Nevigo  [developer] Mar 1, 2013 @ 3:48am
[Nevigo] On the topic of „non-commercial license“
Hi there, defenders of human (use) rights,

Thanks a lot for all your thoughts regarding our licensing model in various threads. I have taken the liberty to create this new thread to collect some of your feedback.

We have invested quite some time into working out a model that’s fair for all parties, and we embrace the opportunity to discuss this with you here on the forums. It is great to see that a lot of you confirm with their statements that we’ve come up with a fair approach.

So that we’re all on the same page, this is the idea behind our approach:
The regular single-user version of articy:draft costs 349€ (I’ll also open another thread on the topic of pricing, so this will focus only on the use rights question). Our goal is to make this same version with all the features accessible to indie devs and hobbyists at a lower price point. We strive to provide all kinds of support to indies, for example we’re sponsoring server licenses for multi-user indies and offer great discounts for smaller studios. We were all “born indie”, so we know where you’re coming from, and we want to provide something that’ll work well for you.

So the idea was to cut the price down to less than 100 bucks. But then, how can we make the Steam version differ from the regular version, despite the price? Truth is we don’t want you to get less features than the regular version, because you should get everything you need to design and make great games. So we’re not trimming down the software. In a stage where you’re bootstrapping and investing your own “pocket money” into your beloved game project, we want you to be able to kick off for less than 100 bucks and have all the articy:draft magic at your disposal. So we decided to go the “Office Home And Student Edition” way. This edition is also non-commercial. Office for pros costs ~540€, the non-commercial version comes at ~140€.

We understand that the price tag matters to you, and for some of you the 100 bucks mark may still be too high, but for those that can afford 100 bucks into a software that’ll increase your productivity and streamline your development process, it’s a great deal. Now, when you get to a stage where revenues kick in and you are “commercially exploiting” (is it just me or does that sound like a nasty thing to do?) your product, we’d appreciate if you get the appropriate commercial use right. We rely on your sincerity here, and a little bit in your bad conscience, because if you don’t upgrade (to ~200 bucks, still less than the original price), you’re commercially exploiting the couple-of-hundreds of man-months put into this well-engineered piece of software. :)

So please bear with me here and focus not on the actual price points, but on the underlying model. Long story short: There’s an initial investment that proves you’re serious and actually interested in going “pro”, and for this investment you’ll get a pro-tool that’ll make your live a lot easier. Now you can use this software as long as you wish with no extra charges when you’re still experimenting and flying under the radar. And when your commercial success is there, you do a “deferred payment” of the still discounted original price (~200€ vs. ~350€) by upgrading to the commercial license.

Here are some of the opinions I’ve read (and I’m focusing more on the critical ones, because I want to add my 2ct to those):

_______________________________________
Originally posted by America:
I have no problems with this. If they are willing to trust and rely that good people will come back and buy a commercial license if their product helped make their game a success then that's fine by me. Some will call me stupid but I would most definitely go back and make a purchase of a full license if my game paid my bills and fed my family. I used to have issues with their pricing scheme because it is too much for their target audience. However, the current price is fair and I have no problems with it and I like the idea of them trusting us to use it and then potentially change our license out if we "make good".
Original post

That’s a great way of summing it up. Thanks a lot for bringing your standpoint to the table, and we’re obviously hoping that more people are thinking and feeling the same way.

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Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
Furthermore, I don't pay paper companies for commercial purposes when I plan a project on their paper and I don't see why planning software should work that way.
Original post

That’s correct, but please keep in mind that a paper company charges its list price. They don’t care about you being a “small printing shack” or a major publishing house, despite obviously offering bulk discounts. You can think of our “non-commercial license” approach as a way of lowering the initial investment for you smaller devs and relying on your goodwill to “play the rest later”. So what may look like a slightly inappropriate approach – if you regard paper and articy:draft both mere tools – is actually a better way for you than cropping down the feature scope, or just giving you smaller pieces of paper or poorer quality.

