Well just under a week ago I uploaded the first version of Whirligig to Steam. This is a big thing for me and is the first time I've ever put anything I've made up for sale. A one person project is a big task to take on especially as I've had to work on it part time. Well below is 'the announcement' that I've put all my cards on the table, hat into the ring or neck on the line.
Why are you selling a free player?
So I've been working on this player/maker thing for around 2 years now and I've spent a long long time trying to make it a useful tool for just watching films or working with media in a production environment. I've done this for the joy of working in VR and looking to the future of making my own interactive experiences. Well now I think it's at a stage to see if anyone else would like it. I was sent a Vive by Valve which was coool and I started working on interaction with their controllers. They also gave me a steamworks account and a way to put Whirligig on the Steam Store. So as the first step was done for me I thought it would be a good idea to get it up and running on the Steam store and see if people wanted it. As far as I could work out I couldn't find any way to put it on for free (I'm sure there is I've seen other stuff for free). So I've put a reasonable price on it, I think $3.99, less than a pint of beer, at least here in the UK to see what happens.
I want to continue working on this player/tool and to do so I need time and hopefully feedback from the community to find out what people and want. I think that although there are other video players out there, that there is a place for Whirligig amongst them. It has some unique features and I am constantly updating it to try and make it even more useful. With your support I can carry on that development and make it an even better tool for everyone.
What about the free version?
I don't want to get rid of the free version. I think the free version is a good way to get people using VR as a video format and it has some good features that makes it stand out. So I'm going to continue to release free versions. What might happen is the free version might become a demo version on the Steam site. I don't intend to have a crippled unusable version. It will play the films in the same quality and with the same features. But the paid version will have some interesting inclusions. More of which, next.
What does the paid version offer over the free version.
The paid version has full VR control without the need of the keyboard. It should turn the Whirligig experience into a much nicer experience for all.
The above examples show some of the advances in the player for the paid for version, including a far nicer looking room.
I also intend to update the paid for version a bit more regularly. The great thing about steam is that I have an ecosystem for me to release the player in. It has forums, pushes out updates to users, beta options and much much more. An ecosystem such as this is a proper place to have a product to allow it to grow. With something like this I can communicate and work with the community to help make the player better. This is something that is quite difficult to achieve when you just have a website and dropbox account.
A little bit about the steam site
I've released it as Early Access. This is because at this stage although it been out for a while it still needs proper feedback from the platform it's being distributed on and also when I finally go to release it I want to know that it is at a stage where it is documented well and free from the bigger of the bugs. Although it has a homemade feel to it I want it to be useable and enjoyable. Once I'm happy that Whirligig is at a stage that can be released I'll then release it and have a stream of betas that will add more features for the most adventurous of us.
So what do you want from us then? Is it just our money, it's just our money isn't it.
No, dear god no. I've put it up for a small amount because I'm hoping to be able to continue to develop it. With sales comes the ability for me to make time (I'm currently in a full time job as well as making this player). I'll also be able to invest money into better video plugins, assets to make more rooms and work with others to make the experience better for everyone. It will give me a chance to be able to add much more advanced features such as watching 3d blurays, watching with friends from anywhere around the world, advanced production support such as Spout support, planetarium rooms for dome production and integration with other programs such as PlayblastVR (currently it has it but there is alway room for improvements) or even After effects.
If it is supported then it will be possible to add these features or many others that I haven't even thought of yet that can be suggested by you. I also want to continue my development of making Whirligig so customisable it can be used in promote other people's work, be used in demonstration environments and also my muse that is to make an adventure game in it :)
So if you do buy it you can help me by reviewing it on Steam (I would really much prefer positive reviews but if you have to, tell me what's wrong with it) get on the forum and report bugs, make suggestion, talk amongst yourselves.
I think Whirligig can be far more than just a player and I hope to be able to make this happen.
I've just updated the Steam version of the player with bug fix updates and control updates to help people having problems with the d-pad. I will be updating the free version tomorrow with these updates so that everyone can benefit.
So if you buy Whirligig on Steam, thank you very much, I look forward to hearing what you think. If you are downloading it for free from here then also let me know what you think. Either way I hope you enjoy using Whirligig and I hope to be impressing you some great updates in the future.
Until next time.
Over and out.