Donations (again...)

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Would you be willing to pay for BVE content?

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Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Mon May 09, 2016 5:41 pm

All,

I've had a few long discussions about my BVE development with someone who has no interest in playing or developing for the sim over the last few months.

She can't see why we wouldn't charge for our work. She said that the screenshots she has seen and the routes she has seen me playing are just as good as any game you would pay for or buy on steam etc.

I have always believed in OpenBVE being free, in all meanings of the word. Free to play, free to develop for, free to modify, free to do whatever you like with. However, donations have been discussed in the past and the general feeling was that donations are OK. I agree with this.

I've taken a slightly different approach to donations though, and thought it could be made slightly more "fun" (geeky). At the bottom of the download pages on the website there is now a facility to "donate a journey" (£1.50). Similar to "Buy me a cup of coffee", there is a slider and you can give more or less depending how you feel, however the download is always free, and the button is always visible. Click here to see what I mean.

A further suggestion my friend came up with though, that I thought it might be interesting to discuss, is the possibility of paying for "early access" to downloads, or "Additional DLCs" (I'd assume the latter to mean additional diagrams, features, stopping patterns or rolling stock). I'm not even suggesting I or anyone I know is planning on doing this, but I'd be interested on hearing peoples opinions on it.

Note: If this thread turns into a flame war expect it to be locked, it's about peoples opinions and they may not always be the same as your own, nobody is saying BVE is becoming paid software.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by graymac on Mon May 09, 2016 8:41 pm

It's worth asking the question, if for no other reason than it's been a while since the idea has been mentioned.

I can see where your friend is coming from - I've had people unconnected with the OpenBVE movement look at the stuff I've made ad tell me I'm an eejit to do it all for nothing - this great folly of mine which I've been doing for over six years now!

Some of you may know (and too many haven't noticed, or refuse to see) that I have a "donations" button on the website. Fortunately a few generous souls have contributed via PayPal (it's easy!!) and it covers the running costs of the website, which can't be bad. As a mark of gratitude, donors have been given a "premium" 2600 dmu which isn't available by any other means.

Now, I see no reason why any developer should not provide "premium" content for whatever the market will allow. Personally, I would never put ALL of my routes/trains behind a paywall, but it really is up to individual content providers what they want to do.
Also, once you start to charge (selling stuff as opposed to accepting donations after the fact) you cross a line. Bear in mind that demand for paid-for stuff will depend on how desperately users want it, and also on quality - buyers expect (and deserve) value - is your product good enough or special enough to command a premium?
Nobody is going to make a profit anyway, because the methodology for constructing the stuff is too time consuming to ever cover costs.

All that said, the reality is there is too few users and too little route content presently available to make this any more than a hypothetical question anyway. That's just my opinion and now I will sit back and await the flame throwers to arrive!


Last edited by graymac on Mon May 09, 2016 8:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Mon May 09, 2016 8:48 pm

I'm pretty much in the same camp as you, Gray.

Taking the Jubilee line for example, if the whole line was available, then a possibility to consider would be the one stop branch to the disused station at Charing Cross and a couple of diagrams for a couple of quid, but I wouldn't feel comfortable with any more than that purely because if BVE wasn't free then I would never have started using it over ten years ago and would never have started (and then re-started) developing for it.

I think being free is one of the things that makes this sim so unique.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by graymac on Mon May 09, 2016 9:02 pm

but I wouldn't feel comfortable with any more than that purely because if BVE wasn't free then I would never have started using it over ten years ago and would never have started (and then re-started) developing for it.

Agreed! I started making stuff back around 2010 for two reasons, the first being there wasn't any Irish routes/trains and I wanted to put that right. And secondly, I had enjoyed all the excellent NWM and Birmingham XCity routes (among others) and I felt an obligation to pay back.
I've got so much free stuff made now and given away that my conscience wouldn't trouble me if I did produce some paid-for stuff.

Of course, it's all really a side issue. At present the growth of the sim is in a precarious state and hopefully it will get back on track. We do need to encourage more work to be produced and perhaps make older forgotten work available once more, before there will be a future for ''luxuries'' or ''premiums'', so put that AMEX Gold card down for now . . . . . .  Very Happy .
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Dexter on Tue May 10, 2016 7:59 am

Personally, I would not feel comfortable with releasing anything specifically for money. Although I do confess a little bit of cash is always nice, the sim itself has always been free and I don't see it very fair to release a paid content for a free sim. Just my point of view.
I will stick to voluntary donations, even though I will have to find some workaround, since PayPal have been a bag of w*** lately.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Quork on Tue May 10, 2016 9:11 am

