開發者談設計遊戲時需要注意的7個關鍵點

原文作者:Michael How 譯者:Megan Shieh

在開發遊戲的過程中,有許多需要注意的事情你會希望自己能從一開始就知道,比如可以幫助你避免陷阱的關鍵點。本文將闡述設計遊戲時需要注意的7個關鍵點。

第一:快速失敗,不然就永遠不失敗。

行業中有許多關於“快速失敗,經常失敗”的言論。當你擁有大量的時間和金錢,並且想製造出完美的產品時,這無疑是可行的。

但對於大多數開發人員而言,這是不可能的。時間和資源的缺乏限制了這種做法的可行性。我寧願儘早失敗,要不然就永遠不失敗。你可以在付諸實際行動之前,與可信的設計夥伴在紙上或以文檔的形式一起深入探討某些想法的邏輯。有了可靠的初期理念就把它應用到遊戲中去,做出雛形。效果不好的話就趕快放棄;如果它在任務和遊戲方面觸及到了你的核心支柱,就繼續投入時間。

Problem(from gamasutra.com)

Problem(from gamasutra.com)

千萬不要小看特性審批的重要性,向儘可能多的利益相關者展示你的特性,讓他們充分理解這個特性並挑戰它的設計,從而將它進行優化。如果這個特性很有趣,而且符合你的核心支柱,就把它給簽了!然後進行迭代與優化。如果sign off失敗了,那就對它進行分析從而找出失敗的原因。如果你已經從中學到了一些東西,並且不能把它帶入下一個設計的迭代中,那麼失敗了也沒什麼大不了。不過不要隨意地丟棄工作成果,要從中吸取教訓,找出出錯的地方並分析原因。

第二:不要顯示設計師的意圖

爲玩家創造更多的有機體驗。確保玩家無法看穿你意圖創建的體驗,確保他們沉迷於遊戲之中,以至於看不到框架的運作方式。《Journey(風之旅人)》在這方面做得非常出色。當你穿遊戲中的世界時,感覺無比廣闊,遊戲界面不會彈出“您已偏離路線”之類的提示。似乎無需刻意地嘗試就能去到你需要去的地方。溫和的引導和路標使得遊戲體驗成爲一種樂趣。在關卡設計中,真正精湛的結構會對成功起到很大的作用,並且有助於保持沉浸感。

多數玩家玩遊戲的原因都是希望能夠逃到一個新的世界,並在那裏玩兒得開心。這個世界需要感覺真實才能讓玩家保持沉浸感。如果玩家看到一羣敵人在任意的觸發條件下憑空產生,他們就會跳出這個世界。

敵人應該在受到某種刺激的時候出現,而不是根據設計師決定的特定條件憑空出現。掩蓋你設定的條件,讓遊戲世界感覺更真實,這樣的話玩家也會從優化中受益。在適當的時候引入變量來生成邏輯和條件,因此你需要測試所有可能出現的結局。如果你自己沒時間做這個,就請有時間的人來幫你。對於這種帶有開放性世界的遊戲,你需要測試所有可能發生的體驗。敵人莫名其妙出現的情況通常很有可能把玩家從沉浸感中拉出來。

在《Killzone 2》裏,敵人出現的情形設計得非常出色,是我迄今爲止見過最好的。你可以看到敵人從殘骸和碎石中爬出來,最終進入遊戲場地。關卡設計師創建了一個外圍,並確保它在玩家接觸範圍之外,所以看起來不容易接近。在保持沉浸感的同時,它也會讓玩家產生恐懼。

第三:讓各個機制以有意義的方式相互作用

如果你創造出一個無法與環境、敵人或其他機制產生多種相互作用的機制,那麼它就無法給人留下深刻的印象,人們很有可能將它遺忘掉。圍繞一個主要的機制來設計任務和衝突,並引導你的玩家去探索這個機制的多樣性。

這並不意味着建立一個以不同方式進行交互的複雜機制。遊戲機制不用搞得那麼複雜,只是在互動方式上要有所創新。允許玩家用新的、令人興奮的方式來使用同一個機制。改變這個機制運作的方式,顛覆玩家的期望,然後要求他們適應這個改變。

Naughty Dog的《The Last Of Us》就是一個典型的例子。該作中的推車可以在遊戲的過程中以不同的方式使用。當你認爲你已經掌握了它的用法時,Naughty Dog又引入一個新的變量來挑戰你,顛覆你的期望,要求你用同一輛推車來解決一個新的難題。

讓玩家們更深入地瞭解一個機制,讓他們覺得自己很聰明——可以再次用同樣的機制來做一些新的、令人興奮的事情。在《狙擊精英 3》中,我們使用火石和易燃物來分散敵人的注意力,引誘他們去調查煙霧,從而找到在黑暗中隱藏着的敵人。而且如果扔到的位置碰巧有炸藥,這些炸藥就會被引爆。再者,如果你把它扔到發紅的油桶或彈藥堆旁邊,也會引發爆炸。

簡而言之,一個機制應該有多種玩法。給玩家一個機會來掌握一個東西,讓他們感覺自己很聰明,並引導他們去探索這個東西的其他用途。

第四:問自己,玩家的能力在什麼水平?

