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Thread: 📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #20

  1. #1
    Matt's Avatar
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    June 24th, 2016

    📰 The PixelCount Post - Issue #20


    ISSUE #20                         THE VALE, QUILL                         16 FEB 2018                         ONE BRASS

    Steam Store Page This Wednesday!

    Here, on the 20th issue of The PixelCount Post, I'm happy to report that Castle PixelCount is in high spirits as all castle staff prepare for a most exciting chapter in our kingdom's history. Over the course of numerous weeks, we've been importing the finest of coal from all five (yes, five) corners of Quill and the castle miners have spent many late nights shoveling bitumen into The Great Furnace. All for the glory of steam.

    Yes, my friends and cohorts. All this allegory means that our 'Coming Soon' Steam page is days...mere days...away from opening. There's still a short ways to go until the game itself is ready for release on Early Access, but having this incredibly important step finished is huge for us.

    Our 'Coming Soon' page will be live on Steam. All green blooded Seedlings are encouraged to wishlist Kynseed, help spread the word, and hang out with us in the Steam forums.

    I've spent the past many weeks juggling all manner of responsibilities which ranged from running support for our humbling 2-page article in PC Gamer to preparing Steamworks platform's back end. (Among other things.) Even just the preparations for the Steam page alone involved dozens upon dozens of checklists and tasks.

    Steam is sometimes (notoriously) secretive about the processes that go into setting a game up on its platform, so it's been incredibly insightful to see the cogs running the great machine. There's so much that goes into something as seemingly simple as having a store page! I feel like this side of game development isn't often discussed (perhaps because developers assume these details are boring), but if there's anything you dear readers have come to expect from me it's boring details.

    There's some back end details that I won't be going into due to Steam's affinity for remaining mysterious, but for those interested in such things here is a very brief look at just some of what goes into getting a Steam page live.

    • Setting up a master company account and user permissions for the entire team.
    • Detailed text for basic game descriptions.
    • Writing text for numerous questions about Early Access and why we've decided to go that route.
    • Maturity content settings.
    • (What does and doesn't count as 'mature content' in Kynseed?)
    • What is the intended release window?
    • Minimum system requirements.
    • (How do we go about testing for this given our limited team size and testing pool?)
    • Game pricing for literally dozens and dozens of different currencies.
    • Various and diverse sreenshots reflecting the game.
    • (Which screenshots should we select, and why?)
    • A teaser or trailer for the game.
    • (The above item alone represented significant work!)
    • Icons for the Steam client.
    • Special header images for the Steam store and website.
    • How do users contact you if they have support questions?
    • Various community asset images and backgrounds.
    • (Did you know that every game on Steam has to provide community avatars? Cause I sure didn't.)
    • Setting up the community hub (artwork tab, discussion forums, guides section, etc.)
    • Submitting the store page to Steam for approval (more complicated than it sounds).
    • And so on.

    The above list doesn't really do the whole process justice. Rest assured, there's a surprising amount going on behind the scenes of any given game's Steam page. Plus, none of the above even mentions all the work that Neal has been doing in getting various executable packages set up on the Steam client itself.

    The above list also completely glosses over the teaser video that was made. We didn't want to do a full trailer just yet, but we did want to show some video of the game all the same. So for now I've put together a very simple, but hopefully interesting, short teaser to get everyone excited. That alone constituted many day's work of capturing footage in the game and working with Charlie and Neal to make sure certain areas of The Vale were video ready.

    In short, the entire team and I have gained a newfound respect for the process of getting a Steam store page up. For as much attention as Steam seems to often get for what is sometimes argued as an oversaturated marketplace, you'd still be surprised how much effort is still required just to get something on their platform.

    Regardless of one's thoughts on all that, we are genuinely lucky as a team and as a company that we'll soon have a presence on the titan known as Steam. It's easy to bemoan the ills of the modern day games industry, but when you put things into perspective it's absolutely crazy to think how far the industry has come for small teams. Not that long ago we were just a handful of people with an idea for a game and in these intervening months we were able to attain funding for that game, develop the first steps of that game, and get our own corner in the largest gaming marketplace to ever exist. What's more, we were able to do this independently. Which, to be clear, is f***ing huge.

    Steam is brave new territory for our humble game, so we'll need all your support over there. I know that our Discord and our forums are nice and cozy, but it's so important that our supporters follow us over to our Steam community as well.

    All in all, this is a big turning point for Kynseed and talking with and getting feedback from all you lovely Seedlings is going to become even more of a focus for us in the coming weeks and, naturally, well beyond.

    On Wednesday, please shout from any mountain tops in your vicinity that our store page is open and ready for wishlisting. Specifically, getting your help spreading the word on Twitter, reddit, any other forums you travel, and even other Discords will not only be of great help but it'd also genuinely mean a lot to us.

    Expect a more formal announcement from us on Wednesday, in which we will also be sharing one more bit of exciting information: the month we're projecting the game will release on Early Access!

    I know I've been waxing poetic a bit in this article, but we're honestly so ecstatic in checking this incredibly important item off the to-do list. The prospect of releasing this game on Early Access is starting to suddenly feel very real. It's an uncanny feeling...but an exhilarating one all the same. I can't wait to see you all on Steam very soon.

    Pressurized Steam

    This week, pressure mounts as deadlines appear and we set our sights on Early Access. The Steam store page draws closer and there's an increased urgency to getting the build even more presentable and slick. While the art, levels, and music are largely figured out and known quantities, there is still plenty to do for gameplay.

    Some hard choices will likely need to be made in terms of what makes the initial build if we are to stick to our deadlines. Despite this, the build continues to improve constantly and as the code and tools improve it makes it easier to iterate and improve on further. This should help not just the initial build but also subsequent builds while we work our way through Early Access.

