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Planetoid Pioneers is a GO for launch

Planetoid Pioneers has officially launched

Planetoid Pioneers has finally, officially, released. The effort slithered into pre-production at the beginning of 2010 with experiments on ideas, art direction and gameplay. It was initially available through Steam 'Early Access' from 21 July 2017, and as of 8 February 2018 it was tentatively freed into the wild.

It has been a labour of love and commitment to maintaining creative control over almost every part of the development and creative process. The bulk of the subsystems in Planetoid Pioneers have been built from the ground up in c++ and lua. The graphics engine, the physics engine, the animation system, the toolchain and the game editors all built by the team. The team's dna is stamped all over the game for better or for worse.

There is for now a moment to dwell on a deep sense of satisfaction and the ability to take a very short breath. Then begins the watch to see how the market responds, and the nose will again hit the grindstone as the first bugs surface and hotfixes must be written, tested and released. When things settle down we move to work on the next stage of the roadmap, localisation and porting to additional systems.

For now, enjoy the official Planetoid Pioneers launch trailer and we hope you buy our game!

You can buy the game on Steam right now.

p.s. Check out the first review at Kotaku.

Planetoid Pioneers: Game-Only Edition, Launched!

After over eight years of development, Planetoid Pioneers was released onto Steam Early Access on the 21 July 2017. Check it out!

Excluded by Unity's Online Service Strategic Partnership Agreement

A poor fit for indie and small developers

A few months back I started writing a command line application that goes by the name of Blazer. Essentially its purpose is to manage files stored in Backblaze's B2 cloud service. It is roughly analogous to Amazon's S3 in that it can be use for private and public cloud based file storage. I wrote the command line app for my own purposes and released it on github - over here if interested.

Since I was deep in that subject matter I figured I would capitalize on that aquired knowledge and build a Unity plugin allowing games developers to keep assets in B2. Potentially for streaming or for DLC. It took a little longer than I expected but the going was easy enough. Documentation and packaging always takes more time that one expectes but when that was done I felt it was ready. The Unity package I simply named Blazer for Unity.

One evening I submitted it for review. At this point things got a little more complicated. The review took some time, almost 4 weeks, eventually it got reviewed and it was quickly rejected. I received a short accompanying message that I should contact another individual to proceed with my submission.

On a later Skype call with a Unity representative it was explained to me that because my package fell under a service description it would be met with different terms from the usual Asset Store submission. Although I do not remember it being named checked during my discussion, I have since heard it described as Unity's Online Service Strategic Partnership agreement. Under the agreement, which is mandatory for a Unity Store listing, a Strategic Partner can choose to pay $150 USD per download or alternatively a flat annual fee of $100,000 USD. I was planning to sell the plugin for about $20 USD as a one off per developer and then purchasers could arrange for their own accounts and subscriptions with Backblaze. That is certainly how I designed the plugin to work. It didn't seem to make a difference to the Unity representative that it wouldn't be me or my organisation providing the service per se. My plugin would more accurately be described as an integration. Needless to say there was no chance that entering a deal like that was going to work for me considering those parameters.

I cannot see that kind of agreement being entered into by many of the people who were early adopters and/ir grass roots users of Unity. Any small company would balk at those kind of costs, and the pricing model totally discourages any who seek to build integrations between Unity and services. This pricing structure seems like a very blunt instrument. I hope that one day soon a continuation of the touted philosophy of "Democratization of Development" might one day again prevail at Unity.

For now though, having invested time into building the Blazer for Unity plugin and seemingly unable to distribute it on the Unity Asset Store I'm left with the question as to what to do with it.

It seems I have only two real options. Given that there is a lack Unity Asset store alternative I could attempt to sell the plugin directly. I think this is possible but likely futile. Alternatively I could simply open source the Plugin. A decision that requires rumination and that I will defer for now.