本文原作者：Benjamin Rivers 譯者ciel chen
7月1日是《家home》發行五週年紀念日——這款“獨特的恐怖冒險”類遊戲我在2012年一開始發行的時候收到期待值爲零，但後來卻取得了驚人的成績。而現在，距離完成並運作它的續作《與你讀出Alone With You》幾個月過去了，我想回顧一下這款遊戲並提出我們工作室五年來沿用至今的5點經驗之談：
經驗要點：缺乏經驗這點對避免常見的擔憂和陷阱來說非常有用，而且這點還能讓人看到別人難以看到的機會。（想了解更多有關這個經驗的內容，我推薦你們去看Liz Wisman的《Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work》。）
而在製作《Home》的會後，我只有一臺裝Windows virtualizer系統的老舊MacBook Pro來運行Game Maker 8.1(一開始的時候)，以及我之前用來爲客戶工作用的Adobe套件。這些就是我當時用的所有工具，我就是用着它們創作成的遊戲初始版本。
經驗要點：在遊戲開發中，要點不在於你能造成多大的衝擊，而是你能接受多大的打擊。不要只爲了一個項目就拿自己整個人（尤其是健康！）去冒險。在Peter Sims的書《Little Bets》中有很棒的相關資源。
而《Home》最讓我驚訝的地方在於它的覆蓋面擴散之廣——從世界各大報刊和像《Rue Morgue》這類的恐怖刊物再到電視節目，你知道在哪裏看不到《Home》的身影嗎？——在GDC、the IGF或者其他任何遊戲會展活動上你是看不到它的。遊戲開發社區從來沒有真正對《Home》感興趣過（儘管它在各個網站和雜誌上都被大肆報道過），不過終究他們都獻上了虛僞的祝福——我是從開始收到那些和孩子們一起玩這個遊戲母親們和家庭的email後才深諳這個事實的——他們都覺得一家人在屋子裏一起享受這個遊戲是件很令人毛骨悚然的事。
現在，《Home》在Windows、Mac（通過Steam、the Humble Store以及其他平臺）、IOS（支持幾乎從iphone 4s開始之後的所有設備）、PlayStation 4還有PlayStation Vita這些系統都可以玩了。現在它有自動保存系統了；它在Steam和IOS平臺上有社交媒體hooks了；它支持21:9顯示屏了；它在發行後幾個月添加新場所了；它改寫了幾個主要代碼；它幾年來經歷了好幾次bug修復、腳本重寫、應用修正。我覺得我在《Home》上做的更新比George Lucas在《星際爭霸》做的改變還要多。
June 1st marks the fifth anniversary of Home — the “unique horror adventure” game that I initially launched with zero expectations in 2012 to surprising success. And now, a few months after completing and shipping its follow-up, Alone With You, I wanted to look back on the game and present five important lessons that continue to drive what my studio does, even five years later:
1. Be naive (in all the right ways)
With Home, I bet that I could create a lo-fi horror game that used sound and one very specific gameplay mechanic — that the game’s story is being retold based on the player’s actions — to do things that other horror games couldn’t. But this wasn’t some brilliant hypothesis formed after decades of experience; it was literally the best idea I could come up with, given my skill set at the time.
That pure, naive vision is what allowed me to focus on a concept that was simple and easy to understand — which in turn allowed the game to also be marketable and interesting for press and players to talk about. Nowadays, with a lot more at my disposal, I find this increasingly difficult — call it the curse of experience.
The lesson: inexperience can be a wonderful tool for avoiding common worries and pitfalls, and seeing opportunity where others don’t. (For more on this, I highly recommend Liz Wiseman’s book, Rookie Smarts: Why Learning Beats Knowing in the New Game of Work.)
2. Use what you have
There’s a temptation for devs to want to have some utopian, pre-conceived environment set up and ready before they even write the first sentence of their game design document — it’s easy to think that you need the right office space, specific computers, deals in place, dev kits, and predetermined suite of software to even get started.
With Home, I had an aging MacBook Pro running Game Maker 8.1 (initially) via a Windows virtualizer, and the same Adobe suite I was using for my client work at the time. Those were the tools I had, and so those were the ones I used to create and finish the initial version of the game.
Not only did this keep the game’s financial risk down, but those constraints helped fuel creative solutions to all sorts of problems. And it also kept me from freaking out and worrying all the time; I “didn’t know what I didn’t know,” and so I could just focus on creating the game to the best of my ability.
The lesson: don’t trick yourself into thinking, “If only I had X, I could make my game.” If you have a PC of any kind, you can make a game, right now. And you can probably do it more quickly, cheaply and cleverly than someone else. Use that to your advantage!
3. Don’t bet the farm
Many indie devs bet years of their life (and their health) to make a single game. By the time they release, the industry and the market might not even be the same anymore, and their game’s chance of success could be wildly different. Home’s development was unusually short — perhaps six months, but stretched out over more than a year on a part-time basis (because I was still working for clients most of the time).
The evenings-and-weekends approach to the game’s development actually worked to its advantage: it forced me to keep the scope manageable; it allowed for daily breaks so I didn’t burn out on it; and — crucially — it meant that I wasn’t risking everything on a single product.
In my studio, everything we do revolves around “calculated risk” — meaning that no single action or project is do-or-die. We want to be in this for the long haul, so we never make a bet from which we can’t recover.
The lesson: In game development, it’s not how hard you can hit; it’s how hard you can get hit. Don’t risk everything (especially your health!) on a single project. A great resource on this is the book Little Bets by Peter Sims.
4. Step outside the industry
The major reason for Home to even exist was that I didn’t see the game I wanted, so I decided to make it. Home isn’t “Minecraft meets Bioshock” or “Candy Crush meets Sonic the Hedgehog” — it wasn’t born of looking from within the games industry at all, in fact, or as a pitch line to use at mixer parties. And I believe one of the reasons the game sold well, and continues to do so (five years later!) is that it wasn’t based on a definable trend.
What surprised me the most about Home was that it got extended coverage — from newspapers worldwide, from horror publications such as Rue Morgue, and on television. You know where you’ve never heard about Home, though? At GDC, the IGF, or any other industry event. The game development community was never really interested in it (though it got coverage on every website and in several magazines, extensively), but this ended up being a blessing in disguise — a fact that I realized so deeply when I started receiving emails from mothers playing the game with their teenage children and from families who thought it was a creepy thing to enjoy at the cottage together.
The lesson: Reach beyond your immediate assumptions to find unexpected avenues for your game.
5. Start small and grow
Home was intended as a one-and-done experience that you’d talk about with your friends, but that’s not how things turned out at all!
When Home launched on PC in 2012, there were some surprising things about it, including:
you couldn’t save
there was no train yard area
there were rooms in the first level that didn’t exist
it only ran on Windows
Now, Home exists on Windows and Mac (via Steam, the Humble Store, and others) iOS (with support for pretty much every device from the iPhone 4s onward ), PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Vita. It has an auto-save system, it got social media hooks on Steam and iOS, it supports 21:9 monitors, it had new areas added to it months after launch, it got a major code rewrite, and it has had several passes of bug fixes, script rewrites and corrections applied to it throughout the years. I think I’ve updated Home more than George Lucas has changed Star Wars.
Who knew this tiny horror game would continue to get updates and content additions for five years? But as the game grew in popularity, and as I dealt with bringing it to new platforms, I applied all the new things I learned to improve it — all quickly, cheaply, and as-needed, without bogging me down. It’s kept the game continuously viable and accessible, even as technology has changed.
The lesson: Few games are “set and forget” anymore. But releasing a manageable game means you can respond to changes, add features people actually want, and keep it relevant to new audiences — even when it’s a single-player, story-driven title that lasts just over an hour.
I’ve learned a whole lot since first launching Home five years ago — and have made plenty of new mistakes and discoveries along the way as well. I hope this article helps you tackle some issues you might be having in your own development. If you’d like to know anything else, hop in the comments and let me know! I’ll be happy to share more.（source：gamasutra.com）