Greenlit: Black Mesa, Zomboid, McPixel, More

The saga of Steam Greenlight has, thus far, been packed with unexpected surprises, whiplash-inducing twists, and sudden bursts of lava-like sensuality. Unfortunately, hardly any of it has been related to actual, you know, games. Instead, Greenlight itself and its (in some cases, not-so-well-explained) policies have hogged the spotlight, with Valve doing its best to tweak and modify the system as it goes along. Now, though, the first batch of community-tested, Valve-approved games is getting its chance to shine. Also, one of them is Half-Life.

Not that Half-Life, you sillies. This one just stars the same guy and kept us waiting even longer and tries valiantly to adhere to the same design principles. In addition to Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, Dream, Heroes & Generals, Kenshi, McPixel, No More Room in Hell, Project Zomboid, Routine, and Towns will all soon (or soon-ishly) be appearing on Steam.

Now then, some things to note: Black Mesa, Cry of Fear, and No More Room in Hell are all mods, so it seems like those are officially supported by Greenlight. That said, they’re also mods of Valve games, so only time will tell how keen the PC gaming powerhouse is on mods for less noteworthy games and – for that matter – how they’re listed and categorized.

Also, there’s the matter of the rating system’s mysterious inner-workings. None of these games, for instance, saw their ratings rocket up and ding the 100 percent bell. Instead, Valve simply picked the top ten (Black Mesa came in first at 49 percent) with the exception of co-op portion of Slender’s unending one-tricky pony show, Slender: Source (which, interestingly, was in second at 35 percent; I plan to investigate this). So that’s how the system works. For now, anyway.

OH YEAH, THE GAMES. You already know Black Mesa, McPixel’s an explosive adventure minigame thing with an incredibly short fuse, Project Zomboid is a fantastic zombie sanbox survival sim that’s had its fair share of hard times during development, and Heroes & Generals is an extremely ambitious WWII FPS/RTS whose battles span modes, days, and different platforms. Cry of Fear and No More Room in Hell, meanwhile, both seem horror-focused, but I don’t know them quite as well. Same with Routine, except it’s already sold me with one phrase: “first person survival-horror set on a abandoned Moon Base designed around an ’80s vision of the future.” Dream’s also first-person, but focused on atmosphere, while Kenshi’s a massive (400 kilometers!) freeform RPG, and Towns is a Dwarf-Fortress-inspired to-do whose depth hopefully makes up for its, er, un-prettiness.

These sound worth getting excited about. I think I’m going to go ahead and do that. They haven’t been added to the storefront yet, but some are “are ready to be released immediately,” so look for them – well, by that standard – a couple hours ago.



  1. JoeGuy says:

    I’d really like Valve to turn around and tell the Black Mesa Modders they can use HL sound assets.

    • Monchberter says:

      I’d really like Valve to do the final polish on the project, allow use of all assets and make it the official HL1 remake.

      And then handsomely pay all of the many people who’ve slaved for years on getting this to release.

      • cHeal says:

        yeah and we’d be guaranteed release sometime before the second coming of Jesus…

      • Ultra-Humanite says:

        I can’t tell if this is sarcasm or not.

    • Tuskin38 says:

      that would defeat the purpose of the remake if they used the original voice acting. Besides, they’ve redesigned some levels and have new dialogue, so it wouldn’t work.

      • JoeGuy says:

        Having some of the memorable sound effects or lines from the original would defeat the whole game? Okay then.

      • theblazeuk says:

        Yes, it would be like having some of the same level design.

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    No More Room in Hell is a Source total conversion and zombie mod that was in development for about six or seven years, at least half of which were spent in development hell. It’s a bit wonky/not-polished in the way a lot of TCs are, but it’s one of the few zombie games that focus on escaping/avoiding the zombies rather than just shooting them (ammo is extremely limited, you die in 3-4 hits, melee weapons take a lot of swings to kill zombies, the zombies respawn indefinitely, you can be infected which will eventually kill you and bring you back as a zombie – you basically have to bait zombies into shuffling after you then run around them, like they do in the films) – it’s objective-based on fairly small but well-utilised maps and tries to and basically succeeds at reproducing Romero-style zombie action.

    • DrGonzo says:

      What bothered me in that is how artificially gimped my character is. These zombies are walking at me so slow, and I could easily just brush them aside or keep them at arms length.

