Steam Builds, and Customer Keys

Today, I think I finally finished all of the necessary steps to setting up Steam Early Access for NEO Scavenger. Technically, I think I just have to click a submit button, and Valve will get back to me once they've had a chance to review my materials. And from there, we determine a launch date, pricing, etc.

To get to that point, most of the day involved working on the Mac and Linux builds, and making sure they could be packaged by Steam. The Mac build took a bit of wrangling, but I was eventually able to get both uploaded. And following that, I installed Steam on OSX and Ubuntu, and was able to login to my account, download NEO Scavenger, and launch it. Pretty cool! (My account shows 9 minutes played :)

I may still do one more build, mainly to remove the "Greenlight" button from the title screen. That's pretty redundant now, and just clutter. I'm unsure whether I want to replace it with anything yet. Perhaps a "Click Here to Give Feedback or Report Bugs" link? I plan on haunting the Steam forums anyway, but this might help consolidate feedback in the our forums.

The other thing giving me pause is how I plan to handle Steam keys for existing customers. The way I currently give out Desura keys is a bit clunky, and requires that I manually run a script and upload a file each day. That's probably not sustainable, especially once Steam kicks in.

So I've been looking into a way to make that 100% automated. I may just upload batches of Steam keys to a DB, and have the request form pull unclaimed keys from that table, and deliver them to the user (either on their account page or as an email). And while I'm at it, maybe I'll update the old Desura process to match.

But otherwise, I think I'm just nervous about opening the Steam floodgates. I've seen the forums for other games in Early Access, and Flash games especially get some rough treatment. Most folks are pretty understanding and supportive, though, and I hope I can avoid disappointing too many people.

On the plus side, the new wave of players probably means I'll get some useful feedback. New bugs will be uncovered, new feedback and suggestions received, and of course, a new boost in funds will definitely help to pay the bills.

It almost feels like I'm launching again. Kind of nerve-wracking!

I hope everyone has a good night, and I'll see you tomorrow!

Comments

Warhand101's picture
Warhand101

I'm sure it will go just fine, it's a well done game. Good luck!

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Thanks! Just a little bit of "imposter syndrome" mixed with "performance anxiety," I guess :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Malacodor's picture
Malacodor

Keep cool, create a complaints subforum and never look into it. Problem solved.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Rovlad's picture
Rovlad

Compared to posting about your game on 4chan (did you?), this is like giving out free blood to transfusion clinics.
Don't sweat it, the game is solid.
Steam audience already greenlit it, what are you even worrying about?

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

@Malacodor, I actually saw a few forums where it looks like that was the case. It was kind of sad.

Then again, I have a hard enough time keeping up with stuff on my own forums (here, Desura, and a few other places). I guess I can't fault them too much.

@Rovlad, I've lurked on 4chan, but never posted. I was actually pretty surprised at how well NEO Scavenger was received by /v/ and /vg/. Except that one guy a few weeks ago. He was pretty galled that I charge money for it:

Has anyone else played NEO Scavenger? If you google it there is a free demo which just limits how far you can get and restricts the items available to you, the game is easily pirated though and I do not think it is worth what they are charging for it.

It is very annoying because it is so nearly great, but it is just disappointing and frustrating and in my opinion shouldnt be a paid commodity.

I guess my worst fear is doing something that jeopardizes my future as an indie developer. E.g. burning my relationship with current and future customers, ruining my reputation, or selling 50,000 copies and everyone demanding a refund. I just want to plug away at making dream games for the forseeable future :)

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Rovlad's picture
Rovlad

>I've lurked on 4chan, but never posted. I was actually pretty surprised at how well NEO Scavenger was received by /v/ and /vg/
So, was it someone else who posted about NS on /v/ and /vg/?
You shouldn't be surprised, though. Despite 4chan's reputation, they're mostly on level.

>It is very annoying because it is so nearly great, but it is just disappointing and frustrating and in my opinion shouldnt be a paid commodity
I wouldn't consider it a reliable opinion. How is it disappointing and frustrating? Disappointing because you can't win from the word "go" and frustrating because it dares to challenge the player? Steam players will complain about difficulty as well, just a warning. Be ready.

>doing something that jeopardizes my future as an indie developer
In my book, you're doing the best an indie dev can. And that's a feat in itself. :)

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

Thanks Rovlad. That's actually a very reassuring thing to hear. As long as folks think I'm doing my best, I can be pretty happy!

So, was it someone else who posted about NS on /v/ and /vg/?
You shouldn't be surprised, though. Despite 4chan's reputation, they're mostly on level.

Yeah, though I can't remember the username now. They emailed/messaged me later to let me know they posted about it. Since I was always hearing about the threads after they expired, I started using the archive sites to stay on top of it. I'm glad I did, too. There was some great banter, and it was useful to see what got folks excited vs. what didn't.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Gamicon4's picture
Gamicon4

Great *rolls eyes. I purposefully avoid steam for everything as my consumer choice and bought this game DRM free; does this update mean I will essentially be forced to either quit playing and try to off-sell my copy or do the people who helped you to get this far stay DRM free (free of the steam DRM monopoly) for the life of this product.
As you can tell I f*&^in hate steam, so take no personal offense for what otherwise is a good game.

dcfedor's picture
dcfedor

That's a good question, and warrants some clarity.

The plan is for the game to remain DRM-free for customers who purchase from this site, Desura, and any other site where it was originally DRM-free. You'll still be able to download updates and copies in the future from these sites without having to worry about DRM.

The Steam stuff I've been talking about lately is just one more way to obtain the game. Many players prefer using that platform, for one reason or another, so I want to make that an option too. And since many of those customers are previous customers here, it makes sense to give them keys to Steam copies, too.

Hopefully, that allays some of your fears. I, too, appreciate games that do their best to avoid DRM, and I'll try to make mine available as such where I can!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games