I submitted The Rabbit and the Owl on Steam Greenlight on March 11 at 2:03 pm, and it was greenlit today, March 24 at 8:29 am! In just under 2 weeks, there has been an outpouring of encouraging comments on the Greenlight page. I am overwhelmed at the response and feel even more inspired that the game is going in the right direction and that it will be something that people will really enjoy. My team and I will do our best to deliver an amazing game. Special thanks to Andrew Chen, the one and only artist on the game, and David Huff who solo composed the song on the trailer. They brought the game's vision to life in an audiovisual bliss!
Before going to sleep last night, I checked that we were #24 in the top 100 of games trying to be greenlit. That ranking seems to no longer show up after the game has been greenlit.
Here are the game's stats:
The "Avg. Top 50" stats surprised me. Even though we were #24, we couldn't meet the average on visitors or votes. My take is that this is the average over all games ever on Greenlight, which includes viewership that was much higher in Greenlight's past - and of course outliers and games which already had a sizable following before launching their campaign. The average top 50 stats feel misleading to state of the campaign - I feel that games are only compared to other games currently or recently on Greenlight otherwise we would not have had this rank.
Here are the views and votes over time:
As you can see, there is a major spike at the beginning of a campaign. In order to keep Greenlight fair, there are only 2 lists: recent submissions and your voting queue.
Games in recent submissions are listed in the order they were posted so that there is roughly equal exposure at any given time to games. I'm sure there's an optimal time during the week to post a game with the least amount of new games being posted so yours would stay on page 1 for the longest amount of time before inevitably being swept away to the later pages. This is probably where the majority of votes happen.
The voting queue recommends games based on what you've voted on or categories that you want to see, so this is the only way people on Steam will likely see your campaign as time goes on (excluding external sources). Maybe the game's campaign performance will affect how likely it will show up on someone's voting queue?
I think we got no more than 300 votes (being very optimistic on that) from friends and family and their friends and family. Since we had no presence or following before, I can only conclude that the vast majority of visitors and votes came from Steam itself.
That's it for now, time to do the Greenlight paperwork and continue hammering away at the game!
The 2016 Game Developer's Conference was a magical event that exceeded every one of my expectations.
After 2 years in a development shell, GDC was my first foray into connecting and networking with the gaming community. Although there were awesome games and demos exhibiting at GDC, it was the people who made this an unforgettable experience. The energy and the atmosphere was amazing. For the entire week I was out on my feet at the conference during the day, then off to some event, party, or meet-up in the evening.
Everyone whom I showed The Rabbit and the Owl offered a plethora of feedback and criticisms including level design, feel of the game, and especially control scheme (which I'm working on now!). I garnered a lot of knowledge and experience from other game developers as well. Most importantly, I simply was able to meet many awesome individuals from all corners of the game industry and connect with them on our shared love of games.
Although the week is behind me, I'm now driven with a fiery inspiration. The game is doing very well on Steam Greenlight (at this time, it is #29 out of 2057 games currently trying to get Greenlit; more about that later in a post-mortem) which is an encouraging sign that I'm on the right track. I hope GDC is just the first of many gaming community events that I will attend.
This is it. I'm just about ready with all of the materials needed to publicly announce my game. I don't know exactly how I'm feeling right now - I've had a twisted feeling in my stomach the entire week. I'm extremely anxious.
I've spent the better part of a year working on the game under wraps. Much of the reward has been intrinsic - the feeling of creating something with the complete freedom of how to create it. However, I also want others to enjoy the fruits of my labor. I've had a little taste of that with close friends and family, and it's always a great feeling when they respond with glee and positivity.
All I can do is do my best in spreading the word and hope for the best. I know there are a lot of other indie devs out there with the same predicament. Good luck to you all. It's about time I crawl out of my development shell and start to be part of the indie community. I'll be heading over to the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco next week to try to meet some people and check out the Independent Games Festival!
When was the last time I wrote a blog entry? Probably back when Xanga was the coolest thing among youngsters everywhere.
This is the first official entry into my blog as Formal Sheep about my upcoming game, The Rabbit and the Owl - and hopefully future titles as well.
Naughty Dog. Concerned Ape. Exploding Rabbit. Formal Sheep. I didn't realize how common adjective + animal schema was in naming game companies until after I decided on this name (basically when I found it was ripe for SEO, it was very available on knowem.com, and it was remotely related to me - I was born in the year of the sheep). It feels like the whole -ly startup company naming pattern.
It's been quite a journey since I first started going down the indie game dev path. After graduating college in December 2013, I figured I would spend a year trying to make a game. I've always wanted to be a game developer and have full control over the design as well. Many programmers for games at large companies just implement what they're given, while the design is left to people with marine biology degrees and such. I could've tried to find a startup company or a group of people who were trying to make a game, but total freedom was too enticing.
And so I spent almost a year and a half trying to make games that never saw the light of day. I've probably started, worked on, and abandoned at least 8 different game ideas (and wasted a lot of time as well).
The idea for TRATO first came about in April 2015 when I was messing around with trying to make some really cool (i.e. I thought it was cool) action platformer game about pirates and a pirate lord named Bootydamus (a Google search shows 1 result for that name - is it really that unique?). As I'm sure many other prototypes go, I was using programmer art, also known as black squares. I had a white background, and was creating rudimentary terrain and and characters with just the black squares. At some point, I inadvertently created a silhouette-like profile of a face (it looked kind of like Jay Leno), which made me think of a Rubin's vase.
Okay, so I thought what if we control two characters - one in black and one in white? And what if the environment could be manipulated? I looked this up on to see if the concept had been done. I found that it was relatively unexplored, so I had an opportunity here.
Now I had this cool idea that I didn't really dedicate myself fully to for months because at this point I was a bit burned out, and it felt like a daunting amount of work to start over again for a very uncertain future. I was considering just finding a nice job and move out of my parents' basement.
After a few demotivating months of tinkering on the game here and there, I watched Indie Game: The Movie. Watching the trials and tribulations of the makers of Super Meat Boy, Fez, and Braid inspired me to come back to this idea. It was then that I decided to apply for the Independent Games Festival as a goal and see where I stood by then to decide if I wanted to keep pursuing the dream. It was already the beginning of August at this point and the deadline was just under 3 months away.
I was fortunately able to find friends who were willing to help me make this something resembling a real game. After intensely hammering away at the game, I made the submission date. It felt so good. Then not so good when I found out I wasn't selected... but I think I always knew it wasn't going to make it, not in that early state.
I knew I had something though, and the dream was more alive than ever. Early play testing with friends and family was very positive. And so more months of working on the game. I've made a surprising amount of progress since then. I've reached a point where I'm now comfortable with trying to get myself and the game known out there. Now I'm doing what many other indie devs do these days - writing developer's blogs. Since I haven't written a blog since I was 13, I had no idea how I'd feel about this, but in fact, it's very therapeutic. Knowing that someone, somewhere might see this makes me feel a bit validated. It's a bit scary putting my thoughts out there. I have to admit I don't really know what I'm doing. Well, I suppose everything's an experience.