從匹配用戶的行爲狀態談遊戲的設計模式

從匹配用戶的行爲狀態談遊戲的設計模式

原作者:Isaac Shalev 譯者:Willow Wu

每個遊戲都應該以這樣或那樣的方式來測試玩家的技能,這樣你纔有出發點,不會做出無意義的決策。遊戲中經常考驗的技能包括預估可能性、計算區間值、轉換遊戲中的貨幣(比如金錢、商品和勝利點數)以及在各種不同的場景中運用空間推理。

我感覺如今的設計模式有些不同以往了,有些遊戲是圍繞着另一個領域的知識而設計。講一下題外話:有種模型被稱爲ASK模型,意在嘗試改變一個人的工作行爲,它的核心思維是行爲可以被態度(Attitude)、技能(Skill)以及知識(Knowledge)所控制。要改變人的行爲,你至少要針對其中的一個方面進行改造,但通常是三個方面都要抓。我提到這個是想更清楚地表達技能和知識的不同。有一種說法是技能是準確執行任務的能力,而知識告訴你是哪個任務是應該去執行的,但我認爲這樣會變得太過依賴於知識,把知識當策略使,而不是信息素材,我聚焦的是後者。

Minercraft pocket edition(from paulor.net)

Minercraft pocket edition(from paulor.net)

在很多遊戲中,知識只佔了少部分。遊戲中大概會有卡片、特殊事件這些受歡迎的元素,從本質上來說,玩家所需具備知識就是遊戲規則。如果你懂規則的話,那就能順利玩起來了,接下來就是看誰玩得最好。然而,還有很多遊戲的設計理念是遊戲之外的知識可以幫助你贏得勝利。

知識問答類遊戲就是完全依照這種模式設計的,就比如Timeline和Trivial Pursuit。還有更巧妙的遊戲比如說Codenames、Taboo和Dixit,它們要求玩家對遊戲中沒有的東西進行聯想。雖說在不學習、不拓展知識面的情況下你很難提高純知識問答類遊戲的技能,但是聯想類遊戲不一樣,隨着玩家之間建立越來越多的共同聯想和通用語言,玩家的進步空間會變得更大。

Scrabble還有其它拼字遊戲也採用了這種設計模式。詞彙量大的玩家能在Wordsy and Boggle中獲得高分,熟悉字母頻率的玩家能在Paperback中玩得得心應手。

有些歷史類遊戲和IP遊戲也採取了這種側重於考驗知識儲備的設計模式,比如說,1960:The Making of the President,不熟悉南方戰略的玩家可能會高估肯尼迪在南方的勢力,按照自己的意願分配資源,但是遊戲本身是傾向於複製歷史,因此這類玩家可能會玩的比較辛苦。類似地,如果玩家瞭解《沙丘》的故事,那麼他們在一開始就能有效地利用派系和權力。

這種設計模式對遊戲團隊來說是一個非常艱鉅的挑戰。玩家可能會因爲遊戲過於依賴知識儲備而感到失望。玩家一般不會排斥遊戲本身的挑戰性,他們可以接受不同的技術水平會對遊戲的結局產生不一樣的影響,但涉及到單純的知識面差距就會打擊玩遊戲的慾望了。

也許這就能在一定程度上解釋爲什麼教育類、歷史類遊戲很難成爲受玩家歡迎的好遊戲,它們的設計難度太大了。如果你已經確切知道了怎麼做才能贏,那麼從設計的角度上來說,這遊戲其實是有問題的。因爲它只是跟玩家解釋了爲什麼“這個”策略可以贏,卻沒有給玩家探索策略或比拼技能的機會。歷史戰爭類遊戲,還有其它以戰爭爲主題的遊戲就會經常遇到這樣的問題。模擬類遊戲通常都會把注意力放在那些勢均力敵的戰鬥上,這樣他們會有更多精力提高遊戲的擬真度,遊戲的競爭機制也不會讓玩家覺得無趣。戰爭類遊戲的自由度會更高一點,舉個例子:在Memoir ’44中,軍隊計劃要從諾曼底向柏林出發,但在軍隊的部署上玩家還是有一定的自由。

除此之外,設計師們在設計IP類遊戲時也要格外注意。對於那些熟悉原著的鐵桿粉絲來說,如果原著中應用的策略在遊戲中得不到成效,或者是關鍵角色沒有突出特點/能力一般,那麼這個遊戲不會得到他們的好評。從另一方面來說,也就是那些不怎麼熟悉原著的玩家,如果原著中那些費解的策略在他們看很牽強,然而它們卻在遊戲中變得很有效,那麼這些玩家就會覺得設計師偷懶,遊戲讓人失望。最好的做法是把IP遊戲打造成一個相當完整、逼真的世界,而不是一板一眼照着原著做遊戲。

