Ballsy: Proun Will Be Pay What You Want

I might not be able to play for just staring at it.

You may remember Proun, the puzzle racing game we first mentioned in 2009. The one with that blisteringly pretty trailer. The good news is, it’s out later this month, on the 24th. The better news is, it’s pay what you want. There’s an exclusive look at the new trailer below.

“So you can choose yourself how much you want to pay for it. Really like it? Pay me for it! Just want to give it a quick try? Then don’t pay and just download for free! Feel guilty afterwards because the game turns out to be more awesome than what you paid for? Buy it again!”

So explains Proun creator, Joost van Dongen, who will be giving a fifth bonus mini track to those who choose to pay. Six years in development during his spare time, van Dongen wants to ensure that everybody will be able to play the game, hence not fixing a price. It’s a relatively short game, he explains, but says mods are already appearing from the 10,000 people on the beta. But he also adds, “if you like hardcore twitch action, then getting highscores on the insanely fast highest difficulty will keep you going forever.”

And interestingly, a month after release the impossibly brilliantly named Joost van Dongen intends to release the sales figures, and how much was paid. It’ll be an interesting model for others who are looking at the pay-what-you-want model.

Here’s the latest trailer, and it’s even more ridiculously pretty than the last one (and for some reason reminds me of the art of Boring3D):


  1. gavintlgold says:

    Looks fun. The music kind of annoys me though–guess it’s the midi sax that does it. Still. I’d buy it.

  2. gwathdring says:

    That looks amazing. 4 player split screen? On a PC game? WOO!

  3. phosgene says:

    I really, really hope this guy makes a lot of money.

  4. Anthile says:

    This looks like some nifty hardcore Proun.

    • McDan says:

      I prefer gentle, romantic proun myself.

    • Protagoras says:

      As for myself, I deem elderly prune juice based proun to be the most satisfying of all. Such clear bowels have been said to invoke the smile of our lord!

    • DeathHamsterDude says:

      I’m not sure that Protagoras gets it . . . or maybe he gets it so well it’s on another level.

  5. Bhazor says:

    Ok the game looks gorgeous. But what the hell took three years?

  6. Nathan_G says:

    Looks great, really like the visual style. I shall pay at least a penny!

  7. Dana says:

    I admire the sales model, but its most likely like a sheep walking into wolf pack. Just look at Humble Indie bundle, pay what you want, for bloody charity, and it still got pirated as fuck.

    • CMaster says:

      Because it’s not like full-price games ever get pirated?

      I think people take really the wrong message from the apparent piracy stats of the humble indie bundle anyhow.

    • Wulf says:

      The Humble Indie Bundle was also a humongous success despite any piracy, that’s why there have been two sequels, and it’s also why there are people trying to riff-off of its success. The bundles were both real earners, and a lot of it was to do with how many people wanted to pay, and how many of them choose to pay a decent amount. (Quite a few!)

      I suppose part of the success of the Humble Indie Bundle might have been Wolfire though, they’re very likeable, but talking about the HIB alone, the piracy was irrelevant against the profits they made.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I think you have to fundamentally ignore a certain level of piracy. There are two groups that make up a very large chunk of it:

      1) Hoarders. People who download everything and maybe play for five minutes.

      2) Those too poor to pay, many of whom are in countries with low wages.

      Once you’ve acknowledged that you’re never going to reach those groups, they were never going to be customers anyway, then you can talk about the rest and what to do about them. Simple statistics don’t tell the whole story.

    • John Walker says:

      The Humble Indie Bundle was pay what you want. So essentially free if chosen. And made over $300k for every developer. I think ” massive success” might be the words you were after.

    • CMaster says:

      I’m not entirely sure how they defined the difference between pirates and people downloading the game multiple times (across different formats or for their netbook etc). (They may have had a way of doing so, but I don’t think so, hence why they couldnt stop people using their servers to “pirate” the game. Introversion made a similar error before, basing the piracy for one of their games on the number of times that the patch was downloaded over the number of copies sold. Only thing is, I’ve downloaded said patch at least five times – but only bought the game once). Second, in the case of something where you could have paid just $0.01, there are doubtless lots of kids out there that would have done exactly that – but as kids, they don’t have a credit card. So someone shares the DL and they just grab it anyway. Is that right? Is it very different to just paying the non-amount anyway?

      Anyway, as we (should) all know, numbers of pirates are completely irrelevant. What matters is sales. Evidence is that with enough publicity, PWYW can cause very impressive sales.

