Monday, May 6, 2013

Welcome to The Attic!

Since mid-April I was working on a new section of the Wormworld Saga website and today I'm finally finished. I'm happy to announce to you:

I'm frequently asked if there is a possibility to access the special features from the Wormworld Saga App without owning a tablet device. Well, there hasn't been - until now. The video above gives you all the important facts about the new website and I've also setup an info page with more detail. Put in a nutshell, you get all the content from the app inside your browser only that you're not asked to pay a fixed sum per chapter but a yearly subscription fee instead.

I've been toying around with this idea for a long time now. Right after the release of the Wormworld Saga App I started to discuss a web version of the app with the developers because after a short time it was pretty evident that there were a lot of people who'd love to see the special content but just didn't own the neccessary tablet device to run the app. However, the additional investment wasn't something I could afford and I didn't want to start yet another kickstarter campaign for something like that.

It was in the end of last year that it dawned on me that it couldn't be such a big deal to bring the content from the app to the website myself. Exporting an Artwork and Prelim version was a straightforward thing and the author commentary popups weren't rocket science either (I found a free java script for that in mere minutes of online research). The artbook content was already formatted in HTML so it could directly be displayed in the browser. The biggest hurdle actually was to set up a system that would control the access to the special content on the website. I had really no idea how to do that.

And that's when I had my big breakthrough. I new how to bring all the content to the website and it was only the access management that was blocking my way. I'm running an online forum for over ten years now and a forum basically is nothing else than a system in which registered members can access a database to post comments. The forum software was a free script that I had installed back in the days and I figured that there also must be scripts out there that handle stuff like subscriptions, membership and limited access to content. And you BET there's scripts for that out there! The big problem actually is to find out which one of them is suitable for your needs.

I've spent weeks of research and nearly had settled on a solution when I stumbled over another system which ultimately became my script of choice. If anyone of you should be looking for a subscription system my recommendation would be amember from CGI-Central. It was easy to install, easy to configure (with very basic CSS knowledge and a little bit of trial and error that is), and the price of $170 (for the basic version) is really fair considering that you're getting a highly advanced system in which you can set up different products and maintain the user database (including payment processing, email messaging and everything). I'm really happy with the script and the costumer support (a part of the script caused an error on my server and a fix for that was provided within a few days).

Well, and now everything is up and (hopefully) running. Instead of having to make a big investment into a "web app" I only had to invest about 200€ and three weeks of coding to set everything up. I'm really curious to find out how many people will join The Attic. If you're already using the App there isn't a need to subscribe because you can get all the content inside the app for a fixed price and keep it for as long as you want. But for people that are interested in the content and don't have the means to download the app, The Attic is a great alternative. And it actually is a good deal because for the initial subscription fee of 9€ your're getting the special content of the current 5 chapters (which alone are worth 15€) and at least two more chapters that will be released within the next 365 days.

I'm also starting to think about stuff that would make The Attic even more interesting for fans but these things will have to wait. I've had enough of coding and scripting during the last three weeks and I'm happy to start my work on Chapter 6 now. God, I will have to create a TON of concept art for that chapter. Good for you to know that now there's a place to find it! :)