Monday 13 June 2011

Proun will be "Pay What You Want!" Here's why

Proun will be launched on June 24th for PC, and you will be able to set your own price! To celebrate, I have made a new trailer that shows the features of the game:

Pay What You Want means that you can choose yourself how much you want to pay for Proun. Really like it? Pay me for it! Just want to give it a quick try? Then don't pay and just download for free! Feel guilty afterwards because the game turns out to be more awesome than what you paid for? Buy it again! ;)

So, the big question: why? Why like this?

Most importantly, I would like as many people as possible to enjoy Proun. If I set a fixed price, some people won't be willing to pay that and thus won't play Proun.

Another aspect is that I have only recently started to really make money with making games, but it is still less than the legal minimum wage in the Netherlands. I have been making games for at least 50 hours per week for several years now, and it would be nice to actually make a living out of it as well! Not that I should be complaining: I currently earn just enough money to pay rent and buy food, and I enjoy every single minute of this creative life!

I initially announced that Proun would be free for a couple of reasons, not just because I wanted as many people as possible to play it. There is also another reason. If people pay for your game, then it must meet certain minimum quality standards. The game needs an installer. It should run on almost any PC with almost any videocard. I should test it on many dozens of computers to see whether it works everywhere.

Since these things are no fun to do and since I made Proun in my spare time, I did not feel like doing them at the time. So by releasing the game for free, I thought I could get away with that.

However, for some reason I ended up doing all these things anyway. (Maybe because I am a psychotic idiot? Sounds reasonable! Blub-blub-blub.) There is an installer now. And graphics settings. And the beta has been tested by 10.000 people. Somehow, whenever I can improve something, I cannot keep myself from doing it, no matter how boring the work.

So in terms of quality, Proun is commercially releasable now! :)

Some people may complain that Proun doesn't have as many tracks as Need for Speed 37, but I personally think games don't always have to be big, just as they don't always have to be expensive. I did the best I could to make a small experience that is really good and really special. My dream is that to some people, Proun may be a little gem. My favourite game of the past 10 years is Machinarium, and yet that game is pretty small too: I finished it in only five hours. Short to game standards, but these are some of the best five hours I ever spent. I guess Proun can't compare to that, but I hope Proun will be a great ride nevertheless!

Not that Proun is small for every player: if you like hardcore twitch action, then getting highscores on the insanely fast highest difficulty will keep you going forever!

Another reason to make Proun Pay What You Want, is that it feels like a very fair method to sell something. Why should I tell you how much this game is worth to you? Why not decide that for yourself? Deep down inside I don't like the cold rules of capitalism (although I do believe that it is the best system known to mankind), so I'd like to see if doing things in a fairer way can work.

To give gamers a little extra incentive to pay something for Proun, I have added a fifth bonus track to the paid version. This track is shorter and even more colourful than the other tracks, but if you like Proun, then I am sure this track will be a nice extra! ^_^

I am incredibly curious to see how this ends up. How many people will pay anything at all? How much will they pay on average? What will be the highest price some benevolent person will pay for it?

About a month after Proun's release, I will share the numbers of this experiment here on this blog. I guess some of you may be just as curious as I am to see how this works out!


  1. Hey when is it release?! hmm wait, June 24th, first line of the post actually...
    I'm buying it day one! And i mean buying, although i didn't decide the price yet. I just love the look and all the work - not to say love - you put into this game. I hope it gets the success it deserves.

  2. When we make money too, I'll be happy to buy one. Or simply buy you a bear and avoid the administration. Good luck!

  3. How do you go about arranging 'Pay What You Want'. What such services are there available?

  4. Well i'm not sure about buying you bears ;)
    Any chance there will be a Mac version as well?
    Looks really awesome!

    Houdoe Arno

  5. There are a couple of sites that offer the entire payment system plus download for a percentage: BMT Micro, Plimus, Fastspring. The latter is what I will be using for Proun.

    I'd rather get bears than beers, although I'm not sure what to feed the bears. Maybe third floor developers will do?

