Register to post in forums, or Log in to your existing account
 

Play RetroMUD
Post new topic  Reply to topic     Home » Forums » CMUD General Discussion
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:49 pm   

Mid-Year Letter
 
What a wild summer it has been…

Normally I write a "New Year's Letter" at the end of the year. Last year I didn't have much to say so I never got around to it. Now it seems that I have lots to say, so let's call this a "Mid Year Letter"
-----
As you have probably noticed, there haven't been any CMUD releases for the past few months. I feel bad about that, but it's been a hectic summer around here.

It all started back in May when Chiara and I decided to down-size our life. CMUD/zMUD sales have not been paying the bills for several years now and we realized that we had a big expensive house and a big expensive car that we could no longer afford. When you haven't used a room in a house for more than 3 months it's time to ask why you have that room. We thought that maybe the housing market was going to start recovering (it didn't) and decided to put the house on the market to sell (it didn't). We traded in the car and moved to a small town-home in Colorado Springs. We didn't want to try and sell the house with our 3 cats running around and downsizing into a town-home was a good way to start getting rid of excess stuff.

It took over two months to move to the new town-home. It was really hard to work on software updates when our computer was packed or when we were spending all of our free time packing and unpacking boxes.

Then Chiara's grandfather passed away. That caused even more turmoil, emotions and lost time. The worst part was that we couldn't even go to the funeral because by then we were involved in the next big move of the summer: moving from Colorado to Washington DC.

For the past 3 years I've been supplementing the sales income from CMUD/zMUD with web development consulting. I specialized in small business web sites implemented using the Drupal CMS. The work on the tessh.com web site came out of this for example. I also worked on some Drupal plans for zuggsoft.com but put them on hold for performance reasons. Mainly I wrote web sites for small local businesses who couldn't afford a huge development firm. It helped pay the bills.

In August, my freelance web development business was acquired by Phase2 Technology (www.phase2technology.com). They are one of the top Drupal web development companies in the world. Some of their high-profile sites include whitehouse.gov and many many others. Being hired as a senior developer for Phase2 is truly one of my dream jobs. I couldn't pass up this great opportunity to make a huge difference in the world. My fingerprints will now be on some of the largest government and media web sites in the world.

This transition meant two things: 1) moving to Washington DC, and 2) even less time for zuggsoft.com work. And honestly, it was the moving that was the biggest pain. Moving once is bad enough…moving twice in 4 months is just hell. Fortunately Phase2 was paying for this move, so at least we had packers to help. But driving our cats across the country and then unpacking has taken another couple of months out of our schedule.

We are almost finished with this latest move. We got our computers set up and Chiara has started on the backlog of support email. I'll answer as many forum posts as I am capable in the coming weeks, although everybody is already doing a *great* job helping each other. Oh yeah, and the zuggsoft.com (and tessh.com) servers went down a couple weeks ago because their hard disk filled up (when does that ever happen anymore??) Tessh.com was actually down for a couple of weeks because of a related corruption to the MySql database that I just fixed this week. So things are slowly getting back to normal.

What does this all mean for Zugg Software? Well, as I've said, I haven't been spending full-time on CMUD for several years now. As MUD sales have declined I have had to spend more time on other activities to pay the bills. From failed software projects such as zApp and Tessh to playing around with mobile phone apps to developing Drupal web sites for local businesses. So working for Phase2 will just be more of the same as far as time away from CMUD.

In fact, working full-time for Phase2 should actually benefit CMUD in the long run since I no longer need to completely rely on CMUD sales to pay the bills. That removes a lot of stress and allows me to do MUDding for FUN again instead of a job. I can focus on the fun parts of the software rather than worrying about which changes make the best business sense.

The other fact is that CMUD is really pretty darn stable these days. I don't want to just keep adding stuff for the sake of adding. I don't want CMUD to be bloat-ware. So my focus for the next several months will be on bug fixes and not new features.

