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为什么我们决定开发《Permia-Duels》的续集?

作者:Jukka Hilvonen

本文将描述我们开始开发一款纸牌收集游戏《Permia – Duels II》的背景和决策制定过程。

之所以要在这里描述决定制作过程是希望能够提供诚实的自我反思去帮助其他游戏开发者从中学到些东西并建议他们做出适合自己的决策。此外我也希望能够从一些产业人士那获得反馈去帮助我们进一步发展这一过程。

背景

《Permia-Duels II》是纸牌收集游戏《Permia-Duels》的续集。《Permia-Duels》是在2013年发行于Windows平台上。这款游戏主要是受到《最终幻想VIII》的迷你游戏《Triple Triad》的启发。

让我们简单地描述这款游戏。在这里每个玩家都将拥有六张基于六边形的纸牌。在六边形中的每一面都会呈现出这一面中单位的能量。玩家将依次在战场上放置自己的单位。玩家在战斗中的目标便是通过获取对手的纸牌去战胜对方。玩家将在对手纸牌的旁边面放置更厉害的单位去获取对方的纸牌。当所有纸牌都被放置在战场上时,在战场上拥有更多纸牌的玩家便是胜者。

我们会发现这是一款非常立基的游戏。它与休闲益智游戏《Candy Crush Saga》是截然不同的。然而这款游戏却也很容易学习,因为游戏的基本规则非常容易理解,游戏中的纸牌战斗虽然很短(游戏邦注:通常只需要3,4分钟)但却能够提供给玩家具有战术性且有趣的挑战。

在游戏开发过程中我们与微软保持了紧密的合作,并且游戏的发行时间也是基于他们的AppCampus的合作项目(及旨在帮助优秀的开发者创造出更棒的游戏并将这些游戏带到Windows Phone平台上)。因为AppCampus项目,还因为那时候该平台上还没多少优秀的纸牌战斗游戏,并且获得了来自微软的推荐,我们在Windows平台上创造了不错的结果。

为什么我们决定开发《Permia-Duels》的续集?

PD_Windows_downloads(from gamasutra)

在2015年夏天我们决定在iOS App Store上发行这款游戏去测试它是否也能在苹果的平台上发挥作用。结果证明并非如此。

为什么我们决定开发《Permia-Duels》的续集?

PD_iOS_Sales(from gamasutra)

那为何我们还决定创造《Permia-Duels》的续集?

首先几乎不存在阻止我们这么做的理由

动画和其它视觉元素的HTML5支持

HTML5并不是展示动画,粒子效果和其它能够帮助我们提高游戏视觉效果(游戏邦注:这也是当前手机游戏领域所需要的)的有效工具。这可能会减少我们在重要的前10秒钟留住玩家注意的可能性。

HTML5游戏在iOS和Android上的表现

还有一个很大的原因便是HTML5在Android和iOS平台上的表现仍然不是很理想,至少我们看到的是这样。当然了苹果的WKWebView已经提高了传统HTML5和混合型应用的性能,但这并不等价于你需要处理许多动画,粒子效果等内容的手机游戏也是如此。而这将会大大影响着我们最大的潜在市场规模(因为我们是免费游戏开发者,所以这也是我们所面对的主要变量之一,而这也是发行商需要担心的事)。即使拥有像《Permia-Duels》这样的硬核游戏体验,我们仍需要确保吸引所有可能的玩家前来游戏,即使是从理论上来看。

尽管拥有糟糕的技术表现,但游戏在主要目标市场上还是具有一定的吸引力

我认为创造《Permia-Duels II》存在机会的第三个原因是,最初的《Permia-Duels》虽然并不具有足够出色的动画且在一些目标设备上的表现不佳,但是在目标市场,即西方市场还是拥有不错的表现。关于不错的表现我指的是在没有付费广告的前提下它拥有可观的下载量,且对于一款中核游戏来说它在包括德国,英国和法国在内的目标市场的用户留存还是很高的(游戏邦注:第一天大概是30%,第7天为15%,第30天为5%)。

这一数据让我们看到了这款游戏的价值定位,即还是存在潜在玩家会去下载它的。同时也是因为游戏足够优秀(虽然存在一些明显的缺陷),但是在发行30天后仍有5%的玩家愿意继续游戏。

价值定位仍然很重要

《Permia-Duels》的价值定位非常明显:它提供给了玩家结合有意义的战术挑战的快速玩家对抗玩家战斗。这就像是国际象棋。

同时当我们决定开发《Permia-Duels II》(即在2015年11月)时,我们还找不到其它提供了同样的游戏深度且具有和我们游戏相当的战斗速度的游戏。当然了,当Supercell发行《Clash Royale》时所有的这一切就发生了改变。

尽管在我们之前出现了相似的手机游戏,但我们的《Permia-Duels II》拥有与之不同的游戏体验,这也能够帮助我们从市场上赚取足够的收益。

机遇够大,而风险是可以控制的

我们已经使用了像App Annie,Priori Data和Gamerefinery等工具广泛调查了这个市场,我们的所有发现都证实高质量的纸牌战斗游戏能够吸引大量的玩家,所以我们的游戏具有足够的发展空间。CCG领域还未像城镇战斗游戏那样被彼此相似的游戏所填满。

另一方面,即使游戏遭遇失败,我们也可以继续投入另一场战斗去维持公司的存活。当然了,这肯定需要付出一定的代价,但对于这时候的我们来说,这便是我们的最佳行动方案。

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

Why did we decide to develop Permia – Duels II?

by Jukka Hilvonen

This article describes the background of and our making decision making process on starting the development of collectible-card game Permia – Duels II.

