Steam Dev Days Day 1
Thursday, January 16, 2014I'm gonna make a summary of things that I feel like I've learned from SDD, day 1. I don't know how much I'm allowed to say, so I'm only really going to reveal shit that I've seen elsewhere (mainly on twitter).
The steam controller is going to be a thing. I'd kind of dismissed it as a bit of a gimmick to try to justify people buying a Steambox. But it's something.. and it's gonna be something. So it's probably worth supporting it in your game right now. Even though you don't really have to because it's awesome and will work whatever you do. But it's a nicer experience if the UI in your game says "press [a]" instead of "press space" etc.
Collect as much information as you can. When people are dying, when they're attacking, when they're running. Collect it all. Ask questions, work out what data you need, then capture it and answer those questions. If you're testing something.. only test it on half your clients. That's the fairest, most black and white way to prove a theory.
Virtual reality is something. After playing with the rift for a couple of days and occasionally getting it out to impress friends and family, it hasn't been out of the box. It makes me very sick. Valve showed me their VR stuff (I don't think the fact that this exists is a secret, because it's on twitter, and in the dev days sessions listing, and will probably be announced this morning). Somehow it doesn't make me sick. I was wearing it for a good 20 minutes. One of the last demos they showed had the player flying through the world.. and I would expect that to make me sick (something about the movement not matching with what you're really feeling).. but for some reason it didn't. And it was really immersive. It's hard to explain just how immersive it felt. Imagine being in a room and looking around and seeing and hearing things in that room. That's what it was like.
Steam has got 75 million accounts. Eight of them are mine though. So really it's only got 74,999,993 active users.
Don't try to port anything to Linux. Not because Linux isn't worth porting to.. but because it's 2014 and we're game developers. If you can get away with it, use something like Unity so it's all done for you.
Explain patches better. Make them an event. Pre-patch leaks. This is something we have been guilty of. You work on a patch, add two new weapons and a bunch of new features. And the only horn blowing you do is a changelist on a website. That's great for existing players because they're going to see that stuff anyway. But it's missing an opportunity to suck more new players into the game. Valve basically do this with TF2. Instead of releasing 3 patches a week, they save it up for a huge cumshot every month or so.. with lots of speculation in between. I think this is something we can apply to rust later on. We still want to kick out regular, weekly updates. But maybe we can make more of a spectacle of the bigger additions etc.
In TF2 Valve sometimes do something that will make people on forums and reddit speculate about what's coming in the next patch.. and then read through all the posts and find new stuff to implement before the patch is released.
Alienware's Steambox is going to apparently be 'kick ass'. The CPU in the box is 'kick ass'. The GPU in the box is also 'kick ass'. I think the general take-away from the Alienware presentation is that only complete cunts buy Alienware stuff.
Intel is kind of awesome. Not just because they gave us a bunch of free Steamboxes. Maybe it's my age. They're unpatronising, they're honest, they're humble. Their Steambox doesn't have coloured lighting all over it.
Chet from Valve always kind of looks like someone has pissed him off by waking him up. He mentioned Rust in one of the talks, high 5!
There was a talk on Marketing your game that I didn't attend, but some of Facepunch did. It was hosted by a bunch of indie dudes. Some of talk was of advertising your game via banner ads and attending trade shows. Which seems like bad advice (maybe it's just us, because we're kind of established). It's 2014. Youtube, twitch, twitter, facebook, blogs. Those are your weapons. In that order. Rust and GMod aren't typical.. but GMod has sold over 4 million units, rust has sold over half a million in just over a month.. and we've never attended a trade show and never advertised either of them anywhere.
So I guess the final bit of take-away would be take advice on board.. but what might be right for you, might not be right for some. So try different shit until it makes you rich.
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