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Author Topic: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated  (Read 340 times)

Deek

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[Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« on: July 14, 2017, 02:20:12 PM »
Even though the Ecosystem is still in an early stage (at least according to its version number) it is missing a feature that I consider pretty vital: Notifying the user if any of the downloaded actions have an update available.
It is already checking what scripts are "installed" so it shouldn't be that big of a deal to give an indicator if some of the scripts are outdated (maybe an exclamation point next to them or on Unity start some Debug logs to be least obstrusive)

Background is that I was struggling a few months ago with the 'Draw Line' script to get it to work more smoothly, not knowing there was already an update on it on the Ecosystem that fixed a lot of stuff.

It could pose a problem that all those custom actions are in one GitHub Repository, meaning it's not that easy to push a newer version on to it and maybe it also is a bit more workload comparing all found actions to their GitHub version but it's still a feature to at least be considered and to make the life of every user a bit easier; especially with all these quite fast Unity updates (5.5, 5.6 and next 2017.1) wich can result in compatibility issues.

P.S.:
I know it counts as an Addon but I would need to be a board-member in Trello and this is just a short request.

tcmeric

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2017, 08:06:01 PM »
Hi Deeks. I will forward your request on to Jean who is the creator of the Ecosystem. He is away mostly right now, so he may not see/ be able to respond to your post right away, but Ill make sure he has sees it.

Deek

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2017, 08:11:25 AM »
Hi Deeks. I will forward your request on to Jean who is the creator of the Ecosystem. He is away mostly right now, so he may not see/ be able to respond to your post right away, but Ill make sure he has sees it.
Glad to hear, thanks!

jeanfabre

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2017, 05:03:26 AM »
Hi,

 yep, you have a very good point and indeed this is something that is important when the next major update of the browser will happen.

 I already move to SSL for the server which is one step closer to be able to start implementing such features for secure and reliable sharing of user data, as I need this for some reference of users which means login info and credentials.

 The beta version already implements scanning projects for assets, but there is no notifications per say, only the list of what can be updated.

The next major hurdle for this is convention, for versioning to work properly, there is the need for version convention system so that I know when an action can be updated and what that update is about.

So this feature is definitely not happening short term unfortunately, but I do appreciate ( because I am also suffering from the lack of feedback on my own projects too :) I use the ecosystem too :) ) the value of such feature indeed.

what I suggest you do is opening a github account and watch all the repositories used by the Ecosystem, and so you'll be informed of the various commits and can take actions ( each file being edited is documented in commits).

 Bye,

 Jean

Deek

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2017, 05:13:15 PM »
Well I'm always happy to hear that progress is being made in terms of finishing the Ecosystem, because I think it is amazing and super useful (next to the actual PlayMaker-Editor and the Action Browser my 3. most used PlayMaker Window) and it's a shame that it isn't included in the official PlayMaker versions, since it could help every unaware user find more specific actions tailored to their needs).

I already have a GitHub account and contributed quite a lot of custom actions with it (which can be found here: http://hutonggames.com/playmakerforum/index.php?topic=15458.0, all free for any use), but it seems to be a bit tedious to manually browse through the Repositories of other contributors and search for updates or applying them myself through commits.

It's still going to be a rare case that there is an update on an action that seems absolutely necessary, but such a feature would certainly help make it a more robust system.

I appreciate that you're gonna take my suggestion into account, even if it might take a while to implement.

Greetings,
Deek

jeanfabre

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2017, 11:57:35 PM »
Hi,

yep, I agree with you, It's just at this point difficult to justify spending too much time on this for a free service basically, I was contemplating the possibility of making a subscription based ecosystem with additional features such as notifications, favorites, etc etc, so all content would still be accessible for free for everyone, but if you subscribe, you get more tools and a better workflow.

How does that sound for you?

 I saw your work, indeed you have done a lot. Some actions already exists ;), but you have indeed a lot of useful stuff in there, maybe you would be ok to move your content over the Ecosystem? I can give you access and we can have a skype session where I can explain you how it all works, the conventions, etc?


 Bye,

 Jean

Deek

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2017, 12:11:24 PM »
I've already seen on your Ecosystem's Trello-Board that you are struggling with finding a solution to monetize the Ecosystem, but I don't think that charging for extra features would be such a splendid idea.

