King’s Musing: About Steam Greenlight’s Third Batch of Greenlit Games…

I muse about the 3rd batch of Greenlight games on Steam…

We’re up to a total of 44 games Greenlight now. 44 games out of nearly 1,000. Yikes. Still, considering the last post I did about Greenlight a couple months back and that the amount of games then was around 800, its not a huge amount of new games. But still, try telling the average joe to go vote on 1,000 games. I think he’d rather not. Fortunately, you have insane people like me to go through the lists and see what’s good and what isn’t.

So what has happened on Greenlight since we last talked? Well, quite a bit actually. First, Steam separated Software and “Concept games” from the main pool of just regular games. Concepts is an area which you can post the idea for your game, get feedback and hopefully use it to make a good game. Its not an area of Greenlight I go into because, quite frankly, I don’t have the time. I don’t have the time to sift through and decide whether a game idea is a good idea or not. Heck, I question whether I have the wisdom to decide whether a game is “good enough” for Steam itself, let alone “concepts and ideas”. Still, I guess it can also be considered free advertising since it costs nothing to post an idea in the concept section. Separating out software from games was a good idea too. However, the software up for Greenlight consideration isn’t what I would consider very interesting for most people. A lot of it seems directed at artists and game developers so I’m curious how much voting actually goes on in that section. Either way, software in Greenlight is not something I plan on covering in these musings anytime soon. So if your interested in information on that, I suggest checking them out for yourself. I might cover software approved in a personal musing if something stands out but that’s pretty unlikely.

Greenlight

Greenlight also added announcements so that developers can keep their voters/fans up to date about the game easily.  These announcements can also show up in your Steam Friends feed if you favorite the game. I definitely appreciate this function as it gives people a good reason to favorite a game. They also allowed multiple developer accounts, links to YouTube, social media accounts and Kickstarter pages to show up on the Greenlight pages as well. These are all good features for keeping us connected with the developers and I like it.

At the end of November, Valve selected 13 games and six software titles that were approved by the community to be Greenlight. Valve certainly did a lot of advertising this time around. I seem to remember being it one of those Steam popup announcements a couple times. 13 games is a much smaller pool than last time around. That number disappoints me but I’m hoping that Valve will be a little bit quicker with getting these sets out or increase the amount of games per set. I guess the upside to a smaller pool of games is that it makes my job easier hehe. So let’s talk about the games themselves, shall we?

Games that got the Greenlight:

  • PrimordiaA game that has already launched on Steam. This game is a point-and-click game inspired by prior games like “Beneath a Steel Sky”. Its set in the post-apocalyptic world  with machines that have been cast off. The story is about a independent robot named “Horatio Nullbuilt” who must go on a quest to recover a stolen power core. This has been a fairly controversial game not for the developers, but for Valve. Reason being is that Wadjet Eye Games, the publisher, has already published several successful games on Steam already. To many, it seemed completely unnecessary that they should have to go through the Greenlight process with a game like Primordia. I have to agree with the criticism especially when a terribly made game like Monopoly is automatically allowed on Steam and a game like Primordia isn’t. Double standards here and we should be concerned. Anyway, the game is available on Steam for $9.99 if you want to play it now. I do not know if it is good or not though.
  • Sang-Froid: Tales of WerewolvesSang-Froid is an action tower-defense-like game where you play as two feuding brothers who must put aside their differences in order to save their sister. Their sister who is apparently being pursued by the Devil. You’ll have to use traps, towers and wits in order to set up deadly ambushes for enemies that are far stronger than you. This game has me very intrigued and I hope its great. We’ve had some great action tower defense games here this year. I’m hoping that Sang-Froid might be one I can add to the list but we shall see.
  • No Time To Explain An odd and a bit of an older game, No Time is a comedy game with “great music, voice acting and gameplay that becomes more ridiculous as you go”. I literally have no idea what this game is about and have never heard about it before. Apparently TotalBiscuit did a video of it a while back though so maybe I should check it out. It seems to be getting support from the devs post launch so that’s encouraging to see. Either way, its a peculiar one and will be out on Steam as soon as they can get it ready.
  • Waking Mars an adventure game where you explore the caves of Mars. You play as a jetpacking scientist who gets trapped in some caves on Mars so he has to find a way out of them. What he finds, is that those caves are filled with alien life. Your goal in the game is to figure out the mystery of Mars as well as grow alien ecosystems. I finished the game a short while back. It was an enjoyable time and I found the exploration very rewarding in this game. I’ll have more thoughts about the game later but this is a game you’ll want to take a look at when it launches.
  • Dragon’s Lair Probably the oldest game to be on Greenlight, Dragon’s Lair was an odd one to see Greenlit so soon. I asked about it on Twitter and a friend of mine told me it was a very popular game way back in the day. Its pretty much known as the granddaddy of quick-time-events. It was also known to be notoriously difficult. It would also be the game I would kill if I ever got a time-machine and went back into the past. I loathe games that are nothing but quick-time-events and this seems to be ultimate version of said game style. I have no plans on picking this one up. I certainly don’t begrudge people for voting this game up but I’m not really thrilled to see a game like this take the place of a more deserving game.
  • Blackspace “A RTS space defense game on spherical environments with destructible everything and physics”. I couldn’t think of a better way to shortly describe the game. Blackspace caught my attention with its graphics and tower-defense mechanics they showed off. The game comes out in Q4 of 2013. While they state its a “RTS” game I have some doubts about that with the game’s units being built passively and not under your direct control. Still, the idea of the game is sound and I’ll be interested in playing it whenever it comes out next year.
  • The Light I really can’t say much about this game because there isn’t much said about the game. The trailer and Greenlight page are very vague. I have a feeling this is going to be another “Dear Esther”. A game that really isn’t a game but rather an interactive walking movie. I have to laugh at the description on the page: “The Light isn’t just a game. It’s an interactive philosophical story. It is a part of something bigger that will encourage you to rethink and reevaluate the whole genre of such games for yourself. It is not a game, it is an experience…” I’ll be honest, it sounds like an incredibly pretentious game to me. Whether I pick it up or not will depend on what reviewers say about the game. So far, the developers have been quiet on when it will get released so I won’t know when I’ll get to hear about it. Maybe this is your cup of tee but it usually isn’t mine. I’m not much for pretentious games.
  • Euro Truck Simulator 2 You know, I would have been surprised that a simulator like this one got Greenlit. If we didn’t just have Farming Simulator 2013 be a top selling game on Steam not too long ago. At this point…I simply accept that people enjoy these kinds of games for whatever reason that might be. Even if it makes absolutely no sense to me. (Though I’ll grant that I like to play a train simulator from time to time…). At least it looks like a well designed game from what I can tell but I can’t tell without playing it. Euro Truck will be coming out “soon”.
  • Dawn of Fantasy Its a 3D MMORTS fantasy that has you combating in real-time sieges in online game modes and surprisingly singleplayer. I don’t often hear about MMOs allowing single player modes. First time for everything I suppose. This is a non-subscription, pay up front MMO. It features siege combat, base building, economic system, realistic weather & season change and many game modes. I haven’t heard much about this game either so I can’t say much more than that. It should be on Steam soon by the looks of it.
  • Kinetic Void Another game I don’t know much about. A 3D space simulator adventure with customization options and a randomly generated universe to play in each time you start a new game. It has plenty of factions to meet, choices for you to make an “intense active combat”. It will be a single player game on release but the devs state it will have multiplayer later. I can’t say much more than I hope this game is fun to play. We’ve had a lack of space adventure games for a long time and to see them cropping up again is nice to see. Here’s hoping its a good one then.
  • Darkfall Unholy Wars Another MMORPG PVP game to make it on Greenlight, I have absolutely no clue about the quality of this game. Or even what its all about. It looks like a fairly generic WoW-like MMO with more of a focus on PVP. It features a “huge, seamless world”, land and naval PVP battles, flexible classes and plenty of loot. Well, the loot thing isn’t surprising. They mention its a persistent world which I hope it is, I’d like to see more MMOs have persistence. Its the main reason I lost interest in them in the first place. Whether its actually good or not is tough to say from what you can see of it. The game should be out in a couple of days so you can make up your minds then.
  • Gear Up An online multiplayer game where you build tanks. And then you throw those tanks in up to 32 player battles for the heck of it. You can create some fairly wacky tanks by the sounds of it too. Geared more towards arcade action, this colorful looking shooter looks intriguing enough and I appreciate that its actually colorful. Way too many grey/brown online shooters here lately. I wish I had more time in the day because I’d like to take a swing at this one. Its due out in Spring of 2013 and will be released for all major desktop OSes.
  • StarForge Its a….a….I’m not really sure what this game is. A sort of advanced version of futuristic Minecraft-like setup with strategy, combat and more realistic environments is my initial impression of the game. Beyond that, I really can’t say much about StarForge other than it sounds like a really gutsy game to develop. Still, maybe something to look at.