      If they can polish up the controls and make it so most deaths come from your mistakes rather than the control schemes it could be a classic.

    • feighnt says:

      When there’s no more room in development hell, the game shall finally be released?

  3. Deadly Habit says:

    I thought Greenlight was for indie games, not indie games and mods. It’s like Greenlight is trying to replicate the success of Desura.

    • SelfEsteemFund says:

      Greenlight is just a way of submitting games to Valve in the hope of having them available on Steam, doesn’t matter whether it’s a paid game, mod or free title. I for one am extremely happy that Valve is allowing mods & free games up on Steam again after a very long hiatus, it will hopefully bring some life back into the modding scene (neotokyo) & allow inexperienced users to try mods more easily.

    • Big Murray says:

      Mods are just indie games built in an engine which exists already.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        True, but in this context doesn’t it sort of add an incentive to start monetizing the mods if just for the submission fee now, vs say a hub like moddb where often the mod installers add it right into steam automatically.
        It would be nice to have autoupdates and hotfixes, but often those are buggier than what they intend to fix in the case of mods which is another reason I’m wary of it.

        • baby snot says:

          You can turn auto patching off using a games/mods Steam properties dialog.

          • Deadly Habit says:

            I know, but how many people actually do this (or know about this feature). Maybe if they added steam workshop to the most popularly modded games instead of just they few they have now that would be a better option than having mods on Greenlight.

      • KDR_11k says:

        Mods are dependent on a game that shipped with that engine, plenty of games are built on existing engines like Unity, Unreal and yes, Source. If you can install the thing without requiring another game and without infringing on the copyrights of another game then it’s a game, not a mod.

    • Innovacious says:

      Also, greenlight doesn’t mention indie anywhere. The community keep pinning the “indie” badge on it. In fact, the old method of submitting games for everyone is disabled right now. The contact info is gone from relevant pages and the FAQs changed to redirect people to greenlight.

      link to

      There have been games released on steam since greenlight started, but that’s because they already had their foot in the door and were in talks with valve before greenlight started.

      • Deadly Habit says:

        The community pins indie on it because it was in response to indies getting overlooked in the submission process.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        There’s no chance that games from established publishers will have to go through Greenlight, if that’s what you’re suggesting. They didn’t have to go through the old method either. You might see some there just as a PR stunt, of course.

        • KDR_11k says:

          I’ve seen quite a few retail games show up on Greenlight, one notable case is dtp who previously released games just fine on Steam. I guess they were bumped off the whitelist because their games were rather crappy and Valve wanted an excuse to tell them to GTFO. “Hey, just SHOW us that there’s demand for the 5th shitty game based on an obscure german TV series on Steam!”

          • D3xter says:

            Uhm, okay so Gray Matter: link to
            And Venetica: link to
            are crappy games based on german TV series…?

            Or the games they already got on Steam e.g. Divinity II, Drakensang, Drakensang 2, Cursed Crusade… okay

            Frankly I’m perplexed why they wouldn’t let them directly publish those games and even moreso on why they’re sitting at 1%.

    • zeroskill says:

      A lot of people think a lot of things about greenlight, like you neeed the ominous % bar to fill to 100% in order to get accepted, that niche games don’t stand a chance on Greenlight (cough*kenshi/towns) or that the “downvote button” will actually affect whether you get on Steam or not, and they are all wrong.

      I wonder what some people come up with next to discredit this thing.

      “It’s like Greenlight is trying to replicate the success of Desura.”

      What? Steam has always been hosting mods for Half-life 1 and Half-life 2. Since the beginning of freakin time. It has Science and Industry on there for crying out loud.

      • The Random One says:

        “I wonder what some people come up with next to discredit this thing.”

        If by “people” you mean “Valve employees”, I wonder that as well, but I’m sure of their ability to continue to come up with creative and varied ways to discredit it.

  4. Innovacious says:

    There have been many mods added for other games (before the fee of course) but they all got removed. Source mods all stayed though, unless they were unbelievably bad. My guess is valve is going to try and talk to the devs with the aim of some sort of license to make them standalone source games. Not sure about cry of fear though.

  5. Juan Carlo says:

    I don’t imagine we’ll see Zomboid very soon. The devs listed like 4 or 5 more updates they have to get done before its steam ready. And they didn’t sound like small tweaks.

    • Zelius says:

      I wonder why won’t just take Terraria’s approach and release now, while still updating the game.

