The story of Playcraft’s chaotic development

Late 2016, I had the idea to make game creation accessible for everyone, collaborative and fun. To break the code barriers. I started to work on the first prototype, code name Co-Creation. Seeing the potential, I quitted my stable job early 2017 after 5 years in the video game industry, to work full time on this idea. I was 27 years old at the time.

Late 2019, I released the Early Access for Playcraft, free-to-play. People liked it! It received hundreds of positive reviews, sitting at 80% positive 550+ reviews. It was a great start, but I didn’t make much money with only an optional paid DLC.

Then at the beginning of 2020, I was super happy to be selected by the indie mega booth team to show Playcraft at the upcoming GDC in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the pandemic canceled the event.

At that time, I started to look for funding opportunities. I spent time speaking with different actors, but couldn’t find a proper fit. I also applied to the Canada Media Fund, but couldn’t get it. As I was running out of funds, I worked for other projects as a contractor, continuing developing Playcraft on the side.

Fast forward to 2023, time flies during the pandemic, I was finally ready to release Playcraft out of Early Access! I decided to switch to a premium model for the release, as I could not monetise the free-to-play version properly: Producing skins and assets is indeed very expensive and out of reach for a solo developer.

The release didn’t go as planned for two reasons: First, the press coverage was virtually non-existent, (I reached out to more than 1000 handpicked journalists, twitchers and youtubers). Second, Steam somehow messed up and didn’t send the email notification to players who had wishlisted the game (around 16k at the time).

Steam also removed all the reviews count from players that already played the game when it was free-to-play. Playcraft’s page lost the review score, and is now still sitting at under 10 reviews, one year after the release. This was indeed very difficult to swallow. On top of that, my Discord account got hacked and the official Playcraft server got deleted. Discord somehow doesn’t keep backups so I lost the entire community.

Anyhow, I’m thankful to have supporting friends&familly members, and a small dedicated community around Playcraft. After taking some time off the project, I’m back to continue the adventure! Playcraft is now in the best state it has ever been. I just released two games made in Playcraft directly on Steam. Playcraft is now the first no-code game creation platform that allows anyone to create quality multiplayer games faster than the time to play your regular game. And soon you’ll be able to publish your creations directly on Steam as well, so get ready and start creating today!