Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Steam Greenlight

Finished all of the mailing list functionality today. I just need to finish sending through batches of confirmation requests for exisitng mailing list members.

Steam Greenlight

A lot of game developers, games and pundits have been discussing Steam Greenlight recently. A lot of negativity has been aimed at Valve over this and personally I think it's pretty unfair.

"Greenlight isn't Democratic and $100 is Evil?"

First of all, I'm not sure it's supposed to be democratic. It's there to help Valve make business decisions (which games to publish and make money) and allow game developers to prove to valve their game has support. This seems better than the old process:

if ((rand() % 10000) && isMoonWaxing) gameGoesOnSteam = true;

(sorry, fell into code there)

The $100 donation to charity seems to have raised a few hackles. Personally, I think this is a good thing as it dissuades posting of projects that aren't intended to be commercial. If you're pitching a game on Greenlight, you are expecting to make money from it, hopefully via Steam. Worst case scenario, a kid's charity gets some money and you get some exposure for a very small outlay.

If we're talking democracy as a metaphor, nobody gets to stand for political office without thousands of dollars of financial backing for their campaign. $100 is not much.

From an entreprenuerial standpoint, if you're intending to make money from any business venture you need to put some in. Even if you're cleaning cars you need to buy some sponges, a bucket and some cleaning products (probably $100).

Personally, I had considered putting Gravity Core on Greenlight just for a laugh. As anyone reading my ramblings for a while knows, Gravity Core wasn't a commercial success for me (it made peanuts). The $100 dissuades me, at least until I have another game to pitch.


The downside to Greenlight seems to be that it opens up the way for griefers and haters to attack games just for fun which isn't great for the morale of small (or one man) teams. Unfortunately being attacked by anonymous folks on the Internet seems to be an occupational hazard for game developers and the only solution seems to be to develop a thick skin.

Aim aiming to get a game onto Greenlight in the future and do think I have a better shot with that as opposed to emailing Steam and hoping the game gets accepted.

There's a misconception out there that you can just put a game on Steam. Players often say to indies 'Have you ever thought of putting your game on Steam?'. At least now it should be clear that it's not like Apple in that you submit and 'just' have to pass a quality test.

Overall I think Greenlight is a good thing and will be interested to see how it evolves over the coming years and months.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Confirming Mailing List Joins

Following my move to HostGator for hosting, I have some work to do on my mailing list software. HostGator have a policy around mailing lists that requires double opt-in. Essentially, this means that users will receive a confirmation email after joining the mailing list. A link must be clicked before any emails will be sent to them.

This is creating some work for me but the end result will be a mailing list process that is less open to abuse (e.g. submitting someone else's email address).

The new server code is written and working, I just need to test it thoroughly. Next I need to figure out what to do about the existing mailing list, collected before the double opt-in was in effect.

On a side note, I'll be installing Linux (Ubuntu) soon. My intention ultimately, is to use my current machine as a Linux box and buy a new machine for Windows. There are several good reasons for this:

1) I can test my web server code offline

2) I can build and test my games against Linux

3) Steam are making moves towards Linux / Ubuntu

4) It doesn't hurt to learn something new, every now and again

Hopefully I'll be getting some game code underway shortly. The freeby shooter needs rounding off (bug fixes and bonus content) then I can start work on a new game using the same engine code.