Introducing: The Store

January 23, 2017 posted by: joreg

Dear commercial users of vvvv, dear devvvvelopers of contributions and of course everyone else, we hope to interest you in the following:

a) Short Story b) Rationale

ad a) Short Story

We have a store now! Well more of a store-front really, but nonetheless. Consider this a start.

Here is how it works:

  • If you’re buying vvvv licenses for a project, also make sure to buy licenses for all the contributions you’re using that are available in the store
  • If you’re developing a contribution and want (commercial) users to pay for it, then offer it in the store

Here you go: Store

ad b) Rationale

As you all know, vvvv’s business model is what others would call non-sustainable. It is a weird mix of being half-opensource and completely free for anyone to use without restrictions (how can you!?) unless their application is a commercial one, then pay! The whole model is based on an ancient social feature and we call it T.R.U.S.T We want to trust our customers as much as they have to trust in us. All nice and shiny, but does it work? Read for yourself.

Since the early days though, it was clear that the success of vvvv does not only stem from the fact that we’re such genius programmers (citation needed!) but also from the fact that a lot of its users readily shared, first their patches and modules, later individual plugins and finally indispensable whole packs of nodes that extended the possibilities of vvvv enormously. And they did all that for free!

To at least symbolically support those developments and allow users to tip others, a few years ago we introduced a micropayment service called flattr. It was an experiment that pretty much failed, for different reasons I guess, not least because flattr itself still struggles to find its way…

Then of course the idea of a sorts of “appstore” for vvvv contributions always seemed obvious. We’ve had a few developers asking for it over the past years, not enough though to justify an investment in the fully-fledged webshop that was always requested. When recommended by us to run their own little webshop we got mostly two answers:

  • “That would be too much work.” Yes, it would be an investment on your side that you’d have to risk. Same as we have to evaluate if it would pay off to set up and operate a multi-vendor shop with automatic invoicing/payment/customer-service…
  • “Ok, but nobody else is charging for their contributions and I don’t want to be the first.” This one is more interesting as it was not only brought up by developers but also by users who were afraid that introducing money into our little free-spirited contribution-sharing community could potentially harm it. Because once someone starts charging, everyone might want to charge and thus make everything just more complicated and expensive which in turn could drive away users…

All comprehensible thoughts, but here is the rationale why we are not afraid of this and why we now finally take this first baby-step in creating the Store page, which for a start at least is a central place to promote commercial contributions. Also note that contributions vvvv-messagebeta-contribution, dx11.pointcloudbeta-contribution and automata-uibeta-contribution already charged for commercial use for a while now, if you read the fine-print, so this is really mostly to endorse that practice:

First: Money has always been part of our community in two ways: vvvv itself costs money (for commercial use) and hopefully users who create patches for commercial jobs always charge a lot of money. So far many contributors who gave their valuable stuff for free probably did so because they knew they can get enough paid patching-gigs they enjoyed in turn, so it didn’t worry them too much. But preferences change and in a good economy it should be possible to contribute in different ways. If someone doesn’t want to do patching-gigs or at least not only, as they more enjoy creating and perfecting libraries, then this should also be possible to make a living from, in our community. And of course it should be obvious how this is to the benefit of all participants of the equation. Plugins/Libraries that so far have been left unpublished because of uncertainty regarding commercialization, now have a clear endorsement which can only strengthen the ecosystem of vvvv as a whole.

Second: Will using vvvv become more expensive overall? Using vvvv has primarily become more and more cheap over the years since we haven’t changed its pricing in 15 years and computers can run more and more outputs from one license. So paying for additional commercial contributions will merely bring its costs up to a more realistic level.

Third: Will everyone now charge for all their contributions? We hope that with the T.R.U.S.T business model (as elaborated above) we can be a role model and convince contributors to join our experiment and also still give their stuff away for free for non-commercial use. Like this, not much would change for the casual user and even for the commercial user who quickly needs to test options. Only when buying a vvvv license users will also be asked to buy licenses for contributions they use. Still we won’t enforce the T.R.U.S.T model.

So yes, there is still the obvious inconvenience for developers to handle their own licensing but at least we hope by promoting commercial contributions through the Store we don’t hold anyone back who didn’t dare to offer their contributions for money.

Let’s see where this goes.. The ribbon is cut, welcome to the Store Happy shopping!


