Store contributions, prices


#1

Hi there!

I just saw the last Keynode yesterday and was quite blown away by the contributions. I was always thinking of using vvvv in real projects and offering solutions in the live environment, as I try to move up and forward. There is various tools out there to use in show / live environments and, of course, every tool has it’s own pros and cons and not all can achieve the same things and fulfill every requirement as good as the other, but this will vary from project to project.
What I am trying to do basically is, investing in a proper mediaserver (custom build machine) and use it in live environments. This needs to have professional capture cards (for example Datatpath) with very low latency and allow to spread across multiple outputs among other things. For most projects, solutions like Pandoras Box, Watchout or Wings will give quick results with an interface that allows quick changes and so on (everybody knows how messy patches can get over time, and especially in show environments, things need to be able to change functions, etc… very fast) and may be a better weapon of choice (from my standpoint of knowledge on how to use vvvv and in terms of live show environments). For more interactive projects there is also Ventuz and TouchDesigner.
I kind of like vvvv and would love to improve my skills and do more complex “real” projects, that can be offered to clients, but most of the time I think I would struggle hard with basic stuff that is much easier solved in timeline-based applications.
The last keynode throve me in trying to use vvvv, buying the license and store licenses if needed for paid projects (when they come, hopefully), supporting the development, etc. I also find it good in one way that there is plugins which can be bought, because this takes a lot of work and should be paid and will drive the development of vvvv forward, although it moves a little bit away of the “free” and community thing where it comes from, but nowadays I think it has to, to keep up with other developments/software solutions. And this brings me to my point, and I would be happy if others share their point of view of this:
The price of the contributions (if I got it right), when it says “per project”, means per project in total, not per project at a time or something similar? In the keynode someone compared the price for the DX11 Image sequencing contribution for example with the price of a Wings Engine Raw, which I find is not a suitable comparison. You need hardware also for vvvv and compared to the specs of the Wings Engine to be fair, it will be very high (not nearly 80.000 of course, but high anyway). With the Engine you would buy a product that will last a long time, you are able to sell it for a good price, you can rent it to other companies, there is software development going on, it offers the use of every professional capture card with very low latency, etc, etc. (This is the same for Watchout, Pandoras Box, Ventuz, …) So for my case, paying (just as an example) for a state machine (which looks totally good btw!), an HAP Player or Image Sequence player, the Decklink VideoIn, and maybe others to come, per project, this already exceeds the license price of before mentioned software solutions and for these solutions I get a “lifetime” license and will not need to pay again and again per project and it already comes with all of these features built in. vvvv just not takes a step up in pricing here as a tool, in my opinion this evolution is taking it to a much higher level than the before mentioned solutions (and they already are at a high price point). Calculating the costs (only “renting” a license for one project), I think this is not going to work, but am happy to hear other opinions.
As mentioned before, I like the way things are moving forward, was stunned by the contributions, and this should not be an offense in any way or to anybody. Please don’t get this wrong.

All the best and happy patching!


#2

hey welovemedia,

i’m happy to discuss the AutomataUI licensing.

charging per project once: means i can release as many copies of this exhibit and only pay once, but next project needs an updated license

charging per machine: i can use it forever but when i resell the patch with plugin, i have to pay for each copy.

what would you prefer ?


in terms of pricing of plugins and vvvv itself you have to consider that there aren’t many buyers who can share the development costs. we won’t sell more licences when making them cheaper.
the plugins you are talking about are hi-end stuff for hi-end purposes. if you can afford hardware for thousands of euros, you can buy licenses, right ?

and you mention ventuz, if i’m not mistaken Ventuz costs like 15k €, its definitely not a bargain either.


#3

payed vvvv plugins are basically a non-existent “market”. there are only very few people who can/willing to buy contribution licenses on top of vvvv licenses. so few actually that you can’t make a living out of exclusively developing a plugin in full-time. most of these contributions are either the refined version of a system needed for a project or in fewer cases an end result of a company’s R&D. Or in case of HAP Lev was just enthusiastic enough to port his player from Unity to vvvv.

