Leadwerks Software announced
this week that the latest update to its Leadwerks Game Engine included support for Steam Workshop, allowing users to share assets and even full games without restriction.
That has two interesting implications for developers. First, it means that Leadwerks users can download assets or even full games from the Workshop, modify them at will, and re-release them as their own work -- though the Workshop page for any such project will automatically link back to the original work.
“With traditional content stores, artists are always worried about people ripping off their work,” Leadwerks CEO Josh Klint wrote on the company blog. “This kind of flips the equation. Now you want people to reuse your work, because any derivative items they publish always link back to your original.”
Second, this means that Leadwerks developers can now publish their games to Steam via the Workshop, though they have to be free and only other Leadwerks engine users will be able to play them.
"We have a 'Game Player' built into our editor that can play Lua games," explained Leadwerks CEO Josh Klint in an email to Gamasutra. "It works by running our own executable, and loading scripts and media from the package the author uploads on the Workshop."
In that sense it's not too dissimilar from the way that most engines allow developers to download builds and run them in-engine -- the difference is that Leadwerks is making a show of integrating Steam Workshop as a way for developers to release games without Valve's approval.
Valve doesn't seem to mind. "They can be released this way, but there is no official support for selling games through the Steam Workshop," a Valve representative told Gamasutra via email. "We’re happy to support developers using the Workshop to distribute their free games and reach an audience through game engine Workshops."
"RPG Maker and GameMaker have been doing this for a while already, and it’s great to see more support this path," continued Valve's representative. "Once those game developers are ready to make their games available for sale via the Steam store, they will need to post their games to Greenlight for consideration by customers."
Leadwerks is betting that adding Steam Workshop support to its engine will make it easier for developers to share their work with their peers, which could help drum up interest and improve the chances of their game getting Greenlit.