Game Design, Programming and running a one-man games business…

The unthinkable? GSB micro-transactions? or…?

I had plans to do another GSB expansion pack, with a new race, much like the Nomads.

And then….

GTB has basically taken over. Combine it with ShowMeTheGames (which isn’t getting enough attention as it is) plus lots of home-life related building-stuff, and I just am not getting enough sleep. But I do have

  • Lots of GSB players
  • An artist willing to make new GSB ships.

I like to maintain control of stuff, so farming out DLC production to someone else is probably a ‘no’ right now. The thing is, the time taken to make new damage textures, new weapons, balance them, and do the whole package would be a bit of a nightmare.

So I was thinking, especially on this day that Team Fortress 2 goes ‘Free To Play’, that maybe micro-transactions are the future, and I should just leap into the market for them with GSB. I could get new ship hulls made, and designed, and have them sold as mini-DLC. Of course, the problem there is that there are minimum credit-card fees that I get charged, so anything below $4 is basically a disaster in terms of profit, making the whole thing unviable.

So I am scratching my chin thinking how viable it is to just do a bunch of extra base-race ships for GSB and sell them as a $4 mini-DLC booster pack. New federation, alliance, rebel and empire ships, by the original artist. That would take fairly minimal work, compared to the design of a whole new race. But would it make any sense? would there be a market for it?

Would you pay $4 for a bunch of new ships? I know a lot of people would not be interested, but there don’t have to be thousands of people for it to break even.

31 thoughts on The unthinkable? GSB micro-transactions? or…?

  1. Yes, I would pay $4 for a pack of new ships. Half the races (Empire, Order, Nomads) are not fun for me based on their limitations, and having either ships that made them fun to play, or more ships for the races I already like, would be great.

  2. More ships?
    I would have to answer that in the hella-yeah-affirmative sir.

    Me and my brother have just started a new “Challenge-Campaign”
    against each other.

    We start with one squad of fighters, and go back and forth with just fighters until one of us is finally forced to add some frigates to the mix.

    it just progresses from there, eventually, we have a 1,000 pilot/100,000 resource battle raging.

    our last campaign lasted almost 9 months.

    If you released new ships, we’d get another 9-12 months of play.

    and they don’t have to be wicked powerful either. just new and different.

    Make one of them have an “attractor beam” which draws aggro away from other ships, make it have 2 hardpoints, and 20 softpoints.

    an imperial ship with 10,000 shield? yes please!

  3. That would require a major rewrite of GSB to allow people without dlcs to play agaisnt dlcs. Otherwise it just keeps splintering the community.

  4. You could come up with your own currency, like Atari does with its Tokens scheme. People could buy 5000 CliffskiBucks™ for $5 and then you could price your ships/parts accordingly. Of course then you’d have to have an infrastructure to track who has CliffskiBucks™ and how many and so forth. Maybe not such a great idea after all.

    I just like saying CliffskiBucks™.

  5. Honestly, I don’t think it would work that well.

    GSB I think should be a full-fledged sequel done in 3-4 years instead of being farmed out. Let the modders handle things.

    I’d love to see in future, the GSB universe in a sort of dogfighting game kinda like Starfleet Command PC/SNES games. I think there could be a market there.

  6. How about taking a “pick’n’mix” approach to the add-ons?
    Example: You release 16 mini-additions, and a $4 purchase lets you grab any 6 of those. That way you clear your billing minimums, and the customer effectively gets each add-on for a small price.

  7. I also think you should focus on GTB and get us some fresh meat sooner rather then later :)

  8. I think it is not a good idea. As a modder of the GSB community i design a lot of ships and those ships are amazing, but other moders can make other race mods at lower quality but people can be more interested in them than rather even look at my work, for example. A official race expansion is always good, cuz u know u are supporting the original author and the price is worth it. But selling people mods?? thats a really bad idea. Every modeable game has never go so far, the end of modding is that u can change the game with original home made things instead of the need to buy another game. And that is one of the reasons a game that can be modded will last almost forever, but if u put all the modeable content as a DLC, i have no doubt GSB will fall very deep. Imagine the forum of the GSB modding community… hey guys i am selling this mod for … x,… i love design ships and races for GSB, but i will defnitely stop doing that if the modeable content becomes available only for people who buy it. Absurd. I will be very dissapointed of GSB.

  9. Alstein, wth, u sure Starfleet Command was released on SNES????? LOOOL. Yea, Starfleet Command (specially the second part) was almost one of the best real time strategy star trek games ive ever played. Some things in that game will be just awesome to see in GSB, like the multiple face shields, and of course weapon arcs.

