Open Indie Bundle (idea)


sswam

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I loved the original Humble Indie Bundle, and have been buying these bundles ever since.

HIB is still very good, but they have been drifting further and further away from where they started.

Here's a list of what I liked about the older bundles:

- a variety of great games
- at least 5 games in a bundle
- games from different studios in each bundle
- only 'indie' games
- entire bundle available 'pay what you feel'
- all games cross-platform (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- game code open sourced after a successful sale
- all games available DRM-free
- all games available by bittorrent
- steam keys for all games that are on steam (with $1 minimum payment)
- choose where your money goes (developers, charity, tip)

So, I want to start a new "Open Indie Bundle" that would stick to the original formula.

games-rock.jpg


Also:

- the games will at least build on ARM/GLES systems, such as Pandora, Android phones
- ideally the games would run on Pandora, Android (perhaps with simpler graphics)
- different games in each bundle (no repeats)
- at least one great 'new' game, not previously available
- "catch up" with previous missed bundles, some time later
- single download for all platforms (resources are larger than executables)
- better Linux support (hacking not required)
- easy update system (no need to download unchanged files again)
- option to sync your saves / scores online
- a game library etc. ala Steam, but open and indie

Good idea?

Any suggestions?

I would need help with this. Would anyone like to help?
 
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Franko

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I could help as far as "hits" on a website or spending money upon downloads or giving sound advice, but I think that your post might be off base here.  Give us a link and present your arguments/case, but I don't see "it" personally.

Edit 1:  Sure, you've given instances and excuses why you don't like the selections, but I still don't get why you're worried.  Okay...I read the paranoid "anti-arm" part of that post, but I still don't get it.   :p
 
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Franko

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Let the need(s) dictate the market - like anything.  I love my new device and I'm downloading like crazy...enjoying games and apps.  I get why you're worried for the future, but these things tend to have an ebb and flow.  Try not to overreact.  Enjoy the times and processes and do what you can to push your favorite "console" or device.  Mine is now the Pandora.  I'm enthralled with this device.  I like what you bring to the Pandora table as well, Dredd.  Keep it up, and keep being YOU...or Dredd...I'm not sure who is who....
 

kuru

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Is the number of portable indie titles coming out regularly high enough to justify the work you will have to put into this?

Or, how many bundles per year would you expect?
 

sswam

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What kind of help and what can you do on your own already ? :)
Well, I can write code, make websites and such. I'm not really well connected to indie game community, except here a little, so need help to find likely games / developers. I'm not very business minded, not good at managing projects, not good at marketing / promotion, so would need help with those aspects. And most of all, I need just "moral support" or encouragement to continue with this.

I could help as far as "hits" on a website or spending money upon downloads or giving sound advice
Sounds good. :) I'm not sure what link or arguments you wanted to see.


The idea is simple: make a new series of indie game bundles, following the principles of the original Humble Indie Bundle (which the Humble Bundle company is gradually forgetting).


I didn't understand several of your other comments here... e.g. "don't like the selections", "anti-arm".


A bundle like this could bring some new commercial games to Linux and to the Pandora, which would be good.

Is the number of portable indie titles coming out regularly high enough to justify the work you will have to put into this?


Or, how many bundles per year would you expect?
There are plenty of new indie games coming out all the time.  I'm not adverse to selling older indie games, either.

I think maybe 6 to 12 bundles per year would be good, but should start with the first one ... one step at a time!
 
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Askarus

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Why not.


Sounds like a good idea.


I don't have time to help but money to buy the upcoming games.


Important for me: Easy to get the games


PayPal is the keyword here.


Also some independent website so that people don't need steam or google account to get the bundle.
 

sswam

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I'll probably never do this but wrote some more ideas about it today:

I like Humble Bundle and have bought almost all the bundles from the beginning. But yeah, I'm feeling not so great about it these days because:

- not consistent Linux support
- not pay what you feel
- too many bundles
- not consistent DRM-free
- less value for money

The current "daily bundles" are too much.

