Tom Hall談從《德軍總部3D》開發中總結出的5個設計要點

本文原作者:Jon Irwin 譯者ciel chen

《德軍總部3D(Wolfenstein 3D)》發行日期是1992年5月5日,今天正正好是它上市的第25年。該遊戲的主管和共同設計者Tom Hall說道:“我們當時是知道這款遊戲絕對是與衆不同的,但後來還是被人們對它的瘋狂熱愛嚇了一跳。”

他同他在iD software的共同創始人很快地意識到——他們開發的這款遊戲火了。但他們當時沒辦法知道的是B. J. Blazkowicz(遊戲的主人公)和以他爲視點的遊戲敘述究竟能讓電子遊戲發生多大的變革。

它並不是第一個用第一視角的遊戲。在1991年的時候,Softdisk工作室就發行了一款所謂第一款第一視角射擊遊戲,名叫《Catacombs 3-D》。但是公衆並沒有對這款遊戲很有愛。

因此這款遊戲以及其他Softdisk所發行遊戲的幕後主要人員——John Carmack、John Romero以及Tom Hall——他們再次做起了相同模式的遊戲開發。一改暗黑奇幻充滿各種咒語的遊戲風格,《Wolfentstein 3D》讓玩家扮演的是一個體格健碩動作靈活的英雄人物,玩家要操作他帶着致命的彈射武器在廊道間急速穿梭,給納粹分子應有的懲罰。

半個世紀過去了,如今FPS(第一人稱射擊遊戲)已經成爲了遊戲產業裏的一塊屹立不倒的基石,開發者們以此爲基礎創造了大量熱銷遊戲——有《戰地》系列遊戲、《使命召喚》和有原創遊戲《守望先鋒》、恐怖向遊戲《極度恐慌》、浸入式體驗遊戲比如《網絡奇兵》和《生化奇兵》系列作、還有像《地鐵2033》的生存向遊戲、甚至還有帶古怪的個人表情的遊戲如Andy Sum製作的《GAME OF THE YEAR 420BLAZEIT》。Hall說:“是我們的激情得以讓我們成爲“第一個吃螃蟹的人”,這確實是我們難得的機會——給世界帶來了全新的遊戲類型——這種事不常發生。因此我很榮幸能和團隊一起定義了FPS這個遊戲類型的基本概念。”

Hall後來又繼續共創了ION Storm和Monkeystone工作室,還設計了《毀滅戰士(DOOM)》和《龍霸三合會(Rise of the Triad)》、《星際之門(Anachronox)》還有PlayFirst的《DASH》遊戲。我們此次請他跟我們分享了一些他在《Wolfenstein 3D》開發工作過程中吸取一些沿用至今的設計經驗。對於他會從“槍”開始給我們陳列設計經驗要點的清單時我們絲毫不感到驚訝。

握緊你的“槍”

hidden secrets(from gamasutra.com)

hidden secrets(from gamasutra.com)

這個看上去簡單的射擊手藏着非常多的祕密。

“設計的法則——堅守一些你覺得至關重要的東西。而我是爲‘密道’而堅守奮戰。”Hall如是說道,他指的“密道”是遊戲設置在走廊的一些隱祕通道——它們看上去像堅固的門牆,而實際是可以打開通往新的地方的。

“在一款遊戲裏,你不會希望這個遊戲讓你一直做出同樣的操作而讓自己產生疲憊感的,”Hall說道。他是這樣描述《Wolfenstein 3D》的主遊戲循環的——“射擊守衛、拿走戰利品、拿到鑰匙、開門、射擊守衛、拿走戰利品、拿到鑰匙、開門……”他說曾經有一名開發者John Carmack質疑過假門是不是真的有必要,而Hall則爲“假門”據理力爭,結果證明這些“假門”讓遊戲更加出彩有趣了。

是的,密道爲整個遊戲的氛圍添加了一份神祕感,並且爲進一步作戰提供了轉折點。他補充道:“遊戲是需要’10%的內容’來讓你感受多種不同的遊戲體驗。”他還舉例《魔獸世界(world of warcraft)》中的職業選擇系統和《荒野之息(Breath of the Wild)》中的烹飪系統,這些都是用來作爲附加的遊戲內容來打破遊戲主旋律的千篇一律。

