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一位开发者眼中的独立游戏开发进程和节奏(上篇)

发布时间:2018-02-02 09:26:04 Tags:,

一位开发者眼中的独立游戏开发进程和节奏(上篇)

原作者:Andrei Klubnikin 译者:Willow Wu

毫无疑问,当今的游戏市场正处于蓬勃发展阶段,而且2017年的市值将会达到1080亿美元。手游市场的年均复合增长率为19%,它仍然是app发行领域中最赚钱的行业,占据了总收入的42%(461亿美元)。想从中分一杯羹吗?如何才能制作出让玩家拍案叫绝的独立游戏?请看下文。

如何制作独立游戏:走向成功的操作指南

1.市场调研

一切都始源于脑海中的一个想法——而且你必须证明它是有价值的。

你应该做这些事:

研究App Store和Google Play商店的下载/畅销游戏榜单,看看什么类型的游戏在盈利和玩家沉浸度上更胜一筹。截止2017年10月,在美国苹果商店排行榜中占据前排是:热门3消游戏,比如《糖果传奇》《谜题发烧友》《梦幻家园》;无处不在的《我的世界》;还有寓教于乐性质的产品,比如Word Connect。但是从Statista的数据来看,收益最多的应该是策略和RPG游戏。(比如在2016年7月的时候,策略和RPG游戏分别盈利1.94亿美元和1.62亿美元)。平台游戏(或者是无限跑酷游戏)的下载量一般都非常大(比如说《神庙逃亡》,下载量已经超过了1.7亿次),但是在盈利方面表现平平。

Temple Run(from kotaku.com)

Temple Run(from kotaku.com)

选择正确的类型。作为一个独立开发者,你可能挣得也不多,所以你可能没办法做出一个一应俱全的城市建设游戏,无法估算各种游戏事件的结果,也无法设计出所有对应的场景,所以,别想着要做一个“你的世界”或者“新部落村庄”。想做三消系列手游?那些有资历、有脍炙人口游戏的移动产品公司,他们会花上3000小时(更确切地说是工时)创作出像《糖果传奇》这样的游戏。如果是你,你要花多长时间?更重要的是,你有没有能力跟Playrix或者是King这样的巨头发行商竞争?

你的成功与否很大程度上是取决于你的能力,能不能突破思维框架。你肯定记得《阿尔托的冒险》吧,出自加拿大一个独立工作室之手。这个游戏的机制并不复杂,但却设定为付费游戏(现在是4.99美元!),苹果公司还把这个游戏列入精选产品,如此阵势足以吸引玩家来购买这个游戏,成为它的忠实粉丝。

这就是为什么你在初期阶段就要思考一份灵活的盈利策略。只有0.19%的用户会把钱花在游戏上,所以你最好把游戏设定为免费游戏,或者是针对Google Play和the App Store准备不同的盈利策略,就像Snowman(《阿尔托的冒险》的销售商)做的那样。对于大部分独立开发者来说,设定为免费游戏或者是花钱取胜模式是一个折衷的方案,但是你的游戏内容能不能留住玩家这还是个未知数。

2.设计游戏概念

好了,一旦你定下了游戏类型,这时候就该设计游戏概念了。

如何制作出一款成功的独立游戏?根据Supercell的产品经理Michail Katkoff的说法就是选择适合的主题。从潜在玩家的角度去思考。如果你在浏览App Store,看到一个末世主题的游戏,猜也能猜到这游戏讲的是的什么(想尽一切办法逃脱僵尸的攻击,阻止致命病毒扩散等等)。如果这是你的菜,你马上就会下载这个app——而且你都不用去看教程视频就知道怎么击垮那些僵尸。

然而,你应该选一个倾向性不那么明显的主题。R-Style Lab的首席技术官Pavel Shylenok认为休闲游戏市场每2、3年就会进行一次大洗牌。在2010年代早期,模拟农场和史诗风格的奇幻游戏是最挣钱的,但如今我们在市场上看到的更多是太空战争和蒸汽朋克风格的app。把目标放在特定的细分市场上——举个例子,喜欢《哈利·波特》的玩家可能会愿意花钱买一个在魔法城堡中展开剧情的游戏——这是个可以考虑的选项。

下一步呢?你应该聘请几个游戏剧本创作人员设计出不同的概念,能够运用到游戏机制和不同的移动平台上(或者是iOS或者是安卓,或者二者都可以),然后挑出最好的那一个。先设定一些游戏参数、策划游戏关卡,这是个不错的开头方式。这时先不要往细节深入,因为它们之后还要根据不同的情况进行修改。

规划

挑几个规模比较大的末世主题游戏(或者跟你所决定的主题相符的),先用他们的画面当作UI设计师的参考素材。同时,UX设计师和开发者使用默认素材(基本图元)来制作一个游戏关卡,而不是直接用上具体的角色或者是道具。做出来的效果可以吗?没问题的话,那就继续。

写一份成品规格参数,列清楚它的功能、性能要求,以及盈利策略和后期规划;

