ZeptoLab談C.A.T.S.:Crash Arena Turbo Stars的開發過程

原文作者:Matt Suckley 譯者:Megan Shieh

戰車組裝戰鬥手遊《C.A.T.S.》的設計獨具匠心,有創意但不至於燒腦的對抗玩法使得它在應用程序商店中一枝獨秀。

遊戲中的小貓們需要利用搜集到的不同部件來打造自己的專屬戰車,然後在超快的自動戰鬥中進行1V1互懟,一決高下。

爲了找到最有效的組裝方案來贏得對手,玩家需要使用從戰鬥中獲得的強大武器和升級來裝備他們的戰車。

C.A.T.S.:Crash Arena Turbo Stars(from pocket gamer.biz)

C.A.T.S.:Crash Arena Turbo Stars(from pocket gamer.biz)

此作剛剛發佈不久,就獲得了驚人的成就。爲了瞭解開發過程,pocketgamer.com.biz訪問了Zeptolab工作室的首席產品官Max Petrov。

《C.A.T.S.》感覺像是《King of Thieves(神偷)》中核 PvP風格的自然延伸。你們是想要用《C.A.T.S.》來延續《King of Thieves》的成功嗎?

Max Petrov:《King of Thieves》的表現很棒,在開發和管理它的過程中我們也學到了很多東西。當然,我們試圖把這些東西帶入到《C.A.T.S.》的製作中,同時也會避免之前出現過的錯誤,然後創建出全新的內容。

不過《C.A.T.S.》的目標受衆更大,它的下載量是《King of Thieves》的5倍,利潤也大很多。

本作延續了用戶生成內容(UGC)的主題,讓玩家自己打造戰車並使用它們來戰鬥,這個想法是什麼時候出現的?

從一開始我們就決定要在《C.A.T.S.》中加入UGC功能。如果要玩家自己控制打鬥的話,通常有很高的技能要求;但是如果玩家可以創造出他們自己的戰鬥機器,用腦力來獲勝而不是手指,那豈不更好?這樣的遊戲設計中不會有太多的按鈕和操縱桿,也不會影響受衆範圍。

這次爲什麼會選小貓作爲主角呢?

小貓的設定是在開發後期纔出現的。其實在最初的時候,遊戲裏的車輛是設置爲無人駕駛的。

後來我們覺得玩家可能不會與這些沒有靈魂的金屬塊產生情感聯繫,所以決定畫出一些不同的概念司機,然後用它們來做測試。小貓只是衆多選項中的一個,我們畫出的概念司機包括各類奇幻生物和一些其他的動物,比如豬和兔子。

截屏測試顯示,有司機駕駛的車輛表現得更好;而比起其他角色,玩家比較中意小貓。

《C.A.T.S.》的開發團隊有多大?總開發時間有多長?

初始版本的開發花費了8個月的時間,當時的開發團隊只有遊戲設計師,藝術家,程序員和產品經理。

接着我們將遊戲進行了長達13個月的測試發行,最先在奧地利和瑞典,後來也在加拿大進行了測試發行。

在測試發行的過程中,有12個人在持續維護遊戲;而此前有23位專家參與了《C.A.T.S.》的開發。

亞洲遊戲文化是否對元遊戲和實際戰鬥的自動化產生了影響?

在開發的過程中我們考慮了世界各地的趨勢,不僅僅是亞洲。

簡化核心玩法然後專注於元遊戲,這種做法並不新鮮,但非常適合移動平臺,而且也有很多成功的先例,所以這是一個較爲安全的賭注。

偶爾會有玩家會提議手動戰鬥,但絕大部分的玩家都對自動戰鬥沒有意見。而且我們不想把它做成hardcore遊戲,因爲這會縮小受衆。

你從測試發行中學到了什麼?作爲學習結果,你做了什麼改變?

