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一位开发者眼中的独立游戏开发进程和节奏(下篇)

发布时间:2018-02-02 09:29:51 Tags:,

原作者:Andrei Klubnikin 译者:Willow Wu

一位开发者眼中的独立游戏开发进程和节奏(上篇)

在上一篇文章中,我谈到了如何进行市场调研、如何选择游戏类型/主题引起玩家共鸣,以及如何制定项目计划。但是我还没深入探讨技术栈以及你将会面临的游戏开发挑战,还有就是营销——这是大多数独立开发者们忽略的一个阶段。聊够了,让我们进入正题吧!

技术栈&游戏设计

显然,选择哪种游引擎,能给你的大作带来多好的逼真效果,这要取决于你对特定的游戏开发技术的熟悉程度;或者是你打算把游戏开发任务外包的话,就要取决于那个软件开发公司的专业程度。

Indie(from gameacademy.com)

Indie(from gameacademy.com)

有哪些选项?

•Cocos2D

这个开源式游戏开发工具套件可以利用OpenGL库为开发者提供图片,在默认条件下支持Objective-C和Swift;安卓平台还需要安装SpriteBuilder插件。许多热门游戏采用的都采用了Cocos2D,比如《迷失之地》和《城堡破坏者》。

•Unreal EngineUnreal Engine

社区为游戏开发者、设计师们提供了各种各样的工具,支持iOS、安卓编程环境。有很多酷游戏都用了Unreal Engine,包括《我讨厌我的工作(I Hate My Job)》和《无尽之剑》系列。

•Unity

UnityScript/C#跨平台引擎无论是对2D游戏还是3D游戏来说效果都是一样好。有了Unity引擎,你就不用什么都从零设计——只要进入Unity专用商店,挑选你想要的东西,点击“添加至我的资源”就好了。

啊,对了,你要做的是2D游戏还是3D游戏呢?

从技术和资金角度来看,要做一个像样的3D游戏会难很多。另外还有个理由是你的成功几率真的很小很小,如果你花了20个月制作出一款高质量的3D游戏,结果却是湮没无闻,就跟其它大部分游戏一样,这就太可惜了。这就是为什么你的首作最好是选择2D游戏。

所以,我们就决定是2D游戏了;那么,你需要做多少个游戏关卡、角色和升级选项才能吸引、留住玩家呢?

R-stylelab.com的现任首席技术官Pavel Shylenok在手游制作领域已经有了数年经验。在他看来,那些没什么技术的人会花掉80%的游戏开发预算,努力让他们的游戏看起来、感觉起来很棒。你也可以把这个花费换算成工时2000+小时。

游戏画面有那么多内容,都是从哪来的?

相对简单的三消游戏,比如《糖果传奇》它的主要部分大概有9000张动画背景和物品,50个动画控件和面板,还有至少15种粒子效果!

这是个大工程——尤其是对于单枪匹马的你来说。我之前提到的《阿尔托的冒险》,一款精美的iOS/安卓游戏,制作团队是来自加拿大的一个独立工作室。游戏的唯一开发者和设计师Harry Nesbitt,他在这个项目上呕心沥血地工作了18个月,最终完成了这个游戏。Harry说他们的团队在游戏开发的中期阶段决定把Cocos2D换成Unity,以实现他们想要的画面效果——这种情况你很有可能也会遇到。

在技术方面,你应该在后端开发上下点功夫,确保app进程能够顺利运行(AWS服务器架构就是个不错的方法)。也不要忘了发挥社交媒体的功能:像是排行榜、分享到社交媒体上、邀请朋友,帮助游戏扩大知名度(虽说这个任务通常都是营销人员负责的)。

在Pavel Shylenok看来,游戏刚开始的时候只做iOS或者安卓版本也是可以的,先收集玩家的反馈,对产品进行修整,然后测试不同的盈利策略。

手游营销

我们到这个步骤了。你手里的app已经准备好,测试反馈也是一片好评。现在你要做的就是把游戏提交上App Store或者Google Play商店,然后就坐等名利双收。

