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Ultra Engine is designed to be a stable foundation for the next decade. Having been through the product release cycle a few times, I want to do a subscription model for this. If you look at the companies that offer one-time purchases, what always happens is they make good initial sales, then new sales dry up, and they have to come up with a new product. If you remember Garage Games, they came out with three or four different versions of Torque Engine. Blitz Research was constantly starting something new. A more modern example would be The Game Creators. None of these companies are able to develop a long-term technology because the situation demands that they keep going back to the drawing board every couple of years. If you remember Blitz3D, people were asking for all kinds of features to be added, but Mark's sales had run out so he had to move on to something else.

It's a terrible situation for everyone because it means once you buy the product, it's like your opinion no longer matters. That's not a decision I make, that's just the way the incentives are set up. The situation demands that I keep seeking out new groups of potential customers and adding things I think might appeal to them, instead of listening to the actual users and giving them what they ask for. If Leadwerks had been a subscription model, there's no way it would not have PBR materials and CSG editing in the 3D viewport, because I would have lost a lot of subscribers by ignoring them and going off in stupid directions. (Of course we would also be locked into the more limited Leadwerks architecture and Ultra would not exist, so that's a separate discussion...) Paid updates don't work very well because it means that new features are artificially held back. I want to be able to add new features and fixes on a continuous basis, without making you wait a year for the next update. Unless you want to see "Ultra Engine Super Advanced Edition X2" or "Ultra Mario Kart RPG Maker", I need to release this with a low monthly subscription.

We tested the system out with Ultra App Kit, and it works well. I'm thinking $9.99 / mo. for the finished engine with editor, and a lower price of $7.99 for the first release, which is just the programming SDK. When the finished editor is released, your account will keep the lower price as long as your subscription stays active.

This will force me to listen to what users say they want, instead of going off on weird tangents and dancing around like a crazy monkey.

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My job is to make tools you love, with the features you want, and performance you can't live without.

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As much of a fan I am of the one-time purchase. It isn't that viable for a business model. Don't forget to make annual billing options 😉

On a side note, make sure you have good anti-piracy measures as subscription services are the most susceptible to theft.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep~~This is a test of the emergency signature system~~Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep

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2 minutes ago, Alienhead said:

Sounds like you have given this some tremendous thought.  I for one, love the idea.  Any plans for long term support on LE or is that pretty much done with? How portable will LE projects be to the Ultra Engine ?

I would like to release a final 5.8 update to Leadwerks with some small fixes and maybe a few surprises based on what I have learned. I don't anticipate that it will require a lot of maintenance in the future. As long as OpenGL drivers work it will be fine.

My job is to make tools you love, with the features you want, and performance you can't live without.

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Bro I get it but I don't like it. Last thing I need is another bill to pay. Couldn't you just do a one-time purchase option but charge a ridiculous amount of money for it so people are more prone to just do the subscription? There's people like me out there who just prefer not to keep having to update my payments.

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Josh i think most of the people and me is here because of your one time purchase products.

I agree that this is better for an indie software developer, and i think i would do the same.

But i never liked subscription, so i'm sorry but i dont think i will do my developments in Ultra.

I think you could let people use the engine free until they make like 100 dollars, and then pay subscriptionally.

