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Actionsoft's latest game, Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills,  includes 28 mansions. The 8 Built-in mansions have 3 difficulties along with 4 extra custom mansions. We don't have that many other custom MM2 mansions yet. Design your own custom mansion! Info below.  You can find out more about the game here.

The original Midnight Mansion game contains over 150 mansions. The 8 included mansions which have 3 difficulty levels each, and about 115 approved custom mansions which you can download here and also several freely uploaded mansions. To know the difference between these three types of mansions, click here.

Are you a creative person and thinking of designing a mansion yourself? Or want to know about how to upload it? Click here and we'll show you! You'll find guidelines for betatesters here.

News:
Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills version 1.0.2b has been released. This fixes a bug in Jasperlone Mountains Hard. Simply re-download the game, bring over your custom mansions folder from the old version and play on. All your saves and high scores will not be changed.

Midnight Mansion HD (MM1) is now available at the Mac App Store and at the Actionsoft website. A Windows version is now available.

Here is a list of downloadable MM1 HD ready custom mansions, which also work in the Windows version of the game.

The MM2 custom mansion Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Freddy/SandyBean/Josephine was updated on 16 Feb 2014 to add a third section.


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ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future (Read 41763 times)
VernJensen
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ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
07.08.2012 at 13:44:13
 
Hey everyone! It's high time I updated you all on the state of ActionSoft and its future.

For many years, I have had visions of turning ActionSoft into a successful business. When I first released Midnight Mansion in 2005, I made close to $37,000 from it that year (although had to pay $6000 in business expenses, and this is all pre-tax), with residual income continuing (to a lesser extent) in later years. This was a bit better than I expected, and I figured that if I could release about one game per year, and have similar results, I could continue to increase my income and turn ActionSoft into a sustaintable business.

In 2005 and 2006 I finished college, and in 2007 began working full-time on Insectoid. Insectoid took longer to develop than expected. I discovered I was not as good at game design as I thought I was, and struggled to come up with a game that the beta testers were happy with. Level designers kept quitting on me, and I ended up having to finish a lot of level design myself, on top of programming. Additionally, I paid for all artwork and level-design up-front, totaling welll over $10,000 in out-of-pocket expenses (funded from Midnight Mansions' success, and frugal living).

When I released Insectoid in 2009, it was a complete failure. To date, it has sold 362 copies on the Mac, and 95 copies on Windows, plus a few more sales from affiliate sites. Some of these were sold at $20, others sold at the lower price of $9.95. I'm guessing I made maybe $7,500 from the game, if that, minux taxes. This means Insectoid brought ActionSoft a net loss of probably around $4,000, not to mention over two years invested working on it.

This was very hard for me to recover from. I figured it was time to throw in the towel, but my friends encouraged me to persevere. Everyone has at least one failure, right? So I decided to finish Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills. It had already been 80% completed, but I had put it on hold in 2006 to give level designers a chance to finish mansions for it. So in late 2009, I resumed work in MM2: THH.

I was able to finish this in a reasonable amount of time, and in 2010 released Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills. It sold semi-decently, definitely better than Insectoid, but definitely not nearly as well as the original Midnight Mansion had in 2005. (To date it has sold barely over 1/7th the number of copies as the original Midnight Mansion.)

During the time, my residual income from ActionSoft products has continued to go down. Back in 2006, I made close to $1800 a month, prior to paying business expenses and taxes. But in recent years, it has dropped below $1000 a month, despite the fact that I now have more products out. For those of you under the age of 18, this might sound like a lot. For those of you living in the real world, you know that this isn't enough to make a living, particularly in L.A.

I decided to come up with a final plan of attack. Do or die. I would port Midnight Mansion to run natively on the latest Intel Macs (long overdue), and also port it to Windows. I had talked to other programmers who had said the Windows ports of their games were definitely worth it, selling about as many on that platform as their Mac games had. This would be Phase 1. Phase 2 would be to port Midnight Mansion to iPod and iPhone. If, after both of these phases, I was still struggling to pay bills each month, I would have to get a day job and focus on that instead of ActionSoft.

It became apparent even before finishing the iPhone / iPad ports of Midnight Mansion that it would be prudent to get a job. Lately I've been getting less than 1 sale per day. The past 2 and 1/2 months I've totaled about 44 sales from all products combined. When you consider the price of most of my Intel-native games are $7.99, $9.99, and $14.99, it should be obvious that less than one sale a day is not enough to live on.

