Indies On Steam Greenlight, Part One: The Present

By Alec Meer on August 31st, 2012 at 7:00 pm.

Steam’s light has turned green, which means indie games which are not already available on Valve’s market-ruling online PC gaming store can now petition users to vote for them, in the hope that the eye of benign Sauron will turn to their game and grant it a coveted spot on Steam. I could all too easily hold forth about the pros and cons of the Greenlight system, enthuse about the potential democracy it might mean, muse about whether it’s an attempt to prevent Kickstarter stealing Steam’s thunder, wonder why a company so boundlessly rich can’t just employ a huge team of experts to assess every game submitted to them, why the blue blazes they’d include the troll-gift that is a downvote option, and offer hope that it means a bright new age of bold games finding larger audiences.

But I’m just some shmoe. So, far better to talk to the people Greenlight actually affects – the indie developers who are (or are considering) using it as a way to attain profile+profit for their projects. Specifically, developers who’ve worked on games including Gratuitous Tank Battles, Time Gentlemen Please, Waking Mars, Revenge of the Titans, Kairo, Kenshi, Leave Home, Redshirt and InFlux. In part one of this feature, read on for their thoughts on the joys of Greenlight in concept – but the possible problems in practice.

The big thing to bear in mind with Greenlight is that it’s only just launched. There aren’t too many Valve products which are the same today as they were upon initial release, so let’s not start thinking what we’ve got right now is the be all and end all of what is inherently an experimental system, both in concept and in execution. The point of this piece is to raise the major talking points around Greenlight and offer hopes for what it might evolve, not to pillory it for launch-week flaws.

Let’s start with the concept of Greenlight – an answer to the oft-asked question ‘why isn’t game x on Steam?’ Valve have decided to put at least part of the decision-making on this front in the hands of their customers, rather than expanding the team they use to assess submissions. “I think it’s a much-needed leap forwards” says Size Five Games‘ Dan Marshall, whose next game The Swindle isn’t ready yet, but he’s been watching Greenlight closely. “The old, closed off, blind system was bad for devs, bad for Steam and ultimately bad for customers who wanted a favourite game available but couldn’t do anything about it. It’s arguably not a perfect system, and obviously in these early days it’s all a bit hectic, but I have faith it’ll calm down and be a force for good.”

Former Ion Storm Austin dev Randy Smith of Tiger Style, whose highly-regarded action-puzzle-botany iPad title Waking Mars has taken its impending PC version to Greenlight, is pleased to see it happen too. “Giving Steam regulars a voice in what indie games get created seems promising conceptually, or at the very least a worthwhile experiment, and I applaud Valve for trying a new approach. They can be very nimble for a huge company!”

Richard Perrin, aka Locked Door Puzzle, whose exploration-based first-person puzzler Kairo is one of the first wave of games on Greenlight, feels similarly. “Steam has historically been this bizarre black box to those on the outside. Getting games on there seemed to be three parts quality, two parts luck and one part witchcraft. So actually having some visibility over the process and essentially being given the chance to fight for your game in the court of public opinion seems like a step forward.” There is, however, a concern that Greenlight might achieve the opposite of what it intends. “I fear super niche or under marketed games are now going to be completely sidelined when before they had some sliver of hope.”

Everyone I spoke to was onboard though, at least with the concept. “It’s no secret that the process for getting smaller games onto Steam has been broken for a long time,” offers Luke Dicken of Robot Overlord Games, who are working on Easy Money and contributed to Redshirts. “If you can get your game in front of the right person at the right time, maybe you’ll have some success, but it’s been a very loose, informal hit-and-miss process.” He also raises a point I’ve wondered about myself- is this Valve trying to improve things for indie gaming, or is it them striving to keep up with the crowdsourced Joneses? “The rise of Kickstarter, IndieGoGo etc and even Reddit means that users want the power to have their say. On paper, Greenlight looks like it ticks all the right boxes.”

So that’s the theory – what about the practice, mere days on from Greenlight’s launch? The wheezing state of the ever-overburdened RPS inbox, now also carrying the weight of dozens of emails with ‘Greenlight’ in the title, suggests indies aren’t dragging their heels about using Valve’s new system – which means, as with Kickstarter, we now face the issue of how to democratically report on games that do this. But more on that soon – if for no other reason than the fair amount of discord about Greenlight’s current state of play. “In practice it’s a bit messy so far,” thinks Joe Wintergreen-Arthur of Impromptu Games, who has ‘meditative exploration and puzzle platforming’ game InFlux up on Greenlight. “The submission process is super easy, but it’s hard to find what you’re looking for without a direct link, so discoverability is an issue. Nobody seems to have any idea how the games on the front page are sorted, there’re no stats on exactly how many thumbsups you’ve got, and nobody’s passed 5% of the mysterious ‘necessary positive ratings.”

Then there’s the fact that anyone can upload anything to Greenlight, regardless of whether they’re a) involved in it b) it exists. Which is why you might have found the likes of Battlefield 3 up there. Oh, what japes – but there are more serious perversions of the system. “My old freeware game the white chamber was uploaded by someone who claimed we’d somehow lost the rights to it and now they were repackaging it,” reveals Kairo dev Richard Perrin. “Thankfully by the time I found out it had already been reported and removed but the system is awash with such fakes and jokes.” Fortunately, it appears Valve are starting ban Steam users who submit fake Greenlight projects, so hopefully the hoaxes will start to be few and far between. The lulz squad won’t be happy, but hopefully the ultimate outcome – more indie games on Steams – will be worth the cost.

Still, even if the fakes are removed, Perrin worries that “the discovery process on the site itself is horrific. Just showing a totally random selection of all submissions with no filtering options is a nightmare. Essentially as a developer it now seems up to us to become spammers to get people to our page, since they’re not really likely to find it amidst the jumble.”

The same issue apparently applies even to more famous names. “We’re established indie devs with a strong background (having worked on titles like Thief and Deus Ex and our own Spider: The Secret of Bryce Manor)” says Tiger Style’s Randy Smith. “We made a custom professional video to demonstrate our game on PC, our game already exists and has heaps of glowing press quotes with a very strong metacritic rating, and yet we’re buried alongside flash game prototypes made by hobbyists. I’m glad hobbyists get to share their game ideas; the coolest promise of Greenlight is that it may help rising stars with awesome ideas get recognized. But at the moment, there are very few reliable means by which the higher quality material can rise to separate from the chaff.

