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Steam Dev Days: Day Two

Highlights from Steam Dev Days: Day Two

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Many thanks to all the devs that were keeping the world up to date through tweets, without you guys our coverage would have sucked.

We've tried giving everyone credit where credit is due, but might have missed some people here and there. Our apologies!

This was also our first experiment at live-blogging, if you have any feedback please let us know so we can improve for future events.

There will be more Steam related news whenever the session videos are posted by Valve, so stay tuned to our Twitter account for that.

Session Highlights

For yesterday's highlights, check out our Day One post.

If you notice any errors in the highlights, let us know in the comments and we'll fix them when we wake up.

In-game economies in TF2 and Dota 2

  • Many current micro transaction systems create unhappy customers. This trains them to not spend money (bad).
  • Valve wants users to make value for each other, and rewards players that make the most
  • It's not a problem if players pay to win, but it is a problem if this makes it less fun for others
  • Valve recommends all items in a game to be tradable
  • Valve has a "Regret test", if a user regrets using a feature/system it failed
  • (Image via @galyonkin) Valve's recommendations on how to do economy in your game
  • 13% of TF2 players have bought at least one key, 75% of the players have at least one thing from a crate
  • Trading in a game is a way to monetize free players, they don't pay but they still generate value
  • Over 90% of TF2 content is from the community
  • In the first week of 2014, $400K was paid out to content creators
  • 484,768 compendiums were sold during The International, which added an additional $1.2M to the prize pool
  • (Image via @Arminposts) TF2 stats: 17M accounts own items, 500M total items, 4B actions performed on items
  • (Image via @Rotondo) TF2 stats: 1,067,399 accounts have sent gifts, 1,841,051 accounts received gifts
  • Valve: "Making players happy == we make more money"
  • Valve rejects the premise that micro transactions come at the cost of user happiness

Embracing User-Generated Content (UGC)

  • UGC improves gaming experience, gives players a way to express themselves and opens up new opportunities for your game
  • UGC is what differentiates games from books and movies
  • A good example of UGC is DayZ, from which Arma gained a lot of sales
  • TF2 is the first game to use the workshop in 2011
  • You upload TF2 content, users rate it and top rated content gets reviewed by the TF2 team
  • (Image via @Arminposts) Skyrim Workshop stats: 19.5K pieces of UGC, 1.9M votes cast, 2.4M unique users, 81.8M downloads
  • CSGO Workshop stats: 4.7K community created maps, 20K weapon skins
  • Portal 2 Workshop stats: Over 381K maps created (mostly because of the easy to use map editor)
  • GMOD Workshops stats: Total of 250k UGC items
  • "User generated content is a vision of the game not restricted by the developer's resources."
  • "People are going to mod a successful game anyway, so it's best to help them out and improve it for everyone."
  • Dota 2 workshop launch did not decrease activity on the TF2 workshop, it actually increased the size of the modding community.

What VR could, should, and almost certainly will be within 2 years

  • Update 18/1: Slides are now available in PDF format here.
  • Real consumer Virtual Reality will happen within probably 2 years
  • "VR will have a big impact sooner than you think."
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) Valve is working together with Oculus to drive PC VR forward. Valve and Oculus collaborated on tracking.
  • Valve currently has no plans to release their own VR hardware, but this could change
  • (Image via @DaFox) Slide showing the requirements for having a good VR experience
  • (Image via @DaFox) Valve thinks the HMD described on this slide is feasible by 2015
  • (Slide #1 Slide #2 via @DaFox) Slides describing what's left to be done
  • (Image via @DaFox) VR software slide
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) Why Valve thinks PC is the "hotbed" for VR
  • (Image via @MimimiProd) Takeaway

Porting Games to Virtual Reality

  • Oculus founder Palmer Luckey on stage, he's doing this session
  • Palmer says Valve's VR experience is the best VR tech demo in the world right now
  • Porting games to VR usually doesn't work
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) "Stop thinking about porting existing games. Maybe we can reuse assets + core engine tech."
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) "Experiment. Prototype. Iterate."
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) "Oculus is targeting a 'seated' experience."
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) "Everything we build requires head tracking." "Fixed in space, not stuck to your face."
  • (Image via @DaveOshry) "Players should have avatars. Not just arms and legs."
  • Palmer thinks experiences such as "Hearthstone VR", "Fifa VR" and "Sims VR" will be crazy succesful.
  • Update: Oculus VR just released the "Oculus VR Best Practices Guide"

Steam and VR

  • Update 18/1: Slides are now available in PDF format here.
  • Valve has built an API (SteamVR, formerly known as OpenVR) to facilitate a smooth experience for VR games.

Note: The "Corporate Anthropology of Valve" session at 5PM was cancelled.


Thanks for checking out our Steam Dev Days coverage, and thanks again to the devs tweeting from the event!

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