“密道的添加是隱藏祕密的經典方式,它有跟門一樣的控制功能,所以這個辦法是行得通的。”Hall這樣說道。“它給人一種玩家中作爲‘探險者’ (Bartle所總結的四種玩家類型中的一種)的探索衝動。它讓Carmack引擎稍顯的不那麼優雅了,不過卻讓遊戲好玩了許多。”
Hall解釋道:“Carmack善於優化並且辦事速度快,能很快找到做事的技巧來把事情辦得比原來更快更好。他精心的製作了一個優雅高效的渲染程序。而這個‘密道’會降低這種優雅程度、硬生生在這個一切看上去都很合適美好的遊戲裏添加了個‘kludge’(混搭拼湊的內容),但這卻在遊戲的趣味性方面卻真的超級有必要。”

《Wolfenstein 3D》儘管跟老遊戲比起來得到了天堂般的自由視覺體驗,但是它有自己的侷限性——天花板和地板都只是掛着一個有色的平面在表面上,這也還好;但是這讓一切事物只能侷限在同一個層面上,想讓玩家有什麼驚喜都很難做到,所以不得不做出一些狡猾的設計了。在可行走通過的角落裏或者可以射擊的目標設置柱子,所以敵人就可以嚇到你,從此以後你就會開始妄想柱子後面是不是總有什麼人準備要攻擊你,即使那裏實際一個人也沒有!

【Hall有意思的邊注:“離題一下,我想說個悲傷的故事——《Wolfenstein》原來很早的時候是有動畫牆紋理的。然後事情是這樣的:我們當時要在短得瘋狂的時間內做出最酷的FPS遊戲,然後我們有個外駐的藝術家幫我們做美工,但美工的效果不太好(有個火炬沒畫好),所以我們分道揚鑣了。接着,我們就完全忘記啓用動畫牆了。本來那些牆壁可以增添氛圍用來做更有趣的事……好吧,總之就是我們本來應該有很多要做的事結果我們完全忘記了。(好氣)”】

擁抱侷限性

Wolfenstein 3D(from gamasutra.com)

Wolfenstein 3D(from gamasutra.com)

《Wolfenstein 3D》遊戲第一節的第5層地圖

Carmack、Hall以及John Romero趁勝追擊,把在《Wolfenstein 3D》上的成功延續在其精神續作《DOOM》上。儘管仍舊是快節奏行動,翻天的暴力內容和簡練的幽默感遊戲,但進步的科技讓遊戲環境更加開放和靈活。而在《WOLF 3D》只能把注意力集中賦予簡單走位更多變化的保持玩家在遊戲中的活力。

他說:“在《DOOM》之前的遊戲作品中,那些3D場景都比較粗糙,就讓人感覺好像被束縛在瓷磚網格里了一樣:在一堆方形牆壁或者不是牆壁的場景裏走來走去。所以我們就要把創造力發揮在解決這些侷限性上。”如今,一名設計者已經可以隨心所欲地高效創作出或抽象或寫實的環境了;根據所需要達到的目標來做出選擇就好了。不過在1992年,你能做的只有那麼多。

“在《Hovertank one》中【他們《catacomb 3d》的前作】,我們的牆壁是純色的沒做什麼紋理。所以我就放上了綠色東西然後想,‘好了,這個層面上的話那是棵樹——努力解決侷限性是很了不起了!不過有時候它也可以很愚蠢》……”

從電影的角度去思考遊戲

first-person games(from gamasutra.com)

first-person games(from gamasutra.com)

第一視覺遊戲的出現不僅僅意味着玩家的視角改變了,而且開發者的視角也要改變了。

“我認爲我們的3D射擊遊戲真正是從《Hovertank》開始的,它是第一款符合我想象的三維活動空間遊戲,所以在這款遊戲裏很多東西都是我從電影的角度想到的——這是對你所在做的遊戲的一種全新不同的思考方式。”

“在給遊戲做3D效果之前,你可能會做個有點小難度的迷宮或者做個熟悉建築物模型的佈局設計,不過現在既然有了3D效果,你就有了可以添加的具體圖像來讓房間變得不同。無論是設計者和玩家從此都能在視覺和聽覺感受到主角當下正在經歷的體驗。”

我們在當下(2017年)能玩到的第一視角遊戲(FPS)是積累了20多年FPS最佳實踐的假設和比喻的積澱結晶。而當我們回望1992年,那時什麼針對FPS的規範和標準範例都沒有。

“所以就要問了——這類遊戲能給人什麼不同的感覺?要如何把這類遊戲的獨特和與衆不同傳達給玩家?遊戲是如何開始的(就像電影的開頭),過程是如何流動與進展,最後又是怎樣結束的?我有什麼新方法把東西藏到意想不到的地方嗎?你可以開始不用再那麼抽象而去創造真正意義上的‘地點’和情節發展了。每個等級都是全新不同的體驗——而這也只不過是你如今所期盼的FPS最迷你版的開端。”