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I'm surprised that there are so many people here in the comments who agree with your position.
My team uses the engine for its intended purpose -
to make commercial indie-games with single player. Leadwerks has all the features for this: a royalty-free model, relatively low system requirements, legacy x86 support. We once bought the engine as a whole team and it's convenient: our programmers use it in Professional Edition, when the rest of the team (level designers) use standard version. We were willing to give 2 out of 3 concessions to Ultra Engine for the sake of progress, to improve the graphic quality in our games, etc., but we are totally against, ideologically, totally against the subscription model. Sorry Josh, but apart from dynamic rendering and fast physics processing (I hope you finally fixed all the Newton game dynamics bugs? Because in Leadwerks 4.6-4.7 objects fly through brushes of any size, and we are RIGHT NOW trying to solve this problem, because we need to somehow realize ragdolls in our games) you no longer have a killer feature in front of Unity, for example. Yes, you have an interesting level editor, but find me a large number of lovers of "Source-like" editors in our time, it's mostly modmakers, and they have not even heard about Leadwerks. It's a geek feature that we love, but another people? For them, this engine looks like another one GameGuru, and, to be honest, they have all rights - they don't care about nuances, because they know a better advertised and really more stable solutions to make games, it's Unity or Unreal Engine. Or Godot to make good 2D games. We in our team like your engine at all, but we'll find your course of evolution totally incorrect. And I'm ready to explain:
We waited a whole year for version 4.6 in 2017 and waited for a buggy release in which you broke half of our project and didn't fix too many bugs - multiplayer code is completely not finished, it's not even basically synchronized, and we even can't host a server normally! In Leadwerks 4.7 Beta you broke sprites (and your team not fix this after years), so we'll downgrade our project to 4.6 to solve it. We've been waiting for Leadwerks 5.0 with unicode support for over four years to make our game multilingual - we're still don't get this and made "hacked" separate fonts for each language based on english input conversion to get around the problem, it's very not good solution and it was hard to make. We're don't get an good, ready to use Ultra App Kit either - the reviews on Steam speak for themselves, it's too limited framework with slow updates. Aiming for VR has already been failed - many years have passed since the first engine releases with VR support, but not a single game with this feature has been made. Not one step in this direction from the community! Pay attention to this, especially since the implementation of the OpenVR in the engine is clearly not completed.
If you make the decision you want to make, it will be a direct blow to our team. We hate the subscription model, it's not a problem for us to buy a big upgrade if we need it - but we won't settle for a subscription model. Don't count on our support in this matter. Most likely in the future we will have to change the engine, because it's all already looks like a mockery from you. This is my official message to you on behalf of our entire small team of five people who work around your bugs by the sweat of their brow (closed source code doesn't allows to do this 100% quickly and efficiently) and love your engine with all their hearts for its pluses, and not for minuses - our whole team will have to say goodbye to engine after many years of work and stay on buggy 4.6 release to finish our projects, because instead of dealing with pressing issues and releasing updates, you are busy renaming the engine and endless silent porting of your "Ultra" (what's wrong with classic 'Leadwerks' name?) Engine.
I hope we did not upset you with this message, but we're in a state of shock about all of your actions. You need to think about our words, for sure.

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47 minutes ago, ERKGames said:

you are busy renaming the engine and endless silent porting of your "Ultra" (what's wrong with classic 'Leadwerks' name?) Engine.

I think it's because "Leadwerks" cannot be spread by word-of-mouth (the best and most effective marketing strategy). You have to tell people how to spell it. Think of all the successful companies out there (Amazon, Apple, Google, McDonald's, etc.), they--for the most part--all have names spelt how they are said.

Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep~~This is a test of the emergency signature system~~Beeeeeeeeeeeeeep

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Hey @Josh I am very excited for Ultra Engine. So as long as you do not do what Unity is doing with their absurd pricing structure I am good. Total side note: but If we could get Oculus Quest 2 support in Ultra Engine that would be amazing. Cannot wait to get my hands on Ultra Engine and the new Editor. :)

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1 hour ago, IceBurger said:

I think it's because "Leadwerks" cannot be spread by word-of-mouth (the best and most effective marketing strategy). You have to tell people how to spell it. Think of all the successful companies out there (Amazon, Apple, Google, McDonald's, etc.), they--for the most part--all have names spelt how they are said.

I understand, but "Ultra" and "Leadwerks" is totally different words. I'm really happy that "Turbo" variant of new name was dropped - it sounded like something related to "TurboPascal", hello 90s 😀. I like this old programming language, btw.

Makes sense to rename it in "Leadworks Engine" or something like that, sounds seriously and much more recognizably for fans ☺️.

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While the subscription model will keep you in tune to your customers and your reasoning is understandable, most people despise subscription models for software - myself included. Not sure what the right direction to take here. My only suggestion to lessen the blow is offer yearly packages along side paying monthly. I rather pay intentionally pay 120$ per year instead of five dollars being deducted quietly from my account every month. 

You're in a tight spot. Most people have been conditioned to get stuff for free without really worrying about the thousands of asterisks. You'll need to convince people to be your customer instead of using something like Godot which is free, MIT, open source, and light weight. Nobody seems mind that the level editor is absolute trash for 3D, or you can kick boxes through walls easily. Everyone is talking about Godot 4, but a lot of people don't even know what Ultra Engine is. Not to prop myself up, but I think less people would know what Leadwerks was if I didn't make my audience aware of it with the Vectronic Demo (Which was Source) and now Cyclone.

I would suggest you didn't lock people out of the software if they cancel, but then that'll be locking updates and fixes behind a paywall, and I'm not sure you want that. I'm guessing is that you'll need to advertise the subscription model as a service than a product. It might be a good idea (maybe) to lock the discussion forum behind the subscription fee so people feel like they are not just getting a good product, but good support and other active customers to talk to. You have 20 thousand members, but it only ever seems like 10 people are actually here. While you've mentioned that hosting is pretty cheap, it's still an expense on your part we all take for granted on a daily basis. Plus, you'll also be hearing from actual customers and not random angry people and bots which just take time away from working on the engine. If you have to do a subscription model, it should have a lot of bullet points to make it as attractive as possible. 

