What Is Steam?
Steam is an online service which is used to host and sell a massive number of PC/Mac/Linux games and is the largest desktop-specific gaming software distribution platform in the world. It can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com
What is Greenlight?
Steam Greenlight is a way that you can self-publish your games to the Steam platform. Essentially you create a "pitch" for your game and if enough people are interested in it, then you get accepted for publishing your game through the Steamworks Developer portal as a Steam Partner (If you are already through Greenlight, or simply wish to know more about becoming a Steam Partner, you can find out more here). The rest of this article will take you through the sign up process for Greenlight and explain the required steps to get your game out to the public through this portal.
Signing-Up For A Steam Account
First off you'll have to sign up for a Steam Account. This can be done by clicking on the login button, as seen in the above screenshot, or going here: https://store.steampowered.com/join/
Clicking on "Join Steam" will prompt you with the following form:
Fill out the form with all the required information and you'll then have to accept a confirmation email to complete the registration process of your Steam account.
Upon joining steam you are advised to enable Steam Guard. This means that whenever you log-in you will be prompted for your username, password and unique activation code to securely log-in from a unique location. Steam should remember the location if you choose to save this information by giving it a "friendly name". To enable this option click the Icon in the top right corner of the Steam homepage and then Account Details. Within your Account Details scroll down until you see the following:
Clicking Manage Steam Guard will open the following window:
You can choose which option you wish to set up to secure your account and through this screen you can also Deauthorize devices which you have previously logged into to prevent other users from logging on your account.
Upgrading Your Account
Now that you have signed up for Steam and your account is protected from misuse by other people you will need to make your account unlimited. By default your account has limitations, as this is to stop users who use abuse Steam for spamming and phising purposes. To remove these limitations you need to spend at least $5 USD within the Steam Store on products of your choice, as can be seen here on Steam's knowledge base article:
Once your Steam account is no longer limited you then need to qualify to be able to post on the Greenlight service, this is done by purchase a specific application on the Steam Store which can be found here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/219820
You're probably wondering why you need to pay for the ability to upload your games to Steam. Here is the extract from the Greenlight FAQ:
Uploading Your Application to Steam Greenlight
Now that you are eligible to post on Greenlight you can submit your game here: http://steamcommunity.com/greenlight/
On the home page there is a "Submit your product" button in the banner, as seen here:
Clicking the Submit your product button will take you to a page asking if you want to submit a concept or your greenlight idea, this page will also differ depending on if you have purchased the Greenlight Fee or not, if you have not purchased it then the page will look as follows:
You will now be taken to the form in which you fill out the submission details of your game to the Greenlight process. The form looks like this:
When filling out this Greenlight form, we recommend that you read the FAQ linked at the top of the page, and pay attention to the following minimum requirements that Steam states for submission:
Once you have supplied all the relevant information about your application, you should take a moment to revise it and ensure that all details are correct and that all the images and videos look good. We recommend that you also create a Google Analytics account for your game and supply the tracking ID to your Greenlight page, This will help you understand more the audience that your game is reaching and what countries, etc... are showing most interest. Such details are a great way to help target your marketing better, or adapt it to target a broader user base.
With everything done, what you see is essentially the finished page as the end user will see it, only it is "hidden" from the public and only available to you - or any of the other developers that you may have added to the page. If you are happy with how things look, then go to the top of the page and hit the button to make the Greenlight pitch public!
Published, Now What?
Your game will now be visible to everyone and users will vote on it based on how interested they are in it - it's important to note here that a "No" vote doesn't mean that your game is rubbish or that it's going to fail, it simply means that the person is not interested in playing it, which is perfectly normal! Not everyone likes the same type of games... How many "Yes" votes your game receives from users will depend on many things, not least of which is how you present the game, how you have marketed it on social media, and whether it has a wide or niche target audience , so Greenlight can be either a swift process or it can take a while! However even if it takes time, your game should eventually get the votes required to be published, so have patience and don't forget to promote it. On that note, it is advised that you keep updating your Greenlight page to show that you are enthusiastic about your product as well as to keep the community interested in it.
When your game gets successfully Greenlight then you will receive an email from Steam which contains an invitation to become a partner allowing you access to the Steamworks Program. This is the program that permits you to access the Steamworks SDK and integrate all the Steam API functions into your game. If you'd like to know more about this process, please see the following article: