分析《月之獵人》的程序生成內容設定

作者:Michael Cook

今天我想談談年初發行的《月之獵人》,即來自Kitfox Games的行動RPG遊戲,並且最近剛剛進行了一次較大的免費內容更新。幾個月前我就想和你們談談這款遊戲,我認爲如果你喜歡程序生成或對程序生成感興趣,你就應該玩玩這款遊戲。遊戲很華麗,擁有不錯的音效,很有魅力,同時最重要的還是它能夠幫助你理解如何在遊戲中使用程序生成內容,並且它也帶給了《Rogue Process》生成器一些靈感。所以今天我便要和你們談談這一內容!

Moon Hunters(from gamasutra)

Moon Hunters(from gamasutra)

在《月之獵人》中,玩家扮演的是一名英雄探險家,將經歷一場有關5日世界動盪的旅程。玩家所選擇的每一天的故事都將是程序生成世界地圖中的全新部分,即將創造一個包含怪物,珍寶以及一些能夠帶給玩家獎勵或問題的特殊遭遇的關卡。你將在這個關卡隨意進行探索,戰鬥與交談,並在晚上紮營休息。5天后你將經歷一場重要的戰鬥,而故事是以勝利還是失敗告終總是取決於你的選擇,並且你的英雄的特性將受到你的行動的影響,並最終被列入神話英雄的萬神殿中。你將在沿途開啓一些全新角色或服裝,如果你足夠幸運的話你還能夠在夜空中開啓一個星羣,並揭示更多遊戲故事和主題。

當你在玩像《洞穴探險》或《雨中冒險》等程序生成遊戲時,你每一次遊戲都將面對全新的世界。像《Nethack》等遊戲甚至將其寫入自己的遊戲信息中。這便意味着雖然玩家可以學習遊戲內容,但是他們的第一次遊戲與第十次遊戲,或者與我的第一次遊戲卻不存在真正的聯繫。程序生成是遊戲機制中一種內在技術,是沒人能夠看到的隱藏內容。

爲了真正理解程序生成我多花了一些時間,但是《月之獵人》在使用程序生成方面卻是採用完全不同的方法。每次當你在玩《月之獵人》時,你都不是在一個相似的地方和不同人玩同樣的遊戲—-只是你是作爲同一個人在同樣的背景下玩遊戲。《月之獵人》的每一個遊戲攻略都是關於同樣的人,同樣的地點和同樣的背景。而不同的地方便在於那個人講述故事的方式—-每一個攻略都是關於被傳遞給一個全新世代的神話故事,所以全新故事敘述者的錯記,修飾與困惑都將重新塑造這一故事。程序生成器也是其中的一部分,從根本上來看它是存在於遊戲內容中並且能夠幫助玩家更好地理解遊戲及其信息。

從美學層面來看這真的很棒,Kitfox Games找到了一種非常適合程序生成的隱喻,即包含了這些系統將創造的變量,特質,甚至是錯誤。但在多次玩了這款遊戲後,我認爲它已經超越了美學層面並深深地影響着遊戲方式了。你經常會在遊戲中經歷一些小插曲,如在遊戲場景中遇到一臺被廢棄的雪橇,或者撞見一羣遇到問題的人。如果你選擇去了解這些情況,你便需要做出決定,就像你可以參與選美審判,或者也可以選擇放棄表決。你可以盜取珍寶並在之後隨便丟棄,或者全盤托出。這些插曲都將讓你的角色展現其特性,如Foolish或Cunning,而這些特性也將決定着遊戲最終對於你的角色的英雄評判。

但是其中的一些活動或遊戲區域也帶有一定的要求。就像爲了挑戰大塊頭的礦工,你需要變成Foolish。而爲了戰勝發現你的盜竊行爲的憤怒的獵人,你需要變成Charming。所以你需要去尋找能讓自己變成Foolish的東西或者去回想在哪裏看到能夠表現出Charm的內容。你需要開始學習程序生成器所儲存的鏈條與版式,並嘗試着去發展其可能性空間,同時觀察如果你在特殊時候或特殊位置開啓這些特徵會怎樣。而每一次你都將因此獲得獎勵,即可能是一些小情節,開啓一些新內容,或者是關於你未曾發現或完全理解的鏈條提示。

