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Feedback LootLocker, the indie game backend

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by LootLocker, Apr 20, 2021.

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  1. LootLocker

    LootLocker

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    Oct 14, 2020
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    Hi!

    We are Alexander, Andreas, and Tobias from LootLocker (www.lootlocker.com), a new game backend platform designed for indie developers. We’ve been around for about a year now but wanted to wait to talk more about the service until we had a few games using it (which we do now)!

    So, we’re posting here as we’d like to hear your feedback, to answer your questions, and generally get a better understanding of your needs and challenges when building games. We want to make the best and most helpful service possible, so please be honest with us :)

    First, here’s a little bit about LootLocker:

    Why Indies?
    As former indie developers ourselves we know the challenges first hand of building games with limited resources. We also know that gamer’s expectations continue to grow, wanting games with more features and depth available on more gaming platforms; putting more pressure on small teams to deliver bigger, cross-platform experiences. Because of this, we have designed LootLocker to provide a wide variety of features that are all cross-platform and can be implemented and launched completely for free!

    That being said, our focus on indies does not mean that we can’t support big games, big teams, or high player counts - LootLocker is designed to scale to match any game’s growth.

    So, what does LootLocker do?

    Content Management
    Use LootLocker to manage in-game currencies, content (cosmetics, drop tables, loot boxes, rentals), small game files (e.g. game config, images, icons), cross-platform DLCs and the relationships they have with your players. LootLocker also makes it possible to support User-Generated Content in your game, including tools for moderating and curating the content.

    Player Management
    LootLocker opens up the possibility for cross-platform player accounts that can store player inventories, wallets, and other data like key/values, blob data, or file store (e.g. save game files). In addition to this, LootLocker helps manage these players with gifting and refunds, and a messaging system to post messages in your game (about updates, new content, etc).

    Game Systems
    Finally, LootLocker supports a handful of systems that can be used in your game to save time and make your life easier. Systems like leaderboards, achievements, progression, and collectables don’t need reinventing every time you make a game and can be more easily managed through LootLocker. Other features like character classes, triggers, and missions can add additional functionality to your game and make it more dynamic.

    Well, that’s what LootLocker does! It’s totally free to create an account and launch your game with, and you only need to start paying for the service when your game passes 10,000 active players each month.

    If you’re interested in using LootLocker, or just signing up and playing around with it, head over to www.lootlocker.com/sign-up

    You can also find all of our documentation at www.lootlocker.com/documentation

    And of course, we have a Unity SDK which you can download from our GitHub repository.

    So, what do you think? Is this something you could see yourself using? Is our pricing fair? Are there features that we missed? What are your challenges when developing games?
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2022
    Meltdown likes this.
  2. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Great to see another player on the market :) However, looks pretty pricey compared to competitors, given that the backend doesnt provide any networked game features such as hosting etc

    Right now unsure why you would pick this over something like playfab which is free until 100,000 users? But for sure if you have some answers as to why this would be a better choice despite the cost and lacking features, I am all ears!
     
    Meltdown likes this.
  3. LootLocker

    LootLocker

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    Thanks for your feedback!

    PlayFab is only free while in "Development Mode" which allows for 100k users (total, not monthly) and has a handful of API call limits once you dive into the documentation. While our threshold is lower (10k Monthly Active Users) we allow you to launch totally for free without any other limits. Our goal is to ensure that the backend never becomes a burden to you as a developer, so if your game's player base decreases in size and you fall below the threshold, you no longer need to pay - whereas with PlayFab (or our other competitors) you will still need to continue paying despite the game seeing less activity.

    You are correct, that we do not currently focus on multiplayer or server hosting. We think there are plenty of other platforms out there that do this really well and don't see a need to compete with them.
     
