“Greenlight will provide an incredible level of added exposure for new games and an opportunity to connect directly with potential customers and fans.”
- From Valve Press Release, August 30, 2012
When Valve announced Steam Greenlight as a way for game developers to get on Steam (One of the largest PC game markets in the world) we were pumped. Instead of having to go through a publisher (or know some industry black magic) we could present our game right on the platform. Race the Sun was in early alpha at the time, but we were encouraged to publish concepts and early footage of the game to start building an audience. We put together and published Greenlight just as the service launched.
Things didn’t go as planned.
Instead of a rush of interest and exposure for unfinished projects, many gamers rushed to down-vote anything that didn’t seem to meet their standards. Our game was (admittedly) not ready for prime-time and we got hit hard. Since that time we’ve been working our brains off to make Race the Sun the best possible game it can be – the game we’ve always seen in our minds. Everything from the worlds, to the multiplayer, to the world-creation tools have been taken to the next level. We’ve even had a successful 20k Kickstarter with over 1100 backers.
The problem is that the needle isn’t moving on Greenlight. It’s like everybody saw our early alpha footage and then we got buried under a pile of other games. The fact is we are a small company and we don’t have the money to hire a PR firm to drive traffic to our page. Our time is also limited as we really want to focus on making a great game. We are committed to somehow cracking the Greenlight nut, and we will continue to pound the pavement talking about this game. We are reaching out to YouTube reviewers and contacting every website and blog that we can, but we can only do so much.
Through our Kickstarter experience we’ve seen how people can band together to make amazing things happen. We believe it can happen again, so we are turning to the only resource we really have – our awesome friends. We are asking for help in spreading the word about our Greenlight page. Every Favorite, Follow, Share, Tweet and Post matters!
I just had to share this video, shared by Toad102, a power user from Kongregate who routinely sits at the top of the leaderboard.
To be completely honest, we didn’t realize Race the Sun could move this fast. It seems that moving this fast causes some glitches with the hit detection, so it may be possible to “skim” some objects that would otherwise cause death. Nonetheless…
After much discussion, thought, and input Aaron and I have decided to create a Kickstarter campaign for Race the Sun. I want to let you in on some of the reasons why we believe that this is the best route forward for the game – and why you should back us
For those who are like “A Kickstawhat?”; Kickstarter is a crowd funding platform where people with creative ideas ask for support from people who want to see those ideas happen. More Here.
Reason 1: Time
Since Race the Sun preorders aren’t enough to support us at this point, Aaron and I have taken on several “side-jobs”. These jobs allow us to pay our bills (mostly) and take care of our families, but they take away time from Race the Sun. We really want to focus on the game and get it done as quickly as possible and funding would make that happen by letting us work on the game full-time.
In this series, I interview notable fellow game developers, in hope that we can glean lessons from their success.
For part 1, I talk with independent developer Adam Saltsman. Adam’s career is notable, not only for how prolific he’s been, but for how many of his projects have risen above the noise and connected with large audiences. Canabalt could be considered his first major success, gaining notoriety as a flash game and then making its way to mobile platforms. And just in the last 18 months, he’s created a movie tie-in for ‘The Hunger Games’, an installation game called ‘Capsule,’ an episodic advert-game for Old-Spice, and shipped ‘Hundreds‘ for IOS, garnering an ‘Editor’s Choice’ feature from Apple and an honorable mention from the IGF. Common knowledge says that a game development success involves a lot of luck – but when someone has a string of success like this, it’s worth looking a little closer.
We also released an early “alpha demo” on Kongregate of the game, and opened up pre-orders on our website, with Kickstarter-like tiers of purchase. We even entered the game in the IGF
These things have had varying levels of success – but they’ve also taken an awful lot of time away from actually finishing the game. Once in awhile, I think it’s important to evaluate where you’re spending your time, to ask yourself what’s working and what’s not.
Here are two lessons in particular that have given us some clarity: Continue reading…