“Greenlight is supposed to help with selection, but in the meantime it’s become a discovery problem. There are already over 500 games up there with more coming in all the time. How do you keep up and look through all of them? If you can’t keep up, then how do you direct your attention? In that sense, Greenlight seems poised to inherit the App Store problem of “just too many games,” which Apple solved with lots of hands-on curation, but since Greenlight is about community curation, that can’t be the solution.”

Community creation – or mob rule? There’s an inherent risk of the rich getting richer, in that games with large communities will be far more likely to reach the requisite number of votes – but then you could argue games of that kind of profile should be on Steam anyway, so no harm done. In theory.

Cliff Harris of Positech, whose Gratuitous Tank Battles is already available on Steam-proper, fears there’s a broader wisdom-of-the-crowds issue. “Games that appeal to reddit readers will get upvoted, but games appealing to the time-poor 30+ gamer (who may be more likely to buy the game, but less likely to partake in online forums and voting) do not.” Such demographic factors might prove to the favour of those developers who are that much more adept at social media and the fine art of self-promotion. “The danger is that indie devs take some of the time they currently spend coding, designing and testing, and become professional schmoozers and socialisers in order to persuade enough people to click a thumbs up button. The devs with the widest range of Facebook friends will get most upvotes, but it doesn’t mean they have the best game.”

Greg Lobanov of Dumb and Fat Games, whose haunted-suburbs RPG Phantamurbia put up its Greenlight page yesterday, wrote to RPS to say he’s apparently been on the receiving end of narrow-minded crowds. “It seems like they’re expecting AAA gunporn, and they’ve been quick to “downvote” many games that look a little too indie, or, in their words, “like a Flash game.” My game’s not even Flash, but the ratings on my game send a pretty harsh message. It’s also frustrating that the comments and private ratings on my game paint a very different picture of the community reaction.”

We’ll get to downvoting in a minute. An underlying question, perhaps, is whether a game that’s able to whisk up a big community will get onto Steam at the expense of a game that can’t. With no money involved in the Greenlight voting process, in theory a more ‘successful’ game won’t actually be taking anything away from from smaller, quieter ones. If Valve decide to run Greenlight as a straight alternative to the more traditional submission process, then things do perhaps get more worrisome. The right man in the right place can make all the difference in the world, to coin a phrase – let’s hope Valvian ears can still be won by those with great names but small voices.

Another potential dilemma is whether games that don’t deserve support and profile can end up Greenlit, while worthier titles struggle to be noticed. “There’s gonna be a million non-existing projects with nothing to show but ideas and a couple of models of an AK47,” believes Chris Hunt of Lo-Fi Games, whose squad-based, sandbox RPG Kenshi is on Greenlight. “90% of starting out indie projects don’t go anywhere, and they’re gonna clutter the place and make it difficult to find the real projects.”

Adds Luke Dicken of Robot Overlord, “[it puts] ‘that thing we were talking about in the pub last night’ on the same pegging as teams that have been working on a project for upwards of a year and are now trying to get some attention for their game and find a route to distribution on Steam. I can think of two great examples of this: “Rekoil” which is exhibiting at PAX right now and got a great reception at E3. “Merchant” is another that’s being developed by a dedicated group of students and already has execution to back up its ideas, but trying to find the wee gems like this in amongst the noise of undeliverable projects, Minecraft clones, ‘request posts’ for Half-Life 3 and so on is really difficult.”

Then there’s the aspect of Greenlight that’s got a great many people confused, and upset – the downvote system. If you find yourself on a game’s Greenlight page, you can either vote for it, or against it. It’s a system that’s overwhelmingly reminiscent of Reddit, but we’re talking about something that could change people’s livelihoods here, not just affect website traffic. Why does downvoting exist? Is it Valve simply trying to be like Reddit, is at an attempt at introducing a counter to mob rule, or is it troll bait with no discernible purpose and whose only outcome might be to make devs feel bad about themselves?

“A downvote button? Seriously?” offers Puppy Games‘ Caspian Prince, whose Revenge of the Titans and Titan Attacks are already on Steam. “In a medium reknowned for griefers, spite, haters, 4channers, and internet-anonymity-fucktards in general? And also: comment moderation is reactive rather than proactive – meaning the same nasty negative people who like to downvote things can also leave their nasty griefing, spiteful, hating, ugly, profane, lying, exaggerated, bullshitting, thoughtless vitriol for all to see long before any developer gets a chance to delete it. It’s bad enough having to read this stuff in private, let alone know that everyone else has read it too.”

Rather less profanely, Thomas Hopper of TACSgames, whose puzzle platformer Super Skull Smash GO! can be found on Greenlight here, asks “If we have enough positive feedback to get the game on Steam does it matter if the same number of people again didn’t care for the game?” Indeed – and capitalism, which Greenlight might not be as such but is certainly on the road thereto, is not about the people who don’t buy a product, only those that do.

Even beyond the sheer pointlessness of the downvote, it can be actively dispiriting for developers. Hermit Games’ Matt James, who put ‘algorithmic, generative and metaphorical arcade game’ qrth-phyl on Greenlight yesterday, noticed that “53% of the votes for the game have been thumbs down which is depressing. There have been some troll comments too but not as bad as something like Youtube.” Troll bait is the only purpose anyone I spoke to could imagine for the downvote, and I’m very much inclined to agree that it can only be harmful, but perhaps Valve have a smarter purpose for it yet to be revealed. Matt James also notes that Steam apparently isn’t yet driving traffic to his game – “rather I’ve driven traffic to my [Greenlight] page through twitter etcetera.” James previously had his game Leave Home flat-out rejected for Steam release, but “I’m not yet sure if this is any better for me.”

The Greenlight process has proven to be curiously opaque, too. There’s confusion around exactly how many votes will trigger acceptance (the official line is “it’s going to change during the first few days/weeks since we don’t know what kind of traffic to expect”) and indeed what happens beyond that. “There’s a real lack of detail about what “acceptance” through Greenlight entails, or what it actually provides,” thinks Robot Overlord’s Luke Dicken. “I suspect that this vagueness is partly to try to avoid being obliged to carry some nonsense game that managed to get a lot of attention, but as a developer, they’re wanting me to put myself out there as part of their popularity contest, but they’re not being particularly forthcoming with why I should other than “OMGSTEAM!”.

Not that it’s all bad news, however. “We’re getting a huge amount of positive feedback,” claims Joe Wintergreen-Arthur of Impromptu games. “Everyone seems super excited about the game, which is great, because it’s easy to get to a point with a project where you can’t tell whether it’s even a good idea anymore. I think once these – really pretty obvious – issues get sorted out this is going to be an amazing thing for indie devs.”