這是一個非常重要的問題。你必須要清楚的知道當玩家上手遊戲的時候,你希望他們是什麼級別的玩家,這就是遊戲中最後的任務了嗎?我們還能不能繼續增加難度?DLC的內容能不能留住老玩家,或者是吸引新的潛在玩家?你是否應該警告打算玩DLC的玩家,這些內容要求你有在主遊戲玩過的經驗?需要到達中級的時候纔可以玩DLC,還是它只是漫長教程中的一部分?確保你的內容不會令人沮喪或覺得太有挑戰性。讓新手們來玩這個功能,跟蹤他們遊戲的過程並且做筆記。開發人員通常都無法客觀地評估自己的作品。你需要和很多新玩家一起回顧,找到你的真實感悟,從而發現所有你可能從未想過的選擇。

第五:界定支柱

這是一個非常有效的方法,能讓你保持“在軌道上”。偏離軌道的意思是,在遊戲開發的過程中分心或迷失方向。你應該設定遊戲支柱,它們可以推動所有研發的基礎。你也應該建立部門支柱,它們能夠驅動不同的部門,比如UI或美術設計。這些支柱可能會根據部門的不同而存在差異,但它們最終應該都反饋到遊戲的主要支柱。

大多數開發者會將遊戲支柱當做指南使用,以避免偏離軌道或迷失方向。你甚至可以設定任務支柱和任務目標,界定任務支柱會讓你將主要精力保持在優先事項上。如果你遊戲的核心支柱是跳舞,任務支柱可能是曼波舞——但是如果你的任務中出現擊劍,那你就嚴重偏離軌道了! 儘可能頻繁地回到你的遊戲支柱和任務支柱上,以驅動可靠的迭代和決策。

通常一旦迭代開始,這些支柱就很容易被忽略。如果你已經偏離了軌道,但內容是有趣的,問問自己是否需要爲任務界定新的支柱。思考之前的支柱出了什麼問題,並討論設計偏離的原因。把這些經驗和教訓都找出並記下來,以後不要再犯同樣的錯誤。“樂趣”會推動遊戲體驗,所以保持靈活變通也沒什麼不好。

第六:傾聽

傾聽你的社區,你的玩家,你的老闆,等所有對遊戲有話要說的人。所有的意見都是有用的。不用把全部的建議都加到遊戲裏,但必要的時候可以大膽地挑戰別人的設計。如果有人詢問設計方面的問題,設計邏輯會因爲得到額外的關注而受益。

如果你正在製作續作,確保你在原作的反饋基礎上做一個回顧表格,並與社區保持聯繫。基本上就是跟蹤所有的評論,將它們進行統計——被多次提到的關鍵問題,人們喜歡/不喜歡的特性,然後回顧統計出的結果。

如果有26個人讚揚你的關卡設計,並且沒有任何負面評論,那麼這個方程式就是成功的。如果有10個人抱怨你的AI,那麼你就需要對它進行復審和優化。如果沒有人提到UI,那麼它應該沒什麼問題。反覆審查評論統計中被多次強調的觀點,因爲關鍵領域的負面反饋是值得參考的。

讓社區感覺他們提出的關鍵問題得到了開發者的重視,這點非常重要,因爲他們會形成遊戲受衆的核心部分。確保你的社區知道你有在聽他們的反饋,並且與他們公開對話,這樣的話他們就會了解你做決策的原因。

第七: 集中注意力

說起來容易做起來難。每個人都想打造一款偉大的遊戲;發行商們想要有大量的好內容來大肆宣傳;開發團隊想要一個充滿多樣性內容的全脂遊戲。然而,你所做的每一個功能、特性、機制或模式,都有可能淡化你對重要事情的注意力,剝奪核心遊戲的優化時間。

