Chan King On
WHAT do you expect when you press “F4” in “Hin-Yuen-Gim 3” (Ancient Sword 3), a Taiwan-based role play computer game in battle mode?
Ding! Our characters can use all magic and skills without limitation.
This is one of the little tricks in the game. But the question is: who makes this? The answer is: the game planners do.
As far as we know, some of the tricks are unsolved bugs, but, some of them are the so-called “Easter eggs” which are created intentionally.
“Planners in game development are just like play-writers in movies,” said Martin Wong, executive manager of Privilege Digi Information Ltd, a Hong Kong-based computer games development company.
What does a planner do in game development? According to Wong, he is the soul of the game and responsible for writing the game script, designing the game play, calculating the budget in advance, and monitoring the process, ensuring that all are on schedule.
Sounds amazing? But the hardest part is they have to instruct the programmers to write the game as he wish and debug the program with a debug team as well. And finally, fine tune to ensure that everything run smoothly.
Though there is still no official course for game planners, the quality of local output rises steadily, and it’s among the top in Asia Pacific region. However, there is still a gap between Hong Kong and those leading countries, say, the United States.
“Talents hinder us most”, Wong said with a bit of sorrow. “We do not have enough planners, who must love computer, and have adequate knowledge and experience in games development.”
According to Wong, most of the planners nowadays do not have game production experience, their previous working experience is programming for business purposes only, and, there are just 5 or 6 qualified planners with game production experience now.
In fact, game planners in Hong Kong do not have proper training. They just learn from the process, and grasp all they got by themselves.
Wong added that, game standards between Hong Kong and the States are almost the same. “We are just short of proper training and budget. In general, the States are having budget 10 times greater than we are, as there is a bigger market. Besides, they have a specific subject teaching game planning, say, the art of scenery and lighting. “Indeed, lack of proper training is all that differs. In other Asia countries, for example, Saudi Arabia and China, expertise there enjoy proper training, and they are able to discover bugs at early stages. However, game planners in Hong Kong still enjoy advantages over them especially the demand of market,” said Wong.