Whether it is the post bar or the Weibo comment area of half a bottle of fairy vinegar, people will occasionally ask him about his next work.
For old players who have experienced the Flash era, “Half Bottle of Immortal Vinegar” is a name that can evoke many memories. The most famous Jin Yong fan work in the Flash era.
And the developer who is respected by fans as “Vinegar” has a half bottle of fairy vinegar. After completing two well-known Flash games in the early years, he did not devote himself to the development of stand-alone games as people expected. In the past ten years, the focus of Shenxian Vinegar’s work has all turned to commercial game development, and has never launched any related martial arts stand-alone works.
But to this day, whether it is the post bar or the Weibo comment area of half a bottle of fairy vinegar, people still ask him about the next work from time to time, which shows the depth of the “resentment” of the old players.
Just today, the PV of half a bottle of immortal vinegar’s latest game “The Legend of Heroes” was finally released on Weibo, and the game page was also launched on Steam. According to reports, this work is a martial arts open world stand-alone game based on a new IP. , In addition to the battle of war chess gameplay, there are many explorable contents such as stealth, fishing, farming, etc. The game is currently in the early stage of development and is expected to be launched in 2023.
For the half bottle of Immortal Vinegar, this is the first work I have returned to stand-alone martial arts after many years, so before the official launch, I also chatted with him about the new game and past experience, about this work The starting engine, specific gameplay and design details, Immortal Vinegar has made corresponding answers.
In 2009, Half Bottle of Immortal Vinegar released the sequel “Golden 3”, which was already well-known in the Flash game circle at that time, and received a lot of praise. Although he himself already has a considerable fan base in the circle, he I didn’t take advantage of the trend to become an independent game producer.
On the one hand, Shen Xianju believes that many of his ideas and ideas for games at that time have been basically realized in the past Flash games. If he continues to develop sequels, neither the gameplay nor the graphics will be significantly improved. According to his own words It will be “change the soup without changing the medicine, not even the soup.”
On the other hand, Shen Xianju was in charge of all the work of the game at that time, so he resigned for several months to complete the development at home, and due to copyright reasons, these games were all in the category of fan works, and he himself could not get financial benefits.
Around 2010, Steam was not yet popular in China. The development direction of game manufacturers mainly focused on PC online games. If a domestic stand-alone game wants to achieve profitability, it is necessary to consider issues such as sales channels and anti-piracy. Differently, for a developer who is alone like Shenxian Vinegar, the risk is undoubtedly huge.
Under such a background, if you want to continue to engage in game development, joining online game development has become the optimal solution under the trade-off. Unexpectedly, this road will take more than ten years.
And now returning to the old business, according to the fairy vinegar, it seems that the market environment has changed.
“It’s too curly.”
This is the word he uses to describe the current situation of commercialized games in China, and it is also the reason why he changed his direction and returned to stand-alone game development.
“Whether it is R&D or subsequent distribution and operation, each stage requires a lot of energy and time. It is even more difficult for a small team to stand out. Over time, there is basically no energy to settle down and ponder the essence of the game. “As a practitioner with more than ten years of experience, Shenxianju believes that the current commercial game development environment is under a lot of competitive pressure, and this pressure will eventually change the way of thinking of developers – for example, how to make users stay, To pay, he felt like he was doing something that was not enough.
In recent years, the success of domestic independent games such as “Taiwu Picture Scroll” and “Ghost Valley Eight Wilderness” has also allowed the fairy vinegar, who is far from independent game production, to see a new way out. In his opinion, indie games are not currently “rollable” because it involves the control of capital and R&D costs. Naturally, the initial investment will not be too large, and there will be no clear expectations for the follow-up benefits. To put it bluntly The point is that “power generation with love” is needed to some extent.
But for Immortal Vinegar, there is no hard revenue pressure, and it just leaves him plenty of time to rethink another question: how to make a game fun?
In terms of gameplay and system, “The Legend of Heroes” adopts an open world setting. The game does not have a clear main storyline. Players can explore the entire map from the beginning; in addition to the basic martial arts, they can also practice including Fishing, animal taming, sneaking and many other skills; you can decide your attitude towards a certain NPC according to your personal preference, and develop a variety of character relationships with them, such as friendly or hostile.
Even in the most common battles, in addition to triggering the head-to-head confrontation in the war chess mode, you can sneak up behind the target through sneak skills in advance, and trigger additional actions such as “pointing acupuncture”, “poisoning”, and “stealing” when he is unprepared. .
According to the introduction of Immortal Vinegar, the focus of this game will be on the degree of freedom that players can choose. All events and puzzles have at least two solutions, and in the plot, “war chess” dominates Combat isn’t the only core gameplay either.
