So, I have been thinking. What if DAZ opened up Bryce code for developers.
Bryce would die.
... If DAZ opened it up the way you were suggesting, that is.
Either way, the first thing that would have to happen is DAZ making an extendable product. Currently, it isn’t. Far from it. If you’re suggesting that they maintain the management of the product, they first have to make the product manageable.
First, not all Bryce users are developers so they could still charge for upgrades.
Sure. However, they need to keep in touch with mod developers to give them warning of changes that could affect their mods. Currently, the groundswell around mod development is zero. There are members who read this forum who could tell you stories about how they’ve lost money in just creating CONTENT for the store. With Bryce’s diminishing audience share you’re asking DAZ to put an unprecedented amount of money into both re-developing a moddable product, and then attracting mod developers to the new platform.
Second, if the code was opened (and I do not mean open source, but some kind of median where the code is released to allow developers to make mods to it and improve it but not lose the rights like open source does) then development would continue. In addition, there would also be enhancements and improvements made. It could really explode the Bryce community beyond what Blender has done.
...I don’t know where you’re getting your data to suggest ‘development would continue’. You seem to think that Bryce can be handled by C or Python programmers. Not strictly true. Bryce, both PC and Mac, is built on an intermediary coding platform called Axiom. It was developed by Metacreations FOR Metacreations. No-one else uses it. In fact, this is why it’s been hard for DAZ to get a Mac programmer for Bryce: not only because no-one knows Axiom, but because even if you did, Axiom was compiled for Mac OS 9, a completely different beast than Mac OS X. The only reason Mac Bryce has run for this long as that coders have managed to use Rosetta technologies embedded in Mac OS X to work around the Mac Classic technologies… Technologies that were discontinued from Mac OS 10.7, Lion.
The Big Realisation here is that the first step, re-writing for mod developers, is massive. Bryce needs to be completely re-written before any improvements can be made.
Third, retaining the rights at DAZ and doing something like Apple does with their apps. You have to become a registered developer and then you get the code. After that any fixes you make, you have to submit back to DAZ where it will be tested and verified before included into a release. Having DAZ be the doorstop for Bryce releases and testing, it will ensure the users that it should be fairly stable releases that get produced.
Apple’s formula for success… has its detractors. Some developers have made products that are very vulnerable to system changes - some have lost their businesses because Apple has unilaterally changed an OS technology that the developer exploited. DAZ, for example.
Be aware that Apple’s model was not the model they’ve had since time immemorial. The model you’ve described works because they have complete control of their IP, and they’ve tried a lot of stuff out. They don’t have developers ‘fixing’ their code, as you seem to suggest. Developers develop apps. Developers test THEIR apps against Apple’s code. Some large developers might ask Apple if they could change a few things to help them out, but that’s not bug-hunting.
I’ll come back to this point later.
Fourth, adding subscriptions like their platinum club where you can pay a yearly fee (nothing big maybe $25 a year) and you get the updates to Bryce for that year.
... What’s the attraction? Where’s the guarantee that Bryce WOULD be updated? What if a year slides by, where hordes of developers come up with a wide range of mods, but Bryce itself hasn’t been updated? How do you justify the subscription?
Subscription models are based on ongoing service due to the highly technical nature of the product.
Fifth, Daz could have a special newsletter outlining bugs and issues and changes and updates and perhaps even list what developers are working on.
You’re growing further away from ‘Open Code’ and more into marketing here. Initially, the focus would need to be on raising funds. And for that to happen, you need to invest in a lot of things to bring about confidence in the product.
Finally, it would generate some additional income for DAZ. Official releases require DAZ screening would reduce the chance for bugs and code that is malware because you have to submit your code changes. In fact, they could use something like git or something where a developer who is registered could check out the code and then before check in could test against the latest that everyone has checked in. Then DAZ will do final testing before sending out a release which they could do semi-annually or quarterly.
Again, developers don’t bug-check the client. If anything, developers are the loudest shouters at DAZ to get things right, because if DAZ fails in that mission, the developers leave and… no more mods. You’re asking developers to register with DAZ for the honour of testing their code?
A lesson to watch follows. But first, some background:
Reason is a digital audio workstation (DAW) application. It’s a program that allows you to create music by creating synths, drum machines, effects, mixing, and sampling. Reason is an incredibly sophisticated, yet accessible tool for music making. What’s more, it has the reputation in the industry of being bullet-proof: it’s often used in live shows because it just doesn’t crash. One of the reasons it doesn’t crash is because all of the synths, samplers, routers, effects, everything, is all built by the company that makes Reason: Propellerhead Software.
You can compare this with DAZ3D and its product, Bryce, and its components, the various Labs it has.
Reason isn’t the only DAW in the market, of course. Many other apps use what are called ‘plug-ins’: synths, effects or additions that can be bought and added into the DAW to be used with it. Plug-ins are a fantastic enhancement to a DAW… but there are a couple of problems with them. So Propellerheads went about plug-ins in a different way. They developed a method for other developers to create plugins that not only work seamlessly with Reason, but guaranteed that developers couldn’t take away from Reason’s core strength, other that great sound: reliability.
Rack Extensions are successful for Reason. But don’t get the idea that Rack Extension developers just ‘appeared’ because Propellerheads let them in. These developers have been successful developers for VST plugins for several years, and Propellerhead provided them a way to port and compile their code for their existing VST products for Reason.