We can't thank everyone enough for sticking it through with us. While there have been times when things got hard to manage, we've come this far, and are more committed than ever to see all development goals met.
The question, therefore, is how will this be done? This is especially significant due to the absence of Mote's project founder, who started all this with a clear plan of what he hoped to accomplish: a thriving community built around the application, and a self-sustaining network that brings everyone together.
Having worked on this project extensively in his absence, the team feels that the goals can only be met with a more pragmatic approach that will allow us to truly work on this in earnest. After much discussion, it is decided that we will be branching Mote into 2 distinct paths: A free version of Mote, represented by this public release, and what we will be calling Mote-X, the funded development version that will receive the bulk of all planned future features, moving forward.
The free version of Mote will now enter maintenance mode, shepherding it, with the community of users' help, in getting it to an ever more stable state. This is not to say nothing new will be added to the free version, because we will do so when needed, but the primary objective is to offer a stable application to grow our community with.
Development on Mote-X, and all related components, has been continuous over the past few months, in preparation of taking this next step. The goal is to make a compelling offering as a next-gen VTT with services, versus other virtual tabletops, and VTT services.
Funding derived from this plan will push the development of the Mote project to what we promised it would be: a multi-platform, mobile-ready, Virtual Tabletop that harnesses modern software technology in making the most powerful recreational tool for tabletop gaming out there.
The Mote-X application will be accompanied by web services that offer the best features of other VTT web services, for less. The first of these services will be our next Kickstarter, dubbed Project Sandstorm.
Sandstorm, in a nutshell, is a collection of servers that act as lobbies, manage game states, and handle all the session needs for connected Mote clients around the world. The flagship server is named Sonoran, and it is our main thrust in eliminating yet another inconvenience that left MapTool in the middle of the pack: connectivity issues.
This is a subscription service, which aims to be a reasonable choice for gamers who would rather connect through the cloud, everywhere. Both Free Mote, and Mote-X will be able to access the service, though what they access will, of course, be different.
Mote-X will have an outlined development road map and we will be crossing out each item, one at a time, all the way to project end.
The first on the agenda is to integrate the new client-server architecture that will drive the connections that interface with the web services. The current framework MapTool uses, which Mote inherited, is not suitable for the scale we have planned. Performance must be timely, and data transmission must be efficient, in both size and speed.
It is important that we must provide robust security for both the application, and the web services, while ensuring convenience and ease of use, on each turn.
The bulk of time between now, and the service launch, will be used on the development and rigorous testing of all the criteria mentioned above. The 2nd KickStarter will be for seeking support in acquiring the security, cloud hosting resources, and charged testing time, to make it all possible.
We truly value those who have supported us from the start, especially those who backed us up with maximum pledges, even when there was little we could offer them back then.
We are glad to say that all backers will receive a deduction in acquiring Mote-X, starting from it being free for our max level supporters, to varying percentile cuts all the way down to the first level of support. Once acquired, this purchase confers the benefits of (application) lifetime updates, and access to everything we have planned to it.
This period will be the lowest entry point for access. As Mote grows in feature set and outgrows its roots, the the adoption cost will likely rise accordingly.
Our 1st release for Mote-X will coincide with the launch of the Sandstorm servers. We will, however, release previews of major features of the application, whenever possible.
We have decided that it is not wise to rely on crowdfunding to support the future of this project. In fact, it may be one of the worst ways to achieve sustained development time.
Successful VTT projects currently in the market today are all supported by more reliable means, to ensure continuous development and sustainability, and we are determined to make our project a success, by the best means possible.
Still, there are advantages in running a campaign, if only to drive awareness of what we're trying to accomplish. It is our hope that more people, than not, will understand the choices we have made.
Users undecided of the future value of the project are invited to review Mote, which is already a fully functional VTT; the development roadmap outlined in our 1st Kickstarter and follow-up posts to this one; and the project's YouTube channel, once updates on features are added.
As Mote-X matures, we are confident that more and more people will see what it is capable of, and the value it brings to the tabletop.