It's very heartbreaking seeing last snapshot being released two months ago compared to frequent updates that used to happen. That being said, I figured I'd bring this question up once again.
Previously this question was asked and I just want to bring this topic up again because I'm convienced that Steam is where Open Clonk should be.
One of the points against Steam was the fact that you want to keep Open Clonk free for everyone and f2p games on Steam typically have microstransactions. That is correct however, there are quite a lot completely free games on Steam. One of such is Teeworlds, the game that feels like it is mostly sustained by it's community. I never really saw a lot of maintenance done by Teeworlds developers throughout the years so I suppose that once you get your game on Steam everything goes a lot more smoothly.
Ofc there's an argument about money, quite obviously getting the game on Steam is not for free and unfortunately I don't know much about that process. I don't have a solution except... well... maybe crowdfunding? It's just an idea and it doesn't really feel very viable, yet there is such option anyway.
Another thing that was brought up is that OC wouldn't be featured by Steam anywhere since it's free and probably wouldn't have any form of monetisation which is true and it kinda kills the point of having the game on Steam. Possibly making cards and badges for the game could somehow help? Not sure about that, not very well informed on these topics unfortunately.
However. There are other positive things about having the game on Steam, rather than just considering that as a way of getting more exposure. Of course things I will list now will require quite a bit of work but they could make a huge difference and attract more players and generally make the experience a lot more enjoyable for all of the players.
1. Automatic updates of the game. It's an obvious thing. Not everyone enjoys downloading games from a web-site and then installing them manually nowadays. People became quite lazy so manual installation and updating can possibly put off a person from giving something a chance. Also, it would be possible to set up quick access to beta versions of the game for players without having to update these, too.
2. Steam Cloud? a bit of a useless thing, yet saving profile like that would be kinda nice I think? Steam Cloud could also be used to save save files or replays? Just generating ideas here more than anything.
3. Steam workshop. This is a huge thing. And by huge I mean REALLY huge.
3.1. Obviously this would make process of sharing mods and maps a lot easier and smoother, same goes to updating maps and mods. It would potentially encourage players to make more mods and maps. It also helps because it removes a bit of manual work. Like say Knuepplen is a great mod, yet to install it and run it successfuly I personally had to install the mod, then find Medals.ocd somewhere, install it and then I could play. I personally don't care as much about manual installation process, yet some of my friends refused to play with me because they didn't want to install so many things. With steam workshop it would've been a lot easier to install the mods I wanted to play with my friends
3.2. Localisation. A bit of a random thing, yet it is possible to translate the game via steam workshop. Dead Cells is a great example - it automatically finds a language pack in Steam workshop that suits your location/systemlanguage/whatever and installs it first time you launch the game
4. Multiplayer improvements via steam. I'm not informed on how it all works in different games, yet it's very convinient how you can just press "invite your steam friends" button and suddenly they can join your game without furiously refreshing the list of games or pasting your IP address
I think my perspective on that issue is more of a player's perspective rather than developer's (probably because I'm not a developer, duh?) and these things could improve players' experience above all. These improvements would make the process of playing and enjoying the game a lot easier and attractive (some of my friends who agreed to go through all of the troubles of installing the game and mods really enjoyed the gameplay!)
I say all of that because I care about the game but I really don't have much influence to cause a big change on my own. through my own actions. Yet I'd really love to see the game finally become more accessible for wider audience because I think it's really great and underrated
To sum my post up and make my points more clear (I might have worded poorly quite a few things):
I really like the game but I think manual installation and updating harms the game a lot. The fact mods are not very accessible doesn't help either. Things Steam offers in terms of automatization of installation and updating of the game AND mods would encourage more players to actually give the game a chance. Steam services could improve player experience drastically.
