By: Juan Linietsky Nov 23, 2018
It has been a year since we started actively asking for donations on Patreon (and other means). Thanks to that, I could work paid for an entire year so far (which has resulted in dozens of new features and me helping a huge amount of contributors).
Thanks to that, also, Rémi could also work full time since March and help ease the big chaos of our large number of contributors, as well as many of his dedicated project manager tasks which, as you can see, keep growing and growing:
And we could also hire Thomas Herzog to work heavily on both GDNative and OpenGL ES 2.0, which allowed us to lift a huge amount of work from our shoulders. The OpenGL ES 2.0 port is now almost complete and will be ready by the time 3.1 comes out.
You can read more about own past year on Patreon in Rémi’s recent retrospective.
Thanks to our very generous patrons, Godot 3.1 will be an amazing release, further closing the feature gap with the main commercial game engines and improving enormously on usability.
But it’s time to keep growing, so we have updated the Patreon Goals. Please keep reading to find out more about this!
Managing the money
So far, each time we proposed something, our community has been very generous matching the Patreon goals within weeks. We and everyone using Godot are very thankful. We always tried to be responsible and always ask only for the money we need.
The few times there was excess money, we tried to use it to help contributors cover their travel expenses every time we meet (usually one or two times a year during GodotCons, we mostly live far away from each other). Being able to meet face to face is incredibly productive as we can fix issues together, do improvements, and plan features in a much more efficient way. Many of the features implemented this year were planned during GodotCon 2018 in February. (BTW, the dates of GodotCon 2019 have been announced, check details here.)
As always, we do everything through the Software Freedom Conservancy, to ensure everyone that money is used transparently and for the benefit of the project. There is zero discretionary fund management with our donations.
Making better use of donations
We discussed all this year how we could make better use of donations (as in, besides hiring me and Rémi). We are always careful with asking for more (even though our community keeps growing) because we want to warrant that the money will be used efficiently and fairly.
While doing part-time hires worked well up to now, we don’t feel that this is fair to the community as a regular Patreon goal, as these hires don’t always work in areas that benefit everyone who is donating.
At the same time, we are still short on developers who can work more as generalists, diving into most Godot subsystems to do fixes and improvements. This can be evidenced by the large amount of issues assigned to me. As many of our contributors come and go (as in, for different life reasons they can contribute only for a limited amount of time or at a limited time of the year), we lack more time from veteran developers who can do work as needed in the many different engine areas. This often makes me and the other generalists the bottleneck when fixing issues for stabilizing the engine for new releases.
Added to this, Godot 3.1 will be a release that covers a much wider surface area of what our users expect, so we are not that much in need of new features any longer. The only really big feature planned after 3.1 is porting the rendering to Vulkan, due to the evidenced decay in OpenGL support (deprecated on Apple, constantly worsening driver support, etc.). Other than that, Godot needs mostly polish, smaller features, optimization and improving what is already there the most.
As a result, we believe it will be in the best interest of the project and community to change the focus and instead aim to hire some of our more veteran contributors full-time. Given their industry experience and the fact that they will quit a very well paying job to work for us all day, the cost will be considerably higher. Still, we believe this will be very worthy and should help speed up the project development a lot (especially all the polish and fixing most of the complex issues remaining).
Asking for a raise
Besides the above, both Rémi and I will be asking you, the community, for a small raise. We are currently at USD 3000/month (though you have to consider the high income taxes and cost of living in our respective countries, our families, and that Conservancy -like any charity- takes a 10% cut of the gross donation income too). We included that 10% share in the Patreon goals to clarify the numbers.
On paper, our contract is for 6-hour workdays. In reality, we work close to twice that much.
We work weekdays like any regular job, and we also tend to work on evenings and/or weekends (because this is when most Godot contributors have free time and we need to be there to help them the most), thus, devoting a big part of our life to the project. As soon as funds are available, we will ask Conservancy to raise our work hours on paper from 6 to 8 (so from USD 3000 to 4000/month) and not ask for further raises unless project funds grow considerably and we can hire a good amount of other full-time contributors.
Funding for new features
We will try to make sure that donations go to finance general development, bug fixing and polish. Still, the community may still be interested in funding work on specific features (e.g. support for the latest VR headset, ray-tracing, latest C# version or tool, etc.), which are generaly not of so much priority in our roadmap.
Many Godot features are already financed by third parties directly. Companies like Gamblify, Microsoft or Mozilla continue to hire or fund our contributors to work on them. Following this logic, in case some part of our community really wants to focus on a specific feature and wants to pay for it, we were thinking that separate crowdfunds could be set up if enough interest exists. This could allow hiring a contributor or setting up a bounty and would go via a separate funding channel than the main one.
Help us hire Pedro Estébanez!
We now want to hire Pedro J. Estébanez (RandomShaper), a long time contributor who has worked on everything, from mobile support to rendering and onion skinning. Pedro is an experienced and versatile engineer, so he can maintain and improve areas of Godot that currently lack a dedicated maintainer. We need him to build a bug-free engine on all platforms and across our supported features. Help us reach the next goal to hire him full-time!
Funding demo projects
The Blender project has successfully crowdfunded many open movies, where they use the donations to make an open source high quality movie for everyone to see and learn how it is made. In the same vein (though probably a bit more in the future when Godot’s feature set is more stable and we are focusing even more on polish and usability), we thought it could be really cool to explore this venue.
Seeing the source code and asset workflow of big commercial games is a rarity, so opening up this process more to Godot users (and at the same time, ensuring Godot works as best as possible in these workflows) would definitely be fantastic.
Godot is always open to corporate sponsors, as we believe that high quality, free and open source game technology is a vital asset to the game development world. Otherwise, a handful of companies would control who and how everyone makes games and then, the whole industry would have to pay them a tax in order to create content.
Even if your company does not currently use Godot, or only plans to use it in the future, don’t hesitate to become our sponsor and help make game development a place with more freedom for everyone.
As always, thank you infinitely for your support. If you aren’t yet, and it’s within your possibilities, consider becoming our patron and help make Godot better, faster.
Source: Godot Engine Official