我們學到最主要的一點是‘不要害怕嘗試’。只要你能夠評估結果的價值,就放手地去測試儘可能多的想法,包括那些聽起來有些瘋狂的想法。在決定當前的元數據之前,我們測試了很多盈利模式,也測試了《King of Thieves》裏的一些東西。

另一個主要的變化是加入小貓做主角,這些都是在做完A/B測試之後添加的。

除此之外,我們還移除了一小部分的功能。例如,之前玩家可以毀掉對手車輛上的隨機部分,以此來破壞他們的戰車。雖然感覺好像很有用,但是玩家都不怎麼用這個功能,於是我們決定把它拿掉。

遊戲中的貨幣化機制是不是受到了《皇室戰爭》的啓發?

就像玩法機制一樣,我們總是在尋找最新的盈利趨勢,並對它們進行大量的測試。

Supercell找到了一個很好的平衡,所以我們也從他們那裏學到了一些東西;同時我們也會學習其他公司的做法;參考我們自己用過的盈利模式;到頭來,我們都會對這些東西進行非常徹底的分析。

但正如前面所提到的,我們參考的盈利模式不只這一個,而且爲了讓它能夠更好地適應遊戲和受衆,我們對它進行了很大程度的調整。

遊戲中有個賽事外圍的下注系統,《C.A.T.S.》的觀看性如何?有沒有成爲電子競技的可能?

有的,我們覺得《C.A.T.S.》在電子競技和直播方面都存在潛力。請關注我們即將發佈的更新。

研發過程中,團隊遇到過的最大挑戰是什麼?

爲了迎合截止日期,我們不得不去掉某些東西。有很多很酷的想法都還沒來得及實施,不過在未來的功能更新中,我們肯定會嘗試把它們加進去。

你如何看待這個遊戲的發佈?對目前的反響滿意嗎?

當然,高興極了!這纔剛剛發佈三個月,就已經在全球範圍內達到了超過5000萬的下載量。

並且這還是應用商店歷史上最大的一次發佈(非系列遊戲):發佈後的第一個週末獲得了800萬的下載量,在全球20個國家的‘免費應用程序’中名列第一(包括美國在內)。

人們似乎真的很喜歡這個遊戲,評分也非常高,而且這是工作室有史以來獲利最高的遊戲。

不過我們不會就此止步,因爲遊戲還存在非常大的進步空間。

對《C.A.T.S.》的未來有什麼規劃?

我們想要推出儘可能多的更新,最好是每個月都有。工作室已經爲今年餘年和2018年年初的新內容制定了計劃。

製作一個好的遊戲固然重要,但項目的進一步發展同樣重要,未來還會有更好的內容出現在《C.A.T.S.》裏面。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

ZeptoLab brings a very distinct flavour to its games that you’re unlikely to see anywhere else.

And it’s brought that quirky creativity and fun to its latest game, C.A.T.S.: Crash Arena Turbo Stars, which is quite unlike anything else available on the app stores.

The game pits cats against one another in suped up battle cars in lightning-quick automated battles. Players can fit their vehicles with an increasing number of powerful weapons and upgrades as they seek to find the most effective combination against their opponents.

To find out how ZeptoLab went about developing the game, PocketGamer.biz caught up with the studio’s Chief Product Officer Max Petrov on creating one of the most interesting and unique mobile titles of the year.

PocketGamer.biz: C.A.T.S. feels like a natural extension of the midcore PvP style you introduced with King of Thieves. Was the intention to build on that game’s success?

Max Petrov: King of Thieves was a big success for us, we learned a lot while creating and managing it. So, naturally, with C.A.T.S. we tried to implement all this knowledge, while avoiding previous mistakes and bringing in something completely new.

This time we were aiming at a much larger audience. As a result,C.A.T.S. is five times bigger in terms of downloads and significantly bigger in profit.

The game also continues the theme of user-generated content. When did the idea emerge to have players building their own machines and battling with them?

We wanted C.A.T.S. to feature UGC right from the very beginning. As stated before, we were aiming at a much larger audience this time, and that’s when the idea of uncontrollable battles came to us.

