Going Forward with Monkey

Monkey Archive Forums/Monkey Discussion/Going Forward with Monkey

boomboom(Posted 2014) [#1]
An open letter to Mark:

We all love Monkey and there is no doubt that it is powerful and very capable of awesome technical things. A few changes to the way it is presented to new users will be able to yield new users and bring some lifeblood back in it for Mark:

1) Move the 'Apps' page to the community submenu and rename it WIP. Then replace it with a new page called 'Made with Monkey' and build a static page that shows off the games (that are in the app stores) that show Monkey off to be impressive. Such as this; https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/tiny-flippers/id626059327?l=ru&ls=1&mt=8. New users want to see what the language can do, not WIP of other new users. If i didn't trawl through the forums then I wouldn't know how great Monkey is.

2) Bundle the free version of Jungle as the official IDE. I am sure the creator of Jungle will be OK with this as it will increase people having it and he can easily include an 'upgrade Jungle' link.

3) Create an installer package rather than downloading zip files, new users want to be stepped through this process, not have to drag out or extract zip files.

4) Charge for updates. You are worth it Mark. This doesn't have to be a lot, and I am sure we will all be happy to pay for additional features for $30 a year if it means updates and that you are happy and focused on Monkey as a product without having to worry about extra jobs and dividing your time. This will also reward you for your additional handwork. Monkey is too cheap for what it does and the amount of work you have put into it.

Everyone here, please feel free to add to this discussion or give some feedback on my suggestions.

MikeHart(Posted 2014) [#2]
I would even pay 99 USD a year of possible updates/enhancements!!!

About the jungle request... you forget Mac and Linux users. And I don't wanna use something like Crossover with it. Then rather help fixing Jentos and bundle that. That would make much more sense on the cross platform view.

ziggy(Posted 2014) [#3]
I would even pay 99 USD a year of possible updates/enhancements!!!
Me too.

Derron(Posted 2014) [#4]
I would even pay 99 USD a year of possible updates/enhancements!!!

And what if YOU do not need the enhancements of Year1, 4 and 7 ? Can you skip payments?
Annual fees are annoying especially if you do get up to nothing for your money (some user submitted patches, no new features). As you cannot guarantee how the next year will be, those fees can be troublesome.

Charge for main releases of modules - do not cheat on users delaying certain fixes for a "rewrote everything successor"-main-release.
Also this allows more easily to have "bonus packages" (buy module 1 and 2 - get the module 3 for free) and other promotion features (buy module 1 and get X % off for up to 3 additional modules).

Or keep as current but replace "lifetime updates" with "2 years updates". Of course you then have to produce something "new" after this 2 years.

All suggestions have advantages but also disadvantages - will see how Marks responses will read to all the given suggestions, threads, flames blames and thanks.


boomboom(Posted 2014) [#5]
Yes. When I said 'about $30 a year' I didn't mean under a subscription model, but for updated version of monkey and modules that would equal to that each year.

I would try to stick away from charging for modules. I know a lot of languages go down that route, but what is great about monkey (and one of its USP) is that you can compile for all platforms with the same product without spending more.

Just have good old fashioned version and pay for updates for them.

Any more ideas?

rebelas(Posted 2014) [#6]
I agree that Monkey is a great product and I love it.

I like Mollusk as IDE and I do not like to pay too much for Jungle. Thus, I suggest Monkey X to have Mollusk integration.

However, I do not think Monkey X will be able to beat competitors in the market that it wants to be in. Professional game programming works now with GUI authoring tools not great libraries. these game tools producers create tools for cheap, quick, junk games for mobile devices.

I suggest minib3d project to be encouraged, helped and brought into Monkey X and Monkey must become a product for hobby programers. I know all of my colleagues (programmers) love to have something like modern Blitz3D, so you just open an editor and create a 3D scene in few lines of code. Some of my friend are Java programmers, but they learned C# just for XNA. They do not use C# in their professional work. Besides, many millions of young kids like to program games, they do not have time to OOP hocus pocus setup. My point, my point is that there is good market for hobby game programming. To be in a right market is important.

I agree with boomboom +
Great Monkey X (beautiful OOP) +
Mollusk - it seem very lean to me and I have no license headache with it +
minib3D (shadow, rigid bodies physics, decent 3D model) +
Hobby programming market with good advertisement for it +
Annual membership for some amount, OK.

However, we do not know about Mark, may be he does not care about money from game industry, may be Monkey X is just his hobby, which I do not at all blame him because I would do the same thing and I indeed look at game programing from hobby point of view.

By the way, I promoted Monkey X among some of my friends and computer science students, I think they did not like it because it do not have: "... ... installer package ..." indeed boomboom wants Monkey X to be like B3D product, which I agree.

