Devine去年离开苹果iPhone游戏技术部门，回到家乡成为游戏开发者。在进入苹果之前，他曾在Ensemble Studios（游戏邦注：《光晕战争》、《帝国时代2》开发商）和id Software（游戏邦注：《雷神之锤3：竞技场》开发商）工作过，现在加入GRL Games制作iOS游戏。
在他的游戏开发生涯中，Devine掌握了某些如何制作出优秀游戏的技巧。他在2011年游戏开发者大会的小组讨论会上分享了某些相关内容。在题为“iPad Games: Touching the World on the Other Side of the Glass”的演讲中，Devine挑战某些为人普遍认可的iPad游戏设计论断。
Why So Many iPad Games Fail
The world of iPad development is full of people who think they know what they’re doing. After all, one-off games frequently sell in the millions and become surprise hits, allowing their creators to finally move out of their mothers’ basements and buy shirts without hoods. But now that the dust has settled somewhat (ahead of yet more new construction), it’s a perfect time to get some perspective on what’s working and what’s not. Graeme Devine to the rescue.
Devine left Apple’s iPhone Game Technologies division last year to return to his roots as a game developer. And they’re deep roots. He worked at Ensemble Studios (Halo Wars, Age of Empires II) and id Software (Quake III Arena) before joining Apple, and now he’s making iOS games under the GRL Games moniker.
He’s learned a little something about how to make great games during his career, and he shared some of that knowledge during a panel at the 2011 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week. In a talk titled “iPad Games: Touching the World on the Other Side of the Glass”, Devine challenged some commonly held assumptions about designing games for Apple’s tablet.
The iPad is Not a Giant iPhone.
Despite what the haters say behind your back when you pull out your iPad at a coffee shop, Apple’s tablet is fundamentally different than its phone because of its dimensions. The iPhone was designed to fit comfortably in the palm of a single hand and operated with a thumb or forefinger (or nestled in two hands and tapped at by two opposing thumbs). Watch someone using an iPad for just a few minutes, and you’ll see that the interaction is completely different. Users typically support the device with one hand and interact with it using the other. It’s a completely different experience. Which leads directly into Devine’s next point….
iPhone-to-iPad Ports Are Evil.
Because the iPhone is not the iPad, the idea of taking a game designed for the former and bringing it over, whole hog, to the latter doesn’t make sense. “‘Port’ is the nastiest word in the dictionary,” Devine told the crowd. A quick scan of the App Store’s failed iPad games in that category supports his argument.
Virtual Joysticks Suck.
We all know it. But it’s comforting to hear a respected developer echo our thoughts. The iPad was not designed to be used primarily as a gaming device. It doesn’t have buttons, an external interface device (i.e. mouse or keyboard) or a joystick. So why are game makers shoehorning virtual directional pads and joysticks into their iPad titles? “When you put dual joysticks on an iPad game, what you’re saying to the user is, ‘my game is better with a joystick,’” Devine said. Couldn’t agree more.
We don’t normally think of iPad games as screaming beasts with blazingly fast framerates (the frequencies at which consecutive images are displayed on a screen). But Devine argued that a steady 60 frames-per-second rate is essential for every iPad game, not just shooters and racers, whenever a finger is touching the screen. We’ve all experienced that moment of frustration when an iPad game can’t keep up with our taps or swipes. Even if it’s a word game or card game, a slow framerate kills the interaction. Devine’s advice to developers was to make sure iPad games hit a steady 60 frames-per-second when those interactions are happening and then ramp the rate down at other times, to save battery life. Simple and delicious.
The Home Button is the New Save Slot.
In most cases, iPad users expect their progress in a game to be retained when they navigate away from the application. Sure, the iOS is supposed to do that heavy lifting on its own, but iPad game developers depend on that at their peril. Every iPad game should save the player’s progress when the Home button is pressed. Sure, there are some games that will implement a classic system of multiple save slots (for multiple character playthroughs, etc.). But Devine told developers to stick to the Home button rule whenever possible. On the iPad, players need to shut games down and start them up quickly. Usually to hide a nerdy spellcasting minigame from a significant other by switching to the New York Times app.
It’s Not Just a Screen. It’s a Window.
No other game experience puts the user in such intimate contact with the world behind the screen. To Devine, the iPad game developer’s goal should be to help the gamer touch the world on the other side of the device’s display. It sounds high-concept, but it’s deceptively simple. Create a world that’s intuitive and invites touch interaction. Then strip away the things that get in the way until the player feels like he or she is actually manipulating the world you’ve created. Devine cited Angry Birds as a game that nailed this concept. (Source: IGN)