Tiny Bubbles: 2D 게임용 Unity 사례 연구
Veteran indie developer Stu Denman had a grandfather who had worked on the Manhattan Project, and afterward studied the physics of soap bubbles. Half a century later, Stu couldn’t get his grandfather’s bubble work out of his head. He was dreaming bubbles at night. But would he be able to turn the seed of an idea into a polished, fun and challenging game?
수상 경력을 자랑하는 멋진 물리 퍼즐 게임
스튜 덴먼은 AAA 스튜디오의 테크니컬 디렉터로서 30명 이상의 게임 개발자로 구성된 팀을 이끌었습니다. 하지만 어느 순간부터 게임을 직접 만들고 싶은 욕구가 생겼습니다. 덴먼은 Unity의 유연하고 강력한 툴세트를 적극적으로 활용하여 160개 이상의 레벨로 구성된 기발하며 중독성 있고 매력적인 퍼즐 게임 Tiny Bubbles를 만들었습니다.
- 고품질 에셋 스토어 플러그인으로 수천 달러의 개발비 절감
- 현지화 툴을 사용하여 개발 기간 수개월 단축
- Google Indie Festival, Intel Buzz: Best Overall PC Game, Seattle Indie Games, Mobile Games Forum Indie Showdown 등 다양한 대회에서 수상
상상을 현실로 구현한 엔진
덴먼은 이 프로젝트를 시작할 때만 해도 일종의 '영감'만 가지고 있었습니다. 비누 거품을 이리저리 다루는 게임을 만들고 싶다는 막연한 상상 외에는 게임에 대한 구체적인 계획이 없었습니다. Unity 에디터의 확장성과 모듈형 디자인 덕분에 덴먼은 이러한 아이디어를 마음껏 실험해 볼 수 있었습니다.
"흥미로운 부분을 살리고 그렇지 않은 부분은 수정하는 작업을 진행했습니다. 이때 게임을 직접 플레이하며 실시간으로 테스트한 후 수정을 거치는 과정을 반복했는데, Unity 안에 또 다른 에디터를 만들어 이 과정을 쉽게 진행할 수 있었습니다. Unity 에디터의 유연성 덕분에 게임의 완성도를 크게 높일 수 있었죠.
덴먼은 "Unity를 사용하니 지금껏 개발하고 활용해 온 방식들에 크게 얽매이지 않게 되었다"며, "그 대신 아직 경험해보지 못한 더 흥미로운 기술에 집중할 수 있습니다. 이번의 비누 방울이 아주 좋은 예죠."라고 말합니다.
100배의 투자 수익 확보
In addition to adding his own tools, Denman also used many pre-existing tools from the Unity Asset Store, and he says that they offered an incredible ROI.
“Sometimes you don’t comprehend how much work and polish it takes to complete a project and compete in a market that’s so competitive. But when you throw your game in front of players, you realize, oh my gosh, I need to add an effect here. I need to improve the look of a feature there.
“So being able to go to the Asset Store and find a tool there–probably for 100 times less than you would spend making it yourself–is just phenomenally awesome. It saves tons of time for sure,” Denman says.
What’s more, he often experiences that the assets he initially acquires for one specific reason hold hidden benefits elsewhere. TextMesh Pro was a good example of this:
“I grabbed TextMesh Pro to add icons in my text and‒not only did it allow me to do that quickly and efficiently and for very little money‒but it had a tremendous number of other very cool features I could take advantage of that I never expected.”
모든 사람이 즐기는 비눗방울 놀이
The result of Denman’s experimentations was an award-winning game with over 160 intriguing puzzles. The game mirrors the actual physics of bubbles in the real world with regard to pressure and surface tension, interaction, and cascading chain reactions.
“Bubbles are this elemental human thing. There’s just something fascinating about bubbles that everyone loves regardless of their age, sex, or culture. And I wanted to offer this great new way to play with clusters of bubbles to as many people as possible, including people who are color blind or rely on eye trackers. In order to that, though, I needed to be in as many different languages and platforms as possible, and that’s definitely one big reason why I chose Unity,” Denman says.
Using the I2 Localization plugin from the Asset Store, Denman was able to store all his languages on a Google Spreadsheet. He could then share the spreadsheet with translators. Once approved, the text was automatically pulled into Unity.
“I was really blown away by how ridiculously easy it was. It would have taken me probably two months or more to make that same software. I got a third of the game localized in a single day, including the integration and tutorials. And it’s going to save me hours and hours,” he says.
실시간 인사이트 및 수익화 툴
Once he created the prototype, Denman was eager to see how people would respond to his experimentations and what they would actually do in the game. In order to do so, he enabled Unity Analytics and began to send it out to friends.
The Unity Analytics dashboard has enabled him to look at things like, for example, which levels take more tries to win or at which levels people stop playing the game. In order to base some potentially critical business decisions on sound data, Denman plans to continue to use Unity Analytics when the game goes to beta.
Will they pay to play?
One major decision Unity Analytics will help with is Denman’s business model regarding monetization.
“The market is challenging out there right now, so it’s important that I choose the best model for the given platform and market. All of those markets have different kinds of players, so you really need to test retention for those different types of players in order to have an idea of which one is going to make you the most money.
“Sometimes if your retention is lower, it’s better to go premium, and if your retention is higher, it’s better to go free-to-play. Unity Analytics lets you look at retention and make a decision based on data.”
In order to be ready for a free-to-play audience, Denman is prepared to complement Unity Analytics with Unity Ads and IAP. He has already integrated ads into his design in a way that will offer a good player experience to different types of players.
“I use reward-based ads for the hints and power-ups and the puzzles. If the player is struggling and they need help, they can watch an ad and get a reward like a hint. The hints help make the game accessible to a wider audience. It allows casual players to get through some of the more difficult puzzles, where a more hard-core player might prefer to labor through the solution.”
Denman has taken full advantage of what Unity offers. First, the flexible, modular design helped him follow his interest when he only had an inkling of what the final game would look like. Next, the Unity Asset Store and his own custom tools enabled him to focus on the core of the game itself. Finally, Unity IAP, Ads and Analytics are helping get the game right in a way that will enable him to get paid for all his hard work.