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· 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey, Guys!

For the upcoming large UI update of GameVault, we're launching a brand new GameVault Early-Access Program, and we want YOU to be a part of it!

What's the Early-Access Program?​

Early-Access is your golden ticket to test-drive upcoming GameVault updates before anyone else. You'll be part of an exclusive group and get a sneak peek into the latest features, but here's the deal – it might not be as stable as our regular releases and you need to interact with us. Your feedback will help us fine-tune everything before the big release for everyone else.

How to Join​

📋 Complete the Application Form
📅 The first early-access phase kicks off on December 17 and lasts for one week.

Prerequisites​

💬 Active participation in the designated Discord channel.
🎮 GameVault installed from the Microsoft Store with a Microsoft Account logged in. If not, grab it here.
🚀 A GameVault Server running the phalcode/gamevault-backend:early-access image. (Only run this if you are accepted as a Tester as it could break things!)

Important Note​

  • There are only a limited number of slots in the Early-Access Program. Supporters and Trusted Members are prioritized.
  • If you're accepted and later found not meeting the requirements, you might be removed from future testing and the next applicant on our list gets the opportunity.

Apply here!

· 3 min read
Alper Alkan

Hello,

It's been a while since we caught up here, but if you've been following the action on Discord, you're up to speed. Nevertheless, this blog remains your spot for the key updates and announements.

Let's dive into what's been happening with GameVault since release and what's on the horizon. We've hit version 9 on the backend and 1.7 on the frontend, showcasing our commitment to continuous improvement.

Alongside the usual optimizations and bug fixes, we've been paying a lot of attention to your feature requests and implemented a bunch of them.

Here's the highlight reel:

  • Auto Extraction and Installation of Videogames
  • Uninstalling Games through GameVault
  • Uploading Images
  • Support for more Archive Formats
  • Bandwidth Control Features
  • Database Backups & Restorations
  • Crash Reporting
  • Random Game Finder

So, what's cooking now? We asked for your top three desired features recently, and here are the results:

  1. UI Redesign for the Library and Installations Tab
  2. Support for ROMS and Emulators
  3. Support for extra files like Soundtracks, Mods, etc.

By the way, if you want to take part in polls like this in the future aswell, make sure to become a council member on Discord!

Right now we're knee-deep in redesigning the Library, the heart of our application. Big changes are on the way, waving goodbye to the installations tab and ushering in a sleeker UI for Library, Game View, and Game Settings.

Here are some sneak peeks and mockups: (still work in progress):

  1. Library (Mockup) Filters Empty States
  2. Library (current implementation) Library
  3. Game (Mockup) Game View
  4. Game Settings (Mockup) Game Settings

Remember, these are teasers. Anything can look different once it ships. There's a lot of work left, and we're on it. To be technical here: Most of these modern controls require us to rewrite WPF Controls from the core. On the backend, we're not slacking either – tons of end-to-end tests are being written to ensure our app's reliability.

Excited about the new UI or got something to say? Head over to Discord and spill the beans!

We're eager to wrap up these tasks and ship the update out to you guys.

We also wanted to mention we've already crossed 2000 GameVault users with a growing engaged Discord community of 350 members!

And your donations help keeping the lights on, though we're not rolling in dough just yet. Every penny counts, and we're truly grateful. Thanks a lot. ❤️

Help us promote GameVault among fellow self-hosters. Your efforts could inspire a bored developer to join and contribute to our project!

Stay tuned for the UI update – we'll be back in touch soon.

Until then, happy gaming! 🎮

· 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hello everyone!

We hope you're all doing well. We wanted to take a moment to express our heartfelt gratitude for the flood of feature requests and bug reports that have been pouring into our issue trackers. Your enthusiasm and dedication to making GameVault even better are truly inspiring to us.

As many of you may already know, GameVault is a passion project for us, and while we are mostly convinced by your fantastic ideas, it may take some time for us to implement them. Our team meetings happen in our free time, and although we genuinely want to incorporate your suggestions into our roadmap, we are limited by the time and capacity we can dedicate to the project. Moreover, we want to ensure that the features we develop are refined, polished, and also the most desired in the users' opinions, which adds to the timeline.

We believe that collaboration with our incredible community is the key to success, and that's why we want to introduce you to our Roadmap. It displays all new issues, planned tasks we want to work on, and all the ongoing work in a well-organized Kanban Board. You can find it right here.

To ensure that GameVault's development aligns better with your needs, we kindly request your active participation. By voting on GitHub with a Thumbs Up or a Thumbs Down on new and planned issues, you can help us prioritize them effectively. We value your opinion: What features do you feel are most crucial? What aspects of the platform do you find most bothersome? What issues do you see as unnecessary or bloated? Your input will mainly shape the direction we take.

