來自東京遊戲展上的5大遊戲設計經驗教訓

作者:Brandon Sheffield

不久前我剛在東京遊戲展上首次展示了我們即將發行的遊戲《Gunsport》。這是一次與西方消費者面對面進行的商展截然不同的體驗,但是在這裏與其他開發者進行交談卻是最有趣的體驗。在這裏我與那些經過我們展臺並想要嘗試遊戲的人進行了多次長短不一的交談。

以下便是我從東京遊戲展上獲取的5大經驗教訓。

(讓我們先快速認識下《Gunsport》這款遊戲。這是一款2對2的電子競技般的行動遊戲,就像是帶着槍在打排球一樣。在每一支團隊中,有一個角色不能移動,但是每次攻擊能夠射擊兩次(即Keeper),另一個角色能夠移動並跳躍,但是每次攻擊卻只能射擊一次(即Striker)。不管何時當球在任何方向穿過網,玩家便能獲得分數。除此之外我們的控制方案也很特別—-左右觸發器能夠控制搶向上和向下移動以及發射次數。)

1.交流是關鍵。

日語並不是我的母語,所以自然的語言交流對我來說是個問題—-但是在遊戲中更多的是視覺和主題交流。有個玩家並不喜歡他在遊戲中所使用的角色跳躍。就像他說道:“她在空中待的時間太長了。她只是漂浮在空中而已。”對此我的迴應是:“在最終遊戲中我們會呈現出更棒的重力感,但我們還是希望她維持較長的懸空時間,如此她便能夠以更好的角度瞄準並射擊球。”玩家只是聳聳肩說道:“我只是不喜歡如此長時間的跳躍。我更習慣於行動遊戲中較快速的行動。”

之後我意識到,自己只是一直在想辦法跟他解釋爲什麼角色應該進行長時間的跳躍。所以我將另一支團隊所創造的其他角色呈現給他看,這個角色擁有非常快速的跳躍。結果他說道:“哇!原來每個角色都是不同的!我知道了!”如此問題辮解決了。

但最終它還是突出了一個現有的問題—-我們該如何讓人們在一開始便意識到每個角色都是不同的,而無需嘗試每一個角色也無需與我進行交談。《街頭霸王》的角色設計便很好地解決了這一問題,但是這時候我們卻並未擁有足夠的視覺交流。我們需要進一步完善視覺語言,同時也要教授玩家有關遊戲中的一些動詞。

2.做好測試的準備。

當我們在遊戲中設置兩支新團隊時,我們便需要去測試它們,因爲在展會前我們只有一個晚上的時間去執行它們。我不知道這兩支團隊是否準備好了,這是我們從程序員所給我們的驚喜!所以在經過一些快速的平衡調整後,我們嘗試着去測試它們。

我能做的便是記錄下不同隊伍間的對抗,但其實這是毫無價值的。當一組人玩了很長時間的遊戲時,我便會力勸他們嘗試全新團隊,如此我便可以在各種層面測試遊戲。

如此我獲得了很棒的數據,但如果我們擁有一些能夠獲取參數的工具,我便可以獲得更多硬數據,這也能夠提高我們在展會上的競爭力。

3.不要被讚美矇蔽了雙眼。

在活動上不時會出現像Tak Fujii這樣的人前來遊戲並提供他們的反饋。在第一天的某一時刻,Koji Igarashi(遊戲邦注:創造了《Castlevania)便來到了我們的展位。我留住了他並邀請他玩我們的遊戲。他之前玩過我們的其它遊戲(如《Oh,Deer!》),並給予了我們非常中立的迴應,如“不錯”,或者“這並不是我所擅長的遊戲。”

而《Gunsport》卻真正吸引了他的注意。他很快就玩得很好了,這讓我們非常欣慰(因爲大多數人至少要玩一兩次遊戲才能玩得好)。而他很快便摸清楚了遊戲並能夠獨自將自己的團隊帶向勝利。在遊戲過程中他不斷說着:“這真的很有趣,”並且他能夠不斷了解到一個新規則。最終他指着我們的遊戲說着:“這真的超級有趣啊!”

顯然聽到一個創造了我從高中起便一直玩的行動遊戲的人如此評價我們的行動遊戲會有多興奮。但當他離開時,我意識到不能因爲他的讚美而忘形。我們遠未完成遊戲,之所以會得到這樣的讚美只是因爲對方已經非常精通行動遊戲,而這並不能代表別人都和他一樣出色。這裏所存在的經驗教訓是,我們可以接受讚美,但卻不能被讚美衝昏了頭。

iga(from gamasutra)

iga(from gamasutra)

4.日本玩家很耐心。

這點很有趣。我們已經在美國,歐洲以及現在的亞洲展示過《Gunsport》,並且每個地方的用戶都是不同的。年輕的美國人,即主要是青少年似乎能夠較輕鬆地進入遊戲中。而如果有你的推動,那些較年長的玩家的話他們也會如此。