For the early bundles I loved the idea and would give like $20 or $30 for each (unless short on cash). But now there are just too many bundles, and the demand to pay a certain price turns me off, so I tend to pay the minimum.

I know there are a billion bundle sites now, but I'd like to make one which is consistent with its offerings, to match what the humble bundle did originally:

- always PC/Mac/Linux support
- always pay what you feel (>= $1)
- only one bundle per month
- always 8 games
- always indie games
- always steam keys
- always DRM-free option

Ideally, the developers would release the game code as free software after the sale. That might be a requirement. Not required to open-source the game resources, but it should be possible to get at them e.g. to rebuild for a different platform, and to mod or improve the game (which might feed back into the release).

The business would be a non-profit. Employees would be paid fairly, but there would be no investors or shareholders, and it would not make a profit.

I think that would appeal to a lot of people, especially Linux geeks I guess. And Linux geeks always pay the best average ;)

Also there should be a consistent opportunity to catch up on previous bundles, maybe six months after the original bundle. If a bundle is "improved" in future offerings, e.g. adding extra games, the original buyers of that bundle get the improvements too.

I guess we could accept non-indie games too, so long as the other conditions are strictly met, but the focus would be on indie games.

Would probably offer download only by bittorrent (cost effective), and offer a option "download manager" / "games library" to help with keeping games up to date. The client could also act as an integrated games library, working with steam, GOG and other services. I have been working on such a "games library" in HTML, example here and pic below: http://sam.nipl.net/free-games-all.html
 

games.jpg
 

ekianjo

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Ideally, the developers would release the game code as free software after the sale. That might be a requirement. Not required to open-source the game resources, but it should be possible to get at them e.g. to rebuild for a different platform, and to mod or improve the game (which might feed back into the release).
After Lugaru I'm not sure many developers will like that idea at all.  

- always PC/Mac/Linux support - always pay what you feel (>= $1) - only one bundle per month - always 8 games - always indie games - always steam keys - always DRM-free option
I'd like to see Linux x86 and Linux ARM (Rasp Pi and Pandora, for example) support mentioned in that list, if the game can be made to work on such hardware. 
 
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sswam

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After Lugaru I'm not sure many developers will like that idea at all.
What happened with Lugaru?  I did a search, all I can see is some idiot was selling a rip-off version on the app store for 1/10 price.


Possibly due to misunderstanding of the license terms (code is free, assets are non-free).


Did the idiot version get taken down / cancelled, or the idiot get punished?


Of course, some developers do release source code for their older games:  https://github.com/id-Software

I doubt Mr. Wolfire / Humble Bundle is strapped for cash because of the Lugaru incident!   :)

I'd like to see Linux x86 and Linux ARM (Rasp Pi and Pandora, for example) support mentioned in that list, if the game can be made to work on such hardware.
I think Humble Bundle was helping devs do their Linux ports, I guess we could do something similar with Linux and ARM ports...

I'm not sure if it's reasonable to require a working ARM port.  I guess that would be like the "humble bundle for PC and android".
 
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ekianjo

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Did the idiot version get taken down / cancelled, or the idiot get punished?
The original developer tried to stop that version from the idiot from being sold, but it took a long time before Google reacted therefore resulting in huge sales for the idiot in question. And as far as I know (i may be wrong) the money was not recovered. So it was very profitable to be the idiot in that case :p  

Of course, some developers do release source code for their older games:  https://github.com/id-Software
Carmack did it because he understood the hacker ethos. id without Carmack, I'm not so sure it will happen. Rage's engine is still closed, and same for Quake 4 I believe. 
 

elwing

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Did the idiot version get taken down / cancelled, or the idiot get punished?

never heard about punishment... the app was taken down but only after more than one week, and the conterfeit app made it to the top #60 of the app store...

and finally since wolfire are great they even offered free lugaru HD to customer who have been tricked into buying the conterfeit one for only a fraction of the price.

edit: hum, just to correct some wrong assumption... I noticed it was on the apple store, not on the google one...
 
