Update: The Team Roles sticker collection was accepted in game in the December of 2015.
About a month ago, I started working on the Steam Workshop. Now for those, who don’t know what Steam is, in brief, it’s a gaming community and marketplace where you download, discuss and enjoy PC gaming together. The Workshop was introduced in 2012 which essentially gives the players a chance to be the creators. People submit 3D models and designs and so on which are then sent into the pipeline where decisions are made whether those artworks and projects should be included in-game or not. The Steam Workshop, when it began was limited to Valve (owner of Steam) games but recently it has been opened to more games, many of which are non-Valve.
I recently learned what Gabe Newell, the founder of Steam and Valve corp. meant when he said, “Gaming communities are keeping PC Gaming alive” on the announcement event of the Steam OS and Steam devices and machines (PC Gaming without Windows) when I had my sticker pack, yes I create stickers now, got pretty much viral overnight.
Now, lets take it from the start. A month or so back I started working on the Steam Workshop and decided to design stickers for Counter Strike: Global Offensive, a game I so dearly cherish since I started playing it. The first sticker I posted was titled Fragsta and honestly, it was average, not very good but what was important is that when I finally completed and submitted one sticker, I became clearer of the process.
Then, I went on to design another sticker titled, “I am Ninja, and you?”, a common insult used in-game by players when they Ninja Diffuse a C4. It’s part of a game trick so to go in depth would be deviating from topic. This was the first sticker which gained traction. The views and likes crossed numbers fast and the community liked it, in general. Today, it stands at, 2000+ visitors, 58 Favourites and 998 Positive Ratings which is good enough, for it was my second submission to the Steam Workshop.
Then I went on to learn some advanced sketching and tracing techniques for Illustration eventually, all to aid my making of stickers and I designed about 10 stickers using these techniques. Some gained a little traction and some stayed in the ‘trying to get attention’ limbo but nothing of good sorts happened. I was disappointed, my designs weren’t bad at all in my opinion so, I took a gap of two weeks (hence no blog post even after my initial advents with the Steam Workshop) where I did nothing but think for ideas and where I was going wrong. Then I realised that the only stickers that people actually liked were those that stayed true to the appeal of the game. I stopped thinking as a developer and started thinking as a player (which was ironic in itself) and I thought, what do I want the most on my gun? Would I want to put a sticker that says, “Noob”, obviously not. So, I wrote ideas on a piece of paper after passively thinking for two weeks and the idea of Team Roles (roles that players play in teams) came up and as I am a player, I knew the few basic roles and I went about designing badge like stickers all of which had a similar design scheme.
When I posted those five roles, namely, In-Game Leader, Lurker, Support, Entry Fragger and AWPer; people took them with great support and appreciation and some people gave me new ideas, new roles if you may. Roles, I had no clue about so I went on two design two more, then two more and so on. The response was good and was obviously better than all of my other works so far. Then it started to die down, which I’ve seen happen with all submissions, the life of these submissions if they don’t gain traction is less, very less. I opened a discussion forum, asking other players for ideas and so on as well.
Two days back, I woke up and half-asleep I checked my views which had a 5 in the beginning so, I slept again only to be woken up by the fact that I had 1000+ views on my collection last night, how could they have decreased to 500? I rubbed my eyes and saw with surprise that it wasn’t 500, it was 5000. I had received 3000+ views in the last night and the likes and favourites followed similar proportions. I was surprised and thought it was a bug so after thinking what might have happened, I thought that something or someone must have shared my pack somewhere else and that people were coming and appreciating it. Everybody was loving my idea and as someone who is essentially designing stuff for the community, it was a beautiful sight. The comments, votes, filled me with great confidence, I must say. A quick Google search and later, a message by a friend brought me to this Reddit Post, someone had indeed shared my pack and the comments were Epic! Everyone was so happy with my idea and it was really good to see that people were (and still are) rooting for my pack to end up in-game. The graph for that day looked basically vertical and now, the graph looks like an arrowhead. (see below)
The Team Roles Sticker Collection currently stands at 13k+ visitors. 300+ favourites, 3k+ positives and only 39 negatives. That’s a ratio of 99:1 (approximately). Each sticker’s individual page has positives ranging from 3.5k to 5k+ and I’m really hyped, to be honest. I can’t thank the community enough for this. I really do hope my work ends up in-game but even if it doesn’t, I’m glad that people really liked my idea. The followers I have on the Steam Workshop rose from 3 to 53 thanks to this collection and all the awesome comments I received were very rejuvenating for someone who was losing his faith in the Workshop. After reaching 11 Roles and 2 Variants I stopped development of the collection with a message that said, ‘the Collection is now Complete’.
This little feeling of ‘viral overnight’ gave me enough hope and confidence to go along and create more Workshop items, I will definitely keep on designing now. Freelancing is one thing but the Steam Workshop is interesting on a whole new level. There’s real-time judging of a design and the opportunity to have your items in-game, if they are selected and eventually, earn a little revenue from it. It retains the game feeling and has me doing the same thing I do but with a fresh set of ideas. All in all, starting on the Steam Workshop a month ago wasn’t a decision I will ever regret. It has added skills, it has given me my little share of popularity even if for a day and it has given me the interest I was slowly losing.
Here are my works, if you need to look at them along with my Workshop profile link.