Build to .exe // no client-side license

Recently as my clients getting more projects delivered to them with Unreal and Unity they fall in love with idea of them getting just a standard .exe file that just works as expected and they don’t need to worry about anything else.

Here’s how it works now: as a developer I either have to tell all my clients “oh, yes you also need to buy td license and register it under your email account” which sounds uncool because we are trying to deliver full turn-key system (and clients hate the fact that they need additionally to pay for a license on top of everything). So the second option is to activate client’s license under your account. Which gives you a headache in the future in situations like client want to switch machines, or they reinstalled windows and didn’t know that they need to deactivate license prior to that etc.

I already have one major client that I delivered 6-7 td installations to said to me “I want you to switch for UE for upcomings projects because I love the idea of simply having an exe and don’t need to pay extra and maintain any licenses”

Also, formally you can’t buy a license under your account and have your client use it. Since formally it is your company who has the license for the software and playback not cloent’s company. I also had one major client turn me down because of this issue (they didn’t want to maintain and buy licenses on their own but they had legal problems with me owning their license)

Soooo. What I propose is for derivative to make some kind of enterprise license and all projects made with this license are:

  1. Delivered as a toe file for enterprise touchPlayer - which requires absolutely no registration steps, just download and use
  2. (Ideally) delivered as an .exe file

+1 for enterprise license idea. If you look at Notch price range there could be room for some more expensive TD licenses, which could maybe pay for some more c++ coders to push development forward, to keep up with render engines of Notch/Godot/Unity/Unreal.

+1

+1

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Love TD over game engines, but this is one of the main reasons why I recommend to my clients Unity if they need to build a permanent installation. Licensing breaks our development/deployment processes and it is difficult to convince the client to maintain a license.

+1

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+1 for exe and i like the enterprise-idea.

But for most of your problems I actually do not see a big problem.
First of all, you can use more then 1 version of TD on the same machine. So just keep one standalone installation per project separate and only use them to work on the specific project for the client. You can use all builds before the 1 year-limit of you activation. So even if you upgrade, you do not need your client to update also.

Second, just get a dongle for your client and sell it to them. They can change PC’s, reinstall as they want. The dongle belongs to them and no trace of the licence in your books. Easy enough. For multi-system-setups you can even load more then one licence onto a dongle and supply the activation for the other machines from on master running via network.

There CM sticks with up to 64GB available which don’t even need to install the software. You can create your portable version of, put it on the stick and create an auto-start file on the stick. So client gets the stick, puts it in an TD launches (in theory).

Sure, it’s 200 Bucks for a stick, but when you are selling 7 to 8 installations to them, it should not be a problem to also put this in.
Also keep in mind that for the clients, a TouchPlayer is often more then enough!

+1 //
an enterprise licence would be great.
delivering .exe file would be perfect ( and no need to care about the TD version installed on the client machine :slight_smile:
But hopefully more in the unreal / unity licencing scheme than notch.
You need to pay either 2500£/year or 6250£/perpetual to run notch on a single install. I don’t think my client are willing to pay such a high price.
Notch price range is fine for rental company doing live event but doesn’t fit most fixed installation budget.

I would like to add in my opinion it’s not fair to compare TD features (such as .exe creating) & license prices to current unreal/unity, as those last two both make millions from their asset stores ( and for Unreal also billions for microtransactions in Fortnite), so they can afford to give away their engine for free as a marketing tool, and at the same time hire hundreds of developers so they keep pumping out new features. This was not always the case - for instance Unity Pro used to cost 125 dollars per machine per month before they had a blossoming asset store.

So I would rather see Derivative earn enough money to enable them to be a healthy competition to other players in the market, and that will not happen if all the current commercial license buyers will switch to a single license in the same price range, while we also demand TD gets the same features as those other players who either a)ask a much higher license fee (all pro media servers) or b) make their millions on another way.(unreal/unity).

