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開發者談制作游戲推廣視頻時不可減省的五項工作

發布時間:2021-06-17 11:44:51 Tags:,

開發者談制作游戲推廣視頻時不可減省的五項工作

原作者:Natalia Shuhman 譯者:Willow Wu

當你的資源條件比較有限時,想方設法在創作的每個階段節省開銷是完全可以理解的。然而,雖然某些階段的工作看起來似乎沒有那么重要,但是削減之后,你最終得到的結果很有可能是質量低劣,或者把問題搞得更復雜,甚至導致項目延后。

更重要的是,跳過這些工作其實并不會幫你省下很多錢或者時間。接下來我們就來探討這五個階段:

1.腳本

將腳本拋在腦后,憑直覺拼湊?這無疑是一種很大膽的策略,但并不理性。沒有腳本的游戲推廣視頻就像是沒有設定職責范圍的項目。為了避免制作過程中無休止的重復勞動,產生混亂的結果,一定要多多關注腳本。

首先要確定的是你到底想向用戶傳達什么。然后考慮你要使用什么視覺媒體具象化你的創意,將你的每個點子與手頭的資源相結合。接著逐步拓展主題,保持一致性,有邏輯地將一個點子銜接到另一個點子上。如果視頻還有旁白,記得要完善敘述內容。

2.翻譯

如果你的母語是英語,而視頻中需要用到外語——就比如德語,那你最好去去雇傭一個母語為德語、生活中也會說英語的人。請他們翻譯文本框中的文字,CTA(行動召喚)和旁白文本。別指望依靠機翻或者母語不是德語的人。英語為母語的人可能會犯一些錯誤,或者在表達上出現一些你不會注意到的小問題,但你的目標受眾會馬上注意到。

3.找母語是目標語言的人配音

如果你想省錢的話,正確的做法是不要配音,而不是找母語是另外一種語言的人來配音。如果配音在你看來是必不可少的——有時它確實會在視頻中起到支柱作用——一定要選一個母語是目標語言的人。如果可能的話,你可以讓其他母語是目標語言的人來為你挑選旁白,比如翻譯。

從我們的經驗來看,審查是必須的。之前我們遇到過這樣的情況:母語是目標語言的人發現候選的旁白有口音、吐字不太清晰或陳述方式不太自然,這都是我們無法注意到的。無論TA的音色多有吸引人,一旦出現這些問題我們就會選擇換人。

關于視頻旁白必要性的討論,你可以閱讀我們的另一篇文章“Should You Use Voice-Overs for Your Game Trailer/Preview?”(https://blog.alconost.com/en/should-you-use-voice-overs-for-your-game-trailer/preview)

4.故事板

這不是關于節省成本的,而是關于節省時間的:你可以通過跳過故事板環節縮短制作周期嗎?如果是非常簡單的視頻,那么回答是肯定的。即便如此,你也應該設計出一種視覺風格:比如文本框的設計和字體選擇、結尾畫面要考慮游戲標志、商店徽章和CTA的構圖。最省力的做法就是在靜態階段創建、檢驗這些元素,從而減少動畫階段的迭代次數。

故事板對于包含動態畫面的游戲尤其重要,因為這個階段你要把零散的素材聚合到場景中。如果你在準備素材時忘記把某些藝術資源放入源文件,那么在故事板階段這個錯誤就很容易被發現并得到糾正。如果素材中角色或者位置設定有錯,你也能在故事板中一下就注意到,很快就能糾正。如果直接讓動畫師花十幾個小時做成動畫,之后你才發現錯誤,這肯定會更費時費力。

Boom Beach(from pocketgamer.biz)

Boom Beach(from pocketgamer.biz)

5.音效設計

事實上,85%的Facebook用戶在看視頻時是不開聲音的,這對“做一個無聲視頻”來說確實是一個有利的依據。但是在YouTube上,絕大多數人是開著聲音看視頻的,看推廣視頻時會關掉聲音的人大概有35%~40%,具體取決于所在國家。

正如我們在Alconost網站上所看到的,用戶開不開聲音是他們的事,而創造者的工作就是確保無論無聲還是有聲,用戶都能獲得很好的體驗。文本框能幫助那些靜音觀看的人理解內容——我們在故事板階段設計了,記得吧?而考慮到那些開聲音的人,視頻的背景音樂確實得花些心思。

使用版權庫里的音樂花費一般都不超過50美元,也有可能你花15~20美元就能找到非常滿意的音樂。這些費用并沒有多到想讓人壓成本。需要特別提醒的是,購買的音樂必須經過編輯以匹配動畫時長,而且關鍵幀應該配上音效加以強調。

