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Blog RSS Feed Report abuse Latest News: Greenlight: One month in

About Airships with 3 comments by Zarkonnen on Aug 27th, 2014

I'm never really sure to what degree I'm "meant to" talk about the business and numbers side of making Airships. For example, I haven't released any sales figures. (They are a source of guarded optimism, but let's just say I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon.) Still, I'm going to go on a bit about Greenlight, the process through which one might get one's game into the Steam store.


It's generally taken as a fact that Steam is by far the dominant distribution channel for indie PC games, with a big chunk of developers' sales going through it. As such, I am very keen to get Airships onto Steam, even if I am ambivalent about Greenlight itself.

I put the game up on Greenlight a month ago, and according to its stats page, it's so far gathered 57% of the votes needed for a chance at getting into Steam. This sounds pretty good, but note that nearly all of this progress was made in the first week. After the initial rush of people, a Greenlight page only gets a trickle of new visitors. Right now, I would guess I'm gaining 1-2 percent a week, which sees the game included in Steam in... about a year.

Obviously, this is not great. It's true that I'm in no big hurry to get onto Steam, as I expect the game will take another half year to complete at least, but who knows what will happen in all this time - Valve have stated that they would quite like to abolish Greenlight, so my progress may be meaningless.

The thing to do, then, is to get people to upvote the game more quickly! But how? I've written about it all over the place, tweeted about it, done a key giveaway - but all my efforts don't really register. I conclude it's about as easy to convince someone to just buy the game than it is to have them upvote it on Greenlight.


The white slice represents the proportion of votes coming from a key giveaway drive during the main four days it was visible. The rest is people coming across the game via the Steam website in the same time period.

So how does a game get greenlit? The "simple" way is to make a game that is universally appealing: about a third of people who visited Airships' Greenlight page upvoted it. If that rate was 100% it would already be in. Now I have more than three thousand upvotes, and more than a hundred comments that are very positive and excited about the game, so it's not that it's universally unappealing - but perhaps too niche, or too unpolished? There's a lot of second-guessing involved in this process, but all I can do is keep on putting up new, cooler things and hope that this improves the rate of upvotes.

Steam shows me a tantalizing little graph indicating my game's progress versus some anonymous other ones that are at some particular ranking. What worries me about this graph is that quite a lot of high-ranking games have a huge second rush in their graph, an influx of upvotes bigger than what they got when they were put in front of everyone who actively browses Greenlight.


Note the big secondary boost of the purple line.

What causes this rush, and where can I get it? It's possible that hitting the right kind of media attention does it, but my real worry is that it's the result of a "upvote the game and get a free copy" deal.

There's quite a lot of those now, and I'm not very happy about it. If the purpose of Greenlight is to gauge consumer interest, then bribing people with game copies both skews the result and actually depletes the market for the game. And Greenlight is a race: Airships is competing against all the other games in Greenlight, some of which enjoy the advantage of these kinds of deals.

So what can I do? I could sign up for one of these things too. Maybe I could give away three thousand copies of the game for three thousand Greenlight votes, which would be far more games given away than have been sold so far. But what message would that send to the people who had the enthusiasm and trust to actually buy it? If only they'd waited for a bit, they could have picked it up for free!

I don't really want to get fixated on Greenlight. I have a game to develop - and sell, through itch.io, Desura, and IndieGameStand.



I can continue asking existing players to upvote the game, and I can try out a bunch of things to improve the attractiveness of the Greenlight page to random visitors. And I'll keep a lookout for ways to promote Greenlight voting that don't feel like a slap in the face of the people who are supporting and playing the game right now.


In conclusion, if you have a Steam account, please take the time to upvote Airships. It would mean a lot to me, and will hasten the day where I don't have to twitchily reload the stats page, hoping for single-percent increases.


Better than reloading the stats page: creating awful things to happen to air marines.

Next up: getting started with boarding combat, in-depth.

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Post comment Comments  (40 - 50 of 119)
jens01325
jens01325 Jul 28 2012, 3:38pm says:

Where can i get the program?

-1 votes     reply to comment
LizardGamer
LizardGamer Jul 28 2012, 10:25pm replied:

*Face-palm

This is not an actual engine

+5 votes     reply to comment
SinKing
SinKing Jun 26 2012, 5:22am says:

Pretty amazing engine. The render engine looks great - almost Beast like! So, is there a way to download and test the engine, or how did all these titles that use it too get their permission to?

Also, how are the mobile capabilities. Would the engine handle packages and data streaming in a similar way, or are there differences between a mobile and pc version?

I am currently looking for a mobile engine, and Unity is not my fav, UDK has the most going for it, but no source code. It all depends on how accessible the tools and the code are.

+1 vote     reply to comment
LizardGamer
LizardGamer Jul 22 2012, 3:08am replied:

Custom-built is not an actual engine.

Its developers personal engine that they have custom built themselves.

You should really read the summary first!

+3 votes     reply to comment
defragen1
defragen1 May 25 2012, 9:18pm says:

The name of my engine is engine.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Trollmar
Trollmar Mar 8 2012, 6:14pm says:

this might sound rude but i need help. i need a coder, modeler, texture wad artist for a new game i made called pspikmin. again sry for being rude but i need help. so if you want to help message me.

+5 votes     reply to comment
SourceSkyBoxer
SourceSkyBoxer Mar 4 2012, 2:50am buried:

(buried)

Why are you loving for free games? That is not nice. my same games & mods will be sale for you. Becasue i need money for great worksation. Please don't deal my work-in-process. You are not free testers :If you have not money than you should think sure for your life. I hate free downloading-games. I take with saled-games. Becasue i haven't money. Now i sell my any games next week same... or later... :)

-23 votes     reply to comment
vahak11
vahak11 Aug 18 2012, 12:22pm replied:

Good english lad! Jolly good!

+2 votes     reply to comment
LizardGamer
LizardGamer Jul 22 2012, 11:53pm replied:

Wait.........You don't have money so you buy games????

And you don't like free games because there free?

+9 votes     reply to comment
coc568
coc568 Mar 2 2012, 8:40pm says:

This engine is just built by the engineers or whom ever made the engine for a specific game or game series and this is not one is not one engine

+4 votes     reply to comment
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