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独立游戏开发者经验教训 编辑本段回目录

现在的我正处在一个非常有趣的处境。尽管《Malevolence》并不是我所创造的第一款游戏,但却是我所发行的第一款游戏,并且它也很幸运的在创造初期便获得了巨大的关注(对于一款独立游戏而言已经很厉害了)。有人告诉我,并不是每款游戏都有这种运气。一般情况下,开发者总是会先创造几款游戏去试探市场,并最终发现最能给自己带来利益的游戏,或参与其它游戏开发项目,如为AAA级游戏公司创造游戏。

因为拥有这一独特的视角并且在第一次尝试便创造出一款成功的游戏(尽管还未发行),我从出现过资深独立游戏开发者曾有过的悲观情绪。而这也是推动我写下这种新思维的主要原因——并不是教授你如何做一名游戏开发者。

阶段1–妄想

与所有的大学生一样,我也会进行各种妄想,如希望自己获得资格认证,创造一系列游戏组合或者成为AAA级游戏公司中的职员。如此我便能够获得名望与财富,创造我喜欢的游戏,并幸福地生活着。

在完成大学学业后,我发现之前的辛苦付出只能让我出现在一个初级的QA工作“筛选”名单表中,而通过考核后我也将不得不一周70多个小时待在一个小房间里专注于一些反复且不断摧残精神的工作。

what it is to be a tester(from Penny Arcade)

what it is to be a tester(from Penny Arcade)

测试者便是一个有效的例子。

当然了,我也在这一过程中学会了一些真正技能(能够用于之后的创作中),但是大多数游戏公司都在每个项目的最后选择丢弃QA团队(在他们签订了保密协议之后),如此便严重摧残了他们的精神。所以说这本身就是一项隐藏着危险的工作。

如果(真的只是如果),我从QA团队被挑选出来并担当公司里的一项职位,那么将会出现两种情况:

编者的话:因为这有可能引起各种争议,所以我必须澄清以下所列出的并不适用于所有游戏公司。我只是参考之前遇到过的一些游戏开发者的经历,而这些观点绝不代表整个游戏产业。

程序员的职位—-我将一屁股坐下并一周花费70多个小时在别人的专有引擎上编写脚本,因为使用的是第三方“速度开发”产品,所以我将发现一些“为了速度而牺牲质量”的情况,这将破坏我作为程序员的正直。如此我对于创造新功能的热情便会被慢慢磨蚀掉,并且我在业余时间里所创造的一些内容都被雇主所控制着,如此我对于创造的热情也不可能长久。

美术师的职位—-也许我足够幸运能够被分配到自己喜欢的职位上。我能够轻松地为一个全新的射击游戏进行设计,建造科幻资产,并看着它们在引擎中逐渐成形。但有一天制作人(游戏邦注:不懂计算机,其游戏创造经验只停留在《宝石迷阵闪电战》)会突然跳出来并说道:“我10岁的侄子非常喜欢小马。所以你最好做出改变而创造出一款与小马有关的游戏。”因为他是游戏资金的持有者,所以我不得不放弃之前的所有内容而投入全部时间去创造出有关小马的内容。同时,因为我在业余时间所创造的内容也属于雇主的控制范围内,所以我的游戏组合便受到了极大的限制,从而让我很难转向其它公司。

阶段2–决定

有了这种认识,我将把注意力转向独立游戏开发场景,在此我无需对任何人负责,可以做任何自己想做的事,但同时也存在一些负面元素:

白天我需要致力于全职工作而赚取生活经费,并在业余时间转向《 Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox》(我梦想中的游戏,其中包含了我希望看到的一切内容)的创造。我希望呈现给人们真正的游戏。即包含新技术,新游戏机制以及一些早前的游戏元素。这将成为一款让世界惊艳的游戏,并因此而改变游戏世界。

那时的我还年少轻狂,也没有人提醒我会发生什么事。

首先,我使用了一种新的程序生成方法去创造无限的世界,而我最喜欢的游戏类型一直都是RPG,所以我便想着“何不创造一款无限的程序RPG?”在那时候看来这似乎是个不错的想法,所以我便开始落实行动,并发现它真的很有效。我甚至写了一篇描述这一游戏的博客。可以说那时候一切的进展还非常顺利。

阶段3–启示

在这一阶段我开始遇到其他游戏开发者,在此之前我真的没认识几位开发者。在全职工作中我认识了一名开发者,而他也向我介绍了更多开发者。看上去他们都对我的项目充满兴趣,并对于我积极尝试新事物给予了满满的支持。他们的这种态度有效地推动着我将开发过程进一步推向公众,我也开始推广《Malevolence》并吸引了更多成员的加入,共同为这款游戏的发展贡献一份力量。

