Software Promoters?

moki
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Post: #16
Quote:Originally posted by ichiboo
What I mean is, anyhting that is put out under Ambrosia's name, Ambrosia takes full credit, even if they don't lay a finger on it... And I personally want my team to be given full credit for having designed the game that we are trying to create. I understand that some credit will be taken, whomever I choose... however, some are less arrogant about that sort of thing. Anyway, that is what I meant Grin

First of all, there isn't a single product we have released -- ever -- that we have not had a significant contribution towards. From providing an array of developmental libraries that handle many common functions like sound, networking, core OS, etc. (all of which are cross platform) to spending considerable amounts of time helping to design and perfect the games in question, to offering significant technical expertise to help get projects debugged and shipped. It is simply patently false to claim what you have -- and offensive, given all of the late nights that myself and others at Ambrosia have put in on all of our projects to make them happen.

Secondly, we do not take "full credit" for anything. I defy you to find a single game we offer where the developers of said product are not listed. It just doesn't happen. Yes, of course we put our logo on the games, and say "From Ambrosia Software" -- that's part of the package of working with a publisher, and it actually HELPS the product by building a coherent message that "this is an Ambrosia game". It's called branding, and while it may not stroke your ego as much as you'd like, it will help you sell your games.

Finally, before you start insulting people you do not know, and making assumptions about situations you don't have knowledge of, I'd suggest you consider finding out what the real situation is.
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moki
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Post: #17
Quote:Originally posted by codemattic
I spoke with someone who was exploring distributing a game with Ambrosia. He chose not to. He said he was shocked at how small his royalty would be. However I think Ambrosia/Freeverse/Spiderweb do bring quite a bit to the table that you cant dismiss out of hand. 99% of shareware is crap - but when you see a new game from Ambrosia/Freeverse/Spiderweb you always d/l it because they have a history of quality work. They will make sure that the artwork/music/sound/user-interface is polished. They will handle the biz side - are you really ready for emails about lost registration codes, credit card chargebacks, support questions, etc?

Interesting. I don't recall offering a contract to anyone in recent memory that was turned down. Could you refresh my memory?

In any event, yes, publishers of any kind do take a large cut -- it is typical in the retail world for an unknown developer to get 10% of *net* sales (if you do sign a contract for net sales, please pay close attention to how "net" is defined). Obviously as your reputation is more established, you can command a higher percentage rate, but publishers do always get the lion's share.

I realize that the developer's perspective is that all of the "work" is coding the project -- but that really isn't true. Marketing, technical support, quality assurance, promotions, contracting artists / musicians, operations, sales -- all of these boring things are part of the package if you want your product to succeed, and their cost always outstrips the actual developmental investment.

The question you need to ask yourself is "What do I want to be doing?" If you want to be doing all of the above, then you want to go into business for yourself, and you may not need a publisher. Even if you do a stellar job at all of these things, however (which is not easy), you still may not do as well as working with a publisher, even after they take their cut.

The reason is simple -- you need an established name, contacts, and experience to really succeed at all of these endeavors, and in addition, all of the time you spend doing these things is time taken away from doing what you do best: writing games.

Quote:Originally posted by codemattic
I dont think the person I spoke with ever finished his game (even though the beta was quite playable and fun). Which goes to show that it can be difficult to finish a programming project without someone else handling the artwork/sounds/ui and having set deadlines and milestones etc...

This is one of the reasons we generally don't even look at games until they are close to the beta stage (unless they are from a developer we have worked with before, or had produced products we can look at. Being able to actually finish a project is a skill unto itself, and one that isn't easily learned without doing (or working with people who can guide you towards making this happen).
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Post: #18
While you're feeling generous moki:

Some friends and I are working on a uDevGame 2002 entry which we think will be marketable with further development after the contest. However, uDevGame entries must release source code (under a DOOM-Style license at least). Would this source code release of an early version preclude Ambrosia Software from even thinking about publishing of a fully developed version of the game?

(DOOM-Style license basically says "read all you want, but you can only copy & paste 1kloc)

"He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom."
- Gandalf the Gray-Hat

Bring Alistair Cooke's America to DVD!
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moki
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Post: #19
No
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Post: #20
Hello Andrew, nice to see you on these boards :-)

Thanks for all the information, I've always been curious how your relationship with developers is. It is very true that the Ambrosia brand is a very strong motivation for mac users to try out a game, and that they all have a polish often lacking in shareware offerings. It is good to know that Ambrosia itself has a strong hand in making that happen.
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ZeroCool
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Post: #21
moki--
Quote:In any event, yes, publishers of any kind do take a large cut -- it is typical in the retail world for an unknown developer to get 10% of *net* sales (if you do sign a contract for net sales, please pay close attention to how "net" is defined).


