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开发者谈制作游戏推广视频时不可减省的五项工作

发布时间:2021-06-17 11:44:51 Tags:,

开发者谈制作游戏推广视频时不可减省的五项工作

原作者:Natalia Shuhman 译者:Willow Wu

当你的资源条件比较有限时,想方设法在创作的每个阶段节省开销是完全可以理解的。然而,虽然某些阶段的工作看起来似乎没有那么重要,但是削减之后,你最终得到的结果很有可能是质量低劣,或者把问题搞得更复杂,甚至导致项目延后。

更重要的是,跳过这些工作其实并不会帮你省下很多钱或者时间。接下来我们就来探讨这五个阶段:

1.脚本

将脚本抛在脑后,凭直觉拼凑?这无疑是一种很大胆的策略,但并不理性。没有脚本的游戏推广视频就像是没有设定职责范围的项目。为了避免制作过程中无休止的重复劳动,产生混乱的结果,一定要多多关注脚本。

首先要确定的是你到底想向用户传达什么。然后考虑你要使用什么视觉媒体具象化你的创意,将你的每个点子与手头的资源相结合。接着逐步拓展主题,保持一致性,有逻辑地将一个点子衔接到另一个点子上。如果视频还有旁白,记得要完善叙述内容。

2.翻译

如果你的母语是英语,而视频中需要用到外语——就比如德语,那你最好去去雇佣一个母语为德语、生活中也会说英语的人。请他们翻译文本框中的文字,CTA(行动召唤)和旁白文本。别指望依靠机翻或者母语不是德语的人。英语为母语的人可能会犯一些错误,或者在表达上出现一些你不会注意到的小问题,但你的目标受众会马上注意到。

3.找母语是目标语言的人配音

如果你想省钱的话,正确的做法是不要配音,而不是找母语是另外一种语言的人来配音。如果配音在你看来是必不可少的——有时它确实会在视频中起到支柱作用——一定要选一个母语是目标语言的人。如果可能的话,你可以让其他母语是目标语言的人来为你挑选旁白,比如翻译。

从我们的经验来看,审查是必须的。之前我们遇到过这样的情况:母语是目标语言的人发现候选的旁白有口音、吐字不太清晰或陈述方式不太自然,这都是我们无法注意到的。无论TA的音色多有吸引人,一旦出现这些问题我们就会选择换人。

关于视频旁白必要性的讨论,你可以阅读我们的另一篇文章“Should You Use Voice-Overs for Your Game Trailer/Preview?”(https://blog.alconost.com/en/should-you-use-voice-overs-for-your-game-trailer/preview)

4.故事板

这不是关于节省成本的,而是关于节省时间的:你可以通过跳过故事板环节缩短制作周期吗?如果是非常简单的视频,那么回答是肯定的。即便如此,你也应该设计出一种视觉风格:比如文本框的设计和字体选择、结尾画面要考虑游戏标志、商店徽章和CTA的构图。最省力的做法就是在静态阶段创建、检验这些元素,从而减少动画阶段的迭代次数。

故事板对于包含动态画面的游戏尤其重要,因为这个阶段你要把零散的素材聚合到场景中。如果你在准备素材时忘记把某些艺术资源放入源文件,那么在故事板阶段这个错误就很容易被发现并得到纠正。如果素材中角色或者位置设定有错,你也能在故事板中一下就注意到,很快就能纠正。如果直接让动画师花十几个小时做成动画,之后你才发现错误,这肯定会更费时费力。

Boom Beach(from pocketgamer.biz)

Boom Beach(from pocketgamer.biz)

5.音效设计

事实上,85%的Facebook用户在看视频时是不开声音的,这对“做一个无声视频”来说确实是一个有利的依据。但是在YouTube上,绝大多数人是开着声音看视频的,看推广视频时会关掉声音的人大概有35%~40%,具体取决于所在国家。

正如我们在Alconost网站上所看到的,用户开不开声音是他们的事,而创造者的工作就是确保无论无声还是有声,用户都能获得很好的体验。文本框能帮助那些静音观看的人理解内容——我们在故事板阶段设计了,记得吧?而考虑到那些开声音的人,视频的背景音乐确实得花些心思。

使用版权库里的音乐花费一般都不超过50美元,也有可能你花15~20美元就能找到非常满意的音乐。这些费用并没有多到想让人压成本。需要特别提醒的是,购买的音乐必须经过编辑以匹配动画时长,而且关键帧应该配上音效加以强调。

