Dispelling Illusions: An Update on Arcana Labs

Last Updated: 2024-05-06 00:00:00 -0500

Over the last few years, I’ve been blessed to have the support of many friends, family, and individuals in the maker and electronics communities who were interested in my projects, in order to help keep the Labs afloat. A key part of that blessing has come through scheduled donations through various “support” platforms I’ve used in the past. However, I feel that something has changed which I need to be honest and up-front about, and which means I will no longer offer Patreon as an avenue to provide the lab material support. I want to be clear, this isn’t about not appreciating your support - this is about appearances and ethics.

Up until now - and even at the time of writing - a lot of the wording on the Arcana Labs website and in “About Us” tabs on half a dozen different sales and marketing platforms suggests that Arcana Labs should be thought of as a business. For most of the history of the labs, this thought was true. Sometimes explicitly, sometimes merely implicitly, I pursued some of the projects ArcLabs participated in with the hope that, if I just worked hard enough, just hit the right milestone at the right pacing, just got signal-boosted by the right person at the right time, I could turn Arcana Labs into a standalone business capable of supporting at least my “half” of the household expenses.

The fact is, that’s just not a practical feasability. It’s a level of hopefulness akin to the lottery player, and an attitude that generated a lot of friction and hostility between me and my projects. Especially since adding a subscription support channel like Patreon to the pile, it’s very much become a chore - rather than a hobby - to work on PETI and other “Arcana Labs” projects. Each month that I get the little notification email telling me my patrons’ subscriptions have been processed but I haven’t realeased some kind of update leaves me feeling like I’ve failed you all.

What I did was went into Patreon a few days ago - around the 20th of April - and “froze” payments until the end of march. I will shut the account permanently on the 9th of May, giving time for folks to read this article and give me any feedback they have.

Absent Patreon, I am still going to occasionally try to earn some hobby money through the lab. I intend to do this primarily by bringing another batch of the PETI development kits to market - finishing the 0.4.0 update will begin again in earnest this week, and I’m calling in a few favours to get unblocked on the debugging aspects. A Game for Scribes, the solo-rpg project I announced previously, is going well as well and will ultimately be available to purchase in print or digital format through DriveThruRPG as well.

Of course, I’m going to leave our other support channels open if you feel like putting a dollar or two in my cup along the way, but like I said, it’s just a bit too nerve-wracking to have that run on a subscription basis. My work is heavily dependant on the ability to focus my mind and to juggle the work with my responsibilities to my day-job; if I don’t have the energy for much else beyond subsistence-level housework and 44 hours a week of Starfield, the last thing I need to do is also feel like I need to justify that to someone else.

Again, I appreciate everyone who signed up for the Patreon when we opened it back in January for your generous and ongoing support.

If you wanted to show your support financially for Arcana Labs projects like PETI, but don’t need a virtual pet development kit, your best avenue is through the pathways detailed on our support page.


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