    • Dana says:

      @CMaster, Wulf. TillEulenspiegel, John Walker
      Im not talking about piracy or sales per se. Its more like my general feeling towards such initiatives. I guess.

    • Muzman says:

      The Humble thing was the pack that was tied to Portal 2 marketing somewhat, wasn’t it?
      Was it doing just as well before that?

    • Anthile says:

      Muzman: No, that was the Potato Pack. The Humble Indie Bundle was pay-what-you want and you were able to choose how much of the money you wanted to give to developers and charity organizations.

    • phlebas says:

      No, that was the Potato Sack, an indie bundle on Steam. The Humble bundles were DRM-free, pay-what-you-want bundles of indie games.

    • Muzman says:

      Ahh yes, now I remember. Thanks folks

    • Jimbo says:

      Yep, they made a lot more out of selling charity than they could have done from selling their games. Not especially humble, but they demonstrated a masterful understanding of the indie market and manipulated it brilliantly to make themselves a lot of money.

  8. Muzman says:

    Take out the ‘van’ and you’ve got yourself a great cod-Dutch porn name (“but without a van”, they cry, ” where are we going to shoot the video?”)

    Anyway, always wondered what became of this. Looks even better than I recall. I wonder how many games can say they’ve been in an art exhibition (probably more than one might think. But how many before they were even released)?

  9. JohnnyMaverik says:

    Not a bad move, the humble indie bundles have shown that with the right publicity and the right games these kinds of deals can be hugely successful.

    I’m not saying this will hit those kinds of numbers (could do), but I see no reason why they won’t make a fair amount from it.

    The game looks great, as a noobie 3D artist it’s awesome to see this kind of abstract landscaping being explored, definitely interested in playing around with the mod tools. I’d pay at least a tenner for it.

  10. Jim Rossignol says:

    Now that is a trailer.

    • lasikbear says:

      Really hope he goes the Dungeon Siege 3 route for the next one. He can wear all white and roll around on the floor of a modern art museum.

  11. Wulf says:

    I very, very much want to play this game.

  12. Jumwa says:

    I’m intrigued. Not enough to pay up front, but I’ll give it a try and if I do end up playing it for more than 5 minutes, then gladly toss some money in for it.

  13. Petethegoat says:

    I spent twenty minutes bewildered, looking for where I could buy it.

    • John Walker says:

      If only we’d mentioned the release date in the article or something!

    • Protagoras says:

      My god, making mention of a future date, and suggesting that you have fore knowledge of the events occurring in such a date? Such blasphemy was not heard in these parts since the burning of the he-witch kairion galioun, not half a year ago! I suggest you revoke any ties you have to the devil, and cease any and all of this wretched spellcasting and foretelling!

      Your eternal soul lies at stake!

    • Petethegoat says:

      Mocked by John Walker: this is a new low. :(

  14. Squishpoke says:

    This looks SO COOL. Especially the “race ALL of your ghosts” thing.

  15. AndrewC says:

    I think ball rolling games are the secret best genre ever. From Marble Madness through Kula World, Marble Blast Ultra and Super Monkey Ball to Rock Of Ages and now this. All hail the ball. John do a retrospective! Make it DEFINITIVE.

    Oddly, I have little time for Pinball games.

  16. inertia says:

    I guess the real problem with Pay What You Want is that it’s far too easy to just give him all my money, which is what I wanna do after watching that trailer. :(

  17. cliffski says:

    Am I the only one unsure what the player does in this game?

    • Ephaelon says:

      Well, the obvious was that you can control the ball (or the world!) to rotate left or right around the rail. Then when it mentioned racing, I concluded that you could control your own speed too, at the risk of slamming into an obstacle.

    • Protagoras says:

      No. I was also unsure as to what the players does.
      Suddenly, I was struck by sudden realization that I, in fact, posses the mechanism to receive and interpret electromagnetic waves in the visible light spectrum. With such awe and bliss did I start to use my electrochemical processing unit to make sense of said waves, and lo and behold, was a lead made apparent.
      A “puzzle racing game”.
      What is this, I wondered. Perplexed and vexed at my limited comprehension, I opted to use my “visual” method (as I deemed to call it) for the purpose of locating more information pertinent to the solution of this puzzle. Here I reached a dead end – the only other clue to the meaning of this so called “pazzel racying gaem” was in the form of a long string of pictures, each following the rest in rapid succession. And then it struck me. MY GOD! It was an animated representation of this “Gaem”!
      It seems that the purpose of this meticulously crafted, deviously made activity is to navigate the white object along a predetermined path, whilst avoiding other geometric phenomenon that appear to hinder the path. It is such a wondrous world where one can participate in such a miraculous and thought provoking activity – such a thing was beyond the realm of imagination not a fortnight ago, it seems.
      And so, does this long winded response provide any relief in making order of a chaotic mind-frame, such as one that gave birth to such a question initially?

