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如何解除人们对游戏开发存在的误解

发布时间:2016-06-15 10:34:21 Tags:,,,,

作者:James Batchelor

年初,20岁的游戏玩家Devin Tripp发起了一次Kickstarter众筹,目标是为游戏开发筹集20万美元资金。

development(from develop-online)

development(from develop-online)

Tripp承认他并没有开发经验,他只是希望聘请开发者去帮助自己创造一款“像《辐射4》或《巫师3》那样让人流连忘返的游戏。”

当Tripp遭到网上匿名人士的嘲笑后他便取消了在Kickstarter的众筹,不过从这一事件中我们可以看出还有许多人对游戏开发存在误解。

不仅20万美元与《巫师3》的开发成本相差甚远(游戏邦注:这款游戏花费了8100万美元的开发成本),这甚至未将授权,创建工作室等创造一个野心勃勃的大型项目所需要的其它成本算在内。

很多开发者应该对这种无知再熟悉不过了。

Playtonic的总经理兼创意总监Gavin Price说道:“还有很多人认为我们一天到晚就只会坐着打游戏。”

“我相信要是人们知道发行一款拥有一定规模的游戏需要多少开发者的参与时一定会大吃一惊。”

“你可以投入任何项目的最佳资源便是时间,不管你拥有多少帮手,时间都是最昂贵的资源。”

“作为成功获得众筹的开发者,你可能会发挥创造性去好好利用时间和经费去创造超越期待的内容。”

创造了《星际公民》的工作室Cloud Imperium的首席执行官Chris Roberts说道,大多数玩家还是习惯于AAA级模式。

他解释道:“在发行商真正深入开发过程前他们是不会开展推广活动的,而开发团队可能需要花费3至6年的时间才能走道那里。”

“公众并不能看到这个过程中的艰辛,即开发团队可能遭遇的各种延迟以及因为内容的无趣而必须进行的无数次重做。”

Price补充道,游戏媒体很少会去报道其它影响游戏开发成本的元素,所以终端用户通常都不了解这些情况。

他说道:“地点和团队规模一样也可以是个很重要的元素。我们是来自伯顿特伦特的一支包含20个人的团队—-我很好奇在旧金山基于同样的成本你能够运行多大的工作室?”

同时玩家也不可能知道有多少游戏被退回或彻底被销毁。

Roberts说道:“消费者不会知道多少游戏被销毁了。现在有了Kickstarter,所有人都认为一个项目最终都会完成并且不会出现任何问题。但是这组情况在开发中是不可能的,因为在这里只要游戏花费更长时间进行创造便需要花费更多成本,所以许多游戏根本连问世的机会都没有。”

不过如今的游戏不断改变着,所以有更多消费者逐渐了解了开发的本质,并且也搞清楚了开发者将游戏带到市场上需要经历的考验。

《地狱之刃》的开发商Ninja Theory的产品开发经理Dominic Matthews说道:“独立开发的崛起带给了开发者更多自由,他们能够更多地分享自己的创作过程。玩家们总是希望能够了解游戏创作的幕后和开发过程,所以作为开发者的我们应该满足他们的这种愿望并将其作为帮助自己创造出成功游戏的方式。”

Ninja Theory在最初公开《地狱之刃》的时候发布了一个大胆的公告,即承诺从一开始便保持游戏开发的透明度:定期更新开发者日记,深入分析游戏的创造过程并在网上与网友分享。

当然了,英国开发者们并不孤独。现在许多工作室都会定期与社区分享游戏的开发消息。这不仅能够帮助他们在游戏完成前获取一定用户,同时许多开发者也相信这能更好地向公众传达游戏开发是件辛苦的工作这一事实。

Roberts说道:“我们一直在努力分享信息。我们每个月在《星际公民》页面上所刊登的内容甚至比我在为艺电或微软开发游戏时所呈现的内容还多。”

Price补充道:“我们非常喜欢带给玩家惊喜,我们也总是不断地与玩家分享着我们的计划。本来我们会因为许多人都在做着同样的事的消息备受打击,但是对于其他开发者来说他们又何尝不是如此呢,只是将你的游戏作为一个概念与大家进行分享是可行的。”

