Snow, Steam, and Art Direction

We had our first major snowfall today. I guess winter has finally come! Unfortunately, that means driveway shoveling at random times, and today was no exception. We also had an adventure where we retrieved our car from a ditch. See what fun winter can be?

Apart from heaving snow around, I managed to put together scene direction and a spec sheet for a new encounter illustration. I've just sent that off to Klaus, and hopefully he'll have some fun with it. This one should show some interesting culture, which isn't always a feature one sees in apocalyptic art.

Finally, I spent some more time figuring out Steam. I've been following their "Getting Started" documentation, and managed to get my builds, depots, and packages all defined, and I've setup my configurations for launching, product name, and other data. The SDK is downloaded, and I bootstrapped it this morning.

Then, it was time to try out a build. Some script editing, command-line stuff, waiting, and uploading, and voila!

IMAGE( Well, hello there!

Frankly, I was pretty shocked. I sort of thought I'd have to write code to make Flash talk to Steam, but it appears the build packager just adds the Steam overlay magically. That was a nice surprise!

There are some caveats, however. First, this is just a Windows build, so I haven't tested whether it works on Linux or Mac yet. Second, this is just the overlay. No achievements, SteamWorks, cloud saving, or anything fancy like that. So I still have some work to do.

Figuring out if Flash can play nice with SteamWorks/Achievements/Cloud will be a big deal, in fact. Right now, I use the Flash projector format. Projector works for vanilla game launching, but it might not be possible to interact with Steam Achievements/SteamWorks/Cloud this way.

In practice, most devs just switch to AIR in this case, as that platform allows such access. There's even an open source project, FRESteamworks, which is pretty much a ready-to-go Steam library for AIR. AIR technically works on most computers, but there are some Linux distros that struggle with it, and some Linux users prefer not to install AIR.

Also, I haven't yet investigated whether Flash Projector will allow modding. File access is limited (the same reason Steam interaction is tricky), so it could hamper loading user-created content. It might be able to load files from a URL (either on the web, or localhost), but that might be more convoluted for new users. Again, AIR makes this easier in some cases, but Linux users might have extra hoops to jump through.

In any case, I need to figure this out before I move forward on any Early Access stuff. Launching with a projector format on Steam, and then changing it to AIR down the road, might not be acceptable to some users who don't like AIR. They bought it thinking it'd be projector format, and won't like being "tricked."

So I have my work cut out for me. Hopefully, I'll figure something out!

By the way, I'll be in town for much of the day tomorrow running errands. So I may be slow to respond. However, I should be back in the evening, and I'll do my best to catch up on anything I miss.

That's all for now. Hope everyone has a good night!


drakcothedark's picture

This is super exciting Dan! (Stay warm though.)

dcfedor's picture

I'm pretty excited, too! And nervous at the same time. Steam is a wider audience, and many of those users won't be as understanding of NEO Scavenger's shortcomings as you guys have been. Hopefully, the fun will distract them enough to ignore the flaws :)

And I'll do my best to stay warm! Rochelle got me an electric heating pad as a belated gift. I'm sure I'll have occasion to use it soon!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games