揭秘《Clash of Clans》获得成功的5个关键因素
几个月以前，我参观了《Clash of Clans》的开发工作室Supercell，那时它靠仅仅两款游戏就迅速获利500万美元。
为此，我采访了《Clash of Clans》制作主管Lasse Louhento。他认为这款游戏的创意和开发过程在五个方面有所结合。
与现在的外观相比，《Clash of Clans》一开始的风格更偏向卡通和休闲。事实上，这款游戏的视觉效果经过了无数次变更才最终确定下来。
对于硬核玩家，《Clash of Clans》提供在线战斗元素。“我认为这款游戏带有竞技性质。游戏中有排行榜，会让玩家产生‘我想上榜’的感觉。我认为这样会使进程表现得更生动。”
Louhento认为，当手机游戏开发没有体现易用性时，你是可以看出来的——“以《The Simpsons: Tapped Out》为例，这是一款很棒的游戏，但开发团队没有费功夫思考‘这个按钮够不够大？易用性达到要求了吗？达到最佳效果了吗？’”
“我们花了成百上千小时玩《Clash of Clans》，只是为了尽可能解决易用性问题。如果我们觉得不够好，那我们就重做——我们下定决心要把滚动和轻拍的响应做到最好。”
直到最后一分钟开发团队才把指南放进《Clash of Clans》中。的确，游戏在苹果应用商店发布的前几周，指南的部分还没开工。
《Clash of Clans》和《Hay Day》是由Supercell内部的两支不同团队开发的。这两支团队时常友好地打探对方的开发进度，或者最近在制作什么功能。
“我们与《Hay Day》的团队保持健康的竞争状态。我们跟他们说，‘我们的控制功能比你们的好多了’。每周五，我们都会跟对方说‘我们在一周内就完成这个部分了’。然后过了一周，《Hay Day》的团队就会说，‘提醒你们，我们才一周就搞定这么一大块代码了。’良性竞争确实是件有趣的事！”
正是这种良性竞争，不仅使《Clash of Clans》的开发过程高效，而且充满乐趣。
无论是《Clash of Clans》还是《Hay Day》，都是几周更新一次内容——新道具、新商品和新角色等等。
Louhento解释道：“进入《Clash of Clans》才一两周的玩家不会看到某些功能。之后他们熟悉操作后，我们就开放一小部分功能，逐步提高游戏难度。”
至于如何保持《Clash of Clans》的平衡性，Supercell有一套系统保证任何新内容都不会破坏游戏的内部运作。
lash of Clans’ 5 keys to success
By Mike Rose
When I visited Clash of Clans studio Supercell a couple of months ago, the company was raking in $500,000 a day from just two titles.
Now that figure is more than $1 million a day, according to a report from Pando Daily — and who knows if it’ll stop there.
I previously talked to Supercell CEO Ilkka Paananen about the company’s success, but what I was really interested in was delving into the nitty gritty, and questioning the game designers directly.
To this end, I discussed the development of Clash of Clans with its product lead Lasse Louhento. Here, he describes five ways in which Clash’s creation and ongoing development were brought together.
1. Bring in both the casual and the hardcore players
Clash of Clans originally had a much more cartoony and casual look than its current form — in fact, the game went through numerous visual alterations before the final look was settled on.
“We had this notion that maybe the hardcore players would actually dislike this, and think it was too childish,” explains Louhento. “So we had to find a sweet spot, such that it wouldn’t alienate the casual players – nothing dark and black and evil and realistic – but on the other hand, it couldn’t be too blubby.”
This wasn’t a quick chop and change, admits Louhento. “It took us a while – it wasn’t an easy task!” he says.
What the team eventually settled on was a mixture of realism, and a “super-deformed, Japanese style,” adds the project lead. “I’m a huge fan of Pixar, and their characters are appealing to a younger audience, but at the same time, they’re cool for adults too. We’re also big fans of Capcom characters – strong character art that’s really polished.”
Within the team of 5-6 people, more than 10 different character concepts were brought forward and abandoned before they found exactly what they were looking for. Discovering that perfect mixture of both casual and realism in the visuals was key to pulling in a wide range of players.
It’s not just the visuals, of course. Casual and hardcore players want different types of gameplay, and attempting to mix these together can be tricky.
For the hardcore, Clash of Clans offers online battling elements. “I think there’s something about the competitive nature of the game,” says Louhento. “We have leaderboards, we have that kind of edge where people think ‘Oh I want to be there, so I’ll need to upgrade this.’ The progression, I think, is more visual.”
And for those players who aren’t so into attacking each other, there’s enough to keep them entertained on the side.
“It’s the social elements too,” he reasons. “You can chat to clan mates, and donate troops – that feeling of belonging together is really powerful. Once people get into a clan, they are really invested and willing to play for a long time.”
2. Have a clear goal from early on
“For the first two months, we did a company-wide demo, and everybody played inside Supercell,” says Louhento. “We coded all the basic functionality, all the character behavior – I think we only had the Barbarian character back then though.”
He adds, “It was multiplayer, running on a server. And it felt really good.”
