In the first part of this blog series, I told you about how how I published my game, Rebound, on Steam and what my experience was like getting through Steam Greenlight. This time around, I’ll share with you the things you should and shouldn’t do when you’re launching a Steam Greenlight campaign.
Before we start, I want to mention that I made a lot of these mistakes, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to learn everything I did wrong.
1. DON’T Wait Until Release To Market Your Game
You’ve heard this one before, but it’s really critical to perform some sort of marketing before you release the game. While I didn’t make the exact mistake of waiting until release for any marketing, I did take much longer than I should have to post anything about it.
Now let’s be honest: unless your game has a unique or revolutionary mechanic, you’re probably not going to get much press coverage. You’ll want to get word about your game around by different means than contacting big press sites.
I suggest creating a simple website with signup forms for a mailing list using MailChimp for automated emails as soon as you’ve decided what you’re going to make and have some basic graphics like a logo and website background. You can then share that around websites and communities where people would like your type of game. I also use the MailMunch WordPress plugin to
If you’re new to web design, I suggest getting a web space from eHost.com and installing WordPress along with the divi theme, which you can get here.
I’ll spend more time talking about better marketing techniques in later posts to avoid going too far off topic.
2. DO Share Your Game When Launching Your Campaign
No matter what your game is, there are communities interested in it. I want to address this not only from a game development standpoint, but also from a business standpoint with a hypothetical. If you’re releasing a product, and you don’t tell anyone about it, who’s going to buy it?
The answer is nobody, and that’s because, to point out the obvious, they can’t buy what they don’t know about.
There are lots of games that people would love to play if they knew about them. You can think of it this way: if you don’t share your game with them, they won’t even know what they’re missing. Periodically through your development, take some time to share details about your game or even your development process to related communities.
For example, if it’s an Android game, you’ll want to share it on Reddit’s /r/AndroidGaming and other android communities. You’ll want to niche down even further than this though. To do so, you’ll need to identify tags your game relates to. Here are a couple of examples of ways you can niche down:
Genre > Strategy > Turn Based
Theme > Space > Exploration
Map/Terrain > Procedurally Generated
And we could also say that the game is Large Scale, Story Focused, and is in a Dystopian Universe.
With that, we could find all sorts of communities interested in a Procedurally Generated Large Scale Exploration oriented Turn Based Strategy game set in a Dystopian Universe with a focus on Story.
It can be easy to overlook all of this classification and just say, “oh, I’m making a turn based strategy game in space with generated terrain,” which doesn’t do the game much justice.
3. DON’T Launch The Campaign Too Late
Like I mentioned in my last post, it can take 6 months or another long period of time depending on the influx of yes voters to your greenlight page.
With that said, your game will rise up in the ranks of Steam Greenlight even without yes votes as other games are greenlit. That means that you’ll want to set up a greenlight page early on because you can be sure your game will be ready for steam publishing by the time you want to release.
Even before release, you’ll want to make sure you integrate everything you’ll want from the Steamworks features, including trading cards. achievements, stats, and others, so it’s important to have enough time before you release the game with access to the Steam API.
When this happened with Rebound, I was surprised. Steam Greenlight was completely off my radar at the time, but it had just happened after a busy 6 months.
I mention this because Rebound was actually released on Steam much later than it was released on The Humble Store. If you get some good visuals and videos for your game early and put up a Steam Greenlight page, you can avoid waiting months to release your game on the biggest video game platform there is.
4. DO Use Visuals and Get Personal In Your Game Description
When you write your Greenlight post, you’ll want to talk about all the features in your game, and highlight the main parts of your gameplay. As you do so, I recommend you provide header images before each feature, and separate them as sections. This keeps the page organized with style and makes it easy for the reader to understand what your game is. Remember: the easier it is for the reader to know what your game is, the more likely they’ll read long enough to press the yes button.
Here are some example banners I used on the Rebound Greenlight page:
As you can probably tell, the first header was used before a brief summary, the second banner was used before further describing how the game works, and what’s in it, and the third banner was used to describe how power ups work, and which ones are featured in the game.
Now, to supplement your amazing beautifully styled page (I hope), you’ll want to resonate with the reader, and write the page as if you’re talking to them. Sure, you’re not really talking to them, but they’ll be much more engaged if they feel like a conversation is directed toward them. To make this easier, you’ll need to know which demographic of gamers you’re targetting, and what their interests are. I won’t go into any more detail on this, but I may write about it in another post.
With that said, that’s all the tips I have on Steam Greenlight for now.
Until next time,