Games for the masses: GameMaker's surprising Steam Workshop integration
It's possible that you may have missed some rather important Steam-related news last week, as game development software launched
via Valve's digital distribution platform.
Being able to purchase software through Steam isn't the important bit though -- it's how the software can potentially work along the various Steam features that is the notable part.
is the development tool of choice for a large number of indie developers, especially those just starting out and looking to gain some experience before moving on to other platforms.
The launch of GameMaker: Studio on Steam not only allows devs the chance to purchase the tools through Steam, but also introduces Steam Workshop functionality. This includes the ability to upload and share your games via the Steam Workshop for other Steam users to download.
It's a point that hasn't exactly been emphasized all that much, but visit the Steam Workshop and you'll spot that over 200 work-in-progress, demo and finished GameMaker titles have already been uploaded to the service in the past week.
There is one caveat, in that you need to have downloaded either the paid or free version of GameMaker: Studio through Steam -- uploaded titles play through the software -- but it's still a significant way for GameMaker devs to expose their stuff to a rather large potential audience.
For Sandy Duncan, CEO at YoYo Games, GameMaker: Studio on Steam is a dream come true, and having his company's game development software on Steam simply made sense.
"You also need to look at the kind of person who is a regular on Steam," he adds. "Many of them are very committed PC gamers and we know from our own experience in the last six years building a community of about two million game developers, that the interest from game players to create their own games is strong."
"We did a straw poll of our own community back in the summer and found that 80 percent of them already had accounts on Steam!" he notes.
It was Valve that saw Steam Workshop integration for GameMaker as "a key factor" of the tools being available via Steam, and Duncan says that YoYo was "ready to deliver what they asked for."
"It took a fair bit of engineering effort on our part," he admits, "and we had to make the choice to delay some other plans in return for what seemed a great opportunity for YoYo Games."
The move has definitely been worth the extra effort, however, and now Duncan is excited to see what comes next for the relationship.
"We have a much better understanding of their culture and how they get things done now," he says. "It's incredibly impressive how they empower people and trust them to get things done the right way. They don't knee jerk, so we have the clear impression that Valve have thought through this very carefully and have many ways they can grow this from here."
While Valve has given Duncan a clear impression that the launch of the Software Store on Steam is just the start, and is incredibly important to the company, he's more than aware that, at least for now, it's all about "small, easy steps."
"We're already seeing content and creators emerging on Steam that we didn't know in the YoYo Games community," he says. "One thing we discussed before launch was running competitions for the Steam Community to get them energised and encourage creativity, so we're already announcing the first of those, sponsored by YoYo Games this week with $3,000 in prize-money up for grabs before the end of this year."
Developers hoping to check out GameMaker: Studio on Steam, or perhaps download a few GameMaker games via Steam, should head to the Steam Workshop