Tales of the Rampant Coyote

Adventures in Indie Gaming!

Greenlight is a Go.

Posted by Rampant Coyote on August 31, 2012

I had this in an update yesterday, but I wanted to give it one more go:

Frayed Knights: The Skull of S’makh-Daon  is on Steam Greenlight. Please vote for it, if you have a Steam account.

Obviously, Greenlight is now up and running. And… I dunno. I’m apparently not the only one seeing it as a train wreck right now.  However, this is pretty much true of any newly-launched service, so I’m not overly concerned. I’ve heard hints that Valve is well aware of the major problems, and will be making changes soon. It looks like most of the problems stem from poor communication with the community about the purpose of Greenlight, and over-estimating the maturity level of their community as a whole. The “This is why we can’t have nice things” problem.

I think those problems can and will be resolved – not in the way that will make everybody happy, but hopefully in a way that will prevent the system from being overwhelmed by trolls.

It’s potential…. kinda scares me.  On the one hand – Valve is crowdsourcing its slush-pile, which I recognize as a legitimate and timely action.

On the other – it’s bolstering Valve’s position as Lord Emperor of online gaming and indie games. Which rubs me the wrong way. I mean – sheesh – isn’t the whole point of “indie” to be free and independent of these kinds of entities?

But nevertheless, it’s an issue. If you are on Steam, you can cut your price in half and make 20x as much revenue as you can on your own. Straight up.

Which means that non-Steam games cannot compete on price.

It also seems to be the case that revenue for non-Steam games is drying up… a lot like what happened to the casual games when the casual portals took over. The portals took their customers.

While there are no guarantees, if you are indie, it’s probably in your best-interest in the short-to-medium term to be on Steam. And to get on Steam, you need to get on Greenlight. Which means Greenlight – and Steam – will be the one-stop shop for all indie games. How much that ownership over Greenlight will be in Steam’s favor is yet to be seen.

If I did it for the money, I’d not be making indie games. But I would like to one day make enough at it that I could actually do this full-time. And have a real budget – that’d be cool too. 🙂 The whole indie thing has changed a lot over the years, and while it’s been very exciting to see at times, it’s been kinda frustrating at others. That’s just the nature of the business.

Fundamentally, the more things have changed, the more they stay the same. It’s still the same story – when the giant publishers ruled the world. Indies can’t allow themselves to become commoditized. You can’t be just another game – be it a Steam game or Desura game or casual game or mainstream FPS game. Your game must be unique, something not easily replicable. A game with personality, that could only have come from you.

That doesn’t solve the problem of getting eyeballs, of course. One of my visions of indie-dom is that the ultimate game for me is out there, somewhere, but nobody knows about it yet. While “ultimate” may be a silly descriptor, there’s a lot of truth there. Some of my favorite games have been relatively obscure little titles.

Sadly, I’m afraid Greenlight will soon be even more choked than the Apple App Store, and won’t be much of an answer to the obscurity problem in the long run. But I don’t see any other solution in sight, either.

Filed Under: Indie Evangelism, Mainstream Games - Comments: 17 Comments to Read

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I think it’s initially set to an arbitrarily high number – like 100,000 or 1,000,000 or something. Later they’ll refine it, I’m sure.

  • Steve said,

    Just voted for you. You now have 0% of necessary positive ratings so far. Are you told how many votes you need?

  • Califer said,

    Voted for you yesterday. I’ve only seen one game NOT be at 0% after voting, and I’ve rated … 433 games so far. Looks like greenlight is my new game of choice.

  • jwmeep said,

    Yeah, so far the affect of trolls does seem to be apparent. I do wish you luck in getting onto steam. Might help with the “eyeball” factor.

  • Barry B said,


    I was a bit surprised that didn’t even get you to 1% of the positive ratings required.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I think you need either 1,000 or 10,000 up-votes to get to 1%. Dunno if down-votes cancel the up-votes, either.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    Some other comments:



  • Xian said,

    It is getting crowded already. Yesterday I had 200 some games to go through, today it was over 500.

    I think the first thing they need to do is put in some better filters. Currently you can filter by game type, such as RPG, but I would like to see others – date added to Greenlight, most popular/up votes, etc.

    I also don’t really see the purpose of the down voting. That seems ripe for abuse. If I am not interested in a game, I am not going to vote it down, I am just going to ignore it. It might not be my cup of tea, but it might be yours.

  • jwmeep said,

    I really wish they would limit it to games already released. Not games being pitched. They still have their old approval process right? Use that for games still in production. Their team is probably better equipped for handling scams and the like. Once a game is finished, and it didn’t make it through approval, then put it up for Green Light.

    Also agreeing that down voting shouldn’t have been included.

  • Hexagonstar said,

    The old problem of only one company controlling a successful product! I’m honestly not sure what is better: a product or service controlled by a single company or by a committee of many factions. Both ways have their ups and downs. Well it could be worse. Imagine a company like Zynga or EA would control Steam!

  • Modran said,

    Voted for you. Still not reaching the 1%. Crossing my fingers for you.

  • Maklak said,

    I looked at the screenshots you have there and something caught my attention: There are no dialogues!. I mean no offence, but the visuals aren’t that impressive. What makes your game stand out is the humour. Something mildly spoileriffic from the temple of Pokmor Xang, for example the discussion, weather to set Valeria free would in my opinion be better at catching people’s attention than a torch and an open box, for example.

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    There is one, with only one line, but maybe I should insert another one in the list.

  • Ruber Eaglenest said,

    I don’t think trolls would be a problem at all. It is a question of go to Greenlight with an already community and awareness around you to support you. If you go there blank, you will go out blank.

    To the point: the number of honest voters always are higher than trolls. Look at Metacritic, or sites for search for hotels, they are still useful because false and troll votes are minor against real ones (if you have enough time).

    So it is a question of time, time will put all in her place, in or out of Steam.

  • Ruber Eaglenest said,

    Ah! add too, a line in the thumbnail of the game: “DEMO AVAILABLE”

  • jwmeep said,

    Jay, I don’t know if you follow these older comments, but will Greenlight requiring $100 fee affect your attempt much, or is that just for the new ones?

  • Rampant Coyote said,

    I do follow all comments (they all get emailed to me). I wasn’t sure, but I paid up anyway when the number of RPGs appearing in my new “queue” shrank to almost nothing. I wasn’t sure if it was an artifact of their new interface or the $100 thing, but I paid up jussincase. Today’s blog post will be about this.