  4. MadeFromPolygons

    MadeFromPolygons

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    Thanks for the reply! Although I have to point out that recently when getting in contact with playfab, they made it clear that we can launch while in "development mode" and only pay once we go over the tier limit (so basically "soft launch" as the industry knows it) so their limitations are not as low as it sounds from your response :)

    Anyway seeing as its free to try out, will give your backend a spin and see what its like in actual use - we are not fully comitted to the PlayFab ecosystem just yet :D
     
  5. Le_Tai

    Le_Tai

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    I think the open core model is worth considering here. It too risky otherwise to make a product critically depend on a small provider. Worst case you go out of business and take me with you. Very probable case, your generous free tier might be removed or severely crippled, and it will be a lot of work to move to something else.
     
    MadeFromPolygons likes this.
  6. xjjon

    xjjon

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    Great to see more alternatives in this space, will check it out.. Currently we use PlayFab and consider PlayFab to be the best option for us.

    Couple thoughts:

    • Would be nice to have more description or direct link to documentation from the features pages. I wanted to know more details about what each one was, but had to look through the documentation. Some of the docs are nested so it makes it pretty hard to find (for example triggers).
    • What are the API limits for each pricing tier? Couldn't find any information other than the price per MAU.
    • Any support for event stream? I see feature for triggers but that seems to be for a different use case.
    In regards to pricing, as others have said it's pricy (although cheaper than some like GameSparks, $0.008 per MAU). I suspect that for many people, especially indie devs, price will be a big deciding factor. PlayFab is mostly free for the first 100k players, most games won't go over the allotted api limits anyway. They call it 'development mode' but you are OK to launch in that state.

    For us to pick something such as lootlocker, the selling point would have to be on the features (such as what it does better, unique features, etc).

    One of the best parts of PlayFab in my opinion is their awesome support (both paid and free). Their forums are excellent to look for help and ask questions. I see that there is a discord channel for lootlocker support but a forum or something may be more accessible (can't really search on discord, won't be indexed by search engine, and some people don't use discord, etc).
     
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  7. LootLocker

    LootLocker

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    Something we could look into down the line. At the moment, for users who are worried about us staying alive we can offer source code access to in the case the company no longer exists.

    Great feedback, thanks! We will make some improvements to our website to link to deeper explanations for each feature. I'll also add Event Stream to our roadmap - I think we have something similar already but with a different name.

    There are no limits for each pricing tier - this was an intentional move away from how many other backends currently price. Developers we have spoken to do not like API-call-based pricing as it's very hard to estimate during development and could force their hand later down the line. This is also why we choose the pricing we have, so that devs can launch for free and not worry about any limits that would hurt their business / game. $250 / month sounds like a lot, but if you have 50,000 monthly active users you are hopefully able to afford it and it should be a relatively small cost.

    We currently offer support through Discord as we use Discord for our internal communication as well. Eventually we could consider a forum, but for now we think it's more valuable to be able to directly communicate with users.

    If you're interested/curious, please join our Discord and ping me (Alexander) and we can set up a private channel to learn more about your game / feature needs!
     
  8. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    Is this a cloud service only, or is self hosting available? What happens if the service is shut down, like what happened with Parse?
     
    MadeFromPolygons likes this.
  9. Meltdown

    Meltdown

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    Nice to see another player in the space. I'm a long-time GameSparks user, and very avid fan, unfortunately the Amazon acquisition hasn't been good for the product.

    I evaluated PlayFab, one of the things I liked most about it was their multiplayer server and matchmaking integration features. I don't see this in your features list?

    Also one thing I didn't like about PlayFab, was the ability to store and query data in custom NoSQL collections was not supported, I would need to run and pay for my own NoSQL instance to do this. I see you don't support this either? A use case would be to store all player race data in my racing game, race times, lap times, results, winnings etc. And be able to write my own custom queries on this data.
     
  10. Socrates

    Socrates

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    When I look for software support, I look for a forum because it offers the advantage of history. Has someone else asked this question before or had this problem? I can quickly find it.

    Discord carries the same, "Post a question and hope someone answers," limitations without the advantage of a good history I can search either locally or with Google.

    It can be a nice addition to a forum, but only having the Discord is likely to make me not want to consider a software package I would be paying for and making my game rely heavily on.
     
