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Two New (But Very Different) RPG Software Applications

I've recently heard about a couple of upcoming new software tools for RPGs. One is an online gaming video conferencing tool on Kickstarter now, and the other is a tool for animating or illustrating your game sessions coming next week.

The first, Role, is a video conferencing app designed specifically for playing RPGs. It looks a bit like something like Zoom or Skype, but with a bunch of RPG-specific inbuilt tools -- dice roles, character sheets, a player matching system, and a marketplace for buying games. Role is already on Kickstarter, and is halfway to its funding goal.

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The other tool is called Neverending, and this one is a subscription service that lets you take your game stories and turn them into comic strips or animated videos. Neverending's Kickstarter launches in 6 days.

You can import audio (either record your game, import from your podcast, or record in the actual application) and then build scenes using a library of customizable backgrounds and objects. There's a sort of visual character builder so you can create them in the app, and then you can export the end result as a comic strip, a stop motion clip, or just as images. I'm kinda thinking it might be fun to try and 'animate' some of the many skits on our podcast.

We thought – how amazing would it be if other people could SEE those worlds? If people could share and experience stories beyond the table. Maybe these worlds and stories can live on in more than just a memory between friends


"NeverEnding is a game changer for podcasts and live-play video streams, as it creates a whole new way to bring stories to life. Podcasters and others can either import audio from their session or record it right in the application itself. While recording audio on the platform, users will be able to tag important moments during their recordings, like a dramatic conflict or humorous moment. Once audio is uploaded, it’s time to build the scene, using a full library of pre-built backgrounds, objects, equipables, and customizable characters. The NeverEnding development team is focusing on creating easy to use drag and drop functionality that will make the app ideal for people of any age."

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Russ Morrissey

Comments

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I can't seem to find what license the created projects will be under. Some applications want a cut of revenue or extra money to allow such use. Any idea what license / business model they will use?
No clue. But I assume we'll find out when their KS launches.
 

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Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
All this stuff is really cool...

... but all I really want is a treasure generator. Not web-based or a phone app, a program for Windows, and I want to be able to edit and input my own material. Is there anything like this out there for 5th edition?
 

Trivista

Explorer
All this stuff is really cool...

... but all I really want is a treasure generator. Not web-based or a phone app, a program for Windows, and I want to be able to edit and input my own material. Is there anything like this out there for 5th edition?
How would you see something like that working?
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
On projects like this crowd funding can often be more about raising name id than actual funding.
Yeah, well, that's not comforting at all. Software development is expensive - a solid developer is a $100K/year, so what Role is asking for half a year of one person's work. That really won't deliver an abitious platform.

What they should give us is a message about how close they really are to completion, and how most of their funding is in the bag, but that they need some extra input for marketing, user testing, or somesuch. The fact that they don't know that they ought to position themselves that way, in and of itself, erodes my confidence in their business sense.

Plus, really, if I want a new RPG, I'll fund an RPG kickstarter and directly pay RPG developers myself, and cut tout the middleman that's spending money on other things than RPG development. If I want to fund software development, give me working software as the reward.
 



Trivista

Explorer
If anyone has questions about the NeverEnding platform, I'm going to try to be on tomorrow to respond. Obviously, a lot of focus right now on our Kickstarter that launches in umm.... less than 24 hours.

For now, we just put up a vid of the Lite Version of our Character Builder prototype in action.

That Lite Demo will be available for you to access on our website tomorrow (possibly today?)
Will people have to pay extra to use the output of the NeverEnding platform in a for-profit / revenue generating way?
 


NeverEnding

Villager
Will people have to pay extra to use the output of the NeverEnding platform in a for-profit / revenue generating way?
Thanks for your question! NeverEnding's terms of service includes a full license for personal, non-commercial use. Commercial use IS available, however.

In part, because of the amount of art we'll be providing and the real value that art represents, we'll be offering Commercial Licenses separately, for a small fee. We also don't want to completely price freelance artists out of the market by offering something that decimates their livelihood, because the price for our art is magnitudes lower.

A podcaster, author, or YouTuber would purchase a commercial license for a single output (e.g. video, comic strip) OR purchase an extended license providing commercial use for a larger volume of content. If the community seems amenable, our goal is to offer those licenses on a simple sliding scale, so someone who doesn't have a huge following or is a hobbyist isn't priced out. If they blow up and get a million followers right after they show a video made on NeverEnding? Good for them! It doesn't affect the license that they purchased in any way.

Ultimately, we're committed to keeping it simple, fair, and easy for professionals (and semi-professionals) to use our product to enhance their own content!

Let me know if that answers your question and seems reasonable.
 

Trivista

Explorer
Thanks for your question! NeverEnding's terms of service includes a full license for personal, non-commercial use. Commercial use IS available, however.

In part, because of the amount of art we'll be providing and the real value that art represents, we'll be offering Commercial Licenses separately, for a small fee. We also don't want to completely price freelance artists out of the market by offering something that decimates their livelihood, because the price for our art is magnitudes lower.

A podcaster, author, or YouTuber would purchase a commercial license for a single output (e.g. video, comic strip) OR purchase an extended license providing commercial use for a larger volume of content. If the community seems amenable, our goal is to offer those licenses on a simple sliding scale, so someone who doesn't have a huge following or is a hobbyist isn't priced out. If they blow up and get a million followers right after they show a video made on NeverEnding? Good for them! It doesn't affect the license that they purchased in any way.

Ultimately, we're committed to keeping it simple, fair, and easy for professionals (and semi-professionals) to use our product to enhance their own content!

Let me know if that answers your question and seems reasonable.
The lack of details as to what the fees will be makes it difficult to say if they are reasonable or not. Much the same language you used has been used by enterprise software vendors licensing product and their definition of what is reasonable is rather pricey.

