開放世界遊戲中的原路返回問題或直接傳送問題分析

本文原作者:Ketan Kulkarni 譯者:ciel chen

開放型世界遊戲是我最喜歡的遊戲類型之一。我一有機會就喜歡聊聊RPG類型遊戲。開放型世界遊戲總能挖掘出人類想要探索和發現新事物的本能。就是這種好氣息驅使着我們想要越界去了解更多關於外星人的知識。

這個情況對凡是有涉及“開放型世界”內容的遊戲都適用。探索遊戲的主要構成部分就是探索。我們知道不同的遊戲有截然不同的世界構建方式,這也讓玩家看到的遊戲面貌大不相同。

這些開放型世界大多都有着祕密的地下城和洞穴等待着玩家的探索,這點也就是我們今天這篇文章要講的主要內容。遊戲設計者花了大工夫來構建高水平迷宮,讓玩家能夠在整個遊戲過程中能有流連忘返,身臨其境。但是有時我們對適合實現這種效果的方法有些疑惑。

Problem(from gamasutra.com)

Problem(from gamasutra.com)

幾個禮拜之前颳起了一陣懷舊風,我那時在玩《波斯王子:武者之心》,真是段棒極了的舊時光。如果你玩過那款遊戲,你就知道遊戲裏有很多隱藏在地圖裏提高生命上限的物品,你可以通過一些祕密通道來找到它們。在遊戲裏尋找這些提高生命上限的物品的過程中,我感覺到這個過程就很能說明這個問題。我們暫且稱之爲“原路返回”問題。

讓我們來想象這樣一個場景來更好地理解這個問題:

當你在玩一個遊戲的時候,你有時要探索一些神祕的洞穴。這些洞穴充滿了迷宮隧道,你可以通過解決周圍的挑戰來解鎖某個洞穴。你需要解開這些謎題然後走到道路盡頭。你在路途中甚至會碰到一些小怪在守衛這些洞穴,然後你就得開始殺怪,這個過程中你要進行各種操作,直到你到達這條路的盡頭爲止。聽起來好像蠻有趣的吼?

目的:

這可以是隨便的什麼。比如說你想要拿到一套防禦超高的裝備、攻擊超高的劍或者其他什麼要收集的東西比如一袋錢或者提高生命上限的藥水啊之類的,沒錯,該死的這裏可以是任何東西。

很多人會喜歡這種玩法因爲他們喜歡探索以及解開各種謎題,因爲他們覺得這是他們的強項。

好吧,現在你成功到達道路盡頭了,你的目的也達成了。現在問題就從這裏開始了。現在目標達成了,路也走到盡頭了,你之前所做的一切探索行動到這裏也沒有可以繼續的了。所以你該把之前走過的路再從頭到尾走一遍,然後回到探險的主路段上去了。這個部分真的是非常相當以及極其的無聊,我個人覺得玩家在這裏很容易就失去了遊戲動力,而且這在遊戲節奏方面也存在消極影響。

大多數情況下,這種洞穴、地下城或者任何地下隧道的探索都不是遊戲的主線內容,不過就是個支線任務而已。所以這意味着玩家要偏離他們的故事主線來進行這些探索。如果這個洞穴之類的的迷宮很小,返程也就還好,但是如果去的路程真的很長那可如何是好?玩家就不得不從死衚衕再原路返回到他開始這段支線探索的起點(意味着怪還要重新打一遍),回程中的一切很明顯都跟去程相同,沒什麼有趣的。

Assassin’s Creed 2(from gamasutra.com)

Assassin’s Creed 2(from gamasutra.com)

遊戲要如何解決這個問題:

這裏拿《波斯王子:武者之心》舉個例子,當我們必須要拿到增加生命上限的物品的時候,會看到我們爲此經歷的一系列障礙——我們避開了所有的機關和陷阱,最後到達了終點並獲得了這件物品。接着我們就真的除了原路返回沒有別的事可以做了。所有我們經歷過的陷阱都神奇地消失了,我們得回到這個探索插曲的起點處。幸好通常這個遊戲給的距離都不會太長。但是這種情景肯定影響了整個遊戲的節奏感。

我們來看看別的遊戲是怎麼解決這個問題的:

你會在《刺客信條2》中看到類似的情況。當我們在地下墓穴的時候,我們會面對各種動作益智挑戰。當你最終達到了你的目標並且與之交互時,一個祕密之門會打開。

在這裏你會看到遊戲是如何解決回程問題的。就在我們獲得了我們要收集的物品時,一個祕密之門會打開,它會直接把我們送到外面的世界,然後我們就可以繼續我們的冒險。

就我們考慮的問題,這是目前爲止還不錯的方法,雖然不錯,不過這會讓人產生一種缺失感,一種不完整的感覺。這種感覺產生的原因我有想過——可能是因爲我們沒有再看到過那個入口的大門了,就像一個循環有了缺口——所以有了這種不完整的遊戲體驗感。這點我還會進一步說明的,但是我們先再看看其他更好的返程方式。

我認爲恰當的解決方案應該是《巫師2:刺客之王》裏面的那樣。

如果你玩過的話,你一定記得在矮人小鎮,完成過一個叫做“Vergen礦山”的任務。

讓我給你看看地圖讓你對此有個清晰的概念。

Witcher 2: Assassins of the King(from gamasutra.com)

Witcher 2: Assassins of the King(from gamasutra.com)

你看到的地圖上所有紅色的叉叉都是一條條死衚衕。這個地圖很大,玩家必須走過很遠的距離才能走到頭,然後再返程。

我不會在這裏解釋這個任務怎麼做。我說這個的重點是:一旦我們把這個礦山裏的所有任務完成了以後,不誇張地說,這個地圖會變得空空如也——所有的怪都被被消滅了,所有物品都收集來了。現在我們要做的就是回到剛開始的入口。

在這裏,遊戲給了我們選擇:可以再遊歷一遍這個地區或者可以嗖地傳送到入口處。這個解決辦法是挺不錯。如果你喜歡探索,遊戲給你這個自由,如果你不喜歡,那就直接傳送到外面!這個方法真的挺好的,它給了玩家一種獨立自主權。

儘管這裏第三個遊戲的返程選擇似乎更佳,但我覺得我們的設計者還能夠做到更好。如果我們仔細觀察這個礦山的地圖,我們會注意到這個地形非常地圓。那現在他們要做的就是把東西按照這個圓的形狀進行循環迴路放置。用這個方法,玩家從入口開始,到最後結束在同一個入口。這樣這就讓玩家有了遊戲的完整體驗感。

我相信關於這個問題將來還會有更好的方法。就讓我來好好對此做些解釋,就拿我們的日常生活舉例好了。比如說我們的目標是做些日常瑣事。

我們打開我們的家門,來到了外面的世界,下班以後回到家——這個過程就能給人以完整的感覺。

現在再想象一下另外一個場景,當你完成了手頭的所有事情以後,不過現在你是要從市場開始,你進了門,然後最後出來的時候發現自己出現在鄰居家門口!這會讓你有完整的感覺嗎?

這個問題其實很容易解決,不過一些遊戲卻沒能夠做到。解決的方法是很多,但考慮到遊戲場景設計,遊戲設計者必須爲此做出大量的迭代直到結果給人以恰當的印象爲止。要知道一個靈巧的關卡設計、機智的物件擺放點還有其他很多因素都能有解決這個問題的神奇功效。

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The “empty retreat” problem in Open world games!!
by Ketan Kulkarni on 03/24/17 09:50:00 am
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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Open world adventures are one of my favorite game types. I like talking about RPGs whenever I get a chance. Open world games always tap into essence of human tendency of exploration and discovery of new things. The curiosity drives and makes us push the bounds and keep getting more knowledge of what is alien.

This case is also true with the games having “open world” world element in them. Exploration is the main ingredient of many of spices we see in adventure games. Different games we see have radical approaches of constructing a world which in turn changes a face of the game which is presented to player.

Most of these open world games contain secret dungeons and caves to be explored, which brings us to the point of what this article is about. The designers put a lot of effort in making a good level which will be gripping and engaging throughout the session of gameplay. But there is sometimes a problem in proper approach of the implementation.

Couple of weeks before nostalgia kicked in and I was playing Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the great old times. If you have played the game, you will know there are hidden life upgrades in this game which you can get through a secret passage to upgrade your health. That time while playing typically these life upgrade levels I felt like addressing this problem. This issue can be called as problem of “empty retreat”.

