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Teddy Lee分享平台游戏的谜题设计经验

发布时间:2012-03-31 17:57:32 Tags:,,

作者:Mag

Teddy Lee(游戏邦注:来自Cellar Door Games)制作过多款热门flash游戏,其中包括平台谜题游戏《My First Quantum Translocator》、臭名昭著的谜题游戏《Don’t Shit Your Pants》及最近的《I Have 1 Day》,这是款围绕有趣元任务安排谜题的探险谜题游戏。

在《My First Quantum Translocator》中,玩家得设法从建筑中逃出,其受到神秘Steve和量子传输器的协助。传输器可以让玩家快速地从某地移至之前设置的位置,同时保持原有冲量。无法逾越的移动激光器及平台通常设置得很高,以致玩家无法跳过,这些就是玩家需要克服的若干障碍。除智囊团之外,游戏还要求玩家掌握若干跳跃和定时操作技能,以顺利落实解决方案。

mfqt banner from devmag.org.za

mfqt banner from devmag.org.za

《My First Quantum Translocator》被Indie Games评选为2010年10大热门免费谜题游戏。

下面是Teddy Lee对于我们若干问题的回应。

优秀谜题包含哪些特点?

在我看来,所谓的优秀谜题就是设计师以玩家意料之外的方式运用核心机制。我觉得若我们设计的内容非常巧妙,玩家会和我们一样享受其中。

你们在设计谜题的过程中通常遵照哪些操作流程?

在制作《My First Quantum Translocator》谜题的过程中,我们制定若干指导方针。

1. 不要重复使用谜题

若两个步骤过于相似,我们会放弃其中一个。这提高我们的工作难度,因为我们总是积极呈现新内容,但最终结果通常非常令人欣慰。我们发现,一开始就呈现解决方案,然后让玩家反过头去寻找的模式非常适合我们。

ExcelSnapshot from devmag.org.za

ExcelSnapshot from devmag.org.za

2. 一个房间只突出一个技巧或或机制

若你在谜题中添加过多步骤,你将丧失玩家,因为玩家并不总是遵循你的思路。我们还会移除任何填充内容/浪费时间的内容/转移注意力的内容,以将视觉分散程度降到最低(游戏邦注:除非谜题本身是个转移注意力的元素)。

3. 不要融入任何“误导性路径”

这意味着若玩家在某个谜题上操作不当,他们要能够立即知道自己操作有误。

例如,在平台游戏中,若用户总是差几毫米就能够顺利完成跳跃,那么他们就会积极进行尝试,直到顺利完成操作。所以我们投入众多时间移除所有潜在的“误导性”路径。

4. 解决谜题的乐趣在于获得成功,不在于尝试

《MFQT》的核心机制要求玩家具有一定的灵活性,但我们尽力将此降到最低,同时保持台阶的核心感觉。

例如,我们后来在游戏中添加“远距离跳跃”,这会让玩家自动进行跳跃,将传送到其他地方。这样玩家就无需再完成那些困难的操作。

在我们某个更注重技能的关卡中,我们修改了右下角的接合点,延伸了顶部的平台。

old level & new level from devmag.org.za

old level & new level from devmag.org.za

在基于一小组机制的系列谜题中,你如何确保谜题保持趣味性?

这里存在的错误观念是,若植入的是一小组的机制,就意味着你所能操作的内容将非常有限。但事实并非如此。只要你能够持续从核心机制中衍生出新谜题,游戏就会保持趣味性。

我的一个经验法则是,若我能够凭借一个机制在纸上设计出5个或更多的谜题,那么我后面多半能够想出更多内容。

你如何判断一个谜题是否有趣,破解难度如何?

我们很难立刻知晓谜题是否有趣。你唯一能够做的就是进行测试。若你颇喜欢此内容,邀请他人进行测试,看看他们的反应。但若他们不喜欢某关卡,我们通常会查看其什么地方缺乏趣味性。这样我们下次就不会犯同个错误。

至于难度,我们通常是根据完成某平台操作所需的灵活度及平台谜题同预先基础知识的关系进行判断。当然,来自他人的广泛游戏测试能够让我们找出问题的所在。

在设计《MFQT》时,我们还会错综排列具有类似主题的谜题(游戏邦注:例如修改弹床的跳跃高度),这样在完成一个特别困难的平台内容后,玩家就会遇到若干相对简单的内容,以保持他们的高涨士气。诸如此类的细微元素能够保持游戏的新鲜感。我们对于台阶的设置进行多次的调整,最终才呈现当前状态。

《MFQT》最令人遗憾的地方在于倒数第二个关卡(具有红叉叉的旋转方格)。我非常喜欢这个关卡,但最后很多人都无法顺利完成。虽然我们有设置跳过按键,但鲜有玩家会进行点击,尤其是当他们快接近游戏终点时。

Quantum Compilation Change thumb from devmag.org.za

Quantum Compilation Change thumb from devmag.org.za

你是否有在设计中融入相应策略,引导玩家找出解决方案,帮助他们把握谜题的逻辑?

在设计谜题时,我们总是设法将视觉分散性降到最低,这样玩家就不会偏离实际的目标。

同样,当解决方案需要一定程度的灵活性时,我们有时会留下视觉“标签”,这样玩家就会清楚需在哪里进行尝试。例如,在《MFQT》的“电梯”关卡中,我们设置2个背景资产作为指示器,告知玩家何时跳跃,何时设置遮蔽物体。这样当玩家找到解决方案时,他们就拥有若干对比标签,进而能够完善自己的解决方案。

ElevatorIndicators from devmag.org.za

ElevatorIndicators from devmag.org.za

关于设计谜题方面,你有没有什么建议?

