it can't be foolproof. There are bound to be
>> programming glitches, or just changes that the programmer would want
>> to check out.
>Heck, the same is true of any bought software. We've tested it to the
>limits of our sanity and the best of our ability and will do our best to
>promptly fix any bugs, solve any technical problems and incorporate
>suggested improvements (within reason) free of charge to registered users.

I think he was talking about testing the games written with the system,
not the system itself. I imagine you might have a problem convincing your
circle of friends to test your game for you if they have to register a
program to do it...

--r.


Mike Snyder

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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atholbrose <cinn...@shell.one.net> wrote in message
news:slrn81bd9j....@shell.one.net...

> I think he was talking about testing the games written with the system,
> not the system itself. I imagine you might have a problem convincing your
> circle of friends to test your game for you if they have to register a
> program to do it...

As far as I can tell, only the SUDS development kit has a registration fee.
It appears that people can play and test games using the interepreter
without the need for any registration at all. At least, that's what I
understand from the info at the SUDS site. You'd only need to register to
write a SUDS game, not to play and test somebody else's.

Mike.

Liz

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote in message
news:7v4d9t$p87$1...@bgtnsc03.worldnet.att.net...


Succinctly put and also correct. :)

Liz

Liz

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...
> "Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :
> >SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
> >The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface
both
> >for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
> >Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
> >sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.
>
> I checked out your site. It all looks good. The only thing that didn't
> look good to me was the 20 move limitation on the player for
> unregistered users.
>
But no! Having reread your post, the 20-move limitation is on the
CONSTRUCTOR, not the PLAYER part of the game, which is Freeware - playing
games by ourselves or others is free. You're right, that would be silly.

Liz

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
to

So, obviously I do not yet understand. What *is* a move in the
constructor? One action of creation? If they're regular IF game moves,
what prevents you from using the player and constructor together to get
around the limit?

I'm used to systems where the "constructor" is a compiler, which gloms
source code into a finished game file -- there are no "moves" within it.

--Z

"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
borogoves..."

Ross Presser

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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alt.distingui...@netcom.com (Andrew
Plotkin).wrote.posted.offered:

Perhaps it means that games created with the unregistered constructor can
only be played by players for 20 moves. I.e., after 20 moves, a daemon
is invoked which quits the game.

--
Ross Presser
ross_p...@imtek.com
"And if you're the kind of person who parties with a bathtub full of
pasta, I suspect you don't care much about cholesterol anyway."

Roger Firth

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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Mike Snyder wrote:

> Liz <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> wrote in message

> news:7v1s7f$7kq$3...@news5.svr.pol.co.uk...


> > SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
> > The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface
> both
> > for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
> > Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
> > sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.
>

> Your site doesn't have any screen shots. Would that be possible? I'm about
> to launch a web site for SAGE (Scripted Adventure Game Engine) and would be
> interested in seeing what you've done.

Mike, Liz,

I would encourage you both to share with us your implementations
of my very basic "Cloak of Darkness" game, intended to assist people
who are attempting to compare the various IF authoring systems.
See http://homepages.tesco.net/~roger.firth/cloak/index.html
for details.

Cheers, Roger
========================================================================
Roger Firth

Liz

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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Ross Presser <rpre...@NOSPAMimtek.com.invalid> wrote in message
news:8E6B8B8E...@10.4.0.21...

> alt.distingui...@netcom.com (Andrew
> Plotkin).wrote.posted.offered:
>
> >Liz <L...@liznandy.freenospamtaserve.co.uk> wrote:
> >>
> >> T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
> >> news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...
> >>> "Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :
> >>> >SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text
> >>> >adventures. The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style
> >>> >graphical interface
> >> both
> >>> >for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
> >>> >Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
> >>> >sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.
> >>>
>
> Perhaps it means that games created with the unregistered constructor can
> only be played by players for 20 moves. I.e., after 20 moves, a daemon
> is invoked which quits the game.
>
Correct: Games created with unregistered applications only run for a maximum
of 20 turns in the SUDS Player, plus only registered games will be
publicised on the SUDS web-site.

Liz

Mike Snyder

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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Roger Firth <roger...@tesco.net> wrote in message
news:3815F505...@tesco.net...

> I would encourage you both to share with us your implementations
> of my very basic "Cloak of Darkness" game, intended to assist people
> who are attempting to compare the various IF authoring systems.
> See http://homepages.tesco.net/~roger.firth/cloak/index.html
> for details.

Ah, I'll check that out when mine is further along. Thanks!

Mike.

Mark J. Tilford

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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On 26 Oct 1999 16:46:11 GMT, Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>Liz <L...@liznandy.freenospamtaserve.co.uk> wrote:
>>
>> T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
>> news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...
>>> "Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :
>>> >SUDS is a new easy-to-use system for playing and writing text adventures.
>>> >The two-part program uses a familiar Windows-style graphical interface
>> both
>>> >for the SUDS Player, which is entirely mouse-driven, and the SUDS
>>> >Constructor, which enables beginners and experts alike to design
>>> >sophisticated games without knowledge of program coding or language.
>>>
>>> I checked out your site. It all looks good. The only thing that didn't
>>> look good to me was the 20 move limitation on the player for
>>> unregistered users.
>>>
>> But no! Having reread your post, the 20-move limitation is on the
>> CONSTRUCTOR, not the PLAYER part of the game, which is Freeware - playing
>> games by ourselves or others is free. You're right, that would be silly.
>
>So, obviously I do not yet understand. What *is* a move in the
>constructor? One action of creation? If they're regular IF game moves,
>what prevents you from using the player and constructor together to get
>around the limit?
>
>I'm used to systems where the "constructor" is a compiler, which gloms
>source code into a finished game file -- there are no "moves" within it.
>
>--Z
>

Presumably, the unregistered constructor inserts code which causes the
interpreter to quit after 20 moves.

>"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the
>borogoves..."


--
-----------------------
Mark Jeffrey Tilford
til...@cco.caltech.edu

T Raymond

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
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"Liz" <L...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> spoke about :

>> Perhaps it means that games created with the unregistered constructor can
>> only be played by players for 20 moves. I.e., after 20 moves, a daemon
>> is invoked which quits the game.
>>
>Correct: Games created with unregistered applications only run for a maximum
>of 20 turns in the SUDS Player, plus only registered games will be
>publicised on the SUDS web-site.

I thought that is what I said in my original post. IMO, that makes it
a long-shot as to being worth the large download to check out. It
means that it is rather tedious to test my own game written to test
the system. Especially knowing that I'm a freak for testing before I
release to beta.

T Raymond

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Oct 26, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/26/99
to
rpre...@NOSPAMimtek.com.invalid (Ross Presser) spoke about :
>alt.distingui...@netcom.com (Andrew
>Plotkin).wrote.posted.offered:
>
>Perhaps it means that games created with the unregistered constructor can
>only be played by players for 20 moves. I.e., after 20 moves, a daemon
>is invoked which quits the game.

This is what I took it to mean when I read it. Unless I"m being
pathetically dense, which does happen on ocassion, that means that if
I download both the player and the constructor, to see if it will do
what I want to do. I can code up an example game with a few rooms and
some objects, but I'll have to reload it in the SUDS shell every 20
moves to play test it.

I'd be more than happy to be shown wrong, but I thought that was
exactly what the text said on the registration page?

Ross Presser

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
alt.disting...@see.the.sig (T Raymond).wrote.posted.offered:

>rpre...@NOSPAMimtek.com.invalid (Ross Presser) spoke about :
>>alt.distingui...@netcom.com (Andrew
>>Plotkin).wrote.posted.offered:
>>
>>Perhaps it means that games created with the unregistered constructor can
>>only be played by players for 20 moves. I.e., after 20 moves, a daemon
>>is invoked which quits the game.
>
>This is what I took it to mean when I read it. Unless I"m being
>pathetically dense, which does happen on ocassion, that means that if
>I download both the player and the constructor, to see if it will do
>what I want to do. I can code up an example game with a few rooms and
>some objects, but I'll have to reload it in the SUDS shell every 20
>moves to play test it.
>
>I'd be more than happy to be shown wrong, but I thought that was
>exactly what the text said on the registration page?

As shown by Liz's post, you are correct.

Neither Zarf nor I actually went to the page. Zarf misunderstood one of
Liz's statements on this newsfroup and I offered an interpretation.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
news:7v5ekk$1dk...@news.northnet.org...

> I thought that is what I said in my original post. IMO, that makes it
> a long-shot as to being worth the large download to check out. It
> means that it is rather tedious to test my own game written to test
> the system. Especially knowing that I'm a freak for testing before I
> release to beta.

I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
it? Most of what I (or my company) have purchased didn't include a
full-scale version of the product we could tinker around with before
deciding. The thought never really crossed my mind of walking into CompUSA
and asking a sales clerk if I could open up one of the boxes and play around
with it for a few days before I buy.