然而现实不是这样的。做完一个独立游戏,在应用商店上架,接下来的路还很远。智能手机用户不像PC玩家,他们一般不会去浏览Google Play商店寻找新的app——这也是为什么90%的独立游戏都没有被玩家发现,收益甚少。想知道怎么才能让你的独立游戏登顶下载榜?你应该在预定发行日之前的几个月就开始相关的营销活动(天下没有免费的营销)。

如何才能让用户注意到你的产品?方法如下:

•提前吸引小批粉丝。在游戏发行之前,你能够做什么让它成为一个成功的产品?可以先出一个吊足胃口的游戏预告(需要建立一个YouTube频道):其中应该包含游戏中的连续镜头、评价或者是引用专业游戏开发人员的近期评论,整个预告片的长度应该在60-90秒左右,然后把这个短片分享到社交媒体上。一开始看的人可能很少,但是预告片是让大家知道新作消息的重要工具。这样一来潜在用户就能了解这游戏大概在讲什么。录下一些关于的幕后开发工作的有趣片段。跟各大游戏开发平台联系,比如Gamasutra, Pocket Gamer和Touch Arcade,如果走运的话,有些知名的编辑可能会免费给你的游戏写评论。虽说这不一定会吸引成千上万的人来下载,但是多个人帮你推销产品,何乐而不为呢?

•不要雇佣公关公司。大部分公关公司的基本促销包装就要价一万美元了,而且所谓包装是举行一场没有任何记忆点的新闻发布会、跟一些编辑、社交媒体管理人员进行访谈,因此雇佣公关公司很有可能是一个浪费金钱、浪费时间的失败策略。把那一万美金拿去参加游戏开发者大会,在那里你可以见到很多对你有用的人(包括App Store编辑)。

•尽你最大的努力得到App Store和Google Play商店的推荐。虽然有部分开发者通过社交媒体获得了广泛关注,相比那些得到App Store首页推荐的开发者们,他们的投资回报率(ROI)还更高,但是近期的热门手游有绝大多数都得到了App Store和Google Play 的推荐(比如《阿尔托的冒险》《修剪艺术》《迷失之地》),也得到了不错的收益。想要跟他们一样成功吗?那就把你的全身心都投入到游戏设计中去,让你的产品从竞争中脱颖而出。尽你所能地寻找更多测试用户,研究他们的反馈,把那些没有价值的功能抛弃掉。还有上面说到的,制作一个精彩的预告片,透露一下你创作的平行宇宙是什么样的。最好找一家有资历、靠谱的软件供应商,向他们咨询,可以得到比较客观的意见,还有专业帮助。

在当下的环境中,有80%的独立游戏工作室都回不了本,到底要做出什么样的独立游戏才行呢?那些获得商业成功的独立开发者们,他们大部分都是从3A游戏公司出来的,或者是他们资金充足,能够从第三方雇佣画师和开发者,为他们的app扛起全职工作。可能你要尝试15个失败的游戏才做出一个大热门(看看Rovio)。

但是这并不意味着你该放弃你的梦想。取而代之的是你应该承认这些挑战,认清独立游戏的残酷现实,调整你的期望,然后继续努力——总有一天你会收获成功!

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

In the previous article I told you how to conduct market research, choose a game genre/theme that is likely to resonate with users and create a project plan. I did not dwell on technology stack and game dev challenges you’re going to face, though. Also, there’s marketing – a stage most indie developers ignore. Enough small talk than; let’s get down to business!

Technology stack & game design

Obviously, the choice of an engine that will breathe life into your masterpiece depends on your familiarity with certain game dev technologies (or the expertise of the software development company you’re going to outsource game dev to).

What are the options?

•Cocos2D.
The open-source game dev suite renders images with the OpenGL library and supports Objective-C and Swift by default; Android support is enabled through the SpriteBuilder plugin. The framework powers many popular gaming applications including Badland and Castle Crashers;

•Unreal Engine.
The Unreal Engine community offers a plethora of tools for game developers and designers and supports iOS/Android programming environments. There are many cool games created with Unreal Engine including I Hate My Job and the Infinity Blade franchise;

•Unity.
The UnityScript/C# cross-platform engine is equally good for 2D and 3D games. With Unity, you don’t have to develop everything from scratch – just hit its dedicated store and choose the add-ons you need.

Ah, yes. Is it a 2D or 3D game you’re going to impress users with?

