What's On Steam


Minimalist first looks at the dross games as they launch.

The Valve Steam store plan was to open up their store so it had no gate-keepers, as in, not for them to decide yay or nay on if something is even viably a game. Given that, the other half of the plan was to personalize your storefront to show you stuff that you might like, i.e. not show you rubbish.

Where things seems to have got stuck is that people aren’t marking what they like / don’t like (social media style) on the store, so effectively it looks a mess, as in the data isn’t there to know what to show you. The redeeming feature is the no-questions refunds of course.

With the death of green light, and the sheer number of releases I’m not sure what the solution is. I increasingly just get game recommendations from places like here rather than trolling through the steam store…

Steam has some great ideas. I was really positive feeling on the Steam Arma 3 Workshop…but it is a bit of a mess nowadays. I can usually find good stuff by sorting with the proper keywords, but there is a lot of content that should just not even be on there because it is so terrible (mostly missions).

An occupational hazard in modern software design is the quest to solve all problems using large-scale automated grouped data. Whether it is what news headlines to show you, or what gossip to read on Facebook or even what games to buy, the common theme is to gather info on what you do and then offer back more of the same.

The trouble is the algorithms start to homogenize everything. It starts a horrible feedback loop where your digital world becomes a perfect echo chamber of just things you have said you like and approve of. It’s unhealthy. Obviously this is not just a Steam problem, but more that this current statistical AI one-trick pony is so tempting to take a persons subjective opinion out of the process that it just seems to get used everywhere. When you have a hammer etc…

Plus, what’s with all the anime stuff. Weird. :slight_smile:


I’m also curious if early release or access might do more harm than good. I mean, will CAP 2 ever recapture the buzz before release? It is definitely getting better and better…but how many people are going to NOT be excited about the full featured release because they already think they know the whole story there?

1 Like

That is one reason why I have stopped playing CAP2. I had an early taste of what it was about, and then put it away for enjoyment later.

I have to admit that the only early access game I really enjoyed playing for a long, long time is Kerbal Space Program. I have to admit that I am a little burned out on it these days, but I certainly got my money’s worth. I learned a lot about orbital mechanics and spaceflight too.

1 Like

The two main schools of thought are:

  • It’s better to show it early to see if the core idea is good and let it evolve with feedback. If it’s a new idea then that seems sensible rather than waste 3 years on a bad idea.The problem is there is a minimal ‘bar’ for something to get to for people to ‘get it’ and if you only get one shot then you’ve blown it.

  • Marketing works, in that people are here for the destination and not the journey. If you have something you know is good then wait until it is done and get a bigger splash with word of mouth once it is done.

Something like Kerbal worked well because they could play around with the core mechanic of the game and then pursue what worked over time. As @PaulRix said, the feeling of value is there because it’s enjoyable from very early on (not being an idea based around story, media or art).

Something like CAP is much harder, as we all have good frames of reference on what a good Harrier flight sim should look like, so it’s not really the idea that’s being verified but more a long slow journey of getting releases out bit by bit. That can be purely for funding reasons of self-publishing but it’s often frustrating to be part of for both developer and buyer.


In my limited experience, I think too many developers end up with feature creep because they didn’t set out with a solid set of goals and a timetable to reach them. When things inevitably slip, the money starts to run out and someone has to find a way to salvage the situation, which gets us to early access, like a kind of loan from buyers. From there it becomes a 50/50 chance as to whether things will take off or crash and burn, depending on what they went to early access with and how long it takes to get the finished product out.

Take something like DayZ and it’s been in “Early Access” for 3 years now which is, quite frankly, a pile of bull excrement.

As an Arma player, seeing the most obnoxious part of the community stuck in an unending cycle of feature creep hell as they are forced to bear the brunt of developing the engine for the next generation of BI games is extremely satisfying.

That said I can see how it’d be frustrating from the other pane of the glass. Rocket always struck me as a good ideas man, but not so great on the implementation.