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Mirabilis Jan 1, 2013 @ 1:35pm
Steam Greenlight's first failure
It had to happen sooner or later.

Steam's new Greenlight system was set up to allow new, interesting independent games get onto Steam far faster, and with far fewer hurdles than before. It's a great idea as the games have to be recommended by the community before they become Greenlighted. If enough people like a game, it gets to go on sale. What could possibly go wrong?

The elephant in the room is that the system is open to abuse, and quite possibly Towns is the first big disaster for the Greenlight system. It should never have gone on sale in its current condition,and would not have passed the stringent checks had it been submitted in the non-Greenlight way to Valve for consideration.

How did a game that is clearly this unfinished and this unprofessional get to go on sale? This is the question a lot of people at Valve are going to be asking themselves right now. They must know by now its a stinker. But it clearly had community support - someone must have Greenlighted it, right?

I have a theory - I call it the 'Ataturk' theory. Just before the turn of the millennium, Time magazine was looking to name the most important person of the Twentieth Century. It asked its readers for suggestions. It was inundated by a coordinated campaign by Turks who sent in millions of calls for Kamel Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, to be the man. Apparently, they believed that by bombarding the offices of Time Magazine with the suggestion the magazine would have no choice but to make him the most important person of the Twentieth Century. Time Magazine did not - they wanted suggestions, it was not a voting system. In the end they had to choose between FDR and Churchill, and chose FDR.

Clearly Ataturk is an important man but he was never going to win. Perhaps next century he will. But it showed that people with an agenda will always try to skew results if all you need to do is recommend something.

All it takes is a few Fanboyz to cause chaos. This is what clearly has happened with Towns. For those who have not bought it, Towns is a game by one man operating on his own. It has a large, rabid following, despite being far from completion. Certainly the premise is an excellent one, but without the backing of a proper developer its little more than a bright idea at the moment. It could be brilliant - but it could also not be. We simply don't know. What we do know is that its far from finished.

It's been submitted for inclusion in the Greenlight process on Steam for a mid-price item. Had this been something that rational, regular people played and tested it would not get Greenlighted. It's not bad - just not finished. But somehow an Ataturk-style campaign has been generated that has pushed it into a high enough position for a full release. It's madness. It's bad for Xavi, the man who makes the game, because its not complete and will damage his repuatation. It's bad for Steam, because it sullies the Greenlight system of game approval. Who will trust Greenlighted games now that Towns has got through? No one.

The problem is, you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. I suspect Steam would dearly like to take this off their catalogue but doing so would be an admission of failure for the Greenlight system. On the other hand, continuing to keep it on sale is clearly a disaster for them. By making it part of their Winter Sales campaign they have drawn attention to it, which is about as bad a move as I can think of.

If there is one good thing to this sorry tale its that Steam can use it as a process to learn from. Never again should a game this bad be able to filter through simply because of some Fanboyz pushing their irrational agenda. Controls need to be tightened, and heads need to roll. And just hope the computer game media don't catch wind of this little nightmare.

Finding Towns for sale on Steam is like finding a turd in a swimming pool. Let's hope it never happens again!

Or am I wrong? I'm prepared to be correct if you disagree. Make your case.



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retrox Jan 1, 2013 @ 1:43pm 
The game is fun. The defense rests.
Mumboejumboh Jan 1, 2013 @ 2:19pm 
Originally posted by retrox:
The game is fun. The defense rests.

Fun is often where you find it, but I unfortunately have found none in Towns. The simple fact that I have to either blunder around the game blindly to figure out how it works or search for tutorials online despite the game including a "tutorial" helped kill my enjoyment. Furthermore, what we've been sold isn't a complete product (even if the developer claims it's "finished" and "playable"), the game itself is v8, which was a change from v0.8 as I heard that steam does not like for their products to be sold with such version titles. So yeah, Towns? Not even done yet. Maybe I just don't know enough about the industry, but most people release their games with v1.0 or something, right? Starting with a version below one makes you think it's incomplete, or at least that's what it makes me think.