我認爲,我們可以從像Candyland這樣的遊戲中學習到很重要的東西,因爲這些遊戲教會了我核心玩法的重要性,以及如何通過核心玩法來將玩家帶入遊戲文化中。最終,我們不能做出一款讓玩家處處受限的遊戲。遊戲也是我們文化的組成部分,這是我們應該承認的,也是設計時應該多加註意的。

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Every game should tests players’ skills in one way or another, or else it doesn’t have meaningful decisions baked into it. Skills that are common to many games include being able to gauge probabilities and calculate expected values, to be able to convert in-game currencies like money, goods and victory points, and to be able to use spatial reasoning in a variety of settings.

All of this feels somehow different to me from today’s design pattern, which is the idea that the game is actually built on knowledge from a different domain. A brief digression. One model for trying to change a person’s behavior at their job is the ASK model: behavior is controlled by Attitude, Skills, and Knowledge. To change how people act, you need to move the needle on at least one, and often all three of these things. I bring this up to sharpen the distinction between skills and knowledge. One way to think of it is that skill is the ability to accurately execute that task which knowledge told you is the right one to execute, but I think that approach focuses too much on knowledge as strategy, rather than knowledge as information, and it’s really the latter that I’m focused on.

In many games there isn’t much role for knowledge. There may be some cards, or special events that are good to know, but in essence, knowledge is the rules. If you know the rules, you can play. The question now is who can operate the machinery best, who is most skilled at driving the game engine. Yet, there are a number of games that insist that knowledge from outside the game will help you win the game.

The entire genre of trivia games is born out of this design pattern. Games like Timeline and Trivial pursuit fall squarely in this category. More subtly, games like Codenames, Taboo and Dixit, which call upon players to make associations to things not in the game, also feature this design pattern. While straight trivia games are difficult to improve at without actually studying and learning more facts, association games tend to offer more room for improvement as players construct more shared associations and common languages.

Scrabble and other language games are another place to find this design pattern. Having a rich vocabulary will help you score well in Wordsy and Boggle, and knowing about letter frequencies helps in Paperback.

The design pattern of privileging outside knowledge within a game can also be found in historical games or games based on other intellectual property. For example, in 1960: The Making of the President, players who are unaware of the Southern Strategy may overestimate Kennedy’s ability to carry southern states, and may allocate resources poorly relative to the game’s preference for historically plausible outcomes that more closely model the actual election. Similarly, knowing the story of Dune will lead players to use their factions and their powers more effectively from the outset.

Using this design patterns presents significant challenges for a designer. Lean on it too much outside of the trivia genre and players may be dismayed that outside knowledge has too great an influence on the game. Players like to believe that games present a roughly even challenge, and while varying skill levels are considered acceptable variables to impact on the outcome, differences in knowledge are simply not as welcome.

Maybe this is part of why educational and historical games are so hard to design as good games. When a game lesson is actually a dominant strategy, the game is, from a design perspective, broken. It is simply a demonstration of why one particular strategy is effective, rather than an exploration of strategies or a contest of skills. Historical war game and war-themed games have to face this challenge constantly. Simluation-based games tend to focus on battles that were seen as very close affairs so that they can focus on realism without losing the competitive balance required for enjoyable gameplay. War-themed games have a bit more leeway. Memoir ’44, for example, presents a balanced set of scenarios representing the drive from Normandy to Berlin, and takes some liberty with troop dispositions and positioning.

Another area where designers have to be especially mindful of the information players bring to the game is when designing license and IP games. For players who are deeply familiar with the source material, the game will not be satisfying if strategies employed in the source are ineffective in the game, or if key characters are presented in an undifferentiated or not especially powerful way. On the other hand, for players who are less familiar with the source, it can be quite frustrating if obscure strategies from the source are effective despite seeming weak or far-fetched. At their best, IP-based games feel like alternate realities, not a replay of the original narrative.

Stretched to its utmost, one could argue that this design pattern is present in every design. The background information about what a game is, how to take turns, and the social conventions surrounding a game could all ostensibly qualify here – and I’m not going to draw a hard line either. To my mind, games like Candyland are critical parts of our game curriculum because they teach those aspects of core gameplay and initiate players into gaming culture. In the end, we can’t make games that are fully bounded by their own four corners. Games are part of our culture, and that’s something to acknowledge and design with more intentionally.(source: kind fortress