This is the great thing about shareware, you do get the chance. Do you only
purchase/use shareware though? It's been my experience that unlimited
shareware versions of a product (ones which don't expire or have no
limitations) tend to be "registered" only by people who strongly support the
shareware concept.

I've not yet downloaded SUDS, but I suspect that whatever limitations are on
the demo version of the developer's kit (a 20-move limit?) wouldn't prevent
me from evaluating the platform. Unfortunately, working days and preparing
to move this weekend will mean I can't really look at SUDS until next week.

$0.02.

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
> news:7v5ekk$1dk...@news.northnet.org...
>
>> I thought that is what I said in my original post. IMO, that makes it
>> a long-shot as to being worth the large download to check out. It
>> means that it is rather tedious to test my own game written to test
>> the system. Especially knowing that I'm a freak for testing before I
>> release to beta.
>
> I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
> it?

When there are well-developed freeware alternatives, you're darn tootin' I
do.

--Z

Magnus Olsson

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
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In article <7v74t3$ln5$4...@nntp1.atl.mindspring.net>,

Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote:
>Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>> T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
>> news:7v5ekk$1dk...@news.northnet.org...
>>
>>> I thought that is what I said in my original post. IMO, that makes it
>>> a long-shot as to being worth the large download to check out. It
>>> means that it is rather tedious to test my own game written to test
>>> the system. Especially knowing that I'm a freak for testing before I
>>> release to beta.
>>
>> I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
>> it?
>
>When there are well-developed freeware alternatives, you're darn tootin' I
>do.

And we must keep in mind that there is no such thing as one monolithic
software market; rather there are different markets for different
sorts of software.

And what's important is that in *this* particular market - that for
text adventure game creation systems - the buyers are pretty darn
spoiled: not only are they allowed to fully test the major development
systems before committing to them, these systems (Inform, TADS, Hugo,
etc) are free.

Making a crippled demo version available for download may be extremely
generous in some markets; in *this* market it's a major turn-off.

--
Magnus Olsson (m...@df.lth.se, zeb...@pobox.com)
------ http://www.pobox.com/~zebulon ------

Peter Seebach

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
In article <7v7142$7e7$1...@bgtnsc01.worldnet.att.net>,

Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
>I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
>it?

Not most, but a fair amount. The OS I work with most you can get a 60-day
trial of, I think; if you can't test out what you need to know in 60 days,
you have a problem. ;-) Also, of course, there's a lot of good free software
these days.

>This is the great thing about shareware, you do get the chance. Do you only
>purchase/use shareware though? It's been my experience that unlimited
>shareware versions of a product (ones which don't expire or have no
>limitations) tend to be "registered" only by people who strongly support the
>shareware concept.

This may well be. I'm one of those weirdos who *does* register shareware,
but I also contribute code to free software people, so I'm obviously weird.

-s
--
Copyright 1999, All rights reserved. Peter Seebach / se...@plethora.net
C/Unix wizard, Pro-commerce radical, Spam fighter. Boycott Spamazon!
Will work for interesting hardware. http://www.plethora.net/~seebs/
Visit my new ISP <URL:http://www.plethora.net/> --- More Net, Less Spam!

Mike Snyder

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote in message
news:7v75rt$n21$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se...

> And we must keep in mind that there is no such thing as one monolithic
> software market; rather there are different markets for different
> sorts of software.

> And what's important is that in *this* particular market - that for
> text adventure game creation systems - the buyers are pretty darn
> spoiled: not only are they allowed to fully test the major development
> systems before committing to them, these systems (Inform, TADS, Hugo,
> etc) are free.

Absolutely. What's unfortunate though is the almost non-existent possibility
that a small independent developer can create, sell, and recoup even a
fraction of the cost/time involved in doing so. Across all markets (as far
as I can tell) is an expectation (not a hope, but an expectaction) of
freeware products as an alternative to commercial ones. Anything you want is
probably available from a freeware developer, and at least one is likely to
be very very good. The message this sends to shareware developers is "don't
waste your time." Why charge a fee when somebody else will just release a
better product at no charge? I guess I envy anybody who can spend hours and
hours to develop excellent freeware. Start with a 9-5 M-F job, add in
miscellaneous responsibilities (work around the house, whatever), balance
this with a full-time relationship, figure in at least a few hours to sleep,
and then tip it over by working on "free" programs out of the goodness of
your heart. I lost my fiance last year that way. Evidently, some people have
a higher capacity for this than I do (maybe with fewer things in their daily
mix, I don't know). That's great. Now we've got freeware alternatives to
almost anything.

> Making a crippled demo version available for download may be extremely
> generous in some markets; in *this* market it's a major turn-off.

*This*, being a small niche market where several great, free systems are
already available, popular, and widely ported. It's a turn-off, as you said,
because we're spoiled. If it's not free, we don't need it, and if it's not
available, somebody will do it and make it free. Is this a market? No, it's
more of a "community" and I'm not saying anything is wrong with that. It's
evidently what has kept IF alive while the world marvelled at Commander
Keen, jumped for joy at Doom, and beyond. IF (as implemented here) doesn't
exist in a market unless you're re-releasing something from more than a
decade ago as a "masterpieces" collection.

However, no matter what "market" covers a particular "freeware" system I
might be using, it's unlikely that I'd go about discouraging a person who
has created a system to sell. I haven't seen that here (all that's been said
is basically "I can't evaluate the system if the system is crippled") yet.
I'm probably reading too much into a harmless thread (I'm known to do that),
but just had another 2-cents to throw in.

Marnie Parker

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
>Subject: Re: New, simple system for writing IF.
>From: til...@ralph.caltech.edu (Mark J. Tilford)
>Date: Tue, 26 October 1999 03:58 PM EDT

>Presumably, the unregistered constructor inserts code which causes the
>interpreter to quit after 20 moves.

20 moves isn't very much, even for evaluation purposes. I suggest they bump
that limit up to at least 50.

Especially for raifities who already have quite a few freeware systems
available to compare it to.

Doe HTH. HAND.


doea...@aol.com -------------------------------------------------
Kingdom of IF - http://members.aol.com/doepage/intfict.htm
Inform Tips - http://members.aol.com/doepage/infotips.htm
IF Art Gallery - http://members.aol.com/iffyart/gallery.htm


Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> wrote:
> Magnus Olsson <m...@bartlet.df.lth.se> wrote in message
> news:7v75rt$n21$1...@bartlet.df.lth.se...
>
>> And we must keep in mind that there is no such thing as one monolithic
>> software market; rather there are different markets for different
>> sorts of software.
>
>> And what's important is that in *this* particular market - that for
>> text adventure game creation systems - the buyers are pretty darn
>> spoiled: not only are they allowed to fully test the major development
>> systems before committing to them, these systems (Inform, TADS, Hugo,
>> etc) are free.
>
> Absolutely. What's unfortunate though is the almost non-existent possibility
> that a small independent developer can create, sell, and recoup even a
> fraction of the cost/time involved in doing so. Across all markets (as far
> as I can tell) is an expectation (not a hope, but an expectaction) of
> freeware products as an alternative to commercial ones. Anything you want is
> probably available from a freeware developer, and at least one is likely to
> be very very good. The message this sends to shareware developers is "don't
> waste your time." Why charge a fee when somebody else will just release a
> better product at no charge?

I don't agree with your assessment of the situation -- but it's a subtle
disagreement. So I'll probably do a lousy job of explaining it. :-)

First, the listening audience must remember that we're talking about game
development systems, not games. I'm quite willing to look at, and possibly
buy, shareware/commercial text games. (A demo certainly helps, of course.)
However, when someone announces Yet Another Non-Free Text Game Development
System, I don't even bother going to look at the web page.

So: I agree with the objective statement: it's damn-near impossible for
anyone to create a text adventure development system, and recoup the money
(and time, which equals money) which went into it.

Is this state of affairs, as you say, "unfortunate"?

That's really hard to judge; but I don't think so.

If you want to quit your job and make a living off of IF development
tools, too bad; you can't. I guess that could be viewed as unfortunate.
But it's well-known that the world does not pay salaries commensurate with
how much you enjoy doing things.

Basically, I object to categorizing IF authors as "spoiled", as if they
(we!) are caught in some unhealthy, short-sighted behavior pattern. This
is an area where the open-source development model is *working*. We've got
lots of tools, and lots of games, and lots of contributed work (library
modules, new interpreters, etc.)

You say:

> The message this sends to shareware developers is "don't waste your
> time."

But no. The message that we're sending *to text adventure enthusiasts* is
"Your work will be more valuable if you don't ask money for it." (And even
more so if you structure it in an open way: modularization, documented
interfaces, readable source code.)

To divide the world up into shareware developers and freeware developers,
is to falsely imply that something is lost by excluding the former.
*People* contribute. Anyone who really wants to contribute will find a way
to.