Both skill- and money-wise, it’s a lot harder to create a decent 3D game. Another reason to start with a 2D app is your very small chances of success; it would be a shame to spend 20 months on a high-quality 3D game that will pale into oblivion like most apps do!

So, we’re going 2D then; how many game levels, characters and upgrade options you need to attract and retain players?

Pavel Shylenok (who is now CTO at r-stylelab.com) spent years building mobile games. Based on his experience, Pavel claims non-tech guys spend up to 80% of their game dev budgets trying to make their games look and feel nice. You may as well translate it into man-hours (2000+).

Where does the huge amount of graphic content come from?

A relatively simple Match-3 game like Candy Crush features about 9 thousand animated backgrounds and objects, 50 animated controls and screens and at least 15 particle effects!

That’s a lot of work – especially if it’s just you working on the game. I’ve already told you about Alto’s Adventure, a stylish iOS/Android game built by an indie studio from Canada. Check out this amazing post written by Harry Nesbitt, Alto’s sole developer and designer; the guy spent 18 months working his fingers to the bone to finally bring the game to life! Harry says their team decided to swap Cocos2D for Unity in the midst of the game development process to achieve the desired level of visual complexity – and that’s exactly the kind of situation you might find yourself in.

Technology-wise, you should also spend some time doing the back-end development to enable app processes (AWS is the way to go). Do not forget about social media integration: features like leadership boards, social sharing and the option to invite friends help games go viral (although virality as we know it is most often created by marketers).

According to Pavel Shylenok, it also makes sense to go single-platform first (iOS or Android), gather user feedback, polish your product and test different monetization strategies.

Mobile game marketing

Here we are then! You’ve got a playable app up your sleeve. Testers seem to love it. Now you only have to submit the game to the App Store/Google Play – and fame will come.

The reality is quite different. Building an indie game and pushing it to app stores is only half the story. Unlike PC gamers, smartphone owners do not normally browse Google Play in search of new app titles – and that’s why 90% of indie games never land on players’ radar and bring little to no revenue. Wonder how to make an indie mobile game that will dominate download charts? You should start a marketing campaign months before the planned release date (and marketing can never be 100% free)!

Here’s how to get your app noticed:

•Build a small fan base in advance. How to make an indie game a success even before it’s released to the market? It all starts with an awesome game trailer (a YouTube channel is required); it should feature footage from the game and reviews or at least quotes from game dev professionals and be 60-90 sec long. Share the video on social media. Initially it may get only a few views, but it’s the very tool that’ll help you get game press coverage. Keep potential users informed about what’s going on with the game. Record funny clips documenting the game dev process. Get in touch with the leading game dev platforms like Gamasutra, Pocket Gamer and Touch Arcade; if you’re lucky, some well-known editor might review your game for free. It will not necessarily translate into a bajillion downloads, but extra promo never killed nobody;

•Do not hire a PR agency. With most PR firms charging some $ 10 thousand for a basic promo package (which includes a forgettable press release, a couple interviews with editors and SMM), hiring one is most likely going to be a complete waste of money and time. Use that $ 10K to attend a game dev conference where you can meet useful people (including the App Store editors) in person;

•Try your utmost to get featured by the App Store and Google Play. Although some developers claim a strong social media presence and press coverage yield a better ROI than a feature on the App Store front page, the majority of mobile games that have made it big recently (including Alto’s, Prune and Badland) got the golden ticket. Want to replicate their success? Pour your heart and soul into game design to make your app stand out from the competition. Find as many beta users as you can, study their feedback and get rid of the features that add little value to your product. Once again, create a stellar trailer which offers a glimpse into your alterative universe. Also, you’d better consult a reliable software vendor with a solid game dev portfolio to get an unbiased opinion (and professional help).

How to create an indie game in a world where 80% of independent studios operate at a loss? Well, most indie guys who achieved commercial success had either worked for an AAA game company in the past or had money to support themselves and hire third-party artists and developers while working on their apps full time. And it might take you up to 15 flop games (Rovio says hi) to get the right one.

But it doesn’t mean you should give up on your dream; instead, you should acknowledge the challenges, align your expectations with the hard indie reality and work hard – and success will eventually follow!(source:gamasutra.com


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