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Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

Last post 12/14/2009 7:08 PM by Jim Perry. 5 replies.
  • 12/14/2009 5:30 PM

    Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    For our first project we released our game with in-game English-only text but with descriptions localized in several languages. We did this because we thought having some localized text in the description was better than having none-at-all. This spawned at least one discussion thread (this one), and I think the general conclusion from the discussion was while it's cool to try and supply multiple descriptions (and, in an ideal world, it would be something appreciated), from a practical standpoint it creates a problem with the review process where languages which have fewer possible reviewers can be a bottleneck and actually prevent a perfectly valid title from passing the peer review due to the title just timing out.

    I'm aware that there exists a thread for enlisting multi-language review support, but I'm wondering if there's any languages which are so under-represented in the XNA community that (for now at least) it would be a good idea to just leave them out of a final game? I don't mean this to be any sort of a language-bashing-thread, I'm really just talking practicalities here- if there's a language that has really spotty support it would be a good idea to let future creators know to avoid it.

    This then leads me to what is my real question- Let's say a creator already has a game which has been released with multi-language descriptions and/or in-game localization, is it bad to remove those multi-language descriptions in future updates to the game to prevent them from timing out? If you do, what happens from a gamer/customer standpoint for someone who bought the game under one of the previously supported languages?

    (Disclaimer time: I'm asking this question because I'm in this situation right now. Our first game's update timed out in peer review and it seems that the multi-language descriptions are to blame. We do have non-english customers who purchased this game, and may get more in the future, and I don't want to break what is an otherwise working game for them simply because we have updates/fixes we want to push for it.)
  • 12/14/2009 5:49 PM In reply to

    Re: Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    If the descriptions are the only thing is non-English how would removing them "break what is an otherwise working game for them"?
  • 12/14/2009 5:55 PM In reply to

    Re: Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    Jim Perry:
    If the descriptions are the only thing is non-English how would removing them "break what is an otherwise working game for them"?
    Well, what happens to the description of the game for that customer? When I go into my game library I see game descriptions for the games I've purchased, and I can bring any of them up and view their entry in the marketplace. If someone has already purchased it, and I remove their language description from an update, what is their experience? Does the game's description suddenly go from their language to the default English? If so, isn't that kind of ugly and bad? I'm aware they will still be able to play the game, but it just seems... wrong... somehow... to remove a localized description after the fact.

    Really, I'm asking this because I don't know what would happen, and I'm trying to establish some sort of best practices with regard to it.
  • 12/14/2009 6:11 PM In reply to

    Re: Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    AFAIK, the default description would be used. They've already bought the game so I would imagine they already know what it's about and since the game is only in English it's not like they won't understand the description in English. I don't see a problem here.

    Funavision:
    I'm trying to establish some sort of best practices with regard to it

    IMO again, the best practice would be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". ;) If you're pushing out an update just to remove the description, don't do it. If you're updating other things and the gameplay isn't localized it doesn't really make sense to localize the description. If non-English players don't understand English, they're probably not going to buy the game anyway, so localized descriptions don't really matter. If they would buy a game with non-localized gameplay when they don't understand English, having a localized description probably isn't a deal breaker.
  • 12/14/2009 6:28 PM In reply to

    Re: Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    Jim Perry:
    IMO again, the best practice would be "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". ;) If you're pushing out an update just to remove the description, don't do it.
    Right, but that's not what I'm suggesting the case is here. Our situation specifically is that we already have localized descriptions (some of which have been contributed by other XNA community members) but our updates (actual game updates, not an update just to remove a non-English description) seem to be failing because we're timing out waiting for non-English peer reviewers to check and pass the game. Removing those descriptions would eliminate this bottleneck, but would it be ugly and/or bad to do that to a game that's already out and for sale?

    And, more generally, what if it wasn't just descriptions? What if someone else was in my exact situation but they had non-English localization in the game itself? Like I said, I'm trying to establish some best practices- not just for me, but for any future creator who may encounter a similar problem.
    If you're updating other things and the gameplay isn't localized it doesn't really make sense to localize the description. If non-English players don't understand English, they're probably not going to buy the game anyway,
    I disagree. For many games the actual in-game text is pretty minimal and consists of little more than a menu or two. Often a localized description is enough to tell a prospective gamer what to expect from the game.

    And looking at sales for our game I can tell you right now that we have people who purchased the game when only the description was localized (heh, and localized badly :-) in their language.
  • 12/14/2009 7:08 PM In reply to

    Re: Yet Another Language Question Post(tm)

    Funavision:
    ... would it be ugly and/or bad to do that to a game that's already out and for sale?
    IMO, no, since the rest of the game isn't localized.

    Funavision:
    And, more generally, what if it wasn't just descriptions?

    That would be bad.

    Funavision:
    For many games the actual in-game text is pretty minimal and consists of little more than a menu or two. Often a localized description is enough to tell a prospective gamer what to expect from the game.

    That's a different story, then. I was of the understanding that you were talking about a game that could be localized but isn't. If the gameplay doesn't require localization, your description could help sell the game.
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