    From a code perspective, it is looking tough but mostly exciting to refine what is there and to shape the best experience possible!

    Nobs and Faders

    This week I actually find myself working on something I can't talk about without really spoiling stuff I'm not supposed to spoil. So...yeah...
    eh, stuff...and things.

    I can tell you about something I did previously though. Such as promotional material being worked on for the Steam store page which requires music. Matt had picked a track I made previously and cut out parts of it to fit the material, and I then had to make the different parts come together smoothly. So I identified the exact parts Matt had used, cut up the Cubase file at the same places, and stitched it together in the same way Matt did. What this does over cutting up the audio file is that I then have the freedom to micro-manage every note in the transition between the pieces. That's impossible when only working with the audio files. This way I could make the transitions as smooth as possible without altering any of the timings Matt had made.

    Just today I also went and got myself a nifty midi controller to work with. It's essentially a board with buttons, nobs, and faders. Each of them can be programmed to control a different CC channel, which in turn can be used to control everything about how a note is played. The loudness, breathiness, or expression of a note can be controlled in real time by moving a slider up and down while playing (or replaying) an instrument. Up until now, I've been doing this by manually drawing the CC information with my mouse, which is a most tedious way of doing it.

    Why did I subject myself to that? Because I refuse to work with a piano keyboard as an input device when I'm composing (those keyboards normally also have the required nobs and faders). I do that because if I use a piano keyboard to compose with, my compositions will lean toward what my hands are accustomed to doing on a piano rather than being as freeform as my brain is - unrestricted by the limits of dexterity and fine motoric skills. But those nobs and faders can also be bought separately, so I can have the best of both worlds. Hence this purchase. In the next few days, as I continue to work on the thing I can't talk about, I'll discover how much this might improve my workflow. But I suspect it'll make things a lot easier.

    A Rhyme, No Reason

    I was told I could write just a little article this week as we are up against a big deadline and had some bigger news to share. So that's what I will do and just leave you with a little verse...

    There was a young man called Neal
    Who worked with plenty of zeal
    His coding was great
    But at such a fast rate
    His knuckles began to peel.

    So off he went to the docs
    Dressed in his pyjamas and socks
    The quack took one look
    and exclaimed 'Holy Frogs!'
    And prescribed himself gin on the rocks.

    He told Neal to go find a root
    That grows when you hear owls hoot
    So off he did scurry
    To the woods in a hurry
    And found the medicinal loot.

    He returned and was mixed a good lotion
    And told to drink of this potion
    But the Traits were not pure
    And the quality was poor
    Which set his poor stomach in motion.

    So the doc told him to fetch him some mint
    Which Neal did with a squint
    But he instead picked a herb
    Without reading the blurb
    And now his skin has a green tint.

    Fetch me Primrose said the healer
    You can buy from the wandering dealer
    He's over in Tunt
    And a bit of a conman
    Don't buy his Deluxe Apple Peeler!

    So Neal bought the right flower
    But now it was past witching hour
    Neal fell asleep
    Next to some sheep
    And woke up covered in flour.

    By this time he had enough
    Of doctors and pixies and stuff
    So he mixed his own brew
    While he sat on the loo
    And vanished in a big puff!

    The moral of this is quite clear
    Read your proverbs and never fear
    For if you heed well
    All will be swell
    Well, at least the lump on your rear!

    For back issues visit The PixelCount News Vault

    P R I N T E DᅠA TᅠP I X E L C O U N TᅠC A S T L E,ᅠT H EᅠV A L E

    Copyright 2018 by PixelCount Studios (Limited).ᅠᅠAll rights reserved.ᅠᅠEdited and assembled by Matt Allen.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    December 28th, 2017
    Cornwall, UK
    Conman hahaha.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    January 3rd, 2018
    I'm so excited for you all, getting steamy on Wednesday!

  4. #4
    CaptainOsyrus's Avatar

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    June 29th, 2017
    Can't wait for the news Wednesday! I can't believe we're almost at early access already.

  5. #5
    SirJeff's Avatar

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    June 29th, 2017
    Knowing how to do it and not knowing how to do it is the same thing. Knowing how to do it well is the difference

  6. #6
    BriarRose's Avatar

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    June 28th, 2017
    *Waits with bated breath* Bated breath? Baited breath? I swear there is a fishing pun hiding in there somewhere...

  7. #7
    Matt's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 24th, 2016
    Hello everyone! I'm here with updates from the castle.

    Unless we've slipped into a Fae time portal of some kind, it sure seems like our 'Coming Soon' Steam page hasn't gone up yet! Apparently our timing is so impeccable that the minute we were poised and ready to make the page public, that was the precise moment the entire Steam publishing platform decided to break. Impressive, right?

    I'd like to think of a way for us to somehow take credit for breaking all of Steam, but I suspect this is just a case of unfortunate timing. I've been monitoring this issue as it's developed and apparently what happened is Steam's CDN went completely down. CDN stands for 'content delivery network' and it's what's responsible for uploading screenshots, videos, store pages, and...well...nearly everything! So with the CDN down, nobody could do anything.

    Thankfully, Steam just recently sent word to us developers that this issue should now be resolved. So rather than making our Steam page public in the middle of the night, we're going to wait to push it out sometime Thursday. We'll let you know as things get close. Assuming we don't inadvertently break the entire Steam platform again, we should be back on track and ready to bring all you lovely people over to our page within the day.

    My (and our) apologies for the delay, but rest assured we'll be seeing you on Steam very very soon.

  8. #8
    Kpuff's Avatar

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    February 11th, 2018

  9. #9
    Matt's Avatar
    Join Date
    June 24th, 2016
    The printing press was running behind this week, but the next issue of The PixelCount Post is here at last!

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