Red Tape

Modern technology was supposed to make our lives easier, but much of it reminds me of the worst excesses of cold war Eastern bloc bureaucracy.

Take TexturePacker for example. It’s not the worst offender by any means, and I feel a little mean picking on a program developed by an independent developer, but I am a customer, and I did part with money. I bought this program in October 2012 after it came highly recommended by I think Steffen Itterheim of cocos2d tutorial fame. I have yet to use it.

This morning I wanted to use a little time to migrate Alphabite code from Cinder, which is clean, powerful, transparent and utterly amazing, to cocos2d-x, which is easy to use, has great tools support, but is perhaps a little more opaque and so harder to fix when things go wrong. From being able to draw sprites individually, I needed to be able to draw them from a sprite sheet. You don’t have to, but I thought I might as well get it right from the start.

I remembered buying TexturePacker. I like buying software tools, even those, like TexturePacker, I don’t use. It’s the digital equivalent of a well-stocked tool shed. Sometimes, a man just wants to peruse his amazing collection of unsullied SnapOn metal and not necessarily ever get around to building that armoire, or customising that chopper, but it’s good to know that should the occasion demand it, he’d have the tools to do it.

Similarly, I like to kid myself that I can still program. Chimera is not exactly the greatest achievement, but it makes me think that should it come down to it, if my country ever needed my programming ability, I’d be ready to deliver; and I’d have the tools to deliver with.

Except that the tools that I buy are digital. I downloaded TexturePacker again, and activated it. Or at least, I tried to activate it. I was met with a message informing me that I was outside my update period, whatever that meant, and that I wouldn’t be able to use it. Not to mention it features the stupidest clip art I’ve ever seen.Screen Shot 2013 04 26 at 06 44 44

My tool wasn’t in my shed of course. I’d changed my Mac, so I was redownloading the tool. Imagine my set of shiny tools actually live in the SnapOn van and I have to pay to use the latest tool, or I have to find the original van that had the tool I paid for in the first place.

Except that I can’t find the original SnapOn van. And I can’t find the version of TexturePacker that I paid for on the site.

Now you can see why people like the Mac App Store. And why I’ll be using SpriteHelper. Which incidentally, I also bought ages ago and never used. It was ugly. I don’t like ugly tools. I like shiny. TexturePacker was shinier. Except for that clip art. But at least I know where to go to download SpriteHelper and I know I won’t have to pay any more than I did in the first place.

One thought on “Red Tape”

  1. Dear Shahid,

    you bought TexturePacker 2.x.x on 2012-01-03 – this included a free upgrade and update period for 1 whole year – including all versions of TexturePacker that were released before 2013-01-03.
    I’ve extended your license to 2013-01-29 – this is because 3.0.5 contains some crash fixes you might want to use.

    Usually major product updates cost some fee (e.g. Adobe Creative Suite, MacOS, whatever) – your got it TexturePacker’s major 3.x.x release for free. The key was sent to you through mail with the release of 3.0.0 final.

    TexturePacker is under contant development – adapting to new frameworks and implementing new features – e.g. content protection with the last update. It’s not easily possible to make a 4.x.x release without holding back features from the users – which I consider unfair. It also does not give you transparency when the next release will be available. If I bought 3.x.x now – do you know if 4.0.0 will be available in 1 month?

    This is why I decided to use a licensing model that’s based on a year. You get all major and minor updates no matter how big the feature is. After the year you can continue using the latest release from your upgrade period as long as you want. This gives you a good planning and leaves the choice to you if you want to upgrade or not.

    All TexturePacker versions are present on the download page which is easy to find on the webpage – it’s the big download button on the TexturePacker pages. You should not be able to miss it.

    The releases of TexturePacker are on the page with a complete version history. They are sorted by release date, newer to older. Each entry contains the date in the headline – easy to see. Scrolling down takes you to older versions.

    With your license key – including updates until 2013-01-29 you can download all the versions up to 3.0.6 which was released 2013-01-29:
    TexturePacker 3.0.6 (Windows)
    TexturePacker 3.0.5 (MacOS)

    You can use this version as long as you want – except if you want to use a newer version of the software you need to extend your license.
    The license key should be available from the mail I sent you with the 3.x.x release. If you do not have that one simply use the Lost license form – It will send you the key immediately.

    You can also continue using the “old” TexturePacker 2.x.x – also avilable from the same page:

    Use it with your license file – you can also retrieve the file from the Lost license form in case you lost it.

    I decided not to use the AppStore since many of the features including the command line client, swf importer and others would and could not be available due to restrictions Apple puts on Appstore releases. It also prevents me from releasing hot fixes – which I can give you within hours time span – not waiting days until Apple approved the Software.

    Additional since you are a blogger you might qualify for a free license using this form Free license request.

    I would also suggest that you contact support first – most issues can be fixed within a short time. TexturePacker itself contains a support form you can use – alternatively you can send the mail directly to support [at] codeandweb.com or use the form on the page. But you already know that since you contacted me once.

    Kind regards
    Andreas Loew

    Creator of TexturePacker and PhysicsEditor

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