For one, it's never a good thing to split your user-base.
As an active Asset- and AssetStore-User, I (and probably most other users) expect to buy an Asset and get the fully-featured pack it is supposed to or advertises to deliver, no additional or hidden costs succeeding that (at least it seems to be common practice).
Especially a subscription based model means to continuously pay for something that most users might expect to be part of the actual Asset.

You (or your team) likely didn't think of any of the other Browser-Windows as non-lucrative, time-wasting additions that aren't worthwile to work on, but rather considered them to be as important as every other tool you provide; which means it might be healthy to start thinking of the Ecosystem as a fundamental part of PlayMaker, not just something a few more advanced users will be using.

You can make up for the additional work and maintenance by increasing the base-value of PlayMaker itself (since you then provide more functionality), provide different versions of PlayMaker like a, Free-, Standard- & Pro-Version (which it actually already is, since there seems to be a free, but limited version) or sell the fully-featured Ecosystem as a separate Asset so that users who do need those additional features can pay for it one time and get all further updates for free.

Alternatively you can charge for those further features in the Ecosystem, but I'd suggest it to be a one-time payment of a few bucks (or however much you consider them to be worth) rather than charging for them on a monthly basis or the like (those features would have to be absolutely "game"-changing for any user to agree to that | the only other Asset with a subscription-based model that I can think of are cloud-services like Photon and there you get a lot for that kind of deal).

I hope I could give some alternative options in dealing with the Ecosystem-Situation.

As a creator & provider of useful tools you should always work for your users, even if it means to do more work than necessary and considering that PlayMaker has such a wide range and is constantly one of the to paid assets on the Store, money shouldn't be one of your problems (at least speaking from an outside perspective).


For the 2. topic: djaydino seems to be already on it to push the useful actions to the Ecosystem, so there's probably no need for 2 people to do that.


Hope that was the kind of feedback you wanted :)

djaydino

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2017, 05:24:53 PM »
Hi.
Quote
For one, it's never a good thing to split your user-base.
As an active Asset- and AssetStore-User, I (and probably most other users) expect to buy an Asset and get the fully-featured pack it is supposed to or advertises to deliver, no additional or hidden costs succeeding that (at least it seems to be common practice).
Especially a subscription based model means to continuously pay for something that most users might expect to be part of the actual Asset.

I must disagree, Unity uses this concept and with the standard you will still find all the actions.
Subscription based will Actually extend the life on an asset.
Many assets die after a few years, and the reason is that after a year or so only a few people will still buy that asset.
So developers get discouraged to update their assets when unity updates.
Which can be a big work to update for certain assets.

Quote
You (or your team) likely didn't think of any of the other Browser-Windows as non-lucrative, time-wasting additions that aren't worthwile to work on, but rather considered them to be as important as every other tool you provide; which means it might be healthy to start thinking of the Ecosystem as a fundamental part of PlayMaker, not just something a few more advanced users will be using.

You can make up for the additional work and maintenance by increasing the base-value of PlayMaker itself (since you then provide more functionality), provide different versions of PlayMaker like a, Free-, Standard- & Pro-Version (which it actually already is, since there seems to be a free, but limited version) or sell the fully-featured Ecosystem as a separate Asset so that users who do need those additional features can pay for it one time and get all further updates for free.

Alternatively you can charge for those further features in the Ecosystem, but I'd suggest it to be a one-time payment of a few bucks (or however much you consider them to be worth) rather than charging for them on a monthly basis or the like (those features would have to be absolutely "game"-changing for any user to agree to that | the only other Asset with a subscription-based model that I can think of are cloud-services like Photon and there you get a lot for that kind of deal).

I hope I could give some alternative options in dealing with the Ecosystem-Situation.

As a creator & provider of useful tools you should always work for your users, even if it means to do more work than necessary and considering that PlayMaker has such a wide range and is constantly one of the to paid assets on the Store, money shouldn't be one of your problems (at least speaking from an outside perspective).