Moon Hunters(from gamasutra)

Moon Hunters(from gamasutra)

這也將把玩家帶進故事敘述過程中,因爲當最大化遊戲特定元素時,玩家便會發現自己扭曲了故事的敘述方式。如果你只是像平常那樣在玩遊戲,你的故事便只是關於對抗邪教的英雄故事。但如果你嘗試着擴大一個特徵或探索一個子任務,那麼最終戰鬥在遊戲故事中也就不再那麼重要,並且你也將看到一些其它主題。故事講述者可能會引用某一寓言故事去幫助其他人,那麼你的英雄便需要致力於找尋解決自己所遇到的問題的最佳解決方法。故事敘述者或許會告誡人們貪婪的弊端,那麼你的英雄便可能是那種一直在盜竊且不懂得分享的人。玩家去對抗程序生成內容的行爲也就變成了一種複述故事的行爲。

《Rogue Process》擁有許多程序生成器。爲了PROCJAM,我最近徹底檢查了公司logo生成器也完善了標語生成內容,儘管離完成還有一段距離,我還是覺得這麼做會比較好。在PROCJAM結束後我添加了來自Marsh的許多全新建築模板,現在我們的摩天大樓擁有一些奇怪的裝置,通風管,碼頭以及傾斜的屋頂等等。遊戲的生成器非常多樣化且有趣,它們將爲遊戲世界添加更多味道,而玩家也不需要太多去顧慮它們。他們並不需要去理解生成器,他們只要將其想成有個小小的關卡設計師待在遊戲中爲他們呈現無數靜態內容便可。

《月之獵人》給了我許多靈感去以不同方式處理事情,同樣地它也隱藏了一些內容鏈條讓玩家去尋找並開啓,而我同時也希望讓玩家能夠事先了解生成器並對即將出現的內容做好準備。遊戲的早前階段將出現城市中本來就有的公司,並呈現出他們的計劃以及玩家在這裏可能會遇到的情況。這將讓玩家能夠預測到程序生成器的一些計劃並更好地適應自己的道具和技能。這也將提供給玩家策略優勢,並且他們同時也可以通過了解在攻略中預示着特殊鏈條的模式去尋找祕密並開啓新內容。

本文爲遊戲邦/gamerboom.com編譯,拒絕任何不保留版權的轉發,如需轉載請聯繫:遊戲邦

Moon Hunters & Procedural Space

by Michael Cook

Today I want to talk about Moon Hunters, which is an action RPG by Kitfox Games that came out earlier this year, and recently had a huge free content update. I’ve been meaning to talk about this game for months, and I’m only getting around to it now, but here’s my advice: if you like procedural generation or are interested in thinking about procedural generation, I think you should get this game. It’s beautiful, it sounds great, it’s charming but most importantly I think it has something to say about how procedural generation can be used in a game, and it’s helped inspired some of the generators at work in Rogue Process. Today I’m going to tell you how!

In Moon Hunters you play as a heroic adventurer, and go on a journey through five days of world-changing events. Each day of the story you choose to travel to a new part of the procedurally generated world map, which generates a level full of monsters, treasure, and some unique optional encounters that might give you a reward or pose a problem. You explore this level, fighting and talking as you wish, and then camp overnight. At the end of the five days there’s a big fight, and win or lose the story concludes with a summary of your choices, characterising your hero based on what you did and adding them to a pantheon of mythological heroes. You might unlock some new characters or costumes along the way, and if you’re lucky you’ll unlock a constellation in the night sky, revealing more of the game’s story and themes.

When you play Spelunky, or Risk of Rain, or most procedurally generated games, the implication is that each time is a fresh run through the world. Games like Nethack even write this into their lore. This means that while the player can learn about the content of the game, there’s no real connection between the first time you play the game and the tenth, or my first time playing the game. Procedural generation is a technology embedded within the game’s machinery, behind the back of the stage where no-one can see it. It’s like asking whether anti-aliasing factored into your last playthrough of Dishonored 2.

