Steamworks first thoughts

Hello everyone!

So, as some of you may already know, Witchcraft passed Greenlight, we finished the paperwork and now we are preaparing the game so it gets published on Steam.

I wanted to write a few thoughts about what is using steamworks. What is really cool is that Steam gives you when you are using it and what could be better in my opinion.

First of all, the goal of writting this down is that probably many of you were in my position asking yourself “how is it going to be?” “how will it work?” “will I need to have something ready?” Well, you must know I haven’t checked ALL the features yet, but I have checked most of them and probably the most common and important ones.

So here goes a list of the things I had found already:

Cool stuff

  • Steam has a builder .bat that takes each configuration you have of your game and uploads it. You just need to set up everything and then forget about it unless you add a new configuration.
  • At least for now, I didn’t have to adjust anything from the game. The builder itself wraps the build and already works well. For example, you can shift+tab and will open the community window over the game.
  • Once you finish making all the changes and uploading the latest versions, you press publish, and automatically you will have them set it up. For example, I can upload a new version of the game and have it downloading through steam a few seconds later (which helps a lot  when testing).
  • Making emblems, trade cards and wallpapers is really easy. They give you templates and you just download them, modify and upload. Then it needs to be approved but guess it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • You can’t check the store page through the steam client but you have a special site to try it out before publishing. This helps a lot to make sure everything is correctly set up.
  • The store page content is fully stored by steam. You don’t have to host images like for greenlight. So that’s one less thing to worry about.
  • When you make a build, that replaces another one that is already published. It will show you the difference in size between one and another. And most importantly, if you update the game, it will auto configure the update. Yes, this means if your game weights 500mb and you make an update, it will not neccesary make a 500mb update, it will make everyone download only the differences (and you will not need to do anything since it auto does it).

Stuff that could be better

  • The documentation isn’t up to date, making it sometimes difficult to understand how it works. Not impossible though…
  • You have to configure .bat and .vdf files in order to make builds. Instead of making it hard, it could use of a small program that lets you set it up in a friendly way.
  • Each time I make a build I have to log in, though you can leave it configurated (and it will show your password on the screen!) BUT if you use steam guard, each time you build you will have to fill that, which is kinda annoying.

That is all I found for now. Once the game is totally published maybe I will make something more complete with all our journey.