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Impact Sales Report

It has been a month now that I launched my JavaScript Game Engine. My decision to charge for licenses to use the Engine has been met with a lot of discussions to say the least. People told me I would sell thousands of licenses more, if I had "dual licensed" Impact under the GPL. Some told me I was doing the right thing and putting it under GPL would be a bad idea. Others called me a scammer for charging for something that I had previously advertised as free (which I did not).

So, with all this controversy how has it been going? Quite good actually! In the last 31 days I sold about 150 licenses for Impact. After the initial hype died down, I'm now selling 2 or 3 licenses a day.

In these 31 days I also made about 700€ from AdSense banners that I put on the Biolab Disaster page and later on the Z-Type page (the first few days after Z-Type hit Reddit's front page it was ad-free).

So here's an immensely ugly chart that I put together from Google Analytics, AdSense and my License database:

All the payments for Impact went through PayPal. I've read a lot about how PayPal likes to keep your money, closes your account for no reason and a number of other shenanigans. I also had my share of bad experiences with PayPal a few years earlier, when someone purchased a software of mine through a hacked PayPal account. This time however, I haven't had any problems at all.

Sure, the PayPal website is still as bad as it ever was. I need about 60 seconds to login in to my account each time. Every single page needs at least 10 seconds to load and I'm forwarded from to and back to again. PayPals Instant Payment Notification API is equally horrible, but what can I say – it works and there's no other viable solution here in Germany anyway.

On a lighter note: I've sent more emails in the last 31 days than in the 12 month before that combined (236 vs. 124). I got a lot of job offers and even decided to go through a phone interview with Facebook after they approached me (I failed). I also got a lot of "business offers" that I still don't know how to deal with – emails talking about "partnerships" but never with a concrete idea. Maybe I just don't understand marketing.

So all in all I'm very happy with the success of Impact and I will definitely continue development for it.

Monday, January 24th 2011
— Dominic Szablewski, @phoboslab


#1Jos Hirth – Monday, January 24th 2011, 03:46

Congratulations or something, Dom. :)

#2Erlend Sogge Heggen – Monday, January 24th 2011, 04:45

Hey, maybe you're not open sourcing your code, but you're certainly being open in ways that many FOSS businesses aren't. Thanks for the insights mate.

Might sound funny, but this was the best blog post I've read in some time. Concise, multifaceted and honest.

#3Antonin Hildebrand – Monday, January 24th 2011, 13:16

Congrats. It sounds you are ramen profitable. Now focus on making progress and growing sales.

I want you to succeed!

#4Matthew – Monday, January 24th 2011, 13:57

Congratulations. I've been considering selling licenses for a (niche) iOS library. This might push me over the edge on it.

#5Matthias – Monday, January 24th 2011, 14:24

Kudos to you for the success, and for being so open about it. This was an inspiring read.

Good luck moving forward and sorting out all the offers you're receiving! As confusing as it all might be, it seems like a good problem to have :)

#6badlogicgames – Monday, January 24th 2011, 14:53

Congrats. Even though we go the foss route i think your approach is as valuable. Hope to see Impact rise in popularity, looks like a damn fine framework.

p.s.: ignore facebook, acquire better jobs :)

#7 – Jack – Monday, January 24th 2011, 14:53

Very interesting stuff, glad the licensing seems to be working out for you. Best of luck!

#8urssur – Monday, January 24th 2011, 15:05

Your results are good sir !

Maybe you should promote the engine more with an array of games demonstrating the engines strong points.

700 Euro a month from adsense says to me you could make a tidy income from these games alone, then you could market your engine as a proven success to nay sayers , or failing this you could just focus your efforts into creating something like zynga / kongregate with an inbuilt dev environment for anyone interested ... maybe even provide subscription services for the dev environment ... accessible from any platform anywhere on earth that has a connection to the internet.

I wish you the best of luck !

PS don't worry about facebook not giving you a job ... money from facebook does not come from their jobs ... it comes from clever use of their platform :D

#9Nek – Monday, January 24th 2011, 15:29

Looks like a complete win for the getting new opportunities.

#10 – Jason – Monday, January 24th 2011, 15:42

Congratulations on creating a viable product and a promising start. Don't listen to those who complain about you charging - you deserve to earn your living.

#11 – Rudiger – Monday, January 24th 2011, 16:13

JavaScript game engine and you can't implement sqrt()? Not trolling, but isn't that pretty easy?

#12Dominic – Monday, January 24th 2011, 16:31

Thanks everyone!

@Rudiger: is it?

From where I stand, implementing sqrt() yourself is just a stupid idea. There's so much to do wrong, and the solutions we already have, have been tested for 40 years. I could never do a better job at it anyway.

#13Ian Lotinsky – Monday, January 24th 2011, 16:47

Congrats, Dominic. Very excited for you! Keep chugging along. Ignore the naysayers; only strike deals with those who have already proven their worth.