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Originally posted by athelasloraiel:
How can they know my game used their software?
Original post

That’s a good point, and we obviously thought about that. But then again, this is all about supporting you, not limiting you. We won’t control you; we wish you the best of luck for your projects.

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Originally posted by donoghu:
We're not speaking of a tool which produce something like Photoshop (mentionned earlier here), but it's nothing more than a support tool. It's like a accountant management program for a self-employed/freelancer.”
Original post

Actually, we consider articy:draft the “Photoshop for game designers", so it’s funny you bring this analogy up. Photoshop can be used just for sketching ideas (like concept art) which will then be recreated in Unity or wherever. OR you can use it to create actual game content, like textures for your 3D world.

The same applies to articy:draft, you can devise and design your game and then hand it over to a completely different framework, OR you can export your dialogue lines, character stats, tech trees, skill tress, flow charts, etc. to your game runtime.

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Originally posted by Scott MB:
…I believe Nevigo are relying on an honour system that you will upgrade if something you made with the help of articy:draft sells well commercially.
Original post

Yes. That’s correct, and again a good summary. Thank you.

_____________
Originally posted by Keitau:
Think the issue here is you're already invested into making a production product by buying this, or else you just blown 100 dollars for a fancy version of Visio
Original post

I understand your point of view (or the point of view you adapted in your post to make your point), and it makes a lot of sense to try to avoid the risk of “malinvestment into a development tool” as long as possible. Yet, I personally am slightly worried by the fact that “having invested €100 into a piece of software, not sure if I'll ever complete my game” sounds like a weird and strange thing to do for some of the users out there. (I found your post very spot-on and I understand you weren’t stating your own opinion, so my apologies for using this quote as an example.)

Getting a development tool for free up to the release of your game would mean putting the risk on the tools company. You’d use their tool for quite a while, benefit from the enormous development efforts they've put into this, and when your game never sees the light of day (or revenues offer “some space for improvement”), they will never see any money. Big companies may be able to regard this as “marketing efforts”. We at Nevigo also strive to take the burden of an initial investment (and thus your risk) off your shoulders, but the furthest we can go is lowering it significantly to less than 30% compared to the regular price. We hope you agree with us that this still is a fair deal.
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Originally posted by Zwentibold:
Even the idea of selling a commercial version of this tool isn't justified, makes no sense : there won't be any trace of it in your game. It's handy, like a hammer or an agenda, but i'd feel more confortable with a single price set at 200 bucks than with this shallow "pay us when you make money out of our software" joke...
Original post

You’re bringing up a very valid point, and we’re sort of borrowing this licensing model from traditional middleware. Middleware leaves a traceable fingerprint in your game runtime, whereas a content creation tool doesn’t typically do that. So I understand how this may look inappropriate. On the other hand, we believe it’s the more consumer-friendly way than cutting features. We don’t actually bother ourselves with how well the percentage of your commercial success caused by articy:draft can be monitored by us, because we just want you to have everything you need to make good games, even if that means applying slightly off-topic licensing terms.

__________

Wow, this became rather lengthy. Thanks for bearing with me up to this point! If you wish to discuss or comment on any of my points, please do so. I'm curious to hear your opinion.

Keep up your great work, make great games! :)
-Kai
Last edited by Nevigo; Mar 1, 2013 @ 3:56am
Showing 1-15 of 36 comments
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Zwentibold Mar 1, 2013 @ 8:04am 
I get your point, I guess...I actualy handle nails with my shoes, so I probably won't buy this, but you make a good work selling it. Best of luck to you.
edit : on an unralated topic : i see you're hiring, i'm in... sold things i didn't believe in before so,, as i kinda believe in this tool potential, hope you consider an historian for the job...
Last edited by Zwentibold; Mar 1, 2013 @ 9:46am
FreakingDustin Mar 1, 2013 @ 2:52pm 
I guess I'll agree to disagree. Planning software doesn't make sense as something that should be complicated with such types of license levels. If you want more after the project is completed out of good will, setup paypal donations or something.
Vendrium Mar 1, 2013 @ 11:07pm 
I have to agree with FreakingDustin here. The model doesn't make sense for a planning software (I already raised this topic on your main Greenlight page). But I can also see the other side of the coin - where - IF you start to generate income from your game - then the extra money to upgrade to the commercial edition - is (hopefully) - a small price to pay.