That HAP player is a good example to compare because it has a counterpart for a much broader market in Unity. In Unity a lifetime license for the Hap player of Lev costs €75 because Unity is just so large there will be enough new buyers to make it worth pricing it that low for lifetime. The port for vvvv is €200 per-project.

About the “store”. That “”"“store”""" is still a joke, it does not help with anything and certainly doesn’t help with spreading the commercial pay-for-software spirit. Adding box art to famous contribs, and then saying contact the developer for the transaction, is not a store. It’s a “featured contribs” page at its best. This is how a real store of a direct vvvv competitor looks like: http://www.ventuz-store.com/. I know the vvvv one is not a full fledged contrib-market with vvvv integration and bankcard/paypal payment because 4 ± 1 guys won’t have enough work-hours to develop and maintain such a thing. That is cool, BUT don’t be wannabe’s then. Don’t pretend that vvvv has matured enough that solely its community became a viable source of income for 3rd party developers. I feel vvvv and its community will never reach that state. It’s too small and too late into the game (despite it’s being around since 2000). We’re stuck with the FOSS spirit which is again cool, the entire gigantic universe of Node.js libraries and NPM has that FOSS spirit too. Imagine how successful it would be to suddenly introduce payed modules in NPM. Nobody in their right mind would pay for them. It would fail despite the fact that half of the internet runs on Node.js with NPM or Yarn now. So stop pretending! The commercial space of vvvv turned out to be in SaaS under its 20 years of life. I see no efforts made during that 20 years to make it into an OEM or software product based economy.
</rant>

Btw did anybody see significant increase in selling licenses for contribs after putting it onto the “store”? I’m seriously curious about that.


#4

Hi u7angel!

thanks for giving me your thoughts on this. I understand it is very hard to find a right license model and it may not be the right model for everyone, depending on the project.
Critical for me is (or for the projects I would like to get vvvv projects out as paid solution at the moment) - as mentioned - are for example HD-SDI and other capture cards, but also other contributions.
Live Events then usually last one day, or 1-3 days. There might be not much “high end” stuff going on under the hood and not much preprogramming (meaning, the project size is not as big to allow for paying hundreds to thousand(s) of euros for a “one-project-license”, when clients might pay for a one-day event without preproduction), but low latency capturing (as an example) is needed, and for that reason pricing per project could never be realized, especially for price points where there are not many licenses sold, because there is no market.

I see that the standpoint is key here, depending on the project. If I am doing an exhibit that runs for several month or on several places or an installation that is realized multiple times, this is quite a reasonable pricing when paid “per project”. If I am doing a Live Event running one day, no pre-production (so not a big project in terms of money), and a similar Event (under other circumstances and for another client) the next day and I need to pay again, this will quite blow the budget and sum-up to amounts much more expensive than Ventuz (and btw. it is around half the price you mentioned, but you can use it as often as you want - of course one license lasts for one “project” at a time only, but after this project the dongle can be used for the next project…).

I think for my kind of projects charging per machine is better for most stuff, but I can think about projects where charging per project might be better. If there are such license options to choose from in vvvv contributions this would be great and I would be very happy to buy the licenses when time comes.

Also “project” might be a grey zone, when thinking of a solution I built once in principal, but will do some small iterations on it depending on the next projects, or using the core-functionality as a “sub-project”, a sub-patch, multiple times. There might not be a clear separation point right?

Thanks for your valued feedback!


