Diecast #188: Happy Anniversary

By Shamus Posted Monday Feb 13, 2017

Filed under: Diecast 78 comments

Hosts: Josh, Glitch, Campster, and Baychel.

The Diecast is now four years old. In celebration of this, Josh takes us back to our roots and makes the conversation a freeform ramble. Thanks to Glitch for joining in while we were short-handed.

13:45: For Honor DLC

Josh streamed the game last week. The archive will go up on YouTube later this week.

28:00: Bay’s Book, and everyone’s creative projects.

Bay’s Deviant Art page is here, although she’s barely uploaded any content. I know she’s done hundreds of drawings over the years, and she hasn’t uploaded any of my favorites.

43:00: Steam Greenlight

It’s a shame I couldn’t make it this week. I’m putting the finishing touches on a game right now. I don’t have a lot of money to risk on putting it up on the store. I have no idea how many sales I might get, so I can’t count on making my money back. The new system supposedly rolls out in April, but they have no indication on what the new pricing structure will be. Should I rush to get my game out under the old system, or take time and wait for the new? I don’t know what I’m going to do.

Maybe we’ll talk more about this next week.


From The Archives:

78 thoughts on “Diecast #188: Happy Anniversary

  1. WILL says:

    By risking the money, do you mean the 100$ greenlight fee? Or some other steam fee for a second game?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He is talking about the new system,that will supposedly be more expensive.

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh no,Chris is actually younger than me.A month younger than me.Always was,and always will be.But when I die,he will finally catch up,and Ill laugh.Of course,Ill be dead then….

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, me too. I turned 33 in January.
      I guess we’ll have to content ourselves with being cultured hipsters.

      1. Henson says:

        33 in December, younglings! I’ve got a whole month on you toddlers!

    2. Christopher says:

      The part that got to me wasn’t that Glitch and Baychel are both younger than me(I’m 26), but that they’re already married. Hanging around here normally does wonders for my self-esteem about feeling old. It was a bit of a trip-up to stumble onto two married folks that are three and seven years younger than me.

      1. Ivellius says:

        I missed the part where Glitch is married. Huh. (I’ll blame my infant daughter.)

        To be fair, I’m not quite 30 and I’ve been married more than 7 years.

    3. baseless_research says:

      a coupling fan?

    4. Steve C says:

      Well unless you die first. In which case all he has to do is wait a month to take the ‘oldest’ crown off your corpse.

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    If you prefer world building,have you thought about making an rpg adventure module?Ask Buttskarn for a system that can best accommodate any setting,and youre there.

    1. CrushU says:

      Did someone say worldbuilding?
      If you haven’t, read Brandon Sanderson’s books.
      They’re phenomenal reads, and when I got to sit on a panel he gave at DragonCon, he said that his stories usually start by him asking ‘What If?’ and then building a world around that concept so that it makes sense.

      For examples, What If a world had metallurgical-based magic, but didn’t advance to firearms? (Or, alternately, What If the Hero failed in his epic quest to stop the Big Evil Thing? And hey, let’s make a Heist novel with Magic.)

      What If you had Magic Power Armor? Why would or wouldn’t people use it? How would warfare change? What happened to make people use it in the first place? (This series is his self-proclaimed ‘weirdest’ series. He made it after his publisher rejected two of his other books, so he responded with ‘Screw it. I’m gonna do what I want. They didn’t like the prologue? I’ll write TWO Prologues! They didn’t like the weird magic system? I’m gonna make the WIERDEST magic system!’ Maybe don’t start with this series…)

      What If people suddenly got superpowers, but no one became a Superhero, just Supervillains? (This, I think, is his ‘lightest’ work that I’ve listed here, targetted more for YA audiences, but still an enjoyable book.)

      Mostly Baychel’s comment about magic systems made me think of Sanderson, because good LORD are his systems intricate and intricately detailed. It reminds me of Asimov’s writing, where Asimov defined his Three Laws and then wrote books about where those Laws caused interesting results that wouldn’t have been expected. Sanderson has details of his magic systems that aren’t fully revealed to people, and writes books where interesting interactions of the system (or systems, Mistborn has three magic systems that intertwine) occur.

  4. Details on the ground for Steam Direct are pretty spotty (which is on purpose, they like to gauge the community reaction), but the general feel (which by the same token is likely to inform the decision) is that it’s going to be in the 500 to 1000 dollar range. Enough to discourage the asset flippers and my-first-games, but not enough to be overly punishing to someone who has already put in far more in opportunity cost. The one solid and confirmed detail is the money is recoupable. There’s lots of interesting discussion on the re-rise of scummy publishing deals, and how this is a band-aid over a gushing artery in terms of keeping crap out of steam, but it’s very much wait and see.

    Greenlight remains open, though there’s no guarantee of making it through (you do get the money back/towards new fee when they swap over, so you’re not risking that money)

    If it was $1000 and you had to make $1000 to get that back, and you aren’t confident on doing that, you might be better served by throwing it up on itch.io and pointing your readers there. You just aren’t very likely to get drive-by sales due to there already being a sufficient amount of free sudoku there.

    A final data point to consider. You currently only have three competitors on the steam store for someone searching for sudoku, and the steam spy numbers suggest each of them has made 5000+ sales. One mixed, one mostly negative, one made in 2006. This is a double edged sword. It looks like a pretty good market condition (come in with a decent riff on a solid gamplay mechanic with large existing audience, undercut or match the lowest price, make ~25k – cut and taxes), and when direct opens things up you may find competitors (some with better products) willing to bet $1000 on those numbers.

    I guess my point is yes, cut a nice shiny thirty second trailer with music indicative of whats in/going to be in the game ASAP, stick it on greenlight and drive the blog to it and hope you get through.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    What I liked the most about that for honor stream you did is how fluid the game was and how quickly it can shift from one team winning to the other team winning.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Dont put marlow briggs into the same basket as digihom shit.Marlow briggs has actual work put into it,with actual animations made by actual animators and real voice actors doing real voice acting.Its dumb and silly,sure,but at least its competent,it works,it doesnt steal from other games and it doesnt rely only on stock assets.Theres a huge difference there.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Agreed. I would play Marlowe Briggs. Probably all the way to the end, too.

    2. Christopher says:

      Yes. Like yeah, you can make fun of anything. And occasionally I’ve seen these kinds of games be funny, but it’s always in the context of watching a video of someone else play them on youtube and crackin’ wise. Anything can be a good time with good friends, and I don’t feel like that’s a great argument for keeping scam-like games in the store. Marlow Briggs sure didn’t look like more than a B-tier God of War with its tongue firmly planted in its cheek, but that’s miiiles above the garbage Jim Sterling picks through every week.

      1. Echo Tango says:

        There’s still options before completely removing games from Steam. There’s the refund system (although it still should have more work put into it); reviews, scores, and averages are readily avaiable on each game’s store page; and Valve still has the option of tweaking how games get sorted, when people search for games or when games are put into the lists that first show when you enter the store. I don’t want garbage clogging up the highly-visible sections, but I also don’t want to keep out smaller indies. If Dominique Pamplemousse had been kept out of Steam, I probably wouldn’t have bought it, and I’d have been worse off for that. :)

        1. Christopher says:

          I don’t want indies to have to pay 5000 bucks, I just want Steam to moderate their games some. Have some kind of standard.

    3. Pinkhair says:

      Yeah, whatever else you can say about it, Marlow Briggs was a labor of love- From the opening titles to the the ending credit minigame.

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Just because someone can mine enjoyment out of something does not mean it has proven to have any actual value.It just proves that some people are good enough to get something out the most worthless things.

    For example,a good comedian can make a funny joke out of an earthquake that killed thousands of people.That doesnt mean that the death of thousands of people is inherently funny,but that the comedian in question is good enough to spin the tragedy into a humorous story.

