My first game release on Steam is now available!
The House On Holland Hill is a 15-20 minute first-person narrative game in which you play a food delivery guy. Through a series of vignettes, you cross paths with the residents of a beautiful house on Holland Hill road, where you make frequent deliveries. In the wake of tragedy, something ominous looms behind their front door.
This project started as a gamejam game a couple of years ago. I had to cut some ideas to make that deadline, and afterwards it didn’t seem useful to keep tinkering away at this perfectly playable little game, so I carried on making new games. But the project stuck with me, and from what I hear, many of you felt the same. Fast-forward a few years, and I had learned a lot about Unity and game development in general, and when I replayed THOHH I felt a strong urge to give it some love. Alongside that, I also tackled a new frontier: releasing a game on Steam.
Here are a number of highlights from the changelog:
- Added full controller support and ability to remap controls
- Greatly improved detailing on the inside and outside of the house
- Replaced vegetation with new and greatly optimized models
- Greatly improved lighting reflections and
- Overhauled postprocessing and weather effects
- Increased performance and rebalanced graphics options
- Improved character sprites and emotes
- Expanded dialogue in several scenes
- Improved the endings
Submitting to Steam definitely taught me more than I thought it would. A Steam store page requires so much more marketing material than an itch.io page. I needed to make a trailer, write descriptions, define system requirements and genre tags, create a dozen differently-sized graphics; I was glad I had planned to spend a month on this, because I needed it.
By contrast, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to make content changes to the game after all these years. I don’t think I even broke anything while doing so, which is quite rare once you start tinkering with a finished game. It made me so confident, I even went and implemented Steam achievements! It wasn’t until I decided to tackle full controller support that I entered a world of pain.
The game was already playable with a controller, but to get the “Full controller support” badge in Steam, you also need to be able to use all the menus with a controller. There was a technical reason why my controller implementation didn’t play nice with my UI implementation, so I just defaulted to mouse control for that previously, since the game was only released for PC and Mac. But I wasn’t ready to give up on this quest. So I created a virtual mouse cursor for the UI that would be driven by the controller, and oh my god that created so many bugs. I’ll spare you the technical mumo-jumbo, but eventually with some custom code and a separate cursor for each UI, I got it working, and Valve awarded me that coveted badge.
It was actually tense in that last week before release if the game would clear review on time, since it bounced back a few times over that controller issue. Three days before release, having heard nothing back on my latest review submission yet, I logged into Steamworks, sweating, but fucking hell, it turns out it was already approved days earlier! They just don’t email you when there is no feedback ? So all’s well that ends well, and the game is now out! I hope you’ll check it out and let me know what you think.
Okay, I’m gonna go take a breather, talk to you soon.