如何測試像《賽車計劃2 (Project Cars 2)》這樣的遊戲?

原作者:Sean Cleaver 譯者:Willow Wu

即使你會開車,那你知道要如何測試一個賽車電子遊戲來保證它的真實度與精確度嗎?Sean Cleaver採訪了Slightly Mad Studios的Stephen Viljoen和 Rod Chong,談談他們是如何面對這種壓力,讓世界上最貴的汽車到逼真、精確的效果。

跟大多數遊戲相比,《賽車計劃2》的測試過程是非常與衆不同的。當然,也有一些很常見的遊戲測試項目——比如bugs、小故障、畫面問題、內存泄漏等等,但是對於模擬類遊戲來說,你測試的目的不僅僅是讓遊戲順利運行,還有讓遊戲變得逼真。

 Project Cars 2(from develop online)

Project Cars 2(from develop online)

如果有人說QA測試人員對於塑造模擬比賽是不可或缺的,那麼這確實是大實話。Stephen Viljoen說“從一開始就有很多工作要做,”他是Slightly Mad Studios《賽車計劃2》的開發總監。“我們要測試的並不是遊戲體驗,而是測試遊戲背後的技術問題。”

《賽車計劃2》使用的遊戲引擎是in-house engine,測試不僅僅是爲了車或者是賽道。測試員們要對各種細節有過詳細瞭解才能確保遊戲的高質量。“技術問題必須要在某個特定的場景中單獨測試(比如說賽道),而且每個場景都需要測試。各種細節問題都不盡相同,需要一一解決。

“舉個簡單的例子,觀衆的着裝首先是根據天氣狀況,然後是根據季節,然後纔是年代,QA人員必須要注意到這些問題。從我們的角度來說,我這邊的團隊工作是遊戲設計,制定各種細節,必須要確保我們交給QA人員的文件足夠精確、詳盡,這樣他們才明白要測試哪些地方。接下來QA人員就得把目光聚焦在那些小細節上。這在其它遊戲或者是模擬應用中是很少見的。”

還有一個例子就是遊戲中的後勤維修團隊。《賽車計劃2》是一部續集遊戲,有些前作的東西可以在測試過程中起到幫助作用,但是其它的,比如說後勤維修團隊和維修站,我們不僅重新設計、製作動畫,而且還要確保他們符合所在方程式比賽規則,還有就是符合他們的年代。

“如果你駕駛的是1970年代的賽車,那麼當你進入維修站時你就會看到維修人員都穿着那個年代的服裝。我們不能就假定QA知道這些吧?不能期待他們什麼都知道。這就是一般QA人員不知道的一種細節。但這是遊戲提高擬真程度所需的衆多重要細節之一。

測試真實度

你可能覺得既然測試和保證遊戲質量是《賽車計劃2》最關鍵的工作,那麼QA這個詞用得不太準確。 “我不知道我們會不會稱其爲QA,”首席商務官Rod Chong說道,“但是這個工作中必定包含着一個反饋的過程,我們會和車手們以及那些聚焦於真實度的專業人士共同工作。每輛車我們都要審視,然後問自己:‘它聽起來像不像一輛真實的車?這樣對不對?操作起來是不是很真實?我們有沒有掌握賽車的精髓?’

“就比如說保時捷911,它的發動機是後置的,具有特殊的操縱性能和駕駛方式。我們需要根據反饋進行多次修改,儘量提高遊戲的真實度,這是我們平常一直在做的事。”

《賽車計劃2》之所以能夠這麼逼真,原因之一就要歸功那些真實車手,他們幫助開發人員更準確地調整賽車的各種細節。Slightly Mad Studios目前有7位全職車手參與遊戲製作。比如說特技車手、同時也曾是Top Gear的Stig扮演者Ben Collins,還有前房車賽車手Nicholas Hamilton,兩個人都對遊戲有着巨大的貢獻。

