This, I hope will be short and to the point.
This week, Moviestorm announced a new pack, euphemistically called "After Dark", but will, I fear, become known colloquially as the Porn Pack. I was infuriated! But why?
Well, it's not because I'm some sort of narrow-minded prude, (an accusation that can hardly be made of anyone who lists A Clockwork Orange among their favourite movies).
No, it's partly because over the past couple of years the modding community have been constantly knocking on Moviestorm's door, desperately crying out for the tools that would allow them to create their own animations, costumes, animated models. Now anyone that knows anything about technology marketing will know the importance of establishing an active and enthusiastic community to get behind and promote your product - in fact the importance is explained very well in Geoffrey A. Moore's book Crossing the Chasm. This is the first book you read when learning about technology marketing. Without building this community, no matter how innovative your technology is, you'll probably fade away. (A great contemporary example is Apple and the way they built a huge developer base for apps, which in turn increased the reasons to buy iPhone / iPod Touch.)
Now, I don't count myself among the modders (for me, importing the occasional model from Google isn't really modding). But I sure want that community to develop because:
a) I want Moviestorm to thrive and grow
b) I need more variety in my movies; more costumes, more animations, more expression in the models... basically all the things that people ask for after they've made their first movie
I had always thought that Moviestorm would be working away on SDKs (or whatever modders really need), and throwing their energy into finding a sales model that allows them to take a share of sales while mitigating any legal exposure (where there's a will there is a way). I believed this because this is a basic technology marketing requirement and I had assumed that it was due to the limited resources that meant it was taking a long time - and the problem of limited resources would be alleviated by having a large third-party development effort.
I also believed this because I know that the guys at Moviestorm are smart. There's no doubt.
But with the announcement of the Porn Pack it became immediately apparent that the development energies are being applied to just developing content packs, and therefore not opening up the platform to a hungry modding community, and all this within the limited development bandwidth.
So my first issue is that Moviestorm have got their priorities wrong.
What else troubles me about this pack? Well, I can imagine it will prove popular with spotty-faced teenagers keen to make grubby little skin flicks, and I'm sure they'll be able scrape together a few pennies to buy it. So it will sell, and Moviestorm will make some cash. But really, did we have to stoop so low Moviestorm? Wasn't it possible to do a "passion pack" which focused on animations that adults could actually use?
And finally, I think Moviestorm needs to show a bit of honesty. The description for the "After Dark" pack says "there is content here that will allow you to fulfill your artistic intentions." Artistic? Seriously? Let's have a look at some of the assets on offer (fnarr): naked female with morphable breasts, doggy position on floor (start, thrust, loop).
I've no particular issue with pornography - each to their own as far as I'm concerned, but if we're going to have a porn pack then for goodness sake call it what it is, and let's not pretend it's in any way high-brow.
Of course I may be proved wrong by someone doing a tasteful and artistic movie. But I doubt it.
OK, maybe not as short as I was expecting. But fairly to the point.