I think this is a stupid question, but i want to know.

I just read Wikipedia about Steam software and i found a new word for me, that is Shovelware. Wiki says that :

Low-budget, poor-quality games, released in the hopes of being purchased by unsuspecting customers, are often referred to as "shovelware".

So, let's say that i want to make a games. I have no budget, i use free game engine, free software and using free texture from internet (maybe from dedicated texture website like Textures.com or Poliigon.com) or download free image from google and make my own texture + material with that image using free software like GIMP.

Is my game considered as "shovelware" ?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that Poliigon textures are not free for commercial use, and arbitrary images you find on Google may or may not be - always look closely at the licensing information presented by the source, and be wary of mis-indexing or re-uploaded content. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Feb 15 '18 at 14:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ As for your question, after you've curated your image sources and made your custom modifications, would you describe the visual effect of the end result you've created as "poor-quality"? \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory Feb 15 '18 at 14:04
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think the actual question you want to ask is "will my game be good enough that people won't be mean when I release it?". The answer is that they will be when they feel they a) wasted their money on a game with production values which weren't worth the price you were asking or b) wasted their time on a game which didn't deliver the game experience they were expecting. \$\endgroup\$ – Philipp Feb 15 '18 at 20:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, you're right. Sorry for late comment \$\endgroup\$ – LineDigital Feb 20 '18 at 4:37

No, your game is considered to be simply a bad game. One of the most important part of that definition is "in the hopes of being purchased by unsuspecting customers". If your customer sees a bad game, and buys it because they have money to burn, then they aren't unsuspecting, they probably just have a gambling problem.

Shovelwares are usually based on something popular in hope for someone to accidentally buy it. For instance, if you make a 2d shooter in 2 weeks and call it Holo, then that's shovelware, since it's probably trying to ride on the success of Halo. This is just an example, shovelwares can be based on anything, books, series, movies, etc. and sometimes the developers don't even license what the game is based on.

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    \$\begingroup\$ A good fairly recent example of this behavior is the thousands of FlappyBird clones that hammered the mobile markets after its sudden success. \$\endgroup\$ – Stephan Feb 16 '18 at 19:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I just want to point out, that using free assets (assuming that you have the license to) does not automatically mean the game is bad. Sure making your own assets will make the game more original, and will make sure all the assets work together, but (at least theoretically) one can make a nice game using free software/assets. \$\endgroup\$ – TomTsagk Jul 30 '18 at 9:31


"Shovelware" is jargon; it's a derogatory term meant to denote software where the apparent goal was to produce quantity over quality, or to produce something cheaply and quickly to use as a vehicle for furthering some other scam. The underlying intent is often to trick or exploit consumers rather than to produce a game in good faith. One might consider Steam trading card farm games shovelware, for example.

A game that is made on a small (possibly zero) budget is not shovelware just because it had a small (or zero) budget. Some people might call it shovelware if they perceive it to be so, sure. They also might just settle for calling it a "bad game." People call games with multi-million dollar budgets "bad games" (and other far more unsavory terms) as well. That's just their perception.

or download free image from google

As noted in the comments, however, do make sure to verify the licenses for any images you get this way. Otherwise, your game might not end up being "shovelware" but it may still end up in legal hot water.

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