在所有的美國玩家中最常見的一點便是,他們不會聽取我的說明,他們總是認爲自己知道該怎麼做。這點有好有壞。首先這是測試你的遊戲是否能夠教授玩家如何遊戲(就像我們的遊戲就不能,這是個大問題)的一種好方法,但如果玩家未能識別出方法,他們便會因此受挫。這也是我經常注意到的情況—-當美國玩家不能馬上精通遊戲,或不能馬上“理解”遊戲,他們便會感到受挫與生氣。

但是日本玩家卻不同,如果他們不能馬上精通遊戲或理解遊戲,他們便會求助於進一步的指示並更努力地去嘗試。一般玩家會先嚐試一件事,如果發現它不可行的話便會取嘗試其它事並在此獲得成功。從整體看來日本玩家更有耐心,並更謹慎地在玩遊戲。他們很少會在遊戲的時候大聲尖叫歡呼,而是會更加專注於內容中。我注意到日本玩家按壓按鍵的次數少於其他玩家,因爲我曾告訴他們要節省射擊機會,所以他們會更加謹慎地移動。

雖然我不知道這一信息是否有幫助,但在我看來這卻是很有趣的區別。

5.一個硬幣的體驗。

在三天東京遊戲展的最後,《罪惡裝備》的戰鬥系統設計師與他的一些好友花了45分鐘玩了我們的《Gunsport》。雖然那時候也有其他人想嘗試遊戲,我還是讓他們先玩了,因爲我認爲這能爲我們創造不錯的數據—-就像之前我說過的,我一直在測試一些新團隊的平衡,而這些人能夠幫到我。

他所處的團隊中擁有一個最難控制的角色,因爲它能夠通過第二次按壓按鍵遠程引爆子彈。在他玩完遊戲後我們與其進行了交談,並且我提到我們想要將這款遊戲帶向街機平臺。

他說道:“如果你這麼做,你便需要致力於100日元(即一枚硬幣)體驗中。”我表示認同,他也做出了更詳細的解釋:“你們已經創造出了一款有趣的遊戲,特別是在玩了三次遊戲後。但在那之前你們都不知道自己在做些什麼。而在街機平臺上,你便能從玩家的100日元中獲得一次機會。即玩家需要先投入硬幣,瞭解自己在做什麼,然後遊戲並從中獲得樂趣。而所有的這一切都是發生在一個硬幣內。如果你不能讓他們這麼做的話他們便會受挫並不再玩你的遊戲。”

我知道我們需要致力於視覺反饋並讓玩家自然地瞭解到自己在做什麼,但這真的很難。我們擁有一個遲鈍的控制方案,除非我們能將人們帶到遊戲中並馬上讓他們感受到樂趣,否則他們便會直接關掉遊戲。爲此我們還有很多工作要做,而能夠聽取一些已經在街機領域獲得成功的人的觀點確實對我們有很大幫助。

額外補充:

還有一個玩家在玩了45分鐘的遊戲後提供了許多反饋,但是因爲他說得太快了我未能全部將其記下來。不過我記到的一點是他認爲《Gunsport》是一款優秀的“waiwai遊戲”。而這是我之前從未聽過的詞。“Wai”是表示幸福感的一種擬聲詞,不過我不確定它具體表示什麼。他說道:“你知道嗎,這真的是一款waiwai遊戲!”說話的同時他還舉起了雙手。不過我仍然不能準確理解他的意思。他繼續說道:“這就像是你在一天辛苦工作後能夠和一羣朋友一起喝啤酒並遊戲。所以這是一款waiwai遊戲!”

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

5 game design lessons from the Tokyo Game Show

by Brandon Sheffield

I recently got back from demoing our upcoming game Gunsport at the Tokyo Game Show. It was definitely a different experience from Western consumer-facing tradeshows, but talking to other developers was perhaps the most interesting part of the experience. I got to have a lot of conversations, some short, some long, with Japanese developers who wandered by to play the game.

Here are 5 takeaways, either on game design, or being a game designer, that I gleaned from being at the Tokyo Game Show.

(A quick primer on our game Gunsport for those who haven’t played it – it’s a 2v2 esports-ish action game, rather like volleyball with guns. On each team, one character doesn’t move, and can fire twice per volley (the Keeper), and one character does move and jump, but can only fire once per volley (the Striker). Whenever the ball crosses the net in either direction, it’s worth additional points. Also, our control scheme is rather different – left trigger and right trigger aim your gun up and down, and X fires. This is worth knowing as you read, because this is what we had to communicate to players as they went through the game – rather a lot. Now on to the lessons.)

1) Communication is everything.

Japanese is not my first language, so naturally verbal communication was at times an issue – but so too was visual and thematic communication within the game. One player in particular just didn’t like the jump of the character he was using. “She’s up in the air too long,” he said. “She’s just floating.” To which I replied, “Well, we’ll have a nicer feel to the gravity in the final game, but ultimately we want her to have serious hangtime, so she can aim and shoot to get a better angle on the ball.” “I just don’t like that long jump,” he shrugged, adding “I’m used to quicker ones in action games.”

Then I had the realization – I’d been trying to explain to him why this character should have a long jump, when instead I should’ve retargeted. I showed him another character from another team, who has a very quick and snappy jump. “Oh!” he said. “Every character is different! I get it!” And the problem was solved.