It took me a little while to realise this, but Moon Hunters takes the exact opposite tack in its use of procedural generation. Each time you play Moon Hunters you’re not playing the same game in a similar place as different people – you’re playing the exact same events in the exact same place as the exact same people. Every playthrough of Moon Hunters is about the same people, the same places, and the same events. What changes is the person telling it – each playthrough is the mythology being handed down to a new generation, and its variations and differences are the misremembering, embellishment, confusion and flourishes of a new storyteller. The procedural generator is a part of this – it basically exists in the game’s lore, and is crucial to understanding the game and its messages.

This is wonderful just on an aesthetic level – Kitfox Games have found a metaphor that suits procedural generation perfectly, something that embraces the variation, the idiosyncracies, even the mistakes that these systems make. But having played the game many times through now, I think it goes beyond aesthetics to deeply impact the way the game is played. You’ll often come across little vignettes either involving something in the scenery like an abandoned sled, or a group of people with a problem or a question. If you choose to investigate you usually get a decision to make – you can judge a beauty contest, for example, or abstain from voting. You can steal a piece of treasure and lie about it later, or come clean. These vignettes often lead to your character gaining traits, like Foolish or Cunning, and these traits all pay into the game’s final assessment screen that immortalises your characters in the stars.

However, some of these events or game areas have requirements. In order to challenge the huge, hulking miner, you need to be Foolish. In order to win over the angry hunter whose opals you stole, you need to be Charming. So you start to look out for the kinds of things that might make you Foolish, or you start to remember where you last saw that event that let you demonstrate Charm (and hope that it comes up). You begin to learn the chains and the patterns that the procedural generator has stored up in it, to try and push at one far corner of its possibility space, to see what happens if you unlock these traits at this particular time and turn up in a particular place. Each time you’re rewarded – either with a little bit of plot, a new unlock, or simply a hint about another chain that you haven’t yet discovered or fully understood.

This brings the player into the storytelling process too, because by trying to maximise certain aspects of the game you find yourself warping the way the stories are told. If you’re playing normally, your stories are simply about some heroes who fight against a cult and either win or lose. But if you’re trying to maximise a particular trait or explore a subquest, then the grand final battle becomes a less important part of the story, and instead other themes emerge. Maybe the storyteller is relating a parable about helping others, and your heroes seek out the best resolution to all the problems they encounter. Maybe the storyteller is warning people about greed, and so the heroes are kind of dicks who steal all the time and never share. The player’s struggle against the procedural generator becomes a co-operative act of story retelling.

Rogue Process has a lot of procedural generators in it. For PROCJAM recently I overhauled the corporation logo generator and improved the slogan generation too, and although it’s far from finished I’m feeling much better about it. After PROCJAM ended I added in a lot of new building template art from Marsh, and now our skyscrapers have strange fixtures jutting out of them, ventilation ducts and landing docks, sloped roofs and more. The game’s generators are varied and fun, and they add character and flavour to the world, but the player ultimately doesn’t have to think about them too much. They don’t need to understand the generator, they can treat the game as if it just has a miniature level designer sat inside pumping out endless, static things for them to see.

Moon Hunters has inspired me to approach things a little differently, though, and in the same way it hides little chains of content for players to find and unlock, I also want to give players the ability to ‘sight read’ the generator and prepare for what might be coming. Early stages in the game will establish what corporations exist in this city, what their plans are, and what the player is likely to encounter on this run. It’ll give the player an opportunity to foresee some of the procedural generator’s plans for this playthrough, and they can begin to adjust their items and skills accordingly. This will obviously give them a tactical advantage, but it’ll also allow them to find secrets and unlock content too, by learning patterns that indicate a particular chain exists in this playthrough.

I’m hoping to blog soon about some of the recent work we’ve been doing on the game, but it’s hard to trade off the time writing about the game against time that could be spent working more on it! But I had to write about Moon Hunters because it’s 40% off on Steam right now and a huge content pack just dropped for the game for free. Please do take a peek and see what you think, and feel free to tweet me about the game.(source:gamasutra