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论述游戏设计中的消极游戏机制

发布时间:2012-08-08 14:46:12 Tags:,,

作者:Josh Bycer

电子游戏采取的一个最简单举措是,它们旨在被体验;机制和游戏系统旨在提供娱乐消遣,促使玩家持续体验。但随着90年代街机情景和当前社交游戏的风靡,行业出现另一类与此相反的机制,且是游戏设计的主要创收来源之一。

反游戏玩法:

消极游戏机制的定义如下:旨在阻止当前玩家持续体验的游戏机制。在某些游戏中,这些被定义成“闸门机制”,在此玩家若没有执行特定任务或达到特定阶段就无法继续前进。闸门机制是消极游戏机制的代表,而闸门机制也有多种形式。

消极机制首先出现在街机中,旨在促使玩家在游戏中失败。街机最主要的是要从玩家身上持续赚取金钱,玩家需要持续投入硬币方能进行体验。街机的糟糕之处在于,玩家精通游戏后,他们就不需要持续投入金钱。

多数机器围绕参数进行设计,以判断玩家可以通过一枚硬币走多远,然后机器就会做出相应调整,以满足这些参数。消极机制的早期例子是格斗游戏,以特殊攻击形式呈现。特殊攻击会促使玩家在运用此技能时丧失些许能量,让玩家更快靠近死亡。能够恢复健康值的道具非常稀少,这意味着玩家通常会在找到更多健康值之前死亡。

人们认为诸如敌人能够持续进攻玩家,且同时阻止他们进行移动的机制难度过大。这就是发行商所想要的,因为这意味着玩家需要持续投钱,以持续进行体验。

Final Fight from itusozluk.com

Final Fight from itusozluk.com

运用消极游戏机制促使街机游戏设计师坚持着眼于参数数据,这导致游戏质量每况愈下,于90年代末被家庭掌机所取代。但如今消极游戏机制开始在社交和免费模式市场日渐活跃,这不是什么良好征兆。

社交游戏的热门机制:

免费模式与社交游戏在促使玩家持续体验方面所采用的技巧是设定零准入成本。若无需付费(游戏邦注:和以前的投入50美元不同),要说服玩家试验游戏就简单得多。为了赚取收益,设计师采用类似参数机制判断,要在付费前让玩家免费体验至什么阶段。

随着玩家在游戏中越走越远,设计师就玩法做出调整,或要求玩家掏钱,或限制免费玩法,令玩家不得不进行掏钱。社交游戏设计师采用的两个热门机制是:限制玩家每日的互动活动及可购买“特殊”货币。

第一个本身似乎没有什么害处:设定玩家每次在游戏中采取行动都要运用的资源,本文将此称作动作点数。当玩家耗尽动作点数时,他们就玩完了,直到计数器第二天重新进行设置。当玩家开始体验社交游戏时,空间中的互动活动就需要耗费少量资源。

但随着玩家越深入游戏,操作会逐步耗费更多动作点数,或者前进所需完成的动作数量逐步增多。例如:在游戏初期阶段,玩家需要30个动作点数方能解锁新内容,接触所有机制。随后,数量就会变成100,在此玩家最多只有50个点数。

OuterNauts from technologytell.com

OuterNauts from technologytell.com

然后玩家享有两个选择:寻找方式赚取更多动作点数或是每天留下未完成的任务。前者可以通过寻求好友帮助完成,或者返回其他机制:在更多点数上花费资源。

不仅社交游戏采用,免费模式游戏也运用的另一个机制是,在游戏中植入只能通过现金购买的货币;本文中,我们将这类货币称作付费资源。货币化是这些游戏获得收益的重要因素,为促进这一目标,设计师通常会植入各式各样的道具和奖励供玩家购买。

基本道具通常能够通过游戏货币购得,但或赋予更多奖励(游戏邦注:如更多动作点数),或提供独特道具的特殊道具通常需要其他东西。各游戏有自己的付费资源条款:例如《英雄联盟》中的Riot Points,但他们的运用方式是想通的。无论玩家拥有多少游戏货币,他们都无法购得特殊类别中的道具。

和动作点数的运用类似,需要付费资源的道具或服务起初都非常便宜。但随着游戏的进展,设计师会融入更多付费资源。这可以是战斗,或是没有这类元素难以达成的目标,或是玩家只能够通过付费资源购得的独特装饰品。

一个更具平衡性的机制是,玩家可以通过体验游戏或掏钱获得资源。让玩家决定自己要掏多少钱,而不是将特定功能封锁在付费墙后方。最近《帝国时代OL》改变自己的交易机制,调整自己的付费资源:给予关卡任务“Empire Points”奖励,同时植入付费选项。之前,运用至所有付费内容的empire points只能够通过现金或游戏微软点数获得。

League Of Legends from league-of-legends.en.softonic.com

League Of Legends from league-of-legends.en.softonic.com

值得一提的差别之处是,微交易是消极游戏机制的主要构成要素,但这并没有将所有微交易都变成消极游戏机制。回到《英雄联盟》,Riot赚取的所有利润都来自以微交易形式引入的新内容。但所有玩法相关的内容都可以通过游戏资源购得。若Riot禁止玩家付费胜出,将他们局限在riot points上,那么这将是截然不同的故事。

