Monday, 6 June 2016

The game is Greenlit! My thoughts on the process

I'm pleased to announce that after 66 days on steam, Escape From BioStation was successfully greenlit.

It was an interesting process, which began with an inauspicious spurt of "yes" votes, followed by a very pronounced flatline after a week. This was probably my fault as the page was sorely lacking having only a few images and not even a video. This was a huge blunder. After around a couple of weeks Escape From BioStation had received around 300 yes votes. The amount of unique visitors to the Steam page was at best one a day. I estimated that getting into the hallowed top 100 would require 1000 - 1500 yes votes at least. The game was clearly in "Greelight Limbo".

This was my understanding of the process, so whilst disappointed I was not necessarily concerned. However I did get a feeling that I would need to draft a press release along the lines of "1 year in Greenlight - my tale of woe".

So during this time development on Escape From Biostation continued steadily, and I did everything to ensure that the game was able to receive any positive interest it might get (short of paying for advertising). This involved responding to comments on the greenlight page, posting new videos / screenshots of game footage as soon as there was something to show off; and adding announcements to let visitors know the game was still being worked on. This had some success, in that I could see that the percent of people voting yes was going up (having started at a lowly 20%), but the all important unique visitors was still a pathetic trickle.

After around 50 days a friend of mine suggested approaching some external groups and sites to increase exposure - which I thought would be a good idea. So they went off and got on with this for me - allowing me to focus on devving. Their work did yield some interest. The largest amount of interest came when a demo of Escape from BioStation was included in a greenlight bundle on Groupees, which ran for a few days. Soon after that it was also mentioned on the who's gaming now website. Following this there started to be a marked increase in new visitors. The percentage of these visitors voting yes increased too - being more like 75%. As a result of this the game's progress towards the top 100 games went from about 25% to 80% over the course of about a week and a half - so very suddenly the exciting prospect of getting to the top 100 seemed a reality.

At 66 days I got a very unexpected email letting me know that the game had been Greenlit! I think at that point the game was about 85% of the way to the top 100, so this came as a bit of a pleasant shock. My understanding was that the powers that be in the Valve camp would only scour the top 100 to decide on what games they would include. My friend suggested that the reason for this might be that it was the sudden surge of interest that they liked. Perhaps this is true, I'll never find out. What I secretly hope is that someone at Valve heard about the game and loved it so much that they were following it's progress with keen interest so that they could give it the greenlight as soon as the possibly could.

In any case I am delighted to announce that Escape from BioStation will indeed be coming to steam in 2016. For any that might be in "Greenlight Limbo" reading this then I hope that some of my experiences might offer some tips.

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