幫助你創造更吸引人遊戲體驗的3個問題

作者:Felipe Lara

如何讓你的遊戲變得更加吸引人?簡單地說,你可以加強不同級別的遊戲體驗並將其與你的最終目標(遊戲邦注:即盈利,教授或改變行爲)聯繫起來。存在三個問題能夠幫助你明確如何做好這點並且它們不僅適用於遊戲,同時也適用於教育,VR體驗以及其它需要吸引用戶的軟件。讓我們進行更深入的說明。

我曾在之前的文章中討論過成功的遊戲和體驗迫切需要突顯自己讓目標玩家注意到自己,隨後才能在情感層面與玩家聯繫在一起讓他們願意花幾分鐘時間關注於遊戲,並更長時間地投入於遊戲中,最終願意邀請朋友一起加入遊戲。而爲了做到這點,遊戲就必須使用各種不同元素,如吸引人的圖像,有趣的遊戲機制,能讓人產生共鳴的主題等等。像圖像等元素能更好地突顯遊戲,而像機制等元素則更能提高遊戲的用戶粘性。不過這裏的挑戰便在於如何將這些元素正和在一起讓玩家願意長期保持用戶粘性。

遊戲設計是一項需要花幾年時間去精通的藝術,所以我並不想過度簡化用戶粘性的藝術性,不過我發現以下三個問題能夠帶給你們有關創造出能夠成功實現我們想實現的目標的遊戲的有效線索。

IdealEngagementLoopBlk(from gamasutra)

IdealEngagementLoopBlk(from gamasutra)

問題1:你是否擁有一個吸引人的核心循環?

所有遊戲都擁有一組能夠讓玩家不斷重複而在遊戲中前進的核心活動。這些重複的核心活動通常便是我們所謂的循環。明確你的遊戲中擁有怎樣的核心循環並分析它能夠幫助你找出遊戲可行與不可行的原因。

像《部落戰爭》等遊戲便通過完善核心循環去吸引玩家長期沉浸於遊戲中。從根本上來看循環其實非常簡單:

玩家將完成能夠迫使自己再次回到遊戲中的獎勵性活動並執行更多獎勵性活動。遊戲設計師兼初創企業顧問Amy Jo Kim便明確了核心循環在推動用戶粘性所需要遵循的3個規則:

1.它們擁有一組吸引人的活動。在《部落戰爭》中,這些活動都與創建你的村莊並與其它村莊戰鬥有關。

2.這些活動將提供給你完成活動的更讓人滿足的正面反饋。這一反饋會讓你覺得自己將更擅長做某事並從中獲得了獎勵。在《部落戰爭》中隨着你的村莊的發展以及你戰勝其它村莊,你將能夠獲得更多資源於更厲害的軍隊。

3.進入這樣的循環中你將獲得繼續回到遊戲中的動力。在《部落戰爭》中,所有的創建,資源收集和軍隊訓練都需要花費時間,所以遊戲中存在吸引玩家不斷回到遊戲中去收集自己想要的好處的動力。同時,當你投入更多時間去開發並定製自己的村莊且完善軍隊時,你便會覺得自己融入遊戲體驗中,並會願意再次回到這裏。

我覺得她的分析非常有用且能夠提供一些有幫助的子問題去明確你的核心活動循環所存在的潛在問題與機遇:

1.你的核心循環中的活動是否足夠吸引人?你該如何做才能讓它們更吸引人?

2.你是否提供給玩家足夠關於他們所完成的活動的正面反饋?他們是否覺得自己在不斷前進且精通一種全新技能?你該如何增加正面反饋?

3.你的循環是否擁有能夠將玩家帶回遊戲中的動力?隨着玩家經歷循環,他們是否覺得更深入於遊戲中?你是否能夠添加一些內容去吸引玩家回來?你是否能添加一些內容讓玩家更深入其中?

問題2:你的核心循環是否與你的目標緊密聯繫着?