Chris Hunt of Lo-Fi Games, meanwhile, reckons that ” I’ve gotten a months worth of traffic overnight,” and adds that “game listing order seems relatively random, which gives fair exposure all round, although it does also seem to have favorites that always appear at the top for no reason.”

One thing everyone seems to agree on is that the submission process is quick and easy, and flexible. “You’ve got complete control over the assets (vids, screenies, blurb) you put up there,” points out Puppy Games’ Caspian Prince. “You don’t need a finished game, or even an alpha, maybe just an amazing idea.” Again, the potential price paid for this is fakes and dodgy wares slipping through, but even so this system must be a breath of fresh air to anyone who’s ever spent weeks or months waiting for App Store or XBLA approval – or, indeed, for an email from Valve.

In part two of this look at what Greenlight means, or might mean, for developers, we’ll discuss its future – what changes it might need, and how democratic a system like this can ultimately be.

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91 Comments »

  1. MythArcana says:

    I have an undying affinity for Steam-rejected titles and it seems to be a major bullet point for a purchase for me these days. Cryptic Comet or Illwinter anyone?

    • Thirith says:

      How come? My first reaction was, “Stupid kneejerk reaction,” but I guess you have a better reason than that.

      • dE says:

        I’m not sure about MythArcana but as I’m somewhat of a niche gamer myself, I tend to take notice when a game gets rejected by Steam (or slammed by medicore reviews). It’s mostly that I’m thinking those games might employ mechanics that are just not very popular – or well understood. Or that their appeal might be too niche.
        It’s not really a kneejerk reaction in my case, it’s more a curious “wait, what was that?” reaction.

        Unepic would be an example of this in action.

        • El_Emmental says:

          There’s a pretty big risk of people seeing Steam (and its userbase) as The Man, The System or the authoritative Father preventing you from being free and having an individuality (being yourself, unique, and mattering in your environment), because it’s based on DRM, accounts, owns ~70% of the video-games digit distribution market, and is run by a company with a good reputation along gamers (Valve) so you either to love it or ignore it (unless you go into details about why you don’t like it).

          Then, rejected games can be identified/recognized as “one of us”, as anti-System elements, as carrying an element of individuality – their own gameplay quality being shadowed by the fact they’re anti-Steam.

          The OP could have wrote something like “rejected games are often more interesting and unique than your average game, this is why I really like them”, but he did not.

          • Jerakal says:

            It comes across as an affected desire to be contrary more than anything else.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Huh? AFAIK the only reason Steam/Valve would reject a game is it’s not worth their time (they do free now, so it’s really down to how much manhours the team can put in), or it’s broken/buggy. Why would you resent that test? You’d not want rotten food in a store would you? :P

      The first problem should be solved now with the Greenlight voting. Users and customers can vote to have it included in Steam for download/submission from the game dev team. Valve no longer need to pay someone lots of money to check if free games actually work (steam is going to get customer support inquires remember!). The users can vet it for them, if they truly think it’s a good enough game. Even niche games can get through this way.

      The second problem might be a bit more difficult to get users to check, but I’m sure it will help.

  2. MarigoldFleur says:

    I think that instead of a downvote system, there should be a sort of retention system instead, where the amount of positive votes is weighed against the amount of unique views to the page. It’d be considerably more difficult to grief-vote and allow more niche titles to thrive on the platform.

    As for the discoverability issue, that’s a pretty huge problem and I think it’d be better off if maybe it could have a “Hot on Greenlight” row, populated by games that are currently getting a lot of positive buzz; a new games row, obviously populated by the latest submissions; and maybe a row that shows you games on Greenlight that are tailored to your interests based on games in your steam library and how much you’ve played them. There’d still need to be a way to give exposure to the things on Greenlight you wouldn’t see outside of that though.

    • Shuck says:

      The down votes should really only serve one function – a sufficient number would flag the project for review by someone at Valve to check to see if it were fraudulent or abusive. That’s about the only thing it would be good for.

      • UmmonTL says:

        I agree with this although after someone checked the project I would actually make the downvotes a positive measure towards showing the game on the front page. Because if the project gets a lot of attention, even negative attention, it should be interesting for people to see.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Yeah, but a lot of systems have specific ways to flag certain content as such rather than just using brunt force like/dislike.

    • Baines says:

      Up vote and Null vote. No Down vote at all.

      Null vote means you’ve seen the listing, but weren’t interested enough to up vote it. It doesn’t necessarily mean you dislike a game, you could just be indifferent to it, or simply think there isn’t enough there yet. You can go back and change a Null vote to an Up vote, and possibly vice versa.

      Steam can better judge interest of titles. People who don’t want to up vote a title, but also don’t want to down vote it, should be more open to Null voting instead. People can filter by votes, letting them see only unseen games, or letting them go back through what they’ve up voted or null voted.

      You still need some way to report bogus or illegal projects, but it may be hard to do that with a relatively automated system in a crowd sourced environment. You *will* get people abusing the report system, or who just don’t understand it, and will end up with a bunch of false positives and grudge complaints.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Really, I think the down vote is for offensive/buggy/broken stuff right now. But not to the extent it needs reporting. Just to the extent it’s too buggy to upload to Steam. Say someone suggesting an alpha build etc, but the current players vote it off because “it’s not ready yet and we want the dev to fix that netcode first”. Well, perhaps. :P

  3. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    The App Store process has a bad rap. That’s not to say it isn’t without some worrying caveats, such as Apple’s ability to pull anything they like, any time they like.

    The process (at it’s best) is something along the lines of:

    • It mustn’t be a buggy mess
    • It must be properly sandboxed
    • It can’t install third-party extensions
    • It must run without elevated privileges
    • It can’t attempt to bypass apple’s own systems for feeding ads or selling additional content
    • Some arbitrary metadata constraints
    • Some weird “decency” rules

    Those restrictions do rule out some things, sure, but on the whole it does mean the end users get a better deal.

    • noclip says:

      Greenlight seems to have an arbitrary “offensive material” ban too (second to last item).

      • UmmonTL says:

        It has to because as soon as someone manages to sneak a porn game on there steam would suddenly become illegal in several countries. And I doubt anyone wants one of the awful white power games on steam.

  4. Cooper says:

    The downvoting is a bit odd, partly horrific, and just gerenally a poor idea.

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      It seems like the intent is to have everyone vote on everything, one way or the other.

      The way that Steam tells me I have “X games to rate” for example.