KingIsaacLinksr

Recommended Games to Vote For…

I figured I should included a list of games I recommend checking out on Greenlight to get them on Steam, just because. However, it’ll be short this time because a couple of the games I would have put here got Greenlit in the last round.

  1. Distance After being fully Kickstarted and then some, this survival racing game could really use some more support to get it on Steam. It features an atmospheric world of intense arcade racing action where you can explore while flying at intense speeds. You control a unique car that lets you boost, jump, rotate and fly through twisty cities with a mysterious past. Its made by members of Team Nitronic who developed the free indie game “Nitronic Rush” and after being kickstarted they more than deserve to be on Steam. So go check it out, this is looking to be a treat when it gets unleashed on the world at large.

As of this post, 11 of the 44 games Greenlight have launched on Steam. I haven’t heard too much about any of the games launched other than Giana Sisters: Twisted Dreams which sounds like a fun, well crafted platformer with a high amount of difficulty. Another game, Towns, has been getting a lot of flak for launching in a semi-complete state and not saying its in alpha/beta on the Steam page. While the page was updated to say it was in constant development, I think it should be a lot clearer what state the game is in. While I will grant that the devs believe its a “good enough” game as it is, it still smacks of deceptive sales practices.

Greenlight seems to be focusing on trying to keeping itself as spam free as possible if the number of votes I’ve made on a game is any indication. (They seem to go down every time I visit) Still, the service has a long way to go and I still think its a chore to go through all of the games. I also think that games should be restricted on the genre they can be. I’ve seen some claim to be several different genres that they clearly were not. I would also like a “Look at this game later” button to be added to the Yes/No option we currently have.

Greenlight

I’ll say this much for current devs/companies on Greenlight. A lot of you really need to work on your sales pitch or heck the page you put your game up on. The amount of games that don’t even have a simple gameplay video is appalling. I’d like it if devs would explain in greater detail what their game was about. Don’t put up some teaser trailer or some random review/Let’s Play done by someone on the Internet. I don’t particularly care if the guy is popular, I’m not going to watch him to see if your game is worth it. So put out up a video (or even a demo) explaining what your game is about and in great detail. I think it will help you a lot in getting more votes. And finally, use HD videos.

Is Greenlight working? Well…I’d say its still too early to tell. Valve clearly wants it to work though and the improvements have been coming in steadily. My only worry is whether or not a large enough variety of the Steam audience is actually voting on games or not. We’re still seeing a fairly good variety of games from MMOs to point-and-clicks getting Greenlit so that’s encouraging to see. Granted, that could be intentional on Valve’s part. Either way, its a very interesting time for gamers and I can only hope that this experiment of Valve’s works out.

Liked this post or would like to give feedback? Leave a comment and I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Greenlight Musing series I’ve got going and what, if anything, you’d like to see changed about it. Feedback is always appreciated and until next time…

-KingIsaacLinksr

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