開發者談創作者需要對遊戲玩家社區保持坦誠和透明

Bluehole創意總監Brendan Greene談論如何對早期測試版《絕地求生》的玩家社區保持坦誠和透明。

原文作者:Matthew Handrahan 譯者:Megan Shieh

在遊戲的早期測試中,與在線玩家社區合作是一項艱鉅的任務。

對於該遊戲的創意總監Brendan Greene來說,成功的祕密就是堅持早期開發階段所制定的原則,即使遊戲迅速發展成爲了業界最熱門的遊戲之一之後也是如此。

Greene昨日在Devcom上談論了與玩家保持聯繫的重要性。即使遊戲在4個月內達到了800萬銷量;即使它的Steam同步玩家數量已經平穩地超過了70萬;最重要的是,即使玩家可能不相信你有在關注他們的給出的反饋;與玩家保持聯繫的重要性從來不曾改變過。

Greene說:“我們有一個非常強大的玩家社區。遊戲的論壇和Discord上都有來自玩家的大量反饋,甚至當我們進行直播的時候也會通過Twitter之類的渠道收到反饋。”

“不管是hack報告還是bug報告,它們都會被傳遞到團隊手中。跟玩家社區溝通的過程中有時會遇到困難,因爲你明明就聽到了所有的反饋,可他們還是不相信你。因此我會在週日的時候登錄我們的Discord,然後花上2個小時和人們聊天,維持和玩家社區的關係,他們很喜歡這種做法。”

“我是一名遊戲玩家。直到大概一年前,我都一直在玩遊戲,所以我並非從一開始就是行業中人,現在我是Bluehole的創意總監。

我感覺自己是玩家中的一員,而且能夠與玩家社區交流真地讓他們覺得自己在遊戲的開發中有發言權。”

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds(from gamesindustry.biz)

PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds(from gamesindustry.biz)

與衆不同的道路成就了Greene今天的地位。如今作爲Devcom最有聲望的演講者之一,他可以輕輕鬆鬆地在Devcom坐上90分鐘,享受人羣的擁戴。

通過Arma系列和H1Z1的遊戲模組,他開發了Battle Royale的概念並改進了與玩家直接接觸的核心功能和機制。

Greene說:“如果沒有著名遊戲主播Lirik的支持,我今天‘不會坐在這裏’。他玩我的遊戲玩了3年,衍生出了H1Z1,然後H1Z1衍生了《絕地求生》。”

韓國工作室Bluehole聘請了Greene來擔任創意總監,目前他在Bluehole擁有一個超過100人的團隊,但規模的擴大並沒有削弱直播在《絕地求生》的持續發展和改變中所扮演的角色。

根據Greene的說法,辦公室裏的每個人每天都會看遊戲直播。他說,遊戲主播製造的內容是“業內最好的調試工具之一”,也是對玩家喜好的關鍵性洞悉。

Bluehole的一名程序員Marek Krasowski將這種密切監控視頻內容的行爲歸因於《絕地求生》的“標誌性”武器之一:平底鍋。

之前Greene說想要看看子彈改變方向會是什麼樣子,所以爲了滿足他的好奇心,他們將平底鍋的物理效果進行了改變;之後Krasowski忘記將這一變化恢復原狀。

目前成爲標誌性武器之一的防彈平底鍋將會與下一個補丁一起推出。

Krasowski說:“我們看到人們拿着平底鍋在和子彈在對打的視頻時才發現這個事情……我的老闆走到我跟前說:‘Marek,你做了什麼?’但是我們不忍心移除這個功能,因爲人們太喜歡它了。”

Greene補充道:“我們最初把這個鍋加進遊戲是爲了將它作爲對(Kinji Fukasaku’s 2002年電影)Battle Royale的致敬……真是歪打正着,太好了哈哈哈。我們甚至在內部討論過允許手榴彈擊中平底鍋,然後讓玩家可以用平底鍋把手榴彈打回去。”

這些方案顯然都非常實用,但因爲遊戲計劃於今年發行,所以他們現在必須對數據進行很多必要的“平衡”。

他說:“平衡諸如loot之類的東西時,我們會試圖遠離社區的反饋。有時候數據纔是平衡的最好方法。我之前通過玩家社區來平衡《Arma III》的時候獲得了很多經驗,但是現在必須得完全依靠數據來完成平衡……額…這種情況下你必須得信任你的數據科學團隊,不過我們的團隊很棒,他們真地在幫助我們。”

“有時候你可能會承諾一些事情,然後兩個月後發現自己沒辦法實現這些承諾,那是因爲遊戲開發是炒雞困難的。”

這正好證明了《絕地求生》自3月發行早期測試版本以來的成長。Greene說,他們長期存在的玩家社區有時候沒辦法理解Bluehole所面臨的困難——《絕地求生》的發展速度幾乎前所未有,要保持這麼個速度並不容易。

“我們在過去的四個月裏看到了巨大的增長,不過遊戲也就纔剛出來四個月而已。

有時很難說服社區,讓他們理解:我們正在擴張,試圖找到適合團隊的工程師,以及團隊的其他成員是一個艱難的過程。這個過程不是砸錢就能解決的。”

“我們試圖向玩家傳遞的信息是:我們需要時間。

但這同時也是我們選擇信任這種開放型開發意識的原因,在開放型的開發意識裏,我們不會將我們的玩家當作小白來對待。

他們瞭解遊戲開發,或者想要了解它,你交流得越多、展示得越多,對你來說就越有好處。”

這種對透明度的承諾展現了Bluehole發言人對待其玩家的態度。

Greene承認他在這方面犯過錯誤,但他和公司都發現——保持溝通渠道的開放、誠實和良好的監測,以及出錯時避免“公關調調”,是在開放型開發中取得成功不可或缺的因素。

他說:“我一加入Bluehole就和執行製作人坐下來討論了開放型開發的重要性。玩家們想要了解遊戲的製作過程,通過消息傳遞的方式滿足他們這一要求的效果是:當你宣佈一些事情的時候,開發者和玩家之間的誤解會減少。”

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Working with a live community on an Early Access game can be a difficult task; working with a live community as large as the one coalescing around PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds is a different thing altogether. For Brendan Greene, the game’s creative director, the secret has been to stick to the principles laid out in the earliest stages of its development, even after its rapid ascent to become one of the most talked about games in the industry.

Speaking at Devcom yesterday, Greene discussed the importance of staying in touch with your players; even when your game has sold 8 million units in 4 months, even when its concurrent player count is poised to breach 700,000 userson Steam, and, crucially, even when they may not believe that you’re even paying attention.

“We have a really strong community,” Greene said. “We have huge amounts of feedback on Discord, on our forums, and even when we stream we get feedback via Twitter and stuff.

“I go into our Discord on a Sunday and just spend two hours in there chatting with people – and people love that”

“Whether it’s hack reports or bug reports, they’re all passed onto the team. It’s sometimes hard to communicate to the community that you do hear everything, even though they don’t believe you. What I do is go into our Discord on a Sunday and just spend two hours in there chatting with people – and people love that, having that connection with your community.

“I am a player. I didn’t come from the industry. I was playing games up until about a year ago, and now I’m a creative director. I feel like I’m one of them, and being able to connect with the community really makes them feel like they have a say in the game.”

Greene has certainly taken a less than typical road to his current position, where he could sit and regale the Devcom crowd for 90 minutes as one of its most prestigious speakers. He developed the “Battle Royale” concept through mods for games like the Arma series and H1Z1, refining its core features and mechanics in direct contact with players. Indeed, Green admitted that “I wouldn’t be sitting here” if it wasn’t for the support of the popular streamer Lirik. “Him playing my game for three years led to H1Z1, and that led to Battlegrounds,” he said.

Greene now has a team of more than 100 people at Bluehole – the Korean studio that hired him as creative director – but that increase in scale hasn’t diminished the role that livestreaming plays in the way Battlegrounds continues to evolve and change. According to Greene, everybody in the office watches streamers every day. The content they produce, he said, is “one of the best debugging tools out there,” and a crucial insight into what the community enjoys.

Marek Krasowski, a programmer at Bluehole, attributes this close monitoring of video content to the creation of one of Battlegrounds’ “iconic” weapons: a frying pan, the physics of which were altered so it could deflect bullets to satisfy Greene’s curiosity. Krasowski neglected to revert the change, and the now bullet-proof frying pan shipped with the next patch.

“We only found out after we saw videos of people swatting bullet shots with the frying pan,” Krasowski said. “My boss came up to me and said, ‘Marek, what did you do?’ But we couldn’t take it down. People loved it.”

Greene added: “We originally put the pan in as a homage to [Kinji Fukasaku’s 2002 film] Battle Royale…and now it’s just glorious. We’ve even talked internally about allowing grenades to be hit with the pan, so you can hit a grenade back.”

These methods have clearly served Battlegrounds well, but with the game’s launch still scheduled for this year Greene admitted that much of the necessary “balancing” must now be done with data. “We’re now moving away from community feedback when it comes to balancing stuff like loot,” he said. “You really have to learn that data is the best way to balance sometimes. I had a lot of experience with Arma III balancing via community, and now having to switch over to doing it purely on data… Yeah, you’ve got to trust your data science team, but we have a great one. They’re really helping us.”

“You promise something and two months later you can’t deliver it – because, y’know, game development is fucking hard”

This speaks to just how much Battlegrounds has grown since it launched in Early Access in March. However, Greene said that its longstanding community sometimes fails to appreciate the difficulty Bluehole has faced in keeping pace with the virtually unprecedented pace of the game’s rise.

“We have seen massive growth over the last four months, but we’ve only been out for four months. Sometimes it’s hard to convince the community that, ‘Guys, calm down. We are expanding, but trying to find engineers that fit the team well, and other members of the team, is a tough process.’ It’s not a process that you can just throw money at and it’s fixed.

“It will take us time, and it’s communicating that to the community. But that’s why we believe in this really open sense of development, where you don’t treat your players like they’re stupid. They understand game development, or they want to understand it, and the more you communicate and the more that you show them about it, the better it is for you.”

This commitment to transparency informs the way Bluehole speakers to its players. Greene admitted that he has made mistakes in that regard, but that both he and the company has come to see that keeping channels of communication as open, honest and well monitored as possible, and avoiding “PR speak” when things go wrong, are integral to succeeding in open development.

“When I first joined the team at Bluehole, myself and the executive producer sat down and discussed open development,” he said. “Again, it goes back to the players wanting to know how games are made, and by informing them of that it leads to less misunderstandings when you announce things.(Source: gamesindustry.biz  )