Online Games: A Bittersweet Treat

They say the human body can go without food for 3 weeks, 3 days without water, typically 7-8 minutes without air. Did you notice I just listed the 3 essentials primarily needed to sustain human beings or life for that matter? The question is why all of a sudden I decided to go all science or encyclopedia on you.

What if I was to tell you while conveniently ignoring our evolution from monkeys, we have evolved to a level where these three things are no longer the only things that we need to sustain life. Knowingly unknowingly, intentionally or unintentionally, slowly and steadily it has crawled its way as one of the fundamentals for survival. I am of course talking about mobile phones and its minions (tablets, smartwatches and stuff).

If we all be honest with ourselves, I guess 90% people will agree with me when I say that we cannot live without our mobile phones for longer than a minute. Call it a force of habit, being enslaved to them or whatever but that is the sad truth that none of us want to face. With social networking playing a pivotal role in the lives of people of all age groups, people seem as if they are infused with a need to become “cool” and as a result, the need for mobile phones has risen drastically. That vibration and sound of receiving a message have become more imperative than eating, sleeping, and all day-to-day activities.

Phantom notification syndrome (the tendency of someone to believe they got a notification when they have actually not) is not just an observation about the youth but for almost all people with a “smartphone” these days. It is as if we have been programmed to check up on our phone every minute or two for no suggestive reason. And if it is not to check up on our zero messages it is either to take a selfie, or just to console ourselves we are looking fine, or to play games. In a very rare instance, it is a task outside these 3 categories.

And if we examine objectively, after messaging/texting/tweeting/Instagramming, the next favorite thing of people is to tire out their fingers playing games.

After WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram this is the thing in common in all devices. So simple and yet so addictive. The craze for the online game is such that at a point even I started playing it and I don’t remember how my following month passed. I mean there cannot be a single person who does not daily get flooded with games requests daily. It’s hard to put to words as to what makes the mobile game this addictive it’s dope sound effects, its ever-increasing difficulty as you progress, its simple interface, or what, is a mystery yet to be solved. But there is one thing laid down in concrete – it’s definitely going to stay a favorite among people for a long time to come.

Staying on Top of the Game: Localisation Mistakes to Avoid

There’s no denying that video games have become an integral part of the millennial life. This is probably because they allow the gamer to lead an alternate life, full of adventure and challenges. Gaming is a truly global industry today- a $60 billion one.

In 2010, a video game distributor in Brazil revealed that a game localized into Portuguese multiplied its sales 15 times! This underlines the importance of video game localization: it also underlines the need for quality translation and localization.

In spite of the importance of game localization, companies make the mistake of opting for shoddy shortcuts which are costly to repair, bring bad publicity, and hurt sales.

What are the localization mistakes that gaming companies make?

#1. Cutting corners on translation
Many video game companies think that they have saved a buck by going in for machine translations or considering the cheapest translation option rather than the best.

Machines are the world away from producing the accuracy needed. Translation tools can also be a security threat by providing access to video game content to hackers via the Internet.

Also, anything that is typed in for translation is literally handed over to the translation tool provider: it becomes their data; they can do anything they want to with it.
Translation needs not just to be accurate, but retain the flavor and nuances of the original to breathe life into the translated version.

Mistranslation can make the game a frustrating experience for the player or make the game developer a laughing stock of the gaming world; in the worst -case scenario, it can land the developer into a legal soup.

Cutting corners on translation add to the work and the expense. The sensible thing would be to make the use of professional translation services which are not just competent and creative, but discreet as well. Making the translation agency sign a non-disclosure agreement can help the game developer relax while the localization is going on safely in expert hands.

#2. Hard coding text into core files
This is something that video game developers with limited vision do. It is a mistake to embed text elements like the menu text, game’s title, and on-screen, printed dialogue into core game files. If the text is stored in a separate resource file, it will be easy to incorporate a translated version by adding a new variable and providing the translation in a separate dedicated file. Much easier than digging through source code while translation?

#3. Painting all game text with the same brush
Some games involve specialized terminology. Take sports games; football terminology is not the same as basketball-tall talk. Translators and localisers for such games need to do some research. The need here is for “research-oriented text.”

Games like the popular and addictive Candy Crush come up with new gaming concepts. Such games are slotted as needing “creative-oriented text.”

Game developers should analyze their game content and decide which category of text is suitable. Text should be tailor-made to content, and the portfolio of the translator should match this need.