  11. LootLocker

    LootLocker

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    We are working on a self-hosting agreement, which currently is part of our enterprise options. If this is something you'd like, let us know!

    At this point we do not have any multiplayer features as we believe a lot of this technology already exists with Photon, Gameye, Mirror, etc. Over time we plan to add additional integrations with some of these services, to make it even easier to use.

    This can be achieved using our Player Storage feature, where you can read/write data to player profiles. These can then be retrieved with an API call, and iterated over locally. If you have any other questions, feel free to join our Discord channel and ping on of the team members.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2022
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  12. LootLocker

    LootLocker

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    Totally understand - at this point we don't have enough traffic to warrant a forum, but eventually we could create one. In the meantime we do our best to answer questions asap on our Discord channel.
     
  13. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    Discord is an absolutely terrible solution for technical support. At the very least you should have a forum as well as Discord due to the sheer garbage that is Discord's search indexing features and basic communication functionality.

    Might as well say "here's our IRC support channel"
     
  14. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    Not saying discord is the perfect support channel, but the search function does help
     
  15. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    It really doesn't. The only thing that makes it different from searching a text file with notepad is that it shows you a preview to the side, but that fails in multiple ways. Like, if a site is indexed by Google, I can just use that and get a good set of results. If it's Discord, I'm getting a bunch of messages listed in chronological order.
     
  16. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    No you need to connect to the channel and use the internal search. Agree its not perfect but its better than nothing. They can always create a support thread here too. Even better so I do not need to create a new account at some forum.
     
  17. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    I'm literally talking about that. It's bad. The search function is only better than IRC's because of history preservation.

    "better than nothing" doesn't mean much when the improvement bar is so low.
     
  18. MDADigital

    MDADigital

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    You can focus on that, or just get stuff done
     
  19. Ryiah

    Ryiah

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    There is a third option available. You can skip the service provider that can't justify providing proper support.
     
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  20. Murgilod

    Murgilod

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    See: why I only use Unity for game jams anymore.
     
    ExtraCat and Ryiah like this.
  21. DSivtsov

    DSivtsov

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    Use LootLocker with Unity 2020.3.34
    Was detected that LootLocker store the setting from Project setting (like API key) in file at the "Library\PackageCache\com.lootlocker.lootlockersdk@597a9bd9ed\Runtime\Game\Resources\Config" folder. It's a not good solution because the "Library" folder in Unity is like a "temporary folder" and commonly not stored by backup at development. Therefore after restore the setting of LootLocker will be broken.
     
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  22. DSivtsov

    DSivtsov

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    LootLocker with Unity 2020.3.34
    If you will use for Authentication the Guest Login (It doesn't demands any authentication data), you must know that if you want have possibility to change player on the same machine ("open session with other credentials"). You must initially del the standard key "LootLockerGuestPlayerID" (in registry) that use by LootLocker SDK to store credential (from previous login session)
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\<YourDefaultCompany>\<YourProjectName> (for Build)
    Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Unity\UnityEditor\<YourDefaultCompany>\<YourProjectName>(for Editor)

    like this was did here:
    Code (CSharp):
    1. //Delete the standard key "LootLockerGuestPlayerID" of LootLockerSDKManager, if it exists, getting a new guest session is not possible
    2. PlayerPrefs.DeleteKey("LootLockerGuestPlayerID");
    3. LootLockerSDKManager.StartGuestSession((response) => onComplete(response));
    if you want connect by use previous credentials you must use next code:
    Code (CSharp):
    1. LootLockerSDKManager.StartGuestSession(player_identifier, (response) => onComplete(response));
    where
    player_identifier
    the value which stored in key "LootLockerGuestPlayerID" (also you can get it from response after calling "StartGuestSession()"). If you didn't put this value in call the SDK will try to find it in the corespondent key in Regidtry.
    OFFTOP
    the LootLocker "position" is "...When using the Guest login, you should nudge your users to migrate to a persistent platform."
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2023
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