First of all, I have to say, THANK YOU! Thanks to everyone that supported us with our project by voting on it on Steam, as well as those who helped share our posts on Twitter and Facebook. It really means a lot to us to be given this opportunity. We were really not expecting this, since the game lot a bit of momentum after the Kickstarter didn’t reach its goal, but it’s good to know there are still people out there who care about small indie games.
Now, I’d like to make a small post-mortem of what I learned from planning and running this Greenlight campaign.
Let’s start with the basics. In order to get your game on Greenlight, you need two things: A valid Steam account (has at least one game bought) and a Greenlight Pass. The pass goes for $100, which is just a fee they had to put in place to stop people from flooding the system with joke or bad games, but it did start being free. If I’m not mistaken, I believe Valve donates all the money from Greenlight passes to the Child’s Play Charity.
After you have a pass, you can start creating your submission. You will be prompted to enter the title of your game, followed by a branding image that will be displayed as the thumbnail for your game, select what categories your game belongs to and write a small description. I highly encourage people to play around with the formatting on the description to make it easier and more appealing to read, since this is your one shot of convincing people after they watch your video.
Next, you are given the option of uploading videos for your game as well as screenshots (GIFs are allowed as well, but they sometimes get weird stretching issues and look wonky). This is your main attraction! Make sure you have an amazing video that will hook people in from the start. Avoid long videos: 30 seconds to a minute and a half seems to be the sweet spot. If you have longer videos that you want to show (like a small let’s play or a developer talk), make sure you put it as your second or third video. Also, please show gameplay. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a Greenlight video with a bunch of story, concept art and action text, only to end up not knowing what the game is about or how it plays. I want to see your game, not your cool intro animation. There’s time for that later.
Last but not least, you can set up some links to your website, Twitter account and even Kickstarter page with live pledges if you are running one. Now, all you have to do is make your project visible and you are live! But this is just the start. Now comes the tough part.
You can’t just sit and wait for your game to be acknowledged by everyone on it’s own. Even if your game is the best thing ever made, no one will support it if they don’t know about it. So make sure you follow up with a huge marketing campaign! Post it on Twitter, Facebook, IndieDB, everywhere! It’s also a great idea to contact the press to get more traffic to your Greenlight page. Steam does a good job of showing your game on queues the first couple of days, but after that, it’ll get tougher. Another thing that you should consider doing is engage with your community! People will comment on your page and you should reply to them. These are your fans, and even if you get negative feedback, take it as a critic and improve on your game or your submission. Making discussions is also a great way to communicate with your people. We used announcements as another way to generate traction to our site and it helped a ton! We made sure to constantly update the Greenlight page with new videos, new game modes, new screenshots, etc. From our experience, the cross promotion between Greenlight and Kickstarter works great, since both systems provide a “Newly Released” section that will increase visibility for both websites.
Now onto numbers!
As you can see above, SUPER III was Greenlit in 99 days, which is not a bad time frame. I believe it would have gone a lot faster if our Kickstarter campaign had succeeded, since we would have kept actively working on it and promoting the Greenlight campaign. Still, we got Greenlit when we were about 70% to the top 100, which I believe happens when a Valve employee sees your game and likes it enough to Greenlight it. Here’s a more detailed breakdown of the votes:
At first, I was worried about getting that many “No” votes, but apparently having a number close to 50% is really good, since most games look more like 70% No – 30% Yes. Don’t get discouraged if your numbers look “wrong” though! The question is very specific “Would you buy this game or not”, it doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of your game. It might simply be that your game is very niche or that specific person doesn’t like your game’s genre, that’s all.
Finally, I’d like to say that it’s been an amazing experience to run a Greenlight campaign! The comments are always encouraging to read and it’s what keeps me motivated to work in games! I wish you luck if you decide to embark on this journey yourself and I hope my experience will help you when planning your campaign! And by all means, tell me about your game to vote on it!