It’s a pretty fun process, putting together a Steam store page. Or it is if you’re deeply interested in how people come across your game, and the careful construction of a store page which might help someone fall in love with it. (Which I am.)
Steam store pages are crucial to a game’s success, especially for indie games who might not get to share their work with people via blanket press coverage, costly advertising, or through big name content creators.
If you think of your game as a lovely can of soup, your store page is both your flashy pyramid display, and the detailed ingredients on the back of the can. You want to draw people in with the most attractive display of the contents as possible, and then confirm that the contents are what they want. It’s just like zzoup – er, soup!
The capsule image, or hero image for the game is really important to get right. We’ve been around the Steam block a few times now, and we’ve learned that these images need to be simple in order to be impactful – especially when they’re turning up at quite a small size, and next to other, similar titles.
Our capsule image is meant to convey a few things about the game:
- One of the main characters is a woman! Heavens!
- There are elements of romance and seduction – check Griz’s smile and Milton’s pose
- There are characters of different races
- There is mystery! Mr Pages looms over everyone, and Harjit’s lantern emphasises the dark
We also make careful use of screenshots. The little carousel of screenshots at the top of the page is condensed into a GIF which plays when you mouseover the game elsewhere on Steam, so we wanted to use them to convey the core gameplay with a dialogue scene, and then include a look at some of the features of Mask of the Rose which make it a bit more deluxe than most visual novels.
This is the storycrafting minigame, in which you’ll be able to piece together information about the characters you’ve spoken to – a bit like your own corkboard with red strings, in the classic detective theory crafting style! More on this highly exciting feature in an upcoming devlog.
Also small but very important are the nitty-gritty pieces of information on the page: the minimum spec for hardware to run the game (these are subject to change, but we expect them to remain not at all intensive), cloud save and controller support, and the tags which will help people find the game among everything else on Steam. These don’t seem like much, but making sure the page is correct and complete is a good way to build people’s trust that the project is in active development, and worth investing some of their attention in.
We’ve also updated the trailer that we created for the Kickstarter, with some fresh art and a new message: please wishlist now!
If you’re feeling generous you could hop over to Steam and wishlist the game for us. It really does have a big impact on the visibility of smaller games like ours when they’re released.
I hope this glimpse into the process of making our Steam page was of passing interest, and I’m looking forward to sharing more about the journey to full release with you!