開發者分享如何在遊戲設計中做到難易程度的平衡

本文原作者:Tejas Jasani 譯者ciel chen

第一步 遊戲需要平衡

美國每年要上映很多部電影,有各種你能想到的電影類型:喜劇電影、驚悚電影、動作電影、愛情電影等,然而並不是所有的電影都能大賣,也並不是所有的電影都能風靡全球。不過這樣的電影也是有的,維基百科稱《侏羅紀公園》在國內(美國)首映的第一個週末總收入2.088億美元,那個週末成爲美國史上票房高的週末。

現在人們已經不是第一次在熒幕上看到恐龍了(這部電影本身就已經是《侏羅紀公園》系列電影的第四部),現在的恐龍到處都能看到。然而這麼多同類電影都有着美好的畫面、精彩的動作內容、美麗的攝影,爲什麼唯獨《侏羅紀公園》系列電影能脫穎而出獲得這樣瘋狂的成功呢?

如果能用一個詞來說明的話,那就是:平衡。

該系列作在某種程度上把握好了(或者基本把握住了)作爲優秀電影在各個方面的平衡藝術——它平衡了電影中機智與嚴肅的對話、平衡了合適的恐怖效果(恐怖和平常情景在電影中交替呈現)、平衡了電影中在衝突達到高潮時音樂的添加與在強調某個場景的重要程度時突然陷入的沉默之間的平衡。總而言之,《侏羅紀公園》系列電影把所有能平衡的都給平衡了。

相同的概念也可以延伸到遊戲界,而這也是我今天想和你們分享的內容。

讓我們用兩款成功的遊戲鉅作來做個比較:《使命召喚》和《糖果粉碎》。

Call of Duty(from gamasutra.com)

Call of Duty(from gamasutra.com)

如果你忽略遊戲輸贏或者得分的話,你也會同意《糖果粉碎》從基本層面上來說一款很容易就能上手的遊戲。比如說,假如你在過123關的時候,遊戲玩法的難度並沒有變化,只是想得高分變得沒那麼容易了而已。

Candy Crush(from gamasutra.com)

Candy Crush(from gamasutra.com)

而另一方面,從基本層面來說《使命召喚》(“殺死敵人”)也應該是挺容易的,就是玩遊戲的時候得要弄明白一些有關如何操作武器、目標瞄準、以及使用合適的資源等等。這不表示遊戲會變的很複雜到沒辦法讓人享樂;這只是說明它屬於困難類型的那類遊戲而已。
然而兩款遊戲都獲得了相當相當大的成功。

因爲兩款遊戲強調的原則內容都是非常相似的。

是的,《糖果粉碎》強調的原則就是讓簡單程度保持在合適的範圍、《使命召喚》則將複雜程度保持在合適的範圍。

Jesse Schell在他的著作《遊戲設計的藝術》中這樣說道:遊戲需要“剛好的簡易度”與“剛好的複雜度”。

第二步 瞭解複雜性的種類

Jesse Schell在他的著作《遊戲設計的藝術》中將複雜性分爲兩個種類。

2.1 固有複雜性

固有(內部)複雜性就是遊戲本身玩起來就困難並且還有設立了一堆的規則。如果遊戲有太多規則要遵守,那很容易在遊戲早期就讓玩家有一種“嘿!你之前沒說過要這樣!”的內心活動。

這是因爲玩家不能也不想去記住那麼多的規則,這將潛移默化地打擊玩家積極性讓遊戲落得個壞名聲的。

所以一般什麼時候會出現這種遊戲的固有複雜性?

當設計者試圖把真實生活的情景也忠實地照搬到遊戲裏的時候,那遊戲就會有非常非常多方面的問題要考慮要顧及了。

像在《地鐵跑酷》這類的遊戲裏,如果設計者要認真到考慮起物理概念中的摩擦力、離心力和向心力,還有鞋子鞋面的磨損之類的問題的話,那這個遊戲要玩起來就真的太困難了(除非、對物理學家來說可能他們玩得來!)。

設計者因此需要控制自己遊戲中有關現實內容的考慮。這裏有個不錯的比喻可以記一下:完美的地圖是不存在的。

一幅地圖,要想讓它完美而精確,連一顆石子都不放過的程度,這需要它有跟目標位置一樣規模的大小。這樣的話,曼哈頓地圖就要跟曼哈頓一樣大,不僅不可能做出來,要想帶着這樣的地圖絕對超累。