hmmm...... I got a "what if", that might never happen (I really don't know if it hasn't happened already), but let's say an unknown game developer makes a game, has absolutley no help with making the actual stand-alone application, but needs someone to do everything else. The developer wants Ambrosia to publish it. Ambrosia loves it so much they make no changes to the game itself (except making the ambrosia intro and other stuff regarding the credits of the game). Now Ambrosia does all the advertising and promoting.
Would you still only give 10% of *net* sales to the unkown developer? (i say "only" because the developer did the music,sfx,graphics,titles,interface)

Okay, so the above situation seems very unlikley but say it did happen......
What percent of the *net* sales would you give now?
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Post: #22
Quote:Originally posted by ZeroCool
The developer wants Ambrosia to publish it. Ambrosia loves it so much they make no changes to the game itself (except making the ambrosia intro and other stuff regarding the credits of the game). Now Ambrosia does all the advertising and promoting.
Would you still only give 10% of *net* sales to the unkown developer?
hopefully saving moki a little time here (drop me a line if this is inappropriate and I'll delete it):

Note that Andrew was talking about the retail (box-on-a-shelf) world. I wouldn't expect too much more though, even if you do develop a complete package, for a couple reasons. There's more than just advertising and promotion left to do. Ambrosia would want to run at least a short beta test to assure it was bug-free. Also, I doubt they would ship a game that didn't use monitor_tool and and never one that didn't use reg_tool (and any other _tools that are relevant) for two reasons:
1. They're tested and proven
2. If a bug or incompatibility does pop up in one of them, its very easy to upgrade just that _tool and release a new version.

So in short: if Ambrosia releases a game, it's going to have Ambrosia code in it.

"He who breaks a thing to find out what it is, has left the path of wisdom."
- Gandalf the Gray-Hat

Bring Alistair Cooke's America to DVD!
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moki
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Post: #23
Quote:Originally posted by ZeroCool

Okay, so the above situation seems [b]very unlikley
but say it did happen......
What percent of the *net* sales would you give now? [/b]

I didn't say *we* give 10% of net sales -- we've never had a contract like that with anyone; we typically do gross sales, and the amount varies from developer to developer, based on a number factors.

Contracts are always starting points -- a publisher will offer you a contract, you review it, propose changes, and you end up with a tailored contract for the particular situation.

That's why I can't give you a good answer other than "No, we wouldn't give 10% in that situation" -- we've never done a contract for net sales (we absorb all of the marketing, distribution, tech support, etc. costs), and we've never done one for as low as 10%. And yes, if the product was literally handed to us on a platter, and no changes were required (which is highly unlikely), then it would warrant a higher rate than one that required more involvement.
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Ice Cream Joe
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Post: #24
Quote:Would you still only give 10% of *net* sales to the unkown developer? (i say "only" because the developer did the music,sfx,graphics,titles,interface)

Okay, so the above situation seems very unlikley but say it did happen......
What percent of the *net* sales would you give now?

"Only" is a funny word to attach to a percentage... I don't know all that much about business but I do know when it comes to money, any percentage is a Big Number. And I don't doubt for a second that going with Ambrosia/Spiderweb/Freeverse/whoever will easily sell over ten times as many copies of your game as opposed to striking out on your own. I remembered a section on marketing in the book "Black Art of Macintosh Game Programming" where it mentioned more than once that without advertising, a game goes nowhere. (Ambrosia also happens to be mentioned in the section titled "Making Shareware Work"... )

Also, when it comes to advertising, games branded by the big shareware publishers get respect when they get sent to websites like macgamer.com... if you were striking out on your own, your game most likely will end up in the "Download center" bin, where surfers will have to sort through all the crap in there to get to your game. If you have a brand of a major publisher, though, it will probably get a professional-looking review (which will probably give bonus points on the polish and stability) as well as several links from the front page.

Money wise, it seems like the publisher deserves whatever percentage they name. And, to be honest, if you're in this purely for the money... why are you in Shareware, anyway?

As a designer, I would be more happy with seeing my idea get out to as many people as possible, especially if it was a new style of gameplay. My big concern was, had I then applied for a job at a commercial game studio, could I show them the game and legally say "I designed this," or "I designed the original prototype, but Ambrosia added the graphics and polish, and put in more weapons, options, and a parrot that comes and kicks your ass if you don't pay the shareware fee?"

Ice Cream Joe

P.S. I don't think it's been mentioned yet, but when a developer works with Ambrosia on a game, Ambrosia takes over the tech support, as well. "Only" 10%....
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moki
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Post: #25
Quote:Originally posted by Ice Cream Joe
As a designer, I would be more happy with seeing my idea get out to as many people as possible, especially if it was a new style of gameplay. My big concern was, had I then applied for a job at a commercial game studio, could I show them the game and legally say "I designed this," or "I designed the original prototype, but Ambrosia added the graphics and polish, and put in more weapons, options, and a parrot that comes and kicks your ass if you don't pay the shareware fee?"