What if instead of fighting themselves, which usually requires some serious skills, players create their own fighting machines and use their head more rather than their fingers?

This sounded quite fresh and was an ideal solution for mobile, where you don’t have a lot of buttons and sticks to control the action.

Ever since Om Nom, ZeptoLab has seemingly placed a lot of value in its characters. How did you go about designing the cats themselves?

Cats didn’t appear in the game until late in the development. At first, the machines were unmanned.

However, we had doubts that players would be able to develop any emotional connection with these soulless chunks of metal. So we decided to test it and drew concept arts featuring different drivers.

Cats were only one of many options: we had concepts with fantasy creatures and other animals like pigs and bunnies. Screenshot tests showed that manned vehicles indeed performed better, and that players prefered cats to the other characters.

That’s how the game’s final appearance started to form.

How big was the team on C.A.T.S. and how long was the total development time?

The initial version took eight months to develop and the team consisted of only the game designer, the artist, the programmer and the product manager.

After that we released the game to a 13-months long soft launch in Austria, Sweden, and later in Canada.

The team grew accordingly: there were more than 12 people constantly working on the project during the soft launch, and prior to the release we had 23 specialists working on C.A.T.S.

Was there an Asian influence in the focus on metagame and the automation of actual battles?

We’re looking for trends everywhere, not precisely in Asia. Easing core gameplay and focusing on the meta game instead isn’t new, but that’s a good fit for mobile platforms and there are a lot of successful examples, so it was a pretty safe bet.

Some players asked us for manual battles, but the majority were fine with automatic fights. Plus we didn’t want to narrow the audience and make the game hardcore.

What did you learn from the soft launch period and what were the biggest changes you enacted as a result?

The major thing we learned from the soft launch is that you shouldn’t be afraid to experiment. Test as many things as possible, including the radical ones, as long as you can measure the results. We tested a lot of monetisation models, including some things from King of Thieves, before deciding on the current meta.

Another major change was implementation of cats. Both of these things were added after A/B tests.

We also had to take out a few features: for example, at some point players were able to sabotage the car of their rival by destroying a random part on their vehicle. Despite being seemingly useful, players didn’t use this feature much, so we decided to get rid of it.

What was your approach to monetisation design? Was Clash Royale’s chest system an inspiration?

As with gameplay mechanics, we’re always looking for newest trends in monetisation and perform a lot of tests to find what’s working.

Supercell managed to find a good balance there, so we learned a few things from them, as well as from many other companies and our own projects, which we always thoroughly analyse.

But, as mentioned earlier, it wasn’t the only model we tried, and we adapted it quite a lot to fit our game and the audience.

With the ability to bet on other players’ bouts, to what extent did you design C.A.T.S. to be spectated? Is there eSports potential?

Yes, we do see eSports and streaming potential. Please follow our upcoming updates.

What was the biggest challenge you faced during the game’s development?

Perhaps the biggest challenge for us was the necessity to cut certain things out to fit the deadlines. We have a lot of cool ideas that we were unable to implement yet, but that we’ll definitely try to make in future updates.

How do you reflect on the game’s launch? Are you happy with the reception thus far?

We are extremely happy with C.A.T.S.: three months after the release we already have more than 50 million downloads worldwide.

We also managed to make one of the biggest launches in the app stores history, at least for non-franchise games: C.A.T.S. got eight million downloads on the first weekend and was number one in the “free apps” category in 20 countries, including the US.

People seem to love the game, the ratings are very high and it’s our biggest title in terms of profit. Yet we don’t want to stop here – there’s still room for many improvements.

What’s next for C.A.T.S.?

We want to roll out as many updates as possible, preferably every month. We already have plans for new content for the rest of the year and even for the beginning of 2018.

Making a good launch is amazing, but further development of the project is just as important. We’re pretty sure that the best is yet to come for C.A.T.S.(Source:pocketgamer.biz