The Ecosytem is a 3th party addon (Made by Jean) for Playmaker it is not from Playmaker.
So actually Jean did not earn anything from this addon.

for the 2nd topic,
Actually several people are connected to the ecosystem.
I did not have the time yet to check them out.
It has some advantages if you are connected.
The actions will be available right away on the Ecosystem also when you make new actions.
You can add a tag called (for example) DeekMyActions in a // Comment
Then you can search in the Ecosystem for DeekMyActions and you will see all your actions. :)

But if you decide not to, i can add them (i will try next week to make so time for it :) )

tcmeric

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2017, 10:29:45 PM »
For my self personally. It is certainly an interesting problem. Every year that playmaker grows, so to do the amount of actions in the ecosystem and third party packages that it supports. Those actions have to be updated with different version releases of Unity and need to be maintained. There are other visual scripting tools in the asset store, but none can touch playmaker in the sheer amount of actions/community support.

I recently read the post by the uTomato / Scene Manager people, that they posted on their website about closing down (I am not suggesting playmaker is closing down). Just that, the asset store business model is hard. Yes, playmaker is a good seller based on the asset store feedback (I can only assume), but I cannot think of a single bigger asset on the store (in the terms of support, forum and actual code). Here is the message from uTomato: https://ancientlightstudios.com/ancientlight/closing_shop.html

I guess personally I don't have a problem paying a subscription fee, as long as the price is reasonable. I send patreon money to a few different things, sponsor a bunch of games in development, etc.

I have a patreon account myself (optional payment), although I am thinking of closing it down. While I love those who supported me, I am not sure optional is best. You can see my actions here (more are coming, just didnt have time to list them): https://www.dumbgamedev.com/playmaker . I am strongly considering closing down my patreon account.

I know others have patreon accounts as well, that I think are/will struggle. Its an interesting model, but not one that I think works for this type of thing.

I think what ecosystem needs (If we can throw out suggestions) is a visual interface that allows for browsing. Such as catalog type system. It already has catagories, but not easy to browse. From there, I want to be able to filter by rating (and/or download counts).

There are so many goodies in the ecosystem that most of us just dont know about.  ;D
« Last Edit: July 25, 2017, 11:08:28 PM by tcmeric »

jeanfabre

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2017, 06:21:54 AM »
Hi Deek,

 Interesting, but I think you are missing the point on few things for very good reasons actually. I completely understanding your point of view, which is why all this is open to discussion at the moment.

- The ecosystem relies on community work, so indeed your contribution means a lot to everyone here, and it's not because there are already contributors that it means it's enough, it's like a wiki, it's suppose to pick the interest of the one that want to share their knowledge, skills and provide to the community. So you are welcome to contribute directly on the Ecosystem, indeed :) and you are still welcome to do as you wish and share your actions anyway you want, there is no problem with this at all, it's actually the opposite, we are thankful that you take the time to share your work with the community.

-  A one time fee with long term support is not a sustainable model, and as Eric pointed out, is the struggle of literally *ALL* asset store publishers. I paid my PlayMaker license 6 years ago... I don't think in all honesty that it entitles me to expect PlayMaker to support me forever, that is just not a sound business model, and yes, the top 20 asset store publishers can make a leaving out of this and provide raisonnable support, but this is far too restrictive and dangerous and that leave the vast majority of publishers struggling or simply there for the sake of sharing their work for free or for a symbolic fee.

In this case, the Common practice on the Asset store is indeed ill adviced as a practice from a business point of view, but the Unity community being made out 90% + of indie developers, it's difficult to provide any other model without getting complains.

- Ecosystem content must remain free and accessible, that's a given and it will never change as long as I am maintaining it and in charge of it, but I do think there is room for a subscription based system for more fancy features, like favorites, notifications on updates, etc. There is also a tricky call on listing paid assets, for example I think users would be pleased to get an accurate and exhaustive overview of what's available to them, and they may not necessarly looking for free content, so what if we start listing assets that are on the asset store and with a fee, for example the user search for spline, should I be listing paid assets that deals with splines and provide PlayMaker support? I think so, but then, would users start complaining about this? of course we can flag with a $ sign all items listed so that it's obvious and even have some filter options to list only free stuff. etc etc.

