[svlug] Commercial game for Linux

Jay Link jlink at interlink-bbs.com
Sat May 20 12:56:45 PDT 2000


Hey there:

Sorry for the intrusion. I'm trying to raise $7,000.00 to port Strategic
Conquest from the Mac to Linux/SVGAlib. Perhaps you or your LUG might be 
interested? Here's my spiel:

==========

Ok, here's the deal:  Delta Tao, a small software company that makes games
for the Mac, has finally agreed (after 2 years) to sell us the licensing
rights to one of their games called Strategic Conquest. If you've never
heard of this, you can read about it at their site:

   http://www.deltatao.com/stratcon.html

I think the game is really fun -- addictive is the word -- and I'd like to
see it on Linux.

Delta Tao is also the company that made "Eric's Ultimate Solitaire", and a
demo of that comes with every new Mac, if I understand correctly. So,
they're small, but they have a loyal following.

You may also be aware of Loki, a Linux games company that has been porting
other old DOS/Windows games to Linux. And they've just ported Eric's
Ultimate Solitaire. I was scared when that happened -- I thought we had
lost our chance at StratCon for sure. But somehow, Joe Williams (the
President of Delta Tao) decided to relent & let us have a chance.

Here's the URL for Loki & their version of Eric's Ultimate Solitaire:

   http://www.lokigames.com/products/eus/

Now, we want to port StratCon to SVGAlib. As you may know, there are a few
different ways to display graphics with Linux. One is X Windows, which is
cross platform. However, it can be a bit burdensome. Then there's the GGI
project, but that seems to be constantly mired in talk, and not a lot of
action. IMHO, the only REAL alternative to X is SVGAlib. (FYI, the GGI
people still make you use SVGAlib to run some programs, so I don't see the
point...).

Anyway, SVGAlib is fast (because it allows programs to write directly to
the video card, unlike X, which requires a middleman server), it allows
full screen displays, and it's lightweight -- the two library files
themselves are fairly small. Thus, SVGAlib is perfect for games. Finally,
the current maintainer of SVGAlib (Matan Ziv-Av) is incorporating a
feature into SVGAlib 2.0 that will allow SVGAlib programs to be displayed
in an X window. This will mean that almost *anyone* who uses Linux can
easily use programs linked to SVGAlib, regardless of whether X is running
or not.

Now, here's the $$$ breakdown:

* Delta Tao wants a $5,000.00 advance against royalties, as well as 25% of
our gross profit. In exchange, we get the code, as well as a one-year
exclusivity agreement. Neither Loki nor anyone else can port the game to
Linux for a full year. And, if our version works out well, we'll probably
be the sole distributors for the Linux version of StratCon forever.

* CD mastering is $390.00  (one-time charge)

* CD artwork & screening is $93.00  (one-time charge)

* Each CD: $.59  (59 cents)

* Booklet printing will be ???

* I have ~ 450 brand new, empty CD jewel cases. Additional ones can be
  bought, of course, but that raises the productuion cost.

* Official barcode issuance(?) is ~ $500.00 for a small business, and we
  have to have this if we hope to sell from any site other than our own.
  E.g., LinuxMall.com, elinux.com, etc.  (one-time charge)


That said, we hope to raise $7,000.00. We believe the entire worth of the
project to be $10,000.00, and so we are selling shares for $100.00 each.
($100.00 = 1%). We will retain the final 30% as payment for doing the port
(rewriting the game for Linux/SVGAlib), as well as all the other work.

As sales come in, you will then get your percentage. For example, if you
invested $1,000.00, then you'd have 10%, and would be thus entitled to 10%
of the net profit from every sale.

We plan to sell the finished product through various online retailers such
as LinuxMall.com, elinux.com, linuxcentral.com, and any other outfit that
will take it without requiring payment on our part.

LinuxMall.com wants 50% of the gross, and I'd assume the others would be
similar.

So, for example, let's say we price the finished CD at $24.00. We would
then (once a month) get a check for $12.00 from Linux Mall for every sale.
Delta Tao would then get $3.00 (25% of $12.00), and we'd be left with
$9.00, from which the price of the CD itself & all the packaging would
have to come. So, let's guesstimate that we'd net $5.00 per sale, if the
retail price were $24.00. HOWEVER, Delta Tao doesn't get *any* money until
their share breaks over $5,000.00 (remember, the $5K is an advance against
future royalties). Plus, we can hopefully sell some CDs directly to the
public, and then we don't get gouged with Linux Mall's 50%, either.

I don't think it would be feasible to sell the CDs in physical retail
stores, as many of them want "bribes" to place your product. But, I could
be wrong.

So, you as an investor would get to help decide the retail price, and our
sales strategy.

At this point, I think a simple shrinkwrapped CD (in a jewel case [the
standard hard plastic CD case]), complete with a booklet, would be a much
more economical product for us to produce than a big fancy box. After all,
if people are buying it online, who cares about the box?

About me: I have been using Linux since 1995, and I've been programming
for 18 years. I've just written a book on SVGAlib ("Linux Graphics
Programming with SVGAlib"), and it's available in all the usual places
(Amazon.com, Fatbrain.com, etc.). It's supposed to go on sale on May 25.
So, this should indicate that I have at least *some* ability to do the
re-coding...  :-)  I also help maintain the SVGAlib website.

Finally, I am trying to get Delta Tao to let people pay for some of the
$5,000 via credit card. I know that will make the difference for a lot of
people, as to whether or not they can invest. We'll see. Hopefully today.

Thanks for your interest, and please don't hesitate to write with any
additional questions.

Regards,

Jay Link









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