If you're eager to go the extra mile and actively contribute to shaping GameVault further, we invite you to join our Discord community and becoming a "Council Member". By becoming a "Council Member" and enabling Poll Notifications under "#Channels & Roles", you will have a direct say in the future of GameVault because you will get notifications about opinion polls we run from time to time.

We cannot stress enough how much we appreciate your involvement in our endeavor to create the ultimate gaming experience for all of you. Your passion and feedback are invaluable, and we are committed to making GameVault the best it can be, together.

Thank you for being part of this amazing journey with us!

· 3 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey everyone,

We're excited to share some great news with you all! GameVault has reached a small milestone with over 600 official installations of our GameVault Client Application. What's even more amazing is that around 200 dedicated users, a third of these installations, have joined our Discord community to connect, chat, and share their experiences.

We want to express our immense gratitude for your incredible support, feedback, and love for GameVault. Your ongoing encouragement inspires us to push boundaries and enhance your gaming experience. We're thrilled to announce that an awesome update is being worked on right now - the highly anticipated release of GameVault's Installation Pipeline!

GameVault's Installation Pipeline​

The Installation Pipeline is designed to revolutionize how you install and manage your games. It was suggested by members on our Discord server. We understand the challenges of navigating through different installation processes, especially for family members who may not be tech-savvy. With the Installation Pipeline, our goal is to simplify the entire process and make it user-friendly. Whether you're an experienced gamer or not, this update will make installing games easier for you.

You can read the details here on the GitHub issue.

Stay tuned for its upcoming release, and to be among the first to try out this awesome feature, make sure to subscribe to the @Updates Role on our Discord server , if you haven't already. We'll ping you as soon as it's live!

Join us on Lemmy​

To further connect with our amazing community, we're excited to announce the launch of our official Lemmy community. From now on, we'll also regularly share new blog posts there, providing you with more ways to stay informed and engaged. Join the Lemmy forum and become part of the growing GameVault community!

Share GameVault with Others​

As we celebrate this milestone and eagerly anticipate more exciting updates, we invite you to spread the word about GameVault among your friends, family, and gaming or self-hosting communities. Your personal recommendations and referrals have played a significant role in our journey so far, and we believe they'll continue to do so in the future.

We want to express our heartfelt appreciation for the feature requests, discussions, and invaluable help on our GitHub. Your support and collaborative efforts help a lot.

Support Us​

As we move forward, we kindly ask for your continued support. GameVault's success is currently solely built upon our incredible community, and your encouragement is what fuels us. If you love our app and believe in our vision, please consider supporting us in any way you can. It could even be something simple like a rating on the Microsoft Store. Your backing empowers us to keep our hard work going.

We're eagerly looking forward to celebrating more achievements with all of you.

Stay tuned, stay connected, and let's continue this journey together!

· One min read
Alper Alkan

Hey folks,

Great news. We've successfully migrated our App name in its entirety and will resume advertising as soon as it's published on the Microsoft Store.

Just a heads up, there might be a surge of new users joining the Discord server due to us promoting Gamevault across all available platforms now.

You're welcome to join in and spread the word about GameVault with your friends, family, social network, or colleagues!

Let's decipher the mystery behind the new logo: logo

  • The Box represents a Vault with a Keyhole, but it also symbolizes a game dice.
  • The Keyhole represents a Keyhole, and simultaneously signifies a game piece.

Did you find the logo concept creative? Share your thoughts on discord!

· One min read
Alper Alkan

Hey guys,

We have a brief update on the progress of the name migration.

We've successfully completed the migration of the backend application, which is now accessible as gamevault-backend instead of crackpipe-backend.

Furthermore, we've migrated the documentation and acquired this domain gamevau.lt. We've set up redirects for our previous domain and the demo server as well.

Lastly we migrated our Subreddit from r/Crackpipe to r/Phalcode and opened up a new community on Lemmy. All further Updates and discussions regarding GameVault can be found there.

We're nearly finished, you might say.

The only remaining task is the Client Application. We're actively working on it and currently testing the application on our developer edition. Soon, you'll be able to seamlessly update your client with the new name and appearance.

In the meantime, our graphic designer has crafted a fresh logo for our new name, GameVault.

logo

To make good use of your time while the migrations are in progress, what do you speculate the new logo represents?

Share your theories in gamevaults #chat channel on discord! We'll reveal the answer and shoutout the winner(s) in the next blog post, once the migration is finalized!

