BallisticNG is going from free to paid

On September 21st we are going to be transitioning from a free game to a paid game – costing $5 or your regional equivalent and then $8 when we leave Early Access. A list of questions and answers are below, however because this is a controversial move based on our ethic throughout the game’s development I want to first take the time to explain why we have made this important decision.

Part 1

BallisticNG initially started off as a fan project and wasn’t really built to become what it has now, the game’s gone through an insane amount of overhauls and restructurings in a short period to suit what we believe the baseline of quality on Steam should be. There’s three of us working on the game and when development started we all had a fair amount of free time to dedicate without much worry about finances. Jump to now and we’re looking to make BallisticNG and future games our day job. We’re extremely grateful to the generous fans who have been donating on Patreon every month and the one off donations we get through paypal as we wouldn’t be as far as we are now without you guys – this support throughout the past year has been instrumental to the state of the game now.

Although we did not meet our first goal on Patreon financially, we did meet the goal regardless. This goal was to rewrite a large amount of the game’s core systems to allow new gamemodes to be programmed with support for custom gamemodes programmed in C#. As of 0.9, this goal has been fully reached.

We’re invested in continuing on with game development as an independent group, but if we are to do that then we need to take what once was a hobbyist fan project and make the final transformation into a professional game that we stand behind on the Steam storefront. We want to continue to develop BallisticNG in the long term to add additional features such as online multiplayer with a competitive infrastructure, improved modding tools with much better capabilities and as much free additional content as we can think up. In order to do this, we need BallisticNG to be our source of stable income which pays the rent and food bills.

Regarding Patreon, part of our decision to make this transition was that we believe Patreon for our specific scenario is very anti-consumer and doesn’t encourage us to make a better game more than it does give us an excuse to be lazy. While this is not the case regardless, we do not like that Patreon was opening this possibility over time.

Part 2

We want to bring as many existing players over to the paid version of the game as possible, which is why anybody who has donated a lifetime of $5 or more on Patreon or Paypal will be getting a free key. With 1.0, those same people will also be getting the donators liveries as advertised on our Patreon rewards. If you have been developing mods that do not infringe on the copyright of others, we would also like to invite you over to the paid version so get in touch with us on our Discord server (tag @developers) or by sending an email to ballisticng@gmail.com.

Finally we would like to apologise for the break of the always free promise, given the scope of BallisticNG it was a naive and shortsighted decision. In an ideal world we would have wanted to have kept the game free forever. This let down is a lesson learned for future projects and a mistake we will not be making again.

When the game switches to paid, as long as you do not uninstall the game you will continue to have access to the version you were at – you just won’t receive updates or have access to steamworks based features anymore.

Q&A

How much will the game cost?
The game is going to be sold for $5, we believe that this is a fair price which is affordable to the majority of existing players. When we leave Early Access we will have a more complete experience, and as such will slightly increase the price to $8.

When will you be charging?
The change is going to happen two weeks from this announcement, on the 21st of September.

What’s going to happen to Patreon?
Once we begin charging on Steam, the Patreon will be shut down. We will then be sending out your key for the game as quickly as possible after this – there’s not a large amount of people so this should take around 72 hours at the maximum.

How will I receive my key?
We are going to be sending keys for Patreon donators out on Patreon itself, people who have donated on Paypal will have the key emailed to them on the email they donated with. As mentioned above for modders, jump onto our Discord server or shoot us an email at ballisticng@gmail.com. As an additional note, active Patreon donators on our Discord server can expect their key to be sent via PM.

What about the developer branch?
The developer branch is going to be removed and the beta branch will instead take its place. It will be open to anybody who has purchased the game and will be updated as frequently as the developer branch is now until 1.0.

Will there be any DRM?
BallisticNG is going to be completely DRM free, it will continue to function as it does now where the game does not require Steam to be running and will only disable Steamworks features when no instance of Steam is found – features such as the workshop, leaderboards, achievements and in the future, online multiplayer.

Will there be any other locations to download the game?
Not for the time being, BallisticNGs downloads are going to be removed from Itch.IO and will instead be replaced with a link to the Steam store. When 1.0 is released we will aim to get the game released on GoG too.

Will there be any mac/linux builds?
0.9 will be getting the unoffical mac and linux build as normal, however we still need to coordinate how we are going to properly handle multi operating system builds in the long term. There are a few technical issues to overcome first, we do want to provide offical multi operating system builds in the future though and we will be finding a solution soon.

What’s the plan for transitioning out of early access?
We have two phases planned for the transition. Phase one is a preliminary update which patches in a new menu and integration of the Rewired input library. Phase two is the remainder of the features. It is possible these updates will be split into several smaller updates, such a 0.10 before entering 1.0. You can see the full list of planned changes/additions here:

  • A new menu – replacing the main menu and ingame menus with new controller and mouse friendly interfaces
  • A new userdata folder structure for mods and inbuilt support for automatically generating mod content categories from mod folder hierarchies that you can manage ingame
  • A built in C# mod manager which lets you decide if they are enabled and their execution order
  • Fast test feature for the Ballistic Unity Tools so you can build your track and have it load up in an instance of the game without the fuss of going through menus
  • A much more diverse and longer campaign which utilizes the XP system added in 0.8 to provide unlocks, such as alternate liveries
  • Implementation of Rewired, an input library that bypasses Unity’s input system and is well respected for its controller compatibility – this will also introduce a variety of other options for configuring axes and will allow multiple controllers to be detected for splitscreen.
  • A rewrite of the weapons system so custom weapons can be implemented into the game
  • Final ship stat and AI balancing
  • Remove legacy achievements and implement new achievements