在《Wolfenstein 3D》的開發中,科技構建與設計指導齊頭並進,Hall這樣說道:“如果覺得還是不夠精緻,就來跟這些了不起的新‘玩具’玩一玩好了。”

工具要用最好的…..不然就自己造

John Romero(from gamasutra.com)

John Romero(from gamasutra.com)

John Romero在爲iD工作室開發節省人力的關卡設計工具

“在當今,你可以通過教學視頻、文章、書籍或者一些課程來學習任何你想學習的編程語言和平臺。但如果回到90年代早期,能用的工具和資源真的很原始。那時候,你得把一個個你想要內容代碼彙編起來。所以通常我們得開發自己的開發工具。”

幾十年前在還沒有Unity和Unreal的時候,Hall和他有名的iD共創夥伴John Romero和John Carmack一起開發編程工具。“Romero做的TED5確實是非常了不起的地形編輯器,它參與了我們大概37款遊戲的開發製作。”Hall如此說,並且《Wolfenstein 3D》就是其中的一款。

用你自己開發的工具來做遊戲的一點好處就是你清楚地知道你的遊戲能做和不能做哪些事情——不過它是需要花費時間、精力和金錢的。儘管如今有了捷徑爲遊戲創作增添新彩,使得當下的一些開發者有了先行一步的優勢,然而我們要知道,這些增添的機遇都是有一定的代價的。

“如今做遊戲變得越發簡單了——編譯器優化代碼現在已經相當先進了,不過有一點不好的就是現在遊戲量大得跟海嘯似的。因此遊戲做起來是簡單了,但是想讓人注意到也就相對困難多了。”

Hall一直以來都倡議要把他的技藝教給年輕的編程者,目前爲止,他訴諸過Kickstart來衆籌一款名叫《Worlds of Wander》的遊戲製作軟件。(沒能成功。)不過他至少因此在其他相似的項目上看到了這款遊戲製作軟件的印記。

“《超級瑪麗製造(Super Mario Maker)》就是一款類似《Worlds of Wander》的遊戲,使用的是任天堂的IP。它真的是一款很棒的遊戲和工具,它所達到的效果和我所想做的事情不謀而合,甚至連‘自我設定主題’生成新的圖形界面這個概念都與我契合了;還有連它轉換(主題)的方法都跟我想的一樣!”

然而那種激情、那種怪胎般的執着、那樣長時間的堅持以及想從多方面試圖推動邊界打開新世界大門的努力,都是開發者應該要具備的品質。不過Hall還說:“要是當時我們有這種信息量大的書籍和這樣好用的開發工具就好了。”不過這樣就會讓你會好奇如今的預建引擎和各種先進的開發程序對當時《Wolfenstein 3D》帶來巨大變革的能力會不會有什麼不利的影響。

保持對遊戲的熱愛

Do not burn out(from gamasutra.com)

Do not burn out(from gamasutra.com)

25年過去了,Hall回首過去,想到當時那種創造新經典新遊戲類型的瘋狂感受到了曾經自己的天真。不過隨着年齡的增長,看待事物的角度也不再一樣了。

“我們當時對《Wolfenstein》的開發時間管理處在‘一個禮拜做7天,一天14-18小時’的模式,相比那種瘋狂,我更中意現在相對平衡合理的時間安排。”Hall說道。

現在Hall是PlayFirst Studio的高級創作設計師,他最新的作品集中最新迭代的《Diner Dash》受人尊敬,然而相比在iD Software那時的鼎盛時期相比就差得遠了;不過那種要把B.J. Blazkowicz這個角色深入到數以百萬計的玩家心中的激情依舊存在,只是他把這種激情投入到了他白天工作以外的其他追求上了而已。

“那種年輕時爲了純粹對遊戲的熱愛而製作遊戲的時光是在太美好了。如今我依舊懷着對遊戲的愛,只是我現在還有了熱愛的生活要顧慮了。”

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Wolfenstein 3D came out exactly 25 years ago, on May 5th, 1992. Nothing was the same after that day. “We knew it was new and special, but we were pretty blown away by the reception,” says Tom Hall, the director and co-designer of the game.

He and the co-founders at iD Software quickly realized that they had a hit on their hands. What they couldn’t have known then was how much B. J. Blazkowicz and his subjective POV would revolutionize video games.

