Greenlight needs a lot of work, but you should check it out anyway. Yes, you.

WTF is Greenlight?

Greenlight is a new service released on steam which empowers the gamers to decide which games get onto steam! Obviously valve still control the big releases on steam - Greenlight is all about indies gaining community support, getting feedback from fans and then getting enough support to get the game onto steam. It’s a pretty simple concept, gamers upvote games, comment on them and once a game has enough votes valve put it into steam.

For someone like me this is really cool. No longer do I have to gain community support myself, and then extract feedback from them, and then submit my game to an opaque steam submission process. Instead of all that I can put my games onto Greenlight early in their development, get instant exposure to the steam userbase (pretty much more exposure than I could ever hope to get otherwise), this will get me lots of feedback and the progress to getting enough votes to get into the steam store is right there on the front page for my game.

What’s Not Totally Awesome About This?

Right now greenlight is not perfect, far from it! The only filtering available is by a limited selection of genres and there is no sorting available at all! The store is getting pretty crowded (right now there are 658 items waiting for my rating and it’s only been open about 48 hours), combine such an incredible rate of games being added with no sorting and filtering and discoverability through the store is basically nil. That sucks but it’s not the end of the world - I can view items my friends have rated and anyone can create a new collection to pick out a related set of games they feel people might like - it’s not fantastic but it’s a start on discoverability and valve have more to come for greenlight.

A Little Something To Get You Started

Since discoverability is the big problem with greenlight right now, here’s a few games I discovered for you (I think you need to be logged in to steam to see these):

  • [The Impossible Game] ( I like a challenge
  • [NEOTOKYO] ( First person Sci-Fi shooter
  • [Receiver] ( First person shooter puzzler thing
  • [No Time To Explain!] ( Platformer puzzler with time travel
  • [Project Zomboid] ( Zombies survival RPG
  • [The Intruder] ( First person horror game
  • [Project Giana] ( Beautiful looking platformer puzzler
  • [Dream] ( Atmospheric Exploration

Why aren’t you on Greenlight then?

I had originally planned to put heist on greenlight on the release day, with some kind of playable game mode available for download (probably multiplayer deathmatch). The FAQ says:

Can I post my game concept or early builds? Absolutely! We encourage you to post information about your game as early in the development process as you are comfortable with. Greenlight will let you define whether you are posting your game as a concept/early build or as a playable game that is nearing completion.

However, when I came to submit Heist the submission form told me that during the start up period of greenlight the game needs to be almost complete.

Although I was a bit disappointed I think this is actually a good thing. Greenlight is currently getting about 10 games submitted every hour and the store discoverability systems can barely handle that, imagine the complete madness that would have ensued from every developer with a half realised concept adding their games to greenlight on release day!

The other aspect of this is that I missed my deadline, everything was going well until I developed RSI and my work rate hit the floor. I spent the last week doing some long needed refactoring of the networking and writing nice short unit tests, I suspect this blog post makes up for a significant percentage of all the text I have typed this week! To be honest it has been a long term win because code quality in some areas has improved quite significantly, but no real progress has been made towards a playable game this week.

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