Last month I interviewed Michael from Viewizard, the developers of AstroMenace which is a fantastic hardcore space shooter which is available under GPLv3 and is FREE for Linux.
The funny thing is that the windows binary actually costs money and although it could be compiled from the source code, it’s still selling !
I’ve asked the questions is English and Michael answered in Russian, today I’ve took the time to translate the interview and publish it here :
Hello Michael !
Sorry for writing in English because I do speak Russian (but as I didn’t study in Russia my spelling grammar is horrible, but I can read).
Excellent, The I’ll answer in Russian
I off course can answer in English, but I think you would like more complete answers.
I am a Linux user and I am extremely happy that you released the source code under GPLv3 and supplied the Linux version for free…
I got a few questions however.
1. What made the devs release the source code under GPLv3 and the Linux version for free while the windows version costs money ?
My principle is simple – if you want to pay, then pay. if you chose a commercial OS, then why should I give you the game for free ?
A FREE game needs to be “earned” .
GNU/Linux is a community – it’s a huge army of experienced users, programmers, system administrators etc…
With their help testing the game was very effective, and we didn’t need to run and seek for people – they found us and offered help, this was very pleasant.
Making a cross platform game (Windows-Mac-GNU/Linux) isn’t a big problem. the most important thing is to want. everything else is already there in forms of documentation, pieces of code, etc…
2. How are the sells went ?
Franky speaking I didn’t see any change in sells, there were no downfalls after the code was released under GPLv3.
It is possible that somewhere there is a compiled version for Windows (we didn’t change the code on purpose and all Windows fragments are present), but we haven’t seen it yet
3. Is there a new game under development ? (I’ve seen on your site/blog 2 games Astromenace2 and other space non-Astromenace game).
We have some prototypes, but currently they on hold till “better times”. it’s very hard to foresee anything for the next 6 months and beyond (and developing a game takes much time), with all the economy problems.
4. On the “support” section I’ve seen 3 new games : Awakening, Black Star : first attack and dangerous activity 3d … however I did not see any of those games on the download or games section on the site – can you explain what are they ? are they available for Linux ?
I’ve started writing games spontaneously on a programming class at the university. like all normal people when we see a computer we start playing … the teacher was angry at us and said that “you can play computer games, but only if you programmed them yourself”. I think he regretted his saying very much afterwords.
At the time we studied recently released Delphi 3, and Pascal. not thinking much I used those languages to develop games, uploaded them to the Internet and started selling, well at least I’ve “tried” to sell them.
As you probably guessed converting those games to C++ was not possible for me, but was it needed at all ? those games already done their “job” and I got the experience from making them.
Now those games are no longer available, but if I already sold them – I still need to support them.
You misunderstood my question about the sells …
What I meant was if the sells where good ? if they covered the cost of the development and made profit for you ?
Yes, the game made profit, but not a big one.
There is a need to say that the game was hardcore, that’s why we couldn’t work with a publishers. they just rejected the game. everyone needs a game in which you push one button and see colorful explosions , that’s why they rejected our game by saying “it’s not arcade enough”.
Overall everything went us I expected, and the publishers we worked with done a poor job (at least in my eyes), their audience demanded an arcade game
I’m not arguing, arcade games could be made… but if your work won’t give you satisfaction – it is better to work as a regular programmer and get a steady pay without worrying too much.
I understand that you have another work right now for a different company , that’s why your projects are on hold – right ?
Well, our family is well funded, we have a family business in which I can always be something like IT consultant that I used to do all the time…
But I can’t not to talk with my own parents after all
The gaming projects needed to be put on hold, I just can’t pay people enough money right now, and using the people in my family is something I do not want to do…
Luckily, at August 2008 I already smelled that things not going right and advised “my people” to look for a job, so when the economy collapsed, they already had good jobs.
As far as I know, the crises didn’t hurt them.
The economy is indeed bad this year – many unlucky people got fired and companies got bankrupt … I hope that you as myself still hold your job
Thanks, I hope so as well
Are you also involved at other FREE (GPL, BSD …) projects ?
I helped Don translating Notepad++ to Russian.
I also translated his website and for “some” reason I accidentally became the Russian tech supporter for Notepad++, all emails are sent to my inbox
Other then that I am not involved in additional free projects.
Thank you very Michal for the interview Michael !
Some Screehshots :