Crayon Physics: Pay What You Bloody Want

By Alec Meer on January 8th, 2010 at 9:55 am.

Goo did it. Radiohead did it. Even educated independent PC videogames do it. This time, it’s Petri Purho’s Crayon Physics deluxe – yours for however much you care to pay for it. 10p or 10 pentasquilliongillion Venusian sex-dollars, whatever you feel it deserves/are comfortable with. It’s a strategy that worked out pretty well for 2D Boy when they did the same thing with World of Goo last year, despite the vast majority of folk offering insultingly but inevitably low tithes. Be interesting to see if it plays out as profitably for Sir Purho; while his game certainly isn’t the out and out triumph that Goo was, it’s a fun and inventive science’n'creation puzzler that’s certainly worth a punt in this mega-deal. Which lasts only until January 15th, so hurry.

In other Super Indie Game Deal news, if you preorder both Natural Selection 2 and Overgrowth at once, you get ‘em both for pretty much the price of one. More on that in tomorrow’s Bargain Bucket, and videos of all three games I’ve whiffled about here are below the cut.

Here’s Crayon Physics Deluxe, replete with calming music:

And here’s the Overgrowth/NS2 deal trailer:

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71 Comments »

  1. Rinox says:

    I like it and I might pick up a copy for a friend at around 5€, but all things considered these kinds of sales feel like asking for trouble or at least opening yourself up to inevitable disappointment.

    The internet’s anonymity doesn’t really give an incentive to pay more than 0.01 eurocent. But if he would be selling the game personally irl with face-to-face contact, the majority of people would feel obliged to pay at least a few euro/quid/bucks. Funny how that works. Either way, hope he can make some good cash from it…liked Crayon Physics a lot. If I had a kid, I’d put them right on it.

    • gulag says:

      The 2D Boy example says otherwise.

    • Rinox says:

      Yeah, I know it was a success, but still. Would the buyers who paid 0.01 to, say, 2 dollars (the overwhelming majority) ever have bought the game anyway if it had been on normal price or a ‘normal’ sale? I fail to see how it beats a regular crazy-holiday-steam-sale system…just brings more copies on the market and maybe even sparks more piracy (more torrent versions, as the people who don’t like to pay for games are quite often, you guessed it, pirates – not the Somalian kind).

      The only benefit seems to be to give those people who already bought a copy to pick a cheap second one up for a different OS/system and those who like to reward the company for being so open-minded.

      Gah, I’m sorry, I don’t want to be so negative about it. It’s a lovely initiative for sure. I just can’t stand the knowledge that 70% of buyers will pay jack all for the game, even if it’s likely to be a financial triumph for the developers regardless.

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      I wish I oculd reply to reply. But anyway, your assertion that this sale will increase piracy doesn’t make much sense. How will having more copies out increase piracy? You only need one copy on the torrents and any pirate who wants to download the game can download it. It’s not like having more torrents of the game will make it easier to pirate.
      What could happen is that people who didn’t already know about the game will see the new torrents being put up and decide to pirate the game. These people would never have bought the game in the first place because they wouldn’t have known about the game at all if it weren’t for the torrents (If they did know, they’d either have bought it, or already pirated it, no?). Therefore, no lost sales, which means no effect on the developer’s income.

    • Rinox says:

      I would argue that more seperate torrents will make it easier to pirate, but you may be right in general, perhaps it doesn’t increase the chances of the game being pirated. Btw, I want to clarify that I don’t think the developers would suffer much financially anyway, as you said pirates are often people who wouldn’t have bought the game anyway. But for the developers’ own well-being (can’t imagine it’s motivating to see your game being torrented everywhere) and for the already distorted image of PC gaming it would be damaging.

      Either way, picking up a copy for a friend.

    • Gorgeras says:

      Piracy isn’t the issue; lost sales is. But that is a question that is different for every game and for every game it’s an up-in-the-air unanswerable until someone comes up with a way of accurately measuring how many would pay if piracy wasn’t an option.

      The important factor is net gain VS net loss and these type of sales have shown to be dependable net gains for content producers. Some people pay a penny just to try it out and then buy it again for a bigger price to support the content producer, greatly exaggerating the number of people that paid the minimum.

