Greenlight

Posted by TDOT on Sept. 14, 2012, 2:32 p.m.

So it's been a mighty long time since I've created a blog. I feel like such a lurker, reading random blogs from time to time D:

Since it seems to be the cool thing lately for long vacationed members to post blogs, I figured "Eh…why not?"

I'm sure you'll be asking "WHY????" by the end of this, in any case.

I'm mostly gonna ramble on about my opinion of greenlight, so if this is of no interest, just scroll down to the big END text.

Steam Greenlight

Oh greenlight…you giant green ray of indie hope, you. So valve semi-recently pushed through a new platform housed within steam for devs to put out games to the general (large percentage) population of PC gamers. The idea, in theory, is to create an environment where a game can get noticed and launched without all the messy bits of trying to work on your own with the distributor on getting a game published. What better way than putting this in the hands of the gaming community at large? …Well…obviously there exist some problems that can (and have) easily arise due to the nature of this platform.

In a nutshell, greenlight allows the devs to put their game up on the steam greenlight page(s). This submission is viewable by anyone on the internet, and can then be voted on by those that have steam accounts. Once you reach a certain amount of support from the community, which is decided by valve, your game is added to the steam games library. You're allowed screenshots, a description, and you can even include a demo or early build of your game, if you so desire. All of this, in theory, sounds wonderful. Unfortunately, the system is quite flawed.

Firstly, the most glaring issue that I see with this is the voting system. You have a thumbs up button to upvote the game. Fantastic! Easily recognizable for what it is, as well as being a simple, low effort interface for the user. There's a report button, which allows you to report games that may be fraudulent or stolen. This system requests a short summary of why you're reporting the game, which is completely within the realm of reason and quite necessary. Finally, you have a thumbs down button. The dreaded downvote. Why on earth does this even exist? Especially given the very high percentage of malicious trolls that plague the gaming community? The point of this system is to acquire enough community support to warrant publishing a game, simplifying Valve's process for acquiring new games. Whether or not someone dislikes a game should be completely irrelevant, as this has nothing to do with the amount of people supporting a game. There' several games on Steam that I absolutely love to play, but my friends would hate. Does that make it a bad game? No, it makes it appeal to a certain type of gamer. All games are like this. There are sub genres within genres which are meant to appeal to certain gamers, which means that there are differing opinions on games even within the same genre. I like playing Tribes: Ascend and Blacklight retribution for example. I don't enjoy playing Call of Duty. They're all first person shooters, but the former two appeal to me more as a gamer. The only thing that SHOULD matter in this system is the amount of people who support it. This doesn't necessarily have to mean like or dislike. "Antisupport" shouldn't even be a consideration, which is why the downvote button should be removed.

Secondly, it's not required that a dev put out a demo on their submission. I understand that it's more than possible to build hype and a following on interesting concepts and innovative ideas, but this is something that you're pushing to have published on Steam. If the game isn't in a complete enough state that you can post a demo, then you shouldn't be on greenlight. Now, as I'll address in a moment, this is currently a non-issue, but what if your game were to immediately acquire a large following on fans and you get published? "Oh sorry there Valve, our game isn't actually anything close to complete, you'll have to give us a few months." All this does is waste Valve's time, angers potential fans and supporters when the game never releases, and thereby knocks a few points off your credibility as a game developer. Why would you NOT require a demo? There's no excuse for this, as it's the best way you can possibly acquire a real following.

The final thing I'll say about greenlight is simply the sheer amount of backing it requires to get published. I've never seen a greenlight game with a support percentage higher than 40%. This, however, is more a tweaking issue than anything inherently wrong with greenlight. I'm sure Valve wasn't certain of the kind of response they'd get from this, so the smart and safe thing to do would be require games to get an astronomical amount of support to keep too many from rising to launch within the first weeks. As of September 11th, they seem to be addressing this, as several titles (most of which I know with relative certainty were nothing close to 100% support) were announced as being added to the Steam Library. These were games that were obvious fan favorites, with large percentages (comparatively) of support. Hopefully this means Valve is adjusting greenlight as they collect data on what sort of activity and traffic they can expect.

That's pretty much all I have to say about that. All of this is, of course, just my opinion, so it's not like it really matters at all. Just wanted to put it down in words for some odd reason.

-END-

TL;DR

Greenlight has potential to be a great service, and enormous stepping stone for independent developers all over the world. Valve, in my opinion, just needs to make some relatively small changes to improve the overall workings of greenlight.

As far as my life goes since my last blog, I survived 2 years at the single most retarded technical school imaginable, their incompetence costing me .5 points on my GPA to date. I have since transferred to a not-technical school, where everyone generally takes things more seriously and are less likely to completely fucking dick around. However, it's only the first weeks of my first semester here, so god only knows what forms of idiocy await me.

Also I just realized that it's been over 2 years since I've blogged last.

Insanity.

Comments

death 11 years, 9 months ago

I agree that the downvote button shouldn't exist. Systems like that create a community-at-war. People start to downrate things they don't like and that seems aggressive. just because you don't like it doesn't mean it shouldn't be released for the people that do. all that should matter to Valve is the number of potential customers.

i also agree that a demo would defiantly help get support for a game. also isn't it possible that many submissions could be entirely made up? a demo would be good proof that the screenshots aren't just bullshit.

as for the last bit, i was always curious as to how this would work. just what is the ideal number of support Valve is looking for? i say any support is worth making money over. If anything, greenlight sounds more like a system where the community decides what's worth being sold and what's not. it's like an "everybody can submit" system but it automatically filters out shit. at least that's what i'm hoping.

JuurianChi 11 years, 9 months ago

Ten games that have been approved on Greenlight:

Black Mesa (Of course…)

Cry of Fear

Dream

Heroes & Generals

Kenshi

McPixel

No More Room in Hell

Project Zomboid

Routine

Towns

For anyboner surprised not to see Slender: Source which also received approval from the Steam community , Ethereal Entertainment has announced on Twitter that they are in talks with Valve right now.

TDOT 11 years, 9 months ago

@death,

Exactly. That's another point I forgot to make regarding the demos. It just doesn't really make all that much sense to me that a demo is just optional instead of a requirement of submission. As far as the amount of support, I would think they would base it off of community participation in this platform. Which is why it would make sense that it was initially such an impossibly high amount of support needed. Now that they've got some actual statistics to look at, I'm hoping they'll adjust the way the system works accordingly.

@JuurianChi,

I'm kind of excited to see Towns in that list :D I had quite a bit of fun with the demo they put out a while back. That being said, I actually looked at Towns specifically within the last two weeks or so, and it was something around 27%? That's one of the higher numbers that I've seen, but still a far cry from the "required" 100%.

death 11 years, 9 months ago

lol Black Mesa looks like an actually good version of Half-Life.

and McPixel might be one of the weirdest/dumbest things i've ever seen. not sure which.

lmao watch the Cry of Fear video. it's hilarious.

EDIT: anybody else find it strange that like half the greenlit games are HL mods? (and a handful of horror games)

TDOT 11 years, 9 months ago

I really wanna play that game now :p I love how the guy at the end just walks away.

death 11 years, 9 months ago

i downloaded Cry of Fear and its actually a really cool game. scared the shit outta me.