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      On the other hand it is for the buyer to vote with their money. If I wanted to market my lack of singing ability I am free to do so. If there are people willing to pay me for it they are free to do so. If some kind of music distributing platform desires to play middleman betwen me and those people they are also free to do so. There is nothing inherently illegal or unethical in either producing crap or enjoying crap, although obviously there can be a lot of unethical or illegal things accompanying the production of crap (such as false advertising or stealing assets). I actually don’t think I’d want to be in a position where I’d have to decide which, broadly understood, products of culture “have value” on any other than a personal basis.

      To be clear, I am not against curation on Steam, there are certainly issues with the current policy but then too closely curated selection could be the whole baby with bathwater thing. It is for Valve to decide what kind of business model they want to have and the argument that opening the floodgates “cheapens” (I’m using the term as shorthand) the platform certainly has some merit, though at the end of the day it is Valve’s call to make and our call to, again, vote with our wallets.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Voting with ones valet is fine to a point.And Ive come to buying stuff on either gog,or the developers website,even if I first see the game at steam.And I know Im not alone in this.But for a plethora of the crap on steam,you arent even buying it because you want it,but either because it was part of a bundle,or in order to play their stupid buying games they keep having.I doubt that even a tenth of people have actually played the shovelware games they bought.And while such a system isnt strictly unethical,its still a bad system.

  8. Tizzy says:

    Naked people without skin or flesh showing, aka the nakedest people.

  9. Tizzy says:

    Curating Steam sounds all nice and good, it what’s the stat? Isn’t it something like 80% of the inventory was added in 2016. Just back-filling that would be a logistical nightmare, even if you discount the implementation work you would need to make possible. All this with a real risk of backlash too.

    Ultimately, the thing to keep in mind is that Valve is the ultimate arbiter of what Steam “should ” be. And this has been pointed out many times, but bears repeating here: they get away with neglecting huge aspects (like customer support) because the competition is so inept.

    My totally uninformed hypothesis for the move away from greenlight is: if my 80% above is correct, then maybe Valve needs to put a big brake to this before they completely lose control of their store.

    1. Ninety-Three says:

      The stat everyone cites was “Almost 40% from Jan 2016 to Nov 2016”, so over 40% for the whole year.

      Gabe Newell seems to think the solution is not to keep shovelware off Steam, but to improve discoverability with Steam Recommendations and the like, here’s him from an AMA when asked about quality control:

      There’s really not a singular definition of quality, and what we’ve seen is that many different games appeal to different people. So we’re trying to support the variety of games that people are interested in playing. We know we still have more work to do in filtering those games so the right games show up to the right customers.

      1. It makes sense from certain angles to do it that way. Curating what goes onto steam would be an ever expanding scaling problem that requires more and more salaried hours as time goes on. Game Dev can only ever get easier, and that means the pool of people submitting junk (and not junk) can only get larger. However if you can get discovery good enough that it’s close enough to a curated store, you’ve solved the problem forever, and for no salaries. Even better, you don’t have to suffer the backlash when quality takes a nose dive when you phase out the curation.

        Valve is definitely playing the long game here, discovery was always going to be an issue, given the long tail sales and the ever increasing library. Even if they hadn’t opened the flood gates, there’s still enough quality releases to ensure that it would have become a problem regardless.

  10. Ninety-Three says:

    The timestamps in the shownotes are off, Steam Greenlight discussion starts around 43:00, not 49:59.

  11. I can’t imagine them taking down games that are already approved by greenlight but not launched yet, so I would say go for it, get greenlit, and then release when ready

  12. AndrewCC says:

    Hey, Shamus, I think you should try putting your game up on casual portals, here you might wanna give this video a look:
    It’s about a guy who’s made games independently for 11 years, making match-3 games, lives off them completely and doesn’t use steam.
    Steam is, at the moment, a clusterf*uck of releases. Your game will get lost in 1000 other releases.

  13. Paul Spooner says:

    On swearing, I’d like to be able to listen to a censored version of the diecast. Love the bleeps. Keep it up Bay!

    My wife is the one who picks up spiders and plays with them in her bare hands before carrying them outside. I’m not phobic myself, but she’s way more comfortable with creepy-crawlies than I am.