让我惊讶的是这款游戏真的获得了巨大的关注(对于一款由产业中没有名气的人所创造的独立游戏来说真的很棒),我也对此感到非常兴奋,并继续专注于PR工作。但是有了正面的关注自然也会有负面的关注,而我也注意到两大重要元素:

基于互联网的匿名性,所以的人都有可能变得很可怕。

你可能获得1000条赞扬的评价,但是只要出现一条消极评价,你所付出的一切努力都将被摧毁。

实际上,我在游戏中的一些创新并不是在所有人身上都是讨喜的,因此我会收到各种各样的负面评价,包括令人难堪的言行以及人身攻击等等,甚至还有一些死亡威胁。一个无法改变的事实是,那些不敢去实现自己梦想的人将不断阻止你去追求自己的梦想。人们总是能够轻易地说“只要忽视那些评论就可以了”,但是做到这一点却不是件易事。

有些不喜欢这种游戏理念的人敢于明确地说出了自己的感受,但是毕竟这种人还是少之又少。

很早之前我就决定采取开放的开发政策,并非常乐意与公众展开交流。我甚至因为能够积极回答各种问题而赚得了不错的名声。也许别人将这种开放性当成陋习,但是仍有许多人乐于这么做,因为他们知道肯定有人愿意听取自己的想法。

首先,我之所以会这么想是因为我以为自己只是在单方面的传达新理念,但是在遇见其他游戏开发者后我发现这正是玩家社区想要看到的。玩家们都认为自己有权告诉开发者自己想要什么。但也不是说他们都喜欢这么做。有许多人在整个过程中充满了积极性,而你需要紧抓着这些人不放,因为我的一位开发者好友曾说过:“那些讨厌你的游戏的人将一直大声抱怨。他们也只会这么做。但是不管怎么说,他们也仍会购买你的游戏。”—-而这正是你需要重视的。别人是否喜欢你的游戏并不会造成多大影响,真正重要的是你是否喜欢自己的游戏。只有你先喜欢自己的游戏,别人才会去喜欢它。就像在过去几年里《我的世界》已经积攒了许多怨气,但是尽管如此Mojang仍卖出了好几百万份游戏,并且我们也能感受到他们对于自己的创作非常自豪。

我们必须对自己的作品感到自豪。不管何时何种原因让你对游戏产生了自豪感,你都应该紧紧把握住它。就像John Passfield曾经对我说,他相信《Malevolence》有可能成为一部巨作,《激战2》的开发团队也曾说我是一名“梦想家”,我的项目甚至得到了RockPaperShotgun(游戏邦住:一个专门为电脑游戏提供评价和分析的网站)的推荐。而这些都孕育着我的自豪感的源泉,不管何时我遭到嫉妒者的抨击,我都会带着这种自豪感挺过来。

阶段4–后见之明

在回顾过去时,我注意到作为独立游戏开发者还会遇到许多别人未曾叮嘱过我们的事:

有一大部分公众会公开表示讨厌你,不管你在做什么。你需要学会忍受这种讨厌。

除了你自己,没人会那般重视你的项目,或者了解你所经历的一切。

所有人都认为自己比你更了解你的项目。

你会发现越来越难集中注意力。

赚钱的几率变得很低。

想要获得成功的话你就需要努力去推销产品。能卖出多少产品完全取决于你自己。

你必须厚脸皮。

开放地面对工作并不意味着随时保持着微笑。

你将遇到许多“游戏开发者”,但却只有少数人真正在开发游戏。

你必须能够听取所有别人所给予的建议。但是听取建议并不意味着你需要接受它。只是听取建议的话对你并没有损失,而你也永远都不知道自己该学些什么。从中我也了解到了一些可能帮助开发新手的内容:

不要选择角色扮演游戏或者其它大规模项目作为第一款发行游戏。先从简单的开始。并在创造过程中吸取经验教训。当你获得了一定经验后,你便可以尝试一些更大的内容。

当你完全确定游戏的最终发行时才对外公开其发行日期。

不要完全沉浸于项目中而对生活的其它部分造成负面影响。

不要与嫉妒者计较。

组建一个测试小组并要求他们遵循严格的测试规则。

在投入工作前制定一个完善的计划,并且不管遇到何种障碍都坚持着这一计划。

仔细思考公开的开发过程。从目标用户和项目本身来看,我们最好能够低调地进行开发,并在项目接近尾声时面向公众公开某些内容。

不要因为任何人而对自己的作品失去信心。当你不再因为自己的作品感到自豪时,人们也就不会再重视它。即使你创造了一款未能带来盈利的游戏,但是要记得,至少你还会因为这款游戏感到自豪。

虽然有些属于惨痛的教训,但是开发者都必须在进入独立游戏开发领域前明确并吸取这些教训。获得预先警告非常重要!

