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Eldritch creator's post-mortem discusses Steam Greenlight, beta tests

In a post-mortem of his Lovecraftian adventure Eldritch posted to his personal website, developer David Pittman shared the successes and woes encountered during the title's development, including thoughts on publishing through Steam and how to run a soft launch.

According to Pittman, getting your game approval through Steam Greenlight is not a prelude to guaranteed success through the Steam platform.

"For better or worse, being on Steam is not an automatic windfall anymore," Pittman wrote. "In fact, it looks like being on Steam may be the barest necessity for financial success for many developers. It's a complicated topic which perhaps warrants a separate article."

Pittman also said he could have better presented the content of his game during its soft launch and beta testing. Pittman soft launched the game a few weeks ahead of its intended ship date and collected a lot of feedback and bug reports that helped him polish the game. But the creator feels he could have done a better job letting players know the game was "content complete" at the time.

"In this age of early access games and perennial updates, calling Eldritch a 'beta' while presenting a Minecraft-inspired aesthetic invited players to misunderstand the state of the game and my intentions for it. (To this day, some users still mistake Eldritch on Steam for an early access game)," he wrote.

Pittman notes that because of the terminology he used, players felt "betrayed" by how easy Eldritch was at launch. As a result of this, at the "eleventh hour" before launch, Pittman added the more difficult New Game+ mode, which was received positively. Currently, Pittman is debating whether to continue work on Eldritch, creating more content or adding mod and Steam achievements support, or move on to his next project.

"Mod support would be difficult to do right (beyond simple features like texture packs) and would require a larger active user base to flourish," Pittman wrote. "Perhaps mod support could help grow the user base, but we're living in a post-Minecraft world, and I question how much excitement the addition of mod support to a game like Eldritch could realistically generate."

Eldritch is currently available on Steam for Windows PC, Mac and Linux. Check out Polygon's review here.

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