Zugg Software remains as a S-Corp of Colorado. We never did sell our house and ended up renting it, so we still own property in the state and still pay taxes in the state. Keeping Zuggsoft in Colorado just made a lot of sense to reduce paperwork. Our address and phone numbers have changed and I will update those on the web site and in the order invoices soon.

Most importantly, Zugg Software is not closing or going out of business. It's just going back to more of a hobby like it was when I first wrote zMUD 15 years ago. I worked full-time at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the first 4 years of zMUD. And some people would argue that it was the best time I spent on zMUD. As long as people keep playing MUDs and want a full-featured client, I'll keep working on CMUD. I'll only stop if people stop playing. So keep telling your friends about CMUD. The more people who use it, the more motivated I am to keep working on it.


Last edited by Zugg on Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
Reply with quote
shalimar
GURU


Joined: 04 Aug 2002
Posts: 3797
Location: Pensacola, FL, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 8:40 pm   
 
Sorry for your losses, but the new job sounds like a windfall.
_________________
Windows 10 Home Premium 64-bit
AMD Phenom II x6 1055T 2.8GHz 16GB
CMUD Pro v3.34
Reply with quote
hogarius
Adept


Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 216
Location: islands.genesismuds.org

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 4:03 am   
 
It sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you, Zugg. I wish you and Chiara all the best in your new home in Washington.
Reply with quote
nojathon
Beginner


Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 3:52 am   
 
Congratulation on your new job. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I wish you all the best. That being said, I'm a little concerned with the development of Cmud and the requirement to pay money every 2 years to receive updates. Since you are no longer developing cmud full time, will you be as strict in requiring payment every two years for updates? Is it fair? It sounds a little extreme if all we're going to get are bug fixes.
Reply with quote
deathtomb
Newbie


Joined: 23 Oct 2011
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 7:05 pm   
 
It's good you wrote what was happening. I'am new user of cMud but I know zMud for years.
For more then week I've tried everyday to buy cMud hoping you fix the webpage. When I try
to buy it, after filling new customer form and select paypal, click ok - it always redirect me
to empty cart site, and btw. maybe it has something to do with 'Purchase Now' page to
open always in new tab not in the same window which I selected 'P. Now
I've tried many combinations, configurations, computers, and browser. Help :D

BTW.
Change your location then ! It's still Colorado.
Reply with quote
Zugg
MASTER


Joined: 25 Sep 2000
Posts: 23377
Location: Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 1:11 pm   
 
@nojathon: No worries...bug fix versions are always free. Only *major* updates require payment. Even if I add some new features I doubt there will be enough to justify a new major version for a long time.

@deathtomb: Just tried it here and not seeing any problem...PayPal cart came up fine. Also still getting PayPal payments from other users, so it's still working for other people. Maybe it's a browser cache issue, although you said you tried that. In any case you should probably start a separate thread about it instead of posting to the comments in this thread.
Reply with quote
charneus
Wizard


Joined: 19 Jun 2005
Posts: 1876
Location: California

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:35 pm   
 
Zugg wrote:
@nojathon: No worries...bug fix versions are always free. Only *major* updates require payment. Even if I add some new features I doubt there will be enough to justify a new major version for a long time.


That's not exactly true, according to your policy of a license being good for two years, then having to buy a new one, which is what nojathon is referring to.

Unless, of course, that's changed and no one knows. I'd hate to be using CMUD one day, then the day after my two years expire, some major bug is fixed and I have to pay to upgrade.
Reply with quote
MattLofton
GURU


Joined: 23 Dec 2000
Posts: 4834
Location: USA

PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:48 pm   
 
Quote:

That's not exactly true, according to your policy of a license being good for two years, then having to buy a new one, which is what nojathon is referring to.


