New Can't Stop version 1.04

Friday, February 27, 2009

I've released Can't Stop v1.04 which has several bug fixes and a few new features.

  • NEW Reset functionality
    • Only the owner of the game can Reset it
    • Hold down for a second (won't reset with just a click)
    • Stronger reset, can fix broken scripts
    • Aborts game in progress and ejects players
  • FIXED Sometimes players who had just played a game couldn't pay into the pot in the next game (Commercial Edition only)
  • NEW More robust player re-join:
    • A player can leave the game and return later
    • If the current player leaves, his turn ends
    • Missing players' turns are skipped
  • NEW Chat levels. In the Settings menu, you can change the chat volume from Normal, Whisper, and Silent
  • FIXED A bug where the pot total could carry over from one game to the next has been fixed.
  • NEW The game will now refuse to set up if you don't grant it Link Permissions
  • FIXED Some cases where the game would not reset properly have been fixed
  • FIXED The game logo now always displays when the game was idle.
This is a free update to all Can't Stop owners. You can get your updated copy of the game with your game remote (wear it and say "/8 deliver game") or by touching the Can't Stop vendor at Procyon Games.

Time to Drop the Linden Dollar?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Is the time of the Linden Dollar coming to an end?

There have been some developments recently which have me thinking about moving away from the Linden Dollar.

First, Amazon recently rolled out their Simple Pay system. This gives merchants an alternative to offer their customers. I could set up the Procyon Games website to allow Amazon payments. If you have an account with, you could buy a Procyon game with your Amazon account, and never have to spend Linden dollars.

Second, Linden Lab acquired XStreet. There's two problems with this. First, Linden could use their monopoly power to force people to buy everything through the XStreet interface. It costs more to buy a game through XStreet; they charge an extra 5% commission. That means I either have to raise my prices (and accept lower sales), or accept less money.

The other problem with the XStreet acquisition is that it opens Linden Lab up to additional liability issues. PayPal has been notoriously draconian in their enforcement against the sale of pornographic items. There's plenty of objectionable items on XStreet, if you object to that sort of thing. XStreet kind of segregates things to their "uncensored" server, but the enforcement is lax and in any case, simply segregating the content might not be good enough for PayPal. If you sell items of a sexual nature, PayPal won't let you cash out your money.

So there's a not insignificant chance that anyone who sells items in Second Life might find their PayPal account blocked, because Second Life is XStreet and XStreet sells pornographic items.

If I enabled Amazon accounts through my website, I'd just have to add another big yellow button, next to the two you see now that say "Buy Procyon Games in Second Life" and "XStreet SL". You could buy any game right on my website, and it would be delivered to you in Second Life.

What would be the advantages of Amazon Payments?
  • It would be cheaper. Right now Linden Lab charges 3.5% to cash out Linden Dollars. Plus there's an additional 5% "tax" if someone purchases through XStreet. Amazon only charges 2.9% for items over $10 (currently about L$2600). Most of my games are at least that expensive. So I could lower my prices a bit. Or offer people a discount if they purchased through Amazon.
  • I wouldn't have to worry about PayPal freezing my account, because I wouldn't be dealing with PayPal at all. Amazon would be handling the whole transaction.
  • Customers wouldn't have to buy Linden Dollars to buy things. I wonder how many times I lose a sale when a customer wants to buy something, but finds they don't have enough Linden Dollars in their account. You never have to "add money" to your Amazon account; they simply bill you at the end of the month.
But then there are some disadvantages as well
  • A customer would have to have an Amazon account. It's not hard to sign up with Amazon. And they are the biggest retailer on the net, so I imagine many if not most people already have an account there. But it is a hurdle.
  • You have to have your web browser open. I know some people have computers that can't handle the stress of running Second Life and a web browser at the same time.
  • It's new. Nobody else is doing this that I know of. Some people would be scared off simply because it's different.
I'm putting up a poll asking how you feel about buying items through Amazon. Vote!

En Garde Price Increase

Monday, February 2, 2009

En Garde continues to gain in popularity. The number of games played, the number of active players, and the number of games sold each week keeps going up.

That's all great, I'm happy to see the game do so well. But En Garde is more than just a game, it's a whole system. The name textures on the scoreboard, the world rankings, and the website all work together. I've designed everything to scale as much as possible, but the one thing that can't scale is my time.

So I need to raise the price of the game. If you currently own En Garde, this will not affect you at all. All existing owners will still have free upgrades for the life of the product. However, if you were planning on buying En Garde, or you own it and you were thinking of purchasing additional licenses, you might want to do so sooner rather than later.

I haven't yet decided on a new price. If you have an opinion on the matter, please comment on it here.