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_jr_

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I fully support the idea of a less market/more freedom oriented, non profit content providing organization (even though Humble/GoG/... are not bad). Actually I think this (not only for games, but also music, videos, books, etc.) is one of the bigger challenges of the 21st century, some kind of continuation of what the FSF and Wikimedia are doing in fields that are becoming increasingly relevant today.

I totally hated X-Box live the one time I looked at it for being absolutely user unfriendly. I wouldn't give my children access (they haven't asked yet). It is not important that content is gratis (at least most of it, I think it is different for some basic items like news and knowledge), but treating your customers like thiefs and/or cash cows while burdening them with all contractual responsibility will IMO just hinder progress in the medium to long term.

I don't have time to help, but I would donate regularly to such an organization (if setup by someone I can trust like sswam or ED).
 

comradekingu

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I didnt read all. but i would want only FOSS games, and soundtrack always available in flac.

The whole storyline available in txt files for blind people, and every game translated/translatable.

Also, with the tip/donation profits, to use some of it for funding development of new games like that.

With a program to have successful gamedevs help out newcomers.

Also available packets for debian, suse, fedora, ubuntu, etc.

After a year or so the games could make a new splash by going gratis, on the regular repos, or custom one, as donationware.

Also make it possible to crowdfund towards getting something on the top donator list.

Maybe compos, where the community tries to make for example a moba, an educative gardening game, or new boardgame.
 

sswam

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I fully support the idea of a less market/more freedom oriented, non profit content providing organization (even though Humble/GoG/... are not bad). Actually I think this (not only for games, but also music, videos, books, etc.) is one of the bigger challenges of the 21st century, some kind of continuation of what the FSF and Wikimedia are doing in fields that are becoming increasingly relevant today. I totally hated X-Box live the one time I looked at it for being absolutely user unfriendly. I wouldn't give my children access (they haven't asked yet). It is not important that content is gratis (at least most of it, I think it is different for some basic items like news and knowledge), but treating your customers like thiefs and/or cash cows while burdening them with all contractual responsibility will IMO just hinder progress in the medium to long term. I don't have time to help, but I would donate regularly to such an organization (if setup by someone I can trust like sswam or ED).
Thanks. Yeah... doing something similar for other media would be be good. However I think that would be best handled by "sister organizations". We could cooperate with them but I'd rather it's under a different banner, without any "big boss" organization. I don't want to be too ambitious all at once, and I think it's better to be focused.

Humble Bundle gets a lot of flack for "why this shit e-books bundle I want games give me games!!". I don't agree with those sentiments, but if the books were under a different URL and a different company it would be all sweet. They could link to each-other. I'm on about going back to the "roots" of what made the first few humble bundles really awesome for me. They have kind of lost track of that, by diversifying not only the products they sell but the methods they use and the rules they follow.  i.e. they are no longer strictly indie, no longer games, no longer require a DRM free version for all deals, no longer "pay what you feel" for the  whole bundle, no longer pushing to open source games, no longer just monthly bundles with plenty of space so almost anyone can afford to "collect them all"...  No doubt they are making much more money by diversifying, but somehow I don't feel so good about them any more.

Do you really have evidence you can trust me? I have reasonably good intentions but I think I'd be considerably worse than Craig at managing a project. Craig has actually completed projects, such as his games. I've started hundreds of programming projects, and completed few if any (except for stuff at work where I'll get my ass kicked if I don't). I definitely need some help on the management side of things. I'm one of very few people I expect who would actually want to pay someone to be their manager / boss!  because I know how unreliable I am without someone kicking my ass every second day to keep working. Anyway, giving me money or allowing me to manage an organization would probably not be a good idea!

I changed my screen name on the forums back to DREDD again, I oscillate.  Nearly had to resort to writing ocelot instead of oscillate couldn't remember how to spell it.  Thank goodness for look(1).

I didnt read all. but i would want only FOSS games, and soundtrack always available in flac.


The whole storyline available in txt files for blind people, and every game translated/translatable.