    Ooh! An artist and a writer! I got stuck a few times finishing your Dad’s novel. I found it really helped to block out the whole story with a sentence or two per chapter, and then whenever I wrote, I selected one section at random and just forced myself to work on that. It helped to prevent writers block, and It also prevented my moods from collecting in the story all in one place. I imagine if I wrote the story straight through, those chapters where I was depressed for a month would be a huge drag to read.

    Ooh, Glitch! I didn’t know you were a blender artist! Where’s your gallery? I’m always interested in collaborating on stuff. Got any cool projects going on?

    1. djw says:

      I do not believe that spiders are inherently worthy of death, but I dislike the idea of touching them so much that I’d rather squish them with a newspaper than risk leggy contamination (and don’t get me started on the fangs and eye clusters).

  14. Thomas says:

    When Chris said its weird to pick out high value items, fill your front page with them and that’s it – I mean that’s exactly what all traditional stores try to do.

    Unfortunately we live in a world of exactly one massive conglomerate for each good and the greatest offer to producers is, as the massive conglomerate, they have the biggest audience.

    So since Valve will be taking 30% of every PC game, they might as well put all PC games on the store. Trying their best to avoid downright fraudulent where possible.

    Games will need other channels to be discovered the steam is where you go to buy.

    I’m absolutely convinced some of these shovelware titles are going to be full of viruses though. Who would know? And it doesn’t take a lot of effort to asset flip.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      But it does take a lot of effort to make a competent virus.And these people peddling shovelware arent known for their effort.

      1. Thomas says:

        Android shovelware is full of viruses’ though. I guess maybe it’s easier for Android? But it doesn’t exactly seem like Valve is any more thorough in quality assuring that.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well not quite.Technically,there are no android viruses,since youd need to root your device before you could do anything truly bad to it,and rooting is not a simple process.But there are apps that ask for permission to your email/facebook/twitter/… accounts,and people who arent careful just accept this so their passwords get stolen.Also,there are apps that ask for your credit card info,and send what you type to the developer.But this too can be avoided if you are a bit careful.But these are all phishing scams and rely on the target not being careful more than the scammer being competent at all.

    2. Falterfire says:

      So since Valve will be taking 30% of every PC game, they might as well put all PC games on the store. Trying their best to avoid downright fraudulent where possible.

      Games will need other channels to be discovered the steam is where you go to buy.

      These two bits seem fundamentally at odds to me. Surely Steam would benefit far far more from investing in better ways to help customers discover games than they do by coming up with new and exciting ways for developers to throw up a broken rehash of assets from the Unity store.

      If adding more low quality games makes it harder for customers to find things they actually are interested in buying, I’d say that it isn’t in Valve’s best interest to add literally every game to the storefront.

      1. Thomas says:

        But that won’t be the case, because whenever someone sees a video on youtube and says “I want to play that”, they will go to Steam and Steam has it because Steam has _all_ the games.

        Amazon doesn’t make most of it’s business by leading to customers to products. All the products are on Amazon, so when you want to buy something you go to Amazon. Every indie and AAA game publisher in the world tries to market their game somehow, and that marketing is marketing for Valve because Valve is the PC Platform.

        I bet very few Steam sales come purely from someone browsing Steam – and discoverability can mostly make up those losses. This way Valve doesn’t need to risk missing some indie break out and watching customers go to another platform, they don’t have to employ anyone to do anything with the games they sell. They exist, they keep their store running and customers never have to go somewhere else.

        Discovering games on Steam is only the icing that comes with owning the PC market.

  15. Matthew Melange says:

    This is a great example of why I hate the 1 hour episode limit. Just cutting off Chris while he was in the middle of a point.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Its almost like that freakazoid episode candlejack,where

    2. Fast_Fire says:

      It’s a limitation of the recording/editing workflow that Shamus explained some time last year.

      Getting away with longer episodes requires not only a change in format (everyone scheduling a bigger time block to stick around for longer as well as possibly introducing interim breaks), but some up-front R&D to figure out a more efficient editing process that would result in saving more time than the current process.

    3. Baychel says:

      Funny. We stopped him because we where a half hour overtime. I cut out a lot of rambling to get it this length.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        But,we like to listen to Chris ramble.Its Josh we dont like.Next time,cut him out completely,and leave Chris in.

