All About Shareware
our software is shareware. That means you download it
from here or somewhere else, get it on CDROM, or share it
with your friends, as you see fit. You try it out and see
if you like it. If you find that you DO like it,
then you send us money to register your copy.
Now, we're not one of those big old companies which is going to cash your check and then send you some super amazingly better version than the shareware version. Nope. We're going to cash your check and say: "Thank you!"
Yes, that's right. For the most part, our shareware versions have every single feature you'll find in the 'registered' version. The only difference is that you'll know you rewarded us when you felt we deserved it.
Now, having said that, I have to point out that we're not complete idiots. No one in their right mind would ever register under those circumstances. (Actually lots of great people have, I just said that for dramatic effect. People are actually a lot nicer than you've been led to believe.)
So what we have taken to doing is putting in a timelock, so the games only play for a certain amount of time before they need to have an activation code entered into them. It's crude, and nasty, and I apologize. But we give you plenty of time to decide if you like the game. The activation code is good forever, and you can download any game upgrades and the same code works, so it's actually kinda cool for both of us. Except I feel guilty for being so crass. It's kinda like saying: "I don't trust you." Really, I *do* trust you, but read on for the real reason.
The Real Reason
As I believe I mentioned. We're in this for fun, not to make big bucks. What I want is the illusion that people like me. Getting a nasty letter to the effect that "Gee, your game sucks! I want my money back!" doesn't make my day. So, by letting you see the game, the whole game, and nothing but the game before you send in money, I am hopefully guaranteeing that the only mail I get is: "Wow! This game is SO COOL!" That kind of letter is what this is all about. I wouldn't charge money at all, except for three other little letters: "IRS." Yep, even though I do this for fun, I have to show a profit every year, or mister tax man gets upset with all my hardware and software deductions.
I have to do things like the activation code to convince mister tax man that I am seriously trying to make money at this. Otherwise, he gets all bent out of shape, calls it a 'hobby' and I don't get to deduct the price of that cool new flatbed scanner I've got my eye on.
By the way, the whole 'we' thing is just an editorial special effect. I'm the sole proprietor of Synthetic Reality. 'We' have no actual employees. I just point that out for mister tax man's benefit as well, so he doesn't wonder where my various employee withholding taxes are going. I'm not actually upset with mister tax man, by the way, so long as he honors my depreciation schedules. I like paying taxes, honest!