Comments are no longer accepted for this post.

23.01.2017 - 17:27

HI Joreg , I love that you guys put this initiative in action.

I also see the need of a demand page where one or various companies could ask for a certain development plug, shader .. and one or various coders could offer their skill to do it, and one or various companies could share this payment to pay the coder.

Something like what happened with vvvv.openvrbeta-contribution

kind regards.

24.01.2017 - 02:09
Nice one guys !
27.01.2017 - 09:52
@microdee, tried and liked and convinced ! how awesome would be an integration into vvvv and maybe make the addonpack a vpm aswell.
27.01.2017 - 11:24
It would be cool to have from setup.exe
27.01.2017 - 11:51
@sunep, exactly. @microdee but maybe you can reduce the data footprint a little bit. 100MB seems pretty big
27.01.2017 - 16:01
yeah unfortunately CEF is ~100 mb but reason I still use it because the built-in WebBrowser control is using an old version of internet explorer the type which has a blocking error message for every javascript error and it has that a lot because of being an old version. I will try different engines and see if they’re smaller + support javascript interop later.
27.01.2017 - 16:46
how about opening that page with vvvv built in tools like HTMLTexture and calling vpm via ShellExecute? would make a nice module/patch which can be opened via the nodebrowser that you can put in the addonpack. it could also display what packs are already installed, like the new about dialog.
27.01.2017 - 19:28

already in the making, I just need to make it so vpm links can pass arguments to vpm too, that way vvvv could shellexecute only the vpm urls so user doesn’t need to input where vpm is. without that it will only work with default registered vvvv and not the one which is running.

@tonfilm: I’ve exploited the # notation at the end of url so now it can work with vvvvanilla HTMLTexture. Where should I push it? it’s a single .v4p patch file (currently called “VPDB (VVVV VPM).v4p” but that’s not too catchy)

28.01.2017 - 16:04
This is a great step, maybe the shop eventually could include tangible vvvv objects, paper-cut lamps, T-shirts, books, vvvv collectables…
28.01.2017 - 16:52

Ok, i really appreciate the effort, i was screaming for some store page since i began to use unity, but i feel like you guys are omitting completely huge part of your user base in development, in page structure, in philosophy and business model.

I totally understand where VVVV comes from, what were the motivations behind its development and what are you trying to do with VL, I cant help but fear for the future of vvvv, despite its ever so slowly rising sales figures and your dedication and constant development.

to cut things in the shortest way possible, and what I think you guys are really missing:

Make PAID version of vvvv, with possibility of subscription model, with polished cutting edge graphics system like emeshe, with physics system that works, and other BASIC functions in current world of game engines (particle systems, spacial sound, etc). Work with contributors to make one version of vvvv that will have great documentation and calls in A LOT of VJs, and small one man developers that can focus on creating content with VVVV, not on making tech and then making some job with it.

There are a lot of these pieces in contributions, but look for them, and combine these different systems from different creators is often massive pain, that is why I think you need to bring these contributors in, and combine their systems into one polished thing. You get much better cash flow from something like that. People are subbing to neflixes, lyndas, audibles, adobes and other stuff nowadays, why not vvvvs?

Now you may argue that this may be possible when you will get VL to the very functioning state, which is fair, but I never saw any signs that you are looking at smaller users. I was able to get few licenses of vvvv because i worked for larger company, I did some installations, and always used just vvvv with dx11 and kinect stuff. You need to combine some web interface with proximity sensors etc. I go for vvvv+kinect+chromium plugin. But now I dont do so much stuff for that company anymore, its often a bit hard to convince clients to go to experimental stuff honestly and 90% of vvvv for me is now emeshe. I use it for vjing and honestly i would not touch vvvv anymore if there was not emeshe, i would go for unity just because it allows me to go for content creation, it has big user base so there is always some help to get on the web.

You might argue that vvvv was never meant to fulfill function like this and for these uses I can just go directly to unity, but vvvv has so much untapped potential, economic and creative. Like why is DX11 still as alpha nodes in contributions? Why something so essential is not in core release, while VL now is, when arguably DX11 have much greater use than current state of VL. If i did something professional with vvvv now there is no way i would want to have VL cluttering the installations when deploying it.

