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Updating Your Game - Best Practices
Steam 是圍繞著將玩家的遊戲組建維持在最新版本的核心功能所建立的。 無論是需要修正小型的程式錯誤,還是添加大型的內容更新,Steam 中完善的工具組可用來發表您的更新,將其交與玩家手中。

以下為一般進行更新時可考慮的實踐方式,以及一些過去我們在 Valve 大幅更新自家產品時,和我們從其他許多 Steam 產品上學習到的最佳作法。

無論您的遊戲為免費遊玩服務,還是單機敘事遊戲,更新皆能擴大使用者群體、加深使用者的投入程度。 有關與顧客交流的一般資訊,請見我們的最佳管理作法一文,以及觀看 Robin Walker 在 Steam Dev Days 的完整版講座
Note: Customers expect to be able to download your game and future updates within the Steam client. It is important that you use Steam to handle your updates, and do not require users to download content inside your game after it has launched. Steam provides a unified download and update experience for customers that easily allows them to manage the schedule and location of their downloads, and can result in significant performance gains and cost savings to developers.

隨時更新

Updates are an important part of your product's life cycle and a critical form of communication with customers. You'll need to make updates to fix bugs and address issues, but major updates are also a huge opportunity to add new content, new modes of play, or new features to help keep customers engaged and attract new audiences.

Steam makes it easy to patch your game or add content at any time that you need to in order to best serve your audience on your schedule. Feel free to update as often as you need to, but remember that players who have your game installed will need to download each update before they can launch the game again, so be considerate if your updates are large in size.

計畫與目標

To get the most out of your update, you'll want to start by thinking about the goals you want to achieve. You probably want to be patching all the time to fix issues that players have brought up or that you’ve found while testing the game. But you also want to be thinking about longer-term content updates that keep your players engaged and coming back to play.

Whether your update is big or small, each one is a form of communication with players, demonstrating that you are listening to player feedback and you care about improving the player experience.

錯誤修正與修補程式

Updating and patching your game is one of the best ways to communicate with customers. If you hear about customers experiencing issues with your game, there is no better response than to fix the issue as quickly as possible (if reasonable). Steam makes it easy to deploy updated builds anytime you wish, so make use of it to iterate on your product and help customers with issues.

When deploying an update, it's helpful to post an announcement in your Steam Community Hub so that customers can tell what has changed. This also demonstrates to customers that you are listening and working to address the issues that are being identified.

大型內容更新

Iterating and updating your product is essential, but your communication around the update can make a big difference. We have found that for our own games it works best to release major updates every 1-2 months at most. This let us put together a big enough update to be exciting and compelling, and allowed for time to tease or pre-announce those updates before they ship to build anticipation.

Your own approach may vary as you learn what your players are responding positively to. Here is a sample process that has worked well for us, which we honed by trying different approaches and listening to player feedback:

  1. 宣傳更新 - 3 - 4 天前開始(可考慮以敘事形式)宣傳更新,來埋下暗示、引起猜測,讓顧客為之興奮。 您會需要提供讓您的產品被媒體報導的資源。
  2. 觀察討論區和意見 - 觀察實際釋出更新前討論區對此的反應、有些什麼意見,再根據這些資訊改良或稍微修改您的內容,或找出您的顧客最為之興奮的元素,並將其做為重點展示。
  3. 強調功能與遊戲玩法上的改動 - 在發佈更新前的宣傳階段強調功能與遊戲玩法上的改動,提高曝光程度、引起猜測,讓顧客為之興奮。 一點一點地揭示更新詳情,可以讓您的玩家在實際遊玩以前解析並消化內容。
  4. 製作後設遊戲或舉辦比賽 - 製作後設遊戲或舉辦比賽可以讓您的顧客有效地將產品介紹給好友或其他玩家,並提供一個讓顧客也能為遊戲世界做出貢獻的機會。

範例 As an example of the kinds of update announcement pages that we at Valve have put together for some of our own games, you can see the latest updates for Counter-Strike: Global Offensive listed down the right-side of the CS:GO website, or some updates for Dota 2 here and here.

