A Patreon for Panda3D? (Poll)

Happy holidays, everyone!

The 1.10 release is just around the corner, but we’ve been thinking hard about the future of Panda beyond 1.10. We’ve got some great ideas for Panda 1.11 and 2.0, including ways to further improve Panda3D’s built-in graphical capabilities and making Panda3D friendlier for artists, that we are excited to develop further.

One idea that has been floated repeatedly by members of the community, though, is the idea to set up a Patreon (or equivalent) account to fund Panda3D development. While most of the work that contributors do on Panda3D is done for free and this would not change, having money available would enable us to hire people to do tasks that are hard to convince volunteers to do but are necessary to accelerate development and help achieve our ambitions for Panda3D.

If we had a source of funding, we’d want to use it optimally on pushing Panda3D forward more quickly; the best way to do that seems to us to hire someone to work on Panda3D as manager/maintainer part-time, whose primary responsibility is to ensure that Panda3D makes progress on mission-critical goals, and recruits and mentors other developers in order to grow the development team.

If we manage to achieve that goal, we could use any further funding for such things as placing bounties on major development tasks, and hiring external contractors to work on demos for Panda3D, and more.

So, we’d just like to get a sense of how much people like this idea and see what the possibilities are, so I have included a poll: how much would you (roughly) be willing to contribute on a monthly basis if we had a Patreon? Please round down to the closest option. Prices are indicated in US dollars, but are just an estimation.

  • I can’t contribute, but I like the idea
  • I won’t contribute, it is a bad idea (leave comment)
  • ~$2 per month
  • ~$5 per month
  • ~$10 per month
  • ~$15 per month
  • ~$20 per month
  • ~$30 per month
  • ~$50 per month
  • ~$80 per month
  • ~$100 per month or more

0 voters

I fear that I’m not in a good position to contribute as things stand–but if that were to change, I think that I’d be happy to put in some money. (How much I were to contribute would likely depend heavily on my finances at the time.)

I would chip in anytime. Love the work and the community that makes it possible. So go for it!

To hopefully accelerate this to become a reality, I’m quite willing to fill up the gap to reach a minimum goal (meaning a max of $400-500/mt out of my pocket) and I would commit to this for at least the first 6-12 months, so we could start feet first with this.

1 Like

How do you all feel about something like OpenCollective instead of Patreon? The nice thing is that it offers more transparency over how the money is spent, and also gives choice between one-time and monthly donations. The downside I can imagine is that it’s less familiar than Patreon, so it doesn’t enjoy the same network effect.

For comparison, here are the pages for Kivy and vue.js:


This could be more convincing for who is willing for pay 50$ or more and possible sponsors because of this. I can’t pay that amount but will pay what possible for me, no matter what.

I feel very strongly in favor of OpenCollective, especially one hosted by the Open Source Collective. Seems to me a good fit for Panda3D, so +1

and because patience wasn’t a main ingredient at the time I was built:


Use Patreon, nothing else, period.
Patreon has the highest reach. Godot uses it, so does Xeno Game Engine. GIMP plugin developers use Patreon ( https://www.patreon.com/pippin ).

Using anything else is like using Indiegogo for crowd funding which has 30% of the marker share when you can use Kickstarter with the 70% market share when you desperately need all the support you can get. Or it’s like accepting bitcoin only as donations.

You’re not in a position to care about secondary issues like transparency or extra features to the donators yet. I don’t like Patreon as they are pro-censorship and partisan, but think practically. This should have been a no-brainer.

I don’t know if that’s what a maintainer should be doing only. He should be contribting code and features himself. Otherwise you have yourslf a vague “manager” who in turn recruits the actual people working on the engine. Sounds like a useless middleman to me and something you guys can do well on your own already and I doubt its something worth hiring and paying someone for at this state of the engine.
But then again, this should have been a no-brainer too. Maybe looking back at the planning the current maintainers have done over the last decade you really need someone to coordinate and prioritize things properly.

We’re setting up an OpenCollective. I’ve talked to the people who would pledge the most and none of them have any objection to it. We considered Patreon and it’s just not designed for anything but individual creators. OSC handles all the legal aspects, accounting and invoicing for us, which just saves us time. To most people who want to contribute (especially those contributing $100+ p/m) it isn’t going to matter where they do it. We’ll be making an official announcement shortly.