      It’s a strange quirk of the psychology of capitalism: there are so many things which companies could make much bigger profits on if they sold them cheaper, allowing more people to buy more units. But brain academic people found that when something is cheap, people think it’s not as good as something that is expensive; they have no idea of the actual value of their money. Manufacturers also like to think their goods are of high quality, so they put the price higher too in spite of all the evidence that they could make more money if they sold it cheaper.

  2. damien says:

    i always wonder about the merchant fees on sales like this.

    • user@example.com says:

      Basically, if you pay less than $0.35ish, the developers get nothing. They don’t have to pay anything even if your payment doesn’t cover the minimum transaction fee, which some people were worried about, but if you don’t want to pay more than that, just pay $0.01 – anything between the two is just giving money away to a third party.

  3. Irish Al says:

    It’s worth 10 rats for the music alone.

  4. Jezebeau says:

    I think it’s great that it’s generating extra business, but I’m zero-for-three on these deals (you forgot the recent similar sale on Immortal Defense). If only an indie developer would do this for a game I haven’t yet purchased.

  5. Vague-rant says:

    Guesses on the percentage paying $0.01? Closest person wins… a copy of Crayon physics.
    Just kidding… (also irl or not I’d still feel guilty for paying that amount)

    Anyway, fun game, but it really made me wish I had a tablet…

  6. Alexander Norris says:

    How much is it usually? I don’t want to pay 1p, but I can’t really afford more than £5 these days. :(

  7. Risingson says:

    Just paid 15 $. I think the game deserves it and more.

  8. Carra says:

    Alerady got it in a direct2drive indie bundle deal.

    It has a great idea but the implementation isn’t that great. The same solution works for most missions. I think this game would have been better of with less levels which need some real thinking instead of dozens of levels you finish in a minute.

    • Risingson says:

      The same solution works for all the puzzles if you want to do so. It’s like finding a door in a game and always choosing to break it. What I liked most about Crayon Physics is how it lets you play with your imagination and the physics engine.

  9. Sean w/o an H says:

    I’m not sure about the euro-conversion, but when the Immortal Defense sale was on, the author said that Paypal takes $.31 (plus commission) on every sale… not that he owes money if it’s less than $.31, but rather that he saw no money from paypal on that sale… I’d imagine the same thing is going on here.

  10. Scythe says:

    Incidentally, if you’d already bought NS2 in either standard or special editions, you’re eligible for a free copy of Undergrowth. I registered and got my key, haven’t installed it yet.

    –Scythe–

  11. terry says:

    I had reasonable amounts of fun with the demo so I’ll pick this up for a song. I take it the key you get can’t be plugged into Steam?

  12. Rosti says:

    Ta for the heads up – I’ve decided to find out if it’s worth $11. [That's ridiculous. That's not even funny.]

  13. itsallcrap says:

    Um… wait I gave them money… now what? All I got was a PayPal reciept.

    Hmph.

    • Tei says:

      itsallcrap:

      wait, you will receive a email with the download link and a secret key.
      if nothing happends, you can buy the game again, this time for 0.01 $ (-:

      I have paid $3.33, since the core game feel to me like somewhat limited… but I only played the original version, not the full, so maybe the full let you draw something else than box.

    • itsallcrap says:

      Wait, no, ignore me. Hotmail decided my download link was spam.

      All good now.

  14. Jayt says:

    if you have preordered either NS2 or Overgrowth previously your eligible for the other game for free as long as your redeem during this deal

  15. Premium User Badge

    Wisq says:

    Maybe all these crazy Steam sales have spoiled me, but the notion of effectively paying $20 each for pre-ordering two games of unknown final quality (and the promise of moddability), one of which I hadn’t planned to purchase (or even heard about) in the first place, has me hesitating quite a bit.

    Granted, I put down $20 for Achron (plus the whole alpha-build deal), but that’s a title I had been following for almost a year.

    Still, I’ll probably do it. I’ve got some pretty fond memories of NS1 — and if these engines ends up spawning anywhere near the same quality of mods the Half-Life and Source engines are known for, then they’re worth grabbing for those alone.

    … Okay, so I went ahead and bought it. I think it was the special edition’s black marine armour status symbol that pushed me over the edge. I feel so dirty.