It is exactly true. The only time that Zugg actually enforced the 2-year licensing scheme is the jump from 2.37 to 3.x, and that was because the beta cycle (in combination with real-world concerns) took so long that everyone who had a licensed copy of CMud at that time was already beyond the 2-year mark for their payment. If you decided not to join beta, you essentially went 2 full years without any upgrades at all even though CMud itself had 2 full years of development beyond 2.37.
_________________
EDIT: I didn't like my old signature
Reply with quote
Mixsel
Wanderer


Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Posts: 99
Location: Seattle, Wa

PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 6:01 pm   
 
WTG Zugg Glad to hear things will get more stable in RL, that always helps for "hobbies" so i'm sure mudding will stick around and you'll be able to contribute like you have for sooo many years :) Take care and Happy Holidays!
_________________
Spin
Reply with quote
nojathon
Beginner


Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:27 am   
 
Quote:
The only time that Zugg actually enforced the 2-year licensing scheme is the jump from 2.37 to 3.x, and that was because the beta cycle (in combination with real-world concerns) took so long that everyone who had a licensed copy of CMud at that time was already beyond the 2-year mark for their payment.


Well that's the other concern. Because of the new job, major updates will take longer than they would have otherwise. For example, Zugg working full-time on Cmud means Cmud 4.0 comes out in a year. Zugg working part-time on Cmud 4.0 and full-time on his other job means Cmud 4.0 takes 3 years to make. In the first case, my license is still current and I get to upgrade for free. In the other case, I have to pay even more money.

That being said, I don't believe Zugg would purposely delay a release in order to cash in on expired licenses. Nevertheless, it may be an unfortunately bi-product of having priorities elsewhere.

Regardless, I'm happy with Cmud and would to express my gratitude of the great work put into it.
Reply with quote
adamandkate
Wanderer


Joined: 14 Oct 2009
Posts: 57

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 4:14 pm   
 
[quote="nojathon"]
Quote:

That being said, I don't believe Zugg would purposely delay a release in order to cash in on expired licenses. Nevertheless, it may be an unfortunately bi-product of having priorities elsewhere.


Plus, the cost of upgrades to current customers are so small i hardly think hes trying to cash in. 15$ for an upgrade? I pay more then that for pizza!
Reply with quote
Rorso
Wizard


Joined: 14 Oct 2000
Posts: 1368

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:34 pm   
 
Isn't $15 close to the monthly fee for World of Warcraft?
Reply with quote
Fizban1216
Apprentice


Joined: 03 Feb 2007
Posts: 170

PostPosted: Tue Nov 08, 2011 11:58 pm   
 
Rorso wrote:
Isn't $15 close to the monthly fee for World of Warcraft?


Possibly, but 62 cents isn't, and that's what $15 every two years comes out to be ona monthly basis.
Reply with quote
Rahab
Wizard


Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2307

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2011 2:55 pm   
 
nojathon wrote:
Quote:
The only time that Zugg actually enforced the 2-year licensing scheme is the jump from 2.37 to 3.x, and that was because the beta cycle (in combination with real-world concerns) took so long that everyone who had a licensed copy of CMud at that time was already beyond the 2-year mark for their payment.


Well that's the other concern. Because of the new job, major updates will take longer than they would have otherwise. For example, Zugg working full-time on Cmud means Cmud 4.0 comes out in a year. Zugg working part-time on Cmud 4.0 and full-time on his other job means Cmud 4.0 takes 3 years to make. In the first case, my license is still current and I get to upgrade for free. In the other case, I have to pay even more money.

....

A better way to look at it is: Case 1--Zugg working full time on Cmud means v4.0 comes out in 1 year, and v5.0 comes out in 3 years, and you have to pay for a new version in 3 years. Case 2--Zugg working part time on Cmud means v4.0 comes out in 3 years, and you have to pay for a new version in 3 years. In either case, you have to pay for a new version in 3 years. The difference is in how much is changed between 3.0 and the next version you have to pay for, and that is an obvious consequence of changing from full-time development to part-time development.