  10. Besides, how do u expect to measure the quality and the work put on every mod???. If u are putting prices to the ships, some ships had a lot of more work than others, and some mods are far more quality based than others. Mods that are based on original vanilla ship parts are easier to design that ships that are made from scratch, on gimp, sketch up or watever. How do u measure that? or u will put the same price in every mod?? as i said, i dont see it. If a guy make a bunch of ships with very original detailed damage textures, very good explosions, awesome glows, etc, is that not more valuable that a mod that for example, is based on the oribinal vanilla designs with the same glows and tractors? i dont think so. The problem is the GSB modding is not a stargate fan, or battlestar galactica fan or star trek fan. If u make an awesom Babylon 5 mod, but people are not interested in it?? wat then??.

  11. I own all GSB content and I’m not interested but I know a lot of others will be. For me I need a new race/weapon/playstyle to make it worth it.

    However I hear only good things about the F2P model and I do play F2P games. I think GSB would benefit by making the base game free since all the DLC costs more than the base game and if you add in a ship-pack or two like you are proposing you can recoup most of the cost of making the base game free.

  12. As a purchaser of GSB and all its expansions – No, I won’t be interested in another race or extra ships for the game.

  13. I wouldn’t be interested in buying more ships. I don’t like to purchase new skins for my games. I like expansions that add new game play elements and weapons etc. but just changing my player’s hat doesn’t seem like a worthwhile expense. A lot of my friends buy DLC that does nothing but change the colors of an outfit or the look of a sword so I think I’m probably in the minority.

  14. jd, in general, I would agree with you, but as 95% of GSB’s gameplay is designing ships, more hulls will translate into more gameplay, more combinations you can try, and more you will face. There are three components that can be added – hulls, weapons, and scenarios – and at this point, hulls are the most interesting, at least to me.

  15. interesting about the F2P

    Give a into the future release date so people have notice. Sure sales will slow as people wait, but hows the sales turnover atm on the main game .?

  16. Fluke’s comment has an interesting point, I feel:

    “I own all GSB content and I’m not interested but I know a lot of others will be. For me I need a new race/weapon/playstyle to make it worth it.”

    A lot of the DLC races had nice, factions-specific weaponry when released.

    Why not ‘weapons pack” DLC alongside possible new ships, adding more unique weapons to the varied base races, adding their own “unique techonological whackiness” to further differentiate all races from each others.

    Also, oddly enough, one of the ships types that I’d always liked to use were the battleplatforms(though I find it odd you can put an engine on these… maybe a mechanic tweak where engines can only be put in a specific type of hardpoints on the ship, yet if you need the extra power or such you can always put other elements in “engine hardpoints’? That way more “battle platfroms” could be made and retain their proper role of static defense as such in a deployment screen for varied scenario types.

    Heck, for example, with new “ships” type you could technically design cruiser(and larger) “megastations” to allow player the capacity of running “death star”-like scenarios? What kind of space battles are more gratuitous than this?

  17. George – which mod have you made ? – i am always on the lookout for more mods to play :)

    Personally i would buy the extra ships so i have more choice to deploy.

    However i REALLY would like it if the ship pack added in something new like a different kind of slot or some other additional feature which is new to the game. (For example – Order came with Radiation Cannons)

  18. I did some personal mods for GSB, now im workin on a Star Trek mod (called Star Trek Universe) with more than 150 hulls and more than 500 modules. Anyways, i really agreed with jd, most of the things i was expected in the game were new weapons possibilities and new customizable modding options before any dlc of a new ship. Knowing the easy of modding for GSB (thx for that) i cant imagine someone that cant be a little creative and build a ship. In anyc ase, the most value of be aware of is the imagination of the modder, not the ship itself. But personally i never will put on sale any ship design i made, if i do that, i would feel like i am cheating people, cuz a new ship DLC is not really any expansion of the game or any update, just another design with different slots positions and different ship sprite with optional addons like glows, tractors or watever. We can value the art and imagination of the modders, but buying a standalone ship desing pack?? with no new weapons? no new sounds? no new scenarios? hmm, i just dont feel it.

  19. sure I’d buy more ships….more more more :) doesn’t matter if another race or more hulls for the existing races….make em super big too, bigger ships equals longer battles equals more stuff going boom :D

  20. Quite frankly I think the very best thing you could do to monetize GSB is creating a league.

    What do I mean by that? Are you aware of a AI challenge google was involved last year? Programmers wrote their own AI agents, uploaded them, and then battles would be played on the server.

    Since GSB is already entirely within that framework, you build your army, you upload it, all it takes is an automatic framework, and ok, someway to see replays.

    After having that, create a league with similar rules to the google one, and sell people new weapons, ships, races, etc.

  21. Yes, is not easy for me to buy anything throught internet, but you can be sure that i will buy every DLC ^^

    Btw, really enjoying to mod GSB ^^

  22. Does the game still require you to have Expansion X installed in order to play against opponents using an Expansion X fleet? If so, that kills much of the desire for micro-DLC content. Hell, it kills much of the desire for any proliferation of DLC content.

    If it wasn’t for that issue though, I think micro-DLC transactions are definitely the way to go. I especially like the “customize your own expansion” pack some earlier posters are suggesting.

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