將你的核心活動循環與目標緊密聯繫在一起是創造一款成功遊戲的關鍵。有許多免費遊戲未能出售足夠的道具,也有許多教育類遊戲也不能有效教授玩家。有些遊戲甚至使用來自其它成功遊戲的經過認證的有趣的機制,但是他們卻不能有效將這些機制與自己的目標結合在一起。

如果你想要去銷售道具,你就必須確保這些道具能夠強化你的核心循環體驗。《Pokemon Go》便是一個成功案例。在《Pokemon Go》中玩家最初的核心循環主要有三個:1)四處遊蕩去尋找Pokemon,2)通過丟出Pokeball去抓住你所找到的Pokemon,3)前往PokeStop去獲取更多PokeBall以及其它能夠幫助你更輕鬆抓住Pokemon的道具。一開始你擁有足夠的PokeBall並能夠輕鬆抓住Pokemon,但隨着你不斷升級你將會發現更難捕抓Pokemon了,因爲你需要更多PokeBall才能抓住他們,所以你也將很容易用掉自己的PokeBall。你可以不斷前往PokeStop並獲取更多PokeBall,而因爲你已經在此有所付出,所以花1美元去獲取額外的PokebalBall對你來說便不是什麼嚴重的事。你可以通過不斷前往不同PokeStop而繼續免費遊戲,但如果你願意花費1美元你便能夠更輕鬆地遊戲並更快提高自己抓到稀有Pokemon的機會。你可以通過購買道具讓自己的核心循環變得更加簡單,所以即使遊戲未強迫玩家去購買什麼東西,很多人最終也會在此花錢去完善自己的遊戲體驗。

在教育類遊戲中,這種核心活動應該能夠帶給人們可學習的內容。在《爲什麼遊戲不能教授》的文章中Ruth Colvin Clarke分享了一些遊戲活動與教育目標未能有效結合在一起的例子,這也讓遊戲失去了功效。她列舉了一些實驗證據去總結敘述類教育遊戲導致糟糕的學習並比只是呈現教學內容的遊戲需要花費更長時間。她所測試的其中一款遊戲名爲《Cache 17》,這是一款致力於教授玩家如何使用電磁器件的冒險遊戲。但是這款遊戲以及她在研究中提到的其它遊戲所存在的問題是遊戲的核心循環與它們想要傳達的主題未能有效聯繫在一起。在《Cache 17》中,玩家需要解決一個有關在二戰期間丟失的畫的謎題,即需要去搜索地底碉堡。而這與主題的聯繫便是玩家偶爾需要創造一個機電裝置去開門並在地堡中跳躍。遊戲的核心循環是關於探索地堡並尋找線索,但卻不是試驗電磁設備。所以瀏覽關於電磁原理的幻燈片比玩這款遊戲並獲得學習更快速也更加有效。

如果教育目標可以和核心循環有效整合在一起,結果便會大不相同。讓我們使用像Sid Meier的《文明》這樣的資源測量遊戲爲例,即這是作爲教授軍人,技術,政治和社會經濟發展之間關係的一種支持工具,該遊戲純粹的教育版本將在2017年正式公開。在這裏,遊戲的核心循環便是與其教育目標緊密聯繫在一起。即核心遊戲便是關於明確經濟發展,探索,政府,外交以及軍事戰鬥間的有效結合去創造出一個真正成功的文明。

問題3:你的核心循環是否與吸引人的體驗的所有元素相聯繫

就像我在之前文章所提到的,用戶粘性的組合元素不只是關於遊戲機制;它們還包括像圖像,主題,故事和社區創建等其它東西。當你能夠將遊戲循環與其它用戶粘性元素聯繫在一起時,它們的威力將更加強大。

讓我們以《卡通城OL》爲例,這是一款由迪士尼開發的遊戲,遊戲的主要目標是在入侵的商業機器人手中守護一個卡通世界—-我們想要確保遊戲的核心循環能夠增強整體的遊戲主題。這一主題就像:“工作總是想要佔據我們的遊戲時間,但遊戲卻是最盛行的活動。”,所以我們將包含核心循環的根本內容去阻止機器人的入侵。如果沒有街機一般的迷你遊戲,你便不能獲得雷根糖—-也就是你用於購買幫助自己阻止商業機器人入侵的道具所使用的貨幣。當遊戲故事和主要衝突是關於守護Toontown並與商業機器人戰鬥時,如果沒有了自由的樂趣你便不可能做到這點。結果便是核心遊戲循環能夠增強遊戲主題以及工作與遊戲間的衝突,因爲主題將讓許多玩家產生共鳴,除了那些6至12歲的最初目標玩家外,所以最終這款遊戲能夠獲得許多玩家的喜歡。同時隨着你去重複循環,遊戲將推動你去探索其它遊戲部分,與其他玩家組隊交朋友,並開啓一些新故事。換句話說它將推動你去發現一些新圖像和故事,創建社區,精通機制,讓這款遊戲變得更加吸引人。結果便是這款遊戲的平均玩家生命週期比當時大多數其它家庭類遊戲都更長,並讓這款遊戲能在發行10多年後繼續保持盈利。

如果你能夠更多地將活動的核心循環與遊戲用戶粘性元素整合在一起,你將創造出一款更強大且擁有更強用戶粘性的遊戲。

結論

明確你的核心活動循環是什麼能夠幫助你創造出更有吸引力的遊戲或體驗。一旦你明確了循環,以下三個問題將提供給你創造出吸引人且成功的遊戲:

1.你的循環中的活動是否足夠吸引人?當玩家完成活動時你是否能夠提供給他們足夠的正面反饋。當玩家完成一個循環時他們是否能夠獲得讓自己願意更深入於遊戲中的內容?