(Reading back, it sounds like I'm berating you for berating *us*. I
apologize; that's not how I meant this post to go.)

> *This*, being a small niche market where several great, free systems are
> already available, popular, and widely ported. It's a turn-off, as you said,
> because we're spoiled. If it's not free, we don't need it, and if it's not
> available, somebody will do it and make it free. Is this a market? No, it's
> more of a "community" and I'm not saying anything is wrong with that.

Obviously, I think there's *nothing* wrong with it, not even an implied
"however". :-)

It *is* a market. It's an economy of available time and created wealth --
the latter in the form of games.

As you noted, available time is a critical resource! A contribution that
makes life easier for many people is more valuable than one which makes
life easier for a few. This is why I've put in some much time writing
specifications, documentation, and available source code.

> However, no matter what "market" covers a particular "freeware" system I
> might be using, it's unlikely that I'd go about discouraging a person who
> has created a system to sell.

What a great sentence! It provides me with a lovely opportunity for
response, for which I thank you. :-)

I would encourage any *person who has created a system to sell*.

But I would not encourage a person who has created a system *to sell it*.
You see the distinction in the invisible parentheses. I would instead
encourage them to upload it, without monetary restriction.

I agree with the others here: TADS was going downhill as long as it was
shareware. Now it is freeware and gaining strength; and the next version
will have a documented virtual machine and open library source. Nobody
ever told Mike Roberts to shut up and get out of IF. He's still here; only
the word "shareware" has been removed from TADS.

I see six or eight soapboxes have sprouted under my feet. Enough out of
me.

Mike Snyder

unread,
Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> wrote in message
news:7v7p1c$32o$1...@nntp5.atl.mindspring.net...

> First, the listening audience must remember that we're talking about game
> development systems, not games. I'm quite willing to look at, and possibly
> buy, shareware/commercial text games. (A demo certainly helps, of course.)
> However, when someone announces Yet Another Non-Free Text Game Development
> System, I don't even bother going to look at the web page.

Maybe this was just a good way for me to vent about shareware markets in
general. I'm working on an IF system too, but not with the goal of selling
or making money from it (at least not directly). What I've noticed here
isn't so much that a new IF system isn't welcome, but more that it's not
really necessary (and not a potential untapped source of income). I think an
IF system could make money if it were Win32 GUI and packaged in a fancy box
at your local software store (and even then, maybe not a *lot* of money).
This isn't something we're likely to see. Even though I think "selling" my
own IF engine wouldn't make sense, I don't want to discourage somebody else
who wants to.

> So: I agree with the objective statement: it's damn-near impossible for
> anyone to create a text adventure development system, and recoup the money
> (and time, which equals money) which went into it.

Independent shareware, that's what I think. If by some chance a publisher
was willing to package and sell a "fancy" IF system, it would probably make
money but maybe not enough to pay advertising, packaging, distribution, and
anything else associated with such things. Convincing a publisher it could
turn a profit would probably be impossible anyway.

> Is this state of affairs, as you say, "unfortunate"?
> That's really hard to judge; but I don't think so.
>
> If you want to quit your job and make a living off of IF development
> tools, too bad; you can't. I guess that could be viewed as unfortunate.
> But it's well-known that the world does not pay salaries commensurate with
> how much you enjoy doing things.

I wouldn't quit my job to earn a living as an IF tool developer, but I want
to believe that there *are* markets out there where shareware can succeed.
By "unfortunate," I didn't mean IF in particular, but independent
development in general. This can't always have been true, otherwise ID and
Apogee (and others) would never have gotten off the ground. What's
unfortunate is that the chances of this happening now in almost any market
seems doubtful. I've found a niche "market" in web games (people who are
limited on time and who want to play anywhere they have Internet and a
browser). It may not last. Unless I want to abandon all chances of making
money from what I like and simply commit forever to somebody else's schedule
and priorities, I have to keep looking for new possibilities. I can justify
the time spent to develop freeware IF (or an IF system) by the chance that I
can list it at several major download hotspots which will bring visitors
into my site, a few of which may try my online game. Is this costing the IF
community in terms of a registration fee for my "system?" No. Is it really
*helping* the IF community though? Probably not, except that it may draw in
a few recruits who will prompty discard my system and take up "mainstream"
IF. Is it helping my company? With luck, yes. Is it selfish? I won't
speculate.

> Basically, I object to categorizing IF authors as "spoiled", as if they
> (we!) are caught in some unhealthy, short-sighted behavior pattern. This
> is an area where the open-source development model is *working*. We've got
> lots of tools, and lots of games, and lots of contributed work (library
> modules, new interpreters, etc.)

Those things are more than the sum of their parts. You've got a community of
people who enjoy the same thing and who work together for that (I say "you"
because I haven't really contributed anything). I still would not discourage
somebody from trying to sell an IF system. That's not meant to be a
contradiction to what IF represents. It's not even about IF to me, and I
can't think of any market where I wouldn't feel the same. I think that if
somebody writes a product and wants to sell it, it's a wonderful thing. If
you don't buy it and I don't buy it and the rest of the world won't buy it,
so be it. Chalk it up to failure and later ponder whether or not it would
have met with more success if it had been free all along. Success as a
freeware program means no potential for success as a shareware one, so it
all comes down to your own objectives and which goal is most important.

> You say:
> > The message this sends to shareware developers is "don't waste your
> > time."
>
> But no. The message that we're sending *to text adventure enthusiasts* is
> "Your work will be more valuable if you don't ask money for it." (And even
> more so if you structure it in an open way: modularization, documented
> interfaces, readable source code.)

I'll rephrase then. The message this sends to shareware developers is "don't
waste your time hoping to profit financially from your product." Again, I
made a generalization which wasn't meant to apply to IF in particular. The
vocal portion of any market I've "dabbled" in to this point has always said
"don't charge for it." It's not just IF. I hoped to market a game using the
Dink Smallwood engine. Don't charge for it. I've written some CGI's (some
people *do* purchase them). Don't charge for it. Even with my online web
game which *has* been making money for my company, I was warned during the
development phase "don't charge for it." This is the message -- I'm simply
turning a deaf ear to it. Not everybody is as stubborn as I am, though, and
I wouldn't discourage somebody from selling what they create.

> To divide the world up into shareware developers and freeware developers,
> is to falsely imply that something is lost by excluding the former.
> *People* contribute. Anyone who really wants to contribute will find a way
> to.

I think something *would* be lost in a world where "freeware" and
"commercial" are the only alternatives. You've lost the possibility that the
little guy can become a big guy, and you've removed one alternative from the
hypothetical American Dream. I probably sound entirely materialistic, but
I'm really not. I just like to hope that my future hasn't been promised to
the lady from accounting that hands me a direct-deposit slip every Tuesday.

> (Reading back, it sounds like I'm berating you for berating *us*. I
> apologize; that's not how I meant this post to go.)

I *really* didn't mean to come across as berating either. Mainly I'm just
venting at an ever-shrinking shareware market.

> As you noted, available time is a critical resource! A contribution that
> makes life easier for many people is more valuable than one which makes
> life easier for a few. This is why I've put in some much time writing
> specifications, documentation, and available source code.

I've contributed to my passions as well. I've written FAQ's and free add-ons
and instructions and spent many hours answering newbie questions just to
help out (in particular, for the Dink Smallwood CRPG). This was for the
purpose of helping in something I enjoy, not for profit. I understand that
the IF community is populated by such people. I just (sorry) *still* can't
bring myself to discourage somebody who *does* hope to make a profit.

> > However, no matter what "market" covers a particular "freeware" system I
> > might be using, it's unlikely that I'd go about discouraging a person
who
> > has created a system to sell.
>
> What a great sentence! It provides me with a lovely opportunity for
> response, for which I thank you. :-)
>
> I would encourage any *person who has created a system to sell*.
>
> But I would not encourage a person who has created a system *to sell it*.
> You see the distinction in the invisible parentheses. I would instead
> encourage them to upload it, without monetary restriction.

<lol> You're welcome. I didn't mean, though, that I'd encourage somebody who
writes an IF system to SELL it, I meant that If somebody were writing an IF
system with an intent to sell it, I wouldn't discourage them from doing so.
You caught the ambiguity though.

> I agree with the others here: TADS was going downhill as long as it was
> shareware. Now it is freeware and gaining strength; and the next version
> will have a documented virtual machine and open library source. Nobody
> ever told Mike Roberts to shut up and get out of IF. He's still here; only
> the word "shareware" has been removed from TADS.