Ofc there are other ways of addressing things I brought up. But Steam looks like the best option because a lot of players use it already. The game could still be accessed outside of steam too if someone would like to do it that way (Teeworlds is played both on steam and outside of it for example)
The game has improved so much over the years and I really hope it won't be abandoned any time soon
>One of the points against Steam was the fact that you want to keep Open Clonk free for everyone and f2p games on Steam typically have microstransactions
Yes, but I think that's a minor point and wouldn't hold us back from a release on Steam
>Ofc there's an argument about money, quite obviously getting the game on Steam is not for free and unfortunately I don't know much about that process
I think if we really wanted to press a Steam release, it would be relatively easy to collect the money for that
>Another thing that was brought up is that OC wouldn't be featured by Steam anywhere since it's free and probably wouldn't have any form of monetisation which is true and it kinda kills the point of having the game on Steam
Sure, it would receive not as much attention as other games that can be presented in a sale. A bit of marketing would still be better than no marketing :)
>1. Automatic updates of the game. It's an obvious thing.
We already have automatic updates for releases (you can update from the network game view)
>2. Steam Cloud?
>3. Steam workshop.
Don't forget that supporting both of those does not come for free and requires (probably a lot of) work. I doubt that we would have workshop or Steam cloud support in a (first) Steam release. So we should not make our decision depend on that
>..sharing mods and maps ..
Kanibal, NativeException, Luchs and me already implemented ingame mod management (sneak peek). It's not in the 8.0 release because we still lack a server, but it's pretty much finished.
>3.2. Localisation. A bit of a random thing
Clonk already supports language packs - we just don't have tools to support the creation of those (we also wouldn't have those when we were on Steam) :I
>4. Multiplayer improvements via steam
Yes, supporting those would be handy (but also requires work).
I think during the last discussion, the general sentiment towards a Steam release was rather positive. However, we thought that we would have exactly one shot. And Clonk still has some major issues (e.g. no gamepad & splitscreen support).
So the decision was not so much /against/ a Steam release but rather against a Steam release /now/. But noone knows when the right time would be, either :)
I never implied that releasing the game on steam wouldn't require more work but I just felt like these things, if done correctly could make a world of difference.
As for localisation point, I was referring to the fact that players could contribute language packs of their own if they wanted to. Of course not everyone would do that right off the bat, but with some effort and initiative that could be possible through steam workshop. Should've been more clear about that in initial post.
Also, happy new year! (:
>As for localisation point, I was referring to the fact that players could contribute language packs of their own if they wanted to
All of the language packs for Clonk Rage back then were made by players, too :)
I thought about implementing it. However, it's a bit more work than one would think because e.g. the fallback chain has to be kept when reloading definitions, or updated when things get moved around.
Another option would be to allow a different format for language packs. E.g. have just one big file and allow entries like `Objects.ocd/Clonk.ocd/Name=Clonk`.
> Another option would be to allow a different format for language packs. E.g. have just one big file and allow entries like `Objects.ocd/Clonk.ocd/Name=Clonk`.
This'd enable to stick the translations in one of the many (for OSS projects) free crowd-sourced translation platforms. With StreetComplete, I made the experience that this works really well!
local Name = "$Objects.ocd/Clonk.ocd/Name$"(or something similar, like the sound namespaces:
"$Objects::Clonk::Name$"). Still, this needs a good strategy.
Regarding the fallback chain: there is still StringTbl.txt (without language abbreviation) apparently - see http://bugs.openclonk.org/view.php?id=1513
>I think during the last discussion, the general sentiment towards a Steam release was rather positive. However, we thought that we would have exactly one shot. And Clonk still has some major issues (e.g. no gamepad & splitscreen support).
>So the decision was not so much /against/ a Steam release but rather against a Steam release /now/. But noone knows when the right time would be, either :)
Wasn't there some work on the game pad?
The money is the least of the problems (still, it costs $100 to register a Steam Workshops Account and you need to get approval from Valve).