      It does make for a nice metagame though. I shall upvote every game with ninja in the title, and downvote everything with free to play.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Then they of Valve are idiots. Now I am not necessarily claiming Greenlight will fail before its even had the chance to prove its worth, but seriously, I am not going to trounce through all of these games.. and since it’s only just started up, the amount of games on there will only grow (unless they artificially restrict it and go by periods a set of games has to get voted on).

    • Mirqy says:

      If they had to do it, a paragon/renegade system would be better, where you see the sums of up and downvotes separately. Then you can tell the difference between popular, unpopular, controversial but interesting and…not so interesting.

      Upvote this comment if you agree with me.

    • Lemming says:

      I agree, it should just be vote for, or don’t vote.

      • Spengbab says:

        But I enjoy downvoting anime crap while giving zombiegames a thumbs up!

  5. Mr. Mister says:

    I laughed so hard when I say an entry for Half-Life 3.

  6. Author X says:

    So, do we know if downvoting actually hurts games? I mean, when you upvote you get an update of the % of votes it needs, and (I think this may have changed since I looked at it yesterday, but) it says “This game has attained x% of necessary positive ratings so far” – which implies that it’s only counting upvotes, not the overall rating.

    On the other hand, when you downvote, it doesn’t show you the current progress, which makes me think it doesn’t affect the current progress.

    I’m not sure if the people submitting are getting more info than I am, but on the face of it I don’t think the downvote button does anything except remove it from your list of games you haven’t voted on yet without upvoting. Which is the neutral option people keep asking for as well, with a very misleading icon.

    • RobF says:

      There’s a vote percentage you see when you’re logged into the games page (as an author) informing you of the current pos/neg split.

    • Matt says:

      Downvotes are the neutral option. It seems they just get them out of your ‘games to rate’ list. http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?p=32641767#post32641767

      • arccos says:

        That’s how I’ve been using it as well. I would’ve preferred something a little more neutral than a downvote, but it wasn’t provided.

        To the developers: It doesn’t mean we hate your game, it doesn’t mean we’re trolling you. It just means based on your Greenlight page, we probably aren’t interested in it and want to get it out of our queue.

        There are a few industries where you need a thick skin to be successful, and if you’re going to try and use social media in any capacity to promote your projects, you should be able to handle extremely negative reactions. Warranted or unwarranted. It seems dishonest to complain about the negative when you’re using the positive for personal gain.

  7. johnki says:

    There are quite a few complaints I could go on about, namely these:

    - There really is no way for developers to make their page look nice. It’s all Steam gray, no matter how much it clashes with the game at hand.

    - Downvoting is ridiculous. Until we know what it does, what point is there to it?

    - As this guy said, you can’t reply to people, and there’s no way to notify them of if you answer their question, leaving pure dumb luck to determine whether or not they come back to your page after they’ve downvoted it. They thought your turn-based wargame was a drab RPG? Who cares? They’ll never be corrected.

    All in all, the system seems to favor allowing people to give their opinion without actually reading about what they’re giving their opinion on.

    Oh, and I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Yogventures at the top of the list, but I can’t in good conscience upvote that.

    • MashPotato says:

      If you start your message with @personyou’rereplyingto, they should get a notification that you’ve replied to them (I just tested it out, and it seemed to work for me).

      • johnki says:

        Ah, so that’s how that works. It’s weird because I’ve got notifications when no one used @ and I haven’t gotten notifications sometimes when they did use it.

        That, and I didn’t see anywhere that said you could do that.

        But considering they’ve got 2 forums up and running, it would be nice to have basic reply and possibly quote features.

  8. Deadly Habit says:

    I’d really like to see more original PC titles and less phone/tablet ports on Greenlight.

  9. Dominic White says:

    I think that people are fundamentally misunderstanding why Greenlight exists. It’s not meant to be a marketing tool, or a method to let people discover your game via Steam. It’s a tool for developers to fast-pitch a game to Valve if they’ve got an already-existing and receptive audience.

    You’re not meant to find games via Greenlight, and developers aren’t meant to be marketing it via there either. You do your marketing externally via the usual channels – the indie and mainstream press, reddit, facebook, etc. And THEN you link your now-snagged audience to the Greenlight page.

    Valve have very deliberately left off a ‘sort by popularity’ option, despite it being common on all their other Workshop pages. They don’t want Greenlight itself skewing the results. Complaining that ‘discoverability’ is low is entirely missing the point. You want people to discover your game? GO OUT AND TELL PEOPLE IT EXISTS.

    Also, on the subject of downvoting. I’m 95% sure that it’s a placebo for angry internet men – something for busybodies to click and make them feel like they’re doing the world a favor. A downvote doesn’t take away an upvote, and in the end, all Valve care about are how many people who say they’d buy the game. They don’t give a damn about the people that say they wouldn’t.

    • Mollusc Infestation says:

      This was pretty much my interpretation, although it is a little at odds with the large “Try Greenlight NOW!” message at the top of my steam store page.

    • InternetBatman says:

      This is what I thought it would be too. It’s a way for games like Unepic that have been passed over by Steam, but have good reviews, to get their way on the platform.

      The existence of collections, like the IndieDB collection does help discoverability though.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Not only did they leave off ‘sort by popularity’, they left off the ability to sort by name or anything else. I went through 11 or 12 pages of games yesterday, and the same ones came up 2 or 3 times as if there were no order whatsoever to the listings.

    • Shuck says:

      That’s what I thought this would be, but it clearly isn’t*. Valve are trying to do too much with this, but haven’t set it up properly.
      *Or rather, wasn’t and will not be again in the future. They’ve already changed the terms in Greenlight. Originally they were encouraging concepts and in-progress work. They’ve now changed it to only work with playable builds, though they mention that “Concepts will be accepted at a later date.” What this indicates is that they want it to be a place where developers build a community around a game that’s in progress. (I think they’re looking to nurture the next Minecraft.) But by allowing chaff to clutter up the list, they’re making it necessary to develop an audience elsewhere and bring it to Steam. Intent and functionality are at odds here. I do think it would be much better off as a way of evaluating playable games for possible inclusion in Steam.

      • Delusibeta says:

        The problem with discussing Greenlight is that we’re talking about it about 24 hours after its gone live and while Valve’s promoting it on the Steam front page. Who knows, maybe in a month or two’s time when all the trolls have lost interest it might actually become a usable discussion area for ideas and game development (although knowing how the Steam community tends to go below the YouTube community it posting quality, I would find this scenario unlikely).

        • Shuck says:

          If they continue banning Trolls, that’ll go a long way towards discouraging them. Unfortunately well-intentioned junk cluttering everything up will be an even bigger problem, especially in the long run. That’s what will prevent it from working as intended.

