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Marketplace needs a way to preview/demo content

So the marketplace really needs a way for potential customers to preview the content packs before buying them. There are a few that I’ve purchased based on youtube videos that I immediately regretted after actually seeing it in action. Unity has the ability to run a web based demo of the assets on its store and UE4 needs something similar (not necessarily web based, but an in-engine demo).
With the inability to return content packages after purchasing them (unless in extreme cases) it would be nice for developers to get a better idea of what they’re purchasing before shelling out what little money most of us have.

I know its possible to cook a version of the game that doesn’t allow you to edit the assets etc. and create a demo scene for your content pack. This should be a mandatory requirement for getting assets on the marketplace that provide gameplay functionality (like blueprints) and even a real time previewer for rest would be nice.

+1

It’s a good idea. :slight_smile:

I believe it’s the same for Unity and it’s just more common for publishers to include a Webgl demo because they want to stand out. The same should be able to be done for UE4 but I agree that if most aren’t doing it currently it certainly would be a good trend for more publishers to do it.

I think its something that Epic needs to make a requirement for content submission - at least for blueprint content packages - because seeing a video of something and actually experiencing how it works in game are two totally different things. And if its required, then you won’t have to worry about some developers not having one.

This method had been discussed a long time ago, and some of us sellers are strongly against it due to the security issues. It’s the main reason I haven’t put anything up on unity. The day UE4 forces that on sellers is the day I will remove my assets from here out of that concern. If a video doesn’t help you make your decision then I recommend posing questions to the seller in their support thread in order to fully ascertain whether it’s something you really want to buy.

I thought it was possible to cook a demo of your project without people being able to access any of the files? I guess, there are ways to circumvent this? That said, anyone trying to publish a game without a proper licence (purchase) of the content would be subject to legal action and I’m sure there’s a way that Epic could integrate a system that is secure.

Companies whose sole product is web based 3d viewers can’t even secure it. (sketchfab for instance). There are always ways to extract content, even if it’s been cooked. Doing this would just open up another avenue for piracy that would be far easier for people to take advantage of. Piracy hurts sellers and increases the likelihood of some discontinuing further work or abandoning published assets altogether.

It depends heavily on the asset. If you are selling blueprints, plugins and so on, then you can secure the logic because it is in a compiled form that can’t really be used AFAIK (I may be wrong with that - but I would still release playable builds even if that was the case personally). But if it’s an art asset, then it can, through reverse engineering of the build form, be extracted. However, this itself is against the law too AFAIK.

I put out a compiled build demo as part of my most recent release, Survivor Vision, and given the reception that demo has received I will be doing this in the future with all my packs. I actually agree and think that a playable/interactive form of assets should be available before purchase to alleviate a lot of the concerns people have. However, SE_JonF’s concerns need to be taken into consideration as well.

I can’t comment on things such as SketchFab, because I’ve never had much experience with them, being not an artist. I don’t see why a site like that wouldn’t be able to encrypt data though. At the end of the day, piracy is always going to be a concern to some degree so I think simply not doing it because of piracy is not a valid point, but at the moment it’s far too easy to pirate, so some steps do need to be taken before artwork is provided in playable form.

What security issues and what concerns though?

It can’t really get much worse than someone buying your product and sharing it as a torrent on public and private trackers, can it? I’d be surprised if that wasn’t happening for basically every marketplace asset that’s been released. How do you see this in-engine asset preview idea as any more of a risk than exists currently (a risk that exists with all software, mostly regardless of DRM)?


On the other hand, I don’t think preview assets should be a requirement. I think it should be left up to the asset producer whether they want to make an in-engine preview. They’d basically be cutting down their own sales if they didn’t make previews and everyone else did. I’ve been fine with a video and some stills for the assets I’ve been interested in. However, I can see how in-engine preview would be useful for a lot of things (models, textures, animations, BP functions) allowing the buyer to move around the assets, and see if they hold up from the distances they will be using them at, etc. Sellers can and will use flattering angles, or distances to showcase their assets, a live preview would just remove that possibility.

I can understand your worries, but there are a few things to consider when talking about piracy. Firstly, the assumption that people pirating your content translates to a loss of sales couldn’t be future from the truth in my mind. The content is digital so it doesn’t cost any more for you (or Epic) to instantiate 1 copy or a million aside from the bandwidth required to transfer said products to the customers which isn’t factored in when people are downloading it somewhere else. This argument is an idea carried forward from loss of physical stock in stores and it just doesn’t apply in a digital realm. Also, people who would pirate your content wouldn’t buy it even if you COULD prevent them from pirating so the argument that piracy translates to a financial loss doesn’t make sense. Thieves are not potential customers and never will be.