#5

hi welovemedia,

either i got you wrong or there isn’t such a big problem for your ‘small’ projects…

the ‘store’ actually only consists a bunch of items:

a cheaper category (particles, message, automata and hap:
they share roughly the same price category and most of them come handy in larger projects. i don’t think you need those in one-day jobs. if you build let’s say a show with them and tour with that, i don’t think you have to buy a license for every stop, i guess - but discuss that with the authors.

then we have some kind of ‘pricy’ (at the first look) plugins that aim to the fields of professional media productions where you face hard problems induced by different technical facts like big led-screens, high-end mocap systems or broadcasting needs.
they are advertised with the term ultra high-end which i really think they are.
i’d bet if one needs those tools, it’s totally worth the money as those are the things that replace a multi-thousand dollar media server hardware-bundled what-so-ever…

i think it is important to mention, that most of those store-plugins have a free alternative. Of course, those are not that versatile or powerful, but should fit for small projects.

so, despite the fact they cost some money, you can already download them to build and test your application.
And, you can always write a short email to the host of those plugins and maybe ask them for a discount, if it’s a small or planet-saving project ;-)
the same can be done with the vvvv license. when you are in the exact boundary of non-commercial to commercial as described here,

We are well aware of the fact that the distinction between commercial and non-commercial has a somehow blurry boundary. We trust the fair judgement of our users.

best write at licensing@vvvv.org and try to find a financial solution.

so, i don’t get the point where this would be more expensive than maybe ventuz. ok, i don’t know how much ventuz is, but they state ‘price only upon request’ which most likely points to higher prices.
watchout is 2527 €, touchdesigner pro is 2200€ - for that you get vvvv plus most of the plugins from the store… and zillion of contributions.


#6

@welovemedia
i guess everybody putting stuff up in the ““store”” is open for special requests. i guess you just have to ask. in the end the store contributions are there to make them public and not hide them on the harddisc.

@microdee, yes people started buying licences after putting AutomataUI in the store. and i’m grateful for this appreciation. it’s not about making money in my case.

of course it would be cool to make a living out of 3rd party development for vvvv but it’s not just a store concept missing. just too few users.


#7

hi sebl,

thanks for your opinion as well.
If you are talking about a tour we are at the point that I mentioned in my last post. On a tour you have multiple stops, it’s the same like building an exhibit that runs for a long time or at multiple places.

Just comparing the price point of Watchout, Ventuz, or others is not a valid comparison, because these products give you the license for all of your projects (of course not if they happen at the same time, but that’s not what I’m talking about), and that would need to be compared to pay these licenses for each project as well. Then it’s a fair comparison and might end up at the same (maybe even lower!) price than using HAP, DX11 Image sequence player and others in the same project. For “high end” (at least everybody calls it this, because it will be used in “bigger” productions which I don’t call big, especially if you consider what the client is going to pay) this is a must to get good quality and to playout to multi projector setups or large-screen projects (which again doesn’t mean they are “big”. A one-screen interactive project can be much “bigger” and take up much more production work and time with ease). All other mentioned tools come with built-in functionality of HAP, Image sequence playback, state machines(not all), etc., etc. and as said before, this is not a paid-per-project license. Of course all this is subject to facts like: are you going to deliver the whole hardware of the project, are you making all the content, etc. etc. Then the project volume grows and the mentioned prices can be put into the whole project. If you are delivering only part of it, it will not work out.

Talking to the contributors and negotiating a price that will work for the project and allow to support the contributor is a good point!

I hope everybody can understand that I by no means try to undermine the value or quality of mentioned contributions, and they are just mentioned as examples here. I just tried to get some opinions in where this can lead vvvv to in the future. The biggest point of misunderstanding here is or might be the term project and the type of projects we are talking about.

Thanks.


#8

that’s good to hear. ok so that store is not 100% useless then but still weirds me out.

@welovemedia go use Ventuz. Or try out Notch They both fit your needs waaay better than vvvv. They provide stuff in vanilla out of the box, which you need to hassle with a lot to make vvvv do it. So yup forget about vvvv.