如果你是自己做视频,在这个阶段你或许还需要一个音效工程师。还有一种或许可行的选项就是联系到一个能为你的游戏创作原声带的作曲人,帮这个忙应该不会耗费他们太多时间。

在这五个阶段之后呢?就是动画本身。一个既定的想法可以通过不同视觉效果来表达,而设计动画是制作视频最费时费力的阶段,所以在这个阶段考虑节省成本是合理的。

自然,3D或CGI视频的效果会更加令人印象深刻,但如果你预算有限的话,不妨试试其它的选择。

· 选项1:2D动画视频

就比如说Wild West: Steampunk Alliances的预告视频。

在这些情况下可以考虑选择2D:

· 你需要一个能够呈现可预见未来的视频——例如,你需要考虑在视频发布时或发布不久之后,实际的游戏特色是否跟视频里的一样。
· 你计划把这个视频展示给不同国家的用户看,但你不想把本地化流程搞得太复杂。
· 你并不需要为商店做预告视频,先导广告或者有趣的推广视频就可以。

为了更轻松地实施这个策略,你要提前挑选好应用到视频中的素材。遵循你的脚本,把素材放置到场景中,不要遗漏任何细节。记得每个场景都要包含一张高分辨率的背景图片、角度合适的角色立绘、与地点相关的元素以及其它与玩法相关的物品。

如果你的源文件是PSD格式的,要确保你的文件都分好了层。如果视频中有包含角色动画的话,这一点是非常重要的。当角色只有一个图层的时候,给它做动画会非常困难。当他们的手指、前臂、脖子、嘴唇、眼睛、眉毛等所有指骨都是独立的元素时,动画师做微笑、皱眉或握拳等动作时会更加轻松。

你还可以看看Heroes of War Magic这个游戏的先导预告。

动态图像可以成为先导预告的素材,继而在广告平台或社交网络上发挥出很好的推广作用。这类视频的目的并不是展示真实的游戏特色,不用做多少调整能投放到国外的市场。

但如果你的计划是把这类视频放在应用商店的游戏页面上,那我无法保证App Store审核方会认同这种做法。

· 选项2:将游戏玩法和动画场景组合

做动画(即使是2D)是一件相当费力的事,尤其是涉及到角色和那种细节很多的环境。但你的视频可能不需要用到全部的场景。

我们可以通过展示游戏玩法来表达某些创意,分割动画序列。应用得当的话,这种方法是不会影响视觉连贯性的。举个例子,Bubble Illusion这个游戏的预告视频——有些场景是动态图像,有些是实际玩法展示。

你甚至可以把二者组合在同一个画面中。比如Mahjong Village的游戏预告视频,左边的相框在展示实际的玩法,而右边的动画在展示黑夜中的城堡、阳光下的村庄。

如果你的预算有限,尽量多展示游戏玩法,只有在必要时才展示动画。比如说游戏中的任务,如果只用游戏玩法展示就会过于详细,而且你得播放很久才能表现出其中的趣味。最好是用图式或象征的方式来描述游戏特色、表达你的创意——动画就是非常好的选择。

· 选项3:玩法视频

最经济的选择就是录下实际玩法,选取最精彩的片段,然后跟背景音乐搭配一下。要让这个策略发挥作用,你要仔细检查游戏玩法所表现的内容是否跟你的脚本相符。如果你想要用最低的成本实现成功,视频必须是展示游戏中已经存在的内容,而且不需要进行任何修饰。

比如说,你做的是一个太空射击游戏,你希望视频能够展示宇宙飞船从一群战舰上方飞过这样一种宏大的场面,那么这个动画一定是游戏中已有的。如果是还没做的话——当然你可以特地为视频做出这个动画,但这样的话成本无疑会变高,所以如果你优先考虑的是节省开销,那就尽量只用游戏中已有的动画片段。

如果你的视频有配音,那么玩法剪辑就要注意配合——意思就是说视频序列必须配合旁白的叙述,而不是反过来。这样能够保持画外音的自然节奏,避免视频序列转移到下一个场景,而旁白仍在阅读前一个场景的文本。

一般来说,是配音决定每个场景的时长。就比如One Life Story这个游戏。

为了避免游戏视频显得单调,你可以加快片段的播放速度,无缝衔接另一个片段,甚至在屏幕上同时显示多个片段。Taonga: Tropical Farm这个游戏也是这样的。

虽说我们的建议是尽量多使用游戏玩法片段,完全不用动画是不可能的。就比如说上面两个游戏的视频结尾都是动态图像,而不是玩法展示。你的视频势必包含至少一个动态图像,在估算成本时你得记住这一点。

总结

那么,游戏工作室自己制作一个视频要花多少时间和人力?这个问题我们在“How Much Time and Energy Could Making an In-House Video Cost a Game Development Studio?”(https://blog.alconost.com/en/inhouse-video-cost)这篇文章中讨论过了。总之,我们认为游戏工作室一般不会自己制作视频。虽然这个过程很有趣,但可能你费时费力还得不到一个满意的结果。话虽如此,如果你的计划是自己做视频,那么希望这篇文章能够帮助你确定制作过程中的优先事项。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

When resources are limited, the desire to save money at each stage of video creation is perfectly understandable. However, while certain stages of the process may seem of negligible importance, when you try to cut costs you will either wind up with a video of noticeably lower quality, or complicate and delay the project.