I think you’ve misinterpreted our intent with the paid role (maybe I was a little vague with “ensuring that Panda3D makes progress”), though you’ve nailed the “manager” aspect in your last sentence: “you really need someone to coordinate and prioritize things properly.” The intent is to use the money to make someone responsible for advancing Panda’s roadmap. This will obviously include coding features in practice, but but also delegating to contributors and mentoring them in order to ensure that more can get done in the longer term (because one developer simply isn’t going to be nearly enough). My contributions to Panda over the past years have solely consisted of “things I felt like working on in what little free time I had”, which is obviously not enough.

  1. I don’t think it’s a good idea to take few people from a small sample of 33 people who only visit the forum and decide based on that. I too would pledge on another site if I had to, but it would be an inconveniece I doubt everyone would be fine with.

  2. Patreon is also not just a place to get donations from people who already know about your project but it’s also a place people can find out about your project. That’s very important when it has the highest user base and exposure. I think you didn’t consider this fact enough.

An analogy for both of my above points would be if this site was accessible from only one web browser. Even if there was a very good reason for it and it made navigating that much easier, how do you think that would work out for getting more people involved, both financially and in the development?

Yet Godot (the engine many Panda users I talk with migrated to), and other tools I mentioned, seem fine using it.

I understand what you meant by managing the engine better now but as for not going with Patreon, I think it’s a very bad idea and I’ve seen this pattern from you and the earlier devs of all too often going against the common practice, popular way of doing things, standardization for the sake of something better only in theory, in my opinion.
Just my thoughts.

We could argue about whether people are truly likely to discover open-source projects to fund on Patreon first, or I could point at open-source projects that have had very successful funding campaigns on OC, or point at reasons why Patreon seems particularly unattractive to some at this time (such as the Armory3D debacle), but at this point it does not matter as the decision has already been made. We picked an option that ticked our boxes, the backers who will likely make up the bulk of our funding were the most comfortable with, and that we knew would enable us to meet our funding goals. So while I respect your opinion and can understand your perspective, I stand by our decision.

That said, this does not necessarily preclude setting up a Patreon page as well if OC proves insufficient for getting the necessary exposure. But I find it hard to believe that a significant part of a project’s funding comes from people casually browsing Patreon looking for projects to fund.

You said the decision has been made and I got it the first time.
I’m just giving you reasons why it’s a bad decision.

Every OC funded project you can point to I can point to more on Patreon and I already have. Its the exact same reasoning I hear from Indiegogo people. I’m not denying Indiegogo has more features and has many successfully funded project, my argument is, as here, that Kickstarter has more exposure and even when the same project has been on both Kickstarter and Indiegogo, on Kickstarter it has raised several times more money.

  1. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/117421627/the-peachy-printer-the-first-100-3d-printer-and-sc/description

  2. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cybershoes/cybershoes-step-into-vr

I’m using the exact same reason here to explain why Patreon would be a better option. Again, it’s not that the other option won’t work, but it’s that it won’t work as well as it could.

But I find it hard to believe that a significant part of a project’s funding comes from people casually browsing Patreon looking for projects to fund.

Do you know how I found Panda over a decade ago? Casual google search. Some people I recruited to my old projects found Panda from searching on IndieDB. People find cool projects on Kickstarter and Indiegogo all the time by browsing the site categories and staff picks. That’s why the menus are there.
I’m baffled we can even disagree on this? What is your point of view? That most of the funding is going to come from current forum members? (like 30-40 active). if not then it has to come from people using google or any other search tool or database, how else?

Indeed, I expect most people to find Panda through a Google search, GitHub or IndieDB, or through marketing and outreach efforts, not by searching Patreon. I also expect people won’t want to contribute (significantly) without first having visited the site or the GitHub repo and become interested in it. I suspect that most people who end up on the Godot Patreon find it through the donation link on their site.

While I don’t dispute that the network effect is real, ultimately people (and especially the few users who are going to donate the most) are going to be attracted to the idea of funding our campaign because they want to support and invest in an engine they have already found, not the other way around. This isn’t at all a comparable situation to a mass-market consumer technology product seeking seed capital, like in your examples.

