(Almost) everyone wins if Steam does self-publishing right

Valve have been pretty open about the idea of reducing manual curation, eventually killing off Greenlight and opening up access to their distribution platform. Recent comments only confirm it – Gabe says self-publishing on Steam is something they want to allow. There’s always lots of gnashing of teeth when it comes to ‘app stores’, discoverability and quality. Indies want their product to be been seen, purchased and played, customers want to find the stuff they like without wading through the stuff they don’t. Quality varies widely, but it’s not as simple as crap games and good games, since one man’s “Walking Simulator” is another man’s life changing experience. No single service has convincingly cracked the problem of exploiting the “long tail” of video games, efficiently finding the niche for each particular game and accurately getting the right games to the right customers (where in the extreme, some products probably have ‘no right customers’). Here’s one idea of how I see Steam self-publishing working such that Valve can exploit the long tail without losing the trust of their existing customer base: let’s call it Amber-light (“the ghetto”), followed by being Greenlit.

https://secure.flickr.com/photos/darwinist/2585211734/ https://secure.flickr.com/photos/darwinist/2585211734/

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One Game a Month (#1GAM) 2013 – postmortem and retrospective

In 2013, I decided to participate in One Game A Month (aka #1GAM). The goal was to create a game with a proper start, middle and end, each and every month of the year. It was a bit like one big ongoing game jam.

While I don’t like to think of it as a competition, I’m still going to brag; I managed to rank within the top 100 after the 12th month (somewhere around ~75th). I’ll admit this helped push me to get games made in the last few months while juggling the responsibility of being a new parent, so I guess the ‘gamification’ aspect worked :) Here’s a rundown & some thoughts on the 11 games I made:

Warning mega-post ahead.

TLWR; I did One Game a Month and made lots of games, several of which I’m happy with the result. I made l a bunch of games that run on OUYA, kind of by accident. I’m not (intentionally) doing 1GAM this year, but if you haven’t done it, you should.

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I like reviews

Just leaving these links here since I’m busy moving house and don’t want to forget them:

A new OUYA game review site “ReviOUYA” reviewed Def. I always like to read these perspectives.

SuperGameDroid was super quick off the mark to review Golden Scarab. I was so busy with Global Game Jam 2014 stuff I didn’t get a good chance to advertise the release on social media, so they actually beat me to tweeting about it !

“Let’s Play” video policy for games I’ve created

So there’s been some hoo-ha recently about Google taking down YouTube videos of gameplay due to dubious Content ID matches. Along with other indies, I’m taking specific steps to push back against the trolls.

So let’s make this clear and explicit – you are free to make and monetize “Let’s Play” videos and video reviews of any of the games I’ve created. Stream them on TwitchTV, upload them to YouTube, Vimeo, MySpace(!), wherever. Please monetize them & get uber rich ! Ask nicely, and I’ll probably give you a review copy or an unlock code for the game too, so you can show everyone the full unadulterated experience.

Following the lead of a few others (like Vlambeer and the guys behind Below Kryll), I made this little ‘Moolah for the Viddya Permission Form’ that you can fill out and use as evidence that I have explicitly given you permission to monetize videos of games I’ve created. I’m not sure how much use this really is, but it’s there if required. Developers – feel free to steal and use the source on your own site.

Important things to keep in mind:

Some of my games use Creative Commons Attribution licensed music – you should check the credits section of the game and make sure your video also includes a credit for any Creative Commons licensed music in the description. In particular, Def currently uses this catchy track “Fist Bump” by Ramiz Haddad, and Assembly and BlinkWorld by DST.

Also, it’s good form to provide a link back to the game from description below your video – either this site, or maybe somewhere you can buy it. I tend to repay the favour and tweet, G+ share, etc your video, so link liberally and we will both win.

There’s a nice list of indie developers and their video policies over here at Beals Software. Go make some awesome indie “Let’s Play” videos !