I'm relatively strictly against paid content on OpenBVE. I think I can claim to be a fair donor (or at least I hope so), and I think more people should do it, always in their financial scope. For some people, 50Ct (or Pence or US-Ct or Burundian Francs or whatever it may be you use) are very much already, bear that in mind in such a multicultural project as this one!
But I do not think that paid content fits the project's philosophy. Would you want to weigh time and money here, Michelle should obviously get her living paid well by us, which she clearly doesn't. For some time I wasn't even sure I was happy with Gray's donor DMU and found myself not using it for quite some time... Though now I think small donor perks are a nice thing, as they aren't bought but rather are a way of saying "thanks mate!". Oh and yes, that's what I'd call them little extras: Perks. Doesn't wake the thirst for "premium content" and stuff. A little cab, a short branch, something like that.
Something else I could imagine to be fitting for our community is something like "for every five Euros of donation I build or donate a tree, house, car or other object for the freebies!" - that would raise money for the dev while doing something good for the whole community - 'cause that freebie project is important and should grow.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by MattD6R on Tue May 10, 2016 11:54 am

In my opinion content should be free of charge remembering that OpenBve is as free as possible to modify, develop for etc.. Asking for donations I think is acceptable because that leaves the decision up to the user. However charging for content is not what Openbve is about and nor would I charge or pay for content. Speaking for myself content I am working on is being done for enjoyment for myself and others at no charge even though it does take a fair bit of time and effort to do so. 

We do have to be careful because if content is paid for it would be more problematic with money involved with copyright, quality expected, the price (whether people are willing the pay the price) and so on especially as there is very little interest in the simulator.  I do hope that more people do get interested in developing content as there is very little activity which I think is more important issue at the moment. For example, I am virtually the only one making something for the sim from Australia at the moment.

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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by leezer3 on Tue May 10, 2016 12:03 pm

I'll repeat my previous position on the matter (From several years ago, but there we go....):
Small public statement from me.
BVE Cornwall has never, and *will* never ask for donations Smile

What it costs me to run my site is by no means peanuts, but way, way back in 2001 was given help and support by many members of the then Crotrainz community, and in the last few years I hope I've been giving a little back myself.

Cheers

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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Tue May 10, 2016 12:05 pm

I'm showing this thread to the person who asked why we don't charge.

At least the situation has now changed from "James is a nutter who creates programs for free" to "James is part of a group of nutters who make computer programs for free" Laughing
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Quork on Tue May 10, 2016 12:08 pm

Seems "nutter" is a synonym for "socially minded"?
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Tue May 10, 2016 12:12 pm

Very much so - I guess you can sort of compare it to the minority that keep torrents and seed them after download instead of removing them straight away Smile Sharing is caring.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by graymac on Tue May 10, 2016 2:31 pm

"for every five Euros of donation I build or donate a tree, house, car or other object for the freebies!" - that would raise money for the dev while doing something good for the whole community - 'cause that freebie project is important and should grow.

The "freebies" really deserves separate discussion for their own sake. I'm not really sure if they're being used, or if so, by who? This comes back to the awful reality that there are far too few people constructing anything at present. And I'm not currently working on any new routes at present (due to health issues).

Some Freebies I've been involved with are to be found here: http://celtictrainsim.com/freebies.html
*(These are actually hosted thanks to http://www.bve-terminus.org/ ) There are NO restrictions on use, with or without modification or attribution. Other BVE related sites are encouraged to host/distribute them freely - 'freebies' may be found here also http://brnobve.eu/?page_id=2363.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Quork on Tue May 10, 2016 3:41 pm

I think the freebies would do some good for route dev candidates. LokSim3D has a somewhat different tradition when it comes to objects, there objects of published routes are generally considered to be free to use in other route projects, as long as they are not modified (unless allowed by object author) and not marked as route specific (e.g. the Eiffel tower object wouldn't be allowed to be used on Conty Mayo Branch); and there are quite some route devs who create really cool, diverse and interesting routes with little to no own objects. On the other hand, there are quite some people better at objects than at routes.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Thu Jan 12, 2017 12:30 pm

Hi all.

Me again,

What are people's thoughts on having a donation towards a specific cause in return for a download?

Such as a full size, highly realistic and advanced simulator running BVE.

A minimum donation amount is set but the user can change this to whatever they see fit.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by BillEWS on Thu Jan 12, 2017 3:57 pm

What sort of things will you be actually paying for? Outside a computer and programming/ers what else is required that requires considerable cost to be able to produce the finished game? As we see with ST, you get charged for as lot of extras and add-ons that soon shoot prices up to excess of £40.

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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by graymac on Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:47 pm

We've been here before and (in the words of Neil Diamond's song), I'm sure to be this way again!! Very Happy
You can always ask - It's entirely up to yourself if you want to offer an item for a donation.
Presumably whoever wants to take you up on it will do so, it will be interesting to see how many takers you get.

As you're probably aware, I accept donations from appreciative customers on my website. Those who support celtictrainsim by PayPal donation are given an extra which isn't otherwise available, as a token of appreciation. Donations have been sufficient to cover hosting costs so far. The percentage of punters who give is not very large, I'll tell you that for nothing. Sort of "goes with the territory" with freeware Cool
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:37 am

BillEWS wrote:What sort of things will you be actually paying for? Outside a computer and programming/ers what else is required that requires considerable cost to be able to produce the finished game?

