Anthony wrote:Actually, we've yet to be rejected - we haven't even gotten that much of a reply from Valve / Steam. :/ I've been submitting the game monthly since December
From personally talking with Valve employees?
They get around 150-300 applications a day for games. Over half of them are first time projects that should be on something like Newgrounds rather then on Steam. Another large bunch is just reskinned versions of current games, stuff like Call of Duty 4, except the intro screen/menu/loading screens call it BIG JOES HOUSE OF PAIN.
They have nowhere near the manpower to check even half of these, so for many games, it gets a quick look, and if it looks like something from RPGMaker/other places, it'll just get put aside for later under the assumption it's another Newgrounds quality product, which many of these actually good indie games look like on the surface.
If they aren't swamped that day, they'll try to do a few internet searches for more information on it, but chances are they'll be swamped, and the first few seconds of the game will be all the information they'll get, and let's be honest, even stuff like To The Moon! feel somewhat low quality off first impression, it's only after you've played it do you realize it's a full quality game.
They are putting work into fixing this issue though, they've been hiring more and more devs to cover more ground, and have just started a huge hiring phase looking for people to "integrate with the indie community " that are supposed to find all these indie games that they don't have yet. So we'll see how that goes. Best advice though for indie devs is to put links to threads talking about their game in the menu or something for the Valve build, so they can check what the internet says about it easily.
e: This is also why stuff like Revelations 2012 are on Steam, and why it's easier to get games on Steam when you already have something. If you've purchased a Source license, you've already been working with Valve, so they generally don't bother to check it since they don't have time. And once you have a game up, all you have to do is call them up and say you've made something else, and they'll usually dredge it up from the rest of the games and streamline it in, since they trust you. It's also why I wish SOLDAK WOULD RESEND DIN'S CURSE, since he'd likely get it in now that he has Depths of Peril on Steam. I've emailed him about it several times, and he's just outright refused since he doesn't want to bother them or someshit.
I dunno, personally I'm not a fan of that Flash-made Newgrounds look either. To me, that says, "I learned how to use Flash when I was fifteen and I've neither changed nor improved my game design practices since."
That said I do like the after screenshot and it's much improved from the original. Really Penny Arcadey though and I don't much care for the PA art school, but whatev', I mean you can't demand the world from folks. The gameplay screens though I dunno it looks really "I got these sprites off a free-resources RPGMaker site."
Getting on Steam can be tough for an indie game; pretty much either you need a large fanbase, or to catch Valve's eye due to quality. This is how it should be; they have a vested interest in giving customers the expectation of quality. And, well, that game looks pretty easy to dismiss.
May I suggest Desura as an alternative? I understand they're very open to indie games.
I'm not a developer, but yeah, I understand that's pretty standard. [Not getting a response for months on end]
It's not necessarily a rejection, either (they do send actual rejection letters, or so I've heard). I couldn't guess at how many games get submitted to Steam, but I imagine it's a mind boggling number; whoever's in charge of evaluating games probably took one look at the screenshots and put it at the back of the line for evaluating. I was following the development for Recettear (which looks kind of "generic anime game-y" at first glance) and I seem to recall they submitted to Steam and got no response, but eventually did get accepted.
I can only speak from our experience, of course, but we weren't able to make contact with steam for about four months. After that, we were told there were too many titles similar to ours on steam (A Space 4X/RTS which was launching in 2010 for reference). We tried to appeal that, or at least find out what they meant because the only other truly similar game available on steam at the time was Light of Altair, but no response came.
The only reason we got on steam is because of people mass-emailing steam about our product. Humorously, even though we were contacted by the same guy we were in "contact" with for over a year, he e-mailed us as if we'd never spoken before.
So I imagine that they speedrun through testing of potential titles. Or, at least, they did back then. No idea what's going on now but there's definitely been a few new hires. This is purely conjecture, but we were pretty sure back in 2010 that they only had one or two points of contact for indie games and I can imagine trying to sift through all that and be fair to everyone and failing miserably so we don't take it personally.
To this day, it's acknowledged by many developers that Valve's approval process is still almost completely random. I'd like to remind people that it took Aquaria - which was already an IGF grand prize winner, well reviewed and commercially successful - several flat rejections before someone at Valve googled 'Independent Games Festival' and realized that this was kind of a big thing.
You can have a multi-award-winning hit and Valve will tell you to go away. And sometimes, you can have just a single early gameplay trailer on Youtube and Valve will contact the developer, asking if they've got a distribution deal yet.
A lot of the bigger/more well known indie games get on Steam because the devs meet with Valve at a conference/show and go "hey, we have this awesome game coming out, here's a 3 second clip" or what have you, and then they get business cards exchanged and it goes from there.
Blindly submitting in to a queue of 700 games is not a good way to do it.
edit: "going from there" might mean giving Valve an alpha/beta build of the game for them to play internally for a bit and see if it's good. This only sort of works for the bigger AAA games, if you're making the 50,000th bejeweled clone with anime art, they probably won't help you out.
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