Sentinels of the Store StoreSents
Sentinels of the Store StoreSents
January 17, 2017
ABOUT Sentinels of the Store

It's Time for Real Change

The Sentinels of the Store is a group centred on bringing to light developers that game the Steam system for personal gain as well as partaking in anti-consumer practices and blatantly misrepresenting themselves and their games on the Steam store.

Here, these issues are covered extensively and is a central hub for open discussion and for awareness to be spread of bad actors and general discussions on Steam as a platform.

We also offer up commentary on matters that revolve around Steam and discuss the ever evolving changes that envelope the storefront and push forward a desire for changes to benefit both the developers and the consumers.

If you want to submit a game for our curator page, or just generally want to talk about games you find on Steam with other members, feel free to post it in our Steam Game Sharing Thread.


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The Sentinels of the Store are not intent on harassment and are encouraged to refrain from personal attacks. Our intent is to spread the word of bad behavior, through the use of criticism and debate.

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Asset Flips Aren't a Big Deal?
What Was Said

Now, what was Tyler saying? Tyler basically criticised how the gaming community came about the term "asset flip" and how apparently the definition was muddied between games that make use of store bought assets and games that are lifted templates with no changes at all, the latter of which are the ones covered by us. And he capped off his tweet chain saying "even the actual "asset flips" are not a big deal anyway."

This tweet chain got a notable amount of engagement, being liked by over 1.3K at the time of my writing and counting with few arguments against it, so I decided to throw my hat in as someone that has covered and criticised asset flips for many years across my numerous Steam groups and my journalism antics over at TechRaptor.

Now, full disclosure before people jump in, I'm not just going to continuously disagree with everything Tyler said in his tweet chain, as in fact I agree with some of what he has to say. But without further ado, let's tackle what he said head on.

The Muddied Waters of an Asset Flip

Now, the first key issue that is brought up is the muddiness of the definition of asset flip. This is something I've touched on in the past but I always feel a refresher is key as it is something I still get asked about. The term was coined by YouTuber Jim Sterling with it being likened to house flipping, but when the term was coined, Sterling was making reference to games like what Glaiel was apparently saying "weren't" asset flips.

Most of the examples used by Sterling in their video include the likes of The Slaughtering Grounds, Predator Simulator and Temper Tantrum, these of which fall into a category, not of the one that Glaiel says where asset flips are exclusively where you buy templates, but instead of ones where an amalgamation of assets are used where models, environments and UIs are all lifted from the storefront and then cobbled together to create a Frankenstein's monster if you wish, out of what they have at their disposal. The problem of course, like Sterling points out, is it's often seen that these games are put together very cheaply and are synonymous with low quality products. It's only fair to point out this isn't always the case, but there is a stereotype that exists with them more often than not that they're synonymous amongst low quality shovelware. This doesn't mean that using assets is a bad thing, as they can be an effective cost cutting measure, especially amongst maybe among the indie developers who aren't as skilled in the likes of modelling, as it allows them to save money and time to get their products made. But like I said, it's the poorer uses of it that typically have a spotlight shone on them and are typically often noted about it that creates this stigma.

Now, I still wouldn't say that Glaiel is inaccurate in his statement that games that are templates are asset flips as this is still very much the case. Again, going back to Sterling's video as they are the ones who coined the term in the first place, they make reference to the multiple UnitZ clones that are present on Steam and how they are asset flips. The problem I hold is Glaiel is trying to contest that games that are like The Slaughtering Grounds, like Temper Tantrum, i.e. the games that are the most famous asset flips aren't actually asset flips, despite them being examples used by the individual who coined the term asset flips. I think there's a little bit of attempting to reinvent the wheel with Glaiel's statement.

Now some people have asked me usually, as some people have blamed Sentinels at times for the definition being muddied, again, probably because we're one of the few places that still cover asset flips, is why we don't cover the games that are like The Slaughtering Grounds on our Steam curator. In other words, why do we only cover the games that are like the ones Glaiel describes as asset flips, such as the the ones that lift entire templates off the Unity store and not the ones that lift multiple models, objects, UIs etc? There's a few reasons for that. The first is because I personally see the asset flips that are entire templates as a higher form of laziness. The second is because even though the asset flips that are the Frankenstein's monster works are still asset flips and are still lazy, more work actually goes into them than the times where developers lift entire templates from the store. The third, and probably the biggest reason is I see the use of templates and passing them off as games as outright deceitful whereas I see the Frankenstein Monster works as just lazy.

