Alena Delacruz是德国社交游戏开发商wooga的产品经理，近期接受Jetztspielen.de的采访，谈论开发游戏的感觉以及对其他有兴趣进入该领域的人的建议。Alena在美国麻省理工学院学习建筑学。她从2009年起在wooga担任产品经理，对《Bubble Island》和《Bubble Party》这两款游戏的发布都有所帮助。目前，她正在《Monster World》开发团队中工作。以下是游戏邦编译的访谈内容：
游戏设计这门教育课程还相对较新。然而，大学逐渐开始开设游戏设计课程，有些还设有学位。Vancouver Film School之类的学校甚至直接与游戏公司展开合作。还有些学校进行更为概念化和实验性的游戏设计研究，比如Georgia Institute of Technology。
玩各种类型和题材的游戏。努力理解游戏中潜藏的创意、样式和重复发生的游戏循环。努力发掘游戏中吸引玩家的要素以及奖励系统如何发挥作用。有许多研究材料值得开发者看一看，比如Tracy Fullerton编写的《Game Design Workshop》。最后，开始设计小游戏或向游戏公司求职，从设计游戏的过程中学习经验。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
Do You Want to Become a Game Designer?
Alena Delacruz, Product Manager at wooga, was recently interviewed by Jetztspielen.de (German Version) about what it is like to develop games, and what her advice would be to other people interested in getting into the field. Alena studied Architecture in the U.S. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Since 2009, she has been a Product Manager at wooga, and has helped to launch two games: Bubble Island, and Bubble Party. She is currently working on the Monster World development team.
It’s often said that game development is dominated by men with glasses who’ve only heard rumors of the sun and spend 24 hours of each day on the computer – What is it really like?
The stereotype is amusing but seeing gamers or developers in that way is a bit reductive. To be competitive, modern games should be interested in expanding their audience reach. The best way to do this is to have socially-engaged professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and hobbies develop these games.
Becoming a game developer is the absolute dream job of most gamers. Do you feel that way?
I agree. Fundamentally enjoying what you do can make the accomplishments more exciting and the difficulties more manageable.
How difficult is it to get started in the industry?
It depends on which area of the industry a person would be interested in. Games with large budgets and internationally recognized brands will always have a glut of talent and may prefer to develop additional talent in-house. For smaller game companies or newer markets, like Social or Mobile gaming, there are larger windows of entry.
What skills do you need to ‘bring’ as a prospective developer?
Generally, an understanding of the competition in your chosen field, ideas of how to encourage players to perform in-game tasks, and a method of conveying these concepts to others. Also, a willingness to jump-in and learn a myriad of different skills is essential.
What educational opportunities are there?
Game Design as an educational tract is still relatively new. However, universities are increasingly promoting undergraduate design courses with a few beginning to develop advanced degree options. Some even have direct connections with established game companies in their alumni network, like the Vancouver Film School. Others deal with more conceptual and experimental game design studies, ex. Georgia Institute of Technology.
In many ways, Germany is still behind the rest of the world concerning game development. Is an entry level position/internship in a foreign country a good way to start your career?
This isn’t altogether necessary as Germany has a number of game companies that range from small to large to internationally recognized like Crytek Studios, the developer of Crysis 2. Berlin, specifically, has a burgeoning tech scene with a number of social game developers like wooga. Any of these could be an internship opportunity for students that have studied related fields but not necessarily game design.
Do you still have fun playing games, or have you become too critical?
It depends on the game. With games that are in or near the genre that I develop for, my eye can become quite critical when I notice a new interaction or an oddity. Games that are very different can allow for me to have more freedom with my enjoyment of the experience.
What is it like to play your own games?
Playing a game you’ve helped to develop can feel more technical than strictly “fun.” It can become a process of constantly confirming that a flow in a game is/isn’t working or listing what to correct next or review later. On the other hand, you gain a specialized knowledge that is helpful when updating or expanding on current game’s features.
Is it easy to come up with new, creative ideas, or are pre-set standards more important?
Creativity is important but best practices are good tools to have in your repertoire. Most players will have a general understanding of what a game in a genre will look and play like. Changing too many established practices can be jarring and unnecessarily difficult for novice players. For example, most social games will have a friend list at the bottom of the game play window and an experience/energy/reputation bar along the top. If these progress bars would be randomly re-arranged, players may feel lost in the early stages of game play and may be more likely to leave rather than learn a new system of organization.
How much influence does a publisher have over the work of developers?
The roles of publishers and developers in the social gaming industry is very different. Actually, the social gaming industry doesn’t have publishers.
What other types of professionals do you work closely with?
Project managers, graphic artists, programmers, quality assurance testers, translators, etc. Games are generally large collaborative efforts with team sizes ranging from 5 to 15 for smaller games and upwards of 200 for very complex console games.
Are the programming and development details for particular platforms very specific, or can they be easily migrated across platforms?
Translating a game from one platform to another can be tricky. Not all of a game’s features will work in the same way or would make sense for a platform with a significantly smaller/larger user-base. Different platforms can have different frame size requirements, different navigational interfaces that can influence how users are encouraged to try a game, different payment options, even interaction methods. Bringing a game from one social networking site to another can be difficult, but moving a console game to PC or vice versa can be extremely challenging. A good example of the latter would be researching how many successful MMO titles have been moved to console systems.
Would you pursue this career again?
Absolutely. I find the work that I do fun, creative and challenging.
How has the trend towards simple, casual, social games affected the industry?
Social games capture a different area of the gaming market than the traditional “purchase then play” games. Players that enter through a portal like Facebook aren’t initially logging onto this platform just for play. They may be less computer-savvy, less capable of large time commitments or disinterested in traditional gaming experiences. So, games that can be played in small time-frames, with simpler mechanics, and an emphasis on social organization and advancement through artistic expression may be a better fit for this user group. A good example of this would be Monster World.
Finally: Do you have any advice for aspiring game developers?
Play lots of games in a variety of styles and genres. Work to understand the underlying assumptions, patterns, and game loops that recur. Try to discover why you like playing games and how the games that you play reinforce a reward system. There are many research materials that can help to develop a vocabulary for games that are worth investing in, ex. Game Design Workshop by Tracy Fullerton. Finally, start to design small games or apply for an entry level position in a game company. Learn by doing. (Source: Wooga)