        1. Dt3r says:

          Unless he’s talking about Paradox games. Or plumbing.

          1. Sunshine says:

            Or the Mesopotamian history and cultural development.

            1. Philadelphus says:

              Or a Paradox game about the historical and cultural development of plumbing in Mesopotamia.

              …annnd, now I want to play this game.

              1. Josh says:

                Did you know that the Harappan civilization in the Indus River Valley (not Mesopotamia but contemporaries to the Sumerian and Akkadian civilizations) probably had sewers and toilets?

                1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                  Ok,this needs to become a tier for the patreon.For $1000,Josh will record an hour long podcast about plumbing in the ancient world.For $1500,the rest of the crew will have to be in that podcast to listen to him.

                  1. Paul Spooner says:

                    You mean the Spoiler Warning patreon? Wouldn’t it have to be a game first?

  16. el-b says:

    according to jimquisition the new cost is 5 grand…might want to do some crunch time,

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The price isnt decided yet.5000 moneys is just the top value valve is considering,but it will probably be less than that.

  17. Christopher says:

    Best episode in a while! I enjoyed this format. Skype podcasts are always gonna be a little “I was–” “And then also–” “………..” “You go ahead!” “No you go!” “Okay.” Additionally, you guys usually talk seperately about whatever you’ve been doing, with not a lot of chiming in from the others if they haven’t got anything to contribute. This freeflow podcast worked out a lot better for me because it’s more of a conversation. Chris was there to insert topics so there was actually something video game related being dicussed at times. There was a good mix of that, of what people had been playing and of personal stuff that wasn’t too private to talk about. It’s cool that all you guys have art projects(Besides Chris, but he’s got Errant Signal). Baychel is so cocky and will interrupt things(like during the ending, which granted is for time), which is a really funny departure from the whole “you go first” thing. I like it!

    On a different note, I don’t really mind when people fucking swear on their fucking podcasts. But English isn’t my language, I’m not religious and I’m not American. There’s enough cultural distance that the only swear words that even register as offensive are racial or homophobic slurs.

  18. Falterfire says:

    Steam’s ‘avoid having employees visible whenever possible’ approach continues to hurt them.

    You know what would help them a lot? And probably make them way more money than spending another few months tweaking the discoverability queue? Just paying some people to write up articles about games they enjoy.

    Just find people who enjoy a few different genres, and then task them with writing a new article every so often about a game they find that they really enjoy. Valve doesn’t even have to post any negative reviews because the goal isn’t to review everything, just to highlight favorites.

    It’s good for Valve (human marketing combined with Contentâ„¢), and it’s not bad for the customer since Valve is inherently kinda neutral towards which games get sold. As long as the articles consistently entice people to buy games, it doesn’t matter whose games they entice people to buy, and if people find the recommendations to be helpful they’re likely to keep using them, which means everybody benefits from the articles being well written.

    1. ehlijen says:

      When the same company sells and reviews a product, that can get a bit iffy, though. It wouldn’t be long before someone, rightly or wrongly, acuses these article writers of picking games based on some criteria other than what they actually like, i.e. that they write in Valve’s interest more than the customer’s.

      Valve has already shown that they’re placing a high priority on sales numbers, and a lesser one on good customer service. I don’t think sponsored mouthpieces would change that image.

      1. Falterfire says:

        I think it’s much less of a problem for Valve/Steam than it would be for EA/Origin. Origin is primarily EA games, so any “here are cool games on Origin” would by necessity mainly feature EA games.

        Valve, on the other hand, has a much smaller library and doesn’t always even release a game every year. To have any real volume of content, by necessity non-Valve games would have to make up the bulk of the recommendations.

        The trick here is in choosing writers wisely and making sure the first few weeks go well. If they can establish a couple writers as both making good content and choosing interesting games, that should defang a lot of the complaints. If people like the recommendations being made, they’ll be a lot less likely to complain about bias.