The steam store page sells the game as being "continually developed and updated" but the game has seen no updates (or much information from its developer even on the official forums) since the release in early November. The only information regarding any such updates is that they'll be working on it in January (note that this is not an actual statement of something happening IN January, just that it is when they will start working again).

I bought this on sale thinking (according to the steam page) that I'd receive a finished game that would be sure to see updates in the future. What I got was an incomplete beta and a developer that seems incredibly unreliable in regards to any potential future updates.

I'm not upset that it was in the beta stage, I'm upset that the only way to find this out would have been to dig around on the official site when the store page had no indication whatsoever that the game wasn't in a complete state.

If you like the game, more power to you. Me, I'm going to wait and see if I can get steam to give me my money back over this mistake.
ragnar119 Jan 1, 2013 @ 2:35pm 
I just want to add some info. They are already working on the patch, and no, they are not starting to work on the patch in january, but the full development as it was before will start from january, so I hope new patch every few weeks like before. The next patch should be in januar, I asked them my self when one of devs was in chat.

I am disappointed that development slowed down (or better said stoped) this much, and that there was no patch for few months now, but I hope that the beginning of this year it will change, because I am also starting to lose faith little
Mumboejumboh Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:05pm 
Originally posted by ragnar119:
I just want to add some info. They are already working on the patch, and no, they are not starting to work on the patch in january, but the full development as it was before will start from january, so I hope new patch every few weeks like before. The next patch should be in januar, I asked them my self when one of devs was in chat.

I am disappointed that development slowed down (or better said stoped) this much, and that there was no patch for few months now, but I hope that the beginning of this year it will change, because I am also starting to lose faith little

I think the kicker here is that the first patch is supposed to contain save compatibility so that future versions don't wipe out the saves of the prior version. Which is likely to mean that whenever the next patch comes, all the people who have enjoyed the game will be forced to start over from scratch in what will most likely be 99% of the same game.
Ulcerus Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:12pm 
I'm actually wondering what steam really thinks about all this?
Do they even care? I see lots of thoughts regarding this, saying: "Oh, Steam/valve probably thinks like this or that right now"..... but do they really?
They might not care at all, for all I know :p Maybe they just think "Ok...that was a bummer. Oh well."
I mean, has anyone gotten any kind of feedback from steam to share? More than the standard replies for refunds? ^^

That's something at least I'm really interested in.
Cyborgt Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:12pm 
Originally posted by Mumboejumboh:
I think the kicker here is that the first patch is supposed to contain save compatibility so that future versions don't wipe out the saves of the prior version. Which is likely to mean that whenever the next patch comes, all the people who have enjoyed the game will be forced to start over from scratch in what will most likely be 99% of the same game.

Indeed. As I mentioned in another thread, that alone would seem to indicate that this game was not ready for release on a platform like Steam. They already had plenty of people on their own forums talking about how they weren't going to bother updating the game to its latest version because they didn't want to lose their saves. How do you think that's going to go over with a larger player base on a seperate distribution platform?

Oh well, it'll be their problem if it happens I guess.
Mirabilis Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:13pm 
Is there some kind of constructive feedback we can give to Valve over this? Has anyone any ideas how we can avoid unfinished Greenlight games going on sale again? Can you think of any stages needed adding, such as extra filters or even a new category for 'works in progress?'

I'm not saying the game is bad. I'm not saying the game isn't entirely fun. Different people find different things entertaining and I'm not going to judge that. What I'm saying is that Town is not fit for purpose. That's not a judgement. It's pretty much a fact.

If anyone can offer Valve some feedback that would prevent this balls-up happening again, lets have some ideas. Let's be productive and constructive, here!
ragnar119 Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:14pm 
Originally posted by Mumboejumboh:
Originally posted by ragnar119:
I just want to add some info. They are already working on the patch, and no, they are not starting to work on the patch in january, but the full development as it was before will start from january, so I hope new patch every few weeks like before. The next patch should be in januar, I asked them my self when one of devs was in chat.