确保重复设计、完善和润色自己的关卡。我发现很多谜题设计师觉得自己可以跳过这些步骤,因为他们鲜少要求灵活度。所以你最终得到的是基于谜题游戏的物理元素,解决方案通常都是关乎图像的最佳放置点,而鲜少涉及巧妙的解决方案。

若你在关卡上遇到问题,或事情进展不顺利,不妨大胆削减内容。有人批评你的游戏要好过无人问津。

游戏邦注:原文发布于2011年5月23日,文章叙述以当时为背景。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

How are puzzle games designed? Teddy Lee

by Mag

Teddy Lee (from Cellar Door Games) created several popular flash games, among them the platform puzzler My First Quantum Translocator (MFQT), the infamous adventure puzzle game Don’t Shit Your Pants, and recently I Have 1 Day, an adventure puzzle game with an interesting meta task-scheduling puzzle on top.

In My First Quantum Translocator the player is trying to escape from a building, assisted by the mysterious Steve and of course a quantum translocator. The translocator can be used to teleport instantly from one position to another one previously set up, while maintaining momentum. Impassable, moving lasers and platforms that are too high to reach by jumping make up some of the difficulties the player has to overcome. In addition to brainpower, the game also requires some skill in performing the jumping and timing actions to execute solutions.

My First Quantum Translocator was one of Indie Games’ selection of top 10 free puzzle games of 2010.

Below, Teddy Lee responds to our questions (part of our puzzle game design interview series).

Dev.Mag: What are the qualities of a good puzzle?

A good puzzle to me is when the designer uses the core mechanic in ways players don’t expect. I feel like when we design something clever, players enjoy it just as much as we do.

Dev.Mag: What process do you follow to design puzzles?

When we made puzzles for My First Quantum Translocator (MFQT), we had a few guidelines which we tried our best to follow.

1. Never re-use puzzles

If two stages were too similar, we would can one of them. It makes things difficult since you’re always trying to do something new, but the end results are always worth it. We found that starting with the solution and then going backwards worked well for us.

2. Each room highlighted one trick, or mechanic

If you add too many steps to a puzzle you lose the player because you can’t always assume the player is following your train of thought.  We also removed any filler/time wasters/red herrings in order to keep this visual clutter to an absolute minimum (unless the puzzle itself was a red herring).

3. Do not have any “Misleading Paths”

This means that if our player is doing a puzzle incorrectly, they should immediately know they are doing it wrong.

For example, if you are playing a platformer, and the user is always just millimeters away from making a jump, then the user might keep trying to make that impossible jump. So we spent a lot of time trying to remove every possible instance of a “Misleading Path”.

4. The joy in solving a puzzle games is in the success, not the attempts

The core mechanics for MFQT required a certain amount of dexterity on the player’s behalf, but we tried our best to keep it to a minimum while still retaining the core feel of the stages.

For example, we added the “tele-jump” later in the game which automatically jumped and teleported the player. That way they no longer had to pull off that difficult maneuver.

In one of our more skill-based levels, we revamped the bottom right junction and stretched the upper platforms.

Dev.Mag: In a sequence of puzzles based on a small set of mechanics, how do you make sure the puzzles stay interesting?

The misconception is that having a small set of mechanics means you’ll be very limited in the things you can do. That’s not necessarily the case though.  As long as you can keep wringing out new puzzles from the core mechanics, then the game will stay interesting.

A rule of thumb I follow is if I can think up five or more puzzles on paper with a single mechanic, then there’s a good chance I can come up with plenty more later on.

Dev.Mag: How do you judge whether a puzzle is fun, and how difficult it is to solve?

It’s impossible to know off the bat whether a puzzle is fun or not.  The only thing you can do is playtest it, and if you like it, have someone else playtest it and see if they like it.  If we don’t enjoy completing a level though, we usually look at it and see what’s not fun about it. That way we won’t make the same mistake again.

As for difficulty, we generally base that off of how much dexterity is required to complete a stage, and how much of the stage’s puzzle is built off of previous knowledge.  Of course, extensive playtests from other people help us isolate the trouble spots.

When designing MFQT, we also staggered puzzles which had a similar theme (such as modifying trampoline bounce height) so that players wouldn’t get similar puzzle types in a row. We also staggered the difficulty, so that after a particularly difficult stage, a player might bump into a few easy ones to sort of keep their morale high. Small things like that helped to keep the game fresh.  We had to tweak the stage layout for our game a couple of times to get it to where it is.

One of our regrets with MFQT was the second last level (the rotating squares with the red cross). I really liked the level, but in the end a lot of people couldn’t complete it.  Even though we had a skip button, nobody really wanted to use it, especially when they were so close to the end.

Dev.Mag: Do you use strategies in your design to guide the player towards the solution, and help them understand the logic of the puzzles?

When we design a puzzle, we try to keep visual clutter to minimum so as to not distract the player from the actual goal.

Also, when the solution requires a certain amount of dexterity, we sometimes leave visual “markers” so that players know where to position their attempts. For example, in our “elevator” stage in MFQT, we used 2 background assets as indicators to show the player when to jump, and when to set a shadow.  That way, when a player knows the solution, they have some type of marker they can compare themselves to in order to refine their solution.

Dev.Mag: Do you have any advice for those who want to design their own puzzles?

Make sure to iterate, refine, and polish your stages off. I feel like many designers making puzzle games think they can skip these steps since their games may require little to no dexterity. So you end up with all these physics based puzzle games, where the solution always end up being more about pixel perfect placement and less about clever solutions.

Oh, and if you run into problems with a level and things aren’t working out, don’t be afraid to cut. It’s always better to have someone beat your game than not.(Source:devmag


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