In summary, If I had the option to pay yearly for a fantastic royalty free engine, access to this forum and all of it's perks, I'll be fine with it. Would I prefer to just pay up front once? Absolutely, but as a customer, I like the idea of you being liable/responsible for good and bad decisions. 

These are just ideas of mine.

 

13 hours ago, Josh said:

I would like to release a final 5.8 update to Leadwerks with some small fixes and maybe a few surprises based on what I have learned. I don't anticipate that it will require a lot of maintenance in the future. As long as OpenGL drivers work it will be fine.

When you're ready to sit down and do this, let me know asap! 

I made this with Leadwerks Game Engine!

CycloneVectronic - Darkness Awaits Template - Rolly: The Rollable Ball That Rolls Too Much

If you like my work, consider supporting me on Patreon!

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8 hours ago, IceBurger said:

I think it's because "Leadwerks" cannot be spread by word-of-mouth (the best and most effective marketing strategy). You have to tell people how to spell it. Think of all the successful companies out there (Amazon, Apple, Google, McDonald's, etc.), they--for the most part--all have names spelt how they are said.

Yes, exactly. If you tell someone to go to Ultra Engine dot com they know how to spell it.

6 hours ago, Mr_SquarePeg said:

Total side note: but If we could get Oculus Quest 2 support in Ultra Engine that would be amazing. Cannot wait to get my hands on Ultra Engine and the new Editor. :)

Yes, my NASA colleagues also want this.

My job is to make tools you love, with the features you want, and performance you can't live without.

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I perfectly understand why you want to go this way. but as reepblue has said people despises subscription based software.

Now I wouldn't mind supporting you and your work though I generally don't like them either, but I think you should do something like what adobe does with substance painter. or at least something along that line with a year of updates. There will be people that simply will turn away the moment they hear Subscription based however if you can do one that is subscription based and one that is a one-time pay. I believe you can strike a bit of a balence there.

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Processor: AMD A6-3420M APU integrated Radeon HD Graphics 1.50 GHz

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I think subscription is not a good idea for most of us so like me I prefer one time to pay, sorry it's more advantageous and you get to own the product for life.

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Every engine with subscription has already given up on that and made a free option for regular indie users. And they make money from large companies. I honestly have no idea how to profit from us small indies, but subscription is definitely a hard sell for us in today's market.

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This is probably a terrible idea that I personally wouldn't like to encounter, but might be profitable..... What about a one-time payment for the editor and another payment everytime someone builds a production-level game? (i.e. there is a "test" build mode that has watermarks and other limitations)

Its just an idea. I, personally, am fine with a subscription because, as much as I hate them, I am already paying some (Amazon, my internet, my garbage pickup, various memberships) and this really wouldn't be too painful for me.

I understand the existing userbase hates this idea (as they are used to the one-time payment); however, (and this also sounds terrible) you will be able to attract a new userbase.

I don't agree with what other people are saying that "no one knows about ultra engine" or that "everyone will be focused on Godot." I found ultra engine years ago, and that was because I really hated what was available. I loved Leadwerks, it was intuitive, etc. Adding "performance" and "good graphics" as main themes of Ultra will definitely provide you with a customer base as I cannot count how many times I have searched "performant game engine" and not received a good answer.

I, once again personally, hate Godot. I absolutely abhore it. My brother loves it (he's a foss "nut"). Although he hasnt actually produced anything with it successfully.

The main turnoff for me for any application is UI. If I don't like the UI, I won't use it. Godot tried to be unique, instead of just doing what works. Their interface disgusts me. So despite all the pros Godot offers, you won't see me using it. I'm fine with Leadwerks/Ultra.

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GameMaker has something what I think might be a good middle-ground (maybe?), seeing as how subscription is often frowned upon especially by Indies:

You can use the tools for free, but if you want to use the publishing tools to build/publish you pay a subscription. This means you don't constantly have to pay while experimenting and means you can explore the toolset to see if it works for you without a paywall. When you actually seriously start doing stuff you pay a monthly fee for as long you need the compiling/publishing tools.

This allows new devs to get their feet wet, seeing as how you try to cater to new devs and Indies this might be an idea. Not sure if it'd be profitable though. Definitely an issue that could keep you awake, I imagine.

Also: very happy to hear you are (possibly?) going to do a final update for LeadWerks, it desperately needs it :D
I'd be more than willing to help out with that, since I do have quite a few (minor) things that need that last final touchup , and I've been trying to figure out what causes these bugs since I encounter them quite a few times during development :)

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Being for couple of years in the community i like following people/projects and the engine development.

And yes was a bit annoyed about Leadwerks and complete lack of fixes but at least i understand why, Ultra is a step in the right direction.