但是Roberts也表示完全公开你的游戏开发是一把“双刃剑”。

他说道:“因为我们对外分享了许多信息,所以这也提供给了那些消极对待这种情况的人更多攻击目标。为此你必须忍受一些消极的评论以及越来越多人不喜欢游戏的情况。”

Matthews回应道:“我们相信如果我们能够做出清楚的解释,粉丝们便能理解我们在开发过程中所呈现的内容并不总是代表着最终体验。”

“如果我们想要将公开开发过程作为吸引用户的一种策略,我们就必须承担在开发早期阶段公开游戏并在之后的过程中遭受误解的风险。”

所以是否存在更有效的方式能够更好地向玩家传授真正的游戏开发是怎样的?Epic Games的欧洲区经理Mike Gamble对于我们是否需要这么做感到怀疑。

他说道:“我喜欢看电影和电视,但是我却不知道它们是如何被制作出来的。”

“也许我们不应该再担心是否该将游戏的创造过程作为市场营销的一部分,相反地我们应该专注于告诉玩家它们是多有价值的娱乐媒体。”

降低门槛

还有一个帮助开发者去传达游戏开发的喜与忧的主要元素便是大型开发工具的大众化。

实际上任何玩家或有志气的游戏创造者都可以免费使用像Unreal和Unity等工具向人们展示创造出真正优秀的游戏需要投入多少努力。

Epic的Mike Gamble说道:“任何对实时互动娱乐感兴趣的人,且不管他们只是纯粹地喜欢这一内容还是计划在这一产业中谋职,他们都可以使用与专业开发者一样的工具。“

“经过证明,提供免费样本和教程,在twitch直播并通过网络渠道和用户群组去创建一个活跃社区都是做到这些的最有效方式。”

但是《星际公民》的创造者Chris Roberts也强调道,这些只是切入点:“那些从未拥有创造游戏经验的人总是会低估创造一款成功的游戏所需要投入的东西。尽管Unreal和Unity能够让事情变得简单些,但如果你想要创造的是《巫师3》一般的游戏,你便不可能比CD Project Red更快速地完成游戏创造。”

“或许你可以先选择快速创造一些较简单的游戏,但如果是更深入的游戏便是不可能快速完成的。”

Playtonic的Gavin Price也表示认同,并表示尽管准入门槛大大降低了,但是通往成功的道路却变得更加曲折了。

他说道:“虽然这些工具能够在制作过程中提供帮助,但在创造性过程中却没有用。即使是世界上最厉害的工具也不可能将一个糟糕的理念变成优秀的理念,不管是现在还是未来,开发者都需要真正去思考如何才能让自己的游戏区别于其它游戏。”

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转发,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

‘People still believe we play games all day’: Development’s perception problem’

By James Batchelor

At the start of the year, 20-year-old gamer Devin Tripp set up a Kickstarter with the aim of raising $200,000 for a Star Wars RPG.

While Tripp acknowledged he had no development experience, he hoped to hire devs to help him create a title that would “completely blow people away, like Fallout 4 or The Witcher III”.

The Kickstarter was cancelled after Tripp was cruelly mocked by people hiding behind the anonymity of the internet, but it served as a reminder that there remain misconceptions about games development among the public.

Not only does a goal of $200,000 barely come close to the development costs of The Witcher III – which took $81m to make – it also fails to take into account the costs of licensing, setting up a studio or the full scale of such an ambitious project.

It’s a level of general ignorance that many devs are all too familiar with.

“There’s still the belief that we sit and play games all day,” Playtonic’s MD and creative lead Gavin Price tells Develop.

“I think it always surprises people to understand how many developers it takes to ship games of a certain scale.

“The best resource you can give any project is time, and time is expensive no matter what your headcount is.

“As a developer that has successfully used crowdfunding, it makes you think creatively to utilise every bit of time and money to create something greater than expected.”

Chris Roberts, CEO of Star Citizen studio Cloud Imperium, says the vast majority of gamers are still accustomed to the triple-A model.

“The publisher doesn’t really roll out the promotional campaign until they are deeper into the dev process – but it may have taken the team three to six years to get to that point,” he explains.

“The public doesn’t see all the bumps along the way, the delays the team encountered and how many times they had to redo something because it wasn’t fun.”