“我們和Stefan Johansson開了兩次會議,他是1980年代的F1賽車手,從1970年代至今駕駛過各種不同類型的賽車。”所以我們和他討論了他的賽車生涯,瞭解他在哪個年代用什麼車比賽。然後他試了7、8輛不同的車,我們進行測試,收集到了相當多的反饋信息。

“有幾次他在開車時說:‘你們搞錯了。’就比如保時捷962C那次。他開着開着就說‘不,感覺不對,後傾角沒調好。’他說,‘把後傾角設置成XX度,回去修改一下。’所以我們把角度給改了。”

儘管過了這麼長時間,車手還是可以清楚地記得賽車的感覺,真是不可思議。更讓人難以置信的是一個電子遊戲竟然可以記錄下這種專業的精確感,呈獻給現實中的賽車手們。這麼做不僅僅是向玩家證明了遊戲的物理設定準確,遊戲控制器(比如方向盤)有所提升,還體現了測試人員的敬業精神以及Slightly Mad Studios對質量的把關。“現在的模擬技術已經到了十分精湛的水平,你甚至可以感受到所有正在發生的事情,”Rod Chong說。

你可以感覺到輪胎、懸吊幾何的作用,你真的可以感覺到車子有了哪些改變。對於技術精湛的玩家,就像那些賽車手,他們玩虛擬賽車就知道哪些地方不對勁,需要改動,然後列出個清單給程序員。接着他們就可以繼續改進物理設計,調整賽車屬性。”

要做這個時代背景下的賽車遊戲,開發者們可以從汽車製造商那邊獲取到很多信息,這在以前是做不到的。涉及到老式賽車部分的就比較棘手了。“當你開現代車時,它們大部分是在測試軌道或者是賽道上,”Chong說。“它們會保持在同一軌道上,我們只需要設定以毫米爲單位,激光掃描之後就可以開始跟蹤數據,記錄下車子跑一圈的完整情況。

“但如果是老式車,有些可能是20多年來都沒人開過的車……你絕對不想要你的遊戲設計師只能無奈地坐在桌子前,想着‘法拉利啊,我該怎麼做?’他們甚至還用滑動器增加賽車的其他一些屬性,比如過度轉向、最高速度、咬地過彎、下壓力等等。這對於我們來說是無法接受的。我們必須把汽車從裏到外的狀況都模擬出來,這也是我們一直在做的事。這就是我們的出發點。”

“我們有這麼豐富、龐大數據資源,”Viljoen總結道,“但是怎麼才能把這些數據在模擬遊戲中調整得那麼精準,那就是我們的獨家祕訣了。”.

本文由遊戲邦編譯,轉載請註明來源,或諮詢微信zhengjintiao

Even if you know how a car drives, would you know what to test to make sure a videogame captured it accurately? Sean Cleaver speaks to Slightly Mad Studios’ Stephen Viljoen and Rod Chong about how Project Cars 2 ‘handles’ the pressure of getting the worlds most exclusive vehicles accurate

Testing a game like Project Cars 2 is an unusual process compared to most. Of course, there are some things that will always be familiar in games testing – bugs, glitches, graphical issues, memory leaks, etc. But with a simulation you aren’t just testing to make sure it works, you’re also testing to make sure it’s as realistic as possible.

In fact, it’s fair to say that QA and testing are inherent in building a racing simulation. “There’s so much of it right from the get-go,” says Stephen Viljoen, game director for Project Cars 2 developer, Slightly Mad Studios. “Instead of ‘QA’ing’ a gameplay experience you have to QA the technology behind it.”

Project Cars 2 is built using an in-house engine and testing isn’t just reserved for the cars or the track. A lot of that detail has to be known by the testers before they can make sure that the quality of the game is accurate. “The technology has to be tested independently of the specific environment (like a track) and it has to be tested per environment as well. There is so much detail that falls out of the level of detail assimilation.

“The simple example is our spectators are dressed based on the weather, based on the seasons and then based on the era, and QA has got to pay attention to that. From our perspective, with my team working on the game design and specifying all that detail, we’ve got to make sure that the documentation that we handed over to QA is thorough enough that they know what to check for. Then the QA team has to pay attention to all of those little details. It’s not something that you typically find in many games or simulations.”