2.循環是否能夠與你的目標直接聯繫在一起?如果你是在銷售某物,那麼循環是否能帶給人們滿足感?如果你是要教授某些內容,核心循環是否能與玩家需要學習的主題直接聯繫在一起?

3.你的循環是否能夠強化一個吸引人的體驗的不同元素?隨着玩家經歷循環,你是否能提供給他們更多可發現並讓他們着迷的東西?你能否添加更有趣的故事元素?你能否引導玩家去組建一個更強大的社區?

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

3 Questions That Will Help You Make a More Engaging Experience

by Felipe Lara

How can you make your game more engaging and effective? In a nutshell, by making engagement stronger at the different levels of the experience and by making engagement connect to your ultimate goals: monetizing, teaching, or changing behavior. There are 3 questions that can help you figure out how to best do that and they can be applied not only to games, but also to education, VR experiences, and other software that needs to engage users. Let me elaborate.

I talked in a previous article how successful games and experiences need to first stand out so your target players notice you, then connect with them at an emotional level so they are willing to give you a few minutes of attention, then engage them so you can keep them for longer time, and finally get them to help you grow by sticking around and inviting their friends to join in (more about this process in this article here). To do that, games can use different ingredients like compelling art, fun game mechanics, resonating themes, etc. Some ingredients like art are better at helping you stand out, some others like mechanics are better at keeping engagement going (more about the ingredients in this article here). The challenge is how to mix and tie these ingredients together to take players to full-long-term engagement.

Game design is an art and a craft that can take years to master, so I don’t want to oversimplify the art of engagement, however I find that the following 3 questions can often bring good clues about what is missing and possible solutions to make the game more successful at reaching the goals we want.

Question 1: Do You Have a Compelling Core Loop?

All games have a core set of activities that the player repeats over and over to advance through the game. These core repeatable activities are usually called Loops. Clarifying what is the core loop in your game and analyzing it can be very enlightening in finding out why your game works or doesn’t work.

Games like Clash of Clans have perfected the use of loops to keep players engaged for a long time. At a basic level the loop is pretty simple:

You complete rewarding activities that compel you to come back and do more rewarding activities. Game designer and start-up consultant Amy Jo Kim identifies 3 rules that core loops need to follow to drive re-engagement:

1.They have a set of compelling activities. In Clash of Clans these activities are all related to building up your village and battling other villages.

2.Those activities give you positive feedback that make the completion of activities much more satisfying. This feedback makes you feel that you are getting better at something and getting rewarded for it. In Clash of Clans, as your village grows and as you defeat other villages you get access to more resources and better troops.

3.Built into this cycle there are triggers and incentives to keep you going back to the game. In Clash of Clans all the building up, collecting resources, and troop training takes time, so there is an incentive to keep coming back to reap the benefits of what you have already done. Also, as you put more time into developing and customizing your village and improving your troops, you feel more invested in the experience, which makes you want to go back again.

I think her analysis is very useful and provides useful sub-questions to identify potential problems and opportunities with your core activity loop:

1.Are the activities in your core loop compelling enough? How can you make them more compelling?

2.Are you giving your players enough positive feedback about the activities they completed? Do they feel they are progressing and mastering a new skill? How can you amplify that positive feedback?

3.Does your loop have triggers that pull players back into the game? As they go through the loop, do players feel more invested in the game? Can something be added to lure players back? Can something be added to make players feel more invested?

If you want to go a little deeper on how these 3 rules work in different loops, take a look Amy Jo Kim’s article here.

Question 2: Is Your Core Loop Tightly Connected to Your Goals?

Connecting your core activity loop tightly to your goals is key to making a successful game. There are many for profit free-to-play games that don’t sell enough items to even be sustainable, and many educational games that are not very good at teaching what they were suppose to teach. Some are even fun, using proven fun mechanics copied from other successful games, but unsuccessful at connecting those mechanics to their goals in any meaningful way.

If you are trying to sell items, those items should enhance your core loop experience. A successful example of connecting your loop to your goals is Pokemon Go. In Pokemon Go your beginner core activities are basically three: 1) walking around searching for Pokemon; 2) catching the Pokemon you find by throwing PokeBalls at them; and 3) walking to PokeStops to get more PokeBalls and other items that will make it easier to catch Pokemons. At first you have enough PokeBalls and catching Pokemons is very easy, but as you level up you will find higher level and harder to catch Pokemons that will need many more PokeBalls to be catched, so you will easily run out of PokeBalls. You can always walk to a PokeStop and get more PokeBalls, but since you are already somewhat invested, spending $1 to get extra PokeBalls doesn’t sound bad. You could keep playing for free by continue walking around to different PokeStops, but by spending $1 here and there you can make your play much more convenient and increase your chances of catching rare Pokemon faster. The items that you can buy directly make your core loop easier, so even if the game does not force you to buy anything, many players end up spending a few dollars here and there to improve their experience.

In the case of an educational game, that set of core activities should produce learning. In her article Why Games Don’t Teach, Ruth Colvin Clarke talks about some examples where the game activities do not align with the educational objectives, which makes the games very ineffective. She presents some experimental evidence that concludes that narrative educational games lead to poorer learning and take longer to complete than simply displaying the lesson contents in a slide presentation. One of the games she tested is a game called Cache 17, an adventure game designed to teach how electromagnetic devices work. The problem with this game and the other games she mentions in her study is that the games’ core loops are only vaguely related to the topics they are supposed to teach. In the case of Cache 17, the players need to solve a mystery about some missing paintings that disappeared during World War II by searching through an underground bunker. The link to the topic is that players occasionally need to build an electromechanical device to open some doors and vaults in the bunker. The core loop is about exploring a bunker and finding clues, not about experimenting with electromechanical devices. Not surprisingly, the study found that reading a slide about electromagnetic principles was quicker and much more effective at teaching the topic than playing the game.

When the educational objectives are more aligned to the core loop the results are very different. Using a resource strategy game like Sid Meier’s Civilization as a supporting tool to teach the relationships between military, technological, political, and socioeconomic development has been so successful for educators, that a purely educational version of the game was announced for 2017. Here, the core loop is closely aligned to the educational objectives. Your core play is all about figuring out the right combinations economic development, exploration, government, diplomacy, and military conquest to create a successful civilization.

Question 3: Is Your Core Loop Connected to All the Ingredients of an Engaging Experience?

As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, the ingredients of engagement go beyond game mechanics; they include other things like art, theme, story, and community building. When you are able to connect your loop to these other ingredients the engagement is much more powerful.

In Toontown Online for example -a game developed by Disney in which the overall goal was to defend a cartoony world from invading business robots- we wanted to make sure that the core loop reinforced the overall Theme of the game. This Theme was something like: “Work is always trying to take over our play time, but play most prevail” so we included as an essential part of the core loop to stop the robot invasion the need to play. Without playing arcade-like minigames you could not earn jelly beans, the main currency that was essential to buy gags that would help you stop the business robot invasion. So even when the story and main conflict was about defending Toontown and battling business robots, you couldn’t do it without playing and having care-free fun. The result was a core game loop that reinforced the Theme of the game, the conflict between work and play, and because the Theme resonated with many players beyond our original target -kids between 6 and 12- the game ended up being very popular with players well beyond our target demographic. Also, as you repeated the loop, the game prompted you to explore other parts of the world, team up with other players and make friends, and unfold new stories. In other words it pushed you to discover new art and stories, build community, and master the mechanics, which made the game much more engaging. The result was an average player lifespan much higher than most other family oriented games at the time, which made the game very profitable for over 10 years.

The more you are able to connect your core loop of activities to the ingredients that make a game engaging, the stronger and longer engagement you will have.

Conclusion

Clarifying what is your core activity loop is a powerful tool to make your game or experience more engaging. Once you clarify your loop, these three sets of questions will help you shortcomings and opportunities to make your game more engaging and successful:

1.Are the activities in your loop compelling enough? Do you provide enough positive feedback when players complete the activities? As players complete a loop do they get something that makes them feel invested?

2.Is the loop directly linked to your objectives? If you are selling something, does that make the loop more satisfying? If you are teaching something are the core activities directly linked to the topics the player needs to learn?

3.Does your loop reinforce the different ingredients of an engaging experience? As players go through the loop, can you provide more things to discover and get mesmerized by? Can you add more interesting pieces of a story? Can you guide the player into forming a tighter community?

Do these questions trigger for you new ideas on how to improve the game you are working on? Please let me know in the comments.(source:gamasutra)