作者：Kathleen De Vere
我们暂时难以判断NimbleBit的新作《Pocket Planes》是否能够取得超出预期的好成绩。这是继《Tiny Tower》之后该公司所推出的另外一款游戏，2011年《Tiny Tower》打败了众多大制作游戏成了苹果年度最佳iPhone游戏，在高峰期时的DAU甚至超过100万。
尽管与《Tiny Tower》相比《Pocket Planes》显得更加复杂且更有策略性，但是它的发展其实才刚刚开始——该游戏自从6月14日发布以来下载量已经超过50万次。
NimbleBit联合创始人Ian Marsh通过电子邮件，为媒体介绍了这个只有3名成员的团队是如何顶着外界极高的期望，并摆脱克隆游戏《Dream Heights》所带来的阴影而创造出众人所认可的优秀游戏。
《Pocket Planes》比《Tiny Tower》更加复杂且更有策略性。你们是否打算创造一款更加复杂的游戏？或者你是否考虑过复杂性将流失那些因《Tiny Tower》而认识你们的玩家？
我们的确是想创造出一款与《Tiny Tower》不同层次的游戏。我们（以及许多玩家）认为让玩家能够在一个拥有更多策略和选择的游戏世界进行挑战将会更加有趣。虽然我们也不得不考虑这么做是否能够吸引更多特殊用户的注意，但是不管怎样都不会轻易动摇我们的决心。我们也一直在努力让那些喜欢《Tiny Tower》简单性的玩家能够感受到这款新游戏的易用性。
比起只用了4个多月开发时间的《Tiny Tower》，《Pocket Planes》花费了你们将近1年的时间。能否说说为何《Pocket Planes》的开发时间远远长于NimbleBit的其它游戏？
我们知道《Pocket Planes》的前身是《Pocket Trains》，而你们又是花了多长时间才将“列车”转变成“飞机？你们是彻底抛弃了《Pocket Trains》还是会在之后让它以继作的身份复出？
一开始《Pocket Planes》的原型的确是“列车”，但是当我们完成了一个可玩的游戏版本后却发现一大限制因素，即我们不能直接将任何两个城市联系在一起，而如果是飞机的话便能做到这一点。并且我们也认为更多用户更喜欢空中旅行，因为大多数人都体验过这种飞行。我们当然不会排除将其作为《Pocket Planes》继作的可能性，但我们感觉如果要推继作应该会先考虑其他游戏题材。
比起《Tiny Tower》，《Pocket Planes》更具社交性——玩家可以在此与好友结成一队共同参与游戏事件并组成“空勤人员”。为什么你们不选择回到一款更具有社交性的游戏中？
我认为《Pocket Planes》是我们所创造过的最具社交性的游戏，所以我们并不需要回到任何一款游戏中。受到了《无尽之剑》中不和谐的模组功能的启发，我们希望能够支持更大的群体在游戏中相互抗衡（游戏邦注：而不一定非得是Game Center的好友）。
Zynga游戏《Dream Heights》是否影响了《Tiny Tower》的发展？也就是在这款游戏推出后你们的《Tiny Tower》收益是否出现了下滑？
Clones, rabid expectations and overhauls — NimbleBit on the development of Pocket Planes
Kathleen De Vere
It would be hard to argue that NimbleBit hasn’t exceeded expectations for Pocket Planes, its followup to Tiny Tower, the free-to-play hit that became Apple’s iPhone game of the year for 2011, and boasted more than 1 million daily active users at the height of its popularity.
Despite being more complex and strategic than its beloved predecessor, Pocket Planes is already off to a roaring start, amassing more than 500,000 downloads since it was launched on June 14.
We were able to chat with NimbleBit co-founder Ian Marsh over email last week to ask him how the three man team was able to overcome sky-high expectations, a complete revamp, and the infamous Dream Heights to to produce what reviewers are calling their best game yet.