This is ideal, and this I totally support. I wasn't around then, but if this
was what happened then I "worried" for nothing. If the author of a shareware
program reevaluates his/her goals or decides to aim at a different kind of
success, then I'm all for that. I also am not against honest advice and
evaluations ("You'll be competing with several major existing IF systems
which are free"). What I *am* against (and admittedly I didn't see it, was
just speculating) is discouragement or criticism of a decision to sell a
product ("Don't bother putting a price tag on an IF system -- nobody will
use it and don't expect anybody to take you seriously").

> I see six or eight soapboxes have sprouted under my feet. Enough out of
me.

<lol> If nobody ever "debated" I might think I was always right. ;)

Mike Snyder

unread,
Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
I Wrote....

>>This is the great thing about shareware, you do get the chance. Do you
only
>>purchase/use shareware though? It's been my experience that unlimited
>>shareware versions of a product (ones which don't expire or have no
>>limitations) tend to be "registered" only by people who strongly support
the
>>shareware concept.


Peter Seebach wrote....


>This may well be. I'm one of those weirdos who *does* register shareware,
>but I also contribute code to free software people, so I'm obviously weird.


Weird, no! Those are great people, if a minority. Back in the "BBS" days I
wrote two similar games (similar features, similary play style, but
different settings). One had several limits (players could only advance as
far as level 5, couldn't change their name, etc) in the shareware version.
The other had no limits but required a registration as well. Several hundred
people registered the "crippled" game. Less than 10 people registered the
other. As far as I can tell, both were run on just as many BBS's. [shrug].
Offering uncrippled "shareware" seems to inspire "it works, so I'm not going
to pay" attitudes. $0.02.

Mike.

BrenBarn

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Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to
This is not a response to any message in particular, just to the thread in
general.
It seems that this is a veiled discussion of an issue that I think about a
lot: Should people do what they love to do because they love to do it, or
should they do what pays so they can get rich?
There's no way I'm going to even START to talk about this issue. It's too
huge to me. I just thought I'd put that little nugget out there and see what
happens (which will probably be nothing :-).
Thanks for reading this unfocused non-post.

From,
Brendan B. B. (Bren...@aol.com)
(Name in header has spam-blocker, use the address above instead.)

"Do not follow where the path may lead;
go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail."
--Author Unknown

Mike Snyder

unread,
Oct 27, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/27/99
to

BrenBarn wrote in message <19991027190614...@ng-da1.aol.com>...

> This is not a response to any message in particular, just to the
thread in
>general.
> It seems that this is a veiled discussion of an issue that I think
about a
>lot: Should people do what they love to do because they love to do it, or
>should they do what pays so they can get rich?
> There's no way I'm going to even START to talk about this issue. It's
too
>huge to me. I just thought I'd put that little nugget out there and see
what
>happens (which will probably be nothing :-).
> Thanks for reading this unfocused non-post.


ACK!!!! This post is one of those cartoon pies where the visible scent of it
carries through the hallway beckons at the cartoon character "this way...
this way..."

This depends on your personal goals. I don't program to get rich, but I
would like to make a living at it (in fact, I do, just not independently). I
don't think somebody who *does* program for profit should be discouraged
from it though. With IF, it seems to make sense not to start out by
encouraging it, but if somebody has decided to do so, I won't discourage
that.

T Raymond

unread,
Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
"Mike Snyder" <mikes...@worldnet.att.net> spoke about :

>I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
>it? Most of what I (or my company) have purchased didn't include a
>full-scale version of the product we could tinker around with before
>deciding. The thought never really crossed my mind of walking into CompUSA
>and asking a sales clerk if I could open up one of the boxes and play around
>with it for a few days before I buy.

Many shareware programs (at least these days) give you the full-thing,
or nearly so, with registration reminders or timeouts (usually a
number of days). They give you enough to easily, and I stress that
point, test the software. I don't think that ease for testing is there
for SUDS. It's my opinion, I could be wrong.

>This is the great thing about shareware, you do get the chance. Do you only
>purchase/use shareware though?

No, I don't use shareware exclusively, but it's been my finding that
many shareware programs have many or more features and work better
than a good deal of commercial software.

Heck, I almost registered TADS way back when I first found it nearly
ten years ago, because while the manual itself wasn't included, you
could test the whole system. Ditch was enough reading material to
understand enough to test with.

I use other programs, Pegasus, PFE, Yankee Clipper, Opera, a host of
others. Some are shareware, many are freeware, all outstrip anything
I've had to compare them to that was commercially produced. I'm
sending out a few registration at the end of the month.


>It's been my experience that unlimited
>shareware versions of a product (ones which don't expire or have no
>limitations) tend to be "registered" only by people who strongly support the
>shareware concept.

Actually I've seen articles on this idea, you can find them in just
about any magazine that ever deals with computers, several times a
year. People don't mind paying for programs, they just like programs
to do what they need to do without a lot of extra junk. (Unlike most
MS software which is overly large in size. I've seen versions of
Netscape that had close to 1 meg of useless code cut out of it, it
still worked.) BTW, in case I didn't mention it yet, this is all my
opinion :)

>I've not yet downloaded SUDS, but I suspect that whatever limitations are on
>the demo version of the developer's kit (a 20-move limit?) wouldn't prevent
>me from evaluating the platform. Unfortunately, working days and preparing
>to move this weekend will mean I can't really look at SUDS until next week.

Again, merely my opinion, but I've not got a wealth of extra time, so
reloading the game every couple of minutes would tend to get annoying
to me. I hope others do try it out, and find that it's what they need,
and use it, and are happy. I don't think I'll be one of them.

Tom

Mike Snyder

unread,
Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
>I would encourage you both to share with us your implementations
>of my very basic "Cloak of Darkness" game, intended to assist people
>who are attempting to compare the various IF authoring systems.
>See http://homepages.tesco.net/~roger.firth/cloak/index.html
>for details.


FYI, I'm working on Cloak of Darkness in SAGEscript right now. Although my
engine is still a ways from complete, nothing in this example is very
complex so most of it is already working. :)

Mike.

Damien Neil

unread,
Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
On Wed, 27 Oct 1999 17:14:46 -0700, Mike Snyder <mikes...@worldnet.att.net>
wrote:

>I wouldn't quit my job to earn a living as an IF tool developer, but I want
>to believe that there *are* markets out there where shareware can succeed.

There are such markets, but I don't think you are standing in one now.
Different communities have different values.

Shareware Unix software, for example, isn't likely to get you anywhere.
A modern Unix system (even a commercial one, such as Solaris) is built
upon several decades of freely available work. When using a system
where the C compiler, the text editors, the windowing environment, and
perhaps even the kernel are all freely available with source code,
the thought of paying money for anything less significant feels wrong.
The author may feel entitled to money for his work -- but if I'm going
to give money to people because they write something useful to me,
surely the gcc developers (for example) should come first? After all,
gcc is far more useful than any likely shareware utility.

The Windows world is a different community. (Partially, I suspect,
because the most common development tools are all commercial, creating
the perfectly natural desire for authors to recoup their costs.) I've
shelled out money for WinZip. I would never pay for a Unix equivalent.

The IF community is very cross-platform, but the attitudes more reflect
that of the Unix world. Several excellent development systems already
exist; why would anyone want to pay money for a new one? A new one
which lacks cross-platform support, no less. Meaning that games
written in it will never be able to garner accolades from many
significant members of the community. The lack of source code is
also quite damning -- look at the number of people who have contributed
to Inform for an idea of what freely-available source gains you.

Attitudes towards shareware games, as opposed to development systems,
are somewhat different. A game is a single thing; you get it, you
play it, you move on. A development system is a relationship that
will stay with you for years.

>I think something *would* be lost in a world where "freeware" and
>"commercial" are the only alternatives. You've lost the possibility that the
>little guy can become a big guy, and you've removed one alternative from the
>hypothetical American Dream. I probably sound entirely materialistic, but
>I'm really not. I just like to hope that my future hasn't been promised to
>the lady from accounting that hands me a direct-deposit slip every Tuesday.

"Shareware" software IS "commercial" software. It's not produced by a big
company, but that doesn't make it any less commercial.

There's still plenty of room for commercial software in the world.

>I *really* didn't mean to come across as berating either. Mainly I'm just
>venting at an ever-shrinking shareware market.

If the shareware market is shrinking, I suspect it is because standards
for software are rising. It's getting very hard for a program written
by a single person in his spare time to compete with the level of
quality of other packages. It's virtually impossible for such a program
to compete with a free program: a shareware program is limited by developer
salaries, while a free program draws little bits of time from many
developers.

Personally, I can see no reason to be unhappy that the supply of high-
quality free software is increasing. It makes my life better. Sure,
it means I probably can't make a living by sitting in a hole in the
ground separate from all human contact and writing little programs.
If that appealed to me, however, I'd go become a consultant doing
small programming projects. Similar lifestyle, not much more human
contact (if you don't want it), much better pay.

