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Greenlight & The Lessons Learned Through 4 Games On it!

While greenlight is coming to an end, but we have to admit that it was a great chance and opportunity for lots of developers to not only get a successful indie hit, but also to learn a lot about the art of “showing” a title.

I was lucky to be one of the early people to show their games on the greenlights, and take the adventure of trying to be a marketing guy in a one person passion driven project. So far I’ve submitted 4 games into steam greenlight since the greenlight’s birth, three of them already passed the greenlight, while the last one (Submitted late Feb. 2012 for friends list only, and later when all done their votes ^_^ I set to public for everyone) still in voting process, and so far, by checking all the previous data and screenshots i’ve collected from the previous games, I can spot what went wrong previously, and what was the fix for that in order to avoid it at the following games.

Before we start in showing numbers, I would like to give my list, or let’s be accurate and call it the assumptions that I’ve got through this journey of being a friend to the greenlight system. The points ain’t few, but I’ll try to make them clear and self explanatory:

  • Your game does’t have to be awesome!
  • Visual quality can sell the game…BUT if the design is good enough, players are smart in measuring the balance.
  • People love silly games, make it silly but balanced.
  • Try early to build a game that could be youtubed.
  • A game for everyone is better than a game for X category of people. I would vote for a game for myself, but I wouldn’t vote for a PC game for my kid, my kid can play on switch or WII.
  • Puzzle games, hard to make it on the greenlight, seems player get bored quickly.
  • No votes could be easily turned to Yes, or at least to “ask me later”.
  • To pass, you don’t have to get a higher Yes percentage. You can pass with a higher No percentage.
  • People not giving a Shi** how many rewards the game have got. Coated got quite a few, and no one care!
  • More favorites on the greenlight page, is good.
  • Be noisy, spammy, people hate it, but they accept it.
  • Reddit is horrible, and your posts will easily removed.
  • Twitter is awesome, it’s hashtags are magnificent, but content can disappear easily.
  • Facebook is double awesome, and drives more people to you. Just post in tons of groups.
  • Discord is a great invention, try to be everywhere around it.
  • Re-tweet yourself.
  • Try to contact the tech creators, the people who made the tools you are using will be more than happy t share about it
  • Gameplay video is a lot better than Trailers and/or Teasers.
  • Trailer + Gameplay video, is a win.
  • Believe in your game.
  • Listen to people, and respond to their requests, specially if you planning for early access.
  • When you share, try to always have an image, gif or better to have a video.
  • Make new content to share, don’t keep using the same media files.
  • NEVER put a demo. People will complain even if the game is top polished.
  • Having some interviews is nice, but don’t count a lot on that, people will not read the full interview, you are not Miyamoto or Kojima! When I got the IGN article I kept tracking the numbers, and I got only 1 Yes vote in more than a week, which clearly might not be from the IGN interview!
  • If publishers interested in your game, it’s a good sign. But don’t close a deal before passing the greenlgiht. Who know, you might turn to a Minecraft or something.
  • Greenlight is a great way to Consoles. So make the greenlight your first step (Unfortunately shutting down soon).
  • YouTube views probably will always remain the same, and views through steam will not count.
  • Keep taking screenshots in a regular manner. Let’s say 3 or 4 times a day.
  • When you get the “passed” email, don’t be too much happy. You still have longer way to walk.
  • Try to keep posting about the game development at least a year earlier at twitter.
  • Never start the greenlight, without few fans for the game, on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Don’t stop asking people to play the game.
  • Don’t go to events, unless you want a console deal. Otherwise, it is time and money waste.
  • Alpha builds are 100% fine to record footage and to launch the greenlight. Don’t wait for longer.

Now let’s show some numbers:

Game1: Coated
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Days In Greenlight: 1322 days for public vote
Yes: 24%
No: 76%
Ask me later: 0%
Status: Passed

Game2: Tk..Tk..BOOM
Genre: Puzzle Maze
Days In Greenlight: 1093 days for public vote
Yes: 18%
No: 82%
Ask me later: 0%
Status: Passed

Game3: Penguis Of The North
Genre: Puzzle Platformer
Days In Greenlight: 701 days for public vote
Yes: 30%
No: 70%
Ask me later: 0%
Status: Passed

Game4: Chickens Madness
Genre: Party Game
Days In Greenlight: 7 days for public vote
Yes: 62%
No: 35%
Ask me later: 3%
Status: Will pass soon  Passed in 1 week

Now you are sure that a lot of No% could be fine! The idea behind the greenlight is very simple, it is all about how many visits, crowd the game can drive, not compared to the overall average as it might seem in the dashboard, but compared to the current live games in voting process. So more visits & comments means you pass faster. So don’t worry when you have a nice game, you belie in it, and lots of people just say No for no reason, …It is not going to affect you 😉

So as it is clear, the first game spent a very long time, but it brought some lessons, which when applied, the second game got less time, and so on until I reached the 4th game. The last game was able to achieve what other games failed by applying those points above. Yes the game still in the greenlight, but its path clear because there were lessons learned from the previous mistakes. And while steam is kinda going to kill the greenlight, but whatever going to be the replacement for this system (steam or none-steam), I’m sure the assumptions I got, will still be functional for me. And defiantly the list will be increased after the pass of the current game, as there are lessons now too, but still trying to analyzing and understanding them.

Finally don’t forget to check Chickens Madness, and let me know what do you think. You like, you don’t like,…leave a comment there and be sure your voice will be heard by someone 🙂

Last but not least, excuse my grammar skillzzzzz. This article originally published on my blog, feel free to check it out there.

Disclaimer: I’m not working on Chickens Madness anymore, it has it’s own people finishing it at Owlnight, and my mamoniem 1 person team is working on VR (the next big thing) stuff, I done my turn in bringing it to life and designing it, and I’m glad that they don’t mind me sharing about the game, it’s design and what was the lessons learned.

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