To reiterate, though, I’m not opposed to researching the option of opening up a Patreon page alongside our OpenCollective campaign if and when we outgrow our current funding goals and struggle to meet them. There’s no reason why we can’t support both, taking a similar approach to eg. vue.js. But there’s no compelling reason this is necessary to achieve the funding goals we have set for this campaign.

Just to clarify a misunderstanding, I’m not basing my decisions on a sampling from the forums, because many of the people who’ve pledged so far aren’t at all active on the forums (and you’ll be able to see this for yourself when we formally kick off the campaign).

I see how this effect is common on kickstarter and indiegogo, I too pledged money while browsing around there and it doesn’t compare at all to a steady funding campaign IMHO.

On Kickstarter I buy a one time deal and what feels like 2 out of 3 times I actually get to hold a product in my hands, no commitment whatsoever for future investments to the company/individual that hosted such a campaign.

On Patreon/OC/etc. I would never pledge a recurring amount to something on a whim/feeling! Either I know the project because I’m already using it and like the idea of having it potentially make progress faster with the help of my funding or I really like the content an individual creates and want to see more of it, enabling the person through my funding.

But the fact remains, that it doesn’t matter how popular a platform is in these regards, but simply how much such a campaign can appeal to potential backers/sponsors. If you want to say that certain people won’t make an account on OpenCollective and thus aren’t contributing, I feel that explanation would be shallow and might be overshadowed by the appearance of it being simply a cheap excuse to save a few bucks a month… “I would contribute if it were on platform X, but on platform Y I won’t support it”
If I care enough to financially support someone / some group, creating an account in what takes me 10 seconds to do so, really isn’t too much to ask.

How in the world would someone that isn’t using Panda3D want to support it financially because of a moderators pick or BS you may also like this algorithm??

I also wonder how Patreon deserves so much love?? I don’t trust that platform one bit, after what happened with Armory3D last year… I do support people on Patreon, but I feel less comfortable doing so than for example on OpenCollective.

What I also don’t get is, as to why this discussion is only happening now? This thread/poll is almost 3 months old and it wasn’t the only place where these plans were mentioned. It somehow seems to me as if you’re only upset about the fact, that the Panda3D core team has chosen OpenCollective over Patreon. The arguments you bring up could have helped and taken into consideration during planing.

I’m pretty busy and can’t attend every discussion on IRC and the forums on time, especially when new important topics can pop up only every few months or so. Sorry.

I could respond to the arguments but I feel like we would be going through same points over again. Bottom line for me is no matter how great you make Firefox, if people are used to Chrome they aren’t going to switch. Habits are very hard to overcome. Second point was it’s also going to be hard for people to find about the project if its not on a popular platform. if you disagree then that’s fine. I’ve made my points and have nothing to add, again.

Patreon is recognizable. All you need to do is put a link or icon and almost everyone will know what it is and how it works. With OpenCollective you need at least a paragraph of text explaining what it is, and if I wasn’t pointed to the OC site by trustworthy people I might think it’s a scam (because I never heard of it before).
I’ll send my $5 one way or the other.

Having a patreon could be a good PR move, and Panda3D could use some good PR.

Visit this page if you’d like to contribute:


Are there any possibilities get any small amount of support (for them) from Disney for contribute their older project?

I am given to understand that Disney or CMU are themselves unlikely to contribute financially at this stage, but who knows?

Okay, you’ve decided to go with OpenCollective, but you might want to fix these two things:

  1. Make the funding page accessible from the main pages of the website and homepages from other sites (github, indiedb, etc). Right now it seems the only way to see it is from the forums and a blog post.
    I see there is a considerable amount of funding but most of it is from people involved with the project for a long time, including it’s original programmer. if you want to attract new people to help financially you can’t just rely on a forum post and blog post.

  2. When you send an email to a funder, consider having a better title and correspondent name in the email. It’s fine if you prefer to stay anonymous (I do too) but I imagine if someone not very frequent in the forum got an email with that title from “rdb” with the same cryptic email address they might have considered it as Spam before opening it and seeing Panda3D mentioned in the text.

Just my thoughts.

I agree we need to present it better; I’ve asked the person responsible for the rebrand to see if we can integrate it into the website. I’ve also worked today on putting links (and backer lists) in the GitHub repo.

And thanks for supporting us. :slight_smile: I’ll see about sending a better e-mail next time.