- Hosting the Ecosystem and provide more services has a monthly cost, who's covering for this? should it be PlayMaker, should it be me, should it be the end users. Typically, for ALL online services that run by themselves ( that is without huge funding behind, or advertising or sponsor), they rely on user's subscriptions to run their services. and that' only fair it seems to me. I think charging $1 or $2 a month would be acceptable isn't it to access favorites, getting notified for updates, and other workflow improvements over simply browsing and getting assets.

tricky :)

Bye,

 Jean

Deek

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2017, 12:50:35 PM »
@djaydino
Quote
Unity uses this concept and with the standard you will still find all the actions. Subscription based will Actually extend the life on an asset.
Many assets die after a few years, and the reason is that after a year or so only a few people will still buy that asset.
I agree that the AssetStore isn't that great of a business model for the creators of assets, but as Jean wonderfully said:
Quote
the Unity community being made out 90% + of indie developers, it's difficult to provide any other model without getting complains.
which also means that most AssetStore customers are on a tight budget, thus the store is more aimed towards those, plus the users are accustomed to the pay-once-get-everything kind of deal.
It's definitely not ideal for the creators, that's why it's more common to see higher priced assets, so that it's still worth for the creators to create and push assets onto the store, but it also means that more and more assets are being shut down (as you said).
If you can't fight a broken system or are dependant on it, you have to comply.
Quote
The Ecosytem is a 3th party addon (Made by Jean) for Playmaker it is not from Playmaker.
So actually Jean did not earn anything from this addon.
Yeah but you can't deny the usefulness of the Ecosystem. Without it you would "only" have the built-in actions (or would have to scatter around the internet/forums and implement them manually), which suffice for most intents & purposes but don't give you that plethora of specialized actions for all needs. So it might have given the impression of a more full-flegded system, leaving you with more happy customers and an increase in sales and reputation, that maybe indirectly made up for the extra effort.

@tcmeric
I think the same, that there's a lot room for improvement on the Ecosystem. It seems to have become more bloated than what it was build for (which is still better than it containing barely any user-contributed actions, but still).
Additionally the lack of documentation (only a small amount of actions provide a preview picture, you have to open the action in the browser or download it to actually see what it does or if it's for you; especially on packages where you have no information about them and have to download & import them before knowing if they are the thing you need) or as you hinted at, a rating system, where users could rate the actions for usefulness or legitimacy.

Anoter idea I had (that is probably less feasible), is that the Ecosystem is to be integrated into the Action Browser, so that it first checks if you have internet enabled, what Unity-Version you have and then offers all possible & matching actions, already in the categories they would be downloaded into (even though I love the cool Ecosystem-Design, that would be an alternative that could help organize custom actions).
It might require a whole forum-section about it or something similar to gather all the suggestions that could make the Ecosystem more awesome.

@jeanfabre
You could of course also open up the Ecosystem for everyone to sell actions on it (not just other asset creators), so that it gets treated like a market in and of itself (and you get a fair share for every purchase). It might catch on, it might doesn't. Benefits of such endeavor are: There could be more users interested in sharing or creating more custom actions that haven't been contributed yet, when they get something out of it; other assets that already contain PlayMaker support could exclude those actions from their assets and put them as a package onto this Ecosystem-Market, where only the ones that use PlayMaker can pay extra for the cross-over support. It would be a win-win-win situation (there would be more actions available, you would have a somewhat constant source of income and other Asset-Creators could make additional money out of supporting PlayMaker or putting their current support onto the Ecosystem, thus making their actual package smaller). There would still be most actions for free (at least I wouldn't charge for my actions because I create them out of pure fun and necessity and like to help others with them).
That's at least one alternative to the current dillema.


P.S.:
I'm certainly missing all the inside information required to talk about your interna, your general & financial situation. I can only assume and observe from an outside perspective and hope that you find a way that satisfies your customers and makes you keep working on this amazing asset.

Deek

djaydino

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Re: [Ecosystem] Notification when an Action has been updated
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2017, 09:46:18 PM »
Hi,
I do think that actions should stay free for everyone.
And just get extra features if you get a subscription.

Both free and subscription would have all the available actions.
So a free users would not miss out anything except maybe some extra information and/or easier to search things or some other feature that is not an important feature.

This would be the best concept in my opinion.