          • InternetBatman says:

            Will it? I think developers are supposed to send traffic to greenlight, and that its primary purpose is a safety net to catch good games that were getting rejected because the slew of crap that bogged down their curators. Also, Greenlight is only one part of a two part system, and it at least partially exists to make the other part run better. It could have an easily missed positive effect on the quality of the games Steam lets in when it appears to be drowning in terrible games.

          • Shuck says:

            @InternetBatman: It does seem like that’s the only way it’s going to work (developers sending traffic to their project pages at Greenlight). As a discovery tool it’s already useless. I don’t think that’s what Valve had in mind, however – the posting of concept work/in-development games only makes sense if Valve is looking for it to also be a platform for cultivating an audience for a game from the beginning. I don’t see how they can make that part work.

  10. Linfosoma says:

    My current problem with Greenlight is that it seems that anyone can just go ahead and post anything thery want. I’ve seen Slender listed about 5 times plus a project that is not a game but a complaint about too many Slender games being posted as if it were a game.
    It’s a mess, and in it’s current state unless Steam starts taking at least a little time to preview this titles and aprove them before being posted I dont see this going anywhere.

  11. Verio says:

    Just for perspective on the “Downvotes”:

    I browsed the games a bit last night. The presentation “There are 500 games waiting for your consideration!” or whatever the verbiage was, combined with
    - the unsortable list of titles
    - the Favorite + Thumbs Up, or Thumbs down rating
    - the lack of a “next game” button that lets you keep browsing, without a super slow process of going “back” to reload the whole damn list again.
    - the fact that the only way to “hide” a game so it no longer appeared on that front page, is to VOTE one way or another….

    Basically to me the user, it appeared that I was expected to more or less thumbs up or thumbs down EVERYTHING, and given the lack of an option “pass” or “hide” an entry, the only way to get a game off the list that was presented to me, was to vote on it.

    So I “downvoted” a few titles. Not because they were crap (well one was obviously a troll submission) and I thought the developer could feel bad, but simply because they didn’t appeal to me.

    In other words, I think Valve needs to clarify real quick how this is supposed to work. If a downvote is going to be construed as “This game is shit, and the person behind it is also shit” then they need to add a “Pass” button ASAP, then renders no judgement, but also hides the game so it no longer appears in the list.

    • Josh W says:

      Pass should be called “next game”, and should only be “pass” if you hit it without voting.

      That way, someone coming from your perspective will see it and skip ahead, someone just looking at a specific game could vote up, then hit next game and go on to the next randomly determined game.

    • Stromko says:

      I agree completely about the interface. It’s an awful hassle to browse through games right now, and the only tool they give you to actually sift through the list is to up or down-vote everything. It’s far too binary. I can see games that I respect but would never buy, and obviously some developers are taking offense to getting a lot of negative votes, so I don’t see how up/down vote pleases anyone.

      If they keep the interface as-is, where it’s just a muddled mass of crap which you can’t even properly sift through for the gems … Well it’s really just going to be a ghetto for indie games to never be heard from, and the embittered cynic in me already suspects this whole Greenlight thing is meant to compartmentalize and constrain the indie scene as is.

      I don’t mind if they restrict the submissions to playable builds instead of just ideas / concepts in the future though. Everyone has ideas, but results are thin on the ground.

  12. seagaia says:

    Submitting has been an interesting experience. I think I agree that it should be used as a platform to point your fans to rather than something where people using the site are supposed to randomly notice. With my current game Anodyne, my take is that there’s no realistic way it’s going to get near enough traction to get anywhere with Greenlight, but the advantage to Greenlight is that if I make the game good enough, market it well over other mediums (Desura, etc.), then Greenlight can be something I point those people to in order to get votes, and possibly get onto Steam.

    That, at least, seems to be what some of the ones doing well have done (Project Zomboid comes to mind – it already had a huge following).

    The downvote thing is weird, agreed. But Valve is smart, so I trust they’re handling that issue semi-sanely.

  13. Hoaxfish says:

    I really hope it sinks in that this is not a request service… I saw a bunch of russians, and one french entry for a variety of AAA games (Gears of War, Battlefield-exclusive-to-Origin, etc). Granted they disappeared pretty quickly, but I’ve taken to double-check dev’s websites to see it the Greenlight entry is really legit

    Wolfire’s Reciever is vaguely attributed to “David”… but is actually legit (linked to from the official blog),
    Fly’n the game is by “Fly’n”, except it’s actually by Ankama and I can’t find any official notification that they’re pursuing this.

    Talking about “Flash games” being in the mix… there are plenty of host sites like Kongregate for those, but even then, some of the games I’m seeing in Greenlight probably wouldn’t even be well received as “flash games” amongst Flash games either.

    Kickstarter by comparison keeps at least some of this chaff off out of contention by the “money” factor of the process, though obviously this might hinder some hidden gems just as easily as the flood of junk Greenlight is suffering from.

  14. Andy`` says:

    Also not helping – Layernet throwing all their games at Greenlight. They put 29 games up, they all look a bit random and iffy, and its really awkward seeing so many games from the same source all at once. It might be legitimate but it feels a tad spammy and makes it ever so slightly more arduous to look through the games list, much like the fake submissions and incredibly underdeveloped games do. So if Layernet is ok to do that, what happens when other smaller distributors like that decide to throw their entire back catalogue of wonky old games at the system?

    On underdeveloped games, someone at Valve stickied a post saying the Game Concepts category wasn’t in yet, so a lot of games are getting trashed because they’re WIPs. They’re also confusing to see amidst the games that aren’t WIPs. Not pretty. http://steamcommunity.com/workshop/discussion/864944662942173906/?appid=765

  15. Stardog says:

    It needs a few things:

    - Not For Me option next to Up/Down. I don’t want to thumb down a decent-looking project if others would play it.
    - Better filtering. It’s like the Google Play store at the moment. Random list of stuff in just a few categories. Not good and not well thought out.
    - Pay $5 to list your game. Like the Chrome Webstore. If they can’t manage that, how are they expecting to get their game on Steam proper?

    • InternetBatman says:

      They should at least let developers put their games in genres.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      That might help loose false negatives. A “Go for it” a “not sure/don’t want it” and a “don’t like it”. Although, would that be too complicated for the masses? :P

      “I want it” or a “I don’t want it” with a “It’s horrible”. :P

  16. MadTinkerer says:

    ” why the blue blazes they’d include the troll-gift that is a downvote option,”

    1) No one at Valve is omniscient.

    2) Non-omniscient people can be tricked, and fall prey to a copy-paste scam just because the game being ripped off happens to be something the non-omniscient person in charge has not encountered before.