However if the terms are listed upfront then all would be good. Thank you for your response.
 

NeverEnding

Villager
The lack of details as to what the fees will be makes it difficult to say if they are reasonable or not. Much the same language you used has been used by enterprise software vendors licensing product and their definition of what is reasonable is rather pricey.

However if the terms are listed upfront then all would be good. Thank you for your response.
Be careful what you wish for, Trivista ha ha :) In my experience one of the best ways to ensure a solution is fair and equitable is to be a part of crafting that solution. I'd invite you and Morrus to reach out to me at jvandoren@beneverending.com. I'd be happy to set up a further discussion, share with you some of what we're thinking in terms of fees and how those would be structured, so that you can give your feedback and help us make sure we're doing something that doesn't harm creators and stifle opportunities. We do want to have terms listed up front, very clearly and transparently. We have some options structured, but I'd be grateful if you're willing to help us land on what the best solution could be.
 

Trivista

Explorer
Be careful what you wish for, Trivista ha ha :) In my experience one of the best ways to ensure a solution is fair and equitable is to be a part of crafting that solution. I'd invite you and Morrus to reach out to me at jvandoren@beneverending.com. I'd be happy to set up a further discussion, share with you some of what we're thinking in terms of fees and how those would be structured, so that you can give your feedback and help us make sure we're doing something that doesn't harm creators and stifle opportunities. We do want to have terms listed up front, very clearly and transparently. We have some options structured, but I'd be grateful if you're willing to help us land on what the best solution could be.
Well I have the creative skills of a river rock so others would be better positioned to discuss it. Thank you for the discussion and I will be backing the kickstarter!
 

Even using functionality from other projects, there will be quite a bit of integration and new development for what they are wanting to do. Don't forget the infrastructure involved in hosting this as well... You will need data repositories, web servers, redundancy (load balancing, stand by servers, etc), back ups, billing, admin, etc. Getting the software working is step 1. Step 2 is standing up the infrastructure and supporting systems to enable it run and make money.

Maybe they are planning other crowd funding, such as fig and indiegogo to raise additional funds.
Nowadays it is all cloud. Your backend stuff can all be a bunch of Spring Boot micro-services dropped into a Kub cluster, maybe with Istio dropped in on top for seemless path-based routing, and all backed by whichever AWS-supplied 'database as a service' offerings best match your architecture. Load balancing, failover, backups, etc. is all very trivial push-button level stuff (takes a bit of work to tie it all together, but nothing like the old days, and once you figure it out, its all just Terraform, cloud formation, etc.).
UI/UX is really the bear, that takes a lot of work to get right and polish, but you CAN start out with the basics, get an MMP rolled and get it out there, give it away for the lowest initial tier of service, and then start adding the 'premium' features and spit-n-polish. At some point you roll up the premium stuff into a subscription, and mostly at that point it is getting your community relations and stuff right.
I agree though, $50k won't get you far, and even several guys working it as a 2nd job will find it tough to make quick progress. I would want more like $500k near the start of my business plan from somewhere. One possibility is the funding at that level is already solid, and the Kickstarter is more about PR and a bit of extra cash (which never hurts) but mostly is just advertising.
 

I assumed they will outsource that to one of the larger cloud providers (i.e. Amazon, Microsoft, Google). However, none of those is cheap, so that's going to eat into their margins.

I don't mind if they use the campaign mostly to build awareness (and as you say, the lower pledge level seems like an acceptable risk), but I'm curious about their business model.
Not cheap, but a LOT cheaper than doing it yourself. I mean, you ARE going in someone's datacenter someplace, that's just how it is... Your choices are really just between renting a bunch of VMs or Cloud. You have to babysit the former and build up all the other parts of your infra on top of that, it gets old fast. Or you just go to AWS, drop your Terraform script, and instantiate what you need. Plus you can use reservations, scaling, spot pricing, etc. to help control your costs.
I work with LARGE corporations rolling out even internal enterprise apps, and these days even they don't want to use their own DCs, even if they have plenty of capacity. It is just endless work doing drudgery you aren't really good at instead of focusing on your core value stream. Smaller tech firms like this, no way AWS is not the cheapest way to go (or Azure, GCS, whatever).
 

Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
Not cheap, but a LOT cheaper than doing it yourself. I mean, you ARE going in someone's datacenter someplace, that's just how it is... Your choices are really just between renting a bunch of VMs or Cloud. You have to babysit the former and build up all the other parts of your infra on top of that, it gets old fast. Or you just go to AWS, drop your Terraform script, and instantiate what you need. Plus you can use reservations, scaling, spot pricing, etc. to help control your costs.
I work with LARGE corporations rolling out even internal enterprise apps, and these days even they don't want to use their own DCs, even if they have plenty of capacity. It is just endless work doing drudgery you aren't really good at instead of focusing on your core value stream. Smaller tech firms like this, no way AWS is not the cheapest way to go (or Azure, GCS, whatever).
No to pile on; but there's NO upside in managing a DC for yourself, unless you have some crazy security reason or are in direct competition with Amazon, Google, and/or Microsoft. Like it makes sense for Apple to manage their data on their own DCs. But not for either of these products.

One possibility is the funding at that level is already solid, and the Kickstarter is more about PR and a bit of extra cash (which never hurts) but mostly is just advertising.
The other possibility is to get/demonstrate a solid user base to a potential investor also.
 

Tun Kai Poh

Adventurer
I suspect that they are already good for paying their dev team due to funding from elsewhere. Part of the KS money is definitely going towards paying for the RPG developers making the exclusives.
 

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