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分析游戏关卡设计之现实感和特殊道具(2)

发布时间:2012-05-25 15:51:13 Tags:,,,

作者:Matthew Hodge

我们先稍停片刻,思考下我们现实世界的结构。假设我前往政府大楼,我位于第3层,现在我需要到隔壁楼的第2层去。我走过门廊,看到电梯位置的指示牌。于是,我大步走向公用电梯,下到底层。现在,我可以走出这栋大楼。

level design part 2(from gamasutra)

level design part 2(from gamasutra)

现实世界的生活真是无聊!

第1部分中,我们探讨了可用于将独特和有趣环境概念化的技术,但是现在我们面临的是比较不具理论化的任务。到了该真正构建关卡的时候了。我们需要考虑每个对象,思考应当将其放在何处,以及如此放置的原因。

你的核心游戏机制是保证关卡有趣的元素。带着这种想法,我觉得最好的方式是罗列出关卡中你想让玩家进入的区域。随后,我只需要构建这些区域以及连接路径即可。对于我的平台游戏而言,我构建路径和区域的首要目标是在核心游戏机制下显得有趣,其次是让环境带有现实主义感。通常情况下,最终产品的布局与现实世界有所不同。想法在于,当玩家享受游戏体验时,他们的想象力能够填补我删减现实性的空缺部分。

那么,我们需要制作何种元素?何种元素应当具有互动性?要回答这个问题,我们要仔细研究Castle Grayskull、Cat’s Lair以及儿时的想象力。

Grayskull的设计

Grayskull(from gamasutra)

Grayskull(from gamasutra)

让我们看看以下设计点:

1、不要根据其他玩具进行缩放

2、缺少楼梯

3、每个可进入地点都有其作用

缩放很重要。如果一个人类与汽车相比时显得有12英尺高,就会让玩家产生怀疑。但是,我们可以设计某些对象大小比例不同的房间。游戏场景会修改缩放比,因为1:1看起来并不实际。我会要求更多的空间,游戏中也是如此,尤其在快速式及手机游戏中。1:1的缩放意味着需要考虑更多的区域和空间。开发者需要做的事情更多,而且还可能减少产品对手机玩家的价值,因为他们无法在很短的游戏时间内完成目标。所以,我们要如何在不产生明显视觉瑕疵的前提下影响缩放?

比如,平台游戏中的大建筑物可以被缩小,只要确保与玩家互动的建筑功能进行令人信服的缩放即可。如果门、窗户或楼梯等经过缩放处理,玩家很可能不会注意或在意这种情况。建筑范围的减小有助于缩短角色花费在走路上的时间,使得需要开发和探索的区域较小,从而提升手机游戏的整体质量。

接下来,我们考虑缺少楼梯的设计。为什么玩具设计师不提供最实用的建筑结构用于实现楼层间的移动呢?显然是为了追求空间的最大化,但也是由于它们不是令人感兴趣的功能。

如果功能无法令人产生兴趣,那它只是在浪费空间而已。这种去除无趣功能的原则需要根据你的游戏类型进行调整。如果你制作的是更具现实主义的游戏,可能需要考虑用有趣的方法来整合人们在现实场景中能够看到的环境元素。

我想要阐述的最后一点是,角色能够到达的每个地点都有其存在的目的。当你看到楼层时,你就会注意到其中的电脑主机、宝座或活门。任何楼层或突起的存在都有其作用。这应当成为我们关卡设计的主要关注点。以我的游戏为例,无意义的区域会让玩家感到愤怒。

想象下你正在玩一个游戏关卡。你一直往前走,每样东西看起来都很棒。转过某个角落后,你看到了另一个平台。你的第一感觉是,那里应该有些不错的东西,可以过去看看。不幸的是,当你过去之后什么也没发现。这个平台的存在只是为了让场景从远距离看更加出众。但是,你之前根本不知道这点。你可能为了到达那个平台而花费了许多个生命,还没有成功就已经感受到巨大的挫败感,甚至因此放弃游戏,抑或你成功地找到到达这个平台的方法。如果你成功到达此处,但很快意识到之前的努力毫无价值。这个关卡浪费了你很多时间,更糟糕的是,没有提供回到原路径的方法。这样,玩家就只有两个选择,要么永远退出游戏,要么惋惜自己之前付出的努力。

fcplat(from gamasutra)

fcplat(from gamasutra)

游戏中绝对不可以出现上述场景。作为关卡设计师,我们必须确保每个可到达的地方都能让玩家感受到好处。下面,我将讨论的是ThunderCat的Cat’s Lair中的游戏场景。

