How PUBG Mobile was made in four months
Two years in the past, Tencent Video games launched PUBG Cellular, a 2 GB free-to-play app that ports the complete expertise of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds from PC and consoles to your telephone.
It’s since grow to be a $1.5 billion-dollar hit, boasting 50 million each day lively customers and 600 million downloads worldwide. The sport’s developer, Lightspeed & Quantum Studios, has partnered with professional athletes, musicians, AMC’s The Strolling Useless, Offended Birds, Capcom, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and the Mission: Impossible franchise to assist attract new gamers — just like the 50,000 groups that competed in PUBG Cellular esports final 12 months.
Whereas Tencent just lately kicked off the game’s second anniversary celebration with a particular occasion mode and different modifications, Polygon spoke to a number of of us at Tencent, together with director Rick Li, about PUBG Cellular’s whirlwind creation and ongoing growth.
“We may see the rising recognition of this class within the gaming market, so the mission was began with some urgency,” Li says. “The response from gamers to PUBG pushed us to develop the sport rapidly … We instantly gathered the highest expertise in our studio to speculate on this mission with an all-in perspective.”
It took them 4 months.
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“It was Mission: Unattainable on daily basis,” Li says.
Among the many largest of these challenges was getting the unique sport’s artwork and environments to load and render easily on a cellular machine. “We would have liked to beat many technical and creative difficulties,” Li says, “together with HDR real-time lighting, simulating ballistic trajectories, and so forth.”
Outdoors of the first PUBG Cellular group, Lightspeed & Quantum additionally established a devoted group “for every troublesome function,” adapting the sport first for high-end units after which working backward to optimize for much less succesful fashions. The thought was that you just’d need the sport to look its easiest when attainable, however stay enjoyable and easy for gamers with lower-end telephones.
“The technical groups obtained two to 3 years of expertise in two to 3 months,” Li says.
PUBG Cellular screenshot
If you happen to’ve by no means performed PUBG, it’s the sport that ignited the battle royale craze seen in Fortnite, Apex Legends, Realm Royale, and Name of Obligation: Warzone. 100 gamers parachute down onto a small hilly island, scramble to seek out physique armor and weapons, and struggle to the dying till solely a single squad (or participant) is left standing.
“Loads of customers in China don’t have entry to PC or consoles, however they nonetheless need to play video games,” says Neo Liu, Tencent’s head of video games publishing in North and South America. “However nowadays, everybody ought to have a sensible machine. So it’s a great way for us to entry an enormous quantity of customers and, in the meantime, carry one of the best gaming expertise to them. Although it’s not nearly transplanting the prevailing gameplay.”
For one factor, you’re controlling your in-game character with a display screen. “You should use a mouse and keyboard to manage the character completely on the PC,” Liu says, “however on cellular, because of the machine’s limitations, there’s loads of optimization throughout your gameplay. You don’t have to manually choose up objects; you don’t have to manually open doorways. And loads of the controls are simplified, however that doesn’t essentially sacrifice the enjoyable of the sport.” Many gamers have adopted a variation of the popular “claw” grip that’s been utilized by individuals within the aggressive shooter and fighting-game scenes for years.
One other manner PUBG Cellular differs from the PC and console variations of PUBG is its common live-ops assist, which incorporates particular timed occasions, variant sport modes, all-new maps, and a “Royale Cross” service that lets gamers pay to unlock beauty reward objects.
The Royale Cross “combines gamers’ aggressive natures with their need for personalization,” says Li. “Our model could be very completely different from the PC sport, and the targets and rewards of every stage should be rigorously analyzed and thought of.” Li provides, “With the intention to meet the wants of gamers, we tried loads of completely different plans for the Royale Cross. We did loads of international consumer analysis and labored arduous to pick out one of the best design.”
Li recollects that the group gathered suggestions on the Royale Cross in San Diego throughout the day, in a single time zone, and handed that data alongside to the PUBG Cellular group in Shenzhen, China (the place it was nonetheless nighttime), after which the builders had been in a position to make quick modifications to the sport. A day after the Royale Cross went dwell, American and European gamers logged on to find they had been already taking part in an up to date model of the sport.
With over 25 million followers throughout the sport’s numerous social media channels, Tencent is continually monitoring the PUBG Cellular neighborhood, ensuring that new changes and content material updates are having the specified impact on the participant base.
On March 15, 2018, PUBG Cellular launched in Canada with a shock beta on Android. Li says that greater than 10 occasions the variety of anticipated customers logged on to try to earn the coveted “Winner, Winner, Hen Dinner” victory display screen throughout the testing interval. PC gamers had been shocked by the standard of the cellular port.
PUBG Cellular’s first few months drove residence the significance of listening to gamers, tailoring the sport and its advertising and marketing to particular territories, and ensuring customers continued to benefit from the sport.
“In China, or on this international model, we all know easy methods to preserve customers engaged, easy methods to get lapsed customers again, and easy methods to appeal to new customers,” says Liu. “So there’s loads of live-ops occasions occurring nearly on a regular basis.”
“With the intention to create a good gameplay setting for gamers, our safety group continues to enhance our anti-cheat safety system,” Li explains. “From monitoring to banning, we maintain a zero-tolerance coverage for cheaters. Almost ninety-five p.c of dishonest accounts are robotically banned by our system. Different bans are primarily based on participant stories, which helps us loads when making a judgment on sure circumstances, or when deciding on the punishment to impose.”
Due to these efforts, Li says, stories of dishonest have dropped by 90%.
PUBG Cellular paintings
With PUBG Cellular esports persevering with to develop — and a 2020 prize pool of $5 million at stake — it’s extra necessary than ever to maintain hackers off the battlefield, particularly with events being moved online within the wake of the worldwide coronavirus outbreak.
Vincent Wang, basic supervisor of worldwide publishing at Tencent, says Tencent’s esports ecosystem “creates alternatives for abnormal gamers,” including that, for a lot of, “PUBG Cellular is greater than only a sport.”
With new aggressive tiers and a bigger prize pool for 2020, the group at Lightspeed & Quantum can also be engaged on new in-game performance, comparable to a “devoted esports heart” to assist with streaming and spectating throughout dwell occasions and on-line tournaments. (Outdoors the world of esports, PUBG is bolstered with social-media integration via platforms like Fb.)
“Starting this 12 months, the important thing focus of our group is to assist gamers set up extra attention-grabbing connections through the sport,” says Wang.
“A significant sport should develop with the gamers, so our group repeatedly plans forward for the subsequent iteration’s updates and actions,” Li says. “In future updates, we’ll launch new maps, gameplay modes, and much more thrilling and sudden collaborations.”
“Each second is stuffed with challenges, however on the identical time, we’re creating happiness for gamers around the globe,” Wang says. “Some gamers have met their real love via the sport; some have developed nearer relationships with their households. Others have realized private desires or grow to be nationwide heroes. These are the issues that make us proud.”