Also, how about future of HTML 5, may be Mark knows something we don't. May be HTML 5 will be enough one day. Some of my web programmers friends tell me that future of everything is HTML 5. I don't know, I am getting too old!

B3D beat the hell of all competitors in hobby game programing. I think Entity engine was the reason.

ElectricBoogaloo(Posted 2014) [#7]
Subscription models don't work for me. Although I've now written (currently) 47 games with Monkey, and have about 6 of them on the iOS AppStore at 69p, I'm getting what can only be described as pitiful sales figures. If I relied on my app sales to pay for a subscription, I'd be pretty much penniless by now!!
Having said that, you never can tell how the world of Mobile Sales can go, and sometimes an absolute fluke of good luck will result in a fairly substantial amount of actually usable funds in my bank account!! A rarity, but .. you never know what might happen.
In times like that, it'd be nice to be able to give a little back to Mark, and as such, having the ability to Donate direct to him/BRL, as I have the ability to do so, would be a MUCH better option, than having any sort of pre-enforced cost attached to my continued use of the language, especially when 95% of my output is going out as Freeware!!

GW_(Posted 2014) [#8]
I have to chime in here. Charging for updates is a terrible idea. It's the tactic of shady and/or dying businesses. Squeezing more coin out of the existing users is not going to grow new users. I feel the same as others here in that I would like to contribute to BRL in some way (kickstarter ect) beyond my initial purchases. Blitzmax has paid my rent for 10 years and the community that's grown around Blitz3d/BMax is the best of anything out there. Any one of us is free to buy extra Monkey licenses for grandma in effort to help out, but the lions share of support is going to come from new users.

rebelas(Posted 2014) [#9]
Regarding ElectricBoogaloo and GW_,

What you guys say makes sense, how about a solution. An optimization could be like if Monkey X charges hobby programers, but do not charge professional game programmers if they produce one game a year and put it in market. the goal is for users to see development of Monkey X goes smoothly without pressure be on the back of certain people.

This is all about if the issue is money.

degac(Posted 2014) [#10]
When you buy Unity or another tool, are you sure to make a game, sell it and became rich?
Or give Monkey for free and wait until I wrote my killer app. Then I will buy a licence. Poor Mark... he will working for free for a long time waiting for my killer game!

And why as a hobbiest I should pay while as pro no?

I will prefer to pay for an annual (small) fee for fixing bugs AND something 'higher' a for a new proper release with new features. OR for special modules like networking, camera-mic and so on.
And I will follow the per target model business.

I totally dislike all that licenses linked to selling amount of my app

Well, we must wait Mark's decision

rebelas(Posted 2014) [#11]
"Poor Mark... he will working for free for a long time waiting for my killer game!"
It seems that he is already doing so because Monkey X is free to be used for web target.

"And why as a hobbiest I should pay while as pro no?"
I think, the reason is that professional game producers naturally contribute more to the development of Monkey than hobby programmers. They care more when there is bug or lack of feature. They have better understanding of the areas that need to be improved because their income depends on using Monkey. Since they contribute more, they do not pay or maybe pay less. Hobby programer, like me, leaves the software when realize that there is a bug or something is missing or a feature does not exists.

"I will prefer to pay for an annual (small) fee for fixing bugs AND something 'higher' a for a new proper release with new features. "
I can agree with this too.

"I totally dislike all that licenses linked to selling amount of my app"
I agree complexity is troublesome.

degac(Posted 2014) [#12]
"Poor Mark... he will working for free for a long time waiting for my killer game!"
It seems that he is already doing so because Monkey X is free to be used for web target.

Right, one of the thing I dislik(ed) more. HTML5 was/is/will be an important 'device'; FirefoxOS (even if running on a AndroidOpenSource core) runs 'web-html5' applications. And Monkey was/is fully working on HTML5. In a long time vision this is not a good move.
And when Mark's decided to release for free the Desktop target I thought that this target was not so interesting for costumers.
I prefer MonkeyX has ONLY a demo (like B+, Blitz3d and Bmax) with limitations. I understand that HTML5 is difficult to 'limit' as you can see the resulting source code... and the engine itself is the browser.

that professional game producers naturally contribute more to the development of Monkey than hobby programmers.

Not really true.
As professional you choose a tool that should works because you need it for your goals (release a game/app).
So if you have a 'good heart' you could find a solution and share it with the community and BRL... otherwise you will keep it for you only and use it as your own 'advantage'.
And maybe if you dont' find a solution (or it takes too much time to be released a fix) (remember as professional your goal is to make app/game...) you move elsewhere.... it's a cruel true.
The Monkey's userbase is really, really, special I must admit.