Greater Anglia Metro wrote:Such as a full size, highly realistic and advanced simulator running BVE.

Totally hypothetically speaking naturally, I may or may not have already paid for a full size tube cab, that now needs to be transported (Aprox £500) to a heritage site that is being kind enough to give space for a simulator. Then you would need a minimum of three 46" screens, repairs to the cab, a computer strong enough to power the graphics and the custom hardware plugged into the PC (with some help from a member of this forum we have lights for things such as doors closed working, powered by a custom train DLL, and there is more planned.)

Will it break even? Probably not.

Will I still fund it even if nobody wants to donate? Of course.


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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by graymac on Sat Jan 14, 2017 4:29 pm

If you're looking to build a realistic simulator based on salvaged rolling stock, this presumably requires a suitable location to house the enormous beastie??? In a preservation society environment, perhaps?
If that  plan was realised then anyone wishing to see or work the thing would need to pay it a vist. Obviously, that won't be possible for those too far away from the location of the apparatus.
So, why not seek to recover expenses in constructing / commissioning / running it by charging visitors at the point of delivery?
This isn't the same scenario as charging for downloadable "add ons", but it is an interesting idea. Good luck with that one.
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Greater Anglia Metro on Sat Jan 14, 2017 5:04 pm

Location is sorted and all agreed. Rolling stock has been found and purchased.

I was hoping that perhaps a portion of the international community wouldn't mind parting with £1.50 or £3 for a few extra diagrams and some short sections of new track (such as depots and sidings) on an already available route, if they could see what it was funding and knew it was for a good cause.

Perhaps a crowd funding campaign could work?

If you want to come to London, Gray, I have a spare room and you're always welcome Very Happy
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Re: Donations (again...)

Post by Glory! koshikii on Sat Jan 14, 2017 7:50 pm

I believe that BVE content should be free, unless really really professional stuff like this rendition of the Iida Line, used on exhibits and meet-ups with full, complete JNR 119 series cab. BVE has always been a friendly and free as in freedom community and even the pre-5 file system format reflected that. Data was divided by type and not by author. You could use someone's objects on your route, ask the user to download the objects for the other line and they would find it free. Many many many routes from the 暴走VIEW EXPRESS and early BVE 2 era mainly used mackoy's default "built-in" "Uchibo line" objects.
Including, but not limited to these examples.:


  • Uchibō Line
  • Keisei Chiba Line
  • Keisei Main Line
  • Keikyū Main Line
  • Toei Asakusa Line?
  • Hokusō Line
  • Keiō Line
  • Nankai Railway Takano and Airport lines
  • Some sort of guided diesel bus-train? motorbike? with platform edge gates
  • Ichiha Liner (Fictional)
  • The older versions of the Chashinai Railway
  • The many Jōban Line routes
  • Various JR lines, including (East) Yamanote Line, (East) Chūō Line, (East) Senzan Line, (East) Senseki Line, (East) Tsurumi Lines.

I honestly think that super high quality routes are unnecessary. The Isle of Wright?? Line could probably earn some bucks because it was extremely detailed. (It and First Brno Line? were the only lines from here I could play with decent FPS on my (poor) computers.) I'd be happy to buy it with actual money if I had a good enough computer. A IoW with less detail, but not barren, for free, would be fine for me. I am used with simple routes and trains detail wise, mainly because the Japanese strive for quality but don't get themselves stressed over a hobby. But they also don't do anything half-assed, they choose their works to either be detailed (like Greenshuttle's lines: Tokyo Metro Ginza, Fukutoshin Lines, TRTA Hanzōmon Line, Tokyo Monorail, Keiō Keibajō Line) or not detailed at all. (like the examples above) I think paid-content for Bve is fine as long as it is an FPS destroyer. Otherwise, free content should be put in place.
I myself am willing to put all my work in public domain, even if I make a relatively detailed work. Bve is just a hobby for me and I will try to keep it as much of a hobby as possible. Bve screams 自由 (freedom) and I am willing to follow that philosophy. I will not judge those who sell nor I will pirate paid-for routes.

I myself have never seen a donation button or link in all of my 12+ years experience with Bve. Only recently I've seen those weird stuff of donations. Sure... I understand, you want something for recognition or other, I get it, but I myself don't really trust random train fanatics with my money. That doesn't mean I will never donate anything, I might donate to those who I have some intimacy with (mainly because my perceptions of money spending are very conservative) but someone random asking for money... That's kind of virtual homelessness. I don't put ads on my website because they are both annoying and distracting, and I don't want to earn not even pocket change for something that is supposed to be fun. Money is not fun.

To me, anyone can do anything with their stuff. My threshold about acceptable paywalls would be the detailing. I think donations are just kind of wrong, but this may be due to my different culture. I'm from south America, where money is scarce and free things are perceived to be free.

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Re: Donations (again...)

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