特殊道具设计

这个游戏场景提供了独特的有关玩具间互动的启示。

你会注意到,头的背后有个为动作角色准备的座位,带有扳机杆。Lair的头可以被旋转。扳机激活口中的红外传感器。隔层的主门上是个光传感器。当其他玩具的红外系统射入Lair时,它能够监测到。当承受的伤害足够时,警报就会响起,门就会弹开。Lair的头带有激光防御。当它集中对手玩具上的传感器时,对方就会被破坏。

thunder cats(from gamasutra)

thunder cats(from gamasutra)

所以,Cat’s Lair和对手车辆可以向任何地方射击,但是只有在射向特定点时才能起到作用,这个点就是设计用来接收和响应射击的。

这是个很重要的可借鉴之处。如果在我们的关卡中设计武器或其他互动器具,我们要确保其有具体和特别的目的。这种目的应当能够帮助玩家享受游戏体验,有助于他们在游戏中取得进展。

而且,根据你所制作游戏的不同,对于这项原则的使用也有所差异。比如,在现实主义射击游戏中,人们都希望自己仓库中的普通武器能够对游戏中的所有东西起作用。但是,即便在这种题材中,也可以设置特殊环境武器只对某些特别元素起作用。比如,大型加农炮只能用来摧毁墙壁,以便让玩家通过。

关卡中玩家可以使用的道具应当清楚地标注出来,这一点也很重要。道具适用的地方以及使用方法也应当清晰说明。现在游戏普遍采用红色提示的方法,尽管这显得有些过时。在我的游戏中,我承诺将对此进行革新。

于是,有个问题随之产生:最终让我们关卡有趣且前后一致的是什么?这种东西就是让我们孩童时觉得那些玩具有趣的东西。那就是我们的想象力。

孩提时代,当我们玩玩具时,每次的体验都有所不同。孩子们不会思考为何没有楼梯,他们可以直接从底层地下室跳上第2层的控制室。孩子的想象力无缝地填充了玩具中的现实性缺失。

成人仍然具有孩子般的想象力,只是使用的频率有所减少。作为游戏设计师,我们需要向玩家做出承诺,我们将使用想象力来设计游戏。当我们感觉想法枯竭时,我推荐重新体验孩童时玩过的玩具和游戏。让它们触发你的新想法。

如果我们的核心游戏机制有趣,环境设计与之相符,那么成人的想象力也会自动填补现实性的空缺。当这种情况发生时,玩家将从游戏体验中收获愉悦和快乐。

总结

环境并不需要同其现实世界形态保持一致。通过抽象和删减来呈现现实,我们可以为玩家营造更流畅和更丰富的体验。对于以玩法为中心的布局的设计,玩具时很好的灵感来源。

在本系列文章中,我已经讨论了自己概念化和物质化关卡的方法。在最后一部分的文章中,我将讨论关卡技术美术开发的想法和设计方法。我将继续以自己的游戏《The Legend of Sky》为例,使用Unity3D游戏引擎。下篇文章可能成为我们分享和讨论技术美术设计方法的绝佳起点。(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

Level Design Part II: Abridged Reality (Lessons from Castle Grayskull & the Cat’s Lair)

Matthew Hodge

Let’s stop a moment to ponder the structure of our real world. On a trip to one of our government buildings. I was on the 3rd floor, and I needed to get to the 2nd floor of the building next door. I walked down a hall way with signs pointing me to the elevator. In a daring leap of faith, I rode that government elevator to the 1st floor. I could now exit the building… Actually this sucks.

Man, the real world is BOOOOOORRRING!

In part 1 we examined a technique for conceptualizing our unique and fun environments, but now we’re faced with a much less theoretical task. It’s time to actually build the level. We need to think about every object, where it is being placed, and why.

Your core game mechanics are what keeps it fun. With that in mind, I find it best to list the areas of a level that you want the player to access. I then only build those areas and the paths that connect them. For my platform game, the paths and areas I build are designed to be fun for my core game mechanics first, with realism to the environment second. The end product is typically a layout that wouldn’t make sense to the real world. The idea is that when they player is enjoying the experience, their imagination will fill in the gaps in my abridged version of reality.

So, what elements do we make, and what elements should be interactive? To answer this, we’ll examine “Castle Grayskull”, the “Cat’s Lair”, and our childhood imagination.

By the design of Grayskull!

Let’s take a look at the following design points:

Not to scale with other toys

Lack of stairs

Purpose for every accessible location

Scale is important. A human character that is twelve feet tall when compared to a car is going to introduce a dis-connect with the player; however, we can get some wiggle room with objects that are very different in size to begin with. Play sets change the scale because a 1:1 with the figures wouldn’t be practical. I would require too much space, and not be easily moved Oddly enough the reasons for a scale skewing in games is very similar, especially in quick-play/mobile games. 1:1 scale means more areas and space to be accounted for. This is more work for the developer, and potentially decreases value to mobile players by not allowing them to complete goals in short play sessions; so, how do we effect scale without causing on obvious visual flaw?

