Hello, i'm Niran.
You know me as the creator and developer of Black Dragon, the Viewer you might be using as of right now. I've been developing this Viewer for 6 years now, alone, keeping this project up on my own behalf. I don't get any money for doing this nor did i ever want to as i believe that this is what makes a hobby a.. well hobby, it's something you dump your money into to have fun, to do whatever you enjoy (not that there is much money to dump into the Viewer ). This has worked for 6 years, sort of. I had to start using my savings 4 years ago to keep going and as of recently i started fearing that i might run out of money finally, the reason i fear that day is because it is the day i'll have to drop the development of this Viewer in favor of getting a real job, but Niran wait, you can still develop the Viewer right? ... Sadly no. Developing anything that is worth showing at the moment takes quite some time (sometimes days, weeks of straight writing, compiling, testing, rinse and repeat), time i won't have anymore if i get a job, given that i'll be working 9-10 hours every day minimum and i'm a very sleepy person, i need at least 10 hours sleep a day, leaving me with roughly 4-5 hours a day do anything, including eating, drinking and everything that is needed to sustain one's life... and then there is the thing with games, i'm a gamer, i play a lot of games, with friends and family too, doing so takes priority over developing the Viewer, leaving me with next to no time to work on the Viewer, not even on weekends.
*sighs* I knew this day would come...
I was always a strong believer that free content should be free which has played a big role both in the development of the Viewer itself and everything around it. One of these things is the fact that i never had a "Donate" button anywhere because it would feel to me like i owe the donor something, sounds stupid i know, but that's how i think. Rarely people have been donating me L$ in world in varying amounts which of course is the worst approach to this, both for you and me, converting to/from L$ you lose some money and L$ don't help me sustain the development of the Viewer at all. So... to get this situation under control i have 2 options. I choose to continue developing the Viewer with the help of Patreon until i run out of money, eventually after which option B would take effect and i'll have to get a job and drop the development of the Viewer.
I wouldn't be considering this if it wasn't absolutely necessary, it wasn't for 6 years. Now it is and i hate it but it's the only way to continue on that i can think of that offers the fairness i want. You see, fairness is a big part why i chose Patreon instead of Kickstarter for example.
So what is Patreon and what is the difference between Kickstarter and Patreon? Patreon is a platform for content creators that tries to offer a solution for said content creators's problem of not being paid for their work to continue working on it. Do you draw really awesome paintings of people or do you make really well thought out videos, reviews or even a game? Patreon is for you. Kickstarter, as the name implies is a platform to collect some starting capital to "kickstart" your project, such as when you want to start developing a game but you need some money to get everything going to a point that you can release it into Early Access to get more money to fund the rest of the development. Obviously this is not going to work for developing a Viewer for Second Life, at least not very well, it is the reason i believe why Kirsten failed long ago. He tried collecting 25.000$ in a short amount of time to fully offset a well paid job for one year. This is obviously not my intention, again i don't want to get paid for developing the Viewer, my personal goal is getting as much as i need to continue working on the Viewer... which... you'll laugh is a measly ~40€ every month to pay my internet because that is obviously the main thing i need to continue developing the Viewer. I hear laughter in the distance. "Niran you're doing this for measly 40€ a month?" you'll ask. Yes. Again i want to continue developing the Viewer, not make a million and 40€ are enough do to so currently, barring food and water.
So how does Patreon actually work or more specifically how will it work for you? It's really easy. I'll to utilize the monthly payment variant rather than the per-content. Why? Monthly payment allows you as the users continue using the Viewer for free, just like you did previously, nothing will change for you but now you got the option to "donate" me on a monthly basis. You can set any amount you want to pay each month, you can start and stop whenever you want. Payments are done at the end of the month/start of the next month allowing you the flexibility of choosing whenever you want to pay as much as you want if you deem it worth. For instance, if i started slacking for a month you can simply just stop paying without any repercussions for you. Great.
Let's talk benefits. Patreon offers me to set "Goals" per user or per milestone. It hurts to say but i'll not be utilizing them, at all. Again fairness. I don't want anyone to be treated differently because they pay money. Everyone gets the same, everyone can get early builds if they ask, everyone gets support if they need it. Everyone gets everything at all times. You pay solely on your own decision whether it is worth it to YOU, nothing else. Again nothing will change, for anyone, whether they are willing to pay or not.
In theory it's very easy. My Viewer has roughly 2000 active users, up to 4000 if you count part time users. If only 50 of these people deem my work worth enough to pay at least 1$ every month (roughly 40€), i'd be totally set for a while. Sounds easy enough right? Funny sidenote: If all of those 4000 users paid 1 cent every month that would be 40$.
So when and where does it happen? Starting next month i'll make the Patreon page public, i hope to get everything set up until then. I'll post the link here and possibly put it into the sidebar too for anyone interested in supporting me. We'll see how it goes. I hope for the best so i can continue making awesome stuff for everyone to enjoy.
I'd also like to use this moment before i head off to thank everyone who donated in the past regardless of how much it was as well as everyone who thanked me for my Viewer whether it was on the blog, forum, IM or anywhere else. Thanks everyone.
Also a little teaser... the next update you'll be able to preview .anim files directly inworld on your Avatar without having to upload them. I'm currently working on the exporter to allow exporting the poses/animations you create as .anim file. I can't promise though if it ever gets done, it's a very complex thing and will need a lot of testing. Also...