I am disappointed that development slowed down (or better said stoped) this much, and that there was no patch for few months now, but I hope that the beginning of this year it will change, because I am also starting to lose faith little

I think the kicker here is that the first patch is supposed to contain save compatibility so that future versions don't wipe out the saves of the prior version. Which is likely to mean that whenever the next patch comes, all the people who have enjoyed the game will be forced to start over from scratch in what will most likely be 99% of the same game.

Yes, its a problem. But its not the only thing coming in next patch, but it is the bigest one (talking about saved game compatibility) from what the game will have a lot of benefits in the long run.
Mirabilis Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:15pm 
Originally posted by Ulcerus:
I'm actually wondering what steam really thinks about all this?
Do they even care? I see lots of thoughts regarding this, saying: "Oh, Steam/valve probably thinks like this or that right now"..... but do they really?
They might not care at all, for all I know :p Maybe they just think "Ok...that was a bummer. Oh well."
I mean, has anyone gotten any kind of feedback from steam to share? More than the standard replies for refunds? ^^

That's something at least I'm really interested in.


I think you've really hit the nail on the head here. Think about it: this game stinks. We all know this, and I'm sure Valve is aware of the issue. But Steam have actually made it part of their Winter sale - its tantamount to being a Valve endorsement.

What are they thinking?
ragnar119 Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:17pm 
Originally posted by Mirabilis:
Is there some kind of constructive feedback we can give to Valve over this? Has anyone any ideas how we can avoid unfinished Greenlight games going on sale again? Can you think of any stages needed adding, such as extra filters or even a new category for 'works in progress?'

I'm not saying the game is bad. I'm not saying the game isn't entirely fun. Different people find different things entertaining and I'm not going to judge that. What I'm saying is that Town is not fit for purpose. That's not a judgement. It's pretty much a fact.

If anyone can offer Valve some feedback that would prevent this balls-up happening again, lets have some ideas. Let's be productive and constructive, here!

The thing is, steam would need to test all the games and play them, learn all about the game before they post it on steam.... that is too much work and will probably never hapen.
Last edited by ragnar119; Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:21pm
Cyborgt Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:19pm 
Originally posted by Mirabilis:
Is there some kind of constructive feedback we can give to Valve over this? Has anyone any ideas how we can avoid unfinished Greenlight games going on sale again? Can you think of any stages needed adding, such as extra filters or even a new category for 'works in progress?'

I think they already have a concepts section for the greenlight page. That isn't even really so much of a problem to me though. I don't have a problem with incomplete games getting through on greenlight as that's really when most of them get approved anyway. The problem is when these incomplete games go ahead with their release on Steam as if they were finished without any clear reference to their status on the store page.

There's actually a stage between the submission and release stages on greenlight. They're called greenlit games. There are actually quite of few of them that have chosen to simply sit there and wait long after they were approved for release on steam until they were actually ready for such a release. That's where the trouble comes in though. Letting them be voted on before they're ready for a release may be fine, but what do you do to determine when the game is finally released.

Who knows. I know I don't have the answer.
Mirabilis Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:20pm 
Originally posted by ragnar119:
Originally posted by Mirabilis:
Is there some kind of constructive feedback we can give to Valve over this? Has anyone any ideas how we can avoid unfinished Greenlight games going on sale again? Can you think of any stages needed adding, such as extra filters or even a new category for 'works in progress?'

I'm not saying the game is bad. I'm not saying the game isn't entirely fun. Different people find different things entertaining and I'm not going to judge that. What I'm saying is that Town is not fit for purpose. That's not a judgement. It's pretty much a fact.

If anyone can offer Valve some feedback that would prevent this balls-up happening again, lets have some ideas. Let's be productive and constructive, here!

The thing is, steam would need to test all the games and play them, learn learn before they post it on steam.... that is too much work and will probably never hapen.