#14Diogo – Monday, January 24th 2011, 16:48

You could've tried and port Carmack's sqrt() that uses the magic number 0x5f3759df.
A little hard on javascript with pointers and bit manipulation but still.:)

#15 – dan – Monday, January 24th 2011, 17:23

Congratulations and keep it up! Impact looks very nice and, so far, your games are pretty interesting too. I'm glad its working out well, financially, for you.

Diogo,I know Carmack is well known for having used that method, but it has been determined that the algorithm originated from Greg Walsh and Cleve Moler's work at Ardent Computer's in the 70's. Still an interesting trick (and nicely explained in a paper by Chris Lomont).

#16 – rsm – Monday, January 24th 2011, 17:56

Don't worry about facebook, the only reason they ask those ridiculous interview questions is to make themselves feel better about "Hiring only the best", and we all know that's just bullshit anyone can "hack" a facebook/google interview with enough self study without actually knowing how to code( You've proven yourself already, hopefully they will realize how much they suck after they see you taking over the interwebs with your awesome game engine. :)

#17 – q – Monday, January 24th 2011, 19:24


It sounds like Facebook takes a large company's clumsy approach to recruiting.

It's right to target talented individuals, but wrong to cram them all into the same meat grinder, unless a company has passed its innovative stage and is now into the maintenance phase and long, downward spiral (which is probably true in this case anyway).

Awesome job with your product. My (unsolicited) advice is to keep running, really fast. :)

#18Jon (techdojo) – Monday, January 24th 2011, 22:55

One thing I was wondering (FWIW - I'm considering buying Impact to get in early on this Javascript game craze - and I agree with your decision to sell it for a fee - although I would appreciate some kind of demo version I could play with just to see how the code stacks up) - is how do you go about protecting your game source.

It's my understanding that anything Javascript is incredibly hard (if not impossible) to protect so how do you stop someone ripping off your game source (or even in your case - your engine source).

Feel free to contact me directly at

#19tylermwashburn – Tuesday, January 25th 2011, 03:38

150 licenses * $100 dollars a piece > all the money I've made in my entire life.
Considering I'm 14, that isn't saying much though.
But congratulations on the success.
I looked around for any pirated versions, with absolutely no plans to use any of them if I was successful in finding one, but saw none, so it seems you're good there.
I'm the guy who emailed you asking how you planned to prevent piracy, what you used as your localhost server, and how Weltmeister saved the .js files.
If I had a little more money I would definitely be willing to buy this.
But money is a little tight for my house hold right now and pleasure comes after necessity so sadly, I must wait.
But when 2.0 rolls out, I'll revisit the idea.
If you ever need/want help with the engine or any other project, I have a few years of JavaScript/CSS/HTML experience and could possibly help.
I'd also be willing to do it for free.
And I'd love an opportunity to work with you.
Honestly, you've inspired me.
If you want proof that I know a little about JavaScript check out my GitHub.

I don't know what exactly for, but I feel a need to say this:

#20StephenABritton – Tuesday, January 25th 2011, 16:08

Congrats on your success Dom! Impact is great, and I love z-type. Its fun, impressive, and a great tool for improving one's typing skills.



#21panzi – Thursday, January 27th 2011, 05:45

Maybe Impact will be so successful that you will start hiring? :)

#22 – Vini Dy – Thursday, January 27th 2011, 16:18

I paid for the framework and I love it!

#23Kissaki – Thursday, January 27th 2011, 16:45

Good to hear you’re pleased with the results.
The games/demos you make are awesome, so the library can’t be that bad neither. :)

#24Kissaki – Thursday, January 27th 2011, 16:48

The correct answer to the sqrt() question would probably have been:
I would not at all. The default library already provides a method for that. It has been tested and improved for years, I would have to do a lot of work to get close to that. If the default implementation would not be enough, there’s probably other libraries for such a basic function. Tested and peer-reviewed for years as well.

At least if they’re a good employer they’d be most happy with that answer.

#25 – Ken – Thursday, February 3rd 2011, 01:54

Great to hear that it has been a success for you. I purchased the framework and will continue to do so for your major versions. Don't listen to the folks saying your should give it away. You put a lot of work into it, you should get something in return. I really like the fact that I was able to give back instead of just taking your hard work. Impact is a great engine and well worth the small fee.

I look forward to see where you take Impact and I'm along for the ride.

Keep up the great work.

#26zoonman – Monday, February 7th 2011, 08:00

I want to redistribute your game ZType in local network for training students typewriting. May I download it somewhere or it working only from your site? And it will be legally?

#27Mimo – Tuesday, February 8th 2011, 21:27


#28 – Steve – Friday, April 22nd 2011, 18:28

sound on your coolest typing game on the market is distorted and not just mashed to a little to sound hip. Please fix it so I can continue recommend your game to all.

#29y8 – Tuesday, August 30th 2011, 16:18

I hop you to succeed, can you open source JavaScript game engine?

#30miniclip – Thursday, February 23rd 2012, 01:17

sound really great idea and cheanging to me thank you very much