本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译, 作者:Alex Norton

What they DON’T tell you about being a game developer

So I’m in an interesting position. Malevolence, while not my first game by a long shot, is my first RELEASED game, and I’ve been lucky enough to have it gather a lot of attention (for an indie title) early on in its creation. From what people tell me, this does not normally happen. Normally, a developer will hit on gold after they’ve tested the waters with a few titles first, or had a hand in other game development, such as working for a AAA company.

Because of this unique perspective of having a relatively successful title (despite not yet being released) on my first ever attempt, I haven’t yet developed the pessimism that often comes with being an experienced indie game developer. This has led me to want to write this new thought piece, which goes into all of the things that they DON’T tell you about being a game developer. If you want the short and sweet version, feel free to skip to the end.

STAGE 1 – DELUSIONS

Going through university I had the same delusions as most people that I would get my qualifications, build a folio and get a job at a AAA game company. Shortly thereafter, fame and riches would ensue and I would live happily ever after, making games that I love, and having everything right with the world.

I finished university to find that all of my hard work would get me on a “consideration” list for a baseline, entry level QA job which would mostly consist of me being locked in a cubicle for 70+ hours a week doing some of the most repetitve, soul destroying work known to man.

A good example of what it is to be a tester, provided by Penny Arcade.

Sure, that would give me a foot in the door to have my true skills recognised later on, however, most game companies go through and trash their QA teams at the end of every project after smothering them in NDAs which make their soul now below to the company. So that’s a minefield in itself.

If, and I really mean IF, I was to be plucked from QA and given a position within the company, one of two scenarios would have happened:

EDIT: Since this seems to be causing some controversy, let me clarify that my thoughts listed below are not my opinion of ALL games companies. I am simply listing things that tend to commonly happen based on the experiences of the many developers I have spoken to, and these thoughts in no way represent what the industry is like as a whole.

Programmer Position – I would be sat down and made to do scripting work for 70+ hours a week on someone else’s proprietary engine, since using third party products “speeds development” and I would learn that there is such a thing as an “acceptible sacrifice of quality for speed” which would slowly destroy my integrity as a programmer. My passion for creating new features would slowly be vampirically sucked away, and anything I made in my spare time would be contractually owned by my employer which would sap my enthusiasm for innovation even further.

Artist Position – I might be lucky enough to get assigned work that interests me. I might be having a great time designing and modelling sci-fi assets for an amazing new shoot-em-up and enjoy watching them come to life within the engine. But one day the producer (who is computer illiterate and whose only gaming experience is with Bejewelled) would pop by and say “You know, my 10 year old niece is really into ponies right now. Change the game to be about ponies”. Because he is the money behind the masterpiece, I would now be forced to abandon all of my work and create ponies and handbags all day every day. Also, everything I make outside of work would be contractually owned by my employer, limiting my folio and preventing me from moving to another company.

STAGE 2 – DETERMINATION

So, having this realisation, I then turned my attention to the indie game dev scene, which was far more attractive as I was beholden to no-one, I could work on what I wanted and do it in any way that I pleased (so I thought) but there were certain demons there which no-one told me about, either.

I got myself a day job to take care of living expenses and turned my spare time towards my magnum opus… Malevolence: The Sword of Ahkranox – the game of my dreams that was everything that I wanted to see in a game. I was out to show the world what a game COULD be. New technologies, new gameplay mechanics and a dash of old-school to reel in the retro crowd. It was going to be amazing and the world would be changed forever.

I was young. I was naive. And no-one had warned me what was coming.

First off, I had been playing around with a new method of procedural generation to create infinite worlds, and my favourite gaming genre was always RPGs, so I figured “why not make an infinite procedural RPG?” it seemed a good idea at the time, so I started work on it and found that it worked. I started a blog about it, more for myself than anything. Things were going fairly well.

STAGE 3 – REVELATIONS

It was at this point that I started meeting a couple of other game devs. Before this point I didn’t really know any, and one with quite a long resume happened to start work at my day job. We got to talking and he introduced me to more people. They all seemed quite interested in my project and thought it was great that I was trying new things. This reaction gave me the motivation to make my development process a bit more public, so I started promoting Malevolence a bit more and getting more of a team together to work on the game’s shine.