參考你界定的支柱,找出對IP和遊戲而言最重要的東西。將資源圍繞最重要的特性聚集,如果資源分佈得太稀薄就趕快調整。

無論你的團隊有多棒,一旦團隊的精力被分得太散,很多特性做出來的效果就會變得普普通通,然後你就會想要把所有特性的質量都提高,在這個過程中很有可能把人們的耐心磨光。就跟領導一次性給員工分配太多的工作一個道理。讓他們專注並出色地完成一件事,然後再做下一件事。一次性在盤子上堆放太多東西的結果就是所有東西做出來都只有一般般的質量。

謝謝你花時間看完了這篇文章,我希望上述的東西能夠對你有所幫助。

PS:我所提到的東西並不是針對所有類型的遊戲,個別觀點針對的是特定類型的遊戲,希望你瞭解這點。

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

In development, there are a lot of things that you wish were front facing from the get go. Key’s that could avoid pitfalls and help you had you known earlier. Here I seek to offer some of the keys to solid design. 7 in fact.

1. Fail early or not at all. – There is a lot of buzz around “fail early and fail often”. This is certainly more viable when you have lots of time and money and want to make the perfect product. Supercell can delve deeper into that for you here.

For most developers, this simply isn’t possible. Time and resource get in the way. I prefer fail early or not at all. You can do this by chewing into the logic of something with a trusted design compadre before you run off to tools. Explore the logic in paper/doc form first. From that initial vetted brief – get it in game – prototype it. Fail it early and move on, or, dedicate time to it because it hits your core pillars for both the mission and the game.

Never underestimate the importance of a formal feature sign off with lots of people involved. Get as many stakeholders as possible to see your feature, understand it and challenge the design to improve it. If it’s fun and it hits your core pillars, sign it off! Iterate and polish. If it fails the sign off, then ask why and analyze it. Failing is also ok provided you have learned something and cant take that into your iteration of the next design. Don’t throw away work, learn from it. Discuss what went wrong and why.

2. Don’t show the designers hand – Don’t create experiences that show your hand as a designer. It’s almost never OK to do this (unless you are John Romero and realize your own head is in a level and exact revenge.)

Create a more organic experience for the player. Ensure players can’t see the experience you intended to create. Allow them to become so swept up in the gameplay they can’t see the frame work. Journey is utterly brilliant in this regard. You slide through the world and its feels absolutely vast. There is no warning you are “leaving the battlefield”. You always seem to end up exactly where you need to go without even trying. The effortless soft guiding and sign posting makes it a joy to play. The truly masterful composition in level design plays a large part in the success and helps maintain immersion.

Players are often playing games to have fun and escape to a new world. That world needs to feel real in order for players to maintain immersion. If a player literally sees a bunch of enemies spawn out of nowhere based on an arbitrary trigger condition, they will break out of that world.

Enemies should alert based on stimuli not a set conditions decided by the designer. Mask your conditions so the world feels believable and the player will benefit from that polish. Introduce variables to spawn logic and conditions where appropriate. Your spawn logic may not be appropriate if the player approaches from a new direction – make sure you are testing all possible outcomes. If you don’t have the time, enlist some help to. Games with large environments need testers to help you review all the possible experiences. Often the spawn conditions for enemies are a huge immersion breaker.

Killzone 2 had some of the best enemy spawning i’ve seen, even to this day. You could see the enemies clambering in over debris and rubble, eventually dropping down into the gameplay space to engage. The level designers created a fringe to allow for this and ensured it was outside the player metrics so didn’t look accessible. You’d glimpse the realistic spawning at the fringe of gameplay and it created dread in the player whilst maintaining immersion.

3. Allow mechanics to interplay with each other in meaningful ways – If you make a mechanic and it doesn’t have meaningful interplay with the environment, enemies, or other mechanics in more ways than one; chances are it may be quite forgettable. Design your missions and encounters around one solid mechanic and allow your players to discover the diversity of that mechanic.

This doesn’t mean make a complex mechanic that interacts in different ways. Try keep it the same but have the ways of interaction differ. Give players new and exciting ways to use just one thing. Subvert their expectations as it changes from what they expect, then ask the player to adapt.

Naughty Dog’s The Last Of Us is basically a seminar for unique world interaction. The trolley cart is used and adapted in so many ways through-out play. The second you think you have mastered it, Naughty Dog introduce a new variable to challenge you and subvert your expectations, requiring you to solve a new puzzle with the same trolley.

Let the players forge a greater understanding of a mechanic and feel clever having used it again for something new and exciting. In Sniper Elite 3 we used the flint and tinder to distract and lure enemies in to investigate the smoke. If you place dynamite in the same location, it will also ignite it. If you place it near a red barrel or stash of ammo, it will detonate it. Don’t even get me started on the mechanics interplay in Dishonored – It’s too vast to get into and there’s a host of videos discussing the systemic interplay of the mechanics. The rule remains the same though.