I would seriously re-consider the business model as it stands at the moment.
Steam has a great community which are willing to spend their money on things they like.

A lower price - doesn't necessarily have to mean a lower income.

I already bought the product - so it makes little difference for me now - but if you were to lower the price - or take part in Steam's many sales events - I wouldn't be surprised if your product sold more copies than it ever did from your website. ;)
P h o o m ? ! ? Mar 1, 2013 @ 11:52pm 
I don’t even understand this community at all. I’m disgusted at the immaturity and the self-entitlement in this community

If you look at other software similar to this (such as Visio and Project), they'll cost about 500-600 bucks easily. The price they are charging is nothing compared to a tool that can easily increase productivity and make your life extremely easier in development.

It’s obvious that this studio is putting it on steam in order to help indie developers since it is the same product, but at a lower cost. Not only that, they are doing it on the honor system, since you are not obligated to even upgrade to the commercial version.

Honestly, if you are complaining about the price of the software and how it is just an "overpriced planning software”, then this tool isn’t meant for you.
FreakingDustin Mar 2, 2013 @ 1:01am 
Originally posted by P h o o m ? ! ?:
If they want to price it at $200 (with commercial license), fine. But the way they're handling licensing is just silly.

(1) It doesn't account for single person indie devs. The SE license is for one person, non-commercial. The next step up is for multiple people and commercial. Half of the reason I made the thread that I did (of which this thread is partially a response) was because of this oversight.

(2) Between the limitations of this type of licensing, a lot of us don't really like the idea of paying twice for something because the software did what it's supposed to do and you made money off of a project that it didn't directly help you make.

(3) Don't walk into a reasonable discussion between business and potential customers (because if they had a simple version/license to fit my need, I would probably buy this product) with your "immature entitled" crap like a child stepping into two adults having a private conversation.
Last edited by FreakingDustin; Mar 2, 2013 @ 1:11am
Gummydrop Mar 2, 2013 @ 3:49am 
Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
Originally posted by P h o o m ? ! ?:
If they want to price it at $200 (with commercial license), fine. But the way they're handling licensing is just silly.

So you think just selling everything for $200 is a better business strategy when there's people here who think it's only worth $20? They're basically separating it into payment plans to make it more affordable for small indie teams. You can get in the door for $100, get all the features and use this awesome tool to help make your game. In the event your project makes you profit, you pay the second payment installment.

I absolutely agree with Phoom about the immaturity and self-entitlement. You're getting a tool that legitimate, big name game companies are using for their own games, and on Steam you only have to pay a minimum of $100 for it. And to quote Phoom again;

Originally posted by P h o o m ? ! ?:
Honestly, if you are complaining about the price of the software and how it is just an "overpriced planning software”, then this tool isn’t meant for you.

You keep bringing up these one man indie devs, and you never make any point about it. There is no oversight you're talking about, like I said before, you're just upset that you would have to pay for something you particularly wouldn't use. You've made your argument more than enough times that you don't agree with the licensing, and Nevigo has explained it and their view on it. I don't understand why you continue to argue about it other than for the sake of argument.
tiagocc0 Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:08am 
Good God, I feel sorry for Nevigo to have to hear a bunch of kids complaining about a license that is actually about buy it cheap and if you use and THEN make money and THEN you feel grateful for it finally THEN you can upgrade the license, they already said they aren't going to witch hunt developers to force them to upgrade it.

