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Domination: Earth

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Hi all,

I've spotted an interesting conversation in Discord a few weeks ago about "us" (Epic Dragon) with lots of strange assumptions, so I've decided to clear the air and explain our history / "who we are" in a bit more details. :)

Epic Dragon as a company launched in the UK (Norwich) in 2013 (5 years ago) and until the beginning of 2017 our focus was primarily on building & maintaining the Flamefrost MMORPG (www.flamefrost.com).
Our team has always been quite small and initially it was just me (I have built both of our games from scratch), then a freelance artist joined us temporarily along with our CVO (the source of many incredible ideas and a QA for mine :)).
Sometime around Flamefrost's launch we even made a video illustrating who does what exactly. :)

In 2017 thanks to the launch of "Domination: Earth" we've been able to expand some more and invited @JennyTerritory to take over the marketing aspects of that game, as I just couldn't do everything on my own anymore.
So any posts you see on Facebook & Twitter are most likely Jen's. :)

Same as with Flamefrost, our current graphical assets were made by a freelance artist (a different one this time), but we don't have a permanent artist in our team and usually find one whenever we need some new materials.

Unfortunately, the reason why I started "Domination: Earth" was that Flamefrost wasn't successful enough as a business product:
although I do love that game with passion and would be happy to work on it for many more years it has been deemed to be too "niche", i.e. aimed at a too narrow audience, which led to problems in acquiring new players and keeping them interested; we have invested £££,£££ in advertising and after 2 years of operation the game still continued to generate more debts than income (we haven't recovered most of our investments).

Because of that we've shifted our focus to "Domination: Earth" completely, which (thankfully!) is doing a lot better than Flamefrost (that remains a free community-driven & community-maintained game).
"Domination: Earth" has achieved 50,000+ downloads in the first 3 months after launch and is now supporting its own and Flamefrost's hardware financially.
I'm currently still burning through my personal savings to keep the team together (I am literally the only person in the company who doesn't get paid :)), which is why I occasionally engage in fundraising (or just have a 2nd/3rd job, so if I'm inactive online then I'm probably looking for a way to pay my bills again :D), but I'm hopeful that this is only temporary and DE's growth in the last few months supports that theory.

There are no plans to build new games in the near future as "Domination: Earth" is doing incredibly well and I am completely in love with it (as well as with our community :)); my task list is full of great ideas and I believe that the project can & will grow further, while our team expand in the next couple of years (so if you are interested in working with us and have any game-related talents make sure to let me know! ;)).

So that's pretty much it!

As always, please do not hesitate to ask questions; I'm always happy to talk and provide you with more accurate information than Discord rumours. :)

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Great post, thank you for clearing up some concerns about the future of DE. :) 

In regard to fundraising, have you thought about starting a Patreon or something like this? This would allow people to regularly support the game with any amount of money they want. For example, I'd like to support DE, but don't necessarily need the unobtainium. Currently my cheapest option would be 3,99€/week or ~16€/month, which is too much for me. With patreon I could donate a amount fitting for me, edit it as it fits.

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Very nice to know all these things ;)

Must be very confusing when working together with that big amount of Dans :D

On 15.6.2018 at 6:41 PM, Mr. D said:

(so if you are interested in working with us and have any game-related talents make sure to let me know! ;)).

It's less about working with you but how about a git repo ?
I know that at least some players have some IT-skills. And you have a more or less long list of smaller issues which have no high priority (for example the game loading in a "faint" color, the "the map is only displayed in the upper left corner on the earthview"-problem, some Strings which don't work as expected, strange resizing of buildings and so on). So others could work on those little issues and you could focus more on the "big things" and only had to review the solutions from time to time. 

Edited by Ruvox
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11 hours ago, SebRut said:

Great post, thank you for clearing up some concerns about the future of DE. :) 

Thanks, glad to hear that it was found helpful! :)

11 hours ago, SebRut said:

Currently my cheapest option would be 3,99€/week or ~16€/month, which is too much for me

Hold on, what about the single Unobtainium (1) package?
As far as I remember it's somewhere around $2/£1.50 (depending on your country & its taxes!); we literally couldn't go lower (App Store doesn't even have smaller package options). :)

11 hours ago, SebRut said:

In regard to fundraising, have you thought about starting a Patreon or something like this?

Yup, in the last 5 years we've tried (or thought of :)) pretty much every option there is!
Flamefrost actually started as a Kickstarter campaign.
But crowdfunding is a lot harder & less rewarding than it seems; it requires an insane amount of time and a lot of money to be successful, and crowdfunding campaign management can actually be a full-time job (if I start doing it there will be no updates in months :)).

As for Patreon in particular, it may be great for freelance artists, but it is an accounting hell for businesses.
We are a registered company with VAT and stuff, so the same tax laws apply to us as to anyone else (e.g. Sony or EA).
Any form of donations/charity in this industry is a bit of a nightmare in general (you can't just send an envelope of money to Sony, for example :)) and it would take a huge amount of efforts to make it work for us (same as general crowdfunding).
So I'm afraid direct donations to myself are not an option, despite the fact that I'd most definitely prefer to not say "no" to money. :D

9 hours ago, Ruvox said:

Must be very confusing when working together with that big amount of Dans :D

Very much so indeed! :)
Team meetings are quite enjoyable (and fast) though!

9 hours ago, Ruvox said:

It's less about working with you but how about a git repo ?

Yeah, we're most likely not going to go open-source, sorry. :)
It would be very nice for players if all our favourite games uploaded their source code to a public repository (I'd definitely play around with the code of World of Warcraft!), but there are reasons why this doesn't happen.
We too are not in the business of helping our competitors (or creating new ones). :)
Despite the fact that the majority of our players would unlikely want to "steal" and re-use our intellectual property, there's still a whole cloud of vultures floating around every IT business and waiting for it to leak the source of its products.

In short, if I ever see a "Dictatorship: Terra" app or a "Firecold MMORPG" with parts of my code in them I will be very, very unhappy. :)

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7 hours ago, Mr. D said:

Hold on, what about the single Unobtainium (1) package?
As far as I remember it's somewhere around $2/£1.50 (depending on your country & its taxes!); we literally couldn't go lower (App Store doesn't even have smaller package options). :)

Oh, I guess I wasn't really clear with this, I meant the cheapest way to support this game regularly in an automated way (=a subscription) is via in-app-subscriptions for the price mentioned above. While I could just purchase Unobtainium manually everytime I like, I'd be much happier with a monthly subscription as I'm kinda lazy :') So maybe you could add a monthly in-app-subscription for ~5€?

Sad to hear that patreon would be that complicated for you :(

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5 hours ago, SebRut said:

Oh, I guess I wasn't really clear with this, I meant the cheapest way to support this game regularly in an automated way (=a subscription) is via in-app-subscriptions for the price mentioned above. While I could just purchase Unobtainium manually everytime I like, I'd be much happier with a monthly subscription as I'm kinda lazy :') So maybe you could add a monthly in-app-subscription for ~5€?

No problem, I'll look into that and see what I can do! ;)

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