This was a bit of a blessing for the team — to have a game that felt good to play from the get-go — but it really all came down to knowing exactly what their goal was from the very beginning.
“It was an easy project in a way,” he admits. “Obviously we put hours and hours into it, but the goal was pretty clear from early on. There were pieces missing, but the structure was there.”
And Louhento puts a lot of this down to the company’s tablet-first strategy. “We make these games for tablets – we can see how things are scrolling, we think about the framerate, and we’ve done a lot of work on the gesture controls.”
Louhento believes that you can tell when a mobile game hasn’t really been developed with usability in mind. “Take The Simpsons: Tapped Out, for example,” he says. “It’s a great game, but they didn’t really put in the effort to think ‘Is this button big enough? Is the usability good? Is this really optimal?’”
“We all played hundreds and thousands of hours of Clash of Clans, just to try to iron out everything. If it didn’t feel right, let’s do it again – let’s really make the scrolling and tapping work best,” he adds.
And this isn’t an new idea either. The public has been choosing the products with the best usability options for many years now, reasons Louhento.
“When Google and Alta Vista came out, they were basically the same thing, but one was a bit more minimalistic, a bit more clear, it performed quicker,” he notes.
He continues, “I think that’s a big part of it – usability. I remember when we were first looking at iPad games, and there were horrible framerates. We said, ‘How can anyone create this UI? Has anyone actually played this game?’
There was plenty of gorgeous artwork and clearly huge amounts of effort put in to make games look great, he says, “but the interfaces and controls weren’t done for tablets – you could easily see that it was a port. You could see the developers who had said ‘Oh, let’s port our PC game for iPad’. And it just felt sucky, so we wanted to make a completely different approach.”
3) Don’t overdo the tutorial
You may or may not be able to tell, but the tutorial for Clash of Clans was added at the very last minute. Indeed, just weeks before the game was launched onto the App Store, no work had been started on the tutorial at all.
Says Louhento, while it is of course important to teach your players had to handle the game properly, there’s far too much emphasis put on tutorials elsewhere in the industry.
“We’re not big fans of long, overdone tutorials,” he says. “I know Zynga has a lot of what they called the ‘Onboarding Stage’, and they spend a lot of time and effort with it – there’s a whole Onboarding team, and they specialize in looking at the metrics, and deciding things like, ‘Let’s make them click here, let’s have a bigger button here, let’s remove the ‘x’ button in this window’ and all that sort of nasty stuff.”
“We really don’t want to do this nasty stuff,” he continues. “If people like what they see and feel comfortable with the environment, then great.”
Of course, as new elements are added to the game that need explaining, then the original tutorial will be updated to incorporate this. And, as Louhento adds, “If we see that the retention in the first phase could be a bit better, we play with it a bit – maybe that button is in a weird place, tweaks like that.”
But in general, the project lead believes that there’s way too much time and money splashed on teaching players every nook and cranny of social games.
4) Healthy competition is great for your company
Clash of Clans and Hay Day were developed by two different teams within Supercell, and the two groups would constantly have friendly digs at each other about how far they were through development, or the features they’d managed to implment most recently.
“We had this healthy competition with the Hay Day team,” Louhento explains. “We’d say ‘our controls feel better than yours’, and every Friday we’d say things to the other team like ‘we managed to build this in a week’.”
“Then next week the Hay Day team would say ‘by the way, we just did this big chunk of code in a week.’ So there was some great, healthy competition. Funny competition!” he adds.
This was a huge part of what made development on Clash of Clans not only of a high standard, but also enjoyable.
“I’ve been making games for 20 years,” Louhento says, “and I’ve never seen this kind of progress – and also joy from making games.”
5) Don’t overwhelm your players
Both Clash of Clans and Hay Day are updated every few weeks with new content — new items, new in-app purchases, new characters and the like.
But updates such as these can be tricky. New players can potentially become overwhelmed by hordes of content, while veteran players may feel like new content messes with the equilibrium of the game.
Supercell’s solution is to only make new content available to loyal players, and bring new players in more gradually before throwing everything into their boat.
“A player coming into Clash of Clans won’t see certain functionality for the first two weeks,” explains Louhento, “and then once they are familiar with the controls, then you can complicate the game a bit, by adding pieces to it.”
“We try not to mess around with the very beginning of the game, because we know it works,” he adds.
Adding new content must conform with the game’s balance between casual and hardcore too. “We’re aware of the fact that we can’t make it too complex, yet it has to have that hidden depth,” Louhento notes. “From the outside it looks relatively simple, but it has that hidden depth.”
And when it comes to keeping a complex game like Clash of Clans balanced, Supercell has a system in place that makes sure any new content doesn’t screw around with the inner workings.
An automated testing simulation runs thousands of battles one after the other, throwing in randomly sized armies with different soldier types each time, and then correlates the data to see whether they’re an obvious area in which the game can become skewed.
“There might be tricks that players figure out of course,” admits Louhento, but for the most part he says that this simulation stage catches all of the bad balancing that could potentially ruin the game. (source:gamasutra)