The basic problem is that Zugg can't reasonably raise the price or rate of renewal payments on Cmud, and new subscriptions aren't coming in fast enough to provide a living solely from Cmud. In order to survive, Zugg _must_ get income from another source, which has the inevitable consequence that Cmud becomes lower priority. Unless you can think of a way for Zugg to make quite a bit more money from Cmud, I don't see any alternative. It is reasonable to be disappointed, as I'm sure we all are. But all we can really do is go on.

Zugg, I hope the new job works out really well, and your other distractions disappear so you have lots of time to mud (and find things you want to improve in Cmud to help your mudding). :)
Reply with quote
Tarn
GURU


Joined: 10 Oct 2000
Posts: 853
Location: USA

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 6:47 am   
 
nojathon wrote:
I wish you all the best. That being said, I'm a little concerned with the development of Cmud and the requirement to pay money every 2 years to receive updates. Since you are no longer developing cmud full time, will you be as strict in requiring payment every two years for updates? Is it fair? It sounds a little extreme if all we're going to get are bug fixes.


I'm not going to argue the points per se, but following are a few things to think about. Call the below a reply to a hypothetical devil's advocate because I don't think that Zugg has ever tried to get money from people unfairly.

There are lots of different revenue models for software; Zugg has tried two for zMud/CMud: one time purchase with upgrades free (including shareware) and a purchase plus separate major upgrade price. It would be unfair to call the second a subscription model given how wide the span is and how seldom it's enforced.

If Zugg relies on CMud as his main source of income and never charges for updates, then from an economic perspective he needs to focus on development that gets him new sales.

If he develops CMud part time, he is a bit more free to develop what he thinks is fun/useful instead of what will get new sales.

If he gets occasional revenue from updates, then his economic interests are aligned even more strongly with existing customers than under a model in which he only gets cash from new customers.

Looking back, Zugg has been most productive when he's been having fun and is writing code for the love of it. Well, to be fair, he's also had exceptionally productive periods when sticken with particularly nasty illnesses, but personally I think that's a product of the enforced downtime rather than the suffering so let's keep the thoughts directed his way positive ;)

Anyway, don't expect to measure productivity as a linear function of hours available. Don't be surprised if you see a short tapering back during the move and getting started in the new job followed by some neat stuff and important cleanup/docs coming out as he has a chance to be a client again as well as a vendor.
Reply with quote
deathkitty
Apprentice


Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2012 12:50 am   
 
I just thought I'd say sorry for getting annoyed and shouting at you before, if I had known any of this I would have shut up

I hope CMUD isn't going on the backburner forever I noticed you haven't posted since last year, it would be a shame - most people tell me to use that client with the oil lamp icon that you probly know of, but I have stuck since zmud because I think CMUD is way better. I have trouble convincing others to use it because of the price, it's hard to convince peope just how much better it is (like selling water to a fish kinda thing) without them having packages and maps to see just how much the difference is, since most people can't figure out how to make their own like most of us on this forum do I think. It would be cool if the Zuggsoft site had a tab on it with user-uploaded packages of graphical Gauges and other triggery stuff, a sort of mod database with screenshots like fallout3nexus or mozilla addons :) It could be cool if maybe some parts of CMUD were made open source too since you don't have as much time to update it, but of course I understand why you might not want to do that with any of your hard work, it just seems a shame at a time when a lot of MUDs are struggling for players for there to be no progress being made on the best client anymore
Reply with quote
deathkitty
Apprentice


Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:01 am   
 
BUMP
Reply with quote
Makadungdung
Newbie


Joined: 21 Jun 2012
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 6:03 pm   
 
Thanks for your great contribution to the online world =)
Reply with quote
deathkitty
Apprentice


Joined: 14 Apr 2008
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:34 pm   
 
its ok bump :p
Reply with quote
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic     Home » Forums » CMUD General Discussion All times are GMT
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

© 2009 Zugg Software. Hosted by Wolfpaw.net