>I've contributed to my passions as well. I've written FAQ's and free add-ons
>and instructions and spent many hours answering newbie questions just to
>help out (in particular, for the Dink Smallwood CRPG). This was for the
>purpose of helping in something I enjoy, not for profit. I understand that
>the IF community is populated by such people. I just (sorry) *still* can't
>bring myself to discourage somebody who *does* hope to make a profit.

The thing is, I don't think anyone is going to make a profit selling
IF development environments. The competition is better and costs less.
Better than anyone hoping to do so become discouraged before they waste
time and energy on it.

Feel free to prove me wrong by selling an IF dev environment and making
money, of course. I'm not an all-knowing oracle. But I'd be dishonest
to encourage anyone to try to make a profit this way.

- Damien

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
Damien Neil wrote in message ...

>There are such markets, but I don't think you are standing in one now.
>Different communities have different values.


There are fewer and fewer markets like that and they're hard to find.

>Shareware Unix software, for example, isn't likely to get you anywhere.
>A modern Unix system (even a commercial one, such as Solaris) is built
>upon several decades of freely available work. When using a system
>where the C compiler, the text editors, the windowing environment, and
>perhaps even the kernel are all freely available with source code,
>the thought of paying money for anything less significant feels wrong.
>The author may feel entitled to money for his work -- but if I'm going
>to give money to people because they write something useful to me,
>surely the gcc developers (for example) should come first? After all,
>gcc is far more useful than any likely shareware utility.


That's great, but it has lead to an expectation that everything you want can
be obtained for free.

>The IF community is very cross-platform, but the attitudes more reflect
>that of the Unix world. Several excellent development systems already
>exist; why would anyone want to pay money for a new one? A new one
>which lacks cross-platform support, no less. Meaning that games
>written in it will never be able to garner accolades from many
>significant members of the community. The lack of source code is
>also quite damning -- look at the number of people who have contributed
>to Inform for an idea of what freely-available source gains you.


Then you begin building a new community.

>Attitudes towards shareware games, as opposed to development systems,
>are somewhat different. A game is a single thing; you get it, you
>play it, you move on. A development system is a relationship that
>will stay with you for years.


In other words, it's ok to pay for something simple, but something complex
should be free. [lol].

>"Shareware" software IS "commercial" software. It's not produced by a big
>company, but that doesn't make it any less commercial.


No it isn't.

>If the shareware market is shrinking, I suspect it is because standards
>for software are rising. It's getting very hard for a program written
>by a single person in his spare time to compete with the level of
>quality of other packages. It's virtually impossible for such a program
>to compete with a free program: a shareware program is limited by developer
>salaries, while a free program draws little bits of time from many
>developers.


This was my point.

>Personally, I can see no reason to be unhappy that the supply of high-
>quality free software is increasing. It makes my life better. Sure,
>it means I probably can't make a living by sitting in a hole in the
>ground separate from all human contact and writing little programs.
>If that appealed to me, however, I'd go become a consultant doing
>small programming projects. Similar lifestyle, not much more human
>contact (if you don't want it), much better pay.


I'm not unhappy with free software directly. I'm disappointed that the
opportunities for a small company to grow in the shareware world are slim.
Are you categorizing all programmers as people who sit in a little hole in
the ground and have no human contact? I'll ask you not to make such a
generalization, as that doesn't describe me at all.

>The thing is, I don't think anyone is going to make a profit selling
>IF development environments. The competition is better and costs less.
>Better than anyone hoping to do so become discouraged before they waste
>time and energy on it.


I'm not "selling" an IF system, but if I were, it's my time and energy to
waste. Who are you to discourage me from that? If It's free, I've earned
nothing. If it costs and nobody buys, I've earned nothing. What's the
difference from my standpoint? None, unless I *expect* to make money (and I
never "expect" it, only hope).

>Feel free to prove me wrong by selling an IF dev environment and making
>money, of course. I'm not an all-knowing oracle. But I'd be dishonest
>to encourage anyone to try to make a profit this way.


I never said somebody should be encouraged to write an IF system to sell. If
I didn't have my own doubts about making money with one, I'd do it myself.
However, and you will *never* convince me otherwise, somebody who has
already written one and plans to sell it shouldn't be criticized for that.
As Andrew Plotkin explained to me about the TADS system, the author
eventually made it freeware. This was his decision when the prospect of
income was appearently gone. Never EVER would I tell somebody "make it free,
otherwise you're just wasting time and energy." I've been told that on many
projects I hoped to sell... in fact, almost every one. Yet, my income in the
workforce has more than quadrupled in the past three years and I have a hard
time thinking that what I do for my employer is something the rest of the
world thinks should be done for free.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
Mike Snyder wrote in message ...

---- Sorry for the rant, just woke up and should know better than to be
interactive first thing in the morning.

T Raymond

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
Andrew Plotkin <erky...@netcom.com> spoke about :

>> I'm curious if you're able to fully test out most software before you buy
>> it?
>
>When there are well-developed freeware alternatives, you're darn tootin' I
>do.

I didn't htink I could be the only one who thought that way :)

Peter Seebach

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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In article <ryXR3.809$vD.2...@typhoon2.kc.rr.com>,

Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
>That's great, but it has lead to an expectation that everything you want can
>be obtained for free.

Yes. This may turn out to be a reasonable expectation. Economically, there's
no reason for copies of programs to cost money; it should be the development
which costs money.

Now look at, say, Cygnus, who make a lot of money selling work, and give away
most (all?) of their software. The product is the labor, not the actual
programs.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Peter Seebach wrote in message ...

>
>Yes. This may turn out to be a reasonable expectation. Economically,
there's
>no reason for copies of programs to cost money; it should be the
development
>which costs money.


Er... so who pays for me to develop a game which the world at large wants me
to provide for free? Basically you're saying I should spend my money to make
a game, so that you don't have to spend any money to obtain it? Either I'm
misunderstanding you, or that seems really high-handed.

>Now look at, say, Cygnus, who make a lot of money selling work, and give
away
>most (all?) of their software. The product is the labor, not the actual
>programs.


I'm just not familiar with this, or I'm misunderstanding you. How is "labor"
a revenue-generating product if nobody is paying for it?

Mike.

Damien Neil

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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On Thu, 28 Oct 1999 12:44:07 GMT, Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
>Damien Neil wrote in message ...
>>A modern Unix system (even a commercial one, such as Solaris) is built
>>upon several decades of freely available work. When using a system
>>where the C compiler, the text editors, the windowing environment, and
>>perhaps even the kernel are all freely available with source code,
>>the thought of paying money for anything less significant feels wrong.
>>...

>
>That's great, but it has lead to an expectation that everything you want can
>be obtained for free.

Which is, indeed, generally the case. At least in that particular domain.

More importantly, however, it has led to an expectation that anything I
do should be free. When I write a small, useful program, I build on
the work of many hundreds of other programmers who gave away their work.
Can I do any less?

>>The IF community is very cross-platform, but the attitudes more reflect
>>that of the Unix world. Several excellent development systems already
>>exist; why would anyone want to pay money for a new one? A new one
>>which lacks cross-platform support, no less. Meaning that games
>>written in it will never be able to garner accolades from many
>>significant members of the community. The lack of source code is
>>also quite damning -- look at the number of people who have contributed
>>to Inform for an idea of what freely-available source gains you.
>
>Then you begin building a new community.

Can you at least understand why the members of the current IF community
will regard the desire to construct a new, separate community revolving
around a commercial, unportable piece of software with less than full
enthusisam?

>>Attitudes towards shareware games, as opposed to development systems,
>>are somewhat different. A game is a single thing; you get it, you
>>play it, you move on. A development system is a relationship that
>>will stay with you for years.
>
>In other words, it's ok to pay for something simple, but something complex
>should be free. [lol].

"Simple" vs. "complex" is not the issue.

Hugo was initally a single-platform system. It has since been ported
to many other systems, mostly by people other than the primary author.
Would this have happened if it was commercial?

>>"Shareware" software IS "commercial" software. It's not produced by a big
>>company, but that doesn't make it any less commercial.
>
>No it isn't.

I'm sorry. I don't know if we can communicate meaningfully if we cannot
agree on a point that seems this blindingly obvious to me.

The Opera web browser is commercial. It is developed by a Norwegian
company, which makes money off of it. A limited-use trial version is
available; if you decide you like it, you send them money.

The IF authoring tool which sparked this discussion also has a limited-
use trial version. If you decide you like it, you send the authors
money. What makes it different?

Is WinZip shareware or commercial? How about GameSpy?

>I'm not unhappy with free software directly. I'm disappointed that the
>opportunities for a small company to grow in the shareware world are slim.
>Are you categorizing all programmers as people who sit in a little hole in
>the ground and have no human contact? I'll ask you not to make such a
>generalization, as that doesn't describe me at all.

No. I'm saying that if I wanted to avoid being beholden to a large
corporation, I can think of far more lucrative ways of doing so than
writing shareware.