I'll elaborate more on my previous point. If you're browsing the Steam store and you come across a game such as The Slaughtering Grounds, even though the game is bad you will still be getting a game and something in which the developer has stitched together themselves and something that they believe is a good enough product to sell. Whereas with the templates, these are passed off as the developer's own work when it's just not and they have just bought a license for it, and on top of that, a lot of the times, these templates aren't even complete because the asset creators don't intend for developers to use these as a full and final game. It's instead planned to be used as a foundation and when developers are willingly selling off templates that they know is just a foundation of work, they are knowingly and willingly selling a blueprint for something to the gaming community and passing it off as finished and not only that but also passing it off as your own work. That's where I see a bigger issue. It's like if you went onto Amazon and you saw this swing that you wanted, it looks good, but when you get it, turns out it's just a picture of the swing.

So because of that, I agree with Glaiel in that I feel the template asset flip examples are a more extreme example than the Frankenstein Monster sort, I still don't agree with him rewriting the definition of an asset flip just to suit his argument.

Gamer Discourse

Now, the next point is that of the gamer discourse surrounding asset flips and this is something I am again, somewhat understanding and agreeing with his point but also still opposing to it. Now, I have definitely met some people that seem very anti-asset flip and hold views I personally don't agree with. I once even had a user messaging me on Steam angry I didn't mark a game on our curator because they discovered that a lamp in the environment was from the asset store and they went on this very angry and vitriolic tirade about how developers should never under any circumstance use any assets and that it was breaching consumer law by the fact that that lamp existed and that it fell under false advertisement. I am not shitting you, this was an actual conversation I had with someone. I think there are in some cricles very negative views on the use of assets, and this is something I do try and push back against at times because I do try and remind, like I did in this post, they can be used for good, but Glaiel puts the blame on the gamers for why asset flips get a bad rep.

I disagree with this because really you just need to look and see what they've been seeing to understand why there's a stigma surrounding them. The talk of assets are very much something that is associated with negative press, but this is down to the sheer quantity of developers that have pumped out low effort trash using assets. These are the guys that have tarnished assets reputation so I feel that Glaiel's blame is very missplaced personally, but I can sympathise with his frustration as I've experienced it myself.

Are Asset Flips a Big Deal?

The very last point I want to talk about is where he says "even the actual asset flips are not a big deal in any way." For context again, in this part, Glaiel is referring exclusively to the template asset flips, not the Frankenstein's Monster asset flips. So, I know I'll be repeating myself, but again, it is missleading for developers to sell a game to someone that they claim is their own and it's not. It is deceitful in my view for a developer to try and sell a blueprint of something while trying to pass it off as a finished product. And it is incredibly lazy. These guys should be getting pushed to better themselves and go out and make some games or just not bother. I feel tweets like the ones from Glaiel just help incentivise the release of these template asset flips and I'd have thought that Glaiel would be expecting more from the industry that he himself operates in. But instead, it's just giving them a shield to hide behind, and it's not a very good shield to boot as well.

It amazes me to see these sorts of tweets get so much agreement and praise when I imagine if this sort of take existed back in 2014/2015 it would bomb hard. But I think the reason behind this is because of how this kind of topic has been heavily hijacked where if you're labelled as someone that doesn't like asset flips on Steam then it's seen as you endorsing censorship, and I'm also conscious alot of the people that were very critical of asset flips, me included, back in the mid to early 2010s have fallen very slient and instead it's just been dominated by the alternative view, which I guess I will hold my hands up and take responsibility for not taking proactive actions to sort of challenge these views and have a conversation about it, but that's what I'm doing here.

I hope you guys enjoyed this article, a very text heavy one for my first one in a while, but still, I hope you enjoyed. Follow me and Sentinels of the Store on Twitter, join our Discord server to join in on the conversation, like our Facebook page and comment below and let me know what your thoughts are on all of this, I'd love to hear them!

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Sentinels of the Store reviews
"Games by developers that have received SOS coverage, asset flips and titles tied to anti-consumer/deceptive practices."
Here are a few recent reviews by Sentinels of the Store
MrL0G1C Mar 8 @ 12:22am 
And the reviews on Skyscraper look fake with distinct repetition.
TͤͣͬearOfTheSͭͣͬtar Feb 6 @ 2:06pm 
Check this out, possibly another shadies who rip assets from other devs. Looks like assets from Garden Paws were ripped. And potentially from much more games.
TheNuszAbides Feb 2 @ 5:40pm 
Brother Erxkum:
1. go to the Overview tab
2. there should be two columns of stuff. in the right column, below a box of stats, there should be a Join Group button and a Report Group button.
3. don't you dare report us! :bhaal:
かぐや Jan 29 @ 9:19pm 
My Summer Car close being that too. Almost abandoned Early Access. Developer already went to developing My Winter Car.
かぐや Jan 29 @ 9:14pm 
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