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The Secret History of Mac Gaming


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#141 Matt Diamond

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 12:51 PM

Backed.

View Postmossy_11, on 03 September 2018 - 09:53 PM, said:

The interesting thing with shareware games is that pretty much nobody was making more than "pizza and beer" money until Apogee came up with the episodic model in the late 80s, whereas developing shareware utilities was always a viable way to earn a living.
Yeah, that was my experience. Money dribbled in slowly over time.

The one big payday was from a PC games publisher (SofSource). Their business model was to license select shareware and publish it commercially. The published games were displayed on racks in stores like Sears, positioned as impulse buys.

To kick off their Mac line SofSource licensed both my games, plus two others (Diamonds 3D was one I think). Unfortunately Sears and maybe others decided not to carry the Mac line. SofSource lost money and got out but I got to keep the advance. I still have some boxed copies the publisher sent me, plus a couple I bought at CompUSA as a lark.

I was contacted by other publishers too but most seemed very shady. SofSource seemed to go out of their way to treat developers fairly (we kept the rights to our games and could even keep selling them as shareware.) I was sad the Mac line didn't work out for them.
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#142 Cougar

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Posted 27 September 2018 - 10:38 AM

I now have a job, so backed.

Richard, have you pinged Gruber yet? I remember that boosting the project by quite a bit. I forget how funding worked. Is it just on Unbound until it gets funded, with no time limit? Otherwise I am nervous.

#143 mossy_11

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 12:05 AM

I haven't. But I will be reaching out to him soon to see if he can give us a shoutout.

Yeah, it's pretty much on there until funded. Technically the deal is three months, then however long past that until either it gets funded or author and Unbound mutually agree that it's not going to make it.

We're making steady progress at the moment. If the trend of the past three weeks continues, we'll hit the goal around about the end of that initial 90-day period. I am of course hoping to inject some extra momentum to get us there much sooner, but it's always hard to know exactly where the spikes will come from. (Kotaku's tiny mention, for instance, appears to have only triggered a small funding spike of an extra 1-2% over a few days, despite the large number of eyes on their article and the big impact I've heard they made to the momentum of various other campaigns.)

Crowdfunding is basically just blindly throwing a whole lot of darts at multiple dart boards and hoping that their combined score adds up to more than 100. You can plan and prepare all you like, but you never know exactly where each dart will land.
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#144 Matt Diamond

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 07:11 AM

Coincidentally enough, a good article about the history of shareware just appeared in an unlikely place: https://www.hpe.com/...orrow-1809.html

The article draws the parallel between shareware and the current app stores, among other things.
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#145 mossy_11

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 08:34 PM

That's an excellent piece. Thanks for sharing it — I'll use that to help me with the big-picture view of shareware's significance, and also to help prepare for my interviews with Nelson Ford and Joel Diamond (both quoted in the article), assuming they're still willing to talk to me after I went silent on them for a few weeks of intense freelancing.

(On that note, go to Polygon about 14 hours after this post is made to see one of the things that made my September super hectic.)
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#146 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 04 October 2018 - 01:03 AM

Richard, I've not read it yet, but your Assassin's Creed story looks interesting! That's one of the rare game series I instantly fell in love with when playing the first game.

#147 Matt Diamond

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Posted 06 December 2019 - 01:14 PM

Richard Moss has posted slides, text, and audio from his PAX talk about the history of Ambrosia: https://lifeandtimes...mbrosia-sw-talk

I recommend scrolling through the slides in another window as you read it. (Also, there are a couple "Where are they now" slides after the text ends.)


p.s. If you see this, Richard, hope you had a great honeymoon!
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#148 mossy_11

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Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:09 PM

Thanks Matt! I was just coming here to share that link.

Honeymoon was great. We went to Hawaii and travelled around Oahu and Big Island. The Waikiki area was a bit too touristy for our liking and driving in Honolulu was terrifying at times (bad roads, confusing signs, complex highways), but we really enjoyed the food and weather everywhere and the national parks on Big Island.
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#149 Cougar

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Posted 08 June 2020 - 09:48 AM

If you are still interested in Shareware Heroes but havenít backed it yet, Unbound is doing a Kickstarter to try to raise the rest of the money:

https://www.kickstar...hareware-heroes

You donít need to back it if you have already done so on Unbound.

Crossing my fingers. Already 3.5k raised, but this is the worst time to be doing a Kickstarter...

#150 mossy_11

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Posted 11 June 2020 - 02:32 AM

Thanks for sharing the campaign. I'm amazed how well the Kickstarter is doing, especially in the current global circumstances — nearly 61% funded in just under three days.

Looks pretty likely at this point that we'll finally get this thing funded, which would be wonderful as it'd finally allow me to focus on the book itself and not the challenges of marketing it.
Author of The Secret History of Mac Gaming - https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com/

#151 Cougar

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 06:39 PM

Congrats on being funded, Richard! With 20 days to go, too. Amazing. Thank the John Siracusa bump today.

Looking forward to see what stretch goals you can come up with. :)

Still can't believe this is actually happening. I'd long given up on it. Makes me wonder if the book would've been finished by now if it had been a kickstarter from the get-go.

#152 mossy_11

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Posted 17 June 2020 - 06:52 PM

View PostCougar, on 17 June 2020 - 06:39 PM, said:

Congrats on being funded, Richard! With 20 days to go, too. Amazing. Thank the John Siracusa bump today.

Ah, is that where the spike came from? I was wondering when I woke up how we had jumped 12% in a few hours.

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Looking forward to see what stretch goals you can come up with. :)

I am too, actually. Not sure what they'll be yet. Maybe some extra pages to up my word count or something. Need to ponder a bit. It's taken me so by surprise that I hadn't actually thought about what we could do for stretch goals. A month ago I was thinking through how I would restructure the project as a solo endeavour (I was going to make it episodic, essentially — three short books rather than one medium-sized one), and now this. Crazy.

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Still can't believe this is actually happening. I'd long given up on it. Makes me wonder if the book would've been finished by now if it had been a kickstarter from the get-go.

Yep, as hinted above I'd given up on publishing through Unbound too. And yes, I probably would have finished the manuscript last year if we'd been on Kickstarter at the outset. Which means we would've been getting ready to print it now. But in fairness to Unbound, Kickstarter wasn't an option until late last year because they had another book (HG101's Japanese Obscurities) to fulfill before they were allowed to start any new campaigns.
Author of The Secret History of Mac Gaming - https://secrethistoryofmacgaming.com/