But ultimately it highlighted an existing problem – how can we get people to realize that every character will be different, right from the start, without having to try every character out, or have a conversation with me? Street Fighter does this with character design, and we’ve tried there, but it isn’t enough visual communication. We need to improve our visual language, but also our educate people about our verbs in general.

2) Be ready to test.

We had two new teams in the game, and we needed to test them, because they’d only been implemented the night before the show. I had no idea the teams would be ready, but our programmer surprised us and pulled through! So after some quick, blind balance attempts, we tried to test them out.

All I could really do was take notes about which team beat which, on a piece of paper, but this was ultimately invaluable. When one group played for a really long time, I’d urge them to try the new teams, so I could test this at a varied level of play.

So I got great data, but if we’d had some actual metrics-mining tools, I could’ve gotten a lot more hard data, and that would’ve been great to compare across shows.

3) Praise can fool you.

At various points during the event, pals like Tak Fujii came by to play the game and give their feedback. At one point during the first day, Koji Igarashi (of Castlevania fame) wandered by. I grabbed him and asked him to play. Now, he’s played games of ours before (like Oh, Deer! Alpha), and he gave a pretty neutral response. “It’s okay,” he’d say, or “It’s not really my kind of thing.”

Gunsport, on the other hand, actually engaged him. He was good at it right away, first of all, which is already nice to see (most people take a game or two to get decent). He got the nuance of the game very quickly, and was able to bring his team to victory almost singlehandedly. He kept saying “this is interesting,” as he was playing, or every time he learned a new rule. At the end, he pointed at the game and said “this is super fun.”

Obviously this felt great to hear about our action game, coming from someone whose action games I’ve been playing since highschool. But as soon as he left, I realized that I couldn’t let this praise make us complacent. We’re far from done, and just because someone who is already very good at action games can get good at it doesn’t mean others will figure out how to get there. The lesson here was, take the praise, but don’t let it get to your head, as I almost did.

4) Japanese players are patient.

This was an interesting one. We’ve demoed Gunsport all around the US, Europe, and now Asia, and each audience seems to be quite different. Younger Americans, mostly tweens, seem to really get into it. So do older folks once they’re forced to play it (and you do have to force them). Your 18-25 year old Call of Duty player has a lot more criticisms.

But one thing was common among all American players – they didn’t listen to my instructions, assumed they could figure it out, and just went for it. This is good and bad. It’s a great way to test out whether your game teaches people how to play (ours really doesn’t, which is a problem), but if they don’t figure it out, they can get really frustrated. And that’s something I noticed a lot – when American players weren’t good at the game right away, or didn’t “get” it right away, they got frustrated and mad at the game.

Japanese players, on the other and, if they weren’t good at it, or didn’t get it right away, they’d ask for further instructions and then try harder. The average player would try one thing, find it not working, then try something else and succeed. There was so much more patience on the whole, and much more measured play. Less screaming and yelling with excitement (though there was some of that), but much more precision. I noticed far fewer button presses than the average, because players were economizing their movements, the way I’d told them to economize their shots.

I don’t know of what use this information is just yet, but it certainly was interesting.

5) The 1 coin experience.

At the end of the third day of TGS, a Guilty Gear battle systems designer played Gunsport for about 45 minutes with some friends of his (I unfortunately neglected to find out whether they were in the industry as well). I let them play even as others wanted to get in, simply because this was good data – I was currently testing out the balance of some new teams, as mentioned before, and these folks were doing great work in that regard.

He was on the team which has the most difficult character to play, because it can detonate its bullets remotely with a second button press. After he played, we talked for a while, and I mentioned I’d like to bring the game to arcades some day.

He said, “If you do, you’re going to have to work on that 100 yen, one coin experience.” I agreed, and he elaborated. “You’ve got a fun game here, after you’ve played it about three times. But up until then you don’t know really what you’re doing. In the arcades, you’ve got one shot at that player’s 100 yen. The player has to be able to put the coin in, understand what they’re doing, play, and have fun, all within that one coin. If they don’t, they’ll be frustrated and they won’t play again.”

I knew we needed to work on visual feedback and letting players know what to do naturally, but this really hit it home for me. We have a rather obtuse control scheme, and unless we can get people in, playing, and having fun right away, they’re going to be turned off. There’s much more work to be done here, but hearing it from someone working on something that actually is successful in arcades made it all the more striking.

BONUS LESSON:

One of the other players of that 45 minute game had a whole lot of feedback, but he spoke a mile a minute so I couldn’t make it all out. (here’s a bit of video of them playing) One thing I did catch from his feedback was that Gunsport was a great “waiwai game.” I had never heard this term before. “Wai” is an onomatopoeia for an exclamation of happiness, but I wasn’t sure how it related. He said, “you know, a waiwai game!” and raised his hands up in the air. I still didn’t get it. He said, “Okay, it’s the kind of game where you get a bunch of friends around, get a few beers after work, and play over and over while screaming at each other. A waiwai game!”

So that’s a new term I’m putting it on the proverbial box. Gunsport: waiwai game.(source:Gamasutra