    • Wulf says:

      I want a shiny, spiffy looking, special edition Oros. :< It's a shame that only the filthy human scum* gets special edition material.

      On a more serious note, I think it’s due to the pedigree. Both Lugaru and Natural Selection were amazing, and these are dev teams that people tend to trust, they’re not really a nobody firm, they’re very public, friendly, and usually we have it on good faith that the money we given them will allow them to continue working independently on new and brilliant gaming ideas, rather than them just getting fat off it. I’d usually balk at $20 for a title too, but I trust these guys, of both teams, and I think that a little funding won’t hurt.

      Plus, I don’t think £14-15 is too much for a game, that’s within my impulse buy range anyway, and there are certainly indie games that ask a lot more. Trine was £35 at launch (I’d never pay that!), and the void is £20 all by its lonesome (I waited for a Steam sale for that one as I think it’s overpriced for what it is). So high prices aren’t unheard of in the indie scene. But £15 or below I can live with, especially if the developers have somehow previously proved themselves to me.

      Plus, I have to say it, the friendly nature of Wolfire makes me want to believe in them. It’s hard not to. And I’m not just talking about the hilarious videos and such now, but in general they’re just good guys. From the little things I’ve seen them say on their forums and all I get that vibe. I get the same vibe from Runic, which is why I was happy to pay around the £14-15 mark for their game (before it saw some crazy price-cuts and sales).

      And, I’m going to go on a bit of a tangent here, you can stop reading if you like!

      [TANGENT]

      Wolfire has earned a special place in my heart though, for there was one time during the development of Lugaru where someone accused them of developing “furry filth” games, or something of the sort, and how they felt about their work being related to furries, and whether they were furries. They pointed out they weren’t, that much I knew, but they then went on to say that they felt that furries were a decent group of people who’re unfairly persecuted by idiots who can’t understand people who’re just a little bit different.

      Stuff like that could make a developer unpopular, but they dared to say the right thing, in the face of that. And little things like that I remember.

      Not exactly a furry myself, more a werewolf fan, but I have plenty of furry friends and I get tired of the midget-minds who toss around things like “furfag”, because people have feelings. Wolfire could have gone for “the lulz” and done the same, thus garnering wider popular appeal, but they didn’t. Go them.

      [TANGENT ENDS.]

      When it comes to luxuries though, everyone has their own, personal limit, yanno? Don’t feel bad for having your own. As I pointed out to TotalBiscuit long ago, what is and is not affordable is all dependent on income, and how much luxury money a person has to throw around, what could be spent on one game could be used to save for something you really want, and there’s no shame in doing that.

      But in plumping for the deal, you’ve given money to some pretty great guys who’re sure to deliver a grand amount of enjoyable gaming time. They’re deserving of your support, so you can feel good abou that.

    • Wulf says:

      @My Post

      I forgot to follow up on my *. >.>

      * Tongue in cheek, ladies and gents! Tongue in cheek.

  16. Shadrach says:

    About time I got this one, been thinking about it for some time. Paid €15, seems fair.

  17. Sam Bigos says:

    When does the NS2 alpha start and when does the beta start? Is undergrowth worth $20?

    I’d probably buy it if there were some dates or actual gameplay footage on the website.

  18. Rane2k says:

    Nice, I remember playing this at a LAN with a friend, laughing our asses off at the ludicrous creations we built for the simplest levels. :-)

    I think it´s worth $4, bought!

  19. Jeremy says:

    What is this Overgrowth? Has nothing been posted on RPS about it? It looks like “Watership Down” — the videogame.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      It’s the sequel to an indie game called Lugaru that came out a few years ago about kung-fu fighting anthropomorphic animals. Lugaru had a pretty deep and cool combat system. Overgrowth is essentially Lugaru with a shitload of technical innovations – procedural animations, that sort of stuff – and even deeper combat gamelay.

      It should be pretty good if Lugaru was any indication.

  20. Jessica says:

    When games do things like this it somehow makes me want to pay them. :)

  21. Premium User Badge

    Schaulustiger says:

    Damn, I spent all my Venusian sex-dollars on Venusian hookers yesterday :(

  22. Vinraith says:

    Well, that’s interesting. I played the demo for CPD awhile ago and was completely underwhelmed. Normally this kind of thing is a sure-fire way to get me to buy an indie game, and usually at a pretty good price.

