The future of GameMaker Server
This August marked the 10th anniversary of GameMaker Server. It has been amazing to see how far my project has come in those 10 years. What started as a barely-functional prototype running on a laptop via WiFi, has grown into a system that is used by tens of thousands of people all over the world every month.
As time went on, I had less and less time to spend on GameMaker Server. The rewrite that I started in 2015, and expected to have long finished by now, kept getting delayed and delayed. But I always expected to be able to finish it some day. Unfortunately it seems that I have run out of time.
Because of my new job I can no longer accept money for GameMaker Server, starting January 20. Now that money is out of the equation, some other things have become much clearer to me as well. The difference between a hobby and a job is that for hobbies you can do what you want, while for jobs you do what someone else wants. GameMaker Server was essentially (and still should be) a hobby. 10 years ago, I wanted to make MMOs. Since there was no good extension to do so, I made one myself. I made what I wanted. However, nowadays I have different interests. Building the rewrite is building something I no longer want to use. That's a job, not a hobby.
GameMaker Server never made enough money to be able to stand on its own. It survived because it was a hobby. On top of that, it has become a lot more complex to run online services with laws like the GDPR (which I do consider to be a good law, regardless) or the upcoming "Online Safety Bill" in the UK and similar initiatives in the EU. By now, GameMaker Server should be a small business, but doesn't make enough money to be one.
That said, the money I received has helped keep GameMaker Server alive for all these years. With help of many of you I've been able to pay for server hosting. If I had to cover those costs myself, I think I would have had to shut it down years ago.
The site and multiplayer servers will still remain online for now. I am committing to keeping GameMaker Server running until at least the end of 2023. I am hoping to keep running the service well beyond that, for as long as people are still using it and as long as I have the money to do so.
The rewrite, as I imagined it 5 years ago, isn't feasible anymore. Maybe I'll release some small parts, but there will not be a worthy successor to GameMaker Server. If I ever get a chance, I'd like to try and launch a small company and see how far I get. But it seems very unlikely that will ever happen.
I imagine some of you will be disappointed. I sure am. Sorry. This is not the way I wanted things to go. Unfortunately I see no other way forward.
To everyone who was here for (part of) the ride: Thank you! It has been amazing to see my project grow into something so big thanks to all of you. Some of you made great games, others spent hours (or sometimes more like thousands of hours) playing them. I'm glad you were all here.
Last message on 11 Jan 2022