Also, with the tip/donation profits, to use some of it for funding development of new games like that.


With a program to have successful gamedevs help out newcomers.


Also available packets for debian, suse, fedora, ubuntu, etc.


After a year or so the games could make a new splash by going gratis, on the regular repos, or custom one, as donationware.


Also make it possible to crowdfund towards getting something on the top donator list.


Maybe compos, where the community tries to make for example a moba, an educative gardening game, or new boardgame.
Some really good ideas there kingu, thank-you!

I think we could ask the developers to release their source code as FOSS after the sale.  Very very few commercial developers would be willing to release their art assets as FOSS.

If we only include games that are already FOSS (including assets), hardly anyone will pay for the bundle since they can get them for free with apt-get install or whatever. I could be wrong but yeah.

Soundtracks available in flac, that's good.  It would also be awesome to have "source code" for the soundtracks, so can load into whatever music editing program and see how it's done, or print out a score to play on piano or guitar, or (as I want to do) adjust the tuning of the notes and render it to flac again.  I'm not sure what would be a suitable (textual) file format for electronic music, musicians surely use many different programs and I suppose very few of them export to a sensible file format.  Maybe a text version of MIDI with some extra features and "format bugs" fixed.  FOSS music, that would be good.

Good idea to have the storyline in plain text. Even better if the game is playable by blind people but that's very difficult to achieve, unless the game is designed for blind people in the first place. It might be possible to convert existing games with support for blind people, but that's very difficult and would have to be a separate project. I know somone who has develops games for blind people.

Great idea that the game should support "translation mods", that comes with open file formats and open source. The "open source" helps with porting, and the "open data formats" (i.e. text files) helps with translation and modding. Maybe also require support for asset mods, i.e. the assets have to be in plain format not encrypted in some proprietary archive, or in the executable. Again, open source makes this possible automatically, but if the games are built in an open way it's even easier.

Like I said I doubt game developers will release their assets as free software until they have finished making money from it. It's asking a lot even to release the source code. It would be good however if they agree to allow 3rd party "asset mods" such as translation, which will be freely available to licensed users of the game, or could be sold by the original and mod developers together.

These requirements would prevent us from selling many existing games. Or the games would have to be fixed up to comply. I guess that's okay.

Funding new games... that could be good, but how to choose what games to fund?  And what happens if a game "takes the money and run" or fails to deliver, like happens sometimes on kickstarter?  Perhaps could make interest-free loans to game developers, somewhat like Kiva, where they are expected to pay it back if possible but wouldn't drag them to hell if they can't do it. I'm kind of ashamed to make a comparison to Kiva, which helps people who are in desperate need, but game developers need work too.

I think maybe with packages for Debian, SUSE, Fedora etc, that could be done by third parties (i.e. the distro developers).  Or, have a single Linux download, with a script that can generate the appropriate package.  Don't want to be hosting 5 different versions of a large game, even if it's distributed by bittorrent.  It's probably best to stick with "tgz" but with some more client-side support to install as a package if desired.  Or maybe we can use ~PND format :)  so the game files are in one place on the disk and will load faster (seriously).  Maybe we could promote some cross-distro package system, if it's possible.

I'd like to have a client to manage the DRM-free games. The humble bundle DRM-free option is unappealing to me because no auto upgrade, no desktop icons, no proper installation, etc. If it worked better I probably wouldn't use Steam so much. I haven't used the GOG or Desura clients very much.

I agree ideally a game will go gratis after a while, however that might discourage a lot of people from buying the bundle, especially if it's stated in advance that the game will go gratis. "I'll just wait a year and get it for free"  We could have some agreement of reduced copyright like 5 years or 10 years instead of 75 years, after which it's gratis, but I think 1 or 2 years is too short.

Not sure what you mean by donationware.  Not sure what you mean by "crowdfund towards ... the donation list".

Having compos where the best games go into the bundle (maybe even all the games as an optional extra), that's a great idea too.

Thanks very much for sharing all your ideas.  I really appreciate it.