Primary purpose of describing the decision making process is to offer honest self-reflection so that other game developers could possibly learn something from that and advance their own decision making. Secondary purpose is to get feedback from more advanced guys from the industry so that we also could learn and develop our processes.

Background

Permia – Duels II is a sequel to collectible-card game Permia – Duels which was originally published on Windows platform in 2013. The game was inspired by Triple Triad minigame from Final Fantasy VIII.

The short description of the game is that each player has in their hands six cards which are depicted as hexagonal shapes. On each side of the hexagon, there is a number representing the power of that unit on that side. Players place their units in turns to the battlefield. The goal of the battle is to win the opponent by capturing opponents cards. Cards are captured by placing a unit with greater number on the side next to opponent’s card. When all cards are placed on battlefield, the player with more cards on the battlefield is the winner.

As you can see from the short trailer video of the original Permia – Duels below, the game is quite niché. It is far, far away from the casual puzzlers like Candy Crush Saga. Still, the game is quite easy to learn, the basic rules of the game is easy to comprehend and battles are very quick for a card battler (3-4 mins typically) yet offering meaningful tactical brain exercise and the pleasure of occasionally winning fellow players on the other side of the battlefield.

We worked closely with Microsoft during the development and release time of the game via their AppCampus partnership program whose purpose was to get good developers to develop apps and game onto Windows Phone platform. We got ok results from Windows platform due to AppCampus partnership and because at the time there was a lack of good card battlers on the platform and we got nice featuring placements from Microsoft.

On summer 2015, we decided to publish the game on iOS App Store to test out how the game could get a traction on Apple’s platform. It didn’t, as you can see from the chart below.

So why we decided to do a sequel to Permia – Duels?

First, there were few considerable causes which hindered

HTML5 support of animations and other visual stuff

HTML5 isn’t very good tool to present animations, particle effects or other neat visual effects that would allow us to increase visual polish of the game which is required in current mobile gaming landscape. This reduces our chances to get players stick in our game during those important first 10 seconds

HTML5 games performance on iOS and Android

Another big reason is that HTML5 performance on Android and iOS still very very bad, at least on our experience. Sure, Apple’s WKWebView has increased the performance of traditional HTML5 and hybrid apps but that doesn’t translate very well to mobile games where you need to handle a lot of animations, particle effects and real-time counting of these things. This considerably affects our maximum addressable market size which is one of the primary variables which we as a F2P game developer and publisher need to worry about. Even if with such a core gaming experience as Permia – Duels, we still need to make sure that all possible gamers could get to play the game, even theoretically.

Despite poor technical performance, the game was getting traction on key target markets

Third reason why we believe that we have chances with Permia – Duels II is that the original Permia – Duels was doing ok in key target markets in west despite not having good enough animations and poor performance on some of the target devices. By doing ok I mean that it has got decent number of downloads without any paid advertising and also that the retention of the game in target markets (Germany, UK, France) is OK for mid-core game (D1 around 30%, D7: 15% and D30: 5%).

This data tells us that the value-proposition of the game which we describe in the product page is interesting enough for the potential players to download it. Also, the game itself is decent enough (albeit some very clear drawbacks in PD-I) that 5% of all players play the game after 30 days.

The value proposition is still quite unique

The value proposition of Permia – Duels is clear: it offers quick PvP battles combined with meaningful tactical challenges for players. It’s chess on steroids.

At the time when we made the decision to start the development of Permia – Duels II (November 2015) we couldn’t find any other game that would offer same kind of depth combined with the speed of the battles we have. Of course all that changed when Supercell published Clash Royale.

Despite the king of mobile releasing similar game to market before us, we have different enough gaming experience with PD-II that allows to peel decent revenues from the market.

Opportunity is big enough, risks are manageable

We have researched the market space extensively with tools such as App Annie, Priori Data and Gamerefinery and all of our findings confirm that there is enough players for high-quality card-battler games that f2p business model for our game would make sense. CCG space is not (yet) filled up with games that sound and taste similar to each other so that it would hurt the genre overall. I think that has happened in town battler games already.

On the flip side, even if the game would be a total flop, we are able to keep the company alive and survive to fight another battle. Sure, there would be sunk costs and opportunity costs but for us at this time, this the best course of action we could honestly take.( source:gamasutra )

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