爲什麼我們決定開發《Permia-Duels》的續集?

作者:Jukka Hilvonen

本文將描述我們開始開發一款紙牌收集遊戲《Permia – Duels II》的背景和決策制定過程。

之所以要在這裏描述決定製作過程是希望能夠提供誠實的自我反思去幫助其他遊戲開發者從中學到些東西並建議他們做出適合自己的決策。此外我也希望能夠從一些產業人士那獲得反饋去幫助我們進一步發展這一過程。

背景

《Permia-Duels II》是紙牌收集遊戲《Permia-Duels》的續集。《Permia-Duels》是在2013年發行於Windows平臺上。這款遊戲主要是受到《最終幻想VIII》的迷你遊戲《Triple Triad》的啓發。

讓我們簡單地描述這款遊戲。在這裏每個玩家都將擁有六張基於六邊形的紙牌。在六邊形中的每一面都會呈現出這一面中單位的能量。玩家將依次在戰場上放置自己的單位。玩家在戰鬥中的目標便是通過獲取對手的紙牌去戰勝對方。玩家將在對手紙牌的旁邊面放置更厲害的單位去獲取對方的紙牌。當所有紙牌都被放置在戰場上時,在戰場上擁有更多紙牌的玩家便是勝者。

我們會發現這是一款非常立基的遊戲。它與休閒益智遊戲《Candy Crush Saga》是截然不同的。然而這款遊戲卻也很容易學習,因爲遊戲的基本規則非常容易理解,遊戲中的紙牌戰鬥雖然很短(遊戲邦注:通常只需要3,4分鐘)但卻能夠提供給玩傢俱有戰術性且有趣的挑戰。

在遊戲開發過程中我們與微軟保持了緊密的合作,並且遊戲的發行時間也是基於他們的AppCampus的合作項目(及旨在幫助優秀的開發者創造出更棒的遊戲並將這些遊戲帶到Windows Phone平臺上)。因爲AppCampus項目,還因爲那時候該平臺上還沒多少優秀的紙牌戰鬥遊戲,並且獲得了來自微軟的推薦,我們在Windows平臺上創造了不錯的結果。

PD_Windows_downloads(from gamasutra)

PD_Windows_downloads(from gamasutra)

在2015年夏天我們決定在iOS App Store上發行這款遊戲去測試它是否也能在蘋果的平臺上發揮作用。結果證明並非如此。

PD_iOS_Sales(from gamasutra)

PD_iOS_Sales(from gamasutra)

那爲何我們還決定創造《Permia-Duels》的續集?

首先幾乎不存在阻止我們這麼做的理由

動畫和其它視覺元素的HTML5支持

HTML5並不是展示動畫,粒子效果和其它能夠幫助我們提高遊戲視覺效果(遊戲邦注:這也是當前手機遊戲領域所需要的)的有效工具。這可能會減少我們在重要的前10秒鐘留住玩家注意的可能性。

HTML5遊戲在iOS和Android上的表現

還有一個很大的原因便是HTML5在Android和iOS平臺上的表現仍然不是很理想,至少我們看到的是這樣。當然了蘋果的WKWebView已經提高了傳統HTML5和混合型應用的性能,但這並不等價於你需要處理許多動畫,粒子效果等內容的手機遊戲也是如此。而這將會大大影響着我們最大的潛在市場規模(因爲我們是免費遊戲開發者,所以這也是我們所面對的主要變量之一,而這也是發行商需要擔心的事)。即使擁有像《Permia-Duels》這樣的硬核遊戲體驗,我們仍需要確保吸引所有可能的玩家前來遊戲,即使是從理論上來看。

儘管擁有糟糕的技術表現,但遊戲在主要目標市場上還是具有一定的吸引力

我認爲創造《Permia-Duels II》存在機會的第三個原因是,最初的《Permia-Duels》雖然並不具有足夠出色的動畫且在一些目標設備上的表現不佳,但是在目標市場,即西方市場還是擁有不錯的表現。關於不錯的表現我指的是在沒有付費廣告的前提下它擁有可觀的下載量,且對於一款中核遊戲來說它在包括德國,英國和法國在內的目標市場的用戶留存還是很高的(遊戲邦注:第一天大概是30%,第7天爲15%,第30天爲5%)。

這一數據讓我們看到了這款遊戲的價值定位,即還是存在潛在玩家會去下載它的。同時也是因爲遊戲足夠優秀(雖然存在一些明顯的缺陷),但是在發行30天后仍有5%的玩家願意繼續遊戲。

價值定位仍然很重要

《Permia-Duels》的價值定位非常明顯:它提供給了玩家結合有意義的戰術挑戰的快速玩家對抗玩家戰鬥。這就像是國際象棋。

同時當我們決定開發《Permia-Duels II》(即在2015年11月)時,我們還找不到其它提供了同樣的遊戲深度且具有和我們遊戲相當的戰鬥速度的遊戲。當然了,當Supercell發行《Clash Royale》時所有的這一切就發生了改變。

儘管在我們之前出現了相似的手機遊戲,但我們的《Permia-Duels II》擁有與之不同的遊戲體驗,這也能夠幫助我們從市場上賺取足夠的收益。

機遇夠大,而風險是可以控制的

我們已經使用了像App Annie,Priori Data和Gamerefinery等工具廣泛調查了這個市場,我們的所有發現都證實高質量的紙牌戰鬥遊戲能夠吸引大量的玩家,所以我們的遊戲具有足夠的發展空間。CCG領域還未像城鎮戰鬥遊戲那樣被彼此相似的遊戲所填滿。

另一方面,即使遊戲遭遇失敗,我們也可以繼續投入另一場戰鬥去維持公司的存活。當然了,這肯定需要付出一定的代價,但對於這時候的我們來說,這便是我們的最佳行動方案。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

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)