Just listing a bunch of Steam features (Steam Cloud, Steam Workshop, Multiplayer) isn't going to do us any good. You don't just put your game on Steam and magically all of these things work. You actually have to put time and effort into modifying your game to make use of these. This is easier if your game was designed with these features in mind from the beginning. This is not the case with OC. So someone needs to sit down and work on this, probably for several months. Before that, all that you get from Steam is a mirror download. You will not get any additional features, just the bare option to download the game. For some reason, I don't believe that is everything your friends need to spark their interest in the game. Does any of your friends play Minecraft? Minecraft is not on Steam, you need to download it from the webpage. If the answer is yes, than this cannot be the problem.
Currently, we are hard-pressed to get any development done on the game. Things as big as integrating anything from the Steam API I just don't see happening in the near future. All you get, is a Steam page where people can download the mirrored game files. We will probably not get any more visibility as Steam is a platform catered to commercial games.
>For some reason, I don't believe that is everything your friends need to spark their interest in the game.
>All you get, is a Steam page where people can download the mirrored game files. We will probably not get any more visibility as Steam is a platform catered to commercial games.
I don't fully agree with that. Sure we will just have a mirror. But it's a mirror where several millions of people  are able to install and try the game with one click. And also see when their friends play the game.
During the last two years or so I have tried out several indie games on Steam. And quite some of them had a worse interface for network play and menus than Clonk. And yes, I am talking about entering IPs for direct join without being able to copy&paste (you usually get someone in TeamSpeak to spell the IP out for you - or try to memorize it).
I have seen enough to think that Clonk is actually pretty well developed from a technical point of view. Sure it's not AAA-perfect, but it's pretty damn decent for an indie/OS project.
There is a game with a similar story that comes to my mind right now: CS2D. It started as a one man project and is at least as old as 2002. So all people had plenty of time trying the game out, right?
It got greenlighted recently  and the developers have written a blog posting  saying that over 400'000 people played the game on Steam in the first month.
Even if just 0.1% of these are going to play the game on a regular basis, it's still a huge number compared to our concurrent player counts.
> It got greenlighted recently
The curse of ever-changing Steam: Greenlight actually deterred us from putting OC on Steam but it had one advantage: initial exposure. You can't get that anymore. So now, for people to find our game, they'd probably have to search for 'open' or 'clonk'. Getting featured on the front page without a price tag is not going to happen!
>You can't get that anymore
When was that change? CS2D was greenlighted between April and November, if I read the dates on the site correctly
>Getting featured on the front page without a price tag is not going to happen!
I find two free games on my front page. And I also regularly get suggestions for free games in my Steam queue
> I find two free games on my front page. And I also regularly get suggestions for free games in my Steam queue
Impressive! My frontpage is cluttered with Winter Sale deals and one free to play title (which of course is not 'free').
But in the end of the day, I have more of a player's perspective than developer's so it makes sense that I might be massively underestimating the amount of resources and effort needed to do the steam release
The alternative to Steam: During the active milestone time I proposed that we have regular Blog-Posts, to keep people up to date. We could then post those to various indie games, game development and OpenSource Websites, there are a ton. And compared with other games of that kind OpenClonk is actually one of the top games in that category. So definitely something that people would welcome. There are quite some games who do this to keep their community hyped.
The downside of this is obviously: People are not too eager to put effort into this, even during the Milestone we just got some Blogs. And then we would need a Blog schedule, so to spread the activity and activate an article in regular intervals. Also we would need to maintain a presence on those Websites, that task could be split among various people.
Well, we could at least do this for the 8.0 Release.
The positive effect of this approach is that we get people from an active game development scene to see the game, and there is potential for people to join. During the milestone I messaged with ~5 developers that were interested, for a mere effort of 1-2 Posts in 3 Forums I think. Well in the end however they didn't really got involved, but I think there is potential.
So something like that could work too.
Even if they don't attract new people, they always make me feel that Clonk is alive :-)
>Onn the other hand I always think that they take up time that could be put into developing the game
Writing blog posts usually doesn't take as long as developing something, unless you write 7-8 pages.
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