So several months ago I started looking, and about a month and a half ago landed a GREAT job at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Beverly Hills, where I am joining the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine department. They do cardiac perfusion imaging, which is where radioactive isotopes are injected into the bloodstream, and then picked up with special cameras, and my group's software renders and analyzes those images to help doctors determine if there are problems with the patient's heart or not. Pretty amazing stuff, and I get to help the team out with programming jobs they need done. I have really friendly coworkers, a great working environment, great benefits, and a great salary. I'm making right off the bat the amount I once would've considered "very successful" if I had ever built ActionSoft into a really successful business, and yet it's just a fairly standard salary in the programming world. I'm not rich, but in comparison with how poor I was before, it feels like I'm rich. It's also nice to finally have medical coverage... I simply couldn't afford it before.

So what's the plan now, you ask?

Well, I'm 92% or so finished with the iPad / iPhone port of Midnight Mansion HD, so I want to finish that. After that, I want to get Midnight Mansion 2: The Haunted Hills upgraded to HD, and then later get that released on Windows and iPhone / iPad. These are very easy tasks because both games use the same codebase, so not a lot of time will be involved. (I just need HD graphics from Jacob for MM2: THH, which I'm still waiting on to be completed. He also has a full-time day job and limited free time.)

Those are my only plans right now. It would make no business sense for me to port the Level Builder to run natively, as this would likely be a 3-6 week project working full-time, so that'd take up a lot of weekends if I were to try to do it while working a full-time job.

I'm very involved in my church and that's my #1 priority outside of work, so it uses up most of my free time.

I'd really *like* to port the Level Builder. There is still a very small (5%) chance I'll port it someday, but given how long it'll take, it's unlikely. I really truly wish I could support you all, the fans, better and keep the level building community alive! It's a great community and I'd love to see it keep going. But I'm just not likely able to be the one to port the Level Builder.

That being said, I'd be more than happy to release the Level Builder source code as Open Source, so some other programmer could port it if they desired. I'm not sure though that any other qualified programmers with free time on their hands frequent these forums, but if anyone is interested, shoot me an email. I'd be happy to provide you with source code to tinker with.

If I do port the level builder, it'll be Mac-only (not Windows, not iPad / iPhone), as that'd be a much easier port than doing a full cross-platform port, which would be a VERY big project (i'd say 3-6 months work minimum).

As for the other projects, such as the iPad/iPhone versions of Midnight Mansion, please keep in mind that progress will be much slower to finish this than before I had a full-time job. In addition to my job and church involvement, I am also continuing to teach a few piano students, so my schedule is pretty busy. It will be a challenge to find the time to finish the iOS port, but I'm sure I'll find it sometime.

I hope none of you, the fans, feel betrayed that there won't be an official HD Level Builder. I really wish I could provide this.

Also, as some of you have noticed, I'm sometimes a lot slower now in answering ActionSoft support emails. I'll try to get better, but I'll probably have to update the website to reflect this. Lately I've been MUCH slower, because I injured my back on July 4th, and a couple of weeks ago it got SO bad I couldn't even sit at a computer chair for 2 minutes without extreme pain. Four days ago I started seeing a very good chiropractor who has done miracles, and I'm mostly better now, but this is why I'm several weeks behind in support email at the moment.

I'll follow this thread so if you have any questions or comments, feel free to post. It is with some measure of sadness that I leave the ActionSoft dream behind, but also with a great amount of happiness that I pursue this new career venture. I have great coworkers, a great job that I love, and it's also so good to not have to worry about whether all the work I'm doing for the next year will result in making money, or *losing* money once the product is released! I hope you all will be happy for me, although sadness that ActionSoft will not continue as it has in the past is understandable.

-Vern
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VernJensen
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #1 - 07.08.2012 at 13:54:12
 
By the way, I'm going to modify one of the forum rules ("don't ask Vern when it'll be released -- it'll be released when it's done!") to say you CAN ask -- but through Rob. Because I don't want lots of emails of the same question. Wink

So Rob can ask me once every couple months if the port has made any progress, and can post updates on the forums. IF he wishes to. (If he doesn't, that's up to him!)

It never hurts to have friendly reminders -- from ONE person -- and on occasion -- to motivate me to want to make some free time in my schedule to finish a project some fans are looking forward to being finished. Wink
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josephine
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #2 - 07.08.2012 at 14:04:39
 
Wow, a sad day indeed.

Thanks Vern for the manymanymany hours of fun all the MMs have provided (the best game money I ever spent!) and will continue to provide (they are are still my go-to games.) Good luck with your new endeavors.

Hey, any programmers out there??  Cool


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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #3 - 07.08.2012 at 18:17:42
 
Thank you so much, Vern, for the detailed update on what's been happening with you. It's very sad indeed that you haven't had more success with sales, and it's so hard to understand because MM is one of the absolute best games out there for those of us who enjoy this genre.

Best of luck in the future, both with your health and new job, and I sure hope a programmer steps in to take over the HD level builder.