To know this better let’s consider a scenario:

You are playing a game in which you happen to exploring the mystical caves. These caves are full of puzzle paths, which unlock if you solve the environmental challenges presented to you. You have to solve these tricky puzzles and make your way to end. While on your way, you even meet lot of minions guarding these caves. You have to hack and slash, full action packed and make the way till you reach the dead end. Seems pretty interesting till here, right?

Purpose:

Now this can be anything. Say you are going to get a hard rugged armor and a sword with high damage points or any other collectible like chest of money or may be a health upgrade, damn it can be anything.

Most people will play it for the love of exploration and/or solving these interesting puzzles as it is their forte.

Okay, you now successfully reach the dead end, and your goal is met. The problem typically starts from here. The action packed adventure you had till now, is there until you reach the objective which is getting to end where it is not further explorable. When you reach there, you now have to traverse all the way back to carry on your adventure. This is really very very boring and I personally feel players may simply lose the grip of engagement. This also will have a negative impact on pacing of the gameplay.

Many times, this exploring a cave, a dungeon or any underground tunnels does not come under the main story mission, but just a side quest. So this means players have to explore this leaving their normal route of story progression. If this cave or whatever is small, backtracking is fine but what if it is really long way? Player has to return back from the dead end point where everything (meaning minions and all) is cleared and nothing interesting to be done or solved on the way back.

How do games solve this problem:

Here in case of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, when we have to get health upgrade, observe how we go through the series of obstacles by dodging all the blades and traps. After we finally reach the end and get it, we just have to pretty much traverse back with nothing really left to do. All the traps magically disappear and we have to go back to the point where we started. Typically in this game, the distance fortunately is not too much to travel. But if it were the case, it would surely have taken toll on the pacing of game.

Let’s see how other games provide solution to this problem:

You will see similar situation in the Assassin’s Creed 2 game. When we visit the catacombs, we get challenged by series of action puzzle. Ones when you finally reach your goal and interact it, a secret door opens.

Observe here how game tries to solve the problem of backtracking. As soon as we get the collectible, a secret door opens, which directly shoots us to outside world where we can further continue our adventure.

This is fine as far as solution to our problem is concerned, it is kind of good but there is a feeling of missing out something. This doesn’t really give the sense of completion, or we can say reduces it by 30%. This I think may happen because we don’t see the entry door again. We exit from the different portal, hence have a loop missing here, which leads to feeling of reduced sense of completion. I will further explain this but first let’s see another better option.

The apt solution in my opinion is provided by the game Witcher 2: Assassins of the King.

If you’ve played it, you’ll definitely remember this mission “The mines of Vergen” in the dwarf’s town.

Let me show you the map to have a clear idea about it.

All the red crosses you see in map are the dead ends. The area is pretty big and player has to cover lot of distance going in and then traversing back.

I won’t explain the mission here. My point here is, ones we are done with the mission inside these mines, we are pretty much left with nothing, literally. All the monsters slashed, all collectibles collected. Now all we have to do is traverse back to the door.

Here the game gives us the option to either traverse the area, or just poof back to the entrance. This is a good way to deal the problem. If you like to explore, the game gives you freedom to do so. If not, simply fast travel out! This seems a good way as the level of independence to player is more here.

Though the third option is the better in approaching this problem, I feel designers still could have done it better. If we observe the map of the mines carefully, we can notice that this level is pretty much circular. Now all they had to do is arrange the events in such a way that it loops around circularly. In this way, player starts at the gates, and eventually ends at same gate. Thus it gives a proper sense of completion.

This I believe could have been more better solution than present. To explain it properly, let’s take our daily life example. Our goal here is to run some errands.

We open the door of our home, step into outside world, get the job done and get back to home. This gives us a sense of completion.

Now consider a scenario where after your job is done, poof, u disappear from market and emerge directly in home where you started. How does it feel?

Now consider another scenario where you are done with what needs to be done, but now, from market, you get in the door and end up appearing in neighbor’s home! Does it give feel of completion?

This problem is very easy to solve yet some games still fail to address it. There are many ways it can be approached. But taking into mind the scenarios of the game, designers need iterate a lot until it gives an apt impression of closure. A clever level design, wise placement of events in the world and many other factors can work as charm and solve the issue.

I hope you enjoyed the read. Please let me know your take on this. Thank you very much for reading.

This is a repost from my personal blog. If you like what you read, please read my other blog articles.

Until then see you next time.(source:gamasutra.com