        (Not to say there won’t be a shitty subsection of users complaining online about it, but the background awfulness of poorly moderated online gaming communities is such that Valve would have to fuck this up pretty badly for it to be noticeable above the ambient level of griping)

        At the end of the day, I think the real question to consider when pondering backlash is “will it negatively impact sales in any way?” If the articles find an audience of people who buy the games recommended, it doesn’t really matter if other people cry foul unless they follow up those complaints by buying fewer games than they were before. In that way, Valve is pretty safe. If you’re an avid PC gamer, you have to have a pretty strong grievance before you’ll take the step of boycotting Steam.

        1. ehlijen says:

          You’d still have people employed by a store recommend products that the store sells. Consider used car sales people: they don’t make any cars, but they’ll still looking to make a living selling the cars in their lot. As a prospective buyer, you have to be aware of that when deciding whether to trust their advice.

          If the reviewers impartiality could be guaranteed, that’d be a great plan. But for as long as they are paid by the store they’re advertising product for, that’s just not possible.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Unlike the used cars salesemen,steam doesnt care which of their products you get,since they get a cut from all of them.They only care that you get all your purchases from them,so the more stuff to your liking they can present to you,the better for them.

            1. ehlijen says:

              Doesn’t valve get a % cut? If so, their interest and their customers’ don’t line up perfectly: the customers want to pay less, valve wants them to pay more. That’d mean there’s a conflict of interest with valve employed reviewers.

              If valve gets a set, total cut, then yes, the only true issue would be maintaining impartiality against accidental bias, which’d require the reviewers to actually play every game for a meaningful amount of time.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                If so, their interest and their customers' don't line up perfectly: the customers want to pay less, valve wants them to pay more.

                This doesnt line up only if you look short term.But long term,valve would rather sell you 20 $5 games than a single $60 game.They have interest in getting you to come back to steam as often as you can,and buy as many games as you can,regardless of their price.

                And this is not just a hypothetical.The reason steam has so many various sales,deals,friend features and discoverability is precisely because they want people to use steam more than once.

          2. Syal says:

            On the other end, you have people putting their game up using the same process as their neighbor, but Valve gives their neighbor a positive article on top of it. That seems like it opens them up to legal problems.

            1. Thomas says:

              Also, they don’t need to do it. Videogame sites do that all the time and, because Valve is PC, they’re effectively recommending which Steam game you buy.

              If Valve start recommendations it opens them up to impartiality issues _and_ it involves competing with a related market which already gives them that feature for free.

    2. Syal says:

      Just find people who enjoy a few different genres, and then task them with writing a new article every so often about a game they find that they really enjoy.

      Isn’t Flat Club already doing that for them?

  19. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Huh,the spam filter doesnt seem to like math.I didnt even get to moderation this time.Ok,Ill cut the math out and just condense the conclusions.Also,it would be awkward if Shamus decided to fish those comments out of the pit they are in now manually,so please dont do that.

    Introduction:Ok,this whole “they cannot possibly moderate all of their games” thing is really bugging me.So lets do some dirty calculations.


    Conclusion:Steam can pay forty testers two million dollars for each one of them to do under three hours of work every day,and still have sixteen times that much money left from sheer profit alone.So when someone says that valve couldnt possibly moderate all of the steam games with just people,tell them that they absolutely can.

    1. Aitch says:

      This. Right here. Valve is being lazy and cheap, and in the worst way – while making money hand over fist. And they have the gall to act like it’s not their problem to deal with, as Gabe Newell hems and haws about what “quality” really means to the consumer in the context of a game product. Makes me have to try and not vomit blood hearing that nonsense. Maybe start with an executable that can actually execute and work from there?

      Minimum wage, and there’s an army of people who would do this kind of work. And you’d need what, a dozen? This “problem” is only one because of Valve’s monopoly ruining what little perspective they need to have.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Thing is,they dont even need to hire americans,or full time employees to do this.If they want their customers to do their curation,they can very well pay some of them to do these early access stuff.The minimum wage for the usa translates to about average wage in my country,so plenty of people would accept this.

  20. GeoG says:

    “I am an extremist.”

