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  • Splitting up Skotos

    Folks,

    For twenty years now we're run Skotos as a single game service, but Christopher and I are both moving on to other things. As a result, we have decided to split up the Skotos game service, to allow the individual games to truly be controlled by the players.

    To be precise: we plan to split off Castle Marrach, Ironclaw Online, The Eternal City, and probably The Lazarus Project in this way. We will unfortunately be shutting down Lovecraft Country and Monsters! Monsters!: Grendel's Revenge, as they've fizzled out over time. We expect to shutdown those two games in the next month or so, while the more comprehensive split will happen in the next 5-9 months: perhaps as early as November, but definitely no later than the end of March.

    Since almost all of our players focus on a single game, we don't expect many of you to see much change within the games. The games will still be run by the people who have run them in recent months and years, the only difference is that there won't be the additional level of Skotos infrastructure.

    Outside of the game there will be some changes. Notably, we will not be able to provide the individual games with credit card processing capability. However, Paypal will still be supported, and with it regular and premium accounts. Individual games will also have to spin up their own forums (or discourse or whatever) if they want to continue offering out-of-game communications

    We'll also leave it to the individual games to determine their pricing structure. Our suggestion will be that they maintain the current $12.95/$29.95 structure. Though Skotos theoretically offers access to a small menu of games, we've always considered those extra games to be a bonus: our costs and thus the game prices would have been the same if we were just providing a single game. But, that too will be a decision for the individual games.

    To help smooth out the changeover we have removed the option for yearly and quarterly payments as of today (though any recurring credit card payments will continue). We've also updated our Terms of Service to represent the upcoming changes. When the day for the changeover comes, we'll move current subscription data from Skotos to the individual games, so that you'll continue playing for whatever time you'd already paid for on any or all of the games. Any yearly subscriptions that were paid for before today will have the option to instead seek a refund for remaining time (if any), as they wouldn't have known about these upcoming changes when they paid for their subscription.

    If you prefer not to transfer to the new single game services, please delete your Skotos account within the next three months, by the end of September, as we'll be testing out our new thin-auth server after that.

    However, I hope you'll instead continue to enjoy the communities that we've nurtured for the next twenty years, even as they move beyond the umbrella of our single-service model.

    Shannon

  • #2
    I had a few personal questions that I wanted to address here:

    1. Are the Games Still Viable?

    Yes, or rather the four that we'll be splitting off are. We've always been a pretty small community, because text-based games where players can have meaningful interactions with both each other and with larger narratives, are definitely a niche. But there hasn't been a particularly notable decrease in players in recent years. I'm sure we could have continued hosting them as a viable joint service for years more, but as I noted Christopher and I were increasingly moving on to other things.

    2. Am I OK?

    Thanks for asking! Definitely!

    I am moving to Hawaii on January 1, to be closer to my parents, who moved there about ten years ago. Though I'm very proud to have been able to support these communities for the last twenty years, this move is the sort of thing that makes you reassess what you're doing. One of my assessments was that managing online communities is extremely stressful. I've had to be constantly aware of them and constantly ready to resuscitate them if something crashes. For example, I was rebuilding a database this last Christmas Eve at my (other) parents' house, because it had the bad taste to crash just as we entered the holidays. And that's not to speak of the larger problems that arise from time to time. (But if you want to speak of them, I wrote some about them in my journal early this year: https://shannon-a.dreamwidth.org/602214.html). So, I decided that it was time for less stress in my life.

    Also, I decided that it was time to spend more time on my personal priorities, which include a focus on my Designers & Dragons histories of the tabletop roleplaying industry.

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    • #3
      Thanks for being so upfront and letting us know. I appreciate everything that you and Chris have put into Skotos, and wish you both the best of fortune in your new ventures. Onward and upward.


      ~Lady Morven Adalhard

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      • #4
        Is there any chance the dropped games will become open source? If there are no architectural or other reasons, this would allow for both learning and cult following of these games that sometimes leads to a revival, even if that revival is not monetized.

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        • #5
          Unfortunately, there are licensing issues related to both of the games we're dropping.

          For Lovecraft Country, we're reverting our license to Chaosium. That means that if someone wanted to pick up the game, they'd have to remove anything drawn directly from Chaosium sources, which minimally includes the map of the town. However, we're in the process of open-sourcing the actual SkotOS code, which means that anyone could create a new Lovecraftian game using it, if they wanted to generate new content.

          For Grendel's Revenge, we own the game but there's at least some royalties owned to Worlds Apart (now Daybreak, via Sony), and the Genesis server is under license from them. I'd have to really work through the contract to figure out whether we could do something like offer it for free, but we definitely couldn't pack Genesis into an open source, and without that, there's no game.

          Christopher and I were just talking about how to archive things, so there may be the possibility of contacting us in the future, and talking about reviving the games. Unfortunately, they're just encumbered enough that we can't put them freely out on the 'net.

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          • #6
            What about licensing for written media in relation to GR Shannon? I.E fan fiction or actual published fiction?
            Rythgen says:
            "arg! i would defend myself but my massive schlong prevents me from moving!"
            The current rune bearer is Jinn the Hydra, who is located very far away to the northeast at a hot shaft.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ColdFire View Post
              What about licensing for written media in relation to GR Shannon? I.E fan fiction or actual published fiction?
              I believe we have the rights to that, and could (and likely would) license that, but I'd have to go through a whole sequence of addendums to our original contract to make sure.

              If someone wanted to do something professional in this vein, now or in the future, they should contact me (or, in the future Christopher).

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              • #8
                I sent an email to ce@skotos.net last week about it is there a different email address I should use?
                Rythgen says:
                "arg! i would defend myself but my massive schlong prevents me from moving!"
                The current rune bearer is Jinn the Hydra, who is located very far away to the northeast at a hot shaft.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Any word on what's going to happen with Storypoints people currently have?
                  ~ Initiate Kaori Zaihou ~
                  OOC: Signature last changed on 3/24/2018

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by ColdFire View Post
                    I sent an email to ce@skotos.net last week about it is there a different email address I should use?
                    Send me mail at shannona@skotos.net.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Kaori View Post
                      Any word on what's going to happen with Storypoints people currently have?
                      I intend to carry them into the new thin-auth database that I'll be writing, at which point it'll be up to the individual games.

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