    3) Other people who spot the scam can post evidence and alert everyone to downvote the plagiarizing jerk(s). Thus, omniscience is not necessary.

    That’s my theory anyway.

    • InternetBatman says:

      Why include that and the report option rather than keep a total tally on the reports? I don’t think downvoting is as bad an option as the developers make it out to be, but I don’t think that’s a full explanation.

  17. Calabi says:

    I dont like it.

  18. Zyrxil says:

    Greg Lobanov of Dumb and Fat Games, whose haunted-suburbs RPG Phantamurbia put up its Greenlight page yesterday, wrote to RPS to say he’s apparently been on the receiving end of narrow-minded crowds. “It seems like they’re expecting AAA gunporn, and they’ve been quick to “downvote” many games that look a little too indie, or, in their words, “like a Flash game.” My game’s not even Flash, but the ratings on my game send a pretty harsh message. It’s also frustrating that the comments and private ratings on my game paint a very different picture of the community reaction.”

    Oh boo-hoo. There are plenty of games on there that have budget 2d graphics and yet don’t look like the artist is the programmer. Yes, even Indie games have some higher standards now. Get with the times.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That quote especially struck me as baseless griping. I get that not everyone has the artistic skill, but then you need to pick a style that looks good and conforms to your lack of skill. VVVV did that and it was successful for it.

      The art in his game looks terrible. MS paint terrible. And I like games with mininmalist or substandard art like VVVV, Hoard, Geneforge, 1000 amps, Breath of Death 7, etc.

    • Author X says:

      Honestly, I’m not a developer, and I’m tired of seeing so many reactions being, “this looks like a Flash game” or “everything on Greenlight looks like a Flash game”.

      Binding of Isaac is literally a Flash game, and looks like it was drawn in Flash, and is better than the vast majority of obviously-not-flash games on Greenlight right now. Machinarium is also on Steam and is a Flash game, with a beautiful art style that I’d never peg as Flash.

      I’m not sure what “it looks like a Flash game” is even supposed to mean or why it automatically disqualifies it from being good.

      • Zyrxil says:

        This is an example of what people mean when they use Flash Game as an insult:
        http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=93076038&searchtext=

        Graphics that were done in MS Paint in the least amount of time possible. The vast majority of free flash games (not the ones that get really really popular) look like this. Phantamurbia does too- it’s not that it’s made in flash, but that the graphics were simply not an area they paid attention to, or spent money on. They might protest that they’re Indie, but that’s not really any excuse. Plenty of 2 man Indie teams have done better art, simply because they tried. Greenlight is a crowdsourced effort to judge production quality, and the bar is really quite low. If they can’t manage that, maybe they shouldn’t be full time game developers, and just work on it on the side.

      • darkath says:

        When people say “this look like a flash game” what they really mean is “this look like a bad flash game”. The point of Castlecrashers and Super Meat Boy is that even if they are flash games, they don’t feel nor look like flash games, because the art is crisp, the animations are tight, and the art direction is awesome.

        If castle crashers and super meat boy had as poor graphics as this game, they wouldn’t have the success they had, because people also judge the graphics, it’s the first impression you have of the game before even laying your hands on it.

        • Author X says:

          See, that’s my point: bad games are bad games. Why does Flash have anything to do with it? There are loads of crappy titles made in Gamemaker, or RPG Maker, or C++, or Java, with terrible, terrible art and graphics. There are really great games made in Flash. So why does “this looks like a Flash game” mean “this looks like a bad Flash game”, and why not just say, “this looks like a bad/lazy/beginner’s game” if that’s what you really mean?

          • jrodman says:

            At this point you know what they mean, and are just pissing into the wind regarding lazy modes of expression on the part of gamers in general. If you want to pick a fight with gamers in general on poor use of language, I suggest that there are better battles of this nature to put your energy into.

      • Gnoupi says:

        Actually, what they mean really is linked to the use of flash games in the last years. It means “looks like it should be free on a flash portal, I won’t pay money for it”.

        For years people have been spoon-fed with free flash games, even quality ones. So they got used that anything which looks like this should be asking money.

    • JFS says:

      Well, I mean it’s at least a chance for everyone, so no one should be crying “foul” over Greenlight. It’s democratic, which is different from being fair.

      Also, when I read stuff such as “with a twist” or “metaphorical explosions” I can’t really help but not vote them up, even though I’m far from a gunporn whore or graphics fetishist.

  19. BurningPet says:

    I think IndieDB handle the, well, data base of indie games much much better. with options to post news, updates, reply to comments and track favourite games. if we have an update, those who have already voted will probably not see it because the default screen is on the non yet voted games.

    the funny thing, i, in my ignorance, couldn’t imagine anyone not reading RPS, so all those “Towns is a minecraft ripoff” comments really threw me off guard. we just didn’t expect that level of obscurity. the number of people who have tried towns at one point is reaching or may even already surpassed the golden million number, the conversion rate is great, yet, i feel like we are back in the early days where i had to pitch the game everywhere. this is a different market all together. really, if anything, greenlight made me realise that the indie scene is much smaller and different then what i have imagined.

    Clifski has a point here, farmville at its start would have probably surpassed GSB in greenlight. but this is something you can’t fight off, its a symptom of larger crowds and the broadest appealing games. if your too niche, less people will like your game.

    So, greenlight is less about deciding whether a good game is better than another good game, its deciding what is crap and what can sell.

    Anyway, we cant really be disappointed, towns is doing really good there, despite some of the comments, and our sales have greatly spiked. so perfect or not. it can prove to be a really good thing for indies.

    • RedViv says:

      You have my vote.
      And axe.
      And support.
      And alpha bundle money.

      I do hope that several of the more obvious sites (or YT folks like TotalBiscuit) illuminate the possible audience as to which titles could possibly be interesting, just so that blatant ignorance like this will be present only in a smaller percentage of voters.

    • frightlever says:

      I upvoted you. Towns is a delight. I’ve bought it twice, though once in a bundle for peanuts.

      But I even upvoted nazi-favouring Miner Wars, so it’s not like I’m hard to please.

      And Kenshi – please everyone go upvote Kenshi. It’s a Minecraft rip-off with Samurais and Ninjas.

  20. somnolentsurfer says:

    Presumably the way people will find good stuff that isn’t just gunporn is through the likes of RPS? Every great little game that RPS recommends but which isn’t on Steam, will now have a link on it’s homepage saying “help get us on Steam!”.

