freeware and support for it

#1
Hello all, been a while. I'll ask this question here, because you guys are always so thoughtful on these matters, and even-tempered about your approach to them.

I saw something on a popular FS site's upload guidelines that made me wonder...

Is there a general consensus in the FS world of 2010, that a *freeware* developer offer complete full and all-encompassing tech support for a freeware upload?
 

n4gix

Resource contributor
#2
Realistically, no. No one should expect such a level of support from any freeware author.

OTOH, if there are problems that are common to many users, it only makes good sense to give some support to those, if for no other reason than to advance one's own knowledge and techniques.
 

rhumbaflappy

Moderator
Staff member
Resource contributor
#3
I agree with Bill.

If someone doesn't like your addon or tool, or can't get it to work on their system, you can offer them their money back. ;)

Dick
 
#4
I agree with both of you. I see nothing has changed amongst designers in this regard after my absence from the scene.

I just wanted to double-check this with you, since I read AVSIM's upload instructions, and it was interesting to note that they *seem* to assume some level of support for a freeware creation. I don't recall anything of the sort 2-3 years ago. Maybe I am misinterpreting this.

Maybe I will take Dick's advice and simply put in my readme, that "I will offer as much support for this scenery package as you are paying for." :D
 
#6
Hey Mace,

It would be interesting to see what kind of replies you would get if you posted this question on a non developer forum.

I sometimes think that unrealistic demands and expectations are levelled at developers.

Regards,
Stratobat
 
Last edited:
#8
Hey Mace,

It would be interesting to see what kind of replies you would get if you posted this question on a non developer forum.
Hehehe. That is why I posted it here. If I posted this on a non-developer forum, I'd probably need an asbestos suit by now. :D
 

arno

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#9
Hi,

I agree with what has been said before. I am working on a freeware team for years already. We always try to help the users as good as we can, but it is surprising hoe much trouble they sometimes have. Some computers must be a big mess :).

Expect the users not to read the manual, so if you addon has a not so standard installation or so that can result in questions.

It also seems that some (usually older) users have trouble operating the computer. So changing a cfg file or so can be hard for them.

But I also don't want to sound too negative. It is probably only a part of the users that ask for help. And especially if you have a big or popular addon it can be rewarding to help them. It is very much appreciated in general. I hardly hear of unrealistic demands being made.
 

rhumbaflappy

Moderator
Staff member
Resource contributor
#10
A few months ago, I made some mesh for CFS2 ( it works well in all the sims ).

Mesh is pretty simple to install and activate. Arno's right... expect that some endusers won't be able to figure out how to use it.

Years ago, I made a simple utility ( TCalc ). The end user was very angry in that he couldn't guess how to run it. But there is no 'running' to it. You start the sim, and then you start the program.

Dick
 

scruffyduck

Administrator
Staff member
FSDevConf team
Resource contributor
#12
I would say that there is a large group of users who do not see any difference between payware and freeware and who, generally speaking, expect the same level of support for both ;)
 
#14
Just remember, in payware, the customer is your boss. You are getting paid by that person. Treat them with respect, kindness, patience, and they will be future buyers of your products.

Burn a bridge (customer) and you'll regret it. You dont think one person will make a difference, but they are all usually members of forums and that word from one person will spread for ages to others and you dont want that.

If you treat Freeware downloaders like customers, like 'good people' even if they are a bit testy at times, and they stick with you, they will be the many people that buy from you when you transition to payware.

Learning to interact with people professionally is a gift and will really help you. Stick up for your customers and they will stick up for you. Protect them, and they will protect you.


Mind you, there is always a bad apple. Just offer that person a refund with a smile and an apology that you are sorry it didnt work out that time. That person may be back. I have found that some 'rough customers' were actually nice people that just had alot of bad experiences with companies and figured mine was like those. They ended up getting other products of mine.

They are your business in payware. In freeware its a bit different, but payware, they are the boss. Treat them well and they will treat you well.




Now, on a side note. I had one guy write me on the 797 I recently did as freeware. The person wrote me several times, each time with recommendations for rebuilding aspects of the 'freeware' plane, like redoing the entire panel to be flat instead of a slight curve. I thanked her for the excellent advice. But man, rebuilding this, and that and this and that and adding this and that for him, lol.. He doesnt realise how long it takes to make a VC or plane in this media, lol.. Just smile and be kind.



Bill
 

Heretic

Resource contributor
#15
A lot of freeware add-ons would have stayed on my HDD if the developer had uploaded the source files somewhere so I could just have fixed the problem myself.

Think about that for a second.
I say MSFS definately needs a bigger "open source" aspect in the freeware add-on department, even if it's just for dumping unwanted, unfinished stuff so others can finish it up.
 
#16
A few months ago....etc

Years ago, I made a simple utility ( TCalc ). The end user was very angry in that he couldn't guess how to run it. But there is no 'running' to it. You start the sim, and then you start the program.

Dick
"You start the sim, and then you start the program."
And that is what i do for years now with your nice and simple TCalc util.
I love it; Thanks Dick:)

Bert
 
#17
Hehehe. That is why I posted it here. If I posted this on a non-developer forum, I'd probably need an asbestos suit by now. :D
I double dare you and that's my final offer! :D


I hardly hear of unrealistic demands being made.
They happen from time to time but they're usually directed at the commercial developers. That being said, some freeware devs have received flak for nothing more than failing to meet the personal preferences of community members.

Just the other day I read a post where someone bashed a payware developers product for nothing more than the price tag. Now I know that add-on's can get very expensive but I always thought the purpose of screenshots was to allow the customer to make an informed decision concerning their purchases!

If they didn't like what they saw in the screenshots, why did they part with their money in the first place?

Regards,
Stratobat
 
Last edited:

n4gix

Resource contributor
#18
If they didn't like what they saw in the screenshots, why did they part with their money in the first place?
Probably many of those who moan about the price literally piss away more than the cost of one addon with their weekly beer budget... :rolleyes:
 
#19
Thats so true, lol... People will have an issue spending $20.00 on a nice FS plane, that they may spend 100 hours of flying on or even more, but.... They will not think twice on dropping $20.00 for a big case of beer!

Priorities I guess... lol


How about this. A list of things that cost $20.00.

* Car wash, with armour-all and spray wax (in the wash) with tip $25.00
* Giant case of Keystone Beer (cough) 30 pack, about $18.99
* One large Combo Pizza from Pizza Hut, delivery, with tip, about $25.00


On the other hand;
* Mouse, laser type, newest, average for pro units, $75.00
* Average 'nice' Keyboard, $50.00
* 1TB Drives, $120.00
* Computers, high end, starting around... $3K
* Tank of fuel for the car, $60.00

$20.00 isnt that much these days...
 
#20
Hey Bill,

Probably many of those who moan about the price literally piss away more than the cost of one addon with their weekly beer budget... :rolleyes:
That wouldn't surprise me but what really bothers me about it is that the one's who do the complaining are usually the one's who have never designed anything.

I don't think people fully comprehend the amount of time that goes into putting an add-on together. The trips to museums, the countless letters of correspondence, the researching of colour schemes, etc...


Hey Bill,

$20.00 isnt that much these days...
I think if you compare what $20.00 can buy you in this hobby to what $20.00 can buy you in another hobby, you get more value out of this hobby.

Regards,
Stratobat
 
Top