    –Chris “Campster” Franklin, ludonarrative dissident

  21. Ivan says:

    One thing I wanted to see but did not, in For Honour, is a 3 way duel mode. I.E: like in the trailers, a three sided battle, whether 1v1v1, or 2v2v2 or whatever. Rather than mechanically, I think that would be more interesting tactically.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Something like the pirates of the caribbean 2 big wheel fight?

    2. ehlijen says:

      It could be interesting, but it would be a nightmare to balance. Two sides teaming up even temporarily would crush the third side (meaning who you know could be more important in a match than how well you play), players would likely be encouraged to not commit until they can feel safe that they’ll not be ganged up on (making for slower matches) and once one player is down, you’re back to a 1v1 fight to decide things anyway.

      1. Thomas says:

        If a game was balanced around it, I’d make attacking someone cause you to be vulnerable. So if you want to gang up on one guy, the best strategy would be to let your partner go first so you can stab them in the back afterwards.

        Suddenly ganging up doesn’t look good (except when trolling or you don’t care of course)

        1. Christopher says:

          I’m not sure if it’s possible to make it fair, but it would probably be fine to make it an option. Smash Bros. is fun both as a 1v1 no items tournament game and as a 4 vs 4 itemfest party game.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Your basic ffa deathmatch should be fair no matter the number of opponents.

        2. ehlijen says:

          In a threeway fight, you can’t fully prevent ganging up. Unless everyone makes sure to carefully strike in a choreographed triangular pattern (i.e. no one ever strikes back at the person hitting them directly), you’re going to get the odd double strike on one target.

          It’d be a reasonably fun mode to try now and then, and it beats leaving the third player without a game, but I don’t think it’s going to be a popular game mode in the long run.

      2. Syal says:

        Maybe you could work around the team-up problem by using 3-way match rules from wrestling; once one person loses, the game ends and whoever defeated them wins.

  22. Collin Pearce says:

    Happy Castiversary! Er, Annicastary?

  23. WWWebb says:

    So it sounds like what Chris wants is tiers of Steam:

    Steam the Distributor: give us $ and we will host your game downloads and push updates

    Steam the Platform: give us $$ and we will manage an achievement system (and act as DRM), and for $$+ we will manage multiplayer

    Steam the Publisher: give us $$$ and we will list your game on our storefront. For $$$+ you get guaranteed time and/or eyeballs on the front page or “featured” status.

    In their minds, Valve still thinks of themselves as Distributor and Platform, which is why being seen as a neutral, fair actor seems so important in their announcements. As a publisher though, they are HIGHLY incentivized to pick and push winners. Developers saying “we want a fair chance” are drowned out by the 1000’s of customers (who are providing most of the money) saying “show me the good stuff”.

    Charging developers more upfront balances out some of the financial incentives. If developers are willing to bet big on themselves, and Valve doesn’t see the big money unless that bet pays off, then Steam is more likely to back a developer’s product This is traditional publishing stuff. I (and Valve too probably) have to wonder how far they can push this “pay to win” model. By now, they probably have a pretty good idea of exactly how much time on their front page is worth in additional sales.

    As a side note, with all the breadth of the the internet, I’m always fascinated by how narrow the marketing channels are for most games. There is a fairly small list of sites where a banner ad (not to mention a good review) will really move the sales needle, and everyone is trying to get there. By now, shouldn’t there be more advertising on small blogs, webcomics, specialty Twitch or YouTube channels, etc.? Are developers really bad at basic marketing, or is the conversion rate just so low that a few pennies a click still isn’t worth it?

  24. Will It Work says:

    I wanted to post this here in the comments, in case someone else had the same problem. (Yes, I know, looking for help on the Interwebs).

    So the raw RSS feed has this episode, but my podcast player (Overcast) isn’t picking it up. Any thoughts?

    1. Cap'n Hector says:

      Having the same issue in Overcast – it’s quite vexing. I notice some feed validation errors (https://validator.w3.org/feed/check.cgi?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.shamusyoung.com%2Ftwentysidedtale%2F%3Ffeed%3Dpodcast) but I’m not sure if that’s related to this issue. All I can say for sure is that I don’t see any new podcast episodes.

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