  21. The Sombrero Kid says:

    The truth is if you’re getting a lot of downvotes on Greenlight you need to have a long hard look at the game you’ve made, why does it deserve to be held above the other 600 odd games on Greenlight?

    You also need to take great care over the assets you upload, it needs to grab someone in seconds, they don’t owe you the time it takes to get to know the virtue of the game. Finally you need to get used to the fact that people are going to make a snap negative judgement about your game.

    Finally and most importantly you need to ask yourself why your submitting it to greenlight, if it’s because you see it as an easier route onto steam, you’re almost certainly making a mistake, Greenlight exists for games that have moderate existing fanbases who have been rejected or delayed significantly by the traditional submission process, not so a 2d side scroller programmer art made in an afternoon piece of crap can end up on the store.

    • RobF says:

      No, you really don’t. Every single person on Greenlight will be getting a mass of downvotes. It will not matter how good or bad their pitch is. Just by virtue of that button being there, there will be downvotes galore.

      There’s too many reasons one can downvote compared to how many reasons one would upvote that the odds are unfavourable and to be honest, I think creating a system that could result in disenfranchising more developers is not a productive way to continue with the service regardless. I’m 10 years tough as old boots fuck you indie, not everyone can and will be that and those negative votes may hurt more than just folks chances of getting on Steam. Some people and some games are better equipped to absorb these things than others and it is not and will not be just shit games or shit pitches getting these votes.

      I’d sooner we just didn’t go there. It’s not a good thing. It’s not a nice thing. It’s not even useful data to draw conclusions from thanks to the nebulous nature of a thumbs down.

    • psyk says:

      “A downvote button? Seriously?” offers Puppy Games‘ Caspian Prince, whose Revenge of the Titans and Titan Attacks are already on Steam. “In a medium reknowned for griefers, spite, haters, 4channers, and internet-anonymity-fucktards in general? And also: comment moderation is reactive rather than proactive – meaning the same nasty negative people who like to downvote things can also leave their nasty griefing, spiteful, hating, ugly, profane, lying, exaggerated, bullshitting, thoughtless vitriol for all to see long before any developer gets a chance to delete it. It’s bad enough having to read this stuff in private, let alone know that everyone else has read it too.”

      This

  22. Jenks says:

    My thoughts on discoverability (originally posted on gamasutra)

    I think collections are the perfect solution for discoverability.

    At the rate the number of projects is climbing, there may be a thousand games to look through. Obviously the majority of people, even indie game fans, are not going to examine each one. The ‘hardcore’ people, however, just might. It is up to these fans and journalists to create lists of what they find appealing, and share it with those interested. If you’re one of the 95%+ people uninterested in sifting through crap, then browse a few collections. Find one with a few games you like, then continue down their list.

    Greenlight is designed to be a community experience and this is a community solution. If you are into indie games enough to look through them all, do your part and make a list. If not, take advantage of our work!
    http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=92971960

  23. Victuz says:

    I’m checking it out right now and I can already see one thing that needs to be added/changed. It’s lacking a “puzzle” section. Strategy games are NOT puzzle games, and so far most of what I’ve found in the strategy section were “puzzle the puzzling: revenge of the hexagonal puzzles” type games.

    PS. Oh and I already see requests for eroge. This is going to be funny.

  24. Josh W says:

    They should not only look for gross aggregate likes dislikes, but include some measure of clustering, so that disimilar games, liked by different audiences, get to stand up despite being different from the norm.

  25. Tei says:

    I think submitters have the power to not only delete any negative comment (or comments that are not positive enough!), but can ban particular persons, so if you don’t like a person, you don’t even have to see that person writting a opinion about your game in Greenlight.

  26. Trinnet says:

    Greg Lobanov of Dumb and Fat Games, whose haunted-suburbs RPG Phantamurbia put up its Greenlight page yesterday, wrote to RPS to say he’s apparently been on the receiving end of narrow-minded crowds.

    Greg, look at your Greenlight page. Look at it with fresh eyes, eyes keen to make sure that the quality of content which makes it onto Steam remains high.

    There’s no demo. We can’t play the game, so we’ll have to judge the game on what you’ve submitted.

    There’s a video which shows a 2D RPG with menu based combat of the Attack / item / magic / run school. One of the characters is called Yoshi, and refrigerators are prominently featured as enemies. Neither the graphics nor the art style will win any awards.

    The blurb does nothing to help – if you have clever puzzles, show us one clever puzzle to back up your claim. If your RPG mixes old and new RPG ideas then list at least one new RPG idea. If the story’s exciting then telling me a bit of the story should excite me.

    As the old mantra goes: Show, don’t tell.

    Now ask yourself, being as objective as possible: If all you had to go on was your greenlight page, would this be a game you’d vote for?

    • dE says:

      Since I looked at this and wasn’t particularly impressed by it. I have to agree it’s got lots to do with how it was presented. One part of the problem is that every game is marketed as something new and unique, so I quickly dismissed the claims in the text, especially since they didn’t provide examples.
      Next up were the screenshots. The style is not for me, I’ll say that. But that one screenshot with the street battle screen, it looks much less refined than all the other ones. Maybe this is a screenshot form an earlier build? Maybe one that used placeholder art? I’m pretty sure this screenshot spawned the “flash game” comments, because it looks a lot like some simple single-color vector graphics.

    • zaphos says:

      perhaps it’s been updated since you wrote this, but right now Phantamurbia does appear to have a demo — see in its description:

      Check out the site: http://phantasmaburbia.com/
      And the demo: http://gamejolt.com/freeware/games/rpg/phantasmaburbia-wip/5055/

      • jrodman says:

        This is one trend I’m seeing a lot of: greenlight pages that go live incomplete.

        Does steam not provide controls for the submitter to fill it out before making it available? Frequently I see pages with “Yeah, the video is coming” or “more useful text coming” and the page has some vague copy and placeholder art.

        Given the way greenlight works, you’ve just sort of wasted some ‘reviewers’ time. They are clicking through the list, trying to find something useful, and bringing up your page resulted in a few moments of confusion, and eventually a desire to rule your game out. Probably they will click “downvote” to get it out of their list, and move on.

        If Steam’s submission UI is causing this, it’s a big blunder by valve. If not, it’s a big blunder by the submitters.

  27. Eight Rooks says:

    Slightly off topic, but

    “In that sense, Greenlight seems poised to inherit the App Store problem of “just too many games,” which Apple solved with lots of hands-on curation”

    Ahahaha, oh, Christ, much as I love Waking Mars (I have it on iPod but would very much like to see it on a bigger screen) I do hope that was just a poor choice of word on the spur of the moment. I could probably come up with a list of, oh, ten or twenty games over the past few months which would make a good case that for all the good Apple has done with the App Store it hasn’t solved anything.

