How We are Preparing a Game Demo for Steam (Week 11 Update)

by Zack "Zappy" Maldonado on 2020/05/04


We have less than two weeks until the final demo build submission for the Steam Summer Festival. We are working on pivoting the character art styles to better align with our game's direction. We are continuing to iterate on environment art for various scenes in the game. And I worked to integrate building the game for Steam into our build system.


Showcase the game

Key Results:

  • Apply to GameScape (Deadline: March 31st, 2020)
    • We submitted for this at the end of March. We expected to hear back during April, but we are currently in a holding pattern waiting to hear whether Artscape is still happening.
  • Steam Summer Festival (Demo Deadline: May 15th, 2020, Event: June 9th to June 15th)
    • We submitted our application for RavenHeart Hospital and are working towards polishing up our demo build to submit for the festival. We are excited for this event as it can allow us to share our vision of the game with more players and gives us a chance to connect with more fans.
    • More info here:

A rising concern with this goal is the COVID-19 outbreak and its consequences for large group gatherings and school closures. We are keeping a close eye on this developing situation and understand if some events end up postponing or canceling as a result.


Our second playtest is available now to newsletter subscribers! We have already gotten great feedback over the week, and I look forward to hearing more thoughts from players!

Support User Generated Content

We have recently had some players get interested in coming up with their own characters and narratives. Since we first made our own scripting language, we saw the potential to allow players to be able to craft new stories and we want to explore what it means to let players create and share these stories with eachother.

Recent News

Environment Art

We are continuing to work on three backgrounds with Michelle Pineda (@pininkela). With each of the scenes, we are doing phases of iteration and feedback and honing in closer to the final look of the scenes.

Hallway / Cafeteria Iterations

With some of the initial feedback from the concept sketches last week, Michelle honed in on the broad layouts of the scenes. For the cafeteria scene, we wanted to explore opening up the glass wall more and seeing more of the outside. For the hallway, we wanted to play around with with the couch seating in the scene.

Hallway - Sketch 1

Can see some natural greenery through the patient's room. Showing more details in the patient's room and lining the hallway with seating arounds.

Hallway - Sketch 2

Developing more of the architecture for the hallway features such as the columns. Playing around with hallowed out chairs. Different lights in the patient's room.

Cafeteria - Sketch 1

Removed the ledge going across the glass wall to allow the wall to take up more space and give a roomier feeling. Glass wall gives views out into nature and some classic Charm City architecture. Rounded square tables populate the area. Can easily see this room being used for larger group gatherings or maybe holiday events.

Character Art Style Pivot

As part of the pivot I talked about last week, we decided that we wanted to explore a different art style for our characters. The main reason for this shift is because we see the project moving closer to typical visual novel / dating simulation games and, with the higher focus on individual characters, we think characters should be more appealing. Zac Bolubasz (@_sneb_) took a swing at exploring a new art style and here is are the before and after results.





According to Zac, "the actual biggest style shift was in the nose and mouth". The new noses stand out more to me in the new style and help with the overall expression, where as in the previous style, the impact of the nose is more muted.

Another feature I would note is the variety of eye shapes and types in the new style. I think this will allow for more expressions with mostly eye position changes alone.

We are really happy with the results of this style change and in preparation for our Steam Demo, we are going to revisit the designs for Dante, Big Tex, and the playable Protagonist characters as well as do a flat color pass on the characters.

Steam Build Pipeline

NOTE: This next section is a bit technical and I won't be explaining too much of the terminology here. I plan to have a proper in-depth post about our build system in the future.

I added Steam Builds to our custom build scripts. The goal with the build scripts is to make it very easy to configure the kind of build that you might want to do.

For example, this configuration JSON below defines two build steps, build and publish-steam. The build step will go through all the active targets (such as OSXUniversal, for Mac, and Win64, for Windows) and make new Unity builds. The new publish-steam step will use the given app_build_path to publish the Unity builds to Steam. If we want to publish to, I just have to add the publish-itch as one of the steps to run. If we want to only build for a certain platform, I can de-activate other build targets.

    "steps": [
    "org_name": "ravenheartgames",
    "project_name": "project-noho-daily",
        "app_build_path": "/Users/{username}/../app_build_{app_id}.vdf"
    "unity_version": "2020.1.0b2",
    "targets": [
            "active": true,
            "build_target": "OSXUniversal",
            "channel_name": "osx-universal"
            "active": false,
            "build_target": "Win64",
            "channel_name": "win-64"

One limitation of doing builds like this for Steam is that Steam's app build configuration needs to be manually modified for different build targets, since we use separate "depots" for different platform builds. One way to avoid this may be to generate the Steam app build configuration dynamically based on our build configuration.

   "appid"    "{app_id}"
   "desc" "RavenHeart Hospital - Demo Build" // description for this build

      // "{depot_id_win64}" "depot_build_win_demo.vdf"
      "{depot_id_osx}" "depot_build_osx_demo.vdf"

The goal again is to try to make builds for our game easy to do on any computer, and be able to quickly define which platforms we are making builds for and where we are publishing the game.

Future Plans

Playtest 2 Feedback

As with our first playtest, we looked forward to receiving a lot of great feedback and this playtest was no different. We want to know what people think and we want to continue to make this project better for players. If you are interested in trying out the game and giving us feedback, you can click here to join and play.

Surgery Tools / Gunk Art

We plan to get some better art in the game for the various surgery tools and wound afflictions that appear on patients' bodies.

Demo Scripts

JT has been working on scripts for Dante and Big Tex centric episodes for the demo. We will be table reading and revising these scripts this week.

Surgery Scene Authoring

With the new scripts, I am revisiting our surgery scene process to try to make it easier to create new surgery scenes. We want this process to be easier for us as well as for users interested in creating their own surgery scenes.

The End

I hope you enjoyed this week's edition of our studio's status update. Each week, we try to bring new and interesting updates about how our studio and game are developing that we think people will like and learn from.

If you have any questions, comments, feedback for me, you can email me, Zappy, at

If you like this post, you can see more in the Devlog section or check out last week's post.

If you've been a part of our playtests and would like to chat with other players or us directly, join our Discord server below.

If you are interested in playing our latest demo, you can click the button below!