All of these elements are feasible for any product, regardless of the genre or the team size. We highly recommend that the same team designing and building the content is also directly exposed to the communication and feedback from customers. This DOES NOT mean that your level designer should spend all day replying to questions on the Steam forum. It does mean, however, that reading feedback and being responsible for the community should be part of the dev team’s role, rather than delegated out to community managers or a separate PR team. Watch the full Dev Days talk for specific examples and additional insights.

是 DLC,還是主遊戲的一部分?

When you release new content for your game, you have a few options for how you can provide that content to players. You can sell it as Downloadable content (DLC) or as in-game purchases. Or you can simply include it in the base game as a free content update.

Below are some suggestions for best practices that we've seen work well for most cases:
  • 免費內容 => 遊戲的一部分 - 如果您打算免費提供內容,我們發現最好的方式是簡單地將新內容加為主遊戲的一部分。 如此一來,玩家無須進行額外的點擊和下載動作(相較於將更新作為免費 DLC 釋出的情況),即可取得最新的內容。
  • 小型付費內容 => 遊戲內購買 - 如果您打算新增小型的付費道具,如帽子、單把武器、消耗品,您可考慮將每一項內容納入遊戲內購買。 Steamworks 含有便於使用的 Steam 物品庫服務,和您當然也會用到的小額交易功能,來處理所有的付款和貨幣轉換。
  • 大型付費內容 => DLC - 如果您打算販售具相當分量的內容,如地圖、新遊戲模式、擴充包,則可以考慮利用 DLC。 這麼做可以分開安裝內容,未購買額外內容的玩家便無須容納額外檔案,也得以作為遊戲商店頁面的一部分來行銷這項具相當大小的內容。

測試

Before deploying your update, you'll probably want to make sure you test it yourself from a Steam build. There are a number different ways you can do this, so be sure to check out the Testing on Steam documentation.

上傳更新

To update your game or software build, simply follow the same instructions for creating your initial builds in SteamPipe. Check out the SteamPipe Documentation for details.

Note that after your app releases to customers, your customers will be receiving the build marked as the Default build. In order to test your update, you should upload the new build using Steampipe, then set that build on a test branch with a password to test before moving it to the default branch. See Managing Uploaded Builds above for a refresher on managing your build branches.

釋出組建

Once you've uploaded and tested your build, you're ready to make it live for players. To do so, you'll need to switch your desired build to be the new 'default' build. If you created new depots in the process of adding this new content, make sure you add that new depot to all store and key packages. See Packages documentation for more details.

在 Steam 上發表更新

Once you're ready to release your update on Steam, you'll want to tell customers and provide a place for focused feedback. Steam provides a number of ways for you to announce your update and get word out:
  • 使用替用藝術作品 - 使用一組暫時的宣傳圖,告訴顧客您的遊戲有了新的更新。 在 Steamworks 的「修改商店」區塊之下的圖像資產分頁中,即有定義暫時替用資產的區塊。 More about Artwork Overrides
  • Post an Announcement - When you post an event or announcement, it will appear to any customer that is following your game (which they can do from your community hub or store page), on your store page, within the Steam library, and will be accessible from the Steam client 'downloads' panel. More about Events and Announcements
  • 推出折扣 - 為使大型更新達到最佳效益,您可考慮配合這個時機推出折扣。 當您的遊戲建立起令人興奮的氛圍時,這麼做可以引起大量關注,同時給予玩家另一個立即購買遊戲的理由。 再加上,有將您的遊戲加入願望清單的玩家,會再收到遊戲特價的電子郵件通知。 此方法與上述的暫時替用藝術作品搭配在一起可以達到很好的效果。 More about discounting
  • 使用更新曝光回合 - 如果是一項大型內容更新,則可以利用 Steam 更新曝光回合讓您的更新登上 Steam 商店首頁, 這對於向新舊顧客宣傳更新來說相當有用。 同時這也會將您的遊戲列入最近更新產品的頁面中。
    若希望使用更新曝光回合,首先您需要在 Steam 社群發佈一篇說明更新詳情的公告。 相關詳情請見 Steam 更新曝光回合