    • Lambchops says:

      @ Kobzon


    • westyfield says:


      Of course it isn’t

    • Bhazor says:

      We are all genuinely concerned that Cliffski doesn’t understand this game.

    • cliffski says:

      well I was going to reply and point out how the ball itself never seems to exhibit any deviation from dead center, and thus its nothing like the marble madness I recall as the original rolling ball game, but then I realised there would just be more sarcastic posting, so fuck it.

    • adonf says:

      “I was going to reply and point out how the ball itself never seems to exhibit any deviation from dead center”

      I think it’s a cheat mode he made for the “impossible speed” segment, and just used in the whole trailer for convenience, but I’m sure the game will let you crash into walls.

    • Veracity says:

      You move the thing left and right around the other thing so it doesn’t crash into the other other things, innit? Prob’ly. What (besides difficulty setting) determines the thing’s speed along the other thing I’m not sure of, though. Presumably something, as you’re not really going to get that “ha! two hundredths of a second faster than Mr Wentleforth’s record of whitsun, 1884!” thing, otherwise.

  18. phosgene says:

    Oh yeah man. I love playing fast paced racing games while being completely reliant on a paradoxically too-sensitive while too-laggy gyroscope and mashing a horribly responsive touch screen like a shit-chucking ape.

  19. Outsider says:

    I’ll totally be buying this one. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! If I play it and feel 10$ wasn’t enough I’ll buy it again for more.

    • DrazharLn says:

      That’ll probably be my price as well. Game looks great fun.

  20. Wulf says:

    Not all of us use hummyboxes, of course. Some of us use completely mobile computers, with SSDs for speedy booting. I’d take a small computer over a pad any day, to be honest. Well, unless I’m specifically arting, then I’d take a pad over a computer any day, but that’s a very specific consideration.

  21. PudgeTheButcher says:

    this game needs more of realism, missing blood on screen when hit and amazing gun sounds, remember only 1 way to go and useless npcs and cutscenes, and i would call this a AAA game

  22. ulix says:

    I don’t get where the Puzzle-aspect comes in here.

    Its basically F-Zero 64/GX (at least some courses of it) with a different (very cool) artstyle.

    But sure, why not.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I don’t see anything beyond steering left and right to stay within the confines of a clear path, which makes it pretty much isomorphic to an old BBC BASIC game about flying down a canyon that could be typed in from a listing in one of the books I still have stashed upstairs.

      I’m not really getting the excitement here.

  23. Vinraith says:

    Looks potentially interesting. Barring the existence of a demo, I’ll probably play a few bucks, try it, then kick in some more if I really enjoy it.

  24. MajorManiac says:

    Love at first sight.

  25. nidzumi says:

    Looks really good. Can’t wait to get this one. Steam support though?

  26. Matt says:

    Fun Fact: Joost van Dongen is part of Ronimo Games, of de Blob / Swords & Soldiers / Awesomenauts fame.

    Also you can still play the old 2009 beta but it’s not as pretty or polished.

  27. Rii says:

    Almost all games are ‘pay what I want’, but it’s very unusual for a develop to recognise and embrace this fact. To reward them for doing so, I shall pay $10 for this game.

    One question: X360 pad support?

    • DrazharLn says:

      Not really, it’s either zero money or whatever they’re asking at the time.

    • Rii says:

      True enough. And of course that’s another reason why voluntary contributions are superior to standard payment models. What if you’re willing to pay for the game, but not as much as is being asked? Well, I guess the devs will have to make do with nothing and me without the game. That’s a win for everyone, right?

  28. danimalkingdom says:

    This game looks utterly wonderful, but can we insist that indie developers at least try and come up with better titles for the games they’ve spent so much time making?

  29. Dhatz says:

    thats exactly the only model i support.

  30. Jono00 says:

    5 bucks sound reasonable.
    If it ends up being really fun, $10 is also an option.

  31. Shadowcat says:

    Still looking awesome :) I hope it sells well.