What’s more, omitting these stages ultimately will not save you significant time or money. Here are the stages we’re referring to.

Five areas where it doesn’t pay to economise

· 1. The script

Forego the script and piece the video together intuitively? A daring approach to be sure, but not a very rational one. A video without a script is like a project without terms of reference. To avoid endless reworkings in the process and a garbled end result, give the script your utmost attention.

First decide what exactly you want to convey to the viewer. Then think about what visual media you’ll employ to bring your idea to life, and coordinate each of your ideas with the resources at your disposal, whether live gameplay or the game’s source graphics. Develop your theme consistently, proceeding logically from one idea to the next. If you plan for the video to include voice-over, refine how the text of the narration is formulated.

· 2. Translation

If your native language is English, but you need a video in a foreign language — German, for example — hire an English-speaking translator whose native language is German. Ask them to translate text box inscriptions, CTAs [calls to action], and the voiceover text. Don’t count on machine translation or on the abilities of non-native speakers of German. A native speaker will make errors or produce stylistic wrinkles that you would never notice, but that your target audience will pick up on immediately.

· 3. Voiceover by a native speaker

If you want to save money, it is better to do without narration in the video altogether than to have voiceover by a non-native speaker. If voiceover for your video is a must — sometimes the narrator’s voice is a “load-bearing element” of the video — choose a narrator who is a native speaker of the target language. When possible, have the voice actor you’ve chosen vetted by another native speaker — for example, the translator.

In our experience, the vetting stage is a must. There have been instances when native speakers have noticed that the potential narrator had an accent, problems with diction, or an unnatural reading style, which we ourselves, not being native speakers, were simply unable to identify. No matter how much the voice itself appealed to us, in these instances we continued our search until we found the ideal option.

Regarding when a game video requires narration and when it can be omitted, we discussed the issue in this article.

· 4. Storyboarding

This is a question of saving time, rather than money. Can you shorten the production cycle by tossing out the storyboarding stage? For very simple videos with gameplay visuals, yes, you can. Even here, however, you should develop a visual style: for text boxes, come up with a design and typeface; for the closing screen, think through the composition, embellishing it with the game logo, store badges, and a CTA. The most convenient method is to create and certify these elements while they are static, to decrease the number of iterations during animation.

Storyboarding is especially important for videos with animated graphics — more on that below — as this is the stage that isolated assets combine into cohesive scenes. If while preparing your materials you forget to include certain art in the source archive, at the storyboarding stage this error is easily pinpointed and corrected. And if the archive of materials turns out to contain the wrong character or location version, again, it is quicker and simpler to notice and correct this during storyboarding than for the animator to spend a dozen hours animating the wrong character or the wrong location version.

5. Sound design

The fact that 85% of Facebook users watch videos with no sound is a serious argument in favor of foregoing music and sound effects in your video. On YouTube, however, most people watch videos with sound enabled: the number of those who turn off the sound for advertising videos on YouTube varies between 35% and 40%, depending on the country.

As we see it at Alconost, whether or not the user watches the video with sound is their business. The creator’s job is to make the video ideal in both cases. For those who watch with no sound, text boxes will prove helpful — we designed them at the storyboarding stage, remember? — while for those who leave sound enabled, the video should include sound design.

The cost of a standard license for stock tracks generally does not exceed $50, although attractive tunes can also be found for $15 to $20. Once again, these are not expensive enough for it to make sense to skimp on them. It’s worth mentioning that the purchased track will have to be edited to match the duration of the animation, while key on-screen actions should be emphasized with sound effects.

If you make a video on your own, you may need the help of a sound engineer at this stage. One possible option would be to try reaching out to the composer who wrote the soundtrack for your game: the task of adding a musical track and sound effects to your video shouldn’t take them much time at all.

How to save on the video sequence

After these five stages, what’s left? Strangely enough, the animation itself. A given idea can be conveyed by different visual means, and since compiling animation is the most labor-intensive stage of creating a video, it makes sense to consider this particular stage when economising.

