《Game Dev Story》蕴含的7点游戏开发经验
《Game Dev Story》出自Kairosoft之手，是日本首款入驻功能手机的传统PC游戏，游戏2010年底也移植iOS和Android平台。在很多人看来，它是迄今最具沉浸性的移动游戏之一。
《GDS》玩家存在的一个普遍错误是投资购买多个不同掌机授权。这些授权非常昂贵，所以工作室很容易就耗尽现金，无法支持开发工作。若有玩家腾出时间观察整个市场，就会清楚发现各平台地位不平等。有些平台更受小朋友欢迎，有些平台市场份额更大。游戏遵循行业发展顺序，因此Game Kid（即任天堂GameBoy）比Virtual Kid（即Virtual Boy）更具投资保障。所以授权Game Kid能够创收几年，而授权Virtual Kid却会让工作室破产。选择正确平台，并持之以恒，这是游戏获得发展的关键。
计划对任何商业活动而言都是基本技能。给员工休假制定计划。给公司年度税金制定计划。那么若你有个8人团队，每年将有500万美元从你的帐户中扣除，用于支付员工工资。若你没有这么多钱，公司就会破产。游戏并未融入罢工、不满员工和法律诉讼元素，而存储足够资金也不是什么新构思，但这个构思非常巧妙。另一例子：获得索尼PlayStatus授权后，我希望等PlayStatus 2问世再进行升级。成本非常昂贵，所以我开始积攒资金，这样就能得到授权，制作游戏。若玩家缺乏远见，便无法购得授权，给员工发放工资（游戏邦注：这在现实生活中司空见惯）。《Game Dev Story》简直是一语道破玄机。（本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译，如需转载请联系：游戏邦）
“Game Dev Story”: 7 Valuable Lessons for Game Developers
by Luis Levy
Created by developer Kairosoft, Game Dev Story is an ancient PC game that was first ported to feature phones in Japan then launched on iOS and Android in late 2010. The game is now considered by many one of the most addictive mobile games ever made while also becoming a critical darling.
(STOP! Don’t download it before reading the whole post or you might never come back!)
As many of you know, GDS is a tycoon-like business simulation where the objective is to build a game company from scratch through console and PC development. The game is surprisingly deep: not only it manages to closely follow actual video game history by introducing consoles we can all identify, it even charges hefty license fees for each one of them (!)
Many instances of the gameplay border on the absurd as the above-mentioned “Lunar Writing.” On the other hand, there are valuable lessons about game development spread throughout the game. It gets players thinking about the big picture — an awesome feat for a tiny mobile game.
1. Developers, developers, developers
Steve Ballmer had it right: developers are all that matters. GDS will introduce you to Hackers — supremely talented developers that can single-handedly save your company. While Hackers are unrealistically good at everything — Program, Scenario, Graphics and Sound — they teach us that more than funding, cool digs and a mascot, developers are the ones that can make or break a studio. They are the soul of the whole enterprise. Players who disregard this will often throw money at the problem, spend in boosts/power-ups, hire outside talent and never, ever, get an all-around great game. On the other hand, if you focus on generating enough capital from contracts then hiring talented devs, that’s half the battle right there.
2. The value of contracts
What’s better than a broke studio with amazing new IP? A studio where the lights are on and there’s food in the rec room. GDS allows players to invest time fulfilling outside contracts ranging from a few hundred thousand to $1.4 million dollars. In between new games, contracts give developers experience (Research Points) and provide much-needed cash for the studio. The game also teaches players that delivering a project on time is always a good idea (duh!) and that it’s risky to take on a project too big for your team (like dissecting a console or developing a new game engine from scratch). Treasure your contracts: they might keep you alive just enough to ship your next IP.
3. Choose your platform wisely
A common mistake in GDS is to spend money buying several different console licenses. Since they’re really expensive, it’s quite easy to run out of cash and not have enough to actually make a game. Now, if a player takes his or her time to scope the market, it becomes clear that not all consoles are made equal. Some are stronger with kids; others have more market share. Since the game follows history, the Game Kid (a Nintendo GameBoy) is a much safer investment than the Virtual Kid (the Virtual Boy). So a license to the Game Kid pays for itself in a few years while a license to the Virtual Kid can bankrupt your studio. Picking the right platform — and sticking with it — is crucial to really move forward within the game.
4. Advertise often, advertise well — and take PR seriously
Many of the advertising activities in GDS are laughable. A marching band? Blimp sponsorship? Lunar Writing?! However, the game does make a point of showing what you can get out of it: fans. And fans translate directly into revenue. By the time the 20-year session is over, most players will have tons of cash. That’s when you realize how much better is to actually budget for advertising and PR. You can do a push during development, one right before debugging (beta?) and a final one right after launch. If timed right — or near the yearly GameDex, an E3/PAX/GDC of sorts — sales will soar. On the other hand, a common mistake is to pump all the money in the latest title and leave zero, nada, for marketing. When real-life developers make the same mistake, the consequences can be, let’s say, brutal.
5. Serial sequels can kill your fan base
If your game make the Hall of Fame, you get to make sequels. Sequels have some hype and experience points built-in, so they tend to be superior to the original game. Which, again, translates in better sales. This is all fine and dandy — who here doesn’t want an increase in sales? — but fans tend to disprove of too many games in the same theme/genre combination. Early in the game, I found out that Shooter/Robot was a winning combination so I made three sequels in a row of RobotoZ, my Shooter/Robot franchise. Soon enough, my fans started dropping like flies. According to GDS, they were fed up with the same game over and over again. While making games in crazy theme/genre combinations is ill-advised, variety can greatly expand a studio’s reach. This is a lesson iPhone development is teaching more traditional game developers: Firemint, the company behind Flight Control also developed Real Racing, two huge titles in very different genres.
6. Unhappy at a big AAA studio? Start over
It’s common to find game developers unhappy at their present location. Maybe management sucks; maybe they’re tired of making the same WWII FPS. GDS allows players to quit a game after 20 years, but keep the themes/genres unlocked in the previous game. This is just like leaving a company to start/join a new one in real life. When developers leave a studio behind, they leave with what they learned. They now have knowledge, skills, techniques they didn’t have before. Better yet, they can use those in the new company. They can go back to being happy and making even better games.
7. Plan ahead
Planning is a basic skill in any business. Plan for employee vacations. Plan for your yearly taxes. Plan for tough market conditions. GDS illustrates that mechanic with a yearly salary deduction. So if you have a team of 8, every year $5,000,000 will be deducted from your bank account to pay for salaries. If you don’t have the money, you might go bankrupt. The game doesn’t institute strikes, unhappy employees and lawsuits but the idea of having enough money in the bank for future expenses may not be novel but it’s certainly wise. Another example: having acquired a license for the Sonny PlayStatus, I wanted to wait until the PlayStatus 2 came out to upgrade. Since I knew the costs would be high, I stock-pilled on cash so I was ready to get the license AND make a great game. If a players lacks vision, they have trouble getting licenses and paying employees, something we’ve all witnessed in real-life. Touché, Game Dev Story.
I could have made this into a top 10 easily. How about you? Did you try Game Dev Story? What else would you add to the list?（Source：gamasutra）