If subscription means fixes and updated tech im fine with that.

But want to add this plan is not that friendly to hobbyists or indies not making money yet.

 

I made this with Leadwerks/UAK:

Structura Stacky Desktop Edition

Website:

https://greengolem.github.io/

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On 5/22/2022 at 2:09 PM, EvilTurtleProductions said:

GameMaker has something what I think might be a good middle-ground (maybe?), seeing as how subscription is often frowned upon especially by Indies:

You can use the tools for free, but if you want to use the publishing tools to build/publish you pay a subscription. This means you don't constantly have to pay while experimenting and means you can explore the toolset to see if it works for you without a paywall. When you actually seriously start doing stuff you pay a monthly fee for as long you need the compiling/publishing tools.

This allows new devs to get their feet wet, seeing as how you try to cater to new devs and Indies this might be an idea. Not sure if it'd be profitable though. Definitely an issue that could keep you awake, I imagine.

I remember back when GameMaker was older (started using it when I was 13, so that's a long time ago now, that was around the time version 8 was coming out), the model was that you could do almost everything with the exception of a few functions that were locked behind the Pro version (most notably all 3D functionality was disabled). The big thing was that you could not create a standalone executable for your game, you had to run it out of the IDE. Maybe that should be part of the Ultra model - let people use the tools to play around, but don't let them create a standalone executable or publish the game without paying the subscription. The subscription basically then functions as the recurring price for distributing the game. 

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I recently checked direct debits going out of my acount every month and noted that the price of my internet provider had almost doubled in a few years, and also my house insurance. These things creep up and you do not notice. So I shopped around and found some cheaper ones, saving around £40 a month. This leaves me space to pay subscriptions for ultraengine, if the price is fairly low per month and does not sneak up after a while.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you all for your honest opinion. Leadwerks as a technology is somewhat limited, and I have learned a lot in the last four years developing Ultra. I don't think a subscription model would have worked for Leadwerks because staying on that platform would have locked us into some pretty severe limitations, particularly the fact that the editor is a 32-bit BlitzMax application. With Ultra I've been able to go into much deeper detail and plan every aspect of it out very carefully, which makes it a much better long-term foundation to build on. Hopefully people will see the value in it and want more features added to the new engine.

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My job is to make tools you love, with the features you want, and performance you can't live without.

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Kinda sad to hear this...But I have to agree, I personally am not a fan of subscriptions in general. In a way, I understand from a business standpoint as to why it makes sense to have them, but for us designers/devs its sort of a major turn off or U turn. I can see in having a subscription for those who can't afford an all in one time payment of some lump sum ($200-$500+) but can afford the monthly/yearly payments, but on the other hand, also have a one time payment for those of us who can. Should you ever decide to do a one time payment or a variation of sorts, one way you could do it is by allowing us buy the new/current version with all of its updates free until the next version is released. For example, if we bought Leadwerks 5/UltraEngine and we receive all of its updates for free until version LE 6/Ultra Engine 2 comes out a couple years later. Then charge us a small one time fee, for it when its available. I can see in paying something like that or just the one time fee on its own, but monthly/annually subscription isn't too enticing. To be honest, subscriptions is why I left Sketchup, 3DS Max and Maya, and went to Blender. I can take that extra money I would be dishing out for their yearly subscription, (not fully owning anything except my art and creations, etc) and spend it on Blender's addon's and own everything for life. All of the updates for its add-ons are free forever.

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9 hours ago, Mortiss Coffin said:

I can see in having a subscription for those who can't afford an all in one time payment of some lump sum ($200-$500+) but can afford the monthly/yearly payments, but on the other hand, also have a one time payment for those of us who can.

That was something I tested with Ultra App Kit. I made the subscription price as low as possible intentionally, but I found that 95% of people will choose the one-time payment, if it is an option at all. A year later, I am still getting monthly revenue from a few subscriptions but new sales completely stopped. I also put it on Steam to get an idea of what a new app would earn. It's a very niche product but the sales there did not make me feel encouraged about releasing Ultra on Steam.

7 hours ago, Genebris said:

With Maya it's an easy call because Blender is just superior. But what if Ultra has no competition? Josh can charge us whatever he wants.

We definitely have competition. Hopefully the capabilities and features of Ultra differentiate it sufficiently so that people feel it is valuable.

This really couldn't have happened any other way. Sales of Leadwerks on Steam allowed me to develop Ultra. Steam is flooded now of course, but I used that time to develop a new technology that can be built on for a long time. I'm asking for more, but hopefully people feel they are getting something very valuable in return. I feel very positive about it because now I can actually get paid to add more features instead of coming up with hare-brained schemes of how to attract new groups of customers.

My job is to make tools you love, with the features you want, and performance you can't live without.

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