If you will bring a lot of smaller creators in, and give them great tools you boost your forum so people will get more support between them, community will be more alive, and you will get steadier cash flow from subbers that will allow you to expand the team and specialize it in different branches to stuff like physics, engine, etc.. Contributors can set much lower prices for contribs because a lot of people will be around that will drop money on them, but YOU need to kick-start community like this with very functional base product for people.

Relying so heavily on contributions for your software when you mostly cater to bigger companies and huge jobs with your business models, is kinda nonsensical.

If people as me now what software to use i usually send them to unity, vvvv is great for some stuff but there is almost nothing now that unity cant do better, only thing that is left is real time coding. Vvvv has such MASSIVE steep learning curve that its mind boggling, you need to spend so much time to be able to get some great results out, for example stuff like renderer NRT which if combined with emeshe give very decent rendering engine for animations. Tons of stuff that is hard even to find in contributions. That part is mind baffling to me, I have to hunt essential things through search bar If new user comes to vvvv, he has to jump so many hoops to get to some solid level. For example if I did not went to node festival, i cant imagine where i would be now, it was massive knowledge boost and i think its almost mandatory if you want to do something professional with vvvv.

SO it just feels like you guys are catering mostly to big screen installations and you want to leave smaller graphical styles to unity and other companies, but I personally think if you really want to expand your team, the software and get exponential rise of community, you need to start looking into how make vvvv great from smaller single person user, that does just vjings and other stuff.

The direction vvvv is going now feels almost alien, a lot of contributors that I talked with about this are kinda fed up or impartial with the current system, but nobody likes it, nobody is looking forward to VL, and I just feel that vvvv is stagnating because of my type of usage. I know it is all easy said, etc. but this is just how I feel, right now I am using vvvv for maybe 7 years and it built everything I am today - professionally and artistically. I never studied math, I studied conceptual art but that why vvvv empowered me in the beginnings, and now is translating into more of a thing that is hard to shake off and slows me down, I need advanced features that are implemented in stuff like unity, but i want the philosophy and usage of vvvv, i am willing to pay for it monthly but i cant drop massive sum in one go.

So please guys at least try to look into this direction, try to think how to push vvvv as polished product for avarage joes vjs, how to push at least in some angles into feature as game engines has. Make some solid roadmap of how to grow vvvv, as product, as community, how it should make sense for big players with huge installations, and single working units like me. And I want to see you grow as a company, I want to see your own graphics department, support staff, just ways how to get bigger and better.

I am absolutely looking for node this year, last node was biggest knowledge bump of my life and the community is just so great, cant wait to see how you screw up some exotic language tshirt this time around! <3 keep it up

29.01.2017 - 19:54
the discussion apparently continues here:
24.01.2017 - 14:10
@joreg how will $$$ be distributed among a couple of contributors? I imagine this being an incentive to pick up and maintain things like ImagePack, which does have an intial author, but also others that picked it up eventually and contributed.
24.01.2017 - 15:33
@readme from the text it should be clear that whoever offers a contribution in the store is responsible for that.
24.01.2017 - 16:15

and related self-promo here: now vpm is not only able to display a full fledged HTML page from internet with CEF where you can also include a “buy” button (to mention just one possibility) but that page now can talk to vpm as well via javascript, so the installation script is able to branch out based on user actions on the licensing page, or the licensing page can disable/enable the agree checkbox. demonstration and new version coming soon ;)

@readme: as I understood devvvv’s don’t want to be involved in any monetary business between user and the pack developer they’ve just created this store-front. packs intentionally published as free will continue to be free

btw result of today night’s development inspired by this article:

vpm can talk to the license pages, and a practical example what it might be used for ;)

25.01.2017 - 10:33
26.01.2017 - 10:49

@microdee, and if vpm now gets a UI rather than cmdline, i might consider using it :)

edit: oh and then make it part of the addon pack ^^

26.01.2017 - 17:56
@u7angel: vpm is already as simple to use as a rock with custom url’s from the browser (vpm(s)://) and vpack file association. the fact that it’s a command line application just makes it visible what’s going on. also I chose command line because I wanted to make it easily shellexecutable if someone needs to automate vpm related tasks. also it already has a GUI for license agreement/management stuff. what else you need a GUI for in a package manager?
26.01.2017 - 18:45

@microdee, maybe some list of vpm’s to choose from. click install. click buy license…somehow integrated into vvvv.

maybe more like this

27.01.2017 - 03:08
@u7angel: something like this? ;)



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