    • Terragot says:

      yeah, not to mention I noticed Lemmy’s steam play time during the greenlight process was at 98 hours for the last two weeks. Guess they must be fairly comfortable sitting on pre-orders so they look to be taking their time.

  6. Hoaxfish says:

    I have to admit, that I’ve looked at some of the games of Greenlight and been “nope”… and then read that a bunch of people think that same game is really good, so I’ve changed my vote.

    It doesn’t cost me anything, but at the same time I’m trying to avoid having to look at the same game every time I view those “unvoted” games but I feel bad for voting “no” just to get rid of them if they’re any good. I really hope a solution for this stupid dilemma turns up that my brain works with.

    Also… it’s horrible to see at least a number of games I think should be getting votes getting barely past 1%.

    and I saw some website that made a list of the current votes for everything on Greenlight, but I seem to have lost the link.

    • Innovacious says:

      Here you go link to

      • Diziet Sma says:

        Oh that’s very cool. Thank you.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Yea, that’s the one. Really hope to see this kind of functionality come to Greenlight itself (basic control over sorting is not exactly innovation).

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          I think that might be deliberate, in which case I would agree. Greenlight is meant to be a way to discover things that otherwise would go unnoticed. If something is big already, the Steam people will probably be aware of it anyway. I suspect they’re looking for potential breakout hits. Remember how Minecraft got so big without being on Steam? I guess they don’t want that to happen anymore. What you want to discover in Greenlight is the kind of game that has the potential to be big(ger), but hasn’t had the marketing or attention to do so yet.

          • Hoaxfish says:

            I’d argue that anything really big, will end up greenlit… which would then elevate it out of the greenlighting process, leaving it clear for the best of whatever remains.

            Even if it’s not a “sort by popularity”, I’d like to see sort by name. The current “sort by date” doesn’t quite seem to match what it implies, and there’s no option to reverse the order (which might become increasing relevant to older titles that have not managed to reach whatever golden criteria the system works on immediately after they get added)

    • KDR_11k says:

      I’ve gone through so many Greenlight queues that I’ve made liberal use of the NO button. I’ve even retroactively withdrawn my upvote for a game after playing the demo on Desura (practically everything that’s already finished or accepting alpha/beta purchases is available on Desura).

      But yeah, the main way of discovery is through outside sources and I think that’s appropriate since Greenlight came about in response to the Mutant Mudds debacle where a game with a console release, high metacritic score and existing fanbase wasn’t able to get on Steam. Cases like that can mobilize their fans to get on Steam now. Games without marketing will still be as screwed as before.

      I just hope Steam doesn’t throw things on Greenlight that would have gotten approval before (with the exception of some shovelware like all those hidden object games and various X Simulator nonsense). On the other hand Rocking Android (translators for Gundemonium Collection, Acceleration of Suguri) stated they’ve been told to use Greenlight whereas they previously managed to get straight to a release.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        letting a lot bypass greenlight, except crappy shovelware, could lead to a horrible situation where Greenlight is simply known for being 99% crappy shovelware

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    > “Slender: Source (which, interestingly, was in second at 35 percent; I plan to investigate this). ”

    Some idle speculating that the situation with regards to intellectual property and so on is a bit murky, so they are holding back on this until they have investigated and deemed it safe. There is already a Slender Game, etc.

    Personally I wasn’t all that impressed with what I’ve seen of Cry of Fear. I mean, it’s fun to see Stockholm in a game, but the trailer seemed to consist mainly of YouTube Amnesia-ish “blurry footage of people watching a screen and screaming OMG!! WTF!!!”

    • Innovacious says:

      Cry of fear is a decent game (minus the co-op). Its a shame people like pewdiepie lead most youtube footage of indie horror games. He ruins any sense of horror or atmosphere. Pretty much every game on greenlight that has used something of his as promotional material has hundreds of comments either saying “OMG PEWDIEPIE I LOVE YOU” or “OMG PEWDIEPIE GO DIE IN A GREASE FIRE I HATE YOU”

    • Tyraa Rane says:

      I don’t think the trailers quite do Cry of Fear justice. I’m playing it at the moment and when I saw the trailers went “wait, what game is that?”

      The game’s quite good, really, and they’ve done some pretty damn amazing things with the HL1 engine. The only real complaint I have about it is the aggressively small inventory. Sometimes I spend more time playing “impromptu inventory juggle” than I do dealing with horrifying monstrosities.

