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Solar Struggle - Our way to Steam

This is a story about the game "Solar Struggle" which released 2010 on XBLIG and took about four years to release on Steam.

"Solar Struggle" is an arcade action space-shooter which we released back in 2010 on XBLIG.
Our partner and we presented it on gamescom 2010 to a broader audience, which was really cool since  it was our first game that was shown on a big, public exhibition.
Funny enough, sales weren’t pushed by that like I expected it.

Early 2011 a spin-off named "Solar Struggle: Survival" was released on XBLIG too. During that time we submitted the game to Steam, we wanted to make a PC version with Steam achievements and other Steam benefits, but sadly we were rejected. I still think that one of the reasons was that the game wasn’t too successful on XBLIG.

After a hard year 2011, while our studio had to endure some financial difficulties, we got some new projects in 2012 and things became better for us. Now we finally had a bit of time to port "Solar Struggle" to PC, but because we knew that we couldn‘t release on Steam anyway (combined with bad sale-figures on XBLIG), we only made (from our point of view) the most important improvements and changes to the game.
We didn't want to beat a dead horse after all.

We added keyboard and mouse controls to the menu and also added an "Options" menu with the possibility to change the resolution and to remap the controls. The style was also changed a bit for the PC version.

The release was at the end of March 2012.
We released the game on platforms like "LittleIndie", "Desura" and "GamersGate". Later in 2013 the game was also released on "IndieGameStand".
The sale-figures were not good, even discount promotions didn't help a lot.

In 2012 Steam Greenlight launched.
This was a new possibility for games like "Solar Struggle" to be released on Steam.
Although we didn't expect much we still added "Solar Struggle" to Greenlight some weeks after its launch.
As expected, we didn't get high enough to be greenlit the first time, but we wanted to take every chance to get the game released on Steam.

At the begin of 2014 the game was still on Greenlight with no big steps forward.
Because of this we decided to add the game to a bundle.
During the bundle we were faced with some problems.
The description and the Greenlight link were correct, but another (false) game was linked to the bundle description.
After we noticed the mistake we immediately informed the bundle provider and they "fixed" the problem. They linked the right game, but removed our Greenlight link, which was of course a big problem for us. After we had informed the provider again all the mistakes were fixed but since the release of "Solar Struggle" in the bundle about 5-8 hours had already passed away.

I don't think that it was a good idea to be a part of the bundle, but that way we were able to test out such promotions and hopefully got a chance to get some upvotes for the game on Greenlight.
And honestly we really got some upvotes during the bundle.
But after the bundle we still didn't see big chances to release on Steam.

There were a lot of rumors this year that Valve wants to change or even give up Greenlight (which I can't imagine at the moment!) and we saw a lot of games being greenlit, so our hope for a release was raised a bit. And now, after being in the Top 100 from time to time, we were finally greenlit after we had managed to stay in the Top 100 for several weeks.

We made some small improvements to the game and today we got the approval from Valve.
So, finally, we will release the game on 18th of November. :)

What do we expect from the long awaited Steam release?
Simply, nothing.
We speak about that from time to time in our team, but we really don't know what we should expect. We hope that "Solar Struggle" runs well enough on Steam, so we are able to make more independent productions like "Solar Struggle" and "History in Letters" (our current own WIP project).
We know that this game is four years old, was actually released for console and that it has a few weaknesses, but I still like it, even after all these years.
"Solar Struggle" is a nice Sci-Fi game with a short but interesting story and a lovely, intuitive gameplay. I am proud to see the game on Steam!
And if we can see any success on Steam we will gladly improve the game.
We really have a lot of ideas for improvements and new projects in our "Solar Struggle" universum, so wish us luck.

Links
Solar Struggle Steam Store Page
Solar Struggle Website
Z-Software Website
Solar Struggle (XBLIG)
Solar Struggle: Survival (XBLIG)
 

 

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