For an example, large buildings in a platform game can be shrunken down, as long as the features of the building that a player would interact with are convincingly scaled. If the doors, windows, stairs, etc. are to scale, it isn’t likely that one will notice or care that the square footage is off. This reduction of building scale would shorten the amount of time spent walking, create less areas that need to be developed, and be an overall benefit for mobile games.

Next, we”ll look at the lack of stairs. Why did the toy designer not provide the most practical structure for moving between floors? Space is the obvious answer, but they’re also not an exciting feature.

If the feature isn’t exciting, it’s just taking up space. This principle of ruling out un-interesting features needs to be adjusted with your type of game. If you’re going for realism, you’d probably need to think of an interesting way to incorporate environment pieces one would expect from a real location.

The last point I want to make about He-Man’s fortress, is that every location a figure can populate has a purpose. If you see a piece of floor, you’ll notice it’s associated with computer consoles, the throne, or the trap door. Up top we have a lookout position and defensive equipment. There isn’t any ledge/floor that exists just “because”. This should serve as a major design point for our levels. In the example of my game, meaningless areas can infuriate the player.

Imagine you are playing a level. You’re platforming along, and everything seems great. Then off on the corner of the screen you can see another edge. Your initial thought would likely be “hey, I wonder what’s over there. It’s got to be good”. Unfortunately for you, there is no reason to get over there. It was just put there because it made the scene look cool from a distance; however, you have no way of knowing that. You’ll likely spend a number of lives trying to get there before you get frustrated and give up (possibly on the entire game), or you’ll actually find a way to make it. If you do manage to get there, you’ll quickly realize that there isn’t anything to do or achieve. The level wasted your time, and worse, it didn’t provide a way back. Now you have to quit or die for all of your hard work.

The previous scenario is inexcusable. As level designers we must make sure that everything accessible exists for the player’s benefit. The next set of points I’d like to discuss are nicely illustrated by the ThunderCat’s Cat’s Lair play set.

“Special item design, snaaarrf.”

This play set offers unique lessons in interaction between the toys in the Thunder Cat’s line.

You’ll notice the back of the head has a seat for the action figure, with a trigger handle. The head of the lair can be rotated and aimed. The trigger activates an infrared sensor in the mouth. Above the layer’s main doors is a light senor. This detects when another toy’s infrared system has fired in the Lair’s line of site. When other toys fire directly at the sensor above the layer door, the lair records damage. When enough damage is taken, an alarm sounds and the doors pop open. The lair’s head is a laser defense. If it hits the sensor on the enemy toy, it will pop apart.

So, the Cat’s Lair and enemy vehicles can shoot where ever they want, but it only has an effect if they shoot the designated spot that is designed to receive and react to the shot.

This is an important take-a-way. If we design a weapon or other interactive piece to our level, let’s make sure it has a specific and special purpose. That purpose should help the player enjoy the experience and progress through the game.

Again, depending on the game you’re making, your exercise of this principle will vary. For instance, in a realistic shooter one would expect the average weapons in their inventory to gain some reaction from whatever they use it on; however, even this genre has instances of special environment weapons that only work on other specific elements. Such as a large cannon that only damages a specific wall to allow the player to progress.

It is also important that level items meant to be used by the player are clearly marked. It should also be clearly marked as to where and how it should be used. In games this most commonly occurs as “red barrels”; though that is getting old. For my game, I promise to come up with something besides red barrels.

Now the question, “What is it that ultimately makes our levels fun and coherent?” It is the same thing that made those toys fun when we we’re kids. It’s our imagination.

As kids play with toys, it is a fluid experience. They don’t think about the fact that there aren’t any stairs to climb, and that they just leaped from the first floor dungeon to the second floor control room. It’s a non-issue. A child’s imagination seamlessly fills in the gaps in reality as they play.

Adults still have that child-like imagination; it just doesn’t get used as often. As game designers, we need to make a commitment to our players that we will design our games using imagination. When we’re feeling dry, it’s my recommendation to reflect and reconnect with the toys and games we played as kids. Let them refresh you.

If we make our core game mechanics fun, and the environment’s design plays well to it, an adult’s imagination will rekindle to fill in the gaps in reality. When this happens, the player will be enjoying the experience.

Part II Summary

Environments don’t need to be true to their real world counterparts. By making abstract and abridged versions of reality, we create a smoother and more imaginative experience for the player. Toys and play sets are great sources of inspiration for creating play-centric layouts.

In this series I’ve discussed my methods for conceptualizing, and materializing levels. In the final part of this three part series, I will discuss good practices and ideas for the technical art development of levels. I’ll focus on my game “The Legend of Sky” as an example, and I’ll be using the Unity3D game engine. This next post should be a great starting point for sharing and discussing technical art design practices we’ve picked up.

See you in the comments and at the next article. Thanks for reading. (Source: Gamasutra)


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