2.2 新生的複雜性

Schell提到的第二種複雜性就是新生複雜性。這種難度是不會在玩家一開始玩遊戲的時候體現出來的,但是它會隨着玩家玩的過程中慢慢浮現出來。

這樣的困難程度比什麼都要更容易讓玩家面對更令人興奮的挑戰。

《皇室戰爭》一直在更新添加新卡片,帶來各種各樣的能力特效來讓玩家依舊願意浸入到遊戲中去。

你在玩《Color Switch》的時候,從第一關到其他關都會有很多各種不同的彩色組合出現。

clash royale cards(from gamasutra.com)

clash royale cards(from gamasutra.com)

也就是說有可能(也確實如此)一款遊戲——就應該做得容易上手但是難以精通。成功的遊戲會讓玩家能很容易就入門,這樣玩家就可以從金字塔的底部開始慢慢往上爬。

隨着玩家慢慢嘗過幾次勝利的喜悅以後,遊戲會開始增加難度,讓每次的挑戰變得稍稍更有樂趣些。

因此保持遊戲的固有複雜程度在較低水平,並在新生複雜性上能有一個較大的調節範圍是最好不過的了。

這樣以來玩家就能以一種投入的方式體驗遊戲難度等級的上升——這讓我想起我的一個朋友Parry已經打到《糖果粉碎》的第450關,並且到現在還沒放棄呢。

無論如何,倘若把固有複雜度拋之不顧依舊是不合理的。那些基於真實生活的模擬遊戲,或者甚至是科幻類遊戲,都別無選擇,一定得保持一定程度的固有複雜性。

要知道如果一場星系間的大戰只有0.45英寸柯爾特自動手槍彈可以拿來火拼的話會看上去很傻的。

80/20巴雷特法則

有一些設計者倡議要按照80/20巴雷特法則來平衡新生和固有複雜性的平衡。也就是讓固有複雜性保持在某個最低程度然後讓新生複雜性持續提升!

28Pareto principle(from gamasutra.com)

28Pareto principle(from gamasutra.com)

這裏我們就有一個重點問題了:要如何才能讓你的遊戲保持難易度上的平衡呢?

第三步 平衡遊戲難易程度的三個維度

爲了平衡你遊戲的難易程度,就慮從三個維度上考慮這個問題。

3.1 讓複雜程度有組織有規劃地增加

遊戲設計中經常出現隨着遊戲的進展,規則變得越來越多越來越複雜——然而這未必是個好主意。

就假如說你在設計一款遊戲,這款遊戲需要玩家比賽穿過神祕的海洋水域,同時還要打敗各種各樣的鯊魚、鯨魚和海怪。

在遊戲的一開始(比如說第一關),只給了玩家唯一一隻特殊的船,它可以在海上航行也可以在海底航行(像潛水艇一樣)。玩家可以興奮地用它一直到第四關。

突然,遊戲告訴你這隻船將不再可以潛水了。

這既讓人沮喪又讓人覺得不公。我指,爲什麼玩家取得勝利到達了第四關現在卻要接受懲罰?這種突然在規則上的改變時不公平的。

這就跟我們所說的“有組織有規劃地成長”形成了鮮明的對比。如果規定了一艘船可以在水底潛行,那這隻船無論怎樣就是應該可以潛行在水底。

從另一方面來說,隨着玩家從第一關到之後的關卡,這裏有個讓遊戲有組織有規劃地增加難度的簡短方法清單:

新型怪的出現

有一些怪獸需要被擊退兩次纔會死

可以設置一個漩渦,可以把你的船吸進去

突然出現的泥水,會消耗你更多的燃料

天氣的變化來降低可見度

鯨魚把你的氧氣瓶咬漏了,讓你難以再在海底潛行

自由浮動的冰山會摧毀你的船,或者可能影響它的操作性。

正如你所看見的,複雜度的增加是可以通過更多的挑戰,更多的刺激、更多的驚喜來實現,而不需要任何基礎前提的改變。

3.2 改變鍵盤按鍵控制,這要求更高的玩家鍵盤技術

你也許不能改變規則,但你絕對可以改變控制方法:)

上圖是流行遊戲《公路騎手》的一副截屏。

控制方法很簡單:

右邊是加速(油門:用來控制速度),左手邊的是剎車。很簡單。

隨着關卡越高級,就說第9關把,遊戲讓你在控制上有了一些扭轉。

控制鍵的變化:

現在加速控制移到你的左手邊了,而剎車則換到了右手邊。(當然了,遊戲完全沒有提示你控制鍵的轉變!)