And like Phoom said, and I will say it again:
***This tool isn't for you.***
If you think there are better tools out there then go use them, what are you doing here??
If you think there are cheaper tools out there then go buy them, what are you doing here??
If you don't agree with the license then.. what are you doing here??

Obviously we can see that everyone complaining really wants the product or they wouldn't waste their time on a forum sounding like complete idiots because of a hundred bucks.

Congratulations Nevigo, your tool is very successful! =D
Even the trolls want it so badly. =P
Last edited by tiagocc0; Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:10am
Nevigo | Kai Rosenkranz  [developer] Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:21am 
Hi, and thank you for keeping this discussion on a factual and respectful level (mostly). Please let's try to stick to that, because the point we're discussing is too important to be buried under a layer of personal offenses.

Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
Planning software doesn't make sense as something that should be complicated with such types of license levels.

In the context of game development, would you consider Word or Excel planning tools? They're using the exact same model, with the "Home and Students Edition - for private use only" also coming at ~1/3 or the regular price. It'll be impossible for Microsoft to track if your commercially used CSV file comes out of Excel or notepad, but they still ask you to upgrade to the pro license lif you want to use it commercially. I guess there's always two sides to every story. :)

By the way: When you say "planning software", you're just looking at one way of using it. articy:draft can export actual game data, or even connect to your game runtime through articy:access (more info coming soon). Many of our clients don't just use it as a conceptioning tool, but as a visual editor for parts of their game content. So "designing / content creation tool" fits better I guess.

Originally posted by P h o o m ? ! ?:
It’s obvious that this studio is putting it on steam in order to help indie developers since it is the same product, but at a lower cost. Not only that, they are doing it on the honor system, since you are not obligated to even upgrade to the commercial version.

Yes, that's our intention. Thanks for your comment. I think the problem here is that this is a B2B product (business to "business" - the latter in a sense that its used to create something commercial), while Steam is a B2C (business to consumer) marketplace. It's natural that there are people with different points of view, but there are obviously also quite a lot of people who can accept our model.

Originally posted by Lexe:
You're asking 160€ for something I currently do in google-drive. Go and click "new drawing" in there. You get a perfect flowchart tool, instantly shared with your contacts.

Even just focusing on the flowcharting tool (which is only about a fifth of the content creation features), using Google drive sure does a good job. But it doesn't have a nested structure which lets you break down your flows into smaller units and flesh them out step by step, it doesn't export story flows or branching dialogue into a format readable by your game engine or Spreadsheets for localization and voice over, and it won't let you easily link story flows to other objects, place them on maps, and customize the sematics of each individual node.



Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
(1) It doesn't account for single person indie devs. The SE license is for one person, non-commercial. The next step up is for multiple people and commercial. Half of the reason I made the thread that I did (of which this thread is partially a response) was because of this oversight.

It's actually "single-user non-commercial" --(goodwill-upgrade)--> "single-user commercial" --(upgrade to regular)--> "single-user commercial always up-to-date feature-wise" --(upgrade to multi-user)--> "team environment".

Obviously you can skip as many steps as you wish and upgrade directly to your preferred scenario.

Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
(2) Between the limitations of this type of licensing, a lot of us don't really like the idea of paying twice for something because the software did what it's supposed to do and you made money off of a project that it didn't directly help you make.

When you look at it as "payment by installments", it's actually very natural to have multiple payments. Plus, in our scenario, the second installment will only become due in certain situations, so we take the risk of not completing your project off your shoulders.

Originally posted by FreakingDustin:
(3) Don't walk into a reasonable discussion between business and potential customers (because if they had a simple version/license to fit my need, I would probably buy this product) with your "immature entitled" crap like a child stepping into two adults having a private conversation.

It's actually a lot of adults with different opinions, and our goal should not be to convince anyone of our own opinion, but rather see the range of opinions from the birds eye view and draw our conclusions. On our end, that means potentially refining our licensing model when we're convinced that it's actually "silly" (as you said).