Cry
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Rob Seegel
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #4 - 07.08.2012 at 21:57:30
 
VernJensen wrote on 07.08.2012 at 13:54:12:
By the way, I'm going to modify one of the forum rules ("don't ask Vern when it'll be released -- it'll be released when it's done!") to say you CAN ask -- but through Rob. Because I don't want lots of emails of the same question. Wink


LOL - thanks... I think. Smiley

Sure, we'll see how it goes. Maybe the level of interest will help get me back into development mode. My own work schedule tends to be a little erratic though, so if you don't get an immediate response, please be patient. I may be at training (often), on vacation, or in the middle of some work project. Usually, if I can't respond at length, I will at least try to acknowledge the email and promise a better response later. Also, if you do send me a request for Vern, please understand that we don't typically exchange email every day, and it's not always about Midnight Mansions. Email can actually be infrequent with a month or more between a short flurry of them.  Most likely, I will pass on whatever is the latest news I happen to have at the time. Any significant news will be posted on the forum.
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VernJensen
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #5 - 08.08.2012 at 11:33:22
 
Ahhh, what I meant Rob, was that folks could ask you *here*, on the forums, for an update, and you could email me. I didn't intend to imply folks should email you directly. Wink I doubt you'd want lots of duplicate emails asking the same question any more than I would. Wink

I suggested you simply because you're here on the forums, and might pick up if people are starting to wonder again what progress has been made.
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Rob Seegel
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #6 - 08.08.2012 at 16:36:27
 
VernJensen wrote on 08.08.2012 at 11:33:22:
Ahhh, what I meant Rob, was that folks could ask you *here*, on the forums, for an update, and you could email me. I didn't intend to imply folks should email you directly. Wink I doubt you'd want lots of duplicate emails asking the same question any more than I would. Wink

I suggested you simply because you're here on the forums, and might pick up if people are starting to wonder again what progress has been made.


It's all good, Vern.  I was mostly kidding, anyway. Traffic is way down on the board, so I doubt that it will be too much trouble.

A good chunk of the traffic has always been linked to custom mansions in any case, except when a game is being tested or released. I'm eagerly waiting the HD version of MM2 even though it's probably a ways off. I prefer some of the new game possibilities in that version of the game over the original.
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #7 - 10.08.2012 at 09:32:23
 
Vern, I am so very sorry that you, like most artists, (and I do consider you an artist) couldn't generate a dependable sustaining income from your game developing.  Congratulations on securing an interesting and worthy job in your field. The way job-hunting goes for many folks, I'd bet that your new employers recognized your value and snapped you right up.

I'm as disappointed as anyone else that there isn't going to be a Mansion Level Builder in the foreseeable future, but I'll remind folks (just as Rob did in another recent post) that we Mac users can still use Snow Leopard and the MLB included with the original MM1 and MM2. I play around with MLB after booting an external drive with S. Leopard, then use Rezycle to convert and see if it will play on MM HD. So far, no problems.

No, I'm not working on a Custom Mansion for "primetime". I'm really bad at it, but it's fun.

Take care of your health, get plenty of rest, and I hope some day soon you can enjoy what time you do spend on the MM HD conversions  (eg iOS). When doing something you love turns into a dreary chore, it's a heartbreaker.

My best wishes for you.  As for how it is in LA....  you gotta be tough to live in the west, right?

Kiss
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #8 - 10.08.2012 at 22:20:45
 
I'm terribly sorry to hear that, Vern. I just wonder if- Maybe after raising a little extra money- if you might consider investing in advertisement for the games you've made. They're all fantastic- Well programmed, very aesthetic, and fun to play. I think if you just got it out there, you'd start to really see some good income. Granted, I'm not sure how you'd get it out there, but I'd really love to see your games flourish as I think they should be. Porting MM to an ipod/ipad is an excellent move, I think. I'll certainly pass the word next time someone asks me for advice on what to buy for their iPod.

I hope someday these games find a way to larger audiences, they definitely deserve more attention. The only reason I found it to begin with was because, as a kid, I'd rip through every page of Mac Update's list of games and download any that looked interesting and free. And then when I downloaded MM, I liked it so much I just had to buy it.


I'm not sure how this works, exactly, but is there any way you could get your game on that "Steam" program? That has  all those video games you can buy? I think that would be another way to help get it noticed, I've noticed that becoming very popular with people who play video games on their computer.


Overall, though, I'm very happy you found a more stable job and like it, that's great news!
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cw
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Re: ActionSoft and Midnight Mansion's future
Reply #9 - 11.08.2012 at 16:17:23
 
Vern- you will be missed.  It must be TRUE that all good things must come to an end.  Have not ever enjoyed a game so much.  You should have made your million from it.  The forum created a great following of interesting people and contributors.  Will miss all of them.

Thank you for many entertaining and interesting hours of enjoyment.

.........cw
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