    However, CPD actually isn’t worth anything to me, because even if I got it free I wouldn’t play it so what’s the point? So I find myself completely unmotivated to do anything about it. I always kind of wondered what would happen if a game I cared little about did this, I wanted to see if I’d be one of those $0.01 people.

    Turns out if I care little enough about a game that I can’t be bothered to pay real money for it, I can’t be bothered to download it either.

  23. Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

    I paid one whole shiny pound.

    There’s no way I’d pay real money for that. I mean, it seems pretty average. Hell, armadillos were much cooler.

  24. Jimbo says:

    PayPal rounded my 1 cent up to 1 pence! What a rip-off.

  25. starclaws says:

    “Makes an awesome gift” … After coming after Christmas… Ya.. ? Epic Fail?

    BUT BUT BUT BUT I RECOMMEND THAT THIS BE IN THE TOP 10 INDIE COMMERCIALS OF ALL TIME! Shits awesome ;p

    • Premium User Badge

      Maltose says:

      It could be a birthday gift. Or you could just hold on to the key and wait until an appropriate gift-giving holiday comes up. No one ever said you had to gift it now.

  26. Tyshalle says:

    I love how all of these companies are doing these deals like a week after I pay full price for them.

  27. Lucas says:

    That’s pretty much my rule of thumb: if its worth my time to play, its worth my money.

    CPD looks like a cute take on the 2d physics sim genre, but is it a good game? If nothing else the drawing interface looks nice.

  28. RiptoR says:

    Crayon Physics Deluxe is a lot more fun if you have a tablet pc, or a pentablet. Drawing stuff with the mouse feels unnatural and takes away a lot of the experience of the game.

  29. Rane2k says:

    Okay, I lost half my afternoon to this, and I have to say, it doesn´t happen often that a game makes me giggle like a little child. :-)

    The rockets combined with ropes are just awesome, when stuff flies around totally out of control (and not really where you wanted it to be).

  30. Matzerath says:

    It’s a fun game, you’d be a fool not to purchase it for whatever chosen price you deem fit.
    AND – if you find it too easy, there a compilation of fan made levels in the site forum that up the ante quite nicely.

  31. RogB says:

    kotaku article comments make me very sad
    http://kotaku.com/5444496/pay-a-penny-for-crayon-physics

  32. Avşa says:

    Good work my friend.Nice post.Thank you very much

  33. Sandra says:

    I personally had a lot of fun with it!

  34. Avsa says:

    Great blog.thank for information.i wish you success.

  35. Mandy says:

    Great nice information thanks for sharing your new learning..

  36. Julie says:

    Excellent post. Really i didn’t know anything about crayon physics before reading it. Thanks for sharing.

  37. Katie says:

    Nice Videos, It’s a strange quirk of the psychology of capitalism.

  38. Jackie says:

    WOW. Now i know a little about crayon physics after reading this article. I didn’t even know there was a subject named crayon physics!

  39. Kerry says:

    Actually some people pay a penny just to try it out and then buy it again for a bigger price to support the content producer.

  40. Monica says:

    Very innocent, creative and beautifull indie game….. :)e rest of 2010! So yeah lol =]

  41. Rebecca says:

    Great blogging tips. Have more trouble managing my blog than I do with writing blog posts about on crayon physice pay what you bloody want. This helps out immensely.

  42. Sierra says:

    I want it too! I’m gonna pay $20? :D I love this game!

  43. acoustic guitar lesson says:

    Thanks for the great technical post. You just cost me a bundle… and I’m loving it.

  44. avşa adası says:

    Great blog.thank for information.i wish you success.

  45. Erica says:

    This game is worth a penny! I am not really familiar with crayon physics but this post has told me details all about it. Very creative and cool!

  46. Sandy says:

    Well, I pay full price for them.

  47. best interest rates on savings says:

    It looks like a really cool game. I like the payment idea

  48. Becky says:

    Wow, I’ve got some pretty fond memories of NS1 — and if these engines ends up spawning anywhere near the same quality of mods the Half-Life.