Creator Support

Moving this conversation here out of the public KS comments:

I asked:

Right now, I’m backing 12-blinks early, but what I really want is 18-blinks, all the games, and the dev kit. I’ve been waiting to see if that option would become available, and at the KS discount.

Honestly, I was looking at these at Pax Unplugged, but it seems like developers aren’t being supported in any way that warrants the risk.

Move38Creator answered:

Hi @Jay, PAX Unplugged was the best, glad to see you here. We’d also love to have you join the developer forum as we are always keeping an eye on what designers are making and we post tutorials and tips as well. All of our community set games are designed and developed by game designers that we’ve worked with and supported and all games published on Blinks provide game designers with royalties for all Blinks sold with their games on them. Happy to share more about that as well. This is just the start of a market place for supporting great games and the designers as well.

My response:

Selling us the tools to build games isn’t support. You’re treating creators as another audience to market products to, but we’re the ones you need to create content to sell your product to players. I’m reticent to invest in a dev kit when every time I inquire, there’s no assurance that Move38 will even look at my output, much less what kinds of terms they give creators. Given that we’re doing the Design and the Development and we can’t take it anywhere else, the danger of exploitation is pronounced.

These forums show you provide technical support. Great. What I need to know is:

Under what conditions do you consider game submissions? Under what conditions do you not?
Do you provide feedback to help steer a design toward something you’d want to publish before its developed?
Is there a point at which your team helps with or takes over development of a game you license? Does that involve taking over creative control as well?
What are the terms of publication? How is the designer compensated? How is the developer compensated? How do you market games you license?
How do you offset the risk designers and developers take investing time and money buying your kit and working on a game that you might not choose to publish? That cannot be shopped to another platform?
What kind of games are you interested in? What kind are you not?

These are the questions professional designers want to see addressed, to know that Move38 is serious about partnering with them, and worth the risk. Thanks.

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Obviously, I cannot answer these questions for Move38, but here is my feedback as to why I plan to develop games on this platform

  • The risk for this platform is low given the overall investment needed to develop on this platform is extremely low compared to many platforms and you can create your own dev tool set for cheap

  • The community support and open source nature makes it easier to learn and fun to share

  • With games being open source, anyone can take your game and play it!

  • Not expecting to profit from my game unless Move38 does

  • Honestly if games were closed source and cost was more expensive, I would not be interested in the platform

  • I like the current way games are sourced from the Move38 Team, Jams, and Community

I just want to thank Move38 and the Community for making an awesome system and amazing games and providing developers like myself easy access to dev tools to have some fun!

Thank You!

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Thanks, L.C. It’s always good to hear experiences of other developers on the platform.

How are games currently sourced?

Thanks for bringing this conversation to the developer forum @jtreat. I hope to address all of your questions as I think our community at large appreciates our transparency. I should note that I am also available for realtime feedback twice a week on our YouTube livestreams, I am often overwhelmed by the many platforms that we respond to, so I hope that is a welcome resource in which I can easily answer questions that might require a little digging otherwise.

I should note that @danking222 does a good job presenting some of this information here, but I felt like this was fun to articulate clearly in response.

Under what conditions do you consider game submissions? Under what conditions do you not?

At the moment, we consider all game submissions. If you are interested in publishing a game with Move38, get in touch or just say hello (submissions@move38.com). Because submissions are growing, we are working to standardize the process and create a platform that also incorporates the community into the vetting process. One of our advisors, Celia Pearce, did a wonderful job helping IndieCade create a community of indie game devs with a significant amount of submissions yearly.

Do you provide feedback to help steer a design toward something you’d want to publish before it’s developed?

Yes. We enjoy this process a lot. We respect your work as an artist and as artists ourselves only seek to provide critique or feedback that is useful in bringing your vision to life.

Is there a point at which your team helps with or takes over development of a game you license? Does that involve taking over creative control as well?

Sometimes. In the case of RAID (formerly “Overtake”), @gapMindful wrote a game that was fully functioning when he posted it to the forum. We saw it, played it, thought, this executes really beautifully in an area of gameplay that we don’t yet have well represented in the games library. (Diversity of games is really important to us as well as diversity of the people submitting them). Our lead game designer, @danking222, provided feedback to @gapMindful to help with some standards of interactivity we developed. @gapMindful 100% developed the game that will be flashed onto each of the RAID Blinks.

In the case of Group Therapy by @Brett, he created a prototype at a game jam we hosted. It was clear from watching people play that this game was sticky. He had a bunch of game ideas and we helped him choose one to start with. Because he recently accepted a wonderful job for Playdead, he let us know that he wasn’t going to be able to commit a lot of time to creating the artwork for the game label, a game mat, and that he was more than happy to see us bring the game to code complete with polish. He remained involved with seeing builds and providing feedback to make sure game balance played in a way he was thrilled with.

