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video games

Checking out the itch.io Bundle for Ukraine Games

I played a few of the games in the itch.io Bundle for Ukraine recently and you can watch the replay of the stream on YouTube. There are over 900 games in the bundle and this is the first group that stood out to me, can’t wait to check out more. Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.

Sophie’s Safecracking Simulator is a cracking good sim but not one I’d recommend playing for the first time on a stream unless you’re already familiar with safecracking. Runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux.

Combo Postage is a fun arcadey stacking and combo-clearing game. Only for Windows and Linux.

Kaiju Big Battel Fighto Fantasy has a questionable name but seems perfectly harmless and extremely on-brand for someone who goes by Nuclear Monster. Windows, macOS, Linux, Android.

Antecrypt is an incredibly well put together retro single-stick arena shooter. Didn’t even know there was such a category before. Only on Windows.

Dumpy & Bumpy is a puzzle adventure that’s similar in spirit to puzzle bobble. Windows only.

SkateBird is a good Hawk-like skating game. Windows, macOS, Linux.

Pullfrog is a challenging Tetris-like puzzler where you control a cute frog at the bottom of a well, trying to guide the pieces into the correct spot to clear a line. Windows, macOS, Linux, and can even be played inside Pico 8!

 

Categories
video games

Bundle for Ukraine on itch.io

A bundle has gone up on itch.io to support two charities serving the Ukrainian victims of the war. The Bundle for Ukraine starts at $10 for almost a thousand games. If you can, paying more than the minimum is possible and all of the proceeds are split 50/50 between the International Medical Corps and Voices of Children.

Categories
video games

Steam Direct Update from Valve

Back in February Valve announced that they were going to replace Steam Greenlight with Steam Direct. There was some confusion because Valve had not yet decided on a price per game for submissions, or a timeframe for this change to occur. The original announcement only gave a vague date of “Spring 2017.” Well, Summer starts on June 21st, so Valve’s Alden Kroll has an update for us on the transition to Direct.

The fee for a submissions to Direct is going to be $100, which is thankfully far lower than the top end that Valve had been considering of $5000. However, that is still kind of ridiculous when some of their competitors charge $0 for a game to be hosted on their service.

I don’t doubt that hosting a game incurs a cost to Valve but what they are doing is hosting a few web pages, downloads, maintaining the Steam application and APIs, and handling payments. Support is passed off to the developer or publisher of the game as is community management.

For all of this, Valve will still get a cut of sales, although they do not discuss what that cut is, it has been speculated to be about 30%.

I really wish that Valve had decided to get rid of this fee entirely, or had it straight to begin with instead of threatening developers with the possibility of a $5000 hit for each game submission back in February and then remained silent for five months while they sorted things out. Could you imagine being a game developer considering submitting your game to Steam in this time frame?

With the clarity of the $100 fee we can now know that this is really going to be a discount on Valve’s commission from 30% of the first $1000 in sales to 20%. Games that want to be distributed entirely freely on Steam will just lose out on that $100, and small developers will be punished by the hundred for each game they submit.

This will absolutely not keep out people who want to abuse Steam, which was Valve’s stated reason for the charge as they will just factor the $100 into the cost of doing bad business on Steam. Just like anti-piracy schemes that only hurt people who want to play games they have purchased, this fee will only hurt good people who want to release more games on Steam and not necessarily charge an arm and a leg for them.

It’s no surprise that Bungie and Activision’s Destiny 2 is going to be exclusive (on Windows) to the Blizzard Launcher (nèe Battle.net) instead of going onto Steam and letting Valve take their cut.

That’s not an option for most smaller developers who don’t have the name recognition of Bungie and Blizzard to make their own store and go it alone. They’re going to go to itch for free or Steam for the players and take the hit.

We still don’t have a date for when Direct will actually replace Greenlight. 

So many of the features of Valve’s platform are also passed off to their community of players. Players are encouraged to write reviews, moderate them with votes, and go through the “Discovery queue” that shows you games in a fashion roughly equivalent to walking down a candy aisle to get to the checkout at a store.

This update also included information for Steam Curators, Valve’s other favorite free labor taskforce. People who make videos about games are going to be able to embed their videos alongside the game review snippets displayed on game pages. Journalists and critics who include their reviews Valve’s curator abandoned it long ago, as did I. The curation system never directed enough readers to our websites. At least with the video embeds you should get a proper “view” on your video.

All I want out of the curation system is for nazis and other trolls to be blocked from it, which Valve seems loathe to do when they still allow games from MRA assholes onto their platform.