During this autumn I realized that in current world I only see vvvv is necessary for really niche and special one-off applications where you need to go deeper into the metal very very quickly. Also for hacking around and prototyping ideas. For mission critical regular stuff, like live shows or TV broadcasts what I presume you’re in, using vvvv is like painting the Mona Lisa in MS Paint. You can certainly do it and you’ll be a praised legend doing it among afficionados but the life-time trauma and bald spots are not worth it ;)

There might have been a time when vvvv was a pretty good option for these kind of stuffs too but it’s gone now. Other players got in really quickly providing way better solutions and has taken the scene while vvvv just went into identity-crisis mode. Just to show how stiff vvvv can be with vanilla changes, the official and vanilla drawing library for vvvv is still DX9. DX11 is still a separate contrib done by vux who’s not an official devvvv and users still have to download it separately. This status-quo is present since 2013 and no efforts were made to solve it.

vvvv and VL is at its best when something experimental, academical or theoretical topic is done with it. They’re really good examples for what you can do in the field of programming languages and they’re really good for teaching several concepts in computer science. Going through this route vvvv vs Ventuz/Notch/TouchDesigner/D3/etc is a similar comparision as Agda vs C#/Javascript


#9

I’d phrase it a little differently, but I agree on some things microdee mentioned and consider them alarming as well. On the other hand I haven’t found a substitute I’m equally happy with, Unity et al. only apply to a few use cases and I don’t consider them as multipurpose as I do vvvv.


#10

using vvvv is like painting the Mona Lisa in MS Paint.


#11

as much as i’m a vvvv fanboy, but reading this touchdesigner update makes me a little jealous. substance designer, PBR, aja, bluefish, openvr, macOS version. not as a contribution but actually coming with the software itself. mmm


#12

@u7angel oh shit, yes.
These are the moments making me feel climbing up the wrong tree. Urks.


#13

@welovemedia: to come back on the original topic

i’m not a coredev nor do i have any items in the store, but i’d say the term ‘project’ in vvvv (the community) is generally refered to as one piece of (software) application.
most projects done here are kind of one-shots, applications developed for very specific hardware setups and client requirements sold only once to the client (interactive installation, customized mediaserver for a specific event,…)

so it’s kind of difficult to directly compare the prices with ventuz or touchdesigner. it would rather be like havinging developed one vvvv software application which can be reused and customized for different clientprojects without changing the ‘code’ behind it. afaik this is quite a cornercase in vvvv and probably therefore not reflected in the prices in the store. while vvvv has a licence model for it formerly known as player license, now OEM license

i can imagine, that if you get in touch with the ‘sellers’ in the store, you can work out a licencemodel which fits your requirements similar to the vvvv oem license.

the difficult term of project within vvvv is probably because it’s (quote eno) an authoring environment (like ventuz, touchdesigner, watchout,…) and a software developement tool (create what ever you want, not just mediaservers for shows) at the same time.


#14

In my opinion the prices in the store are justified.

I neither have the time nor the will to develop those functionalities myself. Especially not within the short timeframes I normally do have to make projects work.
Yes, if I buy 4 plugins for a project it sums up to more than a Watchout license. But if the project can be made possible by using an existing media server solution I will always choose that. I turn to vvvv if the projects needs something special that cannot be done with the existing tools and at exactly that moment the programmer time is already worth more than all of the software combined. Yes, I am billing the client 3000€ just for licensing. But at the same time I also have to bill him for >5000€ programmer time.

vvvv is not the golden hammer. It’s just another tool to get the job done. And everything I build in vvvv is less tested than any of the other solutions, because I just coded it. So yes, I will happily use Watchout, Pandora, Wings or whatever else is a tested and battle-hardened solution.
And if I can sleep well at night, because my programmers only have to node the show logic and can rely on tested (and mostly very well supported) plugins for the heavy lifting of bits and bytes, that is worth the money. And I can bill it to the client, because we are able to reliably deliver a solution in time. I don’t have to be the cheapest if I am one of the few to always deliver quality in time.

Obviously, that perspective is mine and may/will absolutely not work for people acting in different markets. I am well aware of the luxury, that I can calculate every project in a way that actually includes licenses - but perhaps it adds a little perspective to the discussion.