Originally posted by Gummydrop:
They're basically separating it into payment plans to make it more affordable for small indie teams. You can get in the door for $100, get all the features and use this awesome tool to help make your game. In the event your project makes you profit, you pay the second payment installment.

Yes, that's a great way of putting it. Thanks for that.

To all of you: Have a great and relaxing weekend :).
-Kai
Last edited by Nevigo | Kai Rosenkranz; Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:22am
Nevigo | Kai Rosenkranz  [developer] Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:28am 
Originally posted by tiagocc0:
Good God, I feel sorry for Nevigo to have to hear a bunch of kids complaining about a license that is actually about buy it cheap and if you use and THEN make money and THEN you feel grateful for it finally THEN you can upgrade the license, they already said they aren't going to witch hunt developers to force them to upgrade it.

[...]

Congratulations Nevigo, your tool is very successful! =D
Even the trolls want it so badly. =P

Hehe, thanks for your kind words. I've done community management for an RPG franchise, and whenever we released a new screenshots, some people were complaining about us giving them too much info, while others we're saying "thanks, why did it take you so long to post something new?". :) So no worries, we're thick-skinned.

Cheers!
-Kai
tiagocc0 Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:29am 
Originally posted by Nevigo | Kai Rosenkranz:
Hi, and thank you for keeping this discussion on a factual and respectful level (mostly). Please let's try to stick to that, because the point we're discussing is too important to be buried under a layer of personal offenses.
Yep, sorry Kai.
Last edited by tiagocc0; Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:31am
mrmusicallion Mar 2, 2013 @ 6:33am 
Well I like it. I think it's brilliant. I just don't think it's quite right for the steam marketplace in the condition it is, right now. I don't mind though. I've bought it and I'm getting to grips with it slowly. I want to support you guys in this because it's clear that you're providing a nicely polished product. I don't think it's fair to compare this to the 'free offerings' and alternatives out there, because it's not quite the same.

I just think it's a shame that you don't provide a cheaper model, like a lot of other programs do. I know that this is meant to be that 'cheaper' model yet at the same time you've included *all* functionality. Why not go one step further and make an extra basic version just to give all these eager people something to chew on? I'm sure you could restrict it in some way that wouldn't hurt the program too much.
HunterD Mar 2, 2013 @ 8:00am 
I do get the point of a confusing license model and there is a trend from software companies to make multi-tiered pricing that rarely makes sense.

I think everyone needs to step back and consider an important point. Nevigo is trying to do something to help the Indie community and hobbbyist alike. They are taking a successful and expensive tool and making it available to those of us who want to either try our hand at writing a story for fun or actually trying to make their first game. It's about their intention. They intended to do something nice and whether or not you agree with how they executed the kindness, accept it for what it is and make your own decision on whether to participate or not.

Thank you Nevigo, I understand what you are trying to do and I appreciate it!
tiagocc0 Mar 2, 2013 @ 8:05am 
I agree with HunterD, well said.
tiagocc0 Mar 2, 2013 @ 8:27am 
Originally posted by Lexe:
You're asking 160€ for something I currently do in google-drive. Go and click "new drawing" in there. You get a perfect flowchart tool, instantly shared with your contacts.

Originally posted by Lexe:
Yeah and we live in a perfect world where nothing is about money or a rising indy dev market.

You just said that it is not worth the money for you, why waste your time here?
If you have a 'perfect flowchart tool' then why are you looking for others? You already have a free perfect tool.
HunterD Mar 2, 2013 @ 11:48am 
Originally posted by Lexe:
Originally posted by HunterD:
Thank you Nevigo, I understand what you are trying to do and I appreciate it!

Yeah and we live in a perfect world where nothing is about money or a rising indy dev market.

I'm not naive, but after reading all of Nevigos posts I believe that it is more about helping people than a sly marketing ploy. That being said, what's wrong with a good deed benefiting you as well? It's a cliche "win win".
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