Greenlight Experiment

Greenlight Experiment

If you haven't seen me tweet or Facebook this, here's your chance to know. Thunder Gun has gotten a second Greenlight campaign with a new trailer! Exciting, right?

Well, sort of. The idea is to see if there were any issues with the original Greenlight by doing a second one. To be clear, the first Greenlight attempt did not end with a Greenlight from Valve or Steam users.

This time around, I've had Isaac of Clockwork Giant help me with the analytics and trailer, and I've lowered my expectations a bit since the first attempt. There was almost no risk involved with giving this a second go; the trailer and materials prep only cost us each 3 days of work, and for a game that's already been out for 8 months on and Gamejolt, why not, right? Even so, it took a lot of coaxing from others to get me to do this, mostly because I'd had such a crushing experience launching Thunder Gun back in September.

There are a couple of short to medium term goals I have with Greenlight: the obvious one is to push an already existing game of mine on there. Second, my upcoming game Future Crime Corporation is going to be giving Greenlight a go, too. Isaac also explained to me the idea of lowering risks involved with developing a full title by adopting a sort of 'Greenlight as a pitch' mentality. Basically, game #3 of my first go at commercial indie is going to be vetted by the Greenlight process. I have some things to talk about this.


  1. I won't sacrifice time/money on a project that wouldn't get Greenlit in the first place.
    This for me is a bit of a tough cookie to swallow. It means I'm making a process that's already said 'no' to my work once determine what kinds of games I get to make. The flip side of this is that it at least acknowledges that I probably have a fault in my designs that aren't really catching peoples interests; I'm used to making freeware, where word of mouth works a little better and there's basically no risk for players giving it a download.

  2. My initial motivations were to make whatever the hell I wanted to.
    I really did set out with that idea. I'm doing the (for a lack of a better term) 'indie' thing where I have complete control over what kinds of games I make, how I make them, and how fast I work on them. I made Thunder Gun because I wanted to. I'm working on Future Crime Corporation because I want to. THE PROBLEM with this is that what I want to MAKE doesn't necessarily equate to something that people want to PLAY. What Thunder Gun is/was susceptible to is some sort of insulation where, because my process didn't require it, the game wasn't built TO SELL. Yeah, I want it to sell, but did I MAKE IT TO SELL? The objective answer is probably: No.

  3. Making something that sells ≠ Making something I don't want to make
    This was something I never really considered until recently. There's a whole writing philosophy related to killing ideas that you just happen to like, because frankly, they probably aren't good ideas. But if my ideas get rejected, isn't this just a way to let my creativity shine? I fucking bet you that I'm a good enough developer to make something that both sells AND is something I really want to make. Thunder Gun was an admittedly feeble attempt at this (i.e, "Thunder Gun 1 is the kind of game someone would probably want to buy, so I'll make a new awesome version!"). Selling your work is NOT necessarily selling out. It's just a different area you need to adjust your design skills to accommodate.

  4. I will be honing my skills to sell my shit.
    I'm bad at marketing. There, I said it again. I don't like it. I hate it. HAAAAAATE it. However, a pitch is just that: marketing. With each pitch, I slowly learn what does and doesn't work while at the same time figuring out what people WANT to play (I would've loved game X if it would've let me do Y!) and just simply exposing me to marketing and getting me acclimated to it. Several people in the games space say it's just part of the job at this point, and they're probably right: I don't have experience in this, so I can't say they're WRONG. If anything, a lot of my failures point to me not being able to EXPRESS why people should enjoy my works as much as I do.

We need to agree that Greenlight is not a very good process, but the fact of the matter is, it's the only system that really exists to get your shit on Steam without having to know the magic emails or have something that already IS on Steam. We shouldn't HAVE to prove our worth to the players before we even have something to play, but we do, right? Not to mention that when someone's voting 'No' on Greenlight, they're not even saying it's a BAD game, they're only saying they wouldn't BUY it. That could mean it's not their type of game among a myriad of other reasons someone might not vote yes. As a matter of fact, when someone says 'Yes,' they're making a decision based on something they haven't even played. HOWEVER, you HAVE TO REMEMBER: the same could be said of someone BUYING your game.

I don't have a track record of being right about anything, but it's all my two-cents. Hopefully this second go at Greenlight gets me a little closer to being right about SOMETHING.