Paul - Taiphoz(Posted 2014) [#13]
I have to agree with some of the others above, the community does seem to be dropping even I'v not posted in a while as a result and I normally like to post daily, I love monkey love what it can do and as a long term supporter of BRL even if I do move to unity or gamemaker I will always be a customer to BRL, but sadly I can see a future where it's not my main tool. :(

I think in the past with B3D and Max all of its competition was in the same boat, they were all essentially on the same level and even though mark is essentially a one man band he was able to keep up, but now with monkey, the gap between it's rivals and itself is so vast and the teams of people working are so much larger that mark simply cannot compete and cannot keep up with the rapidly advancing and evolving mobile world while his rivals can.

Marks options are to either continue on regardless and maintain his work flow with monkey as he has been doing and accept that its never going to be something that will make him rich, or setup a business plan get some investors and build a fair sized team around the product to really push it forward into real competition with its rivals.

Personally I think nothing more is going to change here, a lot of us are hobbyists and not making money from what we code, honestly I think mark is one of us, the money he makes from monkey probably just pays his bills and keeps him afloat, keeps him doing what he loves, so I really cant see him making any large scale changes to the way he works, hes happy with the way things are at the moment I think.

AdamRedwoods(Posted 2014) [#14]
@Paul, you nailed it.

also, the suggestions that people have made here and there are not guaranteed to supply the developer with a steady income. i'd rather see him find that "two-job" balance that many others have found, as it would sustain Monkey's future better than meek attempts at marketing.

ElectricBoogaloo(Posted 2014) [#15]
In a few weeks time, I'll be writing my 50th game using Monkey. A year and a half has passed alarmingly quickly, and in that time I've used Monkey to make games that run smoothly in people's browsers, fast on their Windows systems, Fantastically High Def on their OUYAs, amazingly dynamically on any number of Android screen resolutions, and that play wonderfully inside the iOS ecosystem.
There are bugs and there are flaws, but every time one crops up, it's either something I can fix myself, or something unimportant that, perhaps, one day Mark might repair. But in all honesty, the "leave it to Mark" issues are few and far between.
Monkey isn't a "do it all for you" language, and I can guarantee that those who are unhappy with it, are expecting WAY more stuff than it offers.

Monkey isn't incapable. Monkey can handle itself as well as any other language.
Sure, it's IDE is simplistic, it doesn't do your physics or collisions for you, and what I wouldn't give to be able to play a Mod!!!!... But so what!?
47 games and counting, and Monkey's not failed me yet.
There are twists and turns, and things that must be conquered, but you get out what you put in, and god knows Mark's put a heck of a lot into Monkey.

Whether Mark continues or not, Monkey will be the language I choose to use for a long time to come, and I'm sure that I'll still be churning out games with it, even if everyone else has long given up hope.

Thankyou, Mark, for giving me a language that I'm compatible with, and that's equally compatible with so many devices.
It's exactly what the doctor ordered :)

Tibit(Posted 2014) [#16]
@ElectricBoogaloo, 47 Games is an amazing feat. I'm very impressed :)

I think the problem is not that much that Monkey is "lacking" but that there are a lot of stumble blocks - they seem to increase exponentially with less programming experience.

A programmer or someone wanting to learn programming to make a game - is in my eyes a quite perfect new Monkey user. The language is quite beautiful and elegant. Those I have shown Monkey too get stuck at what ElectricBoogaloo and other Monkey Pro Users are so successful at navigating.

A skill that I would love to improve myself.

I would love to see the new user experience become even better and then I think Monkey can appeal to a way larger audience.

I suspect that better docs, collect & curate more of the wisdom of the community might be enough.

In the meantime I think Mark can sell pre-orders of "Monkey2" to this community, while thinking about an optional annual support plan for some modules/targets.

rebelas(Posted 2014) [#17]
I think everybody here loves Monkey, it is like a love affair, you like your lover to be better and better for you and fear he/she may quit you. We have seen Blitz quit us before but we kept the relation somehow. We were disappointed not seeing BlitzMax 3D, but for the beauty and the respect and support, we purchased monkey and sometime work with it.In fact, there is no Language+game library, for actual coding not using editors, better than Monkey in the world. We all know that. Our problem is not dislike, our problem is too much love and fear that our love may quit us :D

Sub_Zero(Posted 2014) [#18]
I have 5 suggestions for you mark, that I think will work for you:

* Put up a donate button :) (Yes I'm willing to donate!)
* Do the yearly subscription fee thing
* Do kickstarter
* Send the demo or a full version with monkey-x splash screen and a getting started guide to some pc magazines/pc news website/programming news website, like you used to before
* Seriously consider doing BlitzMax64 (team up with brucey?) I know this will produce income... Still, a pc is the preferred choice device to use. And you could do the yearly subscription fee thing here also

rebelas(Posted 2014) [#19]
I think all of the discussions here should go to