I can post more examples, but I like that these two are very different time commitments with similar outcomes and both great working relationships for us. With respect to creative control, you as the game designer/artist have the ownership of your game. We do feel strongly about making sure a game has a unique identity if we are going to publish it, since the average person still sees Blinks as colorful hexagons, but we think the unique identity of the games so far allow even a novice to say, “oh look! Group Therapy” or “whoops, an Astro Blink is attached to that game of WHAM!”

What are the terms of publication? How is the designer compensated? How is the developer compensated? How do you market games you license?

The agreement we have with game designers simply gives us the right to publish the game but leaves ownership of the IP in the game designer(s)/artists’ hands. If you wanted to make your game on tabletop simulator for example, we would love to see you do it. Your success is our success.

Developers receive 5% royalty on each Blink sold with their game on it. We provide a report of this at the end of the year and write a check. The royalty is not based on profit, it is based on net sales so it is very clear. For games that are designed 100% internally at Move38, we set aside that 5% and make sure we put it back into the game community meaningfully (game jams, scholarships, internships… we want the game making community to grow with us)

We are still learning how to market the games. We have now successfully Kickstarted 2 batches of Blinks games and we think that Kickstarter is a wonderful platform to continue releasing games on. We love the community and we like that we can even test games there too.

We have recently grown our team to include marketing partners that are really great. As we grow, our budget will increase and we’ll surely experiment with many ways of marketing. Our best channel right now is when people see Blinks in person or over Zoom :slight_smile:, the word of mouth for a quality product is priceless.

We have plans to make distribution of games easier in the future, but that is the topic for another post.

How do you offset the risk designers and developers take investing time and money buying your kit and working on a game that you might not choose to publish? That cannot be shopped to another platform?

If the cost of a developer tool is significant risk, please contact us to let us know. We want to make the platform as accessible as possible. As @L.C points out, one can make their own developer tool on the cheap and all Blinks are rewritable.

What kind of games are you interested in? What kind are you not?

New experiences for people. Games that challenge what we think of as a board game, a video game, or a puzzle. Games that make us say, wow, that is so simple, I wish I thought of that and games that make us go, wow, that is not easy to make but it totally works.

Our principles are as follows:

  1. If it is better on a touch screen, then it should be on a touch screen.
  2. Games are not tech demoes, they are games.
  3. Games can be toys too. Due to the ease of hands-on exploration with Blinks, some of the games benefit greatly by allowing lots of free-play (this is currently an internal debate that perhaps deep strategy games should not have to abide by this… I see the value in that statement and think we’ll continue to see more deep strategy in the mix)

Before publishing, it is incredibly important that games communicate clearly (there is a lot that can be communicated through our simply 6-segment display) if the player is easily confused, it simply needs to be iterated and refined.

I think that defines the kinds of games we are not interested in as well, but to be honest rules were meant to be broken, we don’t want to put up more limitations (6 RGB LEDs felt like enough :sweat_smile:)

These are the questions professional designers want to see addressed, to know that Move38 is serious about partnering with them, and worth the risk. Thanks.

I hope my response covers most of this, but in all honesty, we are a small company with big ambition and growing together with a community. We have a guiding compass that we are transparent about, and we welcome feedback on every step we take. I look forward to you receiving your developer kit and supporting you in making something that puts a smile on peoples faces and creating a sustainable ecosystem as well.

all my best,
Jonathan

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That’s a phenomenal answer! Thank you.

My only concern is that there should be a royalty for the Game Design, the Game Development, and for the coding, but perhaps Blinks are ridiculously easy to code.

How can one make their own developer tool?

Is there a Tabletop Simulator implementation of the devices, so that we can design and develop games without hardware?

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At tabletop simulator mod that allowed you to load in game binaries onto the simulated blinks :thinking: is anyone working on this yet?? because I’ve got a three day weekend coming up and I’m not allowed to go outside…

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My only concern is that there should be a royalty for the Game Design, the Game Development, and for the coding

We leave this up to the team, in the case of RAID I know that @gapMindful wanted to work with a friend for artwork and they came to their own agreement.

but perhaps Blinks are ridiculously easy to code.

This is often how people feel

How can one make their own developer tool?

This link here shares the details

Is there a Tabletop Simulator implementation of the devices, so that we can design and develop games without hardware?

In short, there is not. We’ve made a number of simulators but have found the physical interaction of Blinks informs sooo much of the game design that they really fall short. That said, simulating a game like Berry would definitely allow for people to greatly advance their gameplay. And I can think of a dozen benefits as well. There are also interesting interaction questions for a cursor or a multitouch device. A friend made the starts of a really cool Javascript simulator that approaches these non-trivial UI/UX questions and it is on our github here.

Also, sounds like @gapMindful might be up for the challenge, and I imagine there are others on the forum that would happily help out.

Looked into the tabletop simulator mod. Would totally be doable with a seperate process running an emulator of the blinks. But to communicate back with their lua scripting I need them to open up their socket support or it would be a nightmare to implement. If anyone wants to upvote me on reddit, I plugged what would be needed as a feature request here

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