Finally, the only reason people purchase marketplace content in the first place is because they plan to include it in their own commercial product. Any illegally obtained content that showed up in someone’s commercial product who did not hold a valid license (ie proof they purchased it from the store) would be both easy to track and easy to take legal action against so again, I think its not something worth worrying about. If you chose to that’s your prerogative but personally I think its a waste of energy.

I’m not suggesting that Epic require ALL content to have a playable demo/ in-engine preview. I’m suggesting that they make it a requirement for all BLUEPRINT (or even code now that I think of it) based content because with said content its hard to get a proper idea of its functionality and use in video and screenshots alone. That said, it would be better than nothing if they at least provided a standard way for people to do this (official demo button on the store) if they don’t want to make it a requirement. Art based content doesn’t really need much more than a video, though even in this regard there should be some more stringent requirements in regards to having to show wire frames etc. of your assets. If Epic are going to curate the marketplace, there’s no sense in not creating a standardized template to include these things (Their current template is a little lacking).

Kristiamo, you bring up a very good point. Once a single purchase has been made, there’s nothing stopping someone from uploading all of the content to torrent sites and there’s no way to track who the original uploader was so its not like you can take any kind of legal action against them. The entire marketplace is basically on an honor system and again, I point to the fact that anyone using said illegally obtained content in a commercial product would be a complete moron and might as well arrest themselves.

Yes please!

I’m not sure I understand. I can understand 3d models & such, but how would someone preview a Blueprint asset?

You make a compiled playable build of your overview/demo level for people to download.

I can’t say I’d comply with that as a seller, if required for blueprints. In my opinion, all it would ever do is turn off possible buyers, regardless of the quality of your product.

I have a blueprint based asset and I used to have a packaged demo build of Generic Shooter freely available. I stopped because I got lazy.

Epic Marketplace team will link to demos if you give them a link to do so. There is already a way for this. Its up to the seller whether they go through the trouble of making a packaged demo.

I wouldn’t recommend it for content-heavy assets though as there exists a way extract assets from packaged builds. However having a website that covers what you get in-depth should be enough for most people.

How does that make sense? If its a good quality product its not going to dissuade buyers. You think duping people into purchasing a product they know nothing about is a good idea?

It would be nice if Epic made it a requirement, but I’d settle for them just making it an option at the very least. I’m even shocked they haven’t even added support for embedding youtube videos yet. At the very least a demo button would be a nice addition. There just needs to be some way for buyers to see the product before they buy. Think of a single store (online or physical) that doesn’t let you try before you buy or at the very least do a return if you’re not happy. There isn’t one anywhere that has those restrictions. In its current form, the marketplace doesn’t allow for either and that’s just not fair.

I also forgot to mention that Epic needs (if it isn’t already the case) to only allow people who own the product to rate it because the last product I bought had a 4/5 star review when I purchased it and it was utter garbage so it left me wondering if people are rating it without owning it.

…How do you figure that? How is a buyer seeing your product in action going to turn them off? Unless you think most buyers purchase things having no idea what they are?

It is an option. Epic will more or less link to whatever you ask them to as a seller. As mentioned, I have a playable build on my recent release here: Survivor Vision.

You can only rate a product if you own it.

I certainly don’t think that duping people into buying a product is a good idea. I think that the YouTube video and ratings speak for themselves when the buyer is deciding. If the YouTube video is clearly misleading, that is a different story. You can only rate a product if you own it :o

I’m certain a demo of blueprint assets would only harm sales. I asked around about me doing something similar a while back, and the general consensus was that it would kill sales, as I expected to hear.

They should simply add Sketchfab plugin to the marketplace based on the web navigator.
But, there’s ways to extract any 3D model directly from GPU card using DirectX; and ppl do use it!

You still haven’t explained HOW it kills sales. If you are “certain” it would harm sales, please walk me through this example:

Imagine I download your maze creator preview. It’s a simple preview that allows a buyer to change the settings associated with maze creation and see what it generates, then they can fly around and have a closer look. So according to you, after I’ve seen this example I go from wanting to buy your product, to no longer wanting to buy it. Why? What changed my mind? The only reasons I can imagine is that it was poor quality, or advertised deceptively in the videos… and I doubt you are suggesting either of those. So what changed my mind?