#4. Out-of-context game localization
Surely, there is little to be gained by handing over reams of text to translators and localisers who know little about the game or its content. Worse still, is expecting someone who has no idea about gaming to handle the job!

When game localization is of such importance, the more the translator knows about the game, the better will be the outcome. Translators should be encouraged to play the game being developed. Discretion and security are non-negotiable requirements, of course.

#5. Ignoring Cultural Factors
Each market is steeped in its own culture. Cultural sensitivity is necessary while localizing a game or the developer will risk alienating target audiences. This isn’t just about actual game content like the story, characters, situations, and events.

Consider the following:
A gaming giant had to recall 75,000 copies of a video game which used the chanting of the Quran in its soundtrack after a user raised objections to it.
The depiction of Japanese armies invading South Korea may be a slice of history; nevertheless, Seoul was offended by a game that showed just that.

Localization misdemeanors can range from showing alcohol to displaying blood and gore on screen. While localizing, video game developers will do themselves a favor by doing a thorough recce of the target market. Cultural gaffes are not to be taken lightly, and the adverse publicity surrounding them can kill the game if not the developing company.

#6. Failing to test game translations
The proof of the pudding is in the eating!
Translation does tend to change the length of the sentence. Translated strings may not fit the graphics or the elements of user interface. Coding may also leave some strings missing. All this can be avoided if developers test-drive their games on an actual device.

On-device localization testing can let you assess the overall quality of game localization while identifying the glitches at the same time. If the game has on-screen printed dialogue, autofitting the text to fit the text space is necessary.

#7. Poor management of translation content
Game developers must organize all the different formats and files – marketing copy, manual, packaging, app store descriptions, in-game interface text, and subtitles. The management of translations must be centralized to avoid mistranslations and duplications across the various types of content.

#8. Treating localization as an afterthought
Thinking of localization as the very last step in the development cycle is a costly mistake that many game developers make and land up missing great overseas opportunities. When copycat versions arrive in the local market, such companies find that they have painted themselves into a corner. It is only then that they think of finding fresh markets overseas. Localization at this “end” stage means reworking source code and building up translation materials from scratch: all of which cost time and money.

The solution is to wrap strings in the initial stages of video game development and to adopt coding styles of international standards.

There are many gamers overseas. The video game market is an ever-growing one. Professional and talented translation services can go a long way in perfecting video game localization.

The Importance of Using Visual Concepts in The Production of Video Games

Responsibilities of an artwork studio and its impact on the production of a game.

Within the whole structure of a game development studio, building a good team and effective planning is critical to any project.

Pre-production is a crucial time when game design decisions will reflect the bottom line.

A fundamental part of this planning is the choice of the graphic characteristics of the project, where the function of a video game studio goes beyond the design of efficient mechanics and opens space for the creation of a visual identity that should reflect the objectives of the project at first sight.

Regardless of the platform where the project will be launched, the visual identity represents the player’s entrance to the world that is presented to him, it is by this element that the player identifies with the atmosphere, becomes familiar with the setting and the plot and is The main immersion tool the game can offer.

All this process of visual creation is in the hands of artwork studio and its professionals dedicated to artistic visual creation, responsible for video game art. The main function of the designer is the creation of interface mediated communication within the game, as in any work that uses design concepts, the function of artwork studio is to transmit information visually and interactively to the player.

Development of New Rendering Technologies

Over the years, the technology surrounding the gaming world has been growing ever faster, with new possibilities for more convincing and interactive visual simulation. The development of new engines, new production tools and the application of art concepts in productions, brings the gaming industry closer and closer to giants such as the film industry for example, in terms of investments, profits and media notoriety.

The responsibility of an artwork studio in defining the visual identity of the project is immense, defining color palettes, styles and compositions within design concepts directly influence the player’s experience.

It is the visual communication that tells the player whether an element of the scenario can be explosive, or whether a character is ally, neutral or villain, plus many self-explanatory information that saves time leaves the experience more fluid.

Independent Video Game Studio

Acting against the way of the big producers, the small independent game development studios, take the visual appeal in the background and focus on the gameplay and the constant experience of satisfaction to the player.

Using retro styles, taking advantage of already established mechanics, games of categories like 2d beat ups and side scrolling games are increasingly common, especially on the mobile platforms, Android itself has become the main way to produce and publish games independently.

In the early days of the gaming industry, games were made exclusively by programmers who understood absolutely nothing of design or visual arts, which left these games with a raw look and with little, if any, environmental interaction with the player.