+1

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I think TD missing out on commercial creative application projects with the way the licenses work, it is too complicated for client deployment… the present approach is unfortunately a big turnoff for some clients, especially compared to the simplicity of a stand alone exe from Unity or Unreal, there must be a way to make it easier

+1

I’d love to have a path to release VR apps on steam, apps to sell on itch.io, etc.

Definitely +1 . This will be a game changer for Touchdesigner. I have the same kind of headache with my clients.

+1 and also adding some thoughts towards the larger picture issue or how it impacts licensing. As Idz mentioned, it’s a bit tough to subsidize when there maybe arent as many other revenue streams coming in.

One thing that I’ve been pondering is how to best represent TD work-life within the licensing structure itself. For example if you were to extrapolate professional life from the pricing tiers of softwares you could say something like

Notch: High pricing of pro tier because pro revenue is likely recurring (events/media server rentals), and only a small number of licenses are needed (unlike installations where you need to just drop a license)

Unity: Free unless you need team collaboration, project management integration, or want Unity engineering support, so essentially the story they’re telling is that the “pro scene” has a pretty clear divide between individuals and companies, and all companies will be paying 125$ for help dealing with collaboration on their team and wanting their PMs to have easier time, and for everyone else, just getting you to use it for free over Unreal is worth it to them.

Unreal: 5% royalty on your games…basically only big companies are going to be paying so they don’t get sued, and as such everything unreal is catered to enterprise usage and AAA-sized companies, which you can see by their “pricing” page being this jargon-y mouthful: unrealengine.com/en-US/release But they also own fortnite…so…

Max MSP: Cheap perpetual license until next big version, even cheaper yearly subscription, and even cheaper monthly sub. Yearly new release (I think?). So essentially they want a high volume of individual artists to be able to afford a license for their systems and they want those artists to have no reason to not upgrade every year. At that point they don’t care about “installations” per se as I believe Max runtime is built into the regular Max now (as opposed to being separate) so you don’t need a license per machine.

Obviously my reading into license models is tinted with my experiences and bias, but I think there’s also truth in that. If we then apply the same thought process to Derivative’s license model it’s a bit trickier but it feels like it represents the pro scene decently. It has the free version for getting started and bringing in artists, but it’s so permissive that similarly to unity I can imagine the number of people that just use that on projects. Then there’s the commercial license which is in that price range of individual pro range of 600$ a year, which is pretty reasonable considering the amount of updates, but I wish the 600$ were per person not per computer (or dongles were free), because the reality is most devs have multiple computers. Then there’s the big jump up to pro with a few features that real top-end folks and enterprises might need such as personalized support and frame sync and etc.

The only alternative I’d suggest to simplify our representation of the work-life of a TD pro would be to have something similar to a “dev/performance license” which is similar to commercial now which is targeted at anyone who has a license for working on their computers and then their work is just using that single license on performance machines or similar. Then a “deploy license” which is maybe more than “jsut one license” but is a package of licenses combined with personalized support + maybe built to .exe functionality and this would basically be companies and enterprises buying this to roll out installations, and you would price it at the point where the loss from licenses since you can build to exe is built in.

A very long +1 haha

+1
Without an option like this, Touchdesigner will remain limited to prototyping and bespoke installation / performance.

At this point it would be really nice to hear Derivative’s official position on the topic

I might be missing something here but I don’t understand the need for this. The main advantage I see to compiling standalone exe is a theoretically easier way to deploy projects. The licensing concern is secondary since licensing costs can be built into the project budget. At $300 it shouldn’t break the bank if you’re already sourcing new computers for deployment as well.

It would be cool if there was a feature that rolled a TouchPlayer instance with an installer for you as a deployment package so that you could just install one thing and be done.

I’d appreciate this feature too!

Maybe an additional per license charge for pro version holders [or something similar]

+1
I’ve been requested from multiple clients to sell them an app I developed in Touch which is a pain at the moment. Would love a way to easily package the app up for deployment and licensing somehow incorporated to make it easier for deployment and use by clients. Happy to support Derivative and pay for use… however would love to hear from Derivative on their view on licensing and if they are considering helping with commercialization of their users work and investment in Touch.