If you look over at the side bar you may notice a “Become my patron on Patreon” banner. In case you’ve never heard of it, Patreon is a service that enables people to fund the efforts of content producers, such as GameFromScratch.com.
Over the years I have had a number of requests from readers looking for ways to donate to help support GameFromScratch.com (which was awesome by the way!), however I never really had a mechanism to do so. It was with the birth of my daughter that I started to try turning GameFromScratch into a full time job. The response has been amazing, GFS currently receives over a 1/4 million views per month and after only a couple months creating videos for YouTube, we passed the 1k subscriber mark and are approaching the 100,000 minutes watched per month milestone and are growing rapidly. The community response has been nothing short of amazing and for that I thank you all. The sheer volume of positive comments and emails I receive from many of you are simply inspiring and incredibly appreciated.
From a financial point of view however, I would probably be better off flipping burgers at McDonalds. I don’t really bemoan this fact. I am doing something I love and have the flexibility to focus on being a father while doing it, the definition of win/win. Earning money has never really been a major focus for me, perhaps to my wife’s chagrin! ;) Obviously there are ads running on Gamefromscratch, something I hope the majority of you don’t find too offensive. These certainly help and defer server and operating costs but are nowhere near enough to approach what I would receive as a salary “with a real job”.
I had intended to supplement my income writing books. After completing and publishing my first book, the well received but poorly selling PlayStation Mobile Development Cookbook, this idea quickly went away. I’ve talked to a number of technical book authors since and let me just say, nobody is making their living this way! I have flirted with the idea of self publishing a book, and may still, but truth of the matter is any other project I work on like this takes directly away from time I spend developing content for GFS. Of course, finally creating and publishing a game of my own is certainly another option, but truth of the matter is, I vastly prefer teaching others… I appear to have found my calling in life.
In the end I am essentially developing multiple books worth of content on GameFromScratch every year as it is. For example, I once converted the Blender tutorial series to iBook format and it weighed in at over 300 pages and I only made it 80% of the way! The LibGDX tutorial series already exceeds the contents of any book on the market, by a large margin. On the other hand, a book cannot contain animations, properly formatted and colour highlighted code samples, downloadable files or video format versions. There is no comment section to answer questions or for the community to discuss topics. Taking time away from GameFromScratch to work on a book that is in an inferior format, not available to everyone, has less functionality and cannot be updated… this doesn’t seem like a very logical use of time, does it?
Enter Patreon and it might be the perfect fit. Patreon enables you to pledge a monthly dollar amount (starting at 1$ USD I believe) to help support the work of artists and writers you want to support. This pledge amount would greatly exceed average royalties I would earn from writing another book and of course far more people would benefit from the results. I personally like to believe that as a whole GameFromScratch provides more value than most book purchases.
It is customary to offer sponsor rewards on Patreon and this is an area I am struggling with. The single biggest reward I can offer is first off my thanks. The most tangible reward is more of my time dedicated to create more and better content for GameFromScratch. These rewards of course benefit everyone, not just backers. There are other options, like removing ads or walling off exclusive content or source code access. Removing ads isn’t generally that effective as the majority of people that dislike ads already run adblock software. I hate disruptive ads, like landing pages, interstitial or audio ads, the really annoying stuff, so I try to keep them non intrusive to start with. I don’t really like the idea of exclusive content either, I obviously want my work to help as many people as possible as much as possible.
There are a few reward ideas I have considered, such as making PDF versions of long tutorial series available to backers. Another option would be to open up the future direction of GameFromScratch.com’s content to voting. As it stands right now, I decide what to work on next based on community requests coupled with what I find new, shiny and exciting at the time (part of why I love this job so much!). I could possibly make this process democratic, to let backers vote on what contet GFS should focus on. As of right now there are no rewards, other than my gratitude and of course more time focused on GameFromScratch!
So that’s my spiel. I just want to say in closing, that each and every one of you supports GameFromScratch.com simply by visiting. Your time, support, tweets, links and comments are all deeply appreciated by me. If however you want to help GameFromScratch thrive and grow going forward, please consider becoming a Patron.