Tootsville.com used to be a pretty great bargain. Lots of players subscribed for under $5/month, sometimes even less.
Tootsville.org, though? It’s free.
And I don’t mean, it’s “free to play,” but you have to pay money to get stuff to keep playing. We’re not going to limit your time, or try to sell you more special items, or make you do lots of dumb stuff if you don’t pay us.
It’s just plain, free. That’s it.
We — the Violet Volts team — aren’t getting paid for this. Actually, the Fenn Pocock family is footing the bill for our server costs out-of-pocket, on top of all the hard work from our volunteers.
We’re also not really keen on pop-ups and advertisements and things. That’s just annoying.
Free. Really free. That’s it. Free.
So … why do it?
Well, partly, it’s a labor of love. Tootsville was an amazing game and really influenced some people’s lives. Non-violent, family-friendly games are hard to come by!
And it’s fun!
Plus, we get to build some cutting-edge technology to show off, which is cool.
What happens if the money runs out?
“Look, I won’t lie. I may not be able to shell out the money to keep this going forever, so some kind of more long-term foundation is going to be needed eventually.” — Bruce-Robert Fenn Pocock, Benevolent Dictator, Violet Volts
Someday, yes, the money will run out. We’re exploring ways to cover those costs without strong-arming people into it. There’s the PBS/Wikipedia method, of begging for funding every few months, and taking tiny “patronage” payments. There’s the idea of selling merchandise … T-shirts, coffee mugs, books, whatever … And there’s also been some discussion of allowing tasteful, in-game sponsorships of certain places or items.
One feature that will probably come with a price tag is SMS (text messaging) or voice calling support. Those services cost more than plain ol’ Internet servers, but we might allow access to them in certain ways (eg: for parents to authorize children’s logins) to people who pay for those services.
We want to keep it very clear that these charges would be only to people who wanted to use extra services that do not affect game play.
But, yes. Really Free!
For now, enjoy the ride. We’re not going away any time soon, and we promise we won’t start charging a subscription or plastering you with “up-selling.”