This week's Dev Diary will be a bit different, mainly because neither Dexter nor Gajxo are writing it. Also, it might be slightly educational, especially if you're an aspiring game dev yourself!
So, without further a do, let's jump right into the main topic - Greenlight.
As you've probably noticed (I really do hope you DID notice...) we've been successfully Greenlit on Steam Greenlight within one week and for that we're very thankful for your help. Without you we wouldn't be able to get through it.
What you probably didn't notice is the effort we've put into the whole Greenlight. Some of you might know, that Steam as a platform is still clouded in the secrets Valve keeps for themselves. So if you're that aspiring game dev I've addressed in the beginning of this Dev Diary and you're planning on going through Greenlight yourself with your own game, you'll live in doubt as Valve won't tell you what you need to be successful there. No hints regarding time, vote numbers needed nor best practices you should follow to get there.
Luckily for us, we've been able to get to the Steam Dev Days 2016 event that took place back in October and we've managed to suck some precious know-how from the all-buzzing atmosphere there. You see, even if you get to the Steam Dev Days, Valve won't tell you much. Most of the knowledge shared there is by bigger devs whom Valve asked to share their best practices.
And thanks to that we've been able to summarize a list of must-haves for any Greenlight project that takes the voting process seriously:
- Have an animated icon - even the slightest movement in your icon might attract the attention of more Steam viewers than a stationary icon. Although don't go all crazy with the motion there. Less means more in this case.
- Have a kickass trailer - after clicking on your icon, your trailer is the first thing every visitor will see on your page. Skip the logos and text and go straight to the point. Add some fancy music, effects in postproduction and bet all your cards on the first 5 to 10 seconds of the trailer - the majority of visitors won't watch the whole trailer anyways.
- Be as honest as possible - keep your professional pitch for investors. You're dealing with players here. Tell them what you want but with the language they speak. Use visual headlines, be as brief as possible, use bullet points, describe the story, gameplay, features and, if possible, mention the system requirements.
- Always keep your followers informed - try to respond to all the significant comments, check them regularly, preferably multiple times a day. If you launch a demo, an update or a press release announcing some changes or a launch date, always create announcements.
- Support your Greenlight page on other channels - performance marketing and influencers are probably the best way to get your game to new audiences, however, don't forget about your existing audience: your family, friends, friends' families, likers, followers, subscribers, players etc. Although there is a slight chance some gaming web or a youtuber might find your game and recommend others to vote for you, it's your existing audience that might help you the most. Especially in the beginning of the voting. They might help boost your page so much it will be featured by Steam's algorithm and shown more often on the Greenlight front page.
We've tried to follow these points as fundamentally as possible, most of the notes above are our own experiences. Maybe that's why we've been able to finish it within 7 days :)
Now to the secret stuff Steam doesn't want you to know, at least not openly.
I've mentioned multiple times now that we've cleared the voting process within one week. That's probably mainly because Steam picks the most successful games every week. We've been able to get to the Top 20 projects of our week. To get there, we've needed every single one of the 2323 votes we've received. From my observations, it's pretty clear Steam picks the Top 20-50 games by the end of every Wednesday. I've seen projects with 600 votes that were greenlit - this might support that Top 50 theory. Anyways - what is good about Greenlight is the fact, that if your game isn't picked within the first week,, it stays in the voting process until it finally gets to the Top 20-50 chart. However, it doesn't hurt to get there as fast as possible, am I right? :)
So, that's probably everything I've had for this Dev Diary. Although I highly recommend you stay tuned, because next week apart from your regularly scheduled weekly Dev Diary, we'll be announcing some big news!
Once again, thanks for your support and thanks for reading all the way down here. If you found it educational or somewhat amusing, please, share it with your friends. There might be some future devs among them with the next Rocket League in mind and this summary might help them fulfil their dreams! ...or not, I don't know...
Thanks for reading and see you in the game!
Marek "theman1c" Valasik