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游戏开发的最后阶段也是最困难的阶段

作者:ivano cheers

很多人在看了本文的标题后可能会觉得我错了或疯了,但我认为事实的确如此:游戏开发的最后一部分便是最困难的一部分。让我解释给你听:一年前我自己的工作室Soloweb Studios与Raven Eyes Studios决定合作开发一款全新的横向卷轴益智平台游戏,并将其命名为《Aero’s Quest》。因为我们认为自己是“专家”,所以我们会详细计划所有内容:包括原型,角色特性,代码,美术设计,通过社交网站发行的预告片,自我推广,Steam的greenlight等等。

游戏开发的最后阶段也是最困难的阶段

Aero’s Quest(from ali213)

我们为所有工作都分配了明确的时间,并且它们都拥有一个非常严格的里程碑。

让人惊讶的是,不管是复杂的工作(如在不到一个月时间里获得Steam的greenlight)还是简单的工作,我们都达到了所有里程碑。我们也将努力实现已经计划好的今年春天发行的目标。

与每一款处于制作过程的电子游戏一样(特别是那些只有几个人参与的独立游戏),游戏开发就像是坐过山车一样,但所有的一切仍会顺利地进展下去。

对于开发最后一个月到底会出现什么问题呢?

首先,问题这词其实用得并不恰当,但的确,开发的最后一个月或两个月的确与之前每天的工作有所不同。

首先这时候你会认为游戏核心,大部分脚本,所有图像,音乐等等内容都已经完成了:好吧,让我们“假设”是这样的。现在你需要执行两大工作:你需要确保游戏的所有关卡都已完成,还有最无聊的是,你必须赋予游戏“外包装”,即你必须重视游戏的展示,最后序列,最终的过场动画,菜单,选择,UI以及各种可行的语言。

就像在《Aero’s Quest》中,我们拥有101个关卡,每个关卡都需要伴随着谜题和完美的时间设定,并且每个关卡中都有3个需要玩家去开启的成就以及需要玩家去保存并在另一个游戏环节中重新取回的内容。在我们的推广者的建议下,我们决定在菜单中添加更多选择(游戏邦注:包括最简单的控制选择,不同比例和分辨率等等)去迎合各种不同的玩家。当你将所有的这些内容置于6种不同语言中,你便能够理解为什么有那么多公司会设置一个专门开发UI和菜单的部门了。

我们必须清楚,游戏开发的最后两个月也是推广游戏最关键的两个月:因为市场营销的快速运行(幸运的是我们聘请了非常优秀的推广者/PR代理去帮助我们),你必须在确保一切工作有效运行,努力完成游戏,按时更新开发博客以及维持社交的同时关心推广,播客以及流媒体等事宜。当然就更不用说来自游戏测试者的反馈以及模拟访问的结果:你需要重新回到之前的游戏中去修改并完善那些你认为已经完成的内容。

我该如何处理呢?

对此我并没有太多可说的内容:如果你想要开发并发行一款游戏,你就必须清楚这是开发过程中的一部分(并且是非常重要的一部分,因为它是在将游戏呈献给用户的最后环节),所以你不应该低估它:你需要为此投入足够的时间并且这时候你将可能远离之前的舒适区。

而我们似乎过于幸运了:我生活并工作于加勒比区域,这里气候宜人,工作氛围也很好,所以我们很容易放松心情;同时我们还是加勒比区域唯一的独立工作室,所以在停下来休息的时候我并不会遇到许多与我做着同样工作的人不断问我各种问题从而迫使我不得不再去想起工作上的事。

还有《Aero’s Quest》的美术师Travis,我们维持着很棒的合作关系(尽管他住在比我们这冷多了的密歇根州),并且多亏了这种关系,我们总是能够一起克服各种问题。

许多独立开发者都会倾其所有去创造一款出色的游戏以及一个游戏引擎,但是当他们去优化游戏内容并赋予其商业性时却会因为早已弹尽粮绝而遭遇失败。或者更糟糕的是他们虽然完成了游戏,但却没时间或者太迟去推广游戏:这就像你想办法搞到一辆很棒的车子但却只能将其停在车库是一个道理。

结论

我想要再次重复的唯一一点是,永远不要低估游戏开发的最后一阶段:不管它是关于推广,优化,测试还是其它需要你花时间投入的事。

多亏了我们的发行动力,多亏了我们能够克服种种愤怒与挫折,多亏了那些每天在Twitter,steam以及其它社交网站上支持我们的人,《Aero’s Quest》将会努力按时发行,而关于我们的下一个项目,我们也会好好规划这关键的最后一阶段。