(L-R) Rod Chong and Stephen Viljoen

Another example of this is the pit crew in the game. With Project Cars 2 being a sequel, there are already some things in place that will help testing but the others, like pit crews and pit stops, have not only been entirely redesigned and animated, but they have to be accurate to the rules of the racing formula they are in, but also the era that they come from.

“If you go and do a pit stop while in the 1970s cars, the pit crew will be dressed like they would have been in that era. We can’t assume QA would know that, right? We can’t expect them to know that. It’s just a level of detail that a general QA team simply wouldn’t know. But that is one of many very important details that recreates the real world as close as possible.”

TESTING REALITY

You could argue that because testing and quality is so inherent to the makeup of Project Cars 2 that QA probably isn’t the right phrase. “I don’t know if we would call it QA,” says chief commercial officer Rod Chong. “But there’s certainly a feedback process that we go through with the drivers or with people that are focused on authenticity. We have to look at each car and ask ourselves the question: ‘Does it sound like the real car? Did we capture the car or is it wrong? Does it handle like the real thing? Have we captured the essence of the car?’

“Like a Porsche 911 for example, with a rear engine, has some very particular handling characteristics and ways that you drive it which are quite unusual. We have to always be going through these feedback processes to try and strive for realism and authenticity and that’s a continuous process.”

One of the ways that Project Cars 2 has achieved the realism it has in the handling of the cars is thanks to the input of real drivers. Slightly Mad Studios currently has seven full-time drivers working on the game. Names such as stunt driver and former Top Gear ‘Stig’, Ben Collins, and former touring car driver Nicholas Hamilton have contributed heavily.

“We did two physics sessions with Stefan Johansson who was a Formula 1 driver in the 1980s, but he’s raced a wide variety of cars from the 1970s to the present day. So we spoke to him about his racing career and understood what cars he raced in what eras. Then we did tests where he drove about seven or eight different cars, all stuff that he’s driven and he gave us a lot of feedback.

“There were a couple instances where he drove a car and he said, ‘you’ve got this wrong.’ Like the Porsche 962C. He drove it and he said, ‘no this doesn’t feel right. You’ve got caster wrong.’ He said, ‘we ran this amount of degrees caster angle on it. Go back. Fix it.’ So we changed it.”

It is incredible that regardless of time, a driver can recall exactly how a car feels from memory. It’s even more incredible that a video game can capture that and present it to the driver authentically. It’s a testament, not only to physics or the improvement in game controllers like steering wheels but also to the dedication to testing and quality from Slightly Mad Studios. “The level of simulation now is so sophisticated that you can actually feel everything that’s happening,” says Rod Chong.

“You can feel the tyres, you can feel the suspension geometry and you can really sense what’s happening with the car now. For people that are highly technical, like these racing drivers, they can drive the car in the simulation and then know what has to change and give a list to the programmers. Then they can continue to evolve the physics and the handling characteristics of the cars.”

VINTAGE GARAGE

Racing games in this era of game development get more from car manufacturers than ever before, but historic racing is a much more difficult prospect. “When you have the modern cars, most of them have driven on test tracks or on race tracks,” says Chong. “They could be the same tracks and so we had laser scanned millimetre perfect versions of those, so we can get a data trace of the car going around a circuit.

“But when it comes to things like the older cars, some of which may not have been driven 20 years… What you don’t want to do is have a game designer, sitting at their desk thinking ‘Oh okay, Ferrari. How should that handle?’ And they’ve got some sliders to add oversteer, top speed, grip, downforce, etc. For us, this is unacceptable. We have to simulate whole aspects of the car, and that’s what we did. That’s the starting point.”

“We have this vast resource of data available,” concludes Viljoen. “But how you get that to the point where it’s accurately representing in the simulation, that’s the secret sauce.”(source:develop online