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Ted Lauterbach谈论平台益智游戏的设计

发布时间:2012-04-01 16:54:03 Tags:,,

作者:Mag

Ted Lauterbach是悬疑平台益智游戏《suteF》的创造者。他将跟我们谈论如何设计益智游戏。

《suteF》的相关内容:玩家将操纵着一个脆弱的蓝色角色,并想办法帮助它逃离无底洞。玩家只有在每个关卡中够到一个电视屏幕才能成功逃出,所以游戏中的挑战就是关于玩家如何在峡谷与激光器中穿梭,并够到这一屏幕。玩家可以借助箱子、转换器、重力转换器及抓钩。当他逃出无底洞时还会遇到一只可怕的怪物,玩家只能获得游戏故事的一点点提示,而游戏中的图像和音效则能够为他们营造出身临其境的游戏氛围。

banner from devmag.org.za

banner from devmag.org.za

《suteF》是2010年IndieGames上的最佳免费益智游戏。

优秀的谜题具有何种特质?

我认为一个优秀的谜题应该要求玩家想出各种不同的方法去解答它们。例如,谜题也许会要求玩家使用他们所认为不可能的游戏机制去解决问题。同时我还喜欢拥有多种解决方法的谜题;看到别人采用更快速的方法解决我所设置的谜题我也会感到非常欣慰。

layzor from devmag.org.za

layzor from devmag.org.za

你在设计谜题时遵循什么步骤?

我的谜题总是遵循特定游戏机制。我总是先创造出一个游戏机制,如抓钩;然后通过设置1至2个谜题将玩家引入这一机制中,而且会把这一机制与早前的机制结合在一起(游戏邦注:即使用抓钩去操纵箱子,而在这之前玩家只能够推箱子)。

我想说,设计谜题的过程总是与游戏的发展紧密联系在一起。我都是先创造一个机制,然后添加一些谜题,再创造另外一个机制,再继续添加谜题。我并不是在纸上画出单个谜题,因为只有当玩家真正去体验它时谜题才算最终成形。

也就是说,我将首先明确玩家的位置和目标,一旦确定这些内容后,我便开始在玩家与目标之间设置一定数量的障碍;并不断调整这些障碍直至达到最合适的状态。不过我很在此难详细说明这一过程。

你如何确保谜题始终具有乐趣?

box from devmag.org.za

box from devmag.org.za

制作有趣的谜题的一个步骤便是你需要真正融入游戏中,想出尽可能多的方法去使用你的游戏机制,并努力维护所有机制。

我可以制作一个箱子。这是唯一的机制,但在《suteF》,箱子拥有多种作用:我们可以推、拉、跳到或爬到箱子上去按压按钮,或者利用箱子去阻挡激光等。

添加机制也就意味着我能够采用一种新的方法去使用游戏中的旧机制,重新向玩家呈现他们熟悉的游戏元素。游戏将提供给玩家各种谜题,而当他们解决了这些谜题后,还会看到一些新的互动元素。

你是如何判断一个谜题是否有趣以及它是否过于复杂?

upside down jump from devmag.org.za

upside down jump from devmag.org.za

邀请那些从未接触过你游戏的玩家来帮你进行测试非常重要。如果他们思考一个谜题过久,我就知道自己并没有清楚说明解决这一谜题的相关机制。这时候我就必须做出决定,即是否要删除这一谜题,因为它太过复杂并不适合初期玩家,或者我应该添加一个新的关卡详细介绍玩家所疑惑的理念?

我想起我在制作《suteF》时遭遇过相同的境况。即很多玩家对于角色在被倒置时必须做出跳跃这一设置感到疑惑。尽管除了玩家被倒置过来外游戏场地并未发生任何变化,但这些玩家却认为自己不可能在这里做出跳跃操作。为了解决这一问题,我在之前添加了一个关卡,告诉他们只有在颠倒时进行跳跃才能完成关卡。如此玩家也就恍然大悟了!

在《suteF》中你通过使用文本去暗示玩家如何解决谜题。而你是否还有其它方法能够引导玩家解决问题并理解无底洞中的各种怪异逻辑?

ghost helper from devmag.org.za

ghost helper from devmag.org.za

视觉提示也是《suteF》采用的一种重要方法。我不会隐藏那些解决谜题所需的元素。就像箱子能够帮助玩家按压按钮,我便会突显这两样物体。因为当我们在解决各种谜题时,没有什么比面对模糊的内容更让人郁闷了;这种情况就像你在玩七巧板时发现其中一个组件落在亲戚家一样。而如果你要求玩家为了解决谜题而不得不前往某地时,你就需要明确引导玩家通向那个地方。

在《suteF》初期我设置了一个幽灵角色引导玩家执行一些重要的行动。

对于那些想要创造属于自己益智游戏的新手们你能否给予一些建议?