原文发表于2015年4月5日,所涉数据和事件均以当时为准。

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转发,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

The final days of development could be the hardest ones!

by ivano cheers

The majority of the people that are reading the title of this post may think I’m wrong or crazy but I believe this is a real fact: the latest part of the development of a game can be the hardest of all. Let me explain: as you may or may not know about one year ago my own studio (Soloweb Studios), in cooperation with Raven Eyes Studios, decided to jump into the development of a new side scroller puzzle platformer game that has been later named Aero’s Quest. Because we call ourselves “pros” we planned everything in details: from the prototype to the characterization of the characters, from the coding to the art design, from the announcement trailer to the pre-release trailer passing by the social networks, self-promotion, steam greenlight and such.

We assigned to everything a precise date and to each date was corresponding a precise milestone.

Surprisingly we kind of hit all the milestones at the right time, from the easy ones to the hard ones (such as getting greenlit on Steam in less than a month, you may read a blog post of mine on Gamasutra regarding this topic, or present the game at Pax South 2015). We should manage also to hit the planned release date which will be this spring (soon the official release day).

Like every video game in production (especially for an indie game where only few people are part of the team) the development has been a bit of a roller coaster, yet everything went quite smoothly.

What is the problem about the very last month then?

Well, let’s start to say that problem is the wrong word, but definitely the last month or two of development are very different from the day by day work.

First of all at this point you suppose that the game core, the majority of the scripts, all the art and the graphics, music and stuff like this are done: ok, let’s “suppose” that. Now you have to deal with two main works to do: you need to finish your game up with all the levels done and, the mostly boring one, you have to complete your game intended as a “package”, meaning you have to take care about presentation, final sequences, eventual cut scenes, menus, options, UI and (like in our case) plenty of available languages.

In the case of Aero’s Quest we have 101 levels each of one needs to be designed with puzzles and perfect timing, each of one have three achievements to unlock and everything need to be saved in a database to be retrieved in another gaming session. Plus, under the suggestion of our promoters, we decided to add in the menu as many options as we could fit it (from the simplest control choice to the different ratio and resolution passing by a “quality” option in order to make run the game also on older computers.) so we could “make happy” all kinds of gamers. Put this all together in six different languages and you understand why so many companies has a special department only to develop UIs and menus.

Let’s not forget then that the last two months of the development of a game are also the two months where your future game is promoted the most: with the marketing running in high gears (luckily we hired a very good promoter/PR agency to cover that part) you need to take care about promotion, podcasts, streaming and eventually interviews while you have to keep everything running, finishing the game, keeping up to date your dev blog, your social connections and stuff. Not to mention the feedback from the play testers, the results of the mock reviews: you have to come back and fix, tweak, polish something that you were thinking already was cemented and done, crossed off. Plus there is the bureaucracy, paper-work, preparing the steam store page …

How do I deal with it?

There is not a lot to say about this: if you want to develop and publish a game you must know that this is part of the development (a very important part since it is in the end the way the game is presented to the audience ) so really don’t under-estimate it: needs a lot of time and often a lot of this time is spent away from the comfort zone we use to work into.

In my specific case I’m quite lucky: I live and work from a caribbean island (by the way check out the article of PC Gamer about my office in the Caribbean) where A) The clime and the atmosphere is fantastic so it’s easy to calm down in stressful moments B) We are the only indie studio of the Caribbean so when I take a break I won’t meet plenty of people doing the same job of mine asking questions and making me think about work and issues.

More over with Travis, the artist of Aero’s Quest, we have a great working relationship (despite the fact that he lives in Michigan in a much colder area than mine) and we often overcome problems and issues together thanks to a bond that works well for us and for the game.

Many indie developers dedicate all their resources to develop a fantastic core game and eventually a engine but then at the moment to polish it, to make it commerciable they tend to fail because the tank at that point is empty while the final stage of the development is craving for fuel. Or even worse they finish their game but they have no time or they are too late to promote it: what’s the point to own a fancy car just to leave it in the garage?

Conclusions

The only thing that I want to repeat once again is never under estimate the last stage of the development of a game: whether is called promotion, polishing, testing or all of them they are necessary and they take time (a lot).

Aero’s Quest will manage to be released on time (even if we didn’t plan so many difficulties at this stage) thanks to our drive and necessity to publish the game, thanks to the fact that we outsource a quite big part of the promotion, thanks to the fact that we easily overcome anger and frustration (something that every indie developer should learn first) and thanks to the people that are supporting us every day via twitter, steam and social networks, yet, for the next project, we will plan this part in order to give us more time and to avoid any final rush.( source:Gamasutra

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