We have returned from Steam Dev Days and boy did we learn a lot. We met some great people, attended some insightful sessions, and we have a new perspective on the remaining development for Lacuna Passage.
So, what did we take away from the experience? (Besides the amazing complimentary breakfasts and free Steam Machines...) More than anything else, we came away with a sense of reassurance. A sense that we are going in the right direction and that many of our fears are mostly unfounded. Here are some of the key points that we gained from attending Steam Dev Days:
- Integrating Steamworks features like cloud saving, Steam trading cards, and more, should not be an issue.
- This is something we already assumed, but as with many other things related to development, we wanted to make sure we talked to others who had experience with these features to give us reassurance.
- We are going to focus on the basics first, and then we will look to our Kickstarter backers and other supporters to find out what features they value most and work on integrating those as well.
- Polishing our VR integration will be very important as we look ahead to better VR technologies and consumer adoption of those technologies.
- It's no surprise that VR was a huge focus for the entire conference. Valve is extensively supporting VR and we want to be there when it hits critical mass.
- Some of the specifics that were shared about making optimal VR experiences are causing us to think back on some of our design decisions and perhaps make some critical changes that will ensure an enjoyable experience with Lacuna Passage.
- Though it may feel like a free-for-all right now, Steam Greenlight has proved very successful for those developers who have managed to get through approval and sell their games via Steam.
- This one might sound a bit obvious (get on Steam and you will sell games, duh), but since we are investing in Lacuna Passage as a product and the beginning of a business, we were looking for reassurances of success.
- We have modest estimates for sales numbers that we feel would be necessary to fund development of another title in the future (obviously that is a ways off yet) and everyone we talked to seemed to think that our sales estimates were very conservative.
- Gabe Newell made comments during the conference that he would like to see Steam Greenlight disappear and to open the flood gates to all developers to publish on Steam. We hope that this will enable more developers to make money doing what they love, but there is always the possibility that it may dilute the marketplace. If we are unable to launch Lacuna Passage prior to the demise of Greenlight then we may miss out on the higher exposure that Greenlight has given us. Ultimately, we trust that Valve has plans to make sure that this does not happen. We think that giving more developers access to the Steam store will have a positive effect overall.
- We are interested in reaching out to more Greenlight developers to gather sales data and any other information they are willing to share. If you are a developer willing to be a part of this please contact us at <contact [at] randomseedgames.com>.
- Enabling our fans to contribute to development can be a positive for both us and them.
- We have already made extensive use of volunteer contributors for the development of Lacuna Passage (not to mention the financial contributions of our Kickstarter backers), but Valve's experiments with user generated content (DOTA 2, TF2, Steam Workshop, etc) has inspired us to expand our current efforts.
- Right now we are not planning for mod support or Steam Workshop support. We just don't think it's feasible for the scale of game we are creating; however, we are willing to work with almost anyone who can demonstrate a certain skill level with content creation.
- For example, almost all of our artists are volunteers. We just haven't heavily advertised this fact. Well, now we are. If you are interested in contributing content - not just additional content, but content that will be part of the primary experience of Lacuna Passage - please contact us at <contact [at] randomseedgames.com>. Right now we are most interested in 3D artists and texture artists, but later in development we will have need of voice actors, graphic designers, and many others. If you really want to help make Lacuna Passage the best game it can be then we want to enable you to do so.
Steam Dev Days was an incredible experience and we can't wait to take what we've learned and apply it in the months to come. Right now our next planned conference stop will be GDC where we will hopefully have a playable portion of the game. If anyone else is planning on attending, please let us know and we would love to meet up with you!