Ganbatte Steam Store Page Live!

Ganbatte Steam Store Page Live!

Valve's Gabe Newell looking at the ganbatte VR game steam store page
Gabe Newell looking at the Ganbatte Steam store page, by Thomas Papa CC BY-SA 2.0 – Original photo by Tim Dorr licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 and modified so that Gabe looks at the Ganbatte Steam store page instead of WoW.

The Steam Store page of Ganbatte is live! You can now add Ganbatte to your wishlist, which if you do would encourage us a lot. As you can see in the image above, it’s already in Gabe’s Steam library. But then again, which game isn’t? We’re proud to have the page up and have decided to make it the topic of this week’s dev blog post.

Did you know that Ganbatte is our very first Steam release? Since we’re a small indie studio completely new to Steam, we had to learn a lot (and are still learning!) about how to create a store page. There is a lot that goes into the creation of a Steam store Page, but Valve’s steam partner back-end provides a checklist and plenty of documentation to make the process as clear as possible.

It’s worth noting that the page that is now live, will likely not be the same in a few months time. Our Steam page will change, grow and evolve as the game does. Since we are releasing Ganbatte into Early Access, an essential (and mandatory) part of the store page is the justification for Early Access. This is an answered questionnaire that allows us to explain to potential customers the motivations and reasons behind our decision to release Ganbatte as an Early Access game.

We greatly value transparency to our customers, and sharing all the details with our community. This dev blog that you’re reading right now is a tool for that, and the Steam page too. The “Why Early Access Q&A” on our store page is our opportunity to talk about our plans. In game development, and particularly game marketing and communication, setting the right expectations is key. With the Steam page set to “Coming Soon” and the ability to share our reasoning, we are able to set these expectations and start a conversation with our community as we work towards a final release.

Why Early Access Ganbatte

Keep in mind, our game is going into Early Access, things will change. As Valve states “Don’t worry if you end up changing your mind later – that’s the point!”. Without further ado, here are the Why’s and How’s of Ganbatte’s Early Access release, as of today, October 27th, 2017. Yes, this information is also available on the store page, but as that will grow and evolve, this dev log post will prove to be a nice archive of that change.

Why Early Access?

“We’re releasing Ganbatte in Early Access because we want to develop the game together with you, the Steam community, giving you access before it’s officially released. We’re in the early stages of development, and the game we’re putting out here is something that together with your input, we can build upon and enhance.
Since Ganbatte is a multiplayer VR game, we seek to create and foster a community from the ground up. Early access allows us to be in close contact with our community, providing us with a foundation to grow upon.
We are so freaking excited about this project, we want to share our work with as many people as possible, as soon as possible. But not too soon. Not before we had completed the foundation of the game, which is what we’ve been doing in the past 6 months. We’re now ready to go live. We believe that even in its current state, we have a compelling game experience.
Our goals for the official release of Ganbatte are clear. Focusing on one core game mechanic, making sure it plays and feels absolutely right. Keep our scope small, but our quality and polish very high. That small scope has one exception though: multiplayer. We believe that the best virtual reality experiences are shared, and thus we set out to make a social VR game, one that’s playable across multiple hardware platforms. We’re starting with Rift and Vive, and it’s our goal to support all major VR platforms.
In terms of visuals, we think that our team + a unique stylised art-style will get us there, we aim to make the final game feel polished and complete. Our goals for gameplay is a different topic, and we know that the best multiplayer games are meticulously balanced. Being an unknown, young and small indie team, we also realized we couldn’t get the volume of user data by means closed alpha or beta testing. This is why we decided to release the game as an Early Access title first, and use the feedback and data that the community provides to guide us towards a full release.
We believe that we’ve nailed the core mechanic and we’re now ready to move forward and work on world building, extending the core concept, adding depth and replayability. What follows is a process that we’re now in, up to our ears: we’re working on additional game mechanics, art style, music, sound, different game modes, character design, cat customization, the social and communication aspect, possible Twitch chat game interaction, level design and a whole lot more.”

Approximately how long will this game be in Early Access?

“We expect Ganbatte to be in Early Access for 8 to 10 months. We are targeting to leave Early Access and release v1.0 in September 2018.”

How is the full version planned to differ from the Early Access version?

“We plan for the full version of Ganbatte to include dedicated servers, visual overhaul, improved and additional gameplay and mechanics, different round modes, training mode complete with instructions, fully functioning cat customization system, skins and accessories, unlockables, XP, economy system, integrated event mode, guest mode, and support for more VR headsets and input devices. As we develop the game, things might change, get removed and added, that’s the nature of game development. It’s an iterative process. By remaining transparent, and communicating frequently, we aim to include you as much possible throughout the changes Ganbatte will go through. We want to hear your voice, and we listen to what you think of the features that we’re adding (or changing!), and learn from you how we can make the game better. We hope to collect anonymised game data to improve the balancing of the game (e.g. how the values of different sushi, their spawn ratio and various combo systems influence the score) and as the user base grows and new features are added, how the game is used and how we can improve things like networking, matchmaking, customization and the overall game experience.”

What is the current state of the Early Access version?

“V0.01 – The current version of Ganbatte includes 3 game modes; Quick Match, Custom Game, and Training and it includes a lot of placeholder art and assets. Quick Match is the main game mode, it allows you to jump into a 4 player match and experience the core gameplay of eating sushi, throwing plates and trying to reach the highest score. Currently, this mode is ranked and players compete in the global leaderboard. Future versions of Ganbatte will include a separate Competitive Play mode, which will then take over the role of ranked game mode. A Quick Match consists of 3 rounds, in which the player with the overall highest score wins. In between rounds you are able to communicate with the other players using voice chat (experimental). You can also toggle various facial expressions of your cat, in order to express your emotions (currently 4 expressions: happy, wink, cry and angry).
Custom Game is the secondary game mode, it allows you to play unranked custom games with less than 4 players (minimum of 2). Players can start a new server or join an existing one.
Ganbatte v0.01 currently uses locally hosted networking using listen servers. This means that network performance can vary strongly, depending on factors such as geographic location and the server’s PC specs.
Training is the third game mode, it currently features a basic single player mode vs AI. Furthermore, the game currently features 8 types of sushi and a single cat type.”

Will the game be priced differently during and after Early Access?

“Yes, we plan to gradually raise the price of Ganbatte as we ship new content and add more features. We believe that the game will significantly increase in value: join us for the ride now, and benefit later.”

How are you planning on involving the Community in your development process?

“Earlier in this text, we’ve outlined our goals and roadmap for Ganbatte. The primary tool to communicate with us is the Steam forum of Ganbatte. We want community communication to take place publicly, so everyone can give their input and all voices will be heard. This is how you can help shape the game. We aim to reply to all feedback within 48 hours. Additionally, we post a development update on a weekly basis on our dev blog at the official Ganbatte website, at the end of every week. The comments section below each post is the secondary place of conversation. With this roadmap, the steam forums and our dev blog we set out to make Ganbatte grow and evolve, together with you, our community. On behalf of the team: it’s great to have you on board, let’s do this!”

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So go ahead and check out the Steam store page of Ganbatte, it’s hot off the press!

If you like sharing the page with your friends and followers, here is a tweet, a facebook post and a reddit post to show some love.

Thanks for reading and ’till next week!

– Thomas

ps. Do you want to create your own “Gabe looks at your steam page” to promote your own indie game? (Or anything really, but please keep it civilized) I’ve created a free PSD template for that 🙂

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