Much to my amazement, it got quite a lot of attention (for an indie game being made by a nobody in the industry) and that made me happy, so I kept at the PR. But with positive attention comes negative attention, and it was then that I learned two important things:

People, when given the anonymity and audience of the internet, can be truly horrible.

You can read 1000 praising comments, but if just one of them is bad, it will ruin your whole day.

The fact that I was trying to do something new with my game was evidently a horrible crime to many people and I would get utterly horrible comments ranging from put-downs to personal abuse that would get them arrested if said in person… Even one or two death threats. It’s a sad fact of life that people who are too scared to follow their own dreams will often try to talk you out of following yours. It’s easy for people to say “just ignore those comments” but that’s simply not possible.

Some people who disagreed with the game’s concept gave thorough and well-written justifications for their feelings, which was good to see, but they were few and far between.

I had decided early on to keep an open-doors development policy and be extremely communicative with the public. I even developed somewhat of a reputation for answering every question asked of me. Many people loved this, others took it as justification to send more abuse, because they knew someone was listening.

At first, I thought it was because of my new ideas and concepts that I was touting, but after meeting with other game developers I found out that it’s just what the gamer community is like. Full of angry, hateful, rude, abnoxious people who feel entitled to say anything they want to the developers who are making games for them. That’s not to say that they’re all like that. Far from it! Many, many people have been very supportive, communicative and encouraging throughout the entire process, and you have to really cling to people like that because, as a developer friend of mine once said “Those people hating on your game will always complain loudly. That’s just what they do. The fact is, though, that they’ll probably still buy your game.” and that’s what you need to focus on. It doesn’t matter if other people like your game. What matters is whether YOU like your game. If you love it, other people are bound to as well. Just look at how much hate has been poured upon Minecraft over the years, but Mojang have sold millions and millions of copies regardless, and you can tell that they’re super proud of their creation!

Being proud of what you’ve made is very important. Whenever something happens around your game that makes you feel proud, then you’ve gotta grab a hold of it and not let it go. I’ve had John Passfield sit me down and tell me that he believes that Malevolence has the makings of an epic game, I’ve been called a “visionary” by members of the Guild Wars 2 team, I’ve been recommended by RockPaperShotgun as a project to watch… These things make me glow with pride, whether I believe them or not, and whenever I’m getting slammed by ignorant haters, I remember these things to help get me through it, and that’s something you’ve just got to do to survive psychologically.

STAGE 4 – HINDSIGHT

So, looking back, I’ve realised there are a lot of things that people just don’t tell you about being an independant game developer:

A large, loud portion of the public will openly hate you regardless of what you do. Learn to live with it.

No-one will ever take your project as seriously as you, or fully realise what you’re going through.

Everyone will think they know better than you about your own project.

Getting noticed at all is incredibly difficult .

The odds of you making money out of it are slim.

If you want to succeed, you’ll likely have to sell out. Just how MUCH you sell out is up to you.

You have to develop a VERY thick skin.

Being open with the public isn’t neccesarily smiled upon 100% of the time.

You will meet many “game developers” but very few people who are actually developing games.

You need to have the ability to listen to all advice given to you. Remember that listening to advice doesn’t mean you have to take it. But listening can’t hurt and you never know what you might learn.
I’ve also learned lots of things to never do again which may help upcoming developers:

Don’t make an RPG as your first released game, nor any other kind of large-scale project. Start simple. Learn the lessons. Once you’re experienced, THEN you can work on something big.

Never announce your release date until you are 150% sure of it.

Never let yourself get so enveloped in your project that other parts of your life suffer.

Never engage the haters.

Get a test team and follow strict testing practices.

Have a thorough plan before you start working too hard on it, and then stick to that plan come hell or high water.

Think carefully about having a public development process. Depending on the target audience and the project itself, it may be better to develop it silently and only open things up to the public when you’re nearing completion.

Never let anyone cause you to stop being proud of your work. The moment you aren’t proud of it anymore, the moment people will stop respecting you for it. If you make the game, and no money comes of it, at least you’ll have work that you’re proud of.

Some of them are hard lessons to learn, but learn them well before you venture into the murky waters of independant game development. Consider yourself forewarned! Obviously, other people will have other bits of advice, or revelations of their own, so I’d love to hear them, too! Share them in the comments!(source:altdevblogaday)



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