了左剎車右油門的機制的玩家就會突然愣住不知所措。玩家需要一些時間來習慣這種控制上的轉變;誰知道呢,玩家說不定就撞了也不一定呢!

點可以確定的是:隨着控制鍵的改變,玩家會投注更多的注意力到遊戲中。隨時有可能撞車的害怕讓玩家腎上腺激素劇增(一種讓人類身體產生激動感的身體激素)。這讓玩家對遊戲非常興奮非常投入。

要注意,這裏你沒有做出任何根本性的改變:你只是轉換了控制鍵而已。沒有剝奪玩家的能力和技能,而且玩家還能從中達到令人興奮的新水平。

3.3 提出有意義的問題

決定複雜程度的等級是一個人得回到問題裏最難的那個問題。所以你設計你下款遊戲時候,或者回顧你已經設計好的遊戲的時候,

你也許會想要問你自己這三個問題:

我的遊戲是否太簡單或者太複雜嗎?

我設計遊戲的複雜程度是讓玩家感到興奮還是讓他們不再想玩呢?

我還可以在遊戲中加入哪些新生的內容來讓玩家更能投入到我的遊戲當中呢?

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Step 1 The need to balance a game

Dozens of movies get released every year in the US. They belong to every genre that you can think of: Comedy, Thrillers, Action, Romance, But not all movies make truckloads of money.

Not all movies are loved the world over. For instance, Wiki says Jurassic World grossed $208.8 million domestically in its opening weekend, making it the biggest domestic opening weekend of all time.

Now it’s not that people saw dinosaurs on screen for the first time (this movie itself is the fourth instalment of the Jurassic Park franchise). There are umpteen other clones too.

Many movies in the same genre have lovely graphics, great action, beautiful photography and so on. So what makes the Jurassic Park franchise stand out and remain insanely successful?

If it could be put in one single word, the word would be: balance.

The franchise has somehow mastered (or come close to mastering) the art of balancing various aspects of a great film. It balances wit and grave dialogues, it balances the right scare-effects (scary and normal situations keep alternating throughout the movie), balances between musical score increasing in pitch during conflicts and then suddenly going silent to super-emphasize the impact of the situation.

In short, the movie does almost everything in balance.

The same idea can be extended to the gaming world. And that’s what I’d like to share with you today.

Let’s start by comparing two hugely successful games: Call of Duty and Candy Crush.

If you ignore the aspect of winning or scoring, you will agree that at a fundamental level, Candy Crush is a lot easier to start and understand. Even when you cross a level, say level #123, the difficulty of gameplay itself does not change; it’s just that scoring won’t be as easy.

On the other hand, while the basic premise of Call of Duty (“kill enemies”) may be simple enough, playing the game takes a lot more understanding in terms of handling weapons, choosing targets, using the right resources and so on. That’s not to say it’s too complicated to be enjoyed; it’s just that it belongs to a different category.

Yet both games are very, very successful.

Candy Crush and Call of Duty

That’s because the underlying principle in both the games is very much the same.

So, the common underlying principle is that Candy Crush uses the right amount of simplicity, while Call of Duty uses the right amount of complexity.

Jesse Schell, in his celebrated book The Art of Game Design, says games need to use “Good Simplicity” and “Good Complexity”.

Step 2 Classification of complexity

In his celebrated book The Art of Game Design Jesse Schell, classifies complexity in 2 part.

2.1 Innate Complexity

Innate (as in inner) Complexity is when the game itself is difficult to play and the rules are many. If you keep too many rules , then early in the game the gamer will reach a point when she gets a feeling “Hey! You didn’t mention this before!”

That’s because, the gamer can’t / doesn’t want to remember too many rules.This can be potentially frustrating and get the game a bad name.

So when is this Innate Complexity mostly likely to happen?

When the designer tries to replicate a real-life situation too faithfully, the game will need to take care of too many variables.

In games like Subway Surfer, for instance, if the designer starts taking ideas of physics like friction, centrifugal and centripetal forces, wearing away of surfaces etc. too seriously, it’d be too difficult a game to play (except, perhaps, for the physicists!).

The designer, therefore, needs to restrict the extent to which the game uses the elements of reality. There’s a nice analogy to remember: A perfect map can never exist.

For a map to be perfect and accurate, down the last pebble, it needs to be of the exact size of the location. That way, the map of Manhattan needs to be of the size of Manhattan itself, which is both impossible to make and certainly not easy to carry!

