Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ad-supported version?

My goal with Dweller has never been to make a commercial game. Dweller was started many many years ago thanks to my childhood passion for roguelikes (I played Moria a little over 20 years ago). I had started experimenting with mobile development (I released a commercial game for the Mophun platform available on Sony Ericsson devices) and it occurred to me that there weren't any roguelikes available for mobile devices. I really liked the thought of trying to convert the traditional 20+ roguelike key-bindings to a device with only 12 available keys and a very limited screen resolution.

Looking back at the years of development it has been a real encouragement to get so much positive feedback from players. Knowing that players have enjoyed the game and stuck by it for so long has really made me want to keep developing Dweller. Thank you!

Still, the thought of getting some monetary encouragement as well as kind words is a nice one. So far the PayPal Donation option hasn't resulted in much money, but I'm truly grateful for the donations I have received. I have toyed with the idea of providing a commercial version of Dweller with more features (new games modes, a new playable class and so on) but Dweller is not there yet. If I ever add a commercial version it will not be at the expense of the free version. My goal is still to make Dweller the best free fantasy RPG/roguelike there is.

Another idea would be to have one ad-supported free version and one ad-free version sold for a small cost. Both versions would have the same functionality but the ad-supported version would show ads at the loading screen (but not in-game). My main concern is how this would be received among the players. Would you stop playing Dweller if you were presented with an ad while the game is loading?


  1. The only question is: How will the ad be updated? If it will require internet connection, I will definitely stop playing until I am able to buy ad-free version(I think Dweller is one of the games I can afford).

    If it won't - I will continue playing free version. But I can't say if I will buy "full" version or not in this case.

  2. I think the same way as KThaaL.

  3. Dweller has more updates and content than other games I have already purchased. That being said I would happily pay for a commercial version in a heartbeat. I think if you keep up with your current flow if updates and fixes you will do fine. There is always a certain level of expectation for big fixes and such when you buy a game and you do better than others and your game is free. Just don't stretch yourself too thin!

  4. KThaal: Well, it would have to use the network to get the add. What device are you playing on? An Android or a J2ME device?

    If I were to implement this the ad-free version would most likely not cost more than $2, possibly less.

    But remember that all this is hypothetical for now.

    1. I am using J2ME version with Nokia 5800.
      The problem with ad updates can be not only internet connection, but availability of ad-provider's site. And it can be problematic to download new ad on every game startup.

    2. Well, I would have to find an advertising system that works well on Android and J2ME device and doesn't hang the app if network connectivity is limited or not available. Another requirement is that it should not significantly increase loading times.

  5. I would purchase it in a heartbeat no matter what you charged.