Sorry for writing too much, don't have time to make it short, etc...
 
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comradekingu

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its not like you need to build the game to pirate it. Also, google being bad at running a repo means all the more reason to get away from it.

Only adds invasive tracking and cancer on top of your project, and costs a lot. Google takes what, 30%?

A little bit of service and facilitating buying the games is hugely profitable. People flocked to humble indie bundle because they did it right.

And then that changed.

Also, the artwork can be copyrighted, no problem there.
 
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_jr_

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Do you really have evidence you can trust me? I have reasonably good intentions but I think I'd be considerably worse than Craig at managing a project. Craig has actually completed projects, such as his games. I've started hundreds of programming projects, and completed few if any (except for stuff at work where I'll get my ass kicked if I don't). I definitely need some help on the management side of things. I'm one of very few people I expect who would actually want to pay someone to be their manager / boss! because I know how unreliable I am without someone kicking my ass every second day to keep working. Anyway, giving me money or allowing me to manage an organization would probably not be a good idea!
I see your pages and your repo mirror. I'm pretty sure you could provide the platform (and I don't think it has to be super fancy).


That just leaves getting some game developers on board and setting up a Ltd with enough money to fund initial costs (lawyers, fees, taxes, servers, bandwidth, ...). Can't be that difficult :)


I agree an MBA type would be useful, if you can find someone sharing your vision who doesn't want to get paid.
 

sswam

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its not like you need to build the game to pirate it. Also, google being bad at running a repo means all the more reason to get away from it.
If you're talking about the Lugaru fiasco, it was the Apple appstore not google play. But yeah.

I see your pages and your repo mirror. I'm pretty sure you could provide the platform (and I don't think it has to be super fancy).

That just leaves getting some game developers on board and setting up a Ltd with enough money to fund initial costs (lawyers, fees, taxes, servers, bandwidth, ...). Can't be that difficult :)

I agree an MBA type would be useful, if you can find someone sharing your vision who doesn't want to get paid.
Even just some regular person who would take an interest and keep me on track, make sure on the right track and tasks are getting done... Doesn't have to be a professional manager (perhaps better not). Like I said, I'd be happy to pay for that! Maybe "business coach" is what that is.

For the DRM-free downloads, we could use bittorrent. That would reduce the bandwidth costs to nearly nothing, so we would not need investment to get started. We could give more of the revenue to the developers and charity.
 

_wb_

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I think we could ask the developers to release their source code as FOSS after the sale.  Very very few commercial developers would be willing to release their art assets as FOSS.

If we only include games that are already FOSS (including assets), hardly anyone will pay for the bundle since they can get them for free with apt-get install or whatever. I could be wrong but yeah.
It wouldn't hurt to include a few fully-FOSS games in a bundle, or msybe even have a bundle with only fully-FOSS games. Provided that the selection is good, people may still want to pay just for the selection -- not everyone has time to try everything. Like a restaurant guide: why would anyone pay for such a book, even though you can't eat it? The service of selection also has value in itself.
Soundtracks available in flac, that's good.  It would also be awesome to have "source code" for the soundtracks, so can load into whatever music editing program and see how it's done, or print out a score to play on piano or guitar, or (as I want to do) adjust the tuning of the notes and render it to flac again.  I'm not sure what would be a suitable (textual) file format for electronic music, musicians surely use many different programs and I suppose very few of them export to a sensible file format.  Maybe a text version of MIDI with some extra features and "format bugs" fixed.  FOSS music, that would be good.
There are many formats out there, but there is not always a full source available for music that allows you to do modification at the symbolic level. As long as it's all just nicely rendered MIDI with maybe some additional effects, you can still do things like transposition and rendering to score, but very often there are samples and recordings involved, and the editing happens at the sound wave level, not the symbolic level.
It's a bit like the "source code" of an image. Even if the image is not based on a photograph but on a raytraced 3D model, there may still have been a lot of pixel-level manipulation afterwards which means you can't easily change the camera position or the geometry of the object anymore.
 
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