He gave me a simple example: When a player encounters a bandit oppressing a villager in the wild, he can naturally draw a sword to help him and defeat them with his learned martial arts, but he can also use his eloquence skills to ask about the situation. It will trigger another story line – it is found that this is actually a sanctimonious old man trying to touch porcelain, and then other solutions can be triggered, so as to enter different branch endings.
In the game, there are complex plot choices with more branch choices. Even in some gameplay, the player fails because of insufficient ability value, but the game will not be “Game Over” because of this. On the contrary, each failed ending can open up another new story line. Just like in traditional martial arts novels, being pushed off a cliff may lead to the discovery of martial arts secrets by accident. People came to the rescue, and a different opportunity unfolded.
This kind of setting sounds very good, and it is more in line with the real rules of the rivers and lakes, but friends who are familiar with game development should understand that in order to achieve multi-branch and multi-option plots, and at the same time ensure that the logic of the story and the attitudes of the characters are not contradictory, it is a a very difficult thing.
Every time an NPC is added to the game, or a new plot event, the overall workload will increase exponentially. According to the author’s expectations, “The Legend of Heroes” will implement more than 100 main NPCs in the future. The process will last at least 20 hours, which is undoubtedly a huge amount of work for a small team.
How to make your excellent ideas land smoothly and solve other unexpected situations at the same time is one of the important tasks of an independent developer.
At the beginning of this year, Half Bottle of Immortal Vinegar announced the progress of his new project on Weibo. At the same time, he said in the article that “the team is still in urgent need of plot masters, please contact me if you have lofty ideals”:
In the nearly two years since the official launch of “The Legend of Heroes”, the main focus of the half-bottle of fairy vinegar has been on building a team and clarifying the direction of the game. In terms of team building, the most scarce job is “plot planning”. In view of the multi-event and multi-branch plots mentioned earlier, this project is bound to pose a high challenge to the screenwriter.
In terms of clarifying the direction of the game, since Shenxian Vinegar has been engaged in commercial game development for more than ten years before, although he has also been exposed to a lot of different products on the market during this period, in the early stage, he still cannot avoid using the old game. Bring some inertia to your new project.
Just like the props system in the game, the first thing that Immortal Vinegar thought of was the very MMORPG set—that is, making a fuss about the enhancement and refinement level of equipment, which obviously does not conform to the design ideas of stand-alone games.
But at the beginning, no one realized what was wrong with this. It was not until after a period of time, when Shen Xianzhu experienced his own game from the perspective of a player at the internal game experience summary meeting, he realized the existence of this design. question.
Now every one and a half months or so, he and the development team will integrate an internal experience demo based on the current development progress, allowing everyone to freely express their opinions after the trial. Let everyone collectively spray in the front”, many defects and loopholes in the game are actually found and solved in this form.
Some problems are discovered late, and some problems involve multiple aspects. Once modified, it will inevitably affect the whole body and affect the normal development progress. Even the relatively basic main interface UI, the development team has already revised it four or five times. . However, “It’s better to be sprayed now than to be sprayed by players when it goes online.” Although such a summary will consume a lot of energy, Shen Xianzhu himself still maintains a relatively optimistic attitude.
From the perspective of old fans, even though the developer’s name is “Half Bottle of Immortal Vinegar”, the first work of a small-scale team involves “open world”, “branch plot”, “multiple gameplay” and other gimmicks. However, the content that is very complicated to operate will inevitably doubt the quality of the final finished product of the game. From the perspective of development, it does not seem to be the safest choice.
But in the eyes of half a bottle of fairy vinegar, if you want to make a really fun game, such efforts are worth a try.
During the development process, it was not that he did not realize that adding multiple gameplays at the same time might bring a sense of “split” and “stitching” to the game, but the player’s sense of split is actually not directly related to the existence of multiple gameplays , he believes that the more important thing is the logic between different elements. Whether it is gameplay or mechanism, the key lies in whether it can play its due role and value in the corresponding position of the game.
In order to achieve this kind of logical self-sufficiency, in actual development, each new gameplay needs to be continuously adjusted and optimized. Another system with a large proportion in the game – sneaking, has repeatedly tested and modified in terms of operation methods, viewing angles, interactive actions, etc., and this attitude will also be applied to every system and gameplay of the game. According to his own standard of half a bottle of fairy vinegar, he didn’t want to make a collection of “four dislikes” mini-games.
At present, “The Legend of Heroes” may still be a while away from the real launch or EA stage. The well-known Flash game producer in the past has built an expected framework for it, so the rest is how to proceed Fill these seemingly long-term plans step by step, and then let time prove it all.
This article is reprinted from: https://www.yystv.cn/p/9653
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