Some thoughts on Steam Early Access

Here are some notes I took down after watching Is Early Access Right for You?.

PLayer minium expectations from the game

  • Playable version is a must. Thik of it as game demo. More you have to show better it is. DON'T ship unplayable product without at least couple of hours of gameplay,
  • Value for the price. Justify the price for the value - gamers are paying for (E)arly access to the game, which means access before everyone else. On the other hand take into consideration that game is not finished and perhaps does not provide full or expected experience.

Developer (yours) expectations from the game

  • Test the idea - but remember Early Access is not free testing platform. Broken version can kill the project. DON'T deliver before game is ready to play
  • Get feedback.
  • Start dialog with community.
  • Find community advocates.
  • Fund rest of the development.

Your game

So how does it all affect your game?

  • Modding - should be essential part, as it enables community to, not only test the game, but also to create content and improvements
  • Basic mechanics including all core game features is a must
  • Assets simplification. Valuing gameplay must be prioritised over assets.

Content creation (modding)

  • Consider talking to Unity3D or Unreal Engine or any other game engine producer. Perhaps they would like to provide some support for additional free publicity.
  • Prison Architect is great example of delivering a game as a ecosystem that then can be extended with new simulation and tested by players how that influences the whole environment.

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