  8. mrwout says:

    Something interesting and Greenlight related:

    The first game I wanted to vote for on Greenlight, but it has still not appeared on the service. So I jumped into my google-boots to see if there’s a reason for it, apparently they are already getting on steam without it!

    link to

    • Hoaxfish says:

      nice, I was thinking they’d fall foul of the new “go away and put it on Greenlight”

  9. Lemming says:

    I think this is worth of some attention (and votes):

    link to

  10. tejohr says:

    I would suggest to try HL2 mod Neotokyo, FPS multiplayer game inspired by Ghost in The Shell which includes 3 interesting classes to play with. It’s worth a try.

    • grundus says:

      Thank you, I shall check that out, I’m kind of desperate for some good Ghost In The Shell or GITS-like games, DX:HR was a good one but I can’t seem to find many more. I actually watched GITS right before playing it for the first time and it set the tone quite well indeed.

      • tejohr says:

        If you are unable to find a server to play on, try dropping by on fridays. The game got small but nice community, that usually come together to play on that day in the evenings (both European and USA).

  11. golem09 says:

    Please RPS, how about another article on your beloved La-Mulana, now that it’s on greenlight and COMPLETELY FAILING in getting supported.

  12. frightlever says:

    ” Towns is a Dwarf-Fortress-inspired to-do whose depth hopefully makes up for its, er, un-prettiness.”

    Yeah, cos DF is pure eye-candy. I voted for 4 games on Greenlight so far – Towns, Kenshi, Black Mesa and only Steam Marines not greenlit yet.

    • KDR_11k says:

      No but DF makes up for its un-prettyness with more depth than ten other games combined.

      • senae says:

        gnomoria is looking to be a good middle ground, even if there’s some wierd interface bugs atm.

  13. pakoito says:

    >which, interestingly, was in second at 35 percent; I plan to investigate this

    It came from 4chan, youtube and 9gag. Despite the fame it’s still a remake project in the pre-production phase so no go.

    My Greenlight choice is Tales of Maj’Eyal.

  14. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Towns is a very pleasant surprise. It demonstrates that you can be successful despite using low-budget graphics that don’t conform to the current pseudo-8-bit trend.

    It’s a good message for indie developers who are passionate about deep gameplay and not terribly concerned about style.

    • SurprisedMan says:

      I don’t really understand this comment for several reasons.

      – There are already plenty of successful games on Steam that use low budget graphics. FTL, for example, I’d argue has more basic (yet still lovely) graphics than the ones in the video for Towns. Spacechem, too. Indies have never had undue trouble selling games that make creative use of low budget graphics.

      – The graphics in Towns seem quite stylish, anyway. They’re consistent, which is really what counts as far as style is concerned.

      – As an indie dev. I think indie developers SHOULD be terribly concerned about style as well as gameplay. It’s far too simplistic to say that the fun of a game lives entirely within the gameplay. A lot of it lies in the visual/audio touches, the way that things move, the writing if applicable. I mean, Peggle isn’t the greatest game, but it would be completely unremarkable if it weren’t for all the flourishes – and that stuff isn’t to be sniffed at! And take Super Hexagon – how much more bland an experience that would be if it was -simply- avoiding some lines coming towards you. In any case, the short version is that a lot of a game’s soul resides within its style, and developers ignore that at their peril. Nothing as deflating as a good gameplay concept presented in a way that seems like the developer didn’t care.

      – Also I wish people would stop oversimplifying the ‘8 bit trend’. First of all it’s mainly a pseudo 16 bit trend if it’s anything, but that’s just being pedantic. The fact is, for many indies, myself included, making reasonably blocky, low colour graphics with not too many frames of animation is not only a style choice, but a pragmatic move. I’m not the best artist, but I’m the best out of the two of us making games together. So, because I’m concerned about style (and because style is linked to consistency) I often choose graphics reminiscent of old games I used to play in the early 90s. That’s because it’s a style I’m familiar with, is not too hard to draw inspiration from while still adding my own spin, is fairly easy to do decent animations with and gets me working with a limited pallette and small sprites which really helps to keep the game looking consistent. That’s far more important to me than making sure I’m not accused of jumping on a bandwagon or following a trend. I don’t want to ramble on too much (too late) but hopefully that should give some idea as to the more complex reasons that indie devs might make these decisions.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        The graphics in Towns seem quite stylish, anyway. They’re consistent, which is really what counts as far as style is concerned.