如果你是自己做視頻,在這個階段你或許還需要一個音效工程師。還有一種或許可行的選項就是聯系到一個能為你的游戲創作原聲帶的作曲人,幫這個忙應該不會耗費他們太多時間。

在這五個階段之后呢?就是動畫本身。一個既定的想法可以通過不同視覺效果來表達,而設計動畫是制作視頻最費時費力的階段,所以在這個階段考慮節省成本是合理的。

自然,3D或CGI視頻的效果會更加令人印象深刻,但如果你預算有限的話,不妨試試其它的選擇。

· 選項1:2D動畫視頻

就比如說Wild West: Steampunk Alliances的預告視頻。

在這些情況下可以考慮選擇2D:

· 你需要一個能夠呈現可預見未來的視頻——例如,你需要考慮在視頻發布時或發布不久之后,實際的游戲特色是否跟視頻里的一樣。
· 你計劃把這個視頻展示給不同國家的用戶看,但你不想把本地化流程搞得太復雜。
· 你并不需要為商店做預告視頻,先導廣告或者有趣的推廣視頻就可以。

為了更輕松地實施這個策略,你要提前挑選好應用到視頻中的素材。遵循你的腳本,把素材放置到場景中,不要遺漏任何細節。記得每個場景都要包含一張高分辨率的背景圖片、角度合適的角色立繪、與地點相關的元素以及其它與玩法相關的物品。

如果你的源文件是PSD格式的,要確保你的文件都分好了層。如果視頻中有包含角色動畫的話,這一點是非常重要的。當角色只有一個圖層的時候,給它做動畫會非常困難。當他們的手指、前臂、脖子、嘴唇、眼睛、眉毛等所有指骨都是獨立的元素時,動畫師做微笑、皺眉或握拳等動作時會更加輕松。

你還可以看看Heroes of War Magic這個游戲的先導預告。

動態圖像可以成為先導預告的素材,繼而在廣告平臺或社交網絡上發揮出很好的推廣作用。這類視頻的目的并不是展示真實的游戲特色,不用做多少調整能投放到國外的市場。

但如果你的計劃是把這類視頻放在應用商店的游戲頁面上,那我無法保證App Store審核方會認同這種做法。

· 選項2:將游戲玩法和動畫場景組合

做動畫(即使是2D)是一件相當費力的事,尤其是涉及到角色和那種細節很多的環境。但你的視頻可能不需要用到全部的場景。

我們可以通過展示游戲玩法來表達某些創意,分割動畫序列。應用得當的話,這種方法是不會影響視覺連貫性的。舉個例子,Bubble Illusion這個游戲的預告視頻——有些場景是動態圖像,有些是實際玩法展示。

你甚至可以把二者組合在同一個畫面中。比如Mahjong Village的游戲預告視頻,左邊的相框在展示實際的玩法,而右邊的動畫在展示黑夜中的城堡、陽光下的村莊。

如果你的預算有限,盡量多展示游戲玩法,只有在必要時才展示動畫。比如說游戲中的任務,如果只用游戲玩法展示就會過于詳細,而且你得播放很久才能表現出其中的趣味。最好是用圖式或象征的方式來描述游戲特色、表達你的創意——動畫就是非常好的選擇。

· 選項3:玩法視頻

最經濟的選擇就是錄下實際玩法,選取最精彩的片段,然后跟背景音樂搭配一下。要讓這個策略發揮作用,你要仔細檢查游戲玩法所表現的內容是否跟你的腳本相符。如果你想要用最低的成本實現成功,視頻必須是展示游戲中已經存在的內容,而且不需要進行任何修飾。

比如說,你做的是一個太空射擊游戲,你希望視頻能夠展示宇宙飛船從一群戰艦上方飛過這樣一種宏大的場面,那么這個動畫一定是游戲中已有的。如果是還沒做的話——當然你可以特地為視頻做出這個動畫,但這樣的話成本無疑會變高,所以如果你優先考慮的是節省開銷,那就盡量只用游戲中已有的動畫片段。

如果你的視頻有配音,那么玩法剪輯就要注意配合——意思就是說視頻序列必須配合旁白的敘述,而不是反過來。這樣能夠保持畫外音的自然節奏,避免視頻序列轉移到下一個場景,而旁白仍在閱讀前一個場景的文本。

一般來說,是配音決定每個場景的時長。就比如One Life Story這個游戲。

為了避免游戲視頻顯得單調,你可以加快片段的播放速度,無縫銜接另一個片段,甚至在屏幕上同時顯示多個片段。Taonga: Tropical Farm這個游戲也是這樣的。

雖說我們的建議是盡量多使用游戲玩法片段,完全不用動畫是不可能的。就比如說上面兩個游戲的視頻結尾都是動態圖像,而不是玩法展示。你的視頻勢必包含至少一個動態圖像,在估算成本時你得記住這一點。

總結

那么,游戲工作室自己制作一個視頻要花多少時間和人力?這個問題我們在“How Much Time and Energy Could Making an In-House Video Cost a Game Development Studio?”(https://blog.alconost.com/en/inhouse-video-cost)這篇文章中討論過了??傊?,我們認為游戲工作室一般不會自己制作視頻。雖然這個過程很有趣,但可能你費時費力還得不到一個滿意的結果。話雖如此,如果你的計劃是自己做視頻,那么希望這篇文章能夠幫助你確定制作過程中的優先事項。

本文由游戲邦編譯,轉載請注明來源,或咨詢微信zhengjintiao

When resources are limited, the desire to save money at each stage of video creation is perfectly understandable. However, while certain stages of the process may seem of negligible importance, when you try to cut costs you will either wind up with a video of noticeably lower quality, or complicate and delay the project.

What’s more, omitting these stages ultimately will not save you significant time or money. Here are the stages we’re referring to.

Five areas where it doesn’t pay to economise

· 1. The script

Forego the script and piece the video together intuitively? A daring approach to be sure, but not a very rational one. A video without a script is like a project without terms of reference. To avoid endless reworkings in the process and a garbled end result, give the script your utmost attention.

First decide what exactly you want to convey to the viewer. Then think about what visual media you’ll employ to bring your idea to life, and coordinate each of your ideas with the resources at your disposal, whether live gameplay or the game’s source graphics. Develop your theme consistently, proceeding logically from one idea to the next. If you plan for the video to include voice-over, refine how the text of the narration is formulated.

· 2. Translation

If your native language is English, but you need a video in a foreign language — German, for example — hire an English-speaking translator whose native language is German. Ask them to translate text box inscriptions, CTAs [calls to action], and the voiceover text. Don’t count on machine translation or on the abilities of non-native speakers of German. A native speaker will make errors or produce stylistic wrinkles that you would never notice, but that your target audience will pick up on immediately.

· 3. Voiceover by a native speaker

If you want to save money, it is better to do without narration in the video altogether than to have voiceover by a non-native speaker. If voiceover for your video is a must — sometimes the narrator’s voice is a “load-bearing element” of the video — choose a narrator who is a native speaker of the target language. When possible, have the voice actor you’ve chosen vetted by another native speaker — for example, the translator.

In our experience, the vetting stage is a must. There have been instances when native speakers have noticed that the potential narrator had an accent, problems with diction, or an unnatural reading style, which we ourselves, not being native speakers, were simply unable to identify. No matter how much the voice itself appealed to us, in these instances we continued our search until we found the ideal option.

Regarding when a game video requires narration and when it can be omitted, we discussed the issue in this article.

· 4. Storyboarding

This is a question of saving time, rather than money. Can you shorten the production cycle by tossing out the storyboarding stage? For very simple videos with gameplay visuals, yes, you can. Even here, however, you should develop a visual style: for text boxes, come up with a design and typeface; for the closing screen, think through the composition, embellishing it with the game logo, store badges, and a CTA. The most convenient method is to create and certify these elements while they are static, to decrease the number of iterations during animation.

Storyboarding is especially important for videos with animated graphics — more on that below — as this is the stage that isolated assets combine into cohesive scenes. If while preparing your materials you forget to include certain art in the source archive, at the storyboarding stage this error is easily pinpointed and corrected. And if the archive of materials turns out to contain the wrong character or location version, again, it is quicker and simpler to notice and correct this during storyboarding than for the animator to spend a dozen hours animating the wrong character or the wrong location version.

5. Sound design

The fact that 85% of Facebook users watch videos with no sound is a serious argument in favor of foregoing music and sound effects in your video. On YouTube, however, most people watch videos with sound enabled: the number of those who turn off the sound for advertising videos on YouTube varies between 35% and 40%, depending on the country.

As we see it at Alconost, whether or not the user watches the video with sound is their business. The creator’s job is to make the video ideal in both cases. For those who watch with no sound, text boxes will prove helpful — we designed them at the storyboarding stage, remember? — while for those who leave sound enabled, the video should include sound design.

The cost of a standard license for stock tracks generally does not exceed $50, although attractive tunes can also be found for $15 to $20. Once again, these are not expensive enough for it to make sense to skimp on them. It’s worth mentioning that the purchased track will have to be edited to match the duration of the animation, while key on-screen actions should be emphasized with sound effects.

If you make a video on your own, you may need the help of a sound engineer at this stage. One possible option would be to try reaching out to the composer who wrote the soundtrack for your game: the task of adding a musical track and sound effects to your video shouldn’t take them much time at all.

How to save on the video sequence

After these five stages, what’s left? Strangely enough, the animation itself. A given idea can be conveyed by different visual means, and since compiling animation is the most labor-intensive stage of creating a video, it makes sense to consider this particular stage when economising.

Naturally, videos with 3D or CGI look impressive, but when your budget is limited it makes sense to explore other options.

· Option 1: Video with animated graphics in 2D

An example of this type of video is the game trailer for Wild West: Steampunk Alliances.

Here’s when it makes sense to consider this particular option:

· 1. You need a video that will not lose relevance in the foreseeable future — for example, if at the time of the video’s release or shortly after the actual features will look different than they do at the time of the video’s production.
· You’re planning to show the video to viewers from various countries and you want to simplify the process of adapting the video for foreign markets.
· You don’t need a trailer for a store, but rather a teaser or advertising video with an interesting theme, which requires more than just gameplay video.

In order to simplify bringing this option to life, come up with a selection of graphic files ahead of time that you plan to use in the video. Follow the script and compile your assets for each scene, leaving no details out. In the archive, for each scene don’t forget to include a high-resolution background image, the proper characters from the proper angles, location elements, and other gameplay objects.

If your source files are in PSD format, make sure your files are layered. This is particularly important if the video should include character animation. When a character is a single-layer subject, animating their movements is a difficult proposition. But when all the phalanges of their fingers, forearms, neck, lips, eyes, brows, etc. are separate elements, it is far easier for the animator to make the character smile, scowl, or clench their hands into fists.

Here’s another example of a video with animated graphics: a teaser for the game Heroes of War Magic.

As we see, graphics created with animation in mind can serve as a basis for effective teasers to promote a game on advertising platforms or social networks. Additionally, this type of video does not depend on how game features actually look, and can be easily adapted to foreign markets.

However, if you decide to use this kind of video on the game page in an app store, there’s no guarantee that a video with animated graphics will pass the App Store’s moderation.

· Option 2: Combining gameplay and animated scenes

Animating graphics, even in 2D, is a fairly laborious affair, especially when it comes to character animation or highly detailed environments. But it’s entirely possible that your video’s subject matter does not require compiling all the scenes from source graphics.

It may be possible to convey some of the ideas using gameplay scenes, which can be used to break up the animated video sequence. When properly employed, this approach will not compromise the video’s visual cohesiveness. For example, watch the trailer for the game Bubble Illusion — some of its scenes are animated graphics, and some are actual gameplay.

You can even combine gameplay and graphics in a single scene. For example, in the video for the game Mahjong Village, the playing field with tiles is recorded gameplay, while the animated background in the distance, the fortress with the lighted windows, and the sunny village are animated graphics.

If you’re on a limited budget, use as much gameplay as possible, resorting to animated graphics only when absolutely necessary. Examples of this might include features such as quests, which will be too drawn out or too detail-heavy for recorded gameplay. It’s best to describe this game feature schematically or symbolically, conveying the idea figuratively, and this is where animated graphics are your friend.

· Option 3: Gameplay video

The most economical option is to record gameplay, select the best fragments, and set the captured video to the rhythm of the music. For this option to work, carefully check whether the gameplay depicts what you envisioned in the script. If you want to get by with minimal expense, your video has to show what is already in the game, without embellishments such as custom unit placement or changes to the UI.

For example, if you have a space shooter and you want the video to depict a spectacular scene of a spaceship flying over an aerial armada, the game must already include this animation. If it has not yet been created, it can of course be made specifically for the video using the game’s source graphics. But this will cost more than a gameplay montage, so if cost-cutting is your priority, try to use only animations your game already contains.

If your video includes voiceover, any gameplay montage must be synced to it. That is, the video sequence must be matched to the narrator, not vice versa. This will allow you to keep the voiceover to a natural pace and avoid a situation where the video sequence has moved on to the next scene while the narrator is still reading the text for the one preceding.

In general, when a video contains speech, it is the speech that determines how long each scene lasts. An example of this approach is the video for the game One Life Story.

To keep the gameplay video from appearing monotonous, don’t be afraid to speed up the recorded fragments a little, switch from one to the next, or even show several fragments on screen at once. We employed this approach in the video for the game Taonga: Tropical Farm.

However, even in these videos, which employ gameplay to the max, animated graphics could not be avoided altogether. For example, the closing screen in both videos was not recorded gameplay, but animated static graphics. Your video is bound to include at least one such scene, so keep this in mind when assessing the labor cost of creating the video.

Conclusions

The question of how much time and energy making an in-house video could take is addressed in detail in this article. In general, we’re of the opinion that creating videos is not exactly what game developers typically do. Although it’s a fascinating process, it can end up taking considerable time, without producing the result you were hoping for. Nevertheless, if you plan to create your video on your own, we hope this article helps you determine your priorities in the productive process.

(source: games industry )


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