Friday, 28 February 2014

Open thread: Offbeatr

Probably most people are familiar by now with crowdfunding initiatives, most notably Kickstarter. There's actually a site called that focuses on adult projects, including instances of adult, freeware games that have been crowdfunded through the site. A third Legend of Queen Opala game appears to be approaching full funding within days of starting, despite setting an ambitious $30k target.

I would assume that the AIF community by itself is not likely so big (or at least so engaged) as to support such a funding model, and simple "donation" systems have never really worked out for AIF. Nonetheless big AIF projects are getting bigger (and rarer), and things may be changing in adult game freeware, so I wonder if Offbeatr will ever be relevant to AIF. What do you think?


  1. As others have said before me, crowdfunding is absolutely fine so long as neither the backers nor the companies behind the crowdfunding sites have any input as to the product's content.

    Let me just quote Offbeatr's content policy here:
    "Specifically we DON'T allow projects, rewards, or products to display or mention the following topics:

    Snuff/Scat/Elimination of Waste on another individual
    Minor/Under Age
    Drunk/Sleeping/Drugged/Hypnotized (it has to be consensual)
    Copyright infringement" -

    The trouble is that we're not talking about a play, or a piece of electronics, or an art installation. This is erotica (or porn, if you don't get hung up on terms) and its sexually explicit content is absolutely essential. For a big release like LoQO or TITS, sure, they're probably willing to look the other way on certain bits of content. But.

    Imagine if Meteor was crowdfunded on Offbeatr.

    A crowdfunded version of Goblinboy's Meteor would be the tale of a handsome man presenting lovely flowers to and courting a number of random ladies and that would literally be it. No alien influence, no browsing porn, no sisters, no girl of questionable age, definitely not that one nighttime scene. Even the bog standard pour-vodka-in-coke-can puzzle violates Offbeatr's terms of service.

    No British Fox, Sam Shooter, Fever Cabin, the upcoming Emily: Sister Attraction, A Dog's Life, A Night With Troi, Dear Brian, the Gift of Phallius, Tesliss Equation, Rogue get the idea.

    Structural restrictions foster creativity, but content restrictions hamper it. Anyway. My 2 cents.

    1. Does "display or mention" mean those things can't be included in the product, or does it mean those things can't be displayed or mentioned on Offbeatr? As you say, LoQO certainly violates that. From what I've browsed there the site seemed filled with pretty kinky stuff, although I can't say I was screening to determine content.

      Also, I know these kind of content restrictions are often not really enforced. Do you have knowledge of them actually restricting projects or is this just conjectural? I ask because the site is relatively new to me and I'm still determining how it all fits together.

      Still, I imagine that working in the field it does it actually needs the freedom to slap down quite a lot of potential projects for fear of turning the place into one of the circles of Hell.

  2. The main thing that puts me off Offbeatr is the fact that it takes 30% of the funds raised, plus a deposit. There are good reasons for that, but it doesn't make it seem like a particularly efficient means of raising funds.

    The other thing is that as soon as you have paying customers, there's much more pressure to do what they want rather than what the author thinks is best for the game/story.

    Has the donation model even been used been used in AIF?

    1. Taking 30% is a lot, and the deposit is a bit rough. I get that they need to filter out time wasters, but with, say, a $5000 project you'd want to be pretty sure you're getting funded before you drop the $100 fee.

      As for tailoring work to customers, that's really the same issue that any commercial creative work has. The main imperative is to make something good; sometimes the audience knows what that should be and will lobby for it, sometimes the author has a better idea. Still, crowdfunding has been working well enough elsewhere that I don't see that as a big problem.

      Chris Cole tried asking for donations. He received $1 in his time doing it, and eventually Paypal shut down his account (he used a donation button, and they do enforce their ToS on that). One-Eyed Jack also used to ask for donations, but I don't know how he fared with it.

    2. It's more that most payment processing companies prohibit their services from being used for adult products due to the higher risk of fraud and chargebacks, So the few companies who do can charge 2 or 3 times more. Or at least that's what Offbeatr says.

    3. "that's really the same issue that any commercial creative work has"

      My point was that it's more pressure than the amateur hobbyist has. It's not strictly AIF, but I've seen the effect that having a commercial imperative has had on Chaotic's Virtual Date series (quantity becoming all important, and quality going out the window).

      "He received $1 in his time doing it"

      With all due respect to the AIF community, that doesn't really surprise me. Even with a specific project to raise funds for, I'd be astounded if even someone like GoblinBoy could raise more than a couple of thousand.

      Part of that is that text adventures are a genre of the past, there's not that much more you can do to gild the lily besides adding graphics and voice acting (both of which have already been done for free).

  3. Crowd funding works better when there are defined costs. We want to hire an artist, it costs this much, but if you give us Y we can double the amount of art. Most of the work in AIF is text based and done by a single person. You could say for X amount of money I will write 10 scenes, but for Y I will write 20; but the crowd funding is now actually a direct payment of the author.

    Which I think is the big difference. If I wanted to do a game with art, I'd need monetary help to get it done before I would start. However; all I need to write a game is time being the IF engines are (mostly) free (and even when they weren't, they weren't that costly).

    Now I'm not opposed to authors getting paid, but given there are people who do it for free it would have to be fairly spectacular product, I believe, to be successful, but there is still no reason to go the crowd funding model. You could just write a game and sell it or, if worried about piracy, write the game, release a demo, and then say you'll release it after X amount of pre-sales.

  4. I think crowdfunding has its purposes. The only circumstance I could see myself using it is if I have a game already written and I wanted to commission an artist to do some graphics. Funding a project from the beginning is going to set up a lot of expectations and personally, I like to give my products out for free. I mean, I'd love to have a huge library of DAZ models and make my own images that way but I don't.

    1. Yeah, I think a lot of people have no clue how costly it is to build up a decent enough content library in either DAZ Studio or Poser to be able produce graphics in a game.