    No Mac version is currently planned, but if Proun turns out to be a success, I guess I will need to find someone to port it! :)

  6. Never heard about the game until five minutes ago when I watched the trailer, and it looks very enticing. I don't have a lot of money, but I'll be buying it for somewhere between 10 and 20 bucks.

    I'd prefer to buy the game on Steam, as it just makes managing my games easier, but I very much understand that this method of payment wouldn't work with their system.

    Can't wait to try out the game!

  7. Make it a 10 ;)
    Just kidding. Your work is really good, interesting.

  8. I love this payment model, it's one of the reasons I like the humble bundles. I will be paying for this when it comes out.

    I really hope this does well and you do eventually put out a Mac and maybe even a Lynux version. Ok I wont push it, let's stick to maybe Mac for now.

    If nothing else it looks beautiful.

  9. Pay as much as you want not only is a fair payment system but also more succesful than a fixed price, as I believe! If the game is good - and Proun looks fun! - then people will pay a fair amount for it!
    Wished we had something like that on our site! ( Steam should think about that too!

  10. I'm going to bet the the average price payed will be between $3 and $5. Every time I've seen this done that is what the average works out too. I hope I'm wrong, but I can't help but feel you might have a better chance just releasing it for $6 or something on Steam. The exposure alone would make it worth it.

  11. Game looks fantastic. You've got my money :)

    You mentioned only having 4-5 tracks. How long does a track take to complete?

    How will user maps be shared?

    Also you need to add img{border:none;} to the css on - you're getting blue borders around the nav and on the background.

  12. Great job and nice choice of payment model.

    I will have to wait until a GNU/Linux is available.

    ¿Will it be easy to port? ¿Are you using any high level Windows-only libs such as DirectX? ¿Could it work on Wine?

    Keep up the good work!

  13. @Gritfish:
    Tracks around 30 seconds average per round, and you play 3 to 5 rounds for a race. I playtested with this on a lot of people and these lengths work best with quick retries to try to get a better time. :)

    User maps will be shared by posting them on the Proun forum, and I will put the best tracks on the main site for download.

    I totally forgot about the border="0px" thing, didn't show up in Chrome. Fixed it now! Does it look okay in your browser now?

    Proun runs in the Ogre engine, so porting should be easy. Ogre and all the other libraries I used all work on Mac and Linux. Proun currently only does Ogre DirectX, though, but fixing the Ogre OpenGL version shouldn't be too hard. (Ogre can normally do both OpenGL and DirectX on Windows.)

  14. If you had yet another bonus track (or some other incentive material), you could do the "above the average" deal that they did with one of the Humble Bundles. Track display the average price people have payed in real time, and anyone who pays above the current average gets the extra content. I think this makes an interesting meta-game, and could net you a little more compensation for all of your hard work on this.

  15. @joost:
    You're all good :) Even checked in ie.

  16. @Joost

    Great job!


    It works great under WINE although I feel the keys may be a bit delayed as I play it more in the faster modes.

    It may be my setup however:

    I know that the Quake3 engine (Alice) has mouse lag if you disable directinput emulation in WINE. I find directinput needs to be off else the mouse only turns your character about 720 degrees then abruptly stops...

    So I leave it off.

    It could also be my S-PVA LCD input lag...

    Any way about it, Proun is a bloody fun game! :)

  17. I have heard before that emulating Proun in Wine sometimes gives input lag. No idea why, though.

  18. MAC version would be awesome! BUT even better would be an iPad / IOS port ! The Game looks like it would be perfect on there !!!!

  19. You are a very good person :) I hope you get all the succes you deserve

  20. I agree... You are really a good person ;) I'm going to download the game and, if I'll like it, I'll pay for it. Thank you.

  21. "About a month after Proun's release, I will share the numbers of this experiment here on this blog. I guess some of you may be just as curious as I am to see how this works out!"

    Curious indeed. It would be super to know that this model was welcomed.

  22. “Pay what you want”model is a great strategy especially when you’re solely not after your profit, but concerns about the happiness and satisfaction of your clients too. Many draw their attention to it, that’s why a lot of businesses out there find this pricing system as an efficient strategy in gaining trust and strengthening the relationship among their patrons. Check this recent BBC interview and learn about the new form of “pay what you want” system.