While it’s no secret that I’m a big supporter of Greenlight and have been for a while, I’m not blind to the fact that it’s by no means a perfect service. In my experience, its biggest flaw is that most of the time, judgment is cast based on dreams and potential, rather than something more concrete. In theory, voters could be supporting the notion of allowing what is merely an idea (aka. the game in its current state) to be distributed through Steam! Welcome to The Indie Post.
If only I was joking about that last bit, today is April 1st and all, but it’s the sad truth as there have been several examples of the Greenlight hype train crashing and burning. The thing is, a lot of submissions do not reflect the final product in any way, making it difficult for users to decide whether a project has potential or if what they’re looking at is exactly what will end up on Steam if greenlit.
But since developers want the publicity (and feedback) having a Greenlight page gives, it’s obvious that most aren’t going to wait until the game is out. There are those who’d rather get the added weight of reviews though, which makes a helluva lot more sense than putting up pictures and videos from an alpha/beta version. Needless to say, the process of gathering votes can be like climbing Mt. Everest, so for many, it’s a case of ‘the sooner the better’, WIP footage and all.
Another problem with this is that, like with movie trailers, a developer is able to decide exactly what they want to show their potential customers, a process which can easily cause problems down the road. Since Steam users currently have the ability to control which games should hit the store through Greenlight, such ‘highlight reel’ tomfoolery needs to stop. Will it though? Yeah, maybe when Hell freezes over and pigs fly! I’m not trying to be overly cynical here, but that’s pretty much the situation at hand. Fortunately, the majority of projects I’ve come across haven’t tried to trick users though, but even so, I’d recommend taking what you see/read on Greenlight with a grain of salt. Even more so when it’s a title still under development.
Now, I’d love to go “this is how it can be fixed” and describe a great plan in extensive detail. But alas, that won’t be the case as I’ve no idea where to even begin. In the end, all we can do is put our trust in the developers and Valve – or at least, that’s what I want to say. Considering the fact that downright broken titles like Guise of the Wolf, Day One: Garry’s Incident and War Z somehow slipped through the cracks… I honestly don’t know what to make of [Greenlight] at this point.
There’s also no doubt that those two gathered enough votes through the hype and little else, seeing how the creators did a great job in the marketing department, making their respective games sound quite intriguing, if not amazing. But here’s the thing: Guise of the Wolf had a playable demo, which according to this user review was a complete mess! So… uh, could someone please explain to me how it still got enough ‘yes’ votes? Oh and then there’s this comment from the developer. Fixed? Not even remotely.
Although with Greenlight supposedly going the way of the dodo later this year, maybe the problem will solve itself. Or maybe it won’t. Hard to tell, as Valve is keeping a tight lid on what their replacement plan is. Whatever the case, my point has been made, so I’m gonna wrap things up with one last piece of advice: think before you vote!
I know today’s Tuesday, but… let’s just say it’s hard to write an opinion piece with fubar Internet. Anyway, while last week was hardly the most active ever, I did get to play Weapons of Minimal Destruction, a fun ‘reverse arena shooter’ (no, really), and a demo of the upcoming Chester United, which is all about changing the environment through the use of different styles. Confused? Just try it.
You Have to Win the Game, a fan favourite freeware platformer from 2012, is finally getting a sequel, scheduled for release later this year with plenty of 8-bit nostalgia and likely more than a few game references. I also reviewed the iOS version of my favourite gamebook, Fighting Fantasy: House of Hell, which was quite the nostalgia trip as I played the printed version way back.
Quirky and totally randomized first-person shooter Fancy Skulls is still stuck in limbo for some inexplicable reason, and here’s the slightly smaller-than-usual Greenlight batch of new arrivals. Last but not least, seeing how March was overflowing with game jams – 7DRL, Cyberpunk, Mini Ludum Dare 50, Procedural Death Jam, BaconGameJam 07 and so on, I dedicated the last The Indie Post of the month to them.