BlizzCon is easily one of the best times of the year for many community members regardless of which Blizzard titles they play. Hearthstone itself always has an authentic tavern where attendees can hang out, eat, drink, socialize, and play Hearthstone together. The problem for many is that has become harder and harder with each patch as Hearthstone continues to chew up more and more memory on our mobile devices.
The ever increasing size of the Hearthstone app is something that many, ourselves included, have been vocal about over the past year or so. Each new set brings new art, voiceover lines, and more that need to be stored on the device and unfortunately that's beginning to take up a ton of space.
We talked with Senior Game Producer Yong Woo, who is one of the developers leading the charge on that effort.
I feel like this is a question I have to ask even though I feel like you guys get it all of the time. It's particularly relevant here at BlizzCon.
People still complain about the size of the Hearthstone app and many, myself included, have to choose between having a phone or having a Hearthstone device. How high is it on your priority list to get that down?
Yong: It's something that I'm personally interested in. I think we're talking about a couple of different areas here. I think one is: Is there just a way to make the game smaller overall? I think there's also the question of when we're patching, how much do I have to download? I think that's another major topic.
Initially, we're focusing on helping with the patching process. On PC, I think we do a reasonable job right now. We're going to continue to do better, but it is true on iOS and especially on Android, it's a tough situation for patching. You effectively have to redownload the app every time and we're not satisfied with that. And we want that to be clear to the community that we aren't satisfied with that and we're actively working on improving that situation.
It's a very difficult challenge to solve. Especially with some of the technology we're using. But we're investing very heavily to make that better.
In the long term, I would love to have a world where ten years from now when we have forty sets or something we aren't going to be able to have infinite disk size. It's just going to get bigger and bigger so we're going to have to have some kind of solution there as well. Maybe you only have the sets you're playing on your phone. But then what do you do when you're dealing with Wild? These are types of problems that are also very complicated, but also very high up on our list. In the short term, we're very much going to be focusing on the patching situation, but I totally hear you.
Alternatively, phones could stop being so cheap with how much onboard memory they give you.
Yong: And it's specifically Android we have this issue where you install it, you end up needing double the amount of space just the way the system works. Even if it's on disk, let's say it's 1.3 or 1.2 [gigabytes] you end up needing 2.4 or 2.6 [gigabytes].
I understand, we're asking for a lot there. I think we want to address that first.
It's a good question. You were like, "Oh, it's an uncomfortable question."
No, it's a problem, the community is feeling it.
We feel it too.
We're working on it. It's just a lot of this stuff takes time.
I wish I had a magic wand.
[Feedback from another media member]
Thailand just got localization and voiceover which is very good. It is the first game that's been localized in the language that has done so well.
Yong: Thank you so much. The Thai language is very challenging for us, especially with scripting. It's a very intricate language. We really put in a lot of effort to make that great.
Dean: We have to put in a lot of effort to get things done so they can be localized. Since it's the thing that happens last.
"It needs to be done!"
"Why does it need to be done?"
"Because we need to localize everything into a billion languages!"
Yong: Every time there's a card change they're like, "You're killing me."
What's the localization process like?
Yong: We have internal offices that are very talented at what they do. They work with local resources to get the game localized. So for Thai, we worked with a partner actually in Thailand and had a localization team that coordinates with them to make sure all the translation looks good.
It's a card game so one of the difficulties we have with a language like Thai is that it can be a very verbose language. Even if it's three lines in English it ends up being like six lines [that is] in font two in Thai.
Dealing with that technologically is a big challenge.
For someone like Dean, thankfully he's very shielded from all [of this], but it does put a constraint on him.
Dean, I really want to give you the chance to change this card at the very last minute, but there will be some restrictions on that because by a certain point we need to pass the ball to our localization team who then needs the time to make it awesome.
It's actually funny, sorry I'm boring everyone else, but Kazakus specifically for instance is causing a lot of issues in Thai right now because it makes these custom spells. So the text is generated dynamically. Thai language fitting on a card requires a lot of manual intensive labor. You need to make a line break, you have these little things that need to be adjusted manually. And now we have these cards that are dynamically generated.
How do you make that look good?
Is it ready?
Yong: We're putting a lot of time into it.
That's why they said early December.
Yong: So when it comes out, please tell people to give us a break because we're doing our best.
[Ed. note: Everyone laughs and given the recent hubbub, we feel like we need to clarify that yes, the previous sentence is said in jest.]
More From Our Interview
Want to read more about Mean Streets of Gadgetzan and Hearthstone in general? Check out our previously published snippets.
- Mean Streets Of Gadgetzan Started With A Gangster Murloc
- Tri-Class Cards And The Case For Less Of Them
- BlizzCon Interview: Legendaries, Twitch Integration, And Tavern Brawls
- Iksar: Patches Deck Is "Maybe The Single Hardest Deck To Play"
- Blizzard Talks RNG, Curvestone, & HCT 2017
Mean Streets of Gadgetzan Guide
We're nearing the conclusion of our BlizzCon interview but we still have a few topics left to touch on. In the meantime, you can head on over to our official guide for more information on Mean Streets including all of the revealed cards, gameplay, trailers, and more!