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The Coveted Greenlight: How We Got Greenlit in 10 Days

It takes great courage to put your game out there where it can be immensely supportive and also unforgiving. When we conceived the idea of bringing our first game to PC, Steam Greenlight came to mind: a place for the hopeful or a potential state of limbo.

ChemCaper: Act I – Petticles in Peril is the world’s first Chemistry-based RPG with a Final Fantasy/Pokemon style of play, and Norihiko Hibino (Metal Gear Solid and Bayonetta) at the helm of its soundtrack. With the response it’s been receiving, we thought: why not bring it onto PC where more gamers would have access to it?

It takes great courage to put yourself and your game out there where it can be both immensely supportive and also unforgiving. When we conceived the idea of bringing our first game to PC, two platforms immediately came to mind: Kickstarter and Steam Greenlight.

Steam Greenlight: a place for the hopeful, but for most, a state of limbo.

The time taken to get Greenlit on Steam ranges from a record-breaking 2 days, to the average of several months. Then, there are those that have stayed on the community-driven platform for a year before budging onto the Greenlit wagon, and were subsequently puzzled as to how they even did it.

We were Greenlit in 10 days from when we started and these are what our stats look like:

                  

              

              

In spite of the "regular-looking" numbers, we're pretty darn grateful for that fortuitous outcome all who enter the fray vie for.

We'd like to share some pointers a game developer could explore to get their game(s) from Misfit, to Greenlit.

              

1. Moving pictures
In a day and age where our attention spans for digital media could've been mistaken for A.D.D. back in the day, doing your darnest to capture your audience's attention in minimal time is imperative. Having a GIF as your page's brand image doubles as your logo and shows them more about your game than a static image would and in a small amount of time.

                                          

2. Leave a trail
Speaking of telling, having a well put together trailer that showcases the best parts of your game i.e. art, gameplay, environments, characters, tells more about your game than a wall full of words will. And by well put together, we don't mean shell out top dollar for a blockbuster trailer. Balance all these elements of your game well with fitting music to boot, and you've got an asset that helps fight (and win) the first impression battles with your crowd.

 

3. Another round of shots!
After that impressionable page GIF and gripping trailer, have those screenshots of in-game action and scenes ready to show more of your game. Concept art is great material to show off too, however not something you want to rely solely on when people primarily want to see what your game looks like and how it plays to turn that "hmmm, maybe" into a "hell yes!". So this is bonus eye candy for once you've got your other visual bases covered.

              

              

4. Wise words
It's all well and good that developers have plenty to say about their games, and well they should!... in the right time and place. On your Steam Greenlight page though, as we've seen from the points above, time is of the essence and we're dealing with an audience of gamers here. You've a small window of time get them on board. Keep your descriptions brief and use your words wisely, leaving the most impact.

5. A tale of two platforms
After deciding that we were bring our game to PC, we then needed:

ONE: Funding
TWO: Exposure

That's where our Kickstarter campaign and Steam Greenlight page came into the picture. We knew these were great platforms in their respective arenas, then we also found that they work great in tandem with the crowd outreach. What this does is give people multiple avenues to support you; some people want more than just to vote, lots of people are looking for great projects to back and be a part of. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find who backs you, we certainly were!

6. Come, tell me things
Keeping your supporters, both existing and potential, updated is crucial. With the ever-growing number of false-flag Kickstarter campaigns and Steam Greenlight projects, it is without a doubt that consistent updates are a way instilling confidence in your audience. Keep them human and use them as an opportunity to delve deeper into the world of your game and connect with your crowd. Developer updates to show how the game is coming along are definitely recommended.

              

7. Tools of the trade
Promoting your game is a digital business, therefore make use of social media available to you. Post quality updates that compel people to come see your page and that's half the battle won. And when they see your snazzy Greenlight page, they'll be more likely to give you that thumbs up! On that note, always look in your own backyard first; make sure you tell your closest friends, family, associates etc. also. Leverage on the people you know who believe in what you're doing, you'll see your network bloom and the word spreading like wildfire from thereon. We're confident in saying a large chunk of what got our game Greenlit is attributed to everything good that people were saying.

                                     

8. Don't hate the player, hate the game
All the articles in the world on getting Greenlit are available to you. These pointers will complement the game you're developing if what you have is something people want to play first and foremost. Games are so much easier to develop today than ever before with new ones sprouting like mushrooms by the day. What makes yours strike a chord in the hearts of gamers? Is it the game itself? Or perhaps it's a cause or a movement. Test the waters with your closest friends first. If they like it, chances are others will too :)

Extra Points
If possible, have a playable build of your game no matter the stage of development. The best way to show what you have to offer is to give players a good taste of what you've got. We didn't have a PC build ready at the time (and still don't), but we did have our beta build for mobile available so people know what to expect on PC in the future. This also gave us good feedback on what we can do better for the PC version of our game.

In summary,

  • Use GIFs instead of static images
  • Have an awesome trailer
  • Showcase screenshots with in-game scenes and footage, keep concept art secondary
  • Get to the point in your descriptions, use words with impact
  • If you’re also running a crowdfunding campaign, run it concurrently with the start of your Steam Greenlight page
  • Constantly keep the crowd updated about your game
  • Make quality use of social media
  • Test the waters of your game before bringing it onto a larger stage, and if possible have a playable build

To conclude, while having a massive following and an unanimously "Yes" vote pool helps, unfortunately that doesn't guarantee your game will make the cut either as expressed by many a game developer, what with the vague inner workings of Steam Greenlight. But with multitudes of games available, tailor your approach best to your game and cut through all that noise - do your best to stand out!

Adjustments can always be made along the way. As some might say, "Ready, Fire, Aim!"

Thanks for reading! Till next time, we’ve a Kickstarter campaign to finish.

If you want more info on our game please visit our website or our Kickstarter page.

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