Here are all the answers to the questions that most developers ask about the logistics of purchasing and using the HeroCloud, pretty much in the order they ask them.
* Yes, the HeroEngine is now available to all types of developers via the HeroCloud. The HeroCloud is simply the HeroEngine hosted in our cloud servers so that you don't have to manage your own hardware, builds, or IT department.
* We have 4 product subscriptions ranging from 99 dollars to 999 dollars, and 1 Development seat to 99 Development seats.
* You receive forum support and access to reference worlds and content created by the HeroEngine team.
* A HeroCloud Subscription gives your game middleware licenses from FMOD, SpeedTree, Awsomium, RAD Game Tools, FaceGen, and Umbra DPVS.
* We take 30 percent of your game's revenue but with that 30% we pay for operating costs of your game.
* There isnít a trial available for the HeroEngine. The HeroEngine is so good at making online games that it requires a real time connection to a server and a database. That combined with all of the 3rd party middleware licenses we give you, means that we canít give you a trial for free. So instead we keep the cost and barrier to entry very low at 99 dollars.
* It normally takes 2 business days for your world to come online.
* You can make any type or genre of game you like, but the HeroEngine only makes Online games.
* The HeroCloud has everything you need to make an online game except the manpower. You get: World building tools, servers, clients, hosting, bandwidth, billing, account systems, and a whole bunch of neat bells and whistles as well.
* We haven't really made any of the game for you, we have examples, and an extremely robust wiki, but the HeroEngine is an open book where you make all your own game systems and art. Yes you can make an FPS, yes you can have flying, yes you can have fast travel, yes you can make an asynchronous social game. The only things you'll have trouble making are games that simply are difficult to make work in an online environment, due to communication across the internet and player machine hardware. But with the template worlds, like the FPS template, you'll start with a large amount of game systems and examples already in place.
* In order to host and run your own servers outside of our cloud, you would need to purchase a HeroEngine Source License. The Source License gives you every scrap of code we have and lets you take your ball and go play by yourself outside of our account and billing systems. The lack of Source Code most notably prevents you from integrating additional 3rd party middleware. The current Source License cost is 75 thousand USD, with a 7% revenue share.
* We use Visa PlaySpan to provide 84 billing methods in 122 countries. They handle all the money. They handle the initial purchase of the subscription, and then using the same systems will handle charging your players. After financial transaction fees (credit card, mobile, facebook coins, paypal) you get 70 percent, we get 30 percent, and we have to pay all the costs for licenses and servers and bandwidth, so it's more like we get 12 percent, which all of a sudden feels like we are working way too hard for only 12 percent.
* You can extract (earn) money from your players however you wish: in game stores, microtransactions, subscriptions, download price, etc. We provide you with an Awsomium framework inside of your game to connect to the Visa Playspan payment system. So you can create in game stores, or can charge your players monthly subscriptions, or a combination of the two.
* You cannot wire in your own database or account system or billing system into the HeroCloud.
* You can distribute your game in any way you wish. Physical Media, 3rd Party Download, 1st Party Download, stand alone client, java based install, streaming stand alone client, etc.
* We also provide you with a website for your game's beta, complete with account systems and beta key code functionality. This same site functionality then becomes the basis for your game's "live" product, adding billing and account management. You can see some examples here: Games.HeroEngine.Com.
* You won't have access to a distributable player client until your game is ready for public testing. We start you out with a single development server in 1 of 4 regions. When you are ready to expand to public testing, and have a functioning prototype or vertical slice of your game, we work together with you to bring Production servers online in additional regions to fit your games' needs. Then we do the same thing when your game is ready to go live.
* The HeroEngine has no builds, everything happens and updates in real time.
* Switching from edit mode to gameplay mode is identical to running a player client with 16 MBs of extra overhead memory.
* We pay for all the operating costs, but beyond the initial testing and launch window for you game if you wish to grow your game or keep your game at a distribution level beyond what our share of the revenue can cover, then you would either need to scale your game back, or cover the costs yourself. Basically, if you want to have 1 million players, but not charge them any money, then you are going to have to cover those costs, or work with us to figure out how to generate revenue from your player base.
* The costs for hosting and billing and bandwidth are lower than industry standard due to our bulk pricing rates we receive.
* We do NOT currently have an FBX import pipeline. This means you MUST have at least one copy of MAX or MAYA in order to setup the Art Import Pipeline into the HeroEngine. Yes, we know some of you would like FBX support. Yes, we will be working on it. It's not like we don't want you to have it, it's just alot of work and a complete redo of much of the engine's art pipeline. We do NOT have a date right now for FBX support.
* Almost every problem you will have with setting up your art pipeline will be related to not changing the default paths and material names in Max or Maya. All things have to be unique, and paths have to match, no spaces anywhere in the path name. The easiest way for beginners to avoid mistakes is to put all of your models and textures in the same folder on your local machineís art depot, then upload them all to the same folder in the repository browser. This is not good game development methodology, but solves much confusion for developers not used to working in a versioned, shared, or online development environment.
* The engine allows you to import .ter (Leveller Format), and RAW format files from programs like World Machine. For small and starting out teams, there is no reason to start here. The world building tools in the HeroEngine are very powerful and useful, and you should get to know them before trying to bring in 1000 square kilometers of procedural terrain. If you plan to use a procedural heightmap generation tool, we recommend using World Machine, but we canít provide support for external tools.
* We make the extension interface (HEEI) source code available in your downloads page which will allow you to write and compile your own terrain import pipeline. This is expert level stuff, not for beginners.
* The Heroengine Extension Interface source code also allows you to write and run external tools, or import or export data to the engine.
* We have a number of recommendations on how big things should be in your game, and how many you should have of various things, and all the information is on the wiki, but these are recommendations for the game developers, and we don't know what and how you are making your game so can't be sure of what limits you should use. Your primary limitations are the speed of the internet and your players' minimum spec machines. If you have a 1 billion poly model, you just need to find the hardware to render it, and worry about if more than one person in your online game might stand next to each other with their own 1 billion poly model. If you are new to online development, dive into the wiki's to understand how server architecture and memory works, and what the overhead is that comes with developing an online game.
* You can use our Seamless 2.0 technology to make a huge world without borders or loading screens, or hallways and S-Curves, but you need to understand what you are building, and what processes you will be running on the server per area before you stitch together 600 areas. Let your engineers understand the engine before you build every inch of terrain you plan to use.
* We have an MMO called Heroes' Journey built in the engine, that was never finished, but all of its code and assets are running online and open for you to explore and to navigate different ways to build things in the HeroEngine. You are welcome to take any code you like and include it in your final product.
Additionally we also have a Social Reference game, and a Space Shooter Reference game, and a First Person Shooter reference game online, and all of those will be accessible via your game's HeroBlade Editor.
* We publish major updates to the engine about twice a year, and we plan on bringing in additional graphical features that average players' machines can now start to handle in an online environment, but in order to keep things safe and stable, this will be a long process. The Engine currently runs a clean and fast DX9 graphical engine. DX 11 support will be introduced when it makes sense for the user base, and has a wider adoption.
* Once your game is looking good, we absolutely want to be part of marketing it and getting it out there. After all, we don't make money if you don't make money.
* Making online games is hard. Most fail. Even with the most experienced developers. The HeroEngine makes making online games "almost" as easy as making single player games, but that still doesn't mean you don't need to be thinking big picture about how you are building your game. And remember, alot of the ways things work in engine are specifically because it only makes online games, and does it amazingly well. Ask in the forums, search endlessly in the wiki, and you'll get a game out the door if you stick with it.