Restructuring Lab Funding
Last Updated: 2024-01-18 05:00:00 -0600
Those who keep a weather eye on the horizon that is the Lab Discord’s Announcements Channel will be less shocked by this news than others, but around Christmas time last year I got entirely too fed up with the use of my twitch profile to try and bankroll the lab, and I made a lot of grumbly noises about needing to change that pathway. Friends, let me bet the first to tell you that I’ve finally followed through on that mechanism.
Why Do The Labs Ask For Support?
I know I occasionally make sounds happen on this website that create the impression that Arcana Labs is a thriving business, but the fact of the matter is… it isn’t. A few years after we opened a UI/UX development agency started eating our lunch, in the form of using the same name; even without that, there’s not a hell of a lot of practical enterprise happening here yet. A lot of our early projects were entirely open source - and our main project, PETI, still is.
Things like PETI lend themselves well to commerce, and there’s been a plan for a few years now to eventually get PETI to market through our Tindie Shop, and some other things besides. But until those are ready to bring to market, the fact remains that this business of inventing and tinkering is far and away a net loss for me personally.
To be honest though, it’s not as much about the money as it is about the support - the same reasons I support other makers, videographers, and so on through their own respective avenues. Having patrons to be accountable to genuinely helps me stay motivated to work on these projects when there’s lower-effort seratonin available.
Introducing the New Arcana Labs Patreon
In keeping with the stuff I just said up above, today I’m introducing a new support channel for potential patrons to have a way to sign up to show recurring monetary support for the invention and creation work we do at the lab - our new Patreon Page. Patreon is going to allow folks to sign up to give a regular monthly contribution of an amount they are comfortable with on a recurring basis, and it’s going to facilitate me handing out perks like exclusive Illuminated Arcana flags, early access to videos and project materials, shop discount codes and all that in a really convenient way. You get to work with a trusted and established payment broker, I get to simplify managing my responsibilities to our recurring patrons, and life is better for everyone.
If you’ve checked out our support page before you probably knew we used Github Sponsors before today for much the same purpose. Frankly, Patreon just offers a better suite of capabilities for me personally as far as getting rewards into folks’ hands goes. This also offers a better avenue than relying on twitch subs because while Patreon obviously does take a portion of your contributions, it’s much much lower - twitch takes nearly half. That’s even before we look at switching to a new git backend; it wouldn’t make much sense to use github sponsors if we aren’t otherwise github clients.
So, What’s Happening to Existing Github Sponsors?
There aren’t any, and haven’t been for a couple months. I shut down the github sponsors profile this morning, shortly before activating the Patreon page again (keen-eyed viewers may recognize it from a few years ago), changing up the reward tiers, and making this update.
What About Lab Streams?
Lab streams are probably still going to happen within the broader overall flow of my social use of the internet, but they’re no longer really a main focus of Arcana Labs, for a few reasons:
- The code I write during lab streams has, historically, been terrible and usually requires rework
- The projects I’ve been working on deserve better and more permanent videos with actual production attention rather than a collection of livestream highlight clips.
- Forcing a certain schedule of lab streams has historically slowed me down rather than causing me to do more work.
I’m still going to be live streaming and there are still regularly going to be public and sponsor-only “co-working” sessions, but I want to discourage people from using Twitch as their main support vehicle for me and the lab. If you really want to use our fancy subscriber badges or the lovely collection of custom emotes that comes with being a subscriber on twitch, go for it! I appreciate your support! But if you want to support me in the lab endeavours specifically, consider our patreon. Papa Bezos has enough money already, but he’s going to usually take more than half of what it costs you to subscribe to my channel, and that’s just not fair to either of us.
A Peak Ahead to Spring
While the new pattern of streams is likely to begin as early as next week - this week is Awesome Games Done Quick, a week-long charity speedrunning marathon - I wanted to take a second to look ahead to what I’m working on under the cover of my “winter of footings” which you guys can look forward to launching later this winter or early spring:
- A “recap” video posted to a more permanent location highlighting the PETI project up until now;
- The relaunch of our Illuminated Arcana puzzle platform, including a new patron-exclusive series of flags, and;
- The launch on our web store of parts-and-boards kits for the PETI Development Kit (Revision B/D), hopefully also including a new firmware release, just like I talked about all autumn.
I personally am reaching a point where I really need my life to focus much more strongly around the kind of creation that the Labs represent for me and it’s my hope that with your support and encouragement I can dedicate more and more of my time to the Lab, and hopefully get this enterprise to the point where I can say I’m an inventor first, and whatever my day job is second.
If you wanted to show your support financially for Arcana Labs projects like Piminder or PETI, but don’t need a virtual pet development kit, your best avenue is through the pathways detailed on our support page.