Valve keep doing stuff which makes my life easier.

A couple of months back I was musing on the best way to release Heist. My final conclusion was that Steam is, overwhelmingly, the place to be. However, I have to admit I had some reservations - it wasn’t clear at the time how Valve would handle releasing games before they were finished (i.e. paid alpha). Having a paid alpha is incredibly important to me (and almost every other indie developer) as it means I can get some money sooner to fund development, plus, even more importantly, get critical feedback from players. Heist depends upon this even more than your usual indie game since it is highly moddable - a period of paid alpha is likely to attract the more dedicated gamers who will mod the game and make it even better!

Well, continuing to be exactly the publisher I want them to be, Valve have gone right ahead and solved this problem for me. Today they announced Early Access Games - 12 games (with more to come) which can be purchased right now and accessed as they are developed. This is exactly what I needed - now I know that I can aim to get the game through Greenlight as soon as possible and release it onto steam as a paid Alpha.

Other Miscellanea

I haven’t made any posts for a really long time - this is because I have been insanely busy. I’ve been aiming to get a concept page onto Steam Greenlight by the end of March, which obviously means I need to get the game into some kind of presentable state and then I need to make videos, take pictures and write descriptions of the game.

My main focus for the past month has been the UI for a building designer built into the game. The idea is that a player can start up the building designer, lay out floors on an architect style plan and then export these out to be used in city generation. The technical back-end of this is actually done (with minimal modifications to the engine, powerful modding system FTW), but building the actual user interface has required me to properly learn Javascript and do loads of work on making the system smooth to use. Of course, the cool thing about the whole system is that since the game UI is just a web page rendered on top of the game I can post a demo here really easily, which I’ll do soon (tm).

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