Led a group of five translators, determined workflow and formed standard example.
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I took the first glance at this book when graduating from my college before I was to join NetEase Games. I only browsed through it without digesting too much of the content. After involved in real-time game development for a few years, when the publisher invited me to translate the book, I finally understand the insights the book provides. Especially, when translating chapter 12 and 13 discussing game mechanics, I collated his theories and examples to the game I was working on, many flaws and problems once invisible became apparent. Therefore I put more passion into the work, hoping to share these valuable ideas with Chinese Readers.
It’s been a challenging journey translating this book. Many of the key terms may correspond to multiple words in Chinese. Take “skill” for example. It can refer to the virtual skills that game characters acquire, or real skills players apply when they play games. The translators have adapted different ways to differentiate them clearly while retaining the conceptual link as they have in the original text.
There are other phrases we weighed again and again. In this book, the word “game designer” is translated literally, not adapting the conventional term which can be interpreted as “planner.” Since the author keeps talking about design, if “designers” looks irrelevant at first sight, it will make the text incoherent. Besides, readers from outside of game industry can have a better understanding of the content this way. Many English readers who have no knowledge of game design and development also found the book readable and absorbing. Therefore, the translators have made their best effort to reproduce the concise and fluent language used by the author, so that the book would be valuable to not only game designers, but also those who aim to create, design, or communicate certain information to audiences.
Aside from which, this book is also full of cultural references. Quotes from the Bible and Tao Te Ching, Hyakujo and Plato, Herman Hesse and Ellen Poe have been eye-openers for me. The book also includes various anecdotes: How did Pascal and Fermat invent probability because of the ill fortune of a gambler? How did the mechanic of Space Invader get created unintentionally? What architectural book’s theory inspired SimCity? — Game design theories and stories from the industry and other fields intersect, making reading the book enjoyment.
Jesse Schell, the author of the book, has looked after the translating process. There are several paragraphs in the translation modified or elaborated according to his suggestions. He replied promptly to my emails about questions about the text and repeatedly elaborated to me his thoughts and ideas. He set an example to the last line of his book:
After all, we game designers have to stick together.
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