I'm also saying that whenever free software drives out commercial
software, this is a net win for me.

>I'm not "selling" an IF system, but if I were, it's my time and energy to
>waste. Who are you to discourage me from that? If It's free, I've earned
>nothing. If it costs and nobody buys, I've earned nothing. What's the
>difference from my standpoint? None, unless I *expect* to make money (and I
>never "expect" it, only hope).

I'm referring to the people who were advertising a commercial IF
development system here, not you.

Tell me, do you believe it is wrong to offer advice in general, or only
to people who write shareware?

>I never said somebody should be encouraged to write an IF system to sell. If
>I didn't have my own doubts about making money with one, I'd do it myself.
>However, and you will *never* convince me otherwise, somebody who has
>already written one and plans to sell it shouldn't be criticized for that.

I don't believe I have heard any such criticisms here. I've heard people
complain that the 20-move limit on the demo makes it difficult to
evaluate. I've heard people say that they won't buy it, regardless of
how good it is. Are these not valid statements, and indeed valuable
market input?

- Damien

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Damien Neil <ne...@grace.acm.rpi.edu> wrote:
>>I think something *would* be lost in a world where "freeware" and
>>"commercial" are the only alternatives. You've lost the possibility that the
>>little guy can become a big guy, and you've removed one alternative from the
>>hypothetical American Dream. I probably sound entirely materialistic, but
>>I'm really not. I just like to hope that my future hasn't been promised to
>>the lady from accounting that hands me a direct-deposit slip every Tuesday.
>
> "Shareware" software IS "commercial" software. It's not produced by a big
> company, but that doesn't make it any less commercial.
>
> There's still plenty of room for commercial software in the world.

Yes, I should have been clearer about that. When I said "shareware", I was
simplifying the argument, but I really meant all pay-money-to-use-it
software.

And yes, there's plenty of room for commercial software. But not
(obviously) for every task.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Stacy the Procrastinating wrote in message ...

>This could just be me spinning my mental wheels here, but I also wonder
>how much if raif's freeware slant is influenced by raif's very academic
>community mix. Certainly some IF fans have jobs, but a good portion
>of the active community is students/grad students/professors/recently
>out-of-college professionals, etc--groups that aren't know for having much
>spare cash. Personally, I would love to register more shareware (there's a
>web editor I love to death, but which costs $70 to register) but I almost
>never have the money. Same with why I love IF so much in the first place.
>I can't often spare $40 for the latest graphic game, but I can always raid
>GMD for toys.


This is something I feel mixed about. I do understand how lofty price tags
make a product undesirable (even small price tags, depending on your
situation). I've certainly been there. At the same time, I can't ever
remember feeling that my personal situation was justification to tell a
software developer "I can't afford it... make it free." Instead, talent
rises up to write a similar product as service to the community. If free
products capture the market (as is the case here) then releasing something
as shareware (or even commercial) can be considered a bad business move but
should *not* be considered a right the developer doesn't have. It's possible
that such a product *might* be unique or "cool" enough to get attention and
make a little money, despite the "way things are."

>(Just a thought, and in no way meant to discourage shareware/commercial
>developers. If I were going to spend hundreds of hours developing a
>product, I can certainly see wanting some kind of monetary compensation.)


I've written freeware. I do it because I want to, because I'm stretching my
"muscles," or because I'm trying to help a group of people. More recently, I
do it because it's a neat way attracting website visitors. I've written
shareware. I do it because the project is so large I want to at least *try*
for a little return on the time, or because I think I've stumbled on
something which isn't beaten to death already by freeware. More recently, I
do it because I co-own a software company and our goal is not to work as a
charity, but to make a profit as most companies attempt. I've also written
commercial software. I do it because there are companies which think my
skills are worth $$$. I do it because it pays for my lifestyle. I do it
because (for example) Sprint PCS is willing to pay big bucks to my employer.

My intent was not to bring the wrath of the IF Gods down upon me. I have
*no* idea why, by Andrew Plotkin is able to disagree with me without making
me feel like an idiot. <shrug>

Andrew Plotkin

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
> Peter Seebach wrote in message ...
>>
>>Yes. This may turn out to be a reasonable expectation. Economically,
> there's
>>no reason for copies of programs to cost money; it should be the
> development
>>which costs money.
>
> Er... so who pays for me to develop a game which the world at large wants me
> to provide for free?

I was careful to specify, in my long rant, that I was talking about
development systems and *not* games.

Games are different -- maybe not in an absolute qualitative sense, but
very different in practice. Because they're art, and every artist has (if
you want to think of it this way) a natural, unbreakable monopoly on
his/her own work.

If I release IF games for free (which I do), and other people release IF
games for money (which they do), am I helping drive them down into the
dirt? The situation is complicated, but at root, my games *aren't the
same* as theirs. If you want to play _Once and Future_, because you like
Whizzard's writing, no amount of _Spider and Web_ will satisfy that urge.

Even if you think I'm a better writer -- which is subjective, and there
will always be people who disagree :-) -- that doesn't mean you stop
caring about _Once and Future_.

(And this may work in reverse. Just because I've never asked money for a
text game, doesn't mean I never will. I think I'd sell a fair number of
copies, even though there would still be free IF out there.)

I am *much* less happy about paying money for tools and utilities, in
general.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Andrew Plotkin wrote in message <7va5kl$p5t$2...@nntp6.atl.mindspring.net>...

>(And this may work in reverse. Just because I've never asked money for a
>text game, doesn't mean I never will. I think I'd sell a fair number of
>copies, even though there would still be free IF out there.)
>
>I am *much* less happy about paying money for tools and utilities, in
>general.


Applying my frustration about shareware in general to an IF authoring system
was a bad attempt at solidifying a problem which to me is very general. I
never meant to imply that I think the IF community is obligated to embrace
and buy a "for money" system. I only meant to say that I don't think it's
fair to say "you CAN'T try to sell," and I'm frustrated in general that it's
hard to "compete" against free stuff.

I'm pretty sure any additional comments I have are just rehashed ways of
saying the above :-)

Mike.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Woops, I originally sent this in email instead of posting it.

>>Damien Neil wrote in message ...

>More importantly, however, it has led to an expectation that anything I


>do should be free. When I write a small, useful program, I build on
>the work of many hundreds of other programmers who gave away their work.
>Can I do any less?

When I write a small, useful program, I use an operating system which was
not "given" to me using programming languages which were not "given" to me
(usually -- Perl is an exception), using graphics renderning software which
was not "given" to me, on a computer that was definitely not "given" to me.
Windows 98... $100. VB... $450... Bryce4... $199, Poser3... $199, PSP...
$85. In the past I've developed Worldgroup BBS games -- Worldgroup BBS
6-user... $500, Borland C++... $175, Pharlap... $400, WG developer's kit...
$500. I respect your decision and your right to create software and not
charge for it. I do not, however, believe it's fair to *expect* software to
be free (though this seems to be the case).

>>Then you begin building a new community.
>

>Can you at least understand why the members of the current IF community
>will regard the desire to construct a new, separate community revolving
>around a commercial, unportable piece of software with less than full
>enthusisam?

I didn't say "Then you begin building a new community which the existing one
will embrace with open arms." I'm also not seriously proposing such a thing.

>>In other words, it's ok to pay for something simple, but something complex
>>should be free. [lol].
>

>"Simple" vs. "complex" is not the issue.

>Hugo was initally a single-platform system. It has since been ported
>to many other systems, mostly by people other than the primary author.
>Would this have happened if it was commercial?

I'm *not* disputing that making money with *any* aspect of IF is probably
futile. I'm disputing the insistence that writing software *must* mean
giving it away free. Can you just not understand this?

>>>"Shareware" software IS "commercial" software. It's not produced by a
big
>>>company, but that doesn't make it any less commercial.
>>
>>No it isn't.
>

>I'm sorry. I don't know if we can communicate meaningfully if we cannot
>agree on a point that seems this blindingly obvious to me.

Shareware is available in a form (often crippled) which you can "try before
you buy". This is not true of commercial software. The best you can hope for
is a review somewhere, a features list maybe, or with luck some kind of
limited demo. In your mind, you can consider Shareware and Commercial
Software the same thing, but they simply *are not*. Most "free" software you
can download (especially, in my experiences, CGI scripts, code snippets or
tools, graphics, music) states that it can be used freely in shareware and
freeware products, but not commercially without consent from the author.
Does the rest of the world simply have the wrong idea about the line between
the two?

>The Opera web browser is commercial. It is developed by a Norwegian
>company, which makes money off of it. A limited-use trial version is
>available; if you decide you like it, you send them money.

That's shareware. If it's sold in stores, it's either fully functional
(commercial) or it's a low-priced shareware version (typically $10 CD's
around here). I'm not aware of Opera being sold in any stores, but I'm not
that familiar with it in general.

