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The Ten Commandments of Steam Greenlight (That Should Exist)

Illustration for article titled The Ten Commandments of Steam Greenlight (That Should Exist)

To date, I've evaluated over 600 projects on Steam Greenlight. As I posted yesterday in my congratulations towards A Hat In Time, there are a lot of games on Greenlight that very much deserve to be on Steam. However, a majority... Simply do not. If I were Lord Gaben the Round, Purveyor of Sales and Hater of Threes, I would pass down a set of commandments that one should follow when submitting their game for the Greenlight process. They are as follows:

I. Thou Shalt Not Post Cheap Garbage
This one is probably the biggest problem area with Greenlight. Whether it be crap freeware websites like Falcoware or just people who slapped together a flash game in 3 days and think they're Phil Fish, there's a lot of games on Greenlight that just... Are shit. Nobody should ever want to play them. While it's totally possible to make a great game with extremely limited resources, these authors seem to take pride in making games with extremely limited effort.

II. Thou Shalt Not Copy Another's Ideas
This is another really big one. Limbo was a great game - that doesn't mean Greenlight needs 37 projects with silhouette graphics. Minecraft is stupid-popular - but making a lazy clone of it will never be. DayZ is a popular mod that really took off - that doesn't mean we need 12 more open-world zombie things. I'm not sure if the authors behind these projects are oblivious to the similarities, or if they're just trying to use the success of a quality product to make a quick buck... I'm inclined to think it's the latter.

III. Thou Shalt Understand The Meaning Of "Homage" And "Inspired By"
This is one that games like A Hat In Time and Oniken understand - it's perfectly fine to design a game saying, "You know what? I loved Super Mario Meets the Magic McGuffin. I'm going to make a game with some similar concepts while putting my own spin on it." There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. What IS wrong, however, is putting "INSPIRED BY MEGA MAN SOCCER" in your trailer and having a game that is pretty much just a lazier version of Mega Man Soccer. Stop doing this, Greenlight authors!

IV. Thou Shalt Not Make Any More Goddamn Zombie Games
Seriously. There's too many goddamn zombie games on Steam. I'm at the point where, unless it's somehow mocking the genre, I downvote every single zombie game I see. Too many. Think of something original.

V. Thou Shalt Include Gameplay Footage
Pictures aren't wholly effective. Having a super-polished trailer with cool art doesn't tell me anything. Put gameplay footage in your trailer. Show me how the game works. Tell me why I need it. The whole point of Greenlight is to beg for money. Don't half-arse it. :D

VI. Thou Shalt Not Argue With Users In The Comments Section
This is another one I'm seeing more and more of, especially in regards to the cheap, lazy games. People on the internet aren't exactly known for being civil - just ask any indie dev who's missed a deadline. But there's a firm line between "Your game is shit" and "I hate the music, but the game looks awesome!" The first comment, you should ignore. The second comment, you should respect. I'm seeing a lot of Greenlight authors argue with the voters - in regard to the music one, I saw a comment from the author, in response, to the tune of: "What are you, a fucking moron? The music and gameplay go together. They're part of the complete artistic vision. Go back to your Honey Boo-Boo you fucking pleb." And I had actually up-voted that game until I read that comment. Enjoy not getting Greenlit, prick.

VII. Thou Shalt Not Create A Gimmick And Neglect To Make A Game Around It
Another huuuuuuge one. Having a great idea for a gameplay mechanic, setting or artistic vision is really cool... But you need to make a competent game out of it. I've seen a lot of games that are so basic and nowhere near being a marketable product that they wouldn't even be good on Atari. And no, calling them "minimalist" doesn't make them viable. Flower is minimalist - I hate that game, but at least I can recognize it as a game. Please, no more glorified tech demos on Steam. D':

VIII. Thou Shalt Not Post Multiple Bad Games At Once
I've seen this from the aforementioned Falcoware. Falcoware is a Russian free-to-play/spam website that has taken to posting much of its library to Steam. Please look them up (on Greenlight, because the actual website will give your computer cancer). It's like if someone took Big Rigs and made 20 FPS titles from it. One of their first-person models is holding a gun with one white hand and one black hand - and neither is a glove. Unless the protagonist is an ice cream sandwich, this is hilariously poor quality game design. There's also a zombie one where everything looks made of plastic. It's gold. Point is, keep your spam out my Steam.

IX. Thou Shalt Discuss Controller Support
If you're making an RTS or something, don't worry about this one. If you're making a platformer and your gameplay video shows keyboards prompts, don't wait for us to ask! XD At least mention it in your write-up.

X. Thou Shalt Vote On Greenlight
Seriously, go do it. There are THOUSANDS of games on Steam Greenlight awaiting your evaluation. At least 100 of them are fantastic games that somebody will love. It's like how the best sandwich shops are always in the shittiest part of town - it might be out of the way, but dammit, it's sooooo worth it every time. Please vote? :'D Good projects without the Greenlight are like shelter cats - don't let them get euthanized~!


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