遊戲該如何向玩家揭示必要的信息

作者:Josh Bycer

玩電子遊戲的一個重要部分便是讓玩家能夠清楚遊戲設計是如何運行的。關於該呈現給玩家多少信息總是存在許多爭議;這種情況在圍繞着玩家選擇所創造的策略或RPG遊戲中更加顯著。在本文中我們將着眼於什麼情況下開發者過於隱藏信息以及何時必須將信息呈現在玩家面前。

Darkest-Dungeon(from gamasutra)

Darkest-Dungeon(from gamasutra)

捉迷藏式設計:

遊戲設計是關於創造能夠測試玩家對於遊戲理解力的規則和機制系統。那些最優秀的遊戲往往都具有隱藏的深度,即讓玩家能夠深入挖掘機制去尋找更有趣的內容。實際上,我所喜歡的許多遊戲都帶有深度,如《未知敵人》,《美妙世界》,《著名探險家》等等。

話雖如此,明確該呈現給玩家多少遊戲機制和根本規則始終都是件困難的事。如果你一下子揭示了所有內容或過多內容,玩家可能每次遊戲便都清楚最佳選擇是什麼。而如果你揭示的內容過少,玩家將在不夠了解遊戲的前提下被迫做出各種選擇;如此玩家將不清楚自己的選擇是否會影響到遊戲結果並且這也將提高遊戲的學習曲線。

而行動遊戲或基於技能的遊戲便很少遇到這樣的問題,因爲玩家可以通過角色看到遊戲對於他們所做出的選擇的反應。就像當我們看着馬里奧行動時我們並不需要了解他的準確跳起高度和奔跑速度。但在較抽象的設計中,即規則和系統都處於後端的遊戲裏,許多開發者都會避免向玩家呈現遊戲的運行。

JRPG遊戲便是這種趨勢中一個讓人討厭的例子。我已經數不清在我玩過的JRPG中有多少遊戲雖然提供了各種數據和數字但卻未告訴玩家它們到底代表什麼。

在某些情況中,只有抽象數字也就足夠了:如果我從10次攻擊進化到20次攻擊,這自然便意味着我的攻擊力得到了提高。但如果遊戲隱藏了更多需要理解的機制或決策,玩家便只能想辦法去獲取遊戲如何運行的信息了。

很早前我便談論過這一內容,即當遊戲是圍繞着一個策略指南進行創造,或者開發者隱藏了遊戲信息希望通過出售指南去告訴玩家遊戲的發展。

這裏存在的另一個要點是,你可能擁有需要玩家通過心算能力想出遊戲想要告訴自己的內容的信息。在我看來《暗黑地牢》便擁有這樣的問題,即關於遊戲計算抵抗檢查點方面。這一例子也能將我們引向何時該向玩家揭示幕後之人。

決策制定vs決策決定:

在我看來如果信息能夠幫助玩家做出選擇,但卻不會推動遊戲的發展,那麼遊戲就必須將其呈現給玩家。繼續以《暗黑地牢》爲例,如果遊戲準確告訴我觸發機會是基於枯萎技能或流血技能,這便是在幫助我做出決定。這與只是告訴玩家每次該瞄準怎樣的敵人是不同的,因爲在後面這種情況中玩家將不能再做出決定。

還有一個例子是來自《末日瘋人地》。在這款遊戲中當你看着敵人移動時你便能夠注意到他們的攻擊範圍。這一信息並不會告訴你如何遊戲,但卻能夠影響你做出決定,即關於如何在遊戲回合中移動角色。《未知敵人2》和《未知敵人2》中也使用了同樣的思維過程,即開發者會呈現給玩家擊中敵人機率的影響。

還有一點是,如果你每次隱藏的同是同樣的信息,玩家便需要遊戲時記住它們。讓我們舉個例子來說,在《監獄建築師》中,爲了讓廚師更好地管理自己的廚房,這裏存在有關炊具和冰箱的準確比例。

這種情況在每次你玩遊戲時都是不變的,對於玩家來說這也是一種常識。當某種情況每次出現都不變時,我就不知道爲什麼還需要隱藏這一信息了;當我們在討論圍繞着基於最優化的常識時,這便不再是一種選擇。

而作爲一個反例,暴雪便選擇了一個正確的方向並只是告訴玩家多少工人需要去開採天然氣和晶體。

你並不需要去揭示可能減少選擇或抹去玩家想法的信息。告訴玩家“如果你做X,那就會發生Y”與“你應該做X,因爲Y是最佳選擇”是截然不同的。

如果你不想揭示機制和系統的細節,你便可以使用一些抽象數字去指代某些內容。比起呈現給玩家做決定的完整數學公式,你可以只是呈現一些抽象數字以及計算結果,就像《暗黑地牢》所做的那樣。

平衡細節:

優秀的遊戲設計師總是能夠輕鬆呈現給玩家他們需要的一切內容;不需要他們去尋找信息,不會因爲各種瑣碎的細節壓得他們喘不來氣,遊戲設計師將創造一個有效的UI去做到這些。即遊戲設計師將通過遊戲測試去了解該提供給玩家怎樣的信息。

如果你在遊戲論壇上看到許多有關特定機制或規則且需要你的專家回答的內容,這便代表你需要在遊戲中適當揭示這些內容。

如果越少人需要到遊戲外部尋找如何遊戲的答案,那就說明你的遊戲設計和UI越優秀。

我之前曾經說過,並且我想再次強調的是,任何一款遊戲都不應該花幾個小時的時間於揭示遊戲基本內容的教程中,不管這款遊戲是什麼類型或有多複雜。

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

Transparency in Mechanics and Game Design

by Josh Bycer

An important part about playing a video game is letting the player figure things out and learning how the game design works. There is always a constant struggle between showing too much or too little information for the player; even more so in strategy or RPG games built around player choice. For today’s post, we’re going to look at when developers hide their information a little too much and when it’s important to just reveal it to the world.

Hide and Seek Design:

Game design is all about creating systems of rules and mechanics that will test the player’s understanding of the game. Some of the best games ever made were those with hidden depth to them; allowing players to dig into the mechanics to find greatness. In fact, many of my favorite games have that depth to them: XCOM, The World Ends with You, Renowned Explorers and so on.

With that said, figuring out how much of the game’s mechanics and underlining rules to reveal to the player is always difficult. If you reveal everything or too much, then the player will always know the best option every time and the game basically plays itself. If you reveal too little, then the player is forced to make decisions without having the proper knowledge; making it impossible to figure out if their choices had an impact and increasing the learning curve.

Action or skill-based games don’t have this problem as much, because the player can see how the game reacts to their choices through the character itself. We don’t need to know Mario’s exact jumping height and running speed when we can see it in action and remember it. But in abstracted design where there are rules and systems on the back-end, many developers hide or simply don’t tell the player how the game works.

JRPGs are a very annoying example of this trend. I can’t count the number of JRPGs I’ve played where the game gives you all kinds of stats and numbers, but don’t give the player any idea of what they mean.

In some cases, simply having the abstracted number is enough: If I went from 10 attack to 20 attack, then naturally that means I’m doing more damage. But when you have mechanics or decisions that require an understanding of the game hidden, then the player is left to seek information elsewhere as to how the game is supposed to work.

I’ve talked about this a very long time ago when games are built around a strategy guide, or the developer hides information with the explicit purpose to sell the guides so that players know what’s going on.

Another point is if you have information that requires the player to do mental calculations on their own in order to parse out what the game is telling you. Darkest Dungeon has this issue in my opinion with how the game calculates resistant checks. That example is also a good springboard into talking about when to reveal the man behind the curtain to the player.

Decision Making vs. Decision Deciding:

In my opinion, if information is going to help the player make a choice, but not play the game for them, then it should be revealed to the player. With the Darkest Dungeon example, if the game tells me exactly what the to-proc chance is on blight or bleed skills, that’s going to give me information that’s going to help me make a decision. It would be a different story if the game simply just highlights the enemy they should target each time, because then the decision making is removed from the player.

One example from Skyshine’s Bedlam was something that I actually suggested to the developers. The point was showing the enemy’s attack range as you’re viewing their movement. This information doesn’t tell me how to play the game, but infers on my decision of where to move my characters during a turn. The same thought process can be seen in XCOM 1 and 2 and how the developers show the player what impacts the to-hit chance on the enemy.

Another point is if you have information hidden that is the same every time and the player needs to remember it when they play. Here’s a good example: In Prison Architect, there is an exact ratio of cookers to fridges to chefs in relation to serving tables in order to properly manage your kitchens.

This is the same every time you play and is common knowledge by the expert players and the Prison Architect Wiki. There is no reason why that information should be hidden if it’s the same thing every time; it’s not a choice when we’re talking about common knowledge built around optimization.

As a counter example, with later updates, Blizzard went in the right direction and now simply tells the player about how many workers should be mining gas and crystals.

You don’t want to reveal information that’s going to reduce the number of choices or remove player thinking from the game. There is a big difference between telling the player: “If you do X, then Y will happen,” vs. “You should do X, because Y is the best option.”

If you don’t want to reveal the exact details of the mechanics and systems, you can use abstracted numbers to help illustrate what’s going on; which is what I talked about in my post on Abstraction in Game Design. Instead of showing the player an entire mathematic formula to determine damage, you can simply show the abstracted figures and the result of the calculation; which is what Darkest Dungeon does.

Again, the player is kept away from the low level numbers and formulas, but is still given the information they need to understand what’s going on and to make an informed decision.

Balancing Details:

A great game designer is able to present everything that the player needs at their fingertips; no hunting for information, not overwhelming them with trivial details and building an effective UI that does it all. This is where play testing can also come in handy for knowing what information to reveal to the player.

If you’re seeing constant messages on your forums regarding people asking about a specific mechanic or rule that your experts are answering, then that would be a good candidate for simply revealing in game.

The less someone has to look outside your game for answers on how to play it, the better the game’s design and UI are.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say again, there is no game that should require hours of let’s plays and tutorials in order to figure out the basics, regardless of the complexity or genre. In an upcoming post, I’ll be returning to the use of abstraction and how designers can use certain techniques to make their games easier to learn.(source:Gamasutra