数周前我们讨论的是如何制作一款令人上瘾的社交游戏。我认为另外一个能够推动游戏取得成功的关键机制便是，尽可能消除游戏“停工期”的想法，并打破游戏中常规的结局流程。很多令人上瘾的策略游戏就是运用了这一机制而取得成功，如《Game Dev Story》，可以说这一机制对它们来说真的是一个非常有帮助的“武器”。在本文中我将以《Game Dev Story》，《Civilisation Revolution》和《Farmville》等游戏为例，分析如何才能在游戏中合理运用这些方法。
《Game Dev Story》
在《Game Dev Story》中，玩家的任务便是经营一家游戏工作室并创造出热门游戏。在游戏中，玩家将经历一整个游戏开发流程，即包括设计并制作自己的游戏，为其命名，并将其投放到市场中等等。
这整个流程都是按照逻辑进行，每一环节的衔接都很紧凑，所以很显然玩家在发行游戏之后会出现什么结果也是可以预测的。但是，《Game Dev Story》却给了我们一个出乎意料的结果，即采取了极其重要的一环让游戏变得更加具有吸引力。
与《Game Dev Story》一样，玩家在建立城市（游戏邦注：如组件军队或者建立防御城墙）的时候，也需要花些时间等待建造完工。就比如建城墙，就将耗费玩家10个回合的时间。那么，在这期间玩家便无事可做了，只能用自己现有的军队去攻打其他国家，或者因此而让自己陷入一些不必要的麻烦里。
·在《Game Dev Story》中，我们很清晰地看到游戏让玩家在快要结束前“峰回路转”，即给予了他们一个新游戏任务或者让他们在一片新的领域继续探索。
How to make an addictive strategy game
A few weeks ago we looked at how to make an addictive social game. Another mechanic that is a key element of successful games is the idea of eliminating ‘down-time’ and disrupting the flow at the end of a task. This has been applied with great success to create many addictive strategy games, such as Game Dev Story, and gives them that ‘unputdownable’ feeling. Today I’m looking at some examples of this in games such as Game Dev Story, Civ Rev and Farmville, and how these methods can be applied to your game:
There are a number of games which aim to disrupt the completion of tasks, with amazing success in controlling the psychology of the player. Here are just a few of them:
Game Dev Story
In Game Dev Story, the player’s job is to run a game studio and create hit games. The game takes the player through a ‘flow’ of designing and building your game, naming it, and releasing it.
This sequence seems to flow logically, with each section following the previous, and leads to a natural ‘conclusion’ point after a game launches. However, Game Dev Story then takes an important step which helps create it’s addictive nature.
To see how well the game did, the player have to wait weeks for the sales data to come in. However, while waiting, the player’s development team is sitting idle. So, they may as well start building another game, to avoid wasting any precious development time. Essentially, before the player’s felt the first task is ‘complete’, they start another cycle, disrupting the game’s natural ‘end point’. Hence, without a natural place to finish playing, and with an incentive to continue, the player doesn’t feel like they want to, or have the opportunity to, stop playing.
World-Domination-Simulator-Lite, Civilisation Revolution, allows the player to embody a famous ruler from history, and take over the world. A key part of this is building cities, exploring the globe, and attacking rivals.
Much like in Game Dev Story, to build things in cities (such as armies, or defences), the player is required to start construction then wait for construction to complete. For things like city walls, this can take up to ten turns. Ten turns in which the player is left hanging, with nothing to do but use their existing armies to attack other states, or get themselves into trouble.
Hence, by the time construction is complete, it is likely that the player will suddenly have a much more interesting scenario to deal with, which will inevitably require more construction, and your attention elsewhere. The ‘downtime’ created by waiting for construction encourages the player to start a new endeavour, and hence keeps their engagement levels up.
Farmville, and similar successful ‘social’ games have utilised aspects from the games seen above as a core mechanic. As discussed in my social games blog post, a key aspect of these games is the delay between planting a crop, and harvesting it. This long wait not only gives players opportunity to explore other tasks and journeys within the game while waiting, but gives the player an incentive to come back to the game later when their crops are done – particularly since Farmville allows the player to choose which crops they plant based on the time to harvest, letting the game fit into their social life
How can your game replicate this?
So how can you apply these lessons to your game? Here are the key elements distilled into knowledge-flakes:
Create a flow in your game
These games all take advantage of a clear task flow, where the player knows what series of actions they need to take do to progress.
This creates familiarity with the mechanics, and lets the player know how their actions will affect the game world.
It also gives us the opportunity to….
Disrupt the flow near the end to avoid ‘down-points’
As was particularly evident in Game Dev Story, which disrupted the player as the flow ends, and gives them a new task or area to explore.
This removes natural ‘end-points’ for games, and will keep the player active in the game – making sure they don’t want to stop playing!
This also prevents the player feeling like they are just continually following repetitive actions.
Keep them coming back
Through careful use of longer-term flows, games like Farmville create reasons for the player to keep coming back.
Giving players the ability to decide how long they need to wait before acting again allows the game to work around their real-world commitments, without being obnoxious!（source:stevebromley）