UK indie developer The Indie Stone intends to use Greenlight to get Project Zomboid on Steam.
The alpha funded open world survival horror game is available for a fiver from Desura and Google Checkout, but it's not available to buy from Steam, the most popular video game digital platform. Discussions with Valve were held before The Incident, but broke down soon after, with the team feeling the unfinished game wasn't ready.
Now, with the recently announced Steam Greenlight, Valve's new system for allowing the community to vote on what games get released onto its digital platform, The Indie Stone has an avenue through which it hopes to see its popular zombie thrill 'em up get noticed by the powers that be at the Half-Life maker.
But to do so, the Indie Stone needs to get Project Zomboid to a more finished state - to version 1.0.
"With Valve's policy on unfinished games not being allowed on Steam, if we're going to try and use the Greenlight opportunity to its fullest, we need to have, in inverted commas, a complete game," programmer Chris "Lemmy" Simpson told Eurogamer in an interview at the Develop conference in Brighton.
"We've been quite focused on adding new content, and to be quite honest some areas of the game are a bit rough around the edges to say the least. So we're now going to start a massive effort to polish the game and finish off any loose ends."
Areas of attention include adding animations, such as climbing over fences and climbing in through windows, the extermination of bugs, and, hopefully, the addition of female characters.
Steam Greenlight allows developers to publicly post information, screenshots and videos for their game, and the general populace will decide what they'd like to see accepted onto the store. The idea is it will help Valve prioritise what games need to be made available, something it has for some time struggled to do.
Steam is second to multiplayer in the list of things most people request. It's a bit frustrating because people assume it's our choice to go on Steam. It's like, 'why haven't you put this on Steam yet?' - Chris "Lemmy" Simpson.
"Steam is second to multiplayer in the list of things most people request," Simpson revealed. "It's a bit frustrating because people assume it's our choice to go on Steam. It's like, 'why haven't you put this on Steam yet?'"
Greenlight is set for launch at the end of August. The Indie Stone would love for Project Zomboid to have its Steam Greenlight page to go ready then, but this isn't realistic. And then, the team has no idea how long it'll take for Project Zomboid to get a greenlight. But all being well, the developers hope for Project Zomboid to be available on Steam before 2013.
"Our focus is polish and making a good impression and making it as fluid to play as possible," Simpson continued. "That's probably the biggest complaint with the game - the bugs, which for an alpha funded game comes with the territory."
Andy "Binky" Hodgetts added: "We have no idea how many Like clicks you need to draw their attention to us. So we might get all our community clicking this button and the bar just goes up about an inch, and then it's like, oh, nothing happens."
Hodgetts also pointed out that when version 1 of Project Zomboid launches, work on improving the experience will continue. "Whatever is in that doesn't change what the end goals of the game are," he said.