So put simply, don’t make it a one and done. Give your players a chance to master something and feel clever and empower them to explore other uses.

4. Ask what the expected player competency is – What is the player competency? This is a very important question. You need an understanding of the expected skill level for the players when they get to your content. Is it the last mission and we can challenge the player more? Is it DLC where you have a delicate balance to hit content for retentive players or potentially new players? Should you warn players for DLC that the content requires prior experience with the main game? Is it middle of the rung or part of a lengthy onboarding? Make sure you take a step back and get perspective of that skill level so the content isn’t frustrating or too challenging. Get ‘noobs in and test, shadow them as they play and write notes. Dev’s cannot objectively assess their own work most of the time. You become too close to it. You need to review with lots of new players to get your true insights and discover all the options you may never have imagined.

5. Create big and small pillars – Creating big and small pillars is a useful way of keeping yourself “on piste”. For non skiers – “off piste” is back country – filled with deep powder and crevasses – “on piste” is the main slope. Off piste is a place where you will get distracted or lost in both game dev and skiing terms. You should have game pillars – these drive the fundamentals of all your development. You should also have department pillars – these drive various departments like UI or Art direction. The pillars may differ from department to department but they should all feed back to the main game pillars.

Most devs will use game pillars like a guideline to stay on piste and keep from getting lost. Digging deeper, you can go all the way down to a mission pillar or a mission goal. Defining mission pillars allows content to hit the priorities for that mission. If your game has a core pillar of dance, the mission pillar might be the mambo – however If you have sword fencing in your mission you have gone off piste! Fall back to your game pillars and mission pillars as often as possible to drive solid iteration and decision making.

Often once iterations occur it’s quite easy to lose track of the pillars. If your pillars no longer make sense but the content is fun, ask yourself if you need to define new pillars for the mission. Why has the experience metamophasised? What was wrong with the old pillars and discuss why the design moved away. Take those learnings forward so you don’t make the same mistakes again. What is ultimately “fun” will drive the experience forward so don’t be afraid to stay agile.

6. Listen – Listen to your community, your players, your bosses – everyone has ownership and buy in and also opinions. No opinion is invalid. Don’t crowd source design, but don’t be afraid to challenge other people’s designs. If people ask questions of the design, the design logic will benefit through extra attention being paid to the caveats.

If you are making a sequel, make sure you do a review matrix based on feedback from the first game and stay in contact with your community. Essentially track all the reviews and do a count on key issues,likes and dislikes then review the amount in any category.

If you have 26 different reviewers raving about your level design an no negative comments, then your formula is working. If you have 10 people blasting your AI, it will need review and polish. If your UI isn’t even mentioned, it’s probably fine. Hit anything hard that highlights in your review matrix multiple times as it’s likely negative feedback on key areas is worth addressing.

It’s so important to ensure the community feel like their key concerns are addressed as they will forge a core part of your audience. It needs to feel like an inclusive process. Ensure the community know you are listening and open a dialogue so they can also know why your decisions are being made.

7. Focus – Focus is easier said than done. Everyone wants to make a great game. Publishers want an abundance of content to rave about. The team want a full fat game with diversity of content. However, every feature, mechanic or mode you make, has the potential to dilute the focus on what is most important and strip away polish time from your core gameplay.

Reference your pillars and look at what is important to the IP and your game. Keep your resource focused around your most important features and scope/claw back bandwidth if it ever looks like you are spread too thin. Steven Masters delivers a great talk on keeping your game focused and hitting Feature Sign Offs with confidence.

No matter how good your team is or your process is, once a team is spread too thin, you will ultimately make a lot of features to an average quality and risk burning people out as you try to get everything to a high quality level. This goes for assigning staff too much at once. Let them focus and deliver well on one thing with excellence and then move onto the next. You you pile too much onto the plate at once and you’ll end up with a bunch of things done to a mediocre level.

Thanks for your time and I hope some of these keys benefit you as a developer. Please feel free to comment any feedback or add further “keys” in comments.

*I’d caveat this article by saying that not all this information will be relevant to all types of games particularly where I reference spawn logic, enemies or even maintaining immersion. For instance presense may be more important, particularly in VR! It’s merely a guide for general development to help up and coming designers or veterans wishing to verify their own process.

Special thanks to Steven Masters and Mateusz Piaskiewicz for the reference.

All Images are from Zelda 2 The Adventure of Link(Source: gamecareerguide.com  )