>The IF authoring tool which sparked this discussion also has a limited-
>use trial version. If you decide you like it, you send the authors
>money. What makes it different?

Both are shareware. I see no difference.

>Is WinZip shareware or commercial? How about GameSpy?

WinZip is shareware. Maybe a commercial version is available, I'm not sure.
I have no idea what GameSpy is, so I can't comment.

>No. I'm saying that if I wanted to avoid being beholden to a large
>corporation, I can think of far more lucrative ways of doing so than
>writing shareware.

Writing shareware is a means of *not* being tied to a large corporation and
this is where my frustration comes into play. With such a mindset toward
freeware-or-nothingware, the chances of successful shareware is very very
slim.

>I'm also saying that whenever free software drives out commercial
>software, this is a net win for me.

And a net loss for software developers. Your goal must be to convince
everybody with any programming talent that their time is best spent working
for you, for free. Commercial software exists because people will buy it.
The less people who buy it and the less people who *need* it, the fewer
commercial products you will see with any success. This is a point you may
adamantly refute, but when there is no longer money to be made in writing
software, you may find fewer people possess the skills at doing it. When
picking my college major I certainly would have considered something else if
somebody told me "hey, everybody these days expects freeware. You can take a
CS major but you'll be eating raman noodles for the rest of your life."

>I'm referring to the people who were advertising a commercial IF
>development system here, not you.

Admittedly I put myself in the line of fire on this, but it's not because I
plan to sell commercial IF development systems. It's because I
wholeheartedly disagree with the opinion that people are *obligated* to
release their work for free.

>Tell me, do you believe it is wrong to offer advice in general, or only
>to people who write shareware?

Advice is different than rejection, and I've already mentioned this.

>I don't believe I have heard any such criticisms here. I've heard people
>complain that the 20-move limit on the demo makes it difficult to
>evaluate. I've heard people say that they won't buy it, regardless of
>how good it is. Are these not valid statements, and indeed valuable
>market input?

I've already stated that my original comment stems from "suspecting" this
attitude rather than seeing evidence of it. This IF community, as has been
pointed out, is very freeware-oriented. Although nobody has openly stated
"Do not charge for an IF system" (to my knowledge) the sentiment seems to be
just below the surface.

Peter Seebach

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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In article <oS%R3.5228$AC1....@typhoon2.kc.rr.com>,

Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
>Er... so who pays for me to develop a game which the world at large wants me
>to provide for free? Basically you're saying I should spend my money to make
>a game, so that you don't have to spend any money to obtain it? Either I'm
>misunderstanding you, or that seems really high-handed.

Well, that's been the historical problem with games as open source. ;)

Let's look at how it works in an industry where it is, in fact, working. Take
the canonical success story, gcc. gcc is a C compiler. It's an excellent C
compiler. Individual vendors can beat it for their own processors, but it's
the most widely-ported C compiler in the world, by a large margin.

I use gcc.

I have never paid a penny for gcc.

People pay, not to get the compiler, but to get features added to it. Those
features are given to everyone else.

The reason this works is that, with so much of the basic work on the compiler
already available, and free, the marginal cost of adding a feature is often
low enough that it is more cost-effective to pay someone to add the feature to
gcc, than to get something else which provides that same feature.

>>Now look at, say, Cygnus, who make a lot of money selling work, and give
>away
>>most (all?) of their software. The product is the labor, not the actual
>>programs.

>I'm just not familiar with this, or I'm misunderstanding you. How is "labor"
>a revenue-generating product if nobody is paying for it?

They are paying for it. They pay *directly* for it. They say "Hello, Cygnus.
I want gcc to provide this feature. How much would it cost to add this
feature?" Cygnus gives them a quote. If they like it, they hire Cygnus to
perform exactly that labor. Cygnus then gives away the resulting version of
gcc to everyone.

In addition, because the margins on consulting work can be fairly good, Cygnus
does some "pro bono" work - but this work is targeted at improving the number
of consulting jobs that Cygnus can take on and make money.

How would this work for a game? Imagine that you're doing a 3D engine.
Imagine that your engine is pretty good, but doesn't have some useful feature
I want. I can get your engine for free, and so can everyone else. I expect
to sell a lot of copies of my game. You tell me that you can add the feature
I want for $75,000. I evaluate my options:
* your engine, for free, plus $75,000 of work
* someone else's engine, which already does this, for $100,000
and you're a better deal. You get paid $75,000 for development work, *even
though you give your product away*.

Furthermore, maybe you say "by the way, you can have a support contract for
$10,000 a year", and then you can make money from bug fixes, too. :)

Now, the hard part is, how do you make money doing the *hard* part - the
content?

We don't have a good answer yet. Lots of things have been proposed - e.g.,
micropayments, etcetera - but no one's got a good model. Yet. If you find
one, you'll be making a *LOT* of people very happy, because all creative
workers would benefit from a way to do this.

Think about books. Wouldn't it be great if you could sell any book just as
content, without having to convince someone that it'll sell enough copies (at
$7/copy) to justify printing costs for thousands of copies sent to sit on
shelves in thousands of stores? Same problem.

To a certain extent, the whole thing depends on the realization that, in the
end, the competition isn't other people, it's entropy. Anything that makes us
(as a species) more effective is good for everybody. Eventually.

Peter Seebach

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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In article <n51S3.5248$AC1....@typhoon2.kc.rr.com>,

Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
>Applying my frustration about shareware in general to an IF authoring system
>was a bad attempt at solidifying a problem which to me is very general. I
>never meant to imply that I think the IF community is obligated to embrace
>and buy a "for money" system. I only meant to say that I don't think it's
>fair to say "you CAN'T try to sell," and I'm frustrated in general that it's
>hard to "compete" against free stuff.

It is indeed. As a data point, as an experiment, I solicit donations on my
web page.

So far, I've gotten:
$10
a handful (~$4 worth) of arcade machine tokens
a beautiful little folded picture book
a dozen or so photographs less than an inch on a side

I can't honestly tell you whether this is a good deal or not, but, for what
it's worth, I still try to make time to write material for my page.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
Peter Seebach wrote in message ...
>Now, the hard part is, how do you make money doing the *hard* part - the
>content?
>
>We don't have a good answer yet. Lots of things have been proposed - e.g.,
>micropayments, etcetera - but no one's got a good model. Yet. If you find
>one, you'll be making a *LOT* of people very happy, because all creative
>workers would benefit from a way to do this.
>
>Think about books. Wouldn't it be great if you could sell any book just as
>content, without having to convince someone that it'll sell enough copies
(at
>$7/copy) to justify printing costs for thousands of copies sent to sit on
>shelves in thousands of stores? Same problem.

>To a certain extent, the whole thing depends on the realization that, in
the
>end, the competition isn't other people, it's entropy. Anything that makes
us
>(as a species) more effective is good for everybody. Eventually.

If everybody began releasing "free" books (in whatever form) though,
wouldn't it hurt the industry overall? I really think the day would come
when nobody writes because they can't earn a living. The same is true of
anything, and I'm sometimes surprised how software seems to be considered
"different". I want my meals to be prepared for free, I want a free car and
a free house and free "things" to put in it. I wonder if software is
considered "different" because the largest investment is usually Time. In my
mind, a McDonald's clerk who expects my $5 program to be free should be
equally willing (if it were within their power) to give me an Extra Value
Meal for free. If something like this were to happen, I think it would be
horrible for the world. Why, then, does this expectation exist in the
software industry? I'll never ever know.


I'm glad you explained it (the Cygnus thing) because I didn't know what the
original poster meant. This is still an approach where Cygnus has determined
they can make more money by making GCC free because there is additional work
involved. Nobody told Cygnus "you MUST make it free" -- this is a decision
they probably made in an attempt to reach whatever goals they have. Part of
the reason I've written free CGI scripts (a chat room, a poll) is because
it's more likely to be picked up by more people than if I charged a fee
across the board. I recoup my time investment 2 ways -- people can register
(and have) in order to remove my info and customize with their graphics. Or,
people will be pointed to my site because the free scripts contain our
links. I never meant to imply that charging for software should be the rule,
only that no developer should be flogged for their decision to charge, not
charge, or use a free program as an indirect means of revenue.

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Mike Snyder wrote in message ...
>If everybody began releasing "free" books (in whatever form) though,
>wouldn't it hurt the industry overall? I really think the day would come
>when nobody writes because they can't earn a living. The same is true of


Although, when I think about it, it would be great to have a world where
everybody does what they enjoy without regard to profit because everybody
else is doing the same thing. I think that's part of the definition of
"Utopia" though.

Peter Seebach

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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In article <Jz1S3.5252$AC1....@typhoon2.kc.rr.com>,

Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:
>If everybody began releasing "free" books (in whatever form) though,
>wouldn't it hurt the industry overall?

