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Launching on Greenlight at last


So this week I launched my game on Steam Greenlight and released a trailer:

So far the game is progressing nicely, and I'm happy. I think the trick will be to keep interest going, and hopefully that'll be bolstered by phase 2 of the media campaign, which will aim to involve lets play and streaming folks, and get people playing a demo of the game. Lets play passed me by, really, I have no until recently started watching them (unless you count longplays of old arcade cabinets from 1987 so I can steal the game mechanics re-live the good old days). I watched in ambivalence as lets play came to popularity during my ~13 years on Something Awful. Probably because I find it hard to consume stuff in realtime -- I think I prefer reading. But I've been getting more into it, I have some favourite YouTubers and streamers now, and I may see about tailoring the demo to better fit that audience, which may itself lead to some worthwhile changes in the game.

I promoted on Twitter, Facebook, and I even returned to Imgur to make a custom post. It reminded me of the time I was top on the front page of Reddit for about a day after idly making this Photoshop one evening to amuse someone on Imgur. Little did I know it would receive 1.54 million views. On Facbook I had tons of support from friends and colleagues, many of whom shared my post to their own walls, which was really nice. Twitter is, as always, a mixed bag. I think it's hard to gauge how well Twitter posts actually connect with people.

One of my little tricks -- and I can't remember who I got this from, definitely a dev posting on the #gamedev tag -- was to create an image for Twitter that is just the right size for the preview, so you do not have to click it to see the rest. See here:

This shows up in Twitter's timeline in full, in tact, which is really nice. This is 500x250, which I think is the exact resolution for the preview.
I have contacted tons of journalists from all over the spectrum. It's been more time consuming and more of a struggle than I expected. The results have been OK so far -- several sites have written about the project, and we've been included in some trailer roundups. I'm really grateful for any kind of coverage. It is an uphill struggle though. I read quite a lot of guides about indie game marketting before I started, and tried to follow them as best I could. I tried to tailor emails to specific journalists, stay succinct and give them as much information to make a judgement as I could. I've set up presskit() properly now, and made sure they had the link to that. There seems to be a good couple of days lag on my email going out before receiving a response, so it's hard to judge right now how successful I've been.

I do have to admit I am disappointed in the (lack of) response from certain sectors and journalists in the gaming press. In more than a couple of cases, journalists I contacted directly preferred to write about somewhat more toxic characters in the community and their recent, non-game related projects, with such coverage appearing and spreading at startling speed. By no means do I feel entitled to any form of press coverage, and I deeply appreciate anyone that will write about my game -- in most cases maybe it was just coincidence or bad timing, or maybe they were just not interested in my project -- those are all fine reasons, and I accept it. It is however disheartening to see transparent clickbait covered over my own project, which I genuinely feel is trying to do something good. Of course, I would say that. I expected it to be a struggle, and it wouldn't be worth doing if it were easy.

I am going to take a little break from development for the next week or so. I was pushing the envelope quite hard to try and get certain functions and features of the game working in order to show them off in the trailer, then after that with launching the Greenlight and contacting all the press, I burned myself out a little bit.