That's just it -don't you see? That is what Valve had to do before the Greenlight system came along. Indie developers were waiting years to get their games on steam because of the lengthy process needed to vet them and filter out the best. They get thousands of submissions every year by Indies. The Greenlight system was supposed to be the answer - let the community decide. But in the case of Towns its failed miserably.
ragnar119 Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:23pm 
Originally posted by Mirabilis:
Originally posted by ragnar119:
Originally posted by Mirabilis:
Is there some kind of constructive feedback we can give to Valve over this? Has anyone any ideas how we can avoid unfinished Greenlight games going on sale again? Can you think of any stages needed adding, such as extra filters or even a new category for 'works in progress?'

I'm not saying the game is bad. I'm not saying the game isn't entirely fun. Different people find different things entertaining and I'm not going to judge that. What I'm saying is that Town is not fit for purpose. That's not a judgement. It's pretty much a fact.

If anyone can offer Valve some feedback that would prevent this balls-up happening again, lets have some ideas. Let's be productive and constructive, here!

The thing is, steam would need to test all the games and play them, learn learn before they post it on steam.... that is too much work and will probably never hapen.


That's just it -don't you see? That is what Valve had to do before the Greenlight system came along. Indie developers were waiting years to get their games on steam because of the lengthy process needed to vet them and filter out the best. They get thousands of submissions every year by Indies. The Greenlight system was supposed to be the answer - let the community decide. But in the case of Towns its failed miserably.


Not correct, there where games before steam greenlight that where not completed like sword of the stars and some other games that where released in not finished state long time before the green light. They never tested the games on steam..... or at least in last few years
Last edited by ragnar119; Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:24pm
Cyborgt Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:31pm 
Originally posted by ragnar119:
Not correct, there where games before steam greenlight that where not completed like sword of the stars and some other games that where released in not finished state long time before the green light. They never tested the games on steam..... or at least in last few years

Well, I can't claim any sort of insider knowledge on Steam but it's my understanding that once a game has been released on Steam it provides the developer/publisher with a contract that pretty much guarantees future releases make it on Steam. As to whether Steam ever actually playtested ANY of the games that were submitted I can't really say but that might be part of the reason for the bad games that made it onto Steam.

I know some good indie games were refused long ago simply because it wasn't something Steam was interested in selling. Couldn't tell you if that was the result of them playing the game and determining it sucked or if they just took one look at its screenshots and decided they didn't want it though.
Jimathus Grandi Jan 1, 2013 @ 3:32pm 
My opinion, this is all on Valve. One way of combating things like this is a ONE AND DONE rule. If you knowingly release something on Steam thats not finished, not labeled as alpha, beta or work in progress up front, your suspended from future sales of any kind on Steam. Watch this type of affair hit zero overnight. If you lie about features, if you post fake videos or sceenshots this also results in a ban from the service. I frankly dont think Steam should allow any type of alpha, beta or work in progress at all. Its either finished or its not. If its not then there are other places that specialize in unfinished games or crowd sourcing for development revenue.

I dont think Valve has the people or time to play test each and every game. I do however think they have time to investigate a company before allowing a submission. Really, how hard would it have been for a Valve employee to just Google this game and see all the controversy? I found out all I needed to know in less than 20 minutes. I wanted to be sure that it wasnt just fanboism or rage hating so I invested the extra 10 minutes to give it a fair chance. Just an email disclaimer itself directly to the developers prior to launch warning not to submit any unfinished works and the consequences would of sufficed.

The trust system they have in place is just to open to fraud. As we have well seen recently. Its just too easy to exploit and do a cash grab. Hopefully the WarZ scam induces change at Valve. Doesnt help you poor guys at all, but at least its out there now. This is probably that OTHER title which should of been pulled. 10 years of development and they only got to this buggy point? Doesnt bode well for the future, may as well file it away as a very bad purchase. I do however have to say, the blame is partly on the gamer to. It took me really 10 minutes to know this game is broken mess. Google is a tool, use it before hitting the buy button.
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Date Posted: Jan 1, 2013 @ 1:35pm
Posts: 541