Inside Mobile Apps: Congratulations on the successful launch. Anticipation was very high. Were you expecting this level of excitement right away?
Ian Marsh, co-founder, NimbleBit: You always hope for an exciting launch, but we try not to assume anything and worked hard to get the word out in advance of the launch. Even more surprising is that we’re able to have these kinds of launches with no marketing budget whatsoever! Luckily we’re in a very cooperative industry where other developers help us through cross-promotion.
IMA: Did the high expectations make you nervous at all?
Marsh: Big or small, I think launching a game is always a little nerve racking. There are almost always some bugs that slip through the testing process and you just have to hope they don’t affect too many people and get an update out fixing them quickly. Luckily, I think the launch of Pocket Planes has been pretty smooth so far.
IMA: How many downloads have your games generated overall at this point? How many user sessions are you supporting a day?
Marsh: We’re sitting at 54 million downloads and 150 million daily sessions across all our apps but expect that to jump significantly with the release of Pocket Panes.
IMA: Pocket Planes is much more complex and strategic than Tiny Tower. Did you set out to make a much more complex game? Were you concerned the complexity would put off users that only knew you from Tiny Tower?
Marsh: We did set out to make a game of a different scope after Tiny Tower. Although hugely popular we (and plenty of fans) thought it would be interesting to see the bitizens in a game with a bigger world containing a bit more strategy and choices. We certainly questioned whether it would appeal to a more specific (and smaller) audience, but that never caused us any hesitation. We did strive to make it as accessible as possible to those fans who enjoyed the simplicity of Tiny Tower.
IMA: Pocket Planes took you almost a year to create, compared to four months for Tiny Tower. Why was the development cycle for Pocket Planes so much longer than usual for NimbleBit?
Marsh: We certainly didn’t want it to take that long, but being a tiny team of three we had to shift our resources to supporting Tiny Tower for a while after it won Game of the Year from Apple around the holidays. I also had the privilege of taking a few months off to enjoy the addition of a baby boy to our family!
IMA: Pocket Planes was almost Pocket Trains. How far along were you when you switched to planes? Is Pocket Trains dead, or will it live again at some point?
Marsh: Pocket Planes did begin life as a train sim, but after we had a playable version it seemed a bit restrictive since you couldn’t link any two cities directly like you can with a plane. We also felt that a wider audience could identify with air travel since nearly all of us have experienced it. I would never rule out a train based sequel to Pocket Planes, but something tells me we will be bringing the Bitizens to some other genres first.
A screenshot of the now scrapped Pocket Trains.
IMA: It seems NimbleBit was very keen to get user feedback and suggestions into Pocket Planes. You even started polling people on Twitter. How did you test and iterate on the game?
Marsh: We ran a beta of about 25 people using a wonderful service called TestFlight. With Pocket Planes being one of the most complex games we’ve developed we thought getting lots of feedback often was crucial in striking the right balance. Asking for feedback and suggestions on twitter also served to build interest in the game in the weeks running up to release.
IMA: Pocket Planes is almost much more social than TIny Tower — people literally team up with their friends to participate in the game’s events and form Flight Crews. Why the return to a more social kind of game?
Marsh: I think Pocket Planes might be the most social game we’ve made so far, so I don’t think we’re necessarily returning to one. We were somewhat inspired by the clash mob feature added to Infinity Blade but wanted large groups to be able to compete against each other without necessarily being friends in Game Center.
IMA: With all this popularity has NimbleBit grown at all?
Marsh: We haven’t hired since we grew to three people nearly a year ago. I think we’re focused on remaining a small team since it has resulted in the development of some very original and successful titles. The real challenge to us now is managing the success we’ve had while still being able to devote enough time to new development.
IMA: Did Zynga’s Dream Heights affect Tiny Tower’s market? Did you see a decline in revenues after the game came out?
Marsh: We didn’t see any drop in revenue and actually saw a big increase in brand awareness for NimbleBit. Perhaps we owe them another thank you note!（source：insidemobileapps）