Pixel Toys談《戰錘40K:自由之刃》上架一週年的演變

原文作者:Matt Suckley 譯者:Megan Shieh

在F2P遊戲開發的世界裏人們常說發佈遊戲是開始,而不是結束。

這些遊戲並不是在商店貨架上擺出來的、再也不會被改進的盒裝產品,而是需要持續經營和更新的“games-as-a-service ”(遊戲服務),通常持續幾年的時間。

pocketgamer.com . biz長期以來一直在熱門遊戲發佈不久後對它們進行調研,但在遊戲發佈很長時間後又會發生什麼?

爲了找到答案,我們將會與遊戲背後的開發者們討論他們的經歷。

在這篇文章中,我們採訪了Pixel Toys公司的首席執行官Andy Wafer談談《Warhammer 40,000:Freeblade》(戰錘40K:自由之刃)的一些問題。

Warhammer 40000: Freeblade(from pocketgamer.biz)

Warhammer 40000: Freeblade(from pocketgamer.biz)

PocketGamer.biz: 距《戰錘40K:自由之刃》發佈已經接近一年了,從最初發布到現在的成熟遊戲,你如何看待它的表現?

我們對這個遊戲的表現非常滿意,而且它也會繼續做得很好。

與業界的一些大公司相比,我們實際上是一個相當小的開發商,因此我們對績效的要求可能也稍微溫和一些。

但我們對這個遊戲感到非常自豪。一年過去了,它仍然是App Store上最具技術意義的遊戲之一,我們將繼續更新和改進它以確保到2017年還是這樣。

《戰錘40K:自由之刃》目前的在線運營團隊有多大?

目前《自由之刃》的在線運營團隊有四個全職人員,(但)時不時還有來自其他的團隊的專家來參與合作,比如:動畫師或環境藝術家,具體要看我們所需更新的內容。

幾個月前,當我們開始增加新項目的時候,在線運營團隊已經從10人開始壓縮,但這並不代表我們在放慢更新速度。

更多是因爲我們現在已經有了成熟的工具和框架。這個框架需要更少的資源密集型開發來實現相同定期更新計劃。

現在的遊戲規模是發佈時的兩倍多,帶有一個允許我們運行特殊活動、促銷和比賽的後端系統。

你認爲客戶支持有多重要? 遊戲更新的方式是什麼?

客戶支持和好的客戶服務非常重要。

不適當的客服意味着你可能會失去長期的留存和付費客戶,因爲這些羣體更有可能聯繫我們。

我們試着對所有通過遊戲聯繫我們的人作出回覆,同時也密切地關注遊戲論壇和我們社交頻道上的反饋,這能幫助我們擬定優先考慮更新的內容。

我們的更新方式一直非常注重內容和特性,與此同時設法改進整體拋光和用戶體驗。

自發布後,我們幾乎每個月都推出一個重大的內容更新;實際上我們計劃在幾周內進行一次重大更新,我們稱之爲“週年紀念版”以紀念遊戲發佈一週年。

作爲小型工作室,在維護一個live遊戲的同時開發新項目的最大挑戰是什麼?

不管團隊有多少人,資源一直是一個問題。當你有一個live遊戲時,你會想要做1000件事來完善遊戲。

社區還會有其他的1000個建議。這些建議通常是會讓遊戲變得更有趣,也能提高留存和整體體驗的新想法。

最大的挑戰之一是專注於你能真正實現的事情,並在一個現實的時間框架中履行。

如果一個小團隊想要每月提供內容和功能更新,那麼這些內容和功能就需要在一個月內建立。

你必須留些東西給下一個遊戲,有時這意味着你不能將所有的好東西都加入目前的遊戲。

你採取了哪些措施來確保《自由之刃》保持一個較大的、活躍的用戶基礎?他們在多大程度上取得了成功?

我們知道真正投入的玩家大部分是《戰錘40K》的粉絲。

這是一個擁有大量內容的驚人領域,所以我們試着從中提取並確保更新中定期提供一些來自粉絲建議的新東西。

我們已經添加了很多新功能,包括活動、多人遊戲、新內容章節、boss戰鬥、以及大量的改進和優化。

通常我們每次發佈更新時、都能看到現有玩家參與度的提高和新玩家的涌入。

事後來看,現在的你會不會對遊戲的某些地方進行改動?

我認爲我們會以多人遊戲作爲開端,並將遊戲設計的重點圍繞社交和多人遊戲。

這些元素是強有力的參與和留存的關鍵,我認爲如果我們從一開始就把它們放在遊戲中會更好。

《自由之刃》發佈這一年來的亮點和不足分別是什麼?

對我來說最值得關注的部分總是發佈後的那段時間,積極的用戶評論讓我知道我們所建立的東西、所付出的工作都是值得的。

那最美好的感覺,也是我進入這個行業的原因。

我想不出《自由之刃》今年有出現什麼不足之處。設法在Leamington Spa找到一個新的辦公室估計是我們面臨過的最大挑戰。

最後,你從《自由之刃》的經驗中學到了什麼?

從《自由之刃》學到的最重要的事是需要更重視長期功能和內容路線圖,並在建立遊戲的時候確保發佈後的內容增加——快速、便利、有成本效益。

我們現在也更瞭解多人遊戲在手遊中的重要性,並會將其列爲未來遊戲中的重點。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

It’s often said in the world of free-to-play development that launching a game is the beginning, not the end.

These aren’t boxed products released onto shop shelves, never to be worked on again. These are games-as-a-service that require constant operation and updating, often over a period of several years.

PocketGamer.biz has long been investigating theMaking Of notable games soon after their launch, but what happens long after a game is released?

In an attempt to find out, this regular feature will talk to the developers behind maturing live games about their experience so far. You can read all previous entries here.

In this entry, we speak to Pixel Toys CEO Andy Wafer about on-rails shooter Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade.

PocketGamer.biz: With Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade now approaching a year old, how do you reflect on its performance – from launch to the maturing title it is now?

We’ve been very happy with the game’s performance, and it continues to do well for us.

We’re actually a rather small developer compared with some of the big players in the industry, so our requirements for performance are probably a bit more modest too.

But we’re extremely proud of the title, I think that a year on it’s still one of the most technically impressive titles on the App Store, and we’ll continue to update and improve it going forwards to make sure that remains the case into 2017.

How big is the team currently handling live ops on Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade?

The Freeblade live ops team is currently four people full-time, but we have other team specialists who get involved from time to time, like animators or environment artists depending on what we want to do for a specific update.

The live ops team has reduced from about 10 people a few months ago, as we start to ramp up on new projects, but that’s not to say we’re slowing down on our updates.

It’s more the case that we now have mature tools and a framework that requires less resource intensive development for the same regular update schedule.

The game is more than twice as big as it was at launch with backend systems that allow us to run special events, offers and competitions.

How important do you consider customer support to be? What’s been the approach to game updates?

Customer support and good customer service is very important.

Not doing customer service appropriately means you risk losing long-term retained and paying customers, as these groups are proportionally more likely to contact us.

We try to respond to everyone that contacts us via the game, but also pay close attention to game forums and feedback on our social channels, which helps inform and prioritise what goes into our updates.

Our approach to updates has been very content and feature focused, whilst also trying to improve overall polish and user experience.

We’ve released a significant content update almost every month from launch, and we’re actually planning a major update in a few weeks we’re calling the “Anniversary Edition” to mark the game’s launch last year.

What’s been the biggest challenge of maintaining a live game while also working on new projects as a small studio?

Resource is always a problem, no matter how many people in the team. When you have a live game, you want to do the 1,000 things you know you could to make it better.

Your community has another 1,000 suggestions. These are often cool new ideas, things that will make the game more fun and things that could improve retention and the overall experience.

One of the biggest challenges is focusing on the things you can actually achieve and deliver them in a realistic timeframe.

With a small team, if you want to provide content and feature updates every month, that content and those features need to be built in a month.

Sometimes that means you can’t do all the really big things – you have to save those for the next game.

What steps have you taken to ensure thatFreeblade maintains a sizeable and active player base? To what extent have they been successful?

We know that the really engaged players are largely Warhammer 40,000 fans.

It’s an amazing universe with a huge wealth of content, so we try and draw from that and make sure our updates offer something new from it regularly.

We’ve added a lot of new features in the form of events, multiplayer, new content chapters, boss fights as well as a lot of under the hood improvements and optimisations.

Generally, each time we release an update we see higher engagement from existing players as well as an influx of new players.

What lessons have you learned/are you still learning fromFreeblade? Is there anything about the game that, in hindsight, you’d now handle differently?

I think we would be multiplayer first, and design the focus of the game around multiplayer and social.

Those elements are key to strong engagement and retention, and I think we could have done better by having them in the game from the start.

What have been the highlights and lowlights of the year since Freeblade’s launch?

The most rewarding part, and for me the highlight, is always the period just after a launch, when you see the positive user reviews and you know what you’ve built and the work everyone has put into it is appreciated.

It’s the best feeling. That’s the reason to be in the industry.

I can’t think of anything specifically relating toFreeblade that’s been a lowlight this year. Trying to find new office space in Leamington Spa has probably been the biggest challenge for us.
Finally, how has your experience withFreeblade informed where you are/what you’re working on now?

The biggest learnings from Freeblade are the need for placing greater importance on long-term feature and content roadmaps, and building games in a way that allows new content to be added readily and cost-effectively once the game has launched.

We also now better understand the importance of multiplayer in mobile games, and will have greater emphasis on that with future titles. (Source: pocketgamer.biz