        The graphics themselves are okay, but the animations are terribad. IIRC, they used to be nonexistent, so that’s still a step up. In contrast, FTL is very slick.

        First of all it’s mainly a pseudo 16 bit trend if it’s anything

        McPixel is not remotely 16-bit, and it’s just one example of many. Super Amazing Wagon Adventure is another I played recently.

        There’s nothing inherently wrong about retro styles, but personally I do think they’re getting a little tiresome lately. Especially 8-bit / NES / 80s style graphics. 16-bit can be done tastefully and usually doesn’t bother me.

        • BurningPet says:

          professional coverage, i must add.

          Edit – that was meant for surprisedman.

        • SurprisedMan says:

          Oh, I’m not saying that there are no examples of 8 bit style games, I’d just say they’re in the minority compared to 16 bit style ones. And everyone short hands it to 8-bit. And actually, McPixel has some scenes which are coloured in a way that does suggest 16 bit, but it’s also very blocky in a sort of 4-bit way, so it’s a bit of a mixture. Anyway, this is a distraction. :)

          On your other point, the animations in FTL are very minimal, so it’s a bit of an unfair comparison animation-wise. There are a few bits of hit animation, and some walk cycles and simple stuff on the tiny sprites. But the ship breaking up is pretty much just the pieces of it being moved and rotated a bit. I wouldn’t say the animations in FTL are anything special, but they do the job, for what they are – and as far as I can see that’s also the case for Towns (and they may yet improve).

          Anyway, the main point I wanted to make is that often a dev isn’t really worrying about how tiresome some section of people think the style they’ve gone for is, and nor should they. It’s far more important to find a style that you can work with and looks consistent and enables you to include all the nice little touches that elevate a game, and if that’s 8, 16, 4 bit style, then so be it. I know people don’t mean to be nasty when they complain about retro looking graphics, but I take it personally – because being able to make games with those kinds of graphics is part of what enables me to make games at all. Without that route, I’d be much more reluctant because I don’t want to make something that looks inconsistent and ugly.

          • BurningPet says:

            May i repeat my last comment here again?

            Everyone, listen to this guy. he keeps saying truths.

            to whom all concerned, the style will remain, the polish levels will rise gradually.

  15. derbefrier says:

    Heros and Generals look like it could be pretty awesome.

  16. Shazbut says:

    Very excited for Routine and Dream

  17. BurningPet says:

    While i am extremely happy that we got in, i really wish incredipede would have been accepted too.

  18. therealspratt says:

    I have to say that I’m ruddy annoyed that the rather excellent Real Texas is only on 1%, that game was fantastic!

  19. ShineyBlueShoes says:

    Well the mods aren’t completely unprecedented, when Steam first came out the biggest mods were put directly on there but we haven’t really seen anything since.

  20. dethtoll says:

    Cry of Fear is my Survival Horror game of the year, with only Lone Survivor as a contender.

    Then again, those are the only two that actually came out this year…

    Seriously, if you haven’t played CoF, do so now. It’s a major improvement over Afraid of Monsters, even the Director’s Cut.

  21. Unaco says:

    Not sure if troll or not.

    You do realise all of the mods are Source Engine mods, right? Which means you’d need to be owning/running a Source game, on Steam anyway to play them, right? And that Steam/Valve have picked up several Source mods previously, and incorporated them into Steam more fully, with achievements and Steam pages and downloading and autoupdating, right? (Dystopia springs to mind). And that they’ll still be distributed as free mods, right?

    What is so wrong with Valve/Steam distributing mods, for free, for Valve/Steam games on Steam?

    • derbefrier says:

      sounds like you just wanna be difficult. I don’t see any real reason to be against this other than your apparent hatred of steam.

    • Theevilpplz says:

      Actually a minor correction – Around the time TF2 went F2P, Valve made the Source SDK free to all users, whether they owned a Source game or not.
      So you will -not- need to own ANY game to get these source mods. They are as free as can be.

  22. shaydeeadi says:

    Happy Kenshi is on there, only got to wait about 2 more years for that to be anywhere near release.

  23. ichigo2862 says:

    Kind of wanted to get that Seduce Me game on Steam actually. I guess I’m a perv.

  24. omayon says:

    Vote for Neotokyo, guys!