Until then ✌️

· 5 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey everyone,

We are thrilled to announce that the poll for choosing a new name for our app is finally over. The process of transitioning to the new name will commence very soon, and we can't wait to share the exciting updates with you.

But first, let's dive into the poll results and shed some light on the important facts without further delay:

Summary​

In total, 71 people participated in the poll, providing us with valuable data to draw conclusions from. Here's a summary of the key findings:

  • 52.1% of the community voted against using any terms related to piracy in the app. We understand and respect this choice because it would harm our business and attract the wrong users, as we have no affiliation with piracy.

  • 42.3% of the community voted to recommend the app under a different name but not with its current name. This feedback motivated us to rename the app, confirming that it wasn't just a few critics on Reddit. We want to expand our community to include the families, friends, and colleagues of these people. So please, help us spread the word about the name change!

  • 36.6% of you said you wouldn't contribute to our app at all solely because of its name, even if you had the opportunity. We depend on these contributions to grow and improve, so we now encourage you to participate!

Without further ado, here are the top 5 names that emerged as winners in the poll:

  1. GameStash (38%)
  2. GameVault (35.2%)
  3. GameShelf (31%)
  4. Harbor (29.6%)
  5. GameHub (28.2%)

As mentioned earlier, we conducted the poll without conducting market analysis beforehand. However, we recognized the significance of making an informed decision for the benefit of the community. Consequently, we proceeded to analyze each name after the poll to ensure the chosen name resonates with our vision.

Allow us to share the summarized results of our market analysis:

Market Analysis​

1. GameStash​

Google Search Results: ~33,600
Possible Domains: gamestash.de

  • There's already an app called GameStash that offers similar features to ours.

2. GameVault​

Google Search Results: ~800,000
Possible Domains: gamevau.lt, game-vault.de

  • The term "GameVault" is associated with a popular online casino/gambling application called GameVault999.

3. GameShelf​

Google Search Results: ~560,000
Possible Domains: gameshelf.de

4. Harbor​

Google Search Results: ~393,000,000
Possible Domains: harborapp.de

  • "Harbor" is a very common word, making it challenging to find a suitable domain that aligns with our brand identity.

  • Additionally, there's a well-known app called Harbor on the Market related to Docker/Kubernetes.

5. GameHub​

Google Search Results: ~5,690,000 Possible Domains: gamehubapp.de

  • GameHub is a popular game library manager
  • it also sounds like a popular adult site 😁

What's Next?​

We understand your eagerness for a new name, and we are equally committed to distancing ourselves from the old one. Taking into account all the suggested names and feedback, we engaged in extensive internal brainstorming, free from outside influences.

We sought a name that is descriptive, intuitive, and effectively conveys the purpose of our app. Additionally, we aimed for a name that is easily memorable and emphasizes the ownership and control of a self-hosted server, security, and exclusivity.

Introducing our new name: GameVault
Available soon under this domain: gamevau.lt

We have already secured the domain and registered the name wherever possible. The transition process will commence shortly. We are eager to hear your thoughts on the new name. Do you like it?

Special Thanks ❤️​

Well, as you all know, this was quite a journey to get here, and we wanted to give our special thanks to:

  • Everybody who gave this project's idea a chance, even if the name was kind of weird.

  • Everybody who made suggestions on our Discord server and participated in the discussions.

  • Everybody who voted.

  • A special shoutout to @KairuByte on Discord for coming up with the name GameVault.

  • We would also like to extend our gratitude to The Selfhosted Podcast for discussing our app. (Brent, we are excited to hear your thoughts on the new name from a marketing standpoint 😜)

  • Last but not least, thank you to The Self-Hosted Newsletter for mentioning our release.

Thank you all for your continued support!

We will keep you updated as the transition unfolds. In the meantime, head over to our Discord channel to celebrate and share your thoughts on the new name.

Oh, and by the way, just a heads up: The transition for the "crackpipe_user" field in the database might take a bit longer, because it will need a migration. It seems getting 500 users "off the crackpipe" isn't as easy as we thought! 😉

Stay tuned!

· 3 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey everyone,

today i want to clarify why Crackpipe isn't considered "open-source" by definition.

You see, Crackpipe is what we like to call "source-available" software. This means that our code is open for you to explore and modify, but it doesn't fully meet all the criteria of being considered open-source. I want to take a moment to explain what open-source truly means and why we've taken a slightly different approach.

According to the widely recognized definitions, "open-source" software, as one would think, not only provides access to the source code but also offers certain freedoms to its users. It allows them to use, modify, and distribute the software freely, even for commercial purposes.