Naturally, videos with 3D or CGI look impressive, but when your budget is limited it makes sense to explore other options.

· Option 1: Video with animated graphics in 2D

An example of this type of video is the game trailer for Wild West: Steampunk Alliances.

Here’s when it makes sense to consider this particular option:

· 1. You need a video that will not lose relevance in the foreseeable future — for example, if at the time of the video’s release or shortly after the actual features will look different than they do at the time of the video’s production.
· You’re planning to show the video to viewers from various countries and you want to simplify the process of adapting the video for foreign markets.
· You don’t need a trailer for a store, but rather a teaser or advertising video with an interesting theme, which requires more than just gameplay video.

In order to simplify bringing this option to life, come up with a selection of graphic files ahead of time that you plan to use in the video. Follow the script and compile your assets for each scene, leaving no details out. In the archive, for each scene don’t forget to include a high-resolution background image, the proper characters from the proper angles, location elements, and other gameplay objects.

If your source files are in PSD format, make sure your files are layered. This is particularly important if the video should include character animation. When a character is a single-layer subject, animating their movements is a difficult proposition. But when all the phalanges of their fingers, forearms, neck, lips, eyes, brows, etc. are separate elements, it is far easier for the animator to make the character smile, scowl, or clench their hands into fists.

Here’s another example of a video with animated graphics: a teaser for the game Heroes of War Magic.

As we see, graphics created with animation in mind can serve as a basis for effective teasers to promote a game on advertising platforms or social networks. Additionally, this type of video does not depend on how game features actually look, and can be easily adapted to foreign markets.

However, if you decide to use this kind of video on the game page in an app store, there’s no guarantee that a video with animated graphics will pass the App Store’s moderation.

· Option 2: Combining gameplay and animated scenes

Animating graphics, even in 2D, is a fairly laborious affair, especially when it comes to character animation or highly detailed environments. But it’s entirely possible that your video’s subject matter does not require compiling all the scenes from source graphics.

It may be possible to convey some of the ideas using gameplay scenes, which can be used to break up the animated video sequence. When properly employed, this approach will not compromise the video’s visual cohesiveness. For example, watch the trailer for the game Bubble Illusion — some of its scenes are animated graphics, and some are actual gameplay.

You can even combine gameplay and graphics in a single scene. For example, in the video for the game Mahjong Village, the playing field with tiles is recorded gameplay, while the animated background in the distance, the fortress with the lighted windows, and the sunny village are animated graphics.

If you’re on a limited budget, use as much gameplay as possible, resorting to animated graphics only when absolutely necessary. Examples of this might include features such as quests, which will be too drawn out or too detail-heavy for recorded gameplay. It’s best to describe this game feature schematically or symbolically, conveying the idea figuratively, and this is where animated graphics are your friend.

· Option 3: Gameplay video

The most economical option is to record gameplay, select the best fragments, and set the captured video to the rhythm of the music. For this option to work, carefully check whether the gameplay depicts what you envisioned in the script. If you want to get by with minimal expense, your video has to show what is already in the game, without embellishments such as custom unit placement or changes to the UI.

For example, if you have a space shooter and you want the video to depict a spectacular scene of a spaceship flying over an aerial armada, the game must already include this animation. If it has not yet been created, it can of course be made specifically for the video using the game’s source graphics. But this will cost more than a gameplay montage, so if cost-cutting is your priority, try to use only animations your game already contains.

If your video includes voiceover, any gameplay montage must be synced to it. That is, the video sequence must be matched to the narrator, not vice versa. This will allow you to keep the voiceover to a natural pace and avoid a situation where the video sequence has moved on to the next scene while the narrator is still reading the text for the one preceding.

In general, when a video contains speech, it is the speech that determines how long each scene lasts. An example of this approach is the video for the game One Life Story.

To keep the gameplay video from appearing monotonous, don’t be afraid to speed up the recorded fragments a little, switch from one to the next, or even show several fragments on screen at once. We employed this approach in the video for the game Taonga: Tropical Farm.

However, even in these videos, which employ gameplay to the max, animated graphics could not be avoided altogether. For example, the closing screen in both videos was not recorded gameplay, but animated static graphics. Your video is bound to include at least one such scene, so keep this in mind when assessing the labor cost of creating the video.

Conclusions

The question of how much time and energy making an in-house video could take is addressed in detail in this article. In general, we’re of the opinion that creating videos is not exactly what game developers typically do. Although it’s a fascinating process, it can end up taking considerable time, without producing the result you were hoping for. Nevertheless, if you plan to create your video on your own, we hope this article helps you determine your priorities in the productive process.

(source: games industry )


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