把项目划分为几个阶段(在每个阶段设一个比较实际的目标)。就如Attilio Carotenuto(《反思我的第一个独立游戏(Postmortem of My First Indie Game)》的作者)所说,当一个独立游戏开发者,“真正关于游戏开发的事只占了10%,剩余的90%都是另外的事”。这就是为什么你必须得学会辨别轻重缓急,安排好任务、管理你的团队,根据用户反馈及时做出调整。除非你的团队里有十多个开发人员,不然你是没有必要用那些高大上的项目管理软件(比如Jira和Redmine),用Google Sheets就可以了。

第二部分,我们会谈谈实际游戏开发和测试,还有在预算有限的情况下,独立开发者们要如何推广自己的产品。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Game market is absolutely booming and will top $ 108 billion this year. Growing at a CAGR of 19%, mobile games remain its most lucrative segment and now account for 42% (or $ 46.1 billion) of the total revenue generated by app publishers. Want to grab a share of the pie? Here’s how to create an indie mobile game that will overwhelm users.

How to create an indie game: step-by-step guide to success

Market research

It all starts with an idea – and your idea has to be validated.

Here’s what you should do:

Study the App Store and Google Play download/top grossing game charts to see what game genres tend to perform better in terms of revenue and user engagement. As of October, 2017, the upper regions of the US top-performing iOS app charts are occupied by popular Match 3 games like Candy Crush, Puzzledom and Homescapes, the omnipresent Minecraft and occasional “edutainment” titles like Word Connect. According to Statista, however, it is strategy and role playing games that generate most revenue (in July 2016, for instance, such iOS games made $ 194 million and $ 162 million, respectively). Platform games (or endless runners) usually get tons of downloads (like Temple Run which was downloaded over 170 million times) but fail to make significant revenue;

Choose the right genre. As an indie developer, you’re probably operating on a shoestring and therefore won’t be able to create a fully-fledged city-building game capable of evaluating the aftermaths of various in-game events and modelling appropriate scenarios, so say goodbye to your Minecraft and the Tribez clone ideas. Want to launch a match 3 franchise? A custom mobile application company with a solid game dev portfolio would spend around 3000 hours (man-hours, to be precise) to create an app like Candy Crush. How long is it going to take YOU? What’s more important, will you be able to compete with publishers like Playrix and King?

Your success largely depends on your ability to see beyond stereotypes. You surely remember Alto’s Adventure, the endless runner game created by an indie studio from Canada? Although the game made use of simple mechanics and went paidmium on the App Store (it’s currently priced at $ 4.99!), Alto got featured by Apple and created enough buzz to attract and engage players.

And that’s why you should think of a flexible monetization strategy early on. Since only 0.19% of mobile users spend money on games, you’d better go freemium or employ different monetization strategies on Google Play and the App Store like Snowman (the vendor behind Alto’s Adventure) did. Going free-to-play (and pay-to-win) is the middle ground for most indie developers, although it remains to be seen whether you’ll manage to provide enough content to engage users in the long run.

Concept development

Ok, once you decided on the game genre, it’s time to develop game concept.

How to make a successful mobile indie game? According to Michail Katkoff, Product Manager at Supercell, it’s all about choosing the right theme. Put yourself in your potential users’ shoes. If you browse the App Store and come across a post-apocalyptic game, you already know what it’s all about (trying to escape from zombies, stopping the spread of a deadly virus, etc.). If that’s your cup of tea, you’ll download the app straight away – and you don’t even need to watch explainer videos to understand what you have to do to kick that zombie in the face.

However, you should pick something neutral: Pavel Shylenok, CTO at R-Style Lab (you can check his profile here), believes the casual games market changes every two or three years. In early 2010s, it’s farm simulation and epic fantasy games that gained most traction; today we see more space war and steampunk apps released to the market. Targeting a specific niche – for example, players who love Harry Potter and therefore might spend a few dollars on a game taking place in a bewitched castle – might be an option.

What’s next? You should hire several game script writers to develop different concepts taking into account the game mechanics and mobile platforms (it’s either iOS or Android or both) and select the best one. A couple of settings and game levels would do for a start; don’t go into much detail since the concept will evolve over time.

Planning

Choose several post-apocalyptic (or whatever theme you’ve settled on) games that made it big and use their visuals as a reference for UI designers. Meanwhile, UX designers and developers will create a game level with default objects (graphic primitives) instead of characters and objects. Does it work and look OK? Fine, go ahead;

Write a comprehensive spec covering the functional and performance requirements of the final product, monetization strategy and further development;

Break the project into several stages (with each iteration having an achievable milestone). As Attilio Carotenuto, the author of the incredible “Postmortem of My First Indie Game” put it, being an indie developer is “really 10% game dev, and 90% everything else”. That’s why you have to learn to prioritize tasks, manage your team and make changes to the scope based on user feedback. Unless you have 10+ developers on your team, you don’t really have to use fancy project management software like Jira and Redmine (Google Sheets will do).

In the second part of the article we’ll discuss the actual game dev and testing process, as well as tricks that help indie developers market a game on a limited budget.(source:gamasutra.com


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