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ยท 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey everyone!

We're thrilled to announce that the early access phase of GameVault+ has concluded, and we're officially launching it today! It's been an incredible journey from the inception of GameVault to where we are now, and we couldn't have done it without your amazing support.

GameVault+ is our way of saying thank you to our dedicated supporters while also ensuring the sustainability of our platform. For a small monthly fee, you'll gain access to premium features designed to enhance your gaming experience within GameVault. We're starting with features like animated profile pictures, custom themes, and activation of the GameVault Client API, with more exciting additions planned for the future.

But our work doesn't stop here. We're committed to refining GameVault+ based on your feedback, as well as addressing key areas of improvement in the platform. This includes exploring partnerships with reputable video game databases to enhance our data offerings and refactoring our client application for optimal performance.

And most importantly, we want you, our community, to have a say in the future direction of GameVault. That's why we're opening up the floor for feature suggestions through our Discord channel. Your input will help shape the next big updates to GameVault.

Thank you all for your support and enthusiasm. We're excited to continue this journey with you and to make gaming even more enjoyable for everyone. Stay tuned for more updates, and happy gaming!

ยท 2 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey Everyone!

The moment you've been waiting for is finally here. We've been working hard on it for months and are thrilled to announce that GameVault Client Application is now available on Windows Phone 7, powered by Microsoft Silverlight!

Windows Phone

The Current PC-Version of GameVault will be discontinued soon and will no longer be available to download from the Microsoft Store, as the technology is too new and not well supported yet. We needed a battle-tested framework to ensure compatibility, so we decided to switch to Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight. Also, the mobile platform just has massive market share, compared to PC.

We understand the excitement and anticipation surrounding this release, and we're just as eager as you are to see how this integration will enhance your experience.

With GameVault on your Windows Phone 7 device, you can carry your favorite games with you wherever you go. Whether you're battling fierce foes, exploring vast virtual worlds, or simply passing the time with a quick puzzle game, GameVault ensures that the thrill of gaming is always at your fingertips.

Thanks to the seamless integration with Microsoft Silverlight, navigating through your game library has never been smoother or more intuitive. The Metro Live Tiles add a touch of elegance to the user interface, making it a joy to browse through your collection and discover new games.

And the best part? This is just the beginning. Our team is already hard at work on further enhancements and features, including the highly anticipated Holodeck edition of GameVault aswell as the new integrated "Bird Feeding Timer" feature, that automatically warns you when your pets are about to starve.

We're incredibly excited to embark on this journey with you and to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Windows Phone Store and migrate today to start your gaming adventure!

Happy gaming... and April Fools!

ยท 4 min read
Alper Alkan

Hey Everyone!

It feels like it's been ages since we last caught up regarding the development of GameVault (the self-hostable platform for drm-free videogames), but trust me, the silence from our end doesn't mean we've been slacking off. In fact, quite the opposite has been happening behind the scenes.

When my friend and I first launched this application, it was born out of a simple need for a solution to a problem we thought was very particular and only for ourselves. Having a steam-like platform for game files lying on my home server.

We never imagined it would resonate with others or find its own place in the market. Frankly, we thought it might end up just another forgotten repository on GitHub, gathering virtual dust with no one paying it any mind.

But boy, were we wrong. The response to our app was unexpectedly large and overwhelming. Thousands of people are using GameVault today, and it seems there's quite a demand out there for the exact product we've been building.

Weโ€™re a small indie team of two and despite juggling multiple jobs, we've poured our hearts and souls into this project during our spare times, striving to offer a self-hosted alternative to the gaming platforms out there. And while we've received some generous donations (shoutout to our two loyal monthly donors btw โ€“ you know who you are, and we're endlessly grateful!), it's clear that relying solely on sporadic tips isn't sustainable for the long term and we need financial support to maintain our services and justify our time investment towards our families.

So, it's time for a slight change. We're thrilled to announce the upcoming release of a new version of our client application, complete with an optional subscription model we're calling...

GameVault+โ€‹

What is GameVault+?โ€‹

First, to clear some of the confusion:

No, this is not some shady scammy "We're going enterprise" rugpull. The core of GameVaults upcoming features and the features you enjoyed until now will always remain free. Additionally the system is designed to be easily bypassed if you can't or dont want to afford it.

It was long planned on our board and well discussed within our community. Think of GameVault+ as our way of saying "thank you" to our supporters and to motivate them to support us regularly. To be more specific, it's us giving back some goodie-features that are not necessarily needed to use GameVault back to our supporters, while they help us keep the lights on here at Phalcode.

With GameVault+, you'll gain access to premium nice-to-have features designed to enhance your GameVault experience, all for a small monthly fee of โ‚ฌ4,99 monthly or โ‚ฌ49.90 anually.

Currently, these features include:

  • Uploading animated profile pictures
  • Applying Custom Themes
  • Activation of the GameVault Client API (CLI, URI, and NamedPipe Interfaces Used for client integrations with 3rd party tools like Playnite)

But there are more to come! We will be enhancing this offering with more features, whenever we see room for it, as GameVault+ subscribers are the ones, who keep this project alive.

All details and a Q&A are on the GameVault+ page.

We'll be rolling out this new product today to our early access users first to get the product and the infrastructure around it tested, tweaking and refining it based on your feedback before making it available to everyone. It's an exciting new chapter for us, and we can't wait to have you along for the ride.

So what's next?โ€‹

We will polish the rough edges of GameVault+ and bring it to life in the next few weeks, hopefully. You will probably already see some documentation on this website for it. Keep in mind, this is all a work in progress, and we will announce the final release soon.

After that, we will need to urgently find a solution to our heavy reliance on the degrading and unmaintained RAWG Database. We are already in contact for potential partnerships with Video-Game Databases.

Finally, we will need to do some refactoring of our client application's architecture.

But stay tuned because once all of this is done, the Next Big Feature we'll be focusing on will be open for the community to decide in our #polls channel on Discord. So make sure to join "The Council" to get notified and vote on your most desired feature.

Thank you all for supporting us and looking forward to seeing you all on our next updates!

ยท 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?โ€‹

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 โ€“ 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 Joinโ€‹

๐Ÿ“‹ Complete the Application Form
๐Ÿ“… The first early-access phase kicks off on December 17 and lasts for one week.

Prerequisitesโ€‹

๐Ÿ’ฌ Active participation in the designated Discord channel.
๐ŸŽฎ GameVault installed from the Microsoft Store with a Microsoft Account logged in. If not, grab it here.
๐Ÿš€ 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 Noteโ€‹

  • 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!

ยท 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 โ€“ 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. โค๏ธ

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 โ€“ we'll be back in touch soon.

Until then, happy gaming! ๐ŸŽฎ

ยท 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!

ยท 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 Pipelineโ€‹

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 Lemmyโ€‹

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 Othersโ€‹

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 Usโ€‹

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!

ยท 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!

ยท 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.

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 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 โœŒ๏ธ

ยท 4 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:

Summaryโ€‹

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 Analysisโ€‹

1. GameStashโ€‹

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

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

2. GameVaultโ€‹

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. GameShelfโ€‹

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

4. Harborโ€‹

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. GameHubโ€‹

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 ๐Ÿ˜

What's Next?โ€‹

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 โค๏ธโ€‹

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 ๐Ÿ˜œ)

  • 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.

Stay tuned!