For a self-hosted app like Crackpipe, we believe it's crucual to disclose the source code. We want you, our users, to have full transparency and control over the software you use on your servers. We don't want you to be unaware of what's happening behind the scenes, as is sometimes the case with closed-source applications like Plex, for example.

Now, you may be wondering why we didn't make Crackpipe fully open-source. The answer lies in our desire to protect our code from unauthorized use and commercial exploitation. While we absolutely encourage you to copy, modify, and share our code for personal use, we want to prevent others from profiting off our hard work by selling our software without our consent.

It's important to acknowledge that maintaining and developing a software project requires resources. While we admire the open-source community and its valuable contributions, sustaining Crackpipe solely through donations or offering it for free indefinitely is not feasible. For instance, Jellyfin, a popular open-source app developed over a decade, generates only around $13,500 per year (according to their opencollective page). In contrast, Plex, a closed-source alternative, earns a significant $8.5 million annually. Our company's main goal is to keep the core functionality of Crackpipe free, but we also need to explore ways to generate revenue in order to support its future growth and improvement. We are currently considering monetizing additional convenience features for the Client Application in the future, although nothing has been finalized yet.

We genuinely appreciate your understanding. As a small business with just two members, we strive to provide you with a valuable product but cannot continue to do so as volunteers indefinitely. Sustaining losses in the long term would not be sustainable, especially considering our local tax obligations. We have families and commitments that cannot be neglected, and this project is not our primary job. Therefore, please understand that Crackpipe may not strictly align with the traditional definition of "open-source," and we no longer characterize it as such. Our intention is to be transparent and present our perspective. Your understanding, support, and empathy mean a great deal to us.

If you have any thoughts or comments on this topic, we'd be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to share your feedback on our Discord server. We truly value your input and look forward to engaging with you there.

· 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey folks,

We have an important update to share with you all while our poll is in progress. It has come to our attention that a group of individuals has been engaging in harassing, blackmailing, and threatening behavior towards us.

It began with spam on our Issue Trackers and Discord Server but this situation has escalated to the point where these individuals went so far as to search me up on LinkedIn and threaten to inform my employer with baseless accusations of racism because of trivial reasons like the branch name in our github project being "master". Moreover, we have received reports that these trolls have extended their actions directly to other members of this server, attempting to spread negative narratives and disrupting the community atmosphere.

To address this issue, we kindly request that you promptly report any encounters with these trolls to both Discord and our dedicated team of moderators. By doing so, we can take appropriate measures to handle the situation and maintain a safe environment for all.

We would like to emphasize that we are not racist individuals, but rather developers who decided to share our hard work with the community, hoping to bring joy and utility to everyone. Unfortunately, we did not anticipate encountering such creepy behavior when we made the project public. It has made us question whether it was the right decision to open up our work in the first place.

If you appreciate our efforts and would like to support us and the app, we humbly ask for your financial assistance. Even a small contribution of $5 on Kofi would go a long way in helping us maintain our motivation and dedication. Alternatively, if monetary support isn't possible, we would be incredibly grateful if you could share kind words about how the Crackpipe app has positively impacted your life in the #chat channel. Your encouragement means the world to us. 🥰

In addition, we encourage you to continue reporting any bugs you encounter and submitting feature requests in the respective GitHub trackers. With your valuable input, we can continue improving the app and making it even better.

Remember, the success of this project relies on your support and engagement. Let's stand together against these trolls and ensure a positive and inclusive community experience. Thank you for your attention and understanding.

· 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hello, everyone!

We have an important announcement to share about our source-available gaming platform, Crackpipe. We have listened to your feedback and concerns, and now we need your help in choosing a new, family-friendly name that better reflects our platform's values. To make this decision-making process more convenient, we have created a poll with 100 potential names, suggested by you on our Discord, some of which were generated by AI. Your participation in shaping the future of our platform is greatly appreciated.

We kindly request your support in selecting a new name for our gaming platform. The poll offers a variety of names, and we ask that you choose at least 10 names (10%) that appeal to you. By gathering diverse input and minimizing bias, we aim to create an inclusive and enjoyable experience for all users. We apologize if the current name has caused any discomfort, and we are committed to creating a welcoming environment for gamers.

To cast your votes and contribute to the selection of a new, family-friendly name for our source-available gaming platform, please click on the link provided at the end of this post. Your voice matters, and together, we can find a name that truly represents our app's essence. The results will be announced on this blog around July 15, 2023.

We sincerely appreciate your support and encourage you to stay tuned for updates as we continue to improve our platform based on your valuable feedback.

Link to the poll: https://forms.gle/cYsURG6BqMXcxE3B8

Happy voting!