I don't know. Maybe, maybe not.

>I really think the day would come
>when nobody writes because they can't earn a living.

I don't. I think people would find other ways to sell things. Keep in
mind, free IF doesn't mean I won't pay for IF, it means I won't pay $50 for
a game, unless I *really* like the author.

"free" books might drive prices down to $.25 or $1.00 - but if it were easy
enough to buy books, and enough of the distribution costs were eliminated,
authors would be no worse off.

>The same is true of

>anything, and I'm sometimes surprised how software seems to be considered
>"different".

It's different because, with books, the majority of the cost you pay is
reproduction and distribution of physical media, but with software, it's
development.

>horrible for the world. Why, then, does this expectation exist in the
>software industry? I'll never ever know.

Because the physics really are different.

>I'm glad you explained it (the Cygnus thing) because I didn't know what the
>original poster meant. This is still an approach where Cygnus has determined
>they can make more money by making GCC free because there is additional work
>involved.

No!

THEY DID NOT INVENT IT!

They came along and found something, free, and decided to make money making
it better. ;)

>Nobody told Cygnus "you MUST make it free" -- this is a decision
>they probably made in an attempt to reach whatever goals they have.

Actually, the original author said "you can charge as much as you want, but
you can never prevent anyone else from taking what you give them and giving it
away".

It's a weird license. I can charge $25,000 for a copy of gcc, but it's
unlikely that anyone will pay me, because someone else can give it to them for
free. Even if I do succeed, once, the person I sold it to can sell it for
$100, or give it away, and compete with me.

>Part of
>the reason I've written free CGI scripts (a chat room, a poll) is because
>it's more likely to be picked up by more people than if I charged a fee
>across the board. I recoup my time investment 2 ways -- people can register
>(and have) in order to remove my info and customize with their graphics. Or,
>people will be pointed to my site because the free scripts contain our
>links.

And there's another way, you might some day have someone say "hey, I want this
feature added, how much would it cost for you to do this".

>I never meant to imply that charging for software should be the rule,
>only that no developer should be flogged for their decision to charge, not
>charge, or use a free program as an indirect means of revenue.

I tend to agree. I encourage people to find ways to make money at this - but
I believe that the natural structure of the industry is going to favor free
distribution, and paying for development when you want a specific thing
developed, over paying a whole bunch for a copy of something, and having no
mechanism for buying features.

Suzanne Skinner

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
Mike Snyder <wy...@prowler-pro.com> wrote:

>I have *no* idea why, but Andrew Plotkin is able to disagree with me without


>making me feel like an idiot. <shrug>

Indeed. I suspect that's because he put a fair bit of effort into doing so.

It seems that the longer one has been part of a net community--especially a
usenet group--the harder it becomes to avoid condescending to
newcomers. Not so much out of arrogance, as impatience with questions that
have been asked before and arguments that have been hashed out before. But
at some point, one gets beyond that. I think the truest sign of a grizzled
veteran is his/her persistent graciousness towards the uninitiated.

(I'm working on it ;-])

Just a thought for the day.

-Suzanne

--
tr...@igs.net http://www.igs.net/~tril/
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
McCoy: "Well, this looks like a safe enough place."
(A huge hole opens up in the ground and swallows one of the men in
red shirts.)
- Peter Anspach, "Who Shall Bring Us Light?"

Peter Seebach

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to
In article <7vabur$9rb$1...@news.igs.net>,

Suzanne Skinner <tr...@host.ott.igs.net> wrote:
>I think the truest sign of a grizzled
>veteran is his/her persistent graciousness towards the uninitiated.

Often. But sometimes we have to understand that the newbies are a special
breed of clay pigeon. Pull!

I really do try, very hard, to be gracious and kind to people who need help
with C, are really trying to learn it, and are rank newbies, no matter how
funny they are. I may tell friends about their stupid questions over dinner,
but I'll treat them with respect.

Homework questions, asked with no effort on the poster's part to solve the
problem, I answer with, uhm, "creative" solutions. I try to go for something
you could test and have it work, so the student will hand it in without
realizing that the code *screams* "I was written by an experienced guru who
was intentionally joking". I doubt anyone has ever gotten a passing grade by
handing in homework I "did" for them. (Actually, one exception, I helped
someone rather more than I originally planned to once in '93, but that was
RL.)

Andy Elliot

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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T Raymond <ar...@see.the.sig> wrote in message
news:7v2t9a$3fg...@news.northnet.org...

> I checked out your site. It all looks good. The only thing that didn't
> look good to me was the 20 move limitation on the player for
> unregistered users.
>
> I'm a bit of a stickler for testing and testing, which is why I
> haven't released a game yet. If I can't test my own game reasonably, I
> can't expect somebody else to either. And while the concept of easy
> programming sounds great, it can't be foolproof. There are bound to be
> programming glitches, or just changes that the programmer would want
> to check out.
>
> I understand that one would want to get some kind of return on a
> system that you put time into. I think this limitation may prevent
> some potential users from checking out your system.
>

Hopefully, this posting will explain the Registration and "20 move"
business. Here are the main points :

Only the SUDS Constructor has a registration fee.

Anybody can use the SUDS Player for free. It is a fully-featured product.
It does not require registration.

The Constructor is also a fully-featured product. An unregistered
Constructor has no time limit or functionality restriction. You can take as
long as you like to develop your game - this is your evaluation of the
product. You will be hassled periodically with a nag message.

Games produced by a registered Constructor are registered games.

The Player plays any registered games with no restrictions.

Games produced (at any stage of development) by an unregistered Constructor
are unregistered games.

The SUDS Player plays an unregistered game for 20 turns i.e. 20 player
actions. On the 20th turn it quits and uninstalls the game. However, on
the 19th turn you can save your position. You can then re-run the Player,
load your position and play another 19 turns before saving again. So the
game is playable - just inconvenient.

I am sympathetic to the perfectionist viewpoint that wants to build a
complete game and play-test it thoroughly amongst friends, before
registering. But get real, guys! You can see how the SUDS Player works
from the sample games provided. You can evaluate the Constructor until
you're blue in the face. If there was no pain attached to running an
unregistered game, why would anyone ever register?

Remember that you're evaluating whether or not to buy the DESIGN program.
If you don't like it, you'll know long before you're ready to play-test an
entire game. And if you do produce a full game ready for mass testing, $25
is a fair one-off price for an easy life - less than the price of a single
good meal out, or a single round of drinks for all your friends.

I hope this deals with the questions, and my apologies if you don't like the
answer. ;)

Andy Elliot (SUDS author)

Andy Elliot

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
to

Andy Elliot <An...@liznandy.freeNOSPAMTAserve.co.uk> wrote in message
news:7vags6$962$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk...

>
>
> I am sympathetic to the perfectionist viewpoint that wants to build a
> complete game and play-test it thoroughly amongst friends, before
> registering. But get real, guys! You can see how the SUDS Player works
> from the sample games provided. You can evaluate the Constructor until
> you're blue in the face. If there was no pain attached to running an
> unregistered game, why would anyone ever register?
>
> Remember that you're evaluating whether or not to buy the DESIGN program.
> If you don't like it, you'll know long before you're ready to play-test an
> entire game. And if you do produce a full game ready for mass testing,
$25
> is a fair one-off price for an easy life - less than the price of a single
> good meal out, or a single round of drinks for all your friends.
>

OK guys, that last post does not capture the spirit of the thread very well,
so apologies! Due to my job I don't get to read the newsgroups very often
so I can't keep up with developments in this discussion (though Liz can, of
course).

I'd just like to say that I DON'T code for a living,and am not expecting to
support my family on the back of SUDS or any other software product. SUDS
was created whilst maintaining all those good things that Mike Snyder
mentions - wife, child, full-time job, sanity... it's kind of hard to put
all the work in, and then just give it away to the world. I genuinely
believe that SUDS brings something new not just to text adventures but to
graphical programming. The existing group seems to made up of people with
the time and smarts to code in 'C'-like languages. Well, not everyone can
do that (I certainly can't!), so SUDS offers something to non-coders too.
But I'm no altruist. If you like the product, say thanks by giving me a bit
of cash in recognition of the work that went into it. If you don't want
to - OK.

From that point of view, SUDS is not a targetted product launch at a niche
market, hoping to clean up. It's an enthusiasm I'm able to share with other
like-minded beings.

Has anyone actually tried USING it yet? ;)

Andy Elliot

Mike Snyder

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99
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Andy Elliot wrote in message <7vaio0$ai8$1...@news8.svr.pol.co.uk>...

>...was created whilst maintaining all those good things that Mike Snyder


>mentions - wife, child, full-time job, sanity... it's kind of hard to

put...


Hehehe sanity? I knew I was missing *something* in that list. :)

Mike.

Joe Mason

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Oct 28, 1999, 3:00:00 AM10/28/99