It wasn’t the first game to use a first-person perspective. In 1991, Softdisk released what has been called the original first-person shooter, a wizards-and-warlocks dungeon crawler called Catacombs 3-D. But the game didn’t click with the public.

So the main people behind that game, and dozens of other Softdisk releases–John Carmack, John Romero, and Tom Hall– reworked the formula. Instead of dark fantasy and spells, Wolfenstein 3D cast players as a beefy action hero racing through corridors with a deadly projectile weapon in hand, giving the Nazi’s what-for.

A quarter-century later, the FPS is a cornerstone of the games industry. The genre is a foundation upon which developers create massive sales juggernauts like the Battlefield and Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises, horror games like FEAR, immersive experiences like the System Shock and Bioshock series, survival games like Metro 2033, and even quirky personal expressions like Andy Sum’s GAME OF THE YEAR 420BLAZEIT.

“Since we made games out of passion and were so geeky-early, that gave us a leg up, a rare opportunity to make a new genre come to life,” says Hall. “That doesn’t happen very often, and I’m honored to have come up with the fundamentals of what an FPS is with the team.”

Hall went on to co-found ION Storm and Monkeystone, and designed titles like DOOM, Rise of the Triad, Anachronox, and PlayFirst’s DASH games. We asked him to tell us about some design lessons he learned while working on Wolfenstein 3D that he still uses today. He began his list, not surprisingly, with guns.

1. Stick to your guns

This seemingly simple shooter was full of hidden secrets.

“Design-wise, if something is critical, stick to your guns. I fought for pushwalls,” Hall says, referring to the secret parts of the corridors in the game that appear to be solid wall but can be opened, leading to new areas.

“Adding pushwalls made Carmack’s engine slightly less elegant, but it made the game way more fun.”

“In a game, you don’t want activity fatigue, where you get bored doing the same thing all the time,” Hall says. He describes the main gameplay loop of Wolfenstein 3D as “shoot guards, loot, get key, open door, shoot guards, loot, get key, open door…” He says that programmer John Carmack questioned the need for fake doors, but he argued for it, and the end result made for a more surprising, compelling game.

The pushwalls added secrets to the environment, and added a twist to the propulsive combat. ”There needed to be that ‘10% thing’ that you can do for a variety of experience,” he adds. He describes the professions in World of Warcraft or cooking in Breath of the Wild as examples of side activities that help break up the sameyness of the main gameplay.

“Adding pushwalls was a classic way to hide secrets, using the exact same controls as doors, so it made sense,” he says. “It gave you that rush of discovery that Bartle’s Explorers crave. It made Carmack’s engine slightly less elegant, but it made the game way more fun.”

“Carmack shines at optimizing and making things fast, and figuring out tricks to do more and do it faster than would be straightforwardly possible,” explains Hall. “He had crafted an elegant and efficient renderer. This would make it less elegant, plopping what was essentially a special case kludge in the middle of all that nice, clean code. But it was super-necessary for fun.”

Wolfenstein 3D was a paradise of creative visual freedom compared to the old games, but it had its limitations. Things on the ceiling were just hanging from a flat colored surface, same for the floor. But it was okay. But since everything was on one level, it was rather difficult to surprise the player, so the design had to be tricksy. Alcoves with walk-throughable or shoot-throughable objects, so enemies could surprise you, and from then on, make you paranoid, even if they weren’t there!

[FASCINATING SIDE NOTE FROM HALL: “Off-topic, one sad story was this — Wolfenstein actually had animating wall textures. From early on. The scene is this: we were making a cool FPS in a crazy short time. We had an outside artist helping on art, and the art wasn’t turning out very good. A flickering torch wasn’t well done. We parted ways. And then, WE FORGOT TO USE ANIMATING WALLS. At all. They could have really added to the atmosphere and been used for interesting things…. but, well, we had so much to do and simply forgot.”]

2. Embrace limitations

Map of Episode 1 Floor 5 of Wolfenstein 3D

Carmack, Hall, and John Romero would go on to build off of Wolfenstein 3D’s success with the spiritual successor DOOM. Though the fast action, over-the-top violence and pithy humor remained, advancing technology allowed for more open, flexible environments. With Wolf 3D, Hall had to focus on making simple locations feel more alive.

“What little you could achieve had to be effective in saying a lot.”

“Before DOOM, these 3D spaces were more primitive, as they were limited to a tile grid: a bunch of square walls or not-walls. So your creativity is trying to work within those constraints,” he says. Today a designer can effectively create an environment as abstract or realistic as they want; the choice is one of intent. But in 1992, you could only do so much. So what little you could achieve had to be effective in saying a lot.

“In Hovertank One [their predecessor to Catacomb 3D], there were no textures, just solid-colored walls. So I placed a green one and thought, ‘Well, in this level, that’s a tree,’” he says. “Working with constraints is amazing! But it can also get silly…”

3. Think cinematically

The advent of first-person games shifted not only the player’s perspective, but that of the creators as well.

“Our 3D shooters, starting with Hovertank, were the first I imagined as real three-dimensional active spaces, so a lot of things would come to me sort of cinematically,” says Hall. “It was a new, different way of thinking about what you were making.”

“How does this feel different than other levels? What is this space like, how can I convey its uniqueness? How does it begin, how does it flow and progress, how does it come to a close?”

“Before the games got textured 3D, you would make a clever maze, or do a layout similar to a familiar architecture shape,” he adds. “But now that it was textured, and you could have detailed sprites to make rooms feel different. It became more of a true first-person experience, a visual and sonic experience that as both a designer and a player, you were the authoring protagonist of.”

The first-person games we play in 2017 have accumulated two decades worth of tropes and assumptions of what best practices are. But back in 1992, there were no rules. There were no obvious answers.

“So you start asking questions,” Hall says. “How does this feel different than other levels? What is this space like, how can I convey its uniqueness? How does it open (like the start of a movie), how does it flow and progress, how does it come to a close? What new way can I sneakily hide stuff in unexpected areas? You could begin to be less abstract and really create a sense of place, of progression. A unique experience in every level. It was the tiniest start of what you expect today.”

The technology built and the design authored during Wolfenstein 3D’s development, Hall says, “challenged you with these amazing, if primitive, new toys to play with.”

4. Use the best tools…or make them

John Romero made a labor-saving level design tool for iD

“Nowadays, you can learn any language and any platform by checking out the hundreds of available tutorial videos, articles, and books,” Hall says, “or the dozens of available classes. But tools and resources were much more primitive back in the early 1990s. Back then, you had to Assembly-code the stuff you wanted to blaze. And often, you’d roll your own tools.”

Decades before Unity or Unreal, Hall had his famous iD co-founders, John Romero and John Carmack to craft tools. “Romero did make a pretty amazing one, TED 5, the tile editor. [We] used that for like thirty-seven games,” he says. Wolfenstein 3D was one of them.

The benefit of rolling your own tools is that you become intimately familiar with what your game can and can’t do. But it took time. And energy. And money. Today’s shortcuts have allowed many more into the garden of game creation. Current developers have a head start in some ways. But with that added opportunity comes a price.

“Games are easier to make now, but it’s harder to get your stuff noticed.”

“Now it is much easier to make your game,” Hall says. “Compilers optimize code fairly well now. But the downside is that there is a tsunami of games. They are easier to make, but it’s harder to get your stuff noticed. Conversely, if you have the particular sickness that compels you to make games, there are a lot more game jobs now.”

Hall has been a proponent of helping teach young coders his craft, going so far as to Kickstart game-creation software named Worlds of Wander. (It didn’t succeed.) But he sees its stamp on other similar projects.

“Super Mario Maker is like a simpler Worlds of Wander, applied to Nintendo’s IP,” Hall says. “It’s an amazing game and tool. And pretty much precisely what I wanted to do, even down to the concept of auto-theming to a new graphics set. Even the way it changes [themes] — with a wave across the tiles!”

But the passion, the geekiness, the long hours, and the attempt to push the edge in various ways always has to be there. Though Hall says “it would have been great to have informative books and amazing tools back then,” you wonder if today’s pre-built engines and asset libraries hamper the ability to revolutionize the way Wolfenstein 3D did.

5. Don’t burn out

Twenty-five years on, Hall looks back fondly on the madness that birthed a classic and, indeed, an entire genre. But with age comes a change in perspective.

“I still have that love of making games, but I also have a life.”

“Our time management making Wolfenstein was ‘Work on the game for 14-18 hours, seven days a week,’” Hall says. “I like the balance I have now better.”

Hall is now senior creative designer at PlayFirst Studio. His latest projects, among them the latest iterations of the venerable Diner Dash series, may seem a far cry from the gory frantic envelope pushing action of iD Software’s heyday. But the same passion that helped introduce B.J. Blazkowicz to millions of players persists. It just gets funneled into other pursuits beyond his dayjob.

“Those were amazing times to be young and making games for the love of it,” Hall says. “I still have that love. But I also have a life.”(source:gamasutra.com