Price adds that there are other variables that affect development costs that are rarely, if ever, covered by the games media and therefore conveyed to the end users.

“Location alone can be as big a factor as team size,” he says. “We’re a team of 20 in Burton-on-Trent – I wonder how big a studio you could run in San Francisco for the same money?”

Then there are the games that are taken back to the drawing board or scrapped altogether – the ones players will likely never know about.

“Consumers don’t realise just how many games get canceled,” says Roberts. “Now with Kickstarter, everyone is betting that a project will ultimately be completed and will never have any issues. That almost never happens in development, because the norm is that games take longer and cost more, and a lot of them just don’t work out.”

There is an ongoing change in the games industry that is exposing more consumers to the true nature of development and helping them understand the trials of bringing a game to market.

“The rise of independent development has given developers the freedom to be open in their creative processes and share the making of a game at every step,” says Dominic Matthews, product development manager at Hellblade studio Ninja Theory. “There is an appetite among players to see behind the curtain and understand the development process – it is up to us as developers to embrace this enthusiasm and use it as a means to help make our games successful.”

Ninja Theory made a rare and bold announcement when it first unveiled Hellblade, promising to be open about the game’s development from the beginning: regular updates and developer diaries, in-depth insights into aspects of the title’s creation and more are shared online by the studio.

The UK developer isn’t alone, either. Several studios now regularly update their community on the progress of their game. Not only does this help gather an audience before a title is even finished, many devs believe this is perhaps the most efficient way to educate the masses about the hard work that goes into development.

“We try our best to share information,” says Roberts. “Those monthly reports we post on our Star Citizen page are more than I ever gave to EA or Microsoft when I was developing for them – and they were writing the cheques.”

Price adds: “We love to surprise gamers and, had we been constantly revealing our plans, we could’ve got lost in the noise of everyone doing the same. Yet for other devs, the exact opposite is true and it can be what helps create a mega-hit – revealing your game as a concept alone would work.”

However, Roberts warns that being completely open about your game’s development is a “double-edged sword”.

“Since we share so much information externally, that provides ammunition for people who want to be negative,” he says. “You have to put up with the critics because the transparency helps in the education process and more people than not appreciate it.”

Matthews reflects: “We had faith that if we explained ourselves well enough fans would understand that what we show during development won’t always be representative of the final experience.

“If we want open development to work as a strategy for gaining the interest of an audience, we have to take the risk in showing the game at early stages and be prepared for there to be misunderstandings along the way.”

So, is there an optimum way to better educate gamers about the highs and lows of games development? Epic Games’ EU territory manager Mike Gamble questions whether or not we even need to.

“I enjoy watching films and TV but really don’t have a huge insight into how they are made,” he says.

“Perhaps it is time we stop worrying about communicating how games are made as part of the marketing process and concentrate more on showing what a great value entertainment medium they are.”

BRINGING DOWN THE BARRIERS

Another major factor helping to convey the delights and difficulties of games development is the ongoing democratisation of the biggest dev tools.

The fact that any gamer or aspiring games creator can access the likes of Unreal and Unity for free goes a long way to showing people how much hard work goes into making the best titles.

“Anyone interested in real-time interactive entertainment, whether they are enthusiasts or planning a career in the industry, can use exactly the same tools and features as professional developers,” says Epic’s Mike Gamble.

“Of course, given the sophistication of UE4 we are always working to provide accessible materials to tutor people on the best way to use the tools.

“Offering free samples and tutorials, hosting Twitch livestreams and building a vibrant community through online channels and user groups has proven to be the most effective way to do this.”

However, Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts stresses that these are just entry points: “People who haven’t had the experience in building games wildly underestimate the work it really takes and the details that go in to making a successful game. Even though Unreal and Unity make things easier to get up and running, if you want to build a Witcher III-type game, you are not going to build it any quicker than CD Projekt Red.

“There’s definitely some naiveté out there. You can do simpler games quickly now, but deep games, no.”

Playtonic’s Gavin Price agrees, adding that while the barriers to entry might be lowered, the actual path to success becomes that much harder.

“It aids the production process, but not necessarily the creative process,” he says. “The best tools in the world won’t turn a bad idea into a good one so, to really benefit, both current and future devs need to pour more thought into defining what makes their game different.”(source:develop-online)

 


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