"A Weekend in Puzzleburg" will be in the Steam Next Fest Oct 3 - Oct 10!
I'm pleased to announce that A Weekend in Puzzleburg will be including in the Steam Next Fest October 3 - October 10. Here is info about the festival and A Weekend in Puzzleburg's participation. In addition, the game's title track will go on sale on iTunes and Amazon on October 3 to coincide with the start of the Steam Next Fest.
What is the Steam Next Fest?
From Valve's official announcement page, the Steam Next Fest is "a multi-day celebration of upcoming games. Explore and play hundreds of game demos, watch developer livestreams, and chat with teams about their games in progress, coming soon to Steam."
What does that mean?
Steam Next Fest is a week-long chance for players to try (often limited-time-only) demos of not-yet-released games. These festivals occur three times per year (February, June, and October), but each game only gets to participate in one Steam Next Festival ever, per a rule change earlier this year.
The previous Next Fest in June 2022 had 1,056 games (based on the results for the June 2022 Steam Next Fest badge), so there are a lot of games competing for attention at the same time.
Why is the Steam Next Fest important?
Steam Next Fest is the ONLY festival in which all unreleased games with a demo are eligible, so it's the one chance for many games to get attention from Steam players. All other festivals - even those run by Valve for a certain genre of games - are subject to curation (not always judged on how good or bad the game is, but sometimes only on how well the game fits the festival theme), so there is no guarantee for a game to get in.
Steam Next Fest however allows all upcoming games that have a demo to participate (as long as the game has not participated in a previous Next Fest).
Isn't the demo for A Weekend in Puzzleburg already available to play? Why does Steam Next Fest matter for this game then?
Yes, the demo is already available, and you can play it right now. However, the Next Fest is a time when many players are looking for new games and Valve is promoting upcoming games. This results in games getting exposed to plenty of potential players during this one-week window, with the number of times Valve surfaces a particular game to someone dependant on how popular the game already is.
So playing the demo and wishlisting the game during the festival - or even before it - helps demonstrate to Valve that this game is worthy of showing to other gamers.
Will the demo for A Weekend in Puzzleburg be taken down after the Next Fest?
No, the demo will remain accessible before, during, and after the Next Fest. Although many game developers choose to make their demo available for a limited time only for the festival, I do not subscribe to that approach. The demo for A Weekend in Puzzleburg will remain available after the Steam Next Fest concludes for the following reasons:
1. There are going to be hundreds of games available to try during the Next Fest. It's not possible to fit in everything a player would want to try, so I'm not going to penalize you for trying out other games. I would certainly prefer that you play the demo for A Weekend in Puzzleburg during the Next Fest to help boost its popularity and get shown to more gamers, but as a video game player myself, I understand the reality that there is only so much ground a person can cover in one week, especially in light of the fact that you probably have other things in your life beyond just video games
2. I worked hard on the demo and believe that it accurately reflects the quality of the game. It is not some demo that I cobbled together just in time to get into the festival - I crafted it purposefully to represent the game as best I could and have even made a few small patches over the last few months since I put it out
3. This is my first commercially released video game, so I do not have a track record from other games. As such, the free demo serves as the proof of quality to players before spending money on the game
What does the game's participation in this festival mean for the release date?
Since only UNRELEASED games can participate in the Steam Next Festival, A Weekend in Puzzleburg will be released sometime after the festival concludes. For now, the release timeframe is only announced as 2022. Further details on the release date will be announced in the next few weeks, but I can safely say that the game will not be released prior to October 10, 2022.
Since I can't purchase the game during the Next Fest, how can I best show my support either before or during the festival?
-Play the demo
-Wishlist the game
-Tell a friend (so they can try the demo and maybe wishlist the game)
-Purchase the title track "I Spent a Weekend in Puzzleburg" on iTunes or Amazon Music. The title track is releasing on those platforms on October 3rd to coincide with the start of the Steam Next Fest (this is the only way to directly support with money until the game releases)
-Sign up to receive a notification via email, app, or calendar reminder for when the Steam Next Fest starts at Valve's official announcement page
-Try demos of other games and see what you like! It's not all about my game, of course