    Not that I seriously believe any system like this will ever be perfect – hand control to the public and they will invariably find a way to get hordes of games to the top of whatever chart it is which neither need nor, arguably warrant being there. But still. Apple are a long way off “solving” the App Store’s problems.

    • psyk says:

      Have a look at the xbox live indie games as a indication of the quality you can expect to receive.

  28. Caiman says:

    Great article Alec, and sums up everything I think is wrong with the system. Right now it’s a clusterf— and there’s no way I’ll be wasting time on it. I already feel soiled just by my first couple of visits. Over 600 submissions to wade through not knowing if I’ll find the next genuinely awesome game or someone’s attempt at racism, sneaking hardcore porn into the images, or stealing someone’s IP. I can’t imagine how demoralising it is for a genuine indie developer to receive so many “lulz, not BF3 so downvote” moronic comments. It’s like a beautiful pool of mana that feckless idiots are pissing into.

    But you’re right, Valve has a good track record in polishing potentially good ideas until they shine. I think it absolutely needs a barrier for entry that will sort genuine submissions from morons, otherwise I’d imagine people will abandon it pretty darn quickly.

  29. bansama says:

    game listing order seems relatively random, which gives fair exposure all round, although it does also seem to have favorites that always appear at the top for no reason.”

    All I’ll say in response to this is that having browsed through every page of Greenlight offerings 5 or 6 times, not a single one of the games mentioned in this article were ever displayed to me. So I don’t really consider that fair exposure. I also have to wonder just how many other games am I never seeing?

  30. psyk says:

    Loving the graphic whores in these comments.

  31. Secundus says:

    Greenlight has finally driven home to me that when a young ambitious developer breaks away from the tedium of AAA development the first thing they will try to make will be ANOTHER FUCKING ZOMBIE GAME.

    And also how utterly boring it must have been working greenlighting at steam up until this point, no wonder so many games didn’t make it through before when the poor valve employees have to sort through 86 identical zombie games before getting to them.

  32. Bob says:

    Yeah, it’s a bit crazy presently. Last night there were 122 games for my perusal, this morning 540. I upvoted one game that gets mentioned here on the Kickstarter Katchup. I’ll upvote PZ later as those guys deserve a change of fortune imo.

  33. wavioli says:

    Our first day on Greenlight has been hard work, the general public really are a demanding lot!

    Some thoughts:

    - Maybe the downvote button is just to remove the game from your list? Although the ratio is displayed on your page, nowhere does it say anything about including downvotes in the final submission criteria, only that you must reach the required amount of upvotes (whatever the hell that is)

    - Our game KÚ (plug plug :P ) was impossible to find through the search, as it has a minimum of 3 letters (and yes we are aware of what it means in Portugese. Well we are now anyways! ) Luckily we were able to change the name to ku: episode 1. Initially we weren’t able to change the name but it seems valve changed something.

    - Some people really dont seem to get the system at all! They seem to think that if they vote for a game then they actually get the game when and if it gets greenlit.

    - we’ve had some really great feedback (both good and bad). Some of us were really worried about having a nearly finished game up there, and in some cases people are ignoring the big BETA GAMEPLAY notice at the start of our video. Ho Hum.

    - The vast majority of people are positive reasonable people with nice things to say :-)

    - Its nerve wracking! The system seems quite unstable from our end, with our rating changing frenetically from 0% to 1% depending on how the system feels.

    On the whole it’s been a really interesting 2 days – as someone said in the article, it’s nice to know that the game you have been toiling on for the last year and a bit can be appreciated!

    • BurningPet says:

      Steam does it for all the games. they most of the time show the true % and sometime a lower one. maybe its a glitch.

      • wavioli says:

        its pretty glitchy at the moment alright! hopefully it’ll get better

  34. roxahris says:

    What, exactly, is the point of preventing people from expressing a negative opinion? Many people often point out the fallacy of a person or company saying “so many people love this thing” when the only choice given is “I love it” or no comment. I’ve downvoted the games I see as low-quality – the ones that don’t belong on Steam, or just plainly look like trash that shouldn’t even be sold in the first place. Greenlight is an open service, and anyone can chuck anything on there – that doesn’t mean it’s any good, or that we have to like it. And I’ve upvoted ones that I’m both vehemently in favour of and those which I’m kinda “ehh, looks alright” about. It has a strange sort of duality to it – after all, a community of people can either propel a game forwards or bury it down into the dust. Assuming, of course, that downvoting really is just an “I don’t like it” button that does nothing, as pontificated above.
    Also mentioned above was comment moderation, a thing that has already been abused quite a bit. Why, just yesterday I was reading about the case of NEStalgia, where the author was deleting comments pointing people to an example of him being a horribly unprofessional and overall mean guy – calling them “hate speech”. This sort of thing, I imagine, will happen quite often through the Workshop’s life span if things continue as they are now. Once again, it’s a case of depriving people of the full story, and I don’t think it works out very well for most of us in the end.

    • princec says:

      Whether you don’t think something should be on Steam is irrelevant. The purpose of Greenlight is to show Valve how many people do want something on Steam. No-one cares about what you don’t want. It has no effect on you whether it’s on Steam or not. It matters a very great deal to the people who do want it on Steam, and the developers in question.

      There’s no burying in the dust. Stuff that no-one is interested in simply languishes in silence. No-one else needs to know how much you hate pixel-art, or experimental gameplay, or another fucking zombie game, or how much you hate anime. The purpose for Greenlight is for developers to get their fans to tell Valve that they want something on Steam. Period. Final. End of story.

  35. OMMad says:

    Since these are all games that couldn’t get on Steam using regular methods, the easiest way to ensure cream of the crop rise to the top would be to encourage developers to upload a playable demo of the title… and to prioritize games with a working demo on the front page. It’s definitely a greater burden on the developers who would almost definitely need a working demo to even be able to compete but my reasoning is that these are all games that couldn’t get on Steam through traditional means anyhow. They should expect to work a little harder to win gamers’ votes.

  36. BestFriends4Ever says:

    Don’t want to be an asshole here but I’m going to anyway: Greg Lobanov has nothing to bitch about. His game looks mediocre and uninspired at best. Why should it perform better on Greenlight?

  37. Hulk Handsome says:

    Valve have just introduced a $100 fee to get a game on Greenlight.

    Apparently it’s just to prevent joke games. All the money is going towards Child’s Play. Why they didn’t choose a more worthy cause, I don’t know.