Any publisher worth their salt should allow you to be in the credits for the game, and you certainly should be able to show your work to prospective employers, and say "I did this!" That isn't even an issue with us.

If you're worried about it being an issue with your publisher, get it specifically written into the contract. I can't imagine any publisher objecting, and if they do, that might be a good cue to look elsewhere.

One other quick note I'd like to touch upon. As a company, we're interested in making money, and making our developers money, but we're also interested in releasing quality games, making sure our users have a good experience with our software, and just plain making the games fun.

Different publishers have different motivations; we've been doing what we've been doing for a very long time. We like doing it. If a publisher makes you an offer for your game instantly, while it may be gratifying to you, I'd be leary. A publisher should take a good bit of time to really evaluate your product before they make you even a preliminary offer. If they don't, they are likely more interested in just "picking up product" than anything else.

It's a common tactic to try to obtain as many titles as possible, to get a publisher's name out there, and to have enough of a productline that you can talk to mail order and retail stores about picking up your products for distribution. This isn't necessarily in the best interest of the developer to have their product indiscriminantly picked up, even if it does make you feel good initially.
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ZeroCool
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Post: #26
Ice Cream Joe--
Quote: I remembered a section on marketing in the book "Black Art of Macintosh Game Programming" where it mentioned more than once that without advertising, a game goes nowhere. (Ambrosia also happens to be mentioned in the section titled "Making Shareware Work"... )

Okay, that's true and I own a copy of that book as well, but the product can be just as important.

Forget debugging, polishing and everything else dealing with working on the game.....

You can include advertising, handling user registration, and all that good stuff.......

Now take the following into consideration.......

If the product were good enough to practically sell itself (I mean Ice Cold, no mistakes good) then would this alter the percentage?
(See I'm not trying to be extreme (or extremely stupid) and say the unkown gets 50% of net sales, I'm thinking more along the lines of 15-20% maybe less.)

If I made a game I honestly wouldn't care about how much bank I would make off it. (but I would like a reasonable profit Rolleyes )

BTW the comment directly above this one has absolutley nothing to do with Ambrosia or software promotion in general!
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moki
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Post: #27
Quote:Originally posted by ZeroCool
If the product were good enough to practically sell itself (I mean Ice Cold, no mistakes good) then would this alter the percentage?
(See I'm not trying to be extreme (or extremely stupid) and say the unkown gets 50% of net sales, I'm thinking more along the lines of 15-20% maybe less.)

Yes, as I mentioned, there are many factors that would possibly alter this percentage (not just with us, but with other publishers as well).
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Post: #28
moki/,

In reading this thread, I have come to two conclusions:
1.) Developers need to realize that each deal will be unique based on a number of factors
2.) There might be mis-conceptions and other myths floating around that are worth clearing up.

In regards to #2, just reading your answers peeked my interested. Where I spoke in another thread about participating more here, this is an example of what I was getting at. You might (or should) cover points 1&2 on your website, or on an email by email manner, but wouldn't it be good to have an Interview with your alter ego Andrew so that things that were mentioned in this thread could be answered and discussed. So next time, someone posts on A.S., or asks the question on publisher vs. do it alone, we can point them to "said" interview and say "Read that interview" and then if you have questions, contact A.S. directly. The same would be good for Freeverse,Kagi (sure, let's lump 'em in there too),Plaid Software, etc...

This is a type of interview that people here need to read and one that we don't normally get to read from A.S. on MacGamer/IMG as they are dealing with game players.

If you think it a worthy idea, please email me directly and once the new iDevGame site is launched and uDevGame is underway, I can prepare my mic.

BTW.. to the member who posted about their uDevGame entry. The contest offers a few options of licenses. Tis true that the "uDevGame License" is most strict, and along the lines of Doom code license. We don't require your finsihed game assets either, placer art is fine so that the project can at least compile. So what I am saying is, there is nothing holding you back from turning your uDevGame entry into a big hit after the contest.

Cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Post: #29
I was in the process of cleaning up old articles for the new server when I came to Tom Slopers' article that may relate to this thread. Tom has a lot of background in the industry, so if you missed it, check it out at:

Financial Aspects of Game Development
http://www.idevgames.com/articleshow.php3?showid=29

Cheers

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Post: #30
Carlos, that's a good article. And one I completely skipped over in the past when looking at the articles page. Perhaps it is a bit late to be making suggestions for the new site, but a short description of each article (or the first paragraph of the article) on the articles page would not only help entice readers to look into an article more than just the title does, it would also help keep the list from looking so short (even though it is not).
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