Chapter 13: Sending off the game!
Metadata, Making the Video
From what we understood of the Steam submission system, you send in the game, and then have two weeks until you can launch so you can get your marketing stuff ready. Great, I thought, we'll submit the game and then I'll do the metadata- screenshots, promo banners, trailers, all that good stuff.
When we went to do the actual submission, we realized Steam wanted everything before they'd accept the game- the game itself, the screenshots, banners, and video too! I was frustrated to have the finish line moved back a little bit, but forged ahead in doing the screenshots and making the video. I sketched out storyboards and thumbnails for what I wanted the screens to look like- I'd played the game enough times to get a good idea of the views available. Same for the video- I sketched out the approximate sequence of events and views I wanted, so when I went to record the game I had a specific set of views to try and record.
Recording the video was actually really easy- I thought it was going to be more difficult but Windows 10 includes an Xbox-adjacent program called "Game Bar" that will record gameplay and let you share it on the Xbox social networks. If you asked it to record your game, it would gladly, and provide clean and tidy little gameplay videos for you! You can even pull stills for screenshots. I was very pleased. Thanks to VR Heads for the tip!
The only oddity for recording the video was that I tended to naturally look at the character's faces- I could see their bodies in VR, but the computer screen can only record so much and would cut off the bottom of their feet and leave in a bunch of sky. So I had to record everything looking a bit downwards, checking the views after each recording to make sure they were correct. Then I had to re-record it, without the cursor in the middle of the screen. :( I definitely had a sore neck after recording all the footage.
Put everything together using Adobe Premiere- I aimed for about a minute in length. I made a 30 second trailer a month or so beforehand to show off the features and I had to cut so much out, and the pace of the video was too frenetic. A minute let me show off the game at a more relaxed pace, include some funny moments, and it wasn't too long where people would get bored (hopefully, lol).
Packing Up and Shipping Off the Game
After all the other graphics and stuff were ready, I added everything to the Steam store page- lots of little small items to tick off here, but we got through them without any other major hiccups.
Scott handled the majority of actually shipping the final so I can't speak to the details- he reported back that the Steam upload was done via command line interface. Unsure if it was more or less difficult than a formal iOS app submission. We got through this part in a day though, so I'm doing to say easier!
We discussed a launch date- two weeks from then was right during the rumored Halloween Steam sale, so we opted to push back a week and launch the Monday after Halloween. We talked about this back and forth a bit trying to figure out a date- we wanted to launch our game as soon as possible but didn't want to try and stand out during the Halloween sale, but if we pushed back much beyond that we were just sitting on our game for over 3 weeks. We were Very Motivated to get it out into the world, so we set the launch date at November 5, 2018. Fingers crossed it was a decent decision, we'll see.
We heard back from Steam in a couple days after we sent everything off, and the submission was approved. Yay!
This is kind of TBD, isn't it?? I'm writing this a week from launch so I can't really look into a crystal ball here :) Wish us luck though!!
I was showing off the game to friends and family a bit during development, so I went ahead and bought cinderellaVR.com and set up a basic website with a bit about the game and a brief bio. After I finished all the Steam metadata, I updated the site with the video, screenshots, fresh text, and a press kit. I put together all of our screenshots, banners, game descriptions, etc in a zip file and linked it from the website.
The whole time we were developing, I had a bunch of random marketing ideas and tips and articles to clip and whatnot. I didn't want to spend time chasing after marketing during development, so I jotted down everything into a Google docs document. After shipping the game off, it was finally time to go through the list- I'm still sorting through it now, but I'm glad I have a list of ideas and notes to refer to and build on now that I need them!
Scott has an awesome idea for a new set of VR puzzle games to get off the ground, and we're slated to get those moving as soon as we get Cinderella VR off the ground. We both love Cinderella VR but it took much longer than we thought to get out the door- so we're trying to reduce the scope of the next project and work a little more efficiently now that we know what we're doing a little bit more. The goal is to launch a couple games right in a row, much more quickly than the 10 months Cinderella took!
Anyway I'm sure I'll be back to report more on those. Again, wish us luck!
Wow, it's been a whole journey, both on the game development and on this diary, haha. This game was a huge project to take on, even with our experience making mobile games, but we managed to get it done. We're immensely proud of Cinderella VR and hope you'll check it out.
Thank you so much for reading!! If you're a VR developer, I hope you found some of this helpful in your own game dev journeys. Good luck out there!!
Hi! It's me, Laura!