从一些简单的内容开始。解决谜题的步骤越多,谜题就会变得越发困难。所以你最初的谜题最好只要求玩家进行2、3个行动。相反,如果你的谜题同时拥有更多解决方法,它就会显得更简单。并且为玩家留下更多纠错空间。在《suteF》中最复杂的谜题只存在一种解决方法,并且要求玩家必须完成20个明确的行动才能解决这一问题。而在游戏初期,玩家解决任何谜题的时间都不会超过5-10分钟。

最后,如果你想要创造出最有序的谜题,就给自己设立一个约束空间。强迫自己在创造新机制前详细了解游戏中的所有机制,如此你才能更加轻松地创造出谜题。

游戏邦注:原文发表于2011年5月9日,所涉事件和数据均以当时为准。(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? Ted Lauterbach

Posted by Dev.Mag

Ted Lauterbach is the creator of suteF, an eerie and challenging platform puzzle game. We asked how he goes about designing puzzles as part of our investigation into puzzle design.

A bit more about suteF: you pay a fragile blue character, you are in the Abyss, and you are trying to get out. You do this by reaching a television-screen in each level, and the challenge is to get to it, around eternal valleys and deathly lasers. You get to use boxes, switches, gravity switches…and a grappling hook to do this. On your way out, you will meet a creepy cast of characters. You’re only given a hint of story, but – supported by art and sound – it is a major contributor to the game’s atmosphere.

suteF was IndieGames’ top freeware puzzle game of 2010.

Ted Lauterbach answers our questions below.

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

I’ve always thought that the best puzzles are ones that require the player to come up with unexpected ways to solve them. For instance, one puzzle may require them to use the mechanics introduced in the game in ways they never thought possible. I also love puzzles that have multiple solutions; I’ve giggled on several occasions when someone has solved one of my puzzles in half the steps I had designed it to take.

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

My puzzle design is always dictated by the mechanics. I’ll develop a gameplay mechanic, such as a grappling hook; after one or two puzzles that have introduced the player to the mechanic, the next step is combining the mechanic with old mechanics (use the grappling hook to pull and manipulate boxes, which until now, the player could only push).

I’d say that my process is heavily tied to the evolution of the game itself. I always make a mechanic, add some puzzles, make another mechanic, and add some more puzzles. I don’t think I’ve had a single puzzle drawn out on paper that I ever ended up using because the puzzle never takes shape until you’re already playing it like the player would.

That being said, I will start with the player’s position then the player’s goal. Once they are in place, I’ll put what I feel is an appropriate amount of obstacles between them and the goal. I’ll tweak and tweak until it feels… right. Mostly it’s a feeling I go off to know when it’s done. It’s awfully hard to explain it.

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

Part of the process of making the puzzles interesting is getting into the game yourself and figuring out the maximum numbers of ways to use the mechanics, and making all of the mechanics work with each other.

I can make a box. That is only one mechanic, but in suteF, that box does a lot: it can be pushed, pulled, flipped, climbed on, used to activate buttons, block lasers, and so many other things that it is ridiculous.

Adding a mechanic means that I get a chance to use old things in new ways, giving a fresh take on elements the player has already seen. It takes many puzzles for them to wear out, but when they do, the new interactions will be there to save the day.

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

Play testing with people who have never touched the game before is key. If they are stuck on a particular puzzle for too long, it means I haven’t made clear the mechanics that are involved in solving it. At that stage, I have to make a decision: do I axe the puzzle because it’s too hard for the player this early on, or do I add another level that introduces them to the concept they’re missing?

I recall one stage in suteF that I ran into this. Several people were stuck in a section that required them to jump while upside down. Even though there was no change to the playfield other than the player being upside down, no one thought they could jump. To alleviate this, I added a level before it that the only way to beat it (and the only thing to actually do) was to jump while upside down, then BAM! Everyone understood it. (See image left).

Dev.Mag: In suteF, you often give clues to the solution in the text. What other devices do you use to guide the player towards the solution, and help them understand the weird logic of the Abyss?

Visual cues are a large part of suteF. I will not obscure the elements that are required to solve the puzzle. If a box needs to be used on top of a button, the button and the box had both better be easily distinguishable and visible. Nothing is more frustrating in a puzzle than obscured pieces; it would be like trying to put a jigsaw puzzle  together with a piece missing at your aunt’s house. Or, if you intend to make them go to their aunt’s house (in a manner of speaking), you had better leave a trail of easily distinguishable and visible elements that can lead them there.

Early on as well, I introduced a ghost character in suteF that showed the player how to do some of the important actions.

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

Start simple. The more moves it takes to solve a puzzle, the harder it is going to be. Ideally, your first puzzles will require no more than 2-3 actions. Inversely, a puzzle that has more paths to get to the solution will be easier. It leaves more room for error. The hardest puzzle in suteF had only one way to solve it, with only 20 very precise actions. No puzzle should take the average player more than 5-10 minutes to solve at their first go.

Also, operate under constraint if you want to make neat puzzles. Force yourself to get to know everything about your mechanics before you make new ones. Knowing them inside out will only make developing a puzzle easier.(source:devmag)


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