Oxymoron: monetizing Freeciv-web

Web version of freeciv at play.freeciv.org
Posts: 49
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 4:05 pm

Oxymoron: monetizing Freeciv-web

Postby drgerg » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:48 pm

First of all, there should be always be a free version of freeciv web!
Second, Andreas, if you ever happen to read this, please accept my thanks for all the time you have put into maintaining freeciv-web! I do appreciate it.

However, Is there a way for features of freeciv be monetized to support FreeCiv and FreeCIv-web?

On another thread, there's a mention of a PX90 where all of freeciv resides, and about half of that box was allocated to free-civ. I looked at the specs of that box. It's not cheap. I went over to AWS to spec out a small server 2CPUs and 8gb RAM, the monthly cost was $50/mo If I did this, it would be a private instance of freeciv-web. 2CPUS/8gb RAM can't handle 1000+ distinct users.

So here are some of my ideas. I know that some of them will be controversial and may never be implemented. My goal with this thread is to have others, smarter than I, contribute, and the best ideas float to the top so that they can be implemented.

First, the free version of freeciv-web should be limited to 2D graphics and one backup--either the most recent turn backup (to protect the user if the server/network has issue) or manual save that the user did just before exiting the game. The free version should not have access to any of the scenarios.

Second, the scenarios could be $1 or 1 Euro per scenario, or $10/10 Euro for all scenarios. Just throwing out a number.

Third, multiple backups or multiple simultaneous games, there should be a cost to that, say $50/year or 50 Euro, again the amount is negotiable. Or $25/25 Euro a quarter, or $10/10 Euro a month. I know that I kept lots of turns saved (occupying disk space). Or it could $10/10 Euro for 50 saved games.

Fourth, 3D graphics should be an upgrade, again $50/50Euro per year, $25/25Euro a quarter, $10/10Euro per month. Longterm I think the 3D option will be worth it, especially with VR goggles. However, there needs to be an investment to make this happen. I am probably an outlier regarding the 3D graphic images. I tried playing with 3D graphics and went back to 2D. With 3D graphics had trouble recognizing the terrain types especially on the back side of mountains. I do appreciate the effort that went into 3D graphics--I am not an artist, much less a digital artist, so I can't help. I just think that if I had VR goggles playing 3D, if I turned my head to the left the world would rotate to right. I also feel that a game controller would be a suitable interface device to select units/terrain, and do something with that object.

What would be done with these funds? First of all it would be used to fund the ongoing costs of that PX90. It could also be used to license software tools that validate the software looking for memory leaks/pointer issues/boundary checks.

Do I think this will solve the monetary issue? Absolutely not. I work with IBM software and they have a ratio 100/10/1. So with the estimated 1200 monthly users, we will probably have just 12 users that pay for something where the duration is for than a month. Another 108 users (120 less 12) that pay a one time monthly fee (and disappear after that). That leaves 1080 users not paying anything, in other words, playing for free.

I would recommend paypal. I don't know if patreon would be a solution. I'm not ready to pay via bitcoin, but I'm sure there are others that would pay in some form of bitcoin and wouldn't want to use paypal or patreon. I am open to some form of bitcoin in addition to paypal.

Finally, ALL paid accounts should be protected with 2FA (either Microsoft or Google's--I have both on my phone--I am open to another app, such as RSA-that is also on my phone). I really think this will help with the account management, preventing account hacks etc, thus minimizing the workload of the volunteer that is managing that aspect of freeciv-web. Also, these forums should also locked with the same account. Also, if you have a free account, you can read these forums, but you can't post to them.

So, please put your thinking caps what are your suggestions :idea: big picture to help the freeciv and freeciv-web teams to know that they are appreciated. One of my favorite phrases is "Money talks!" I'm willing to pay some funds to keep freeciv and freeciv-web going. If you want to make a donation now, here's the link http://www.freeciv.org/donate.html.

Thanks for comments, feedback, & suggestions in advance.

Posts: 49
Joined: Sat Apr 05, 2014 9:29 pm

Re: Oxymoron: monetizing Freeciv-web

Postby ahfretheim » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:16 pm

I generally like the idea of a fremium model, however might I suggest a different approach? The free version of Freeciv would be the base version, period. No need to remove existing features. Then, have a marketplace of services providers who pay a small royalty from their freeciv profits to freeciv in exchange for providing modification and improvement services of all sorts, from making Freeciv 3D to exotic versions to new ruleset to performance enhancements to servers for supporting multiplayer games. The exact royalty rate would probably depend upon the service in question and its relative scarcity - I imagine tileset makers will probably be charged less since we don't have enough of them and server agencies would probably be charged the most since the infrastructure for doing that is pretty well developed and most of them are probably already supporting other games. This also eliminates the need for a mass payment platform like Paypal or various services to support bitcoin, since your transactions would be large-scale B2B transactions with checks, invoices, 1099's, business phone numbers and contracts instead of tiny little $50 payments that some folks will probably figure out how to get around anyhow.

This would also probably mean a greater variety of Freeciv add-on's and services, since groups would be paid to develop them and Freeciv would be paid to support those groups. Yeah you'd have to pay for them, but I imagine it would be worth it.