Friday, August 17, 2012

Back from Gamescom 2012

A small team from SCS Software made a quick two-day trip to Cologne, Germany, to "talk business" at Gamescom, the biggest European game show. We have spent most of the time in a section not accessible to general public - two of the huge halls at Koelnmesse are dedicated just for trade visitors to give them room for networking and business development talks. In fact we were so busy with the business aspect of the trip that we did not venture much into the public halls, staying away from the deafening sounds and big crowds. We haven't even managed to take any cool photos worthy of showing you on the blog. But the trip was very important for us and the future success of our games.

We try to keep an open dialogue not just with our fan community, but also with our publishing partners. They better have total confidence into us and our projects, to be willing to spend money and effort on massaging the retail as well as digital distribution channels to offer and promote our games. Big games industry events are a good opportunity for us to meet our colleagues from publishing companies in person and discuss our plans.

Without good partners who are specialists in the field, a niche game like Euro Truck Simulator 2 would hard time standing out among much bigger mass-market titles on the shelves. Inn fact without a network of reputable partners we'd have hard time even appearing on the shelves at all in most countries

We were also excited to meet a representative from Valve's Steam to discuss our chances to get our games on their service. We have tried submitting our games to Steam before, but without success (truck simulators really were considered too niche by their approval committee it seems, especially after a competitor truck game was given a chance but was not quite accepted so well by Steam players). In a few weeks, Steam is going to come out with Greenlight, a new system that will depend on fans of games to help them sort out candidates for inclusion on Steam. We definitely plan to be on Greenlight with ETS2 as soon as it launches; we have high hopes that we can count on your help! With the number of fans of our games, we should be able to get our voice heard. You are definitely going to hear from us again on this topic soon, asking you to join us in the rally to put our games to Steam!

To conclude this post, let us show you something that wasn't yet shown extensively - the central "hub" screen of the user interface system of Euro Truck Simulator 2. The game doesn't have a text-based main menu any more as did our previous games, and another set of menus for other in-game screens (the old "notebook" mental concept). With ETS2, we knew that the system needed to be more flexible to accommodate a lot of features, and yet we wanted to have a chance to make it understandable, to be able to liken it to an existing paradigm of control of an application or device. After some experiments, we settled on "desktop" approach - there is a central screen which you can think of as a desktop screen of the operating system on your computer, where we can add "application icons" for various features in the game. Where appropriate, related function icons are grouped into "widgets." We will make the "applications" appear over time on the desktop; we don't want to overload the player too soon with too much stuff. The learning curve is not too steep initially, but we have lots of room to add game features, which we plan to do even beyond the initial release of the game ;-).