The Smart Way to Make an Open Online Game

I had an idea for an online game which seems pretty achievable.

I was wondering about a few things:

What sort of structure allows for it to be developed and used freely, but still profit the main developers/hosts?

What sort of business structure allows for the greatest benefits? For instance, this would be a highly educational game, so perhaps certain (American) tax benefits would be in line?

I’m sure Blender itself, although being free, must provide at least some benefit to the main creators?

Its a mystery to me how to make money on free software :D. The best idea so far is the game itself is free, but the online version is a monthly fee.

First, let’s clarify a few things: Do you mean embedded on a website, internet play or something else?

Ah yes - an online game.

A central server governs interaction and play, and client side runs the majority of simulation.

Also to add to that, I’m hoping to keep this completely blender run, with python doing all of the communicating with server and stuff.

Thanks for responding!

Most free to play games have some form of cash shop, where cash only buys special game currency, which buys special in game items, whatever. If you manage to make a mmo online game in blender, coding in a cash shop should be no trouble :smiley:

MMO With Blender…Online Cash Shop. I could sell blessed golden monkey heads.

MMO With Blender…Online Cash Shop. I could sell blessed golden monkey heads.

indeed… :smiley:

I love the monkey head idea hahaha good luck

So you are looking for a business model?

In general a business model describes how you want to run your business (No I never did one).
Wikipedia: “In theory and practice the term business model is used for a broad range of informal and formal descriptions to represent core aspects of a business, including purpose, offerings, strategies, infrastructure, organizational structures, trading practices, and operational processes and policies.”

It must be available to the developers.
You need at least one developer ;).

Depends on what you mean with “to be used freely”.

Whatever you mean with profit, it means you need to earn exactly this profit to be given to the main developers/hosts?
Are the Non-Main developers/hosts?

Maximizing profit? Robbery I guess. No, not really. You need to take the value of the risks into account which makes the profit less worth.
Seriously this is a science by itself. The truth is if somebody thinks he found a working strategy for that he surely will not tell us to copy it ;).

You think about tax benefits right now? Sure if you do a business plan you should consider this as well. I recommend to look for professional help for start-up companies. I’m pretty sure there are some in your city. Maybe there are some sponsor-programs to help the local economy.

The owner of Blender is the Blender Foundation. You can read about that at If you look at the homepage you can (partly) see where the “profit” comes from:

  • Money comes from donations and the online shop
  • Development power comes from the volunteers
  • Support comes from a large user community
  • Time from all the volunteers supporting Blender

Profit does not need to be money. But if you provide a service you usually need to pay for something with money. So it would be good to have some sources for that.

A piece of software is not generating money (or other things) by itself. There are several options for a deal:
A) the right to use it
B) transfer owner chip
C) support
D) training
E) additional content
F) side business (e.g. promoting other services)

As usually you need to find the balance between what you can get and what you customers are willing to give you for the service you offer.
This does not mean you earn profit from all possible options. E.g. Look at some printer manufacturer. They sell printers for a real low price. It is that low, that it does not or at least very less monetary profit. But they sell the ink with a huge profit.
What is the point? Customers sell a printer only once in a while (except it breaks after short time => they are buying somewhere else) but they buy ink much more then new printers. This sometimes lead to the ironic situation, that a new printer is cheaper than an ink refill.
Even if it looks like a bad example (for the customers), it shows you do not need to make profit from all options.

What with a game?

  • usage right = Free => increases the amount of potential players
  • additional content = payed => less players for that but money to pay your bills
  • site business = ads => less players but money to pay your bills
  • transfer owner rights = no go => you would loose your business
  • support = free/payed?
  • training = by community?

The fact that Blender is free does not stop you from profiting. As long as you do things properly and respect licenses, you can sell your game and maintain exclusive rights over it.

Providing you are capable enough with Blender to make such a game, the most difficult part of your plan would be actually setting up a business properly and operating it. I operate a small business with multiple employees as my “day job” and it’s terrible stress to keep up with all the required paperwork. Perhaps you are the sort of person who would enjoy such a task, though. A word of advice: In the US, a corporation is not any more difficult to run than a sole-proprietorship or an LLC, and if you do it right, a corporation will save you a lot of money and avoid potential hassle (where potential hassle is defined as “losing everything you own in this world”).

Your idea to form a non-profit corporation could actually be worthwhile. The US allows you a lot of freedom in this regard. You can compensate yourself reasonably well for your services to the corporation, and all of the required equipment for operating your business could be purchased tax free. There are different tax benefits available to for-profit corporations, so you might want to spend a bit of time looking into the options depending on what your goals are. A book that would be useful for understanding some lesser known available tax benefits:

Hi guys,

I would have replied sooner but for some reason I didn’t get any thread updates on email. blendenzo and Monster - thanks for the responses.

I didn’t know if there was some sophisticated formula in profiting on open source software. But what you say seems obvious and simple enough - donations, additional content, etc.

When I was working for a certain company, my boss used to gripe “If you want to get rich quick these days, start a non-profit company”.

I guess I’ll just keep developing the game and keep the possibilities in mind. This game has the main objective of creating real world results in a lot of fields, so I’m sure the opportunities will present themselves even after the game has launched.

I do love the spirit of open source however, and the idea of “profit” being completely subjective - it doesn’t have to be money. If the users are profited with greater knowledge, then everyone is winning.

Thanks for the time to help guys.