2.2 Emergent Complexity

The second type of difficulty Schell mentions is Emergent complexity. This kind of difficulty is not present when the gamer begins playing your game, but it emerges along the way.

This sort of difficulty has more to do with posing better and more exciting challenges to the gamer than anything else.

Clash Royale keeps coming up with various cards that carry a variety of capacity and keep the gamer engaged.

Clash Royale Cards

Color Switch keeps coming up with a variety of color combos as you go from one level to the other.

Color switch Gameplay

It is said, and perhaps rightly so, that a game should be easy to play but difficult to master. Successful games offer a simple premise to start with, so the gamer starts playing from the bottom of the pyramid.

As the gamer meets success, the game ups its level, making the challenge a little more interesting every time.

It’s best, therefore, to keep the innate complexity of the game low while you have a huge range for the emergent complexity.

That way people will experience the increasingly level of difficulty in an engaging way – reminds me of my friend Parry who has cleared well over 450 levels in Candy Crush, and hasn’t given up yet.

However, it’s not always desirable to throw away innate complexity altogether. Games that rely on real-life simulations, or even the sci-fi genre, have no option but to retain a certain degree of innate complexity.

A inter-galactic battle would look silly if there was just a 0.45 automatic to fire from!

80/20 Pareto Principle

Some designers advocate balancing the emergent and innate complexity like the 80/20 Pareto principle. Keep the innate complexity to a certain minimum and let the emergent complexity keep evolving!

80-20 Pareto Principle

That brings us to the point: How can you bring about balance of simplicity and complexity in your game

Step 3 Three Dimensions of balancing the game

To balance of simplicity and complexity in your game. Let’s take up three dimensions on doing that.

3.1 Let the complexity grow organically

It is tempting to twist or add rules as the game progresses, but it might not be a good idea.

Let’s say you’re designing a game wherein the gamer has to race through the waters of a mythical ocean, while fighting off various sharks and whales and sea-monsters.

At the beginning of the game (say Level 1), the gamer was given a special all in one boat that could travel both over and underwater (like a submarine). The gamer excitedly uses it and reaches Level 4.

Suddenly the game says the boat will not be able travel underwater any more.

That’s both frustrating and unfair. I mean, why penalize the gamer who’s won till now and reached the Level 4? Sudden changes in rules is unfair.

This is in sharp contrast to what we said was organic growth. If a boat can travel underwater, it will travel underwater no matter what.

On the other hand, here’s a short list of tools for increasing the complexity organically, as the player goes from one level to the next:

Newer types of monsters come-up

Some monsters need to be hit twice before they can be killed

There could be whirlpools that could suck your boat.

Sudden patches of muddy water that could consume more fuel to cross

Changes in weather that would reduce visibility

Whales bite into your oxygen cylinders, severely restricting your ability to travel underwater

Free-floating icebergs that can destroy your boat or affect its maneuverability.

As can be seen, the complexity is heightened by bringing in more challenges, more excitement, more surprise without changing the basic premise.

3.2 Introduce twists that require better key-pad skills

You can’t change the rules, but you can certainly change the controls :)

Traffic rider bike on the road

The above is a screenshot of the popular game Traffic Rider.

The controls are simple:

The grip on your right is the accelerator mechanism (throttle; used to control speed), while the grip on your left is used to activate the braking mechanism. Simple.

As the level progresses, say on Level 9, you add a bit of twist to this.

Switch the controls:

Now the throttle goes on your left side and the braking mechanism on your right side. (Of course, not without a message that you’re switching controls!)

The gamer, who’s so used to use her left hand to brake and the right to control speed, will suddenly be stumped. She will take some time getting used to it; who knows, she might even crash!

But one thing’s sure: with the changed controls, she has got to pay a lot more attention. The very fear that she might crash any time pumps up her adrenalin (that body hormone which triggers waves of excitement in the human body). Which makes it quite exciting, quite engaging.

Notice that you aren’t changing anything fundamental; you’re just switching controls. No powers or skills have been withdrawn. And yet the player feels a new level of excitement.

3.3 Ask meaningful questions

Deciding the level of complexity is the most difficult type of question one would need to answer. So when you design your next game, or are reviewing one that you’ve already designed.

You may want to ask yourself these three questions:

Is my game too simple or too complex?

Is the complexity of my game exciting the gamer or actually keeping her from playing the game?

What stages of my game can I further introduce emergent complexity that will heighten the gamer’s engagements?(source:gamasutra.com  )