消极游戏机制是应该尽量避免的元素,因为它们不会促进玩法,而是会产生阻碍作用。过去我曾尝试玩过《Farmville》和《Outernauts》等社交游戏,每当我看到这类机制时,就会变得越发警觉。若社交游戏市场跳脱Zynga风格的游戏,那么社交设计师就需要找到新的创收方式,放弃这些策略。(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

A Look At Negative Game Mechanics

By Josh Bycer

One of the simplest measures of a video game is that they are meant to be played; mechanics and game systems are there to provide entertainment and keep people playing. But, with the rise of the arcade scene in the 90s and the recent boom of the social game market, there is another category of mechanics that are opposed to this, and are one of the major sources of monetization in game design.

Anti Gameplay:

Negative game mechanics can be defined as followed: game mechanics whose purpose is to stop the current player from continuing to play. In some games these are defined as “gating mechanics”, in which the player cannot progress without performing some task or reaching some milestone. While gating mechanics are an example of negative game mechanics, there are more examples then just gated mechanics.

Negative mechanics first appeared in the arcade and were designed to make people lose. Arcades were designed first and foremost to make constant money through the player having to insert quarters to play. The worse thing for an arcade machine was someone getting so good at it that they didn’t need to continue to insert money.

Most machines were designed around metrics to determine how far someone should get on a single quarter, and then the mechanics were tweaked to meet those metrics. One of the early examples of negative mechanics was in beat-em-ups, in the form of special attacks. Special attacks were designed to cost the player some of their energy with each use, bringing the player closer to death faster. Items that would restore health were few and far between, meaning that the player will usually die before finding more health.

Other mechanics like enemies who can keep attacking the player while preventing them from moving, attributed to the over-the-top difficulty. This is what the publishers wanted, as it meant that people would have to keep putting money in to keep playing.

The use of negative game mechanics forced arcade designers to adhere to the metrics which led to a decline in quality, which the home market overtook in the late 90s. However, today we are seeing a rise in negative game mechanics in the social and free to play market, which is not a good sign.

Second Verse Same as The First:

The trick that both free to play and social games use to get people playing is the zero cost of entry. It’s a lot easier to convince someone to try a game when there is no money up front, as opposed to spending $50. In order to make money, designers use a similar system of metrics to decide how far someone can play for free before implementing cost.

As the player gets further in the game, the designers adjust the gameplay to either require the player to spend money, or make the free play so restrictive that the player has no choice but to spend money. Two very popular systems that social game designers use that can be seen in most social games are: restricting the player’s interactions per day, and purchasable “special” currencies.

The first one by itself seems harmless enough: have a resource that is used each time the player makes an action in game, which for this post will be referred to as action points. When the player runs out of action points, they are done until the counter resets the next day. When someone starts playing a social game, interactions in the world cost a minimal amount of the resource.

But the further the person gets, actions will begin to cost more action points or the # of actions needed to progress will increase. For example: During the early portions of the game, the player could need 30 action points to unlock new content and tend to all the systems. Later on, that # becomes 100 where the player only has at most 50 points.

Then the player has two options: find ways to earn more action points or end each day with tasks unfinished. The former can be accomplished by having friends help them, or going back to the other system: spending resources on more points.

The other system and one that not only social games use, but free to play titles as well, is having currency in game that can only be bought with real cash; for this post we’ll refer to this currency as premium resources. Monetization is a huge factor with these games making money and to facilitate that, designers usually implement all kinds of items and bonuses for the player to purchase.

Basic items can always be bought with the in game currency, but special items that either grant massive bonuses like more action points or unique items require something else. Each game has their own term for premium resources: such as Riot Points in League of Legends, but their use remains universal. No matter how much of the in game currency the player has, it will never buy them anything from the special category.

Like with the use of action points, items or services that require premium resources are cheap at the beginning. But as the game goes on, the designers will implement more uses of premium resources. This could be battles or goals that are hard to complete without them, or unique decorations the player can buy only with premium resources.

A more balanced system would be having one resource that could be earned either by playing, or spending real cash. Allowing the player to decide what they’re willing to spend instead of locking certain features behind payment walls. Recently Age of Empires Online changed their transaction system by making their premium resource: “Empire Points” rewards for quests along with being purchasable. Before, empire points which were used for all premium content, was only available if someone spent real money or Microsoft points on the game.

A distinction that has to be mentioned is that the use of micro transactions is a big part of negative game mechanics, but that doesn’t make all micro transactions negative game mechanics. Going back to League of Legends, all the profit Riot makes comes from introducing new content in the form of micro transactions. But, everything that is gameplay related can be bought using the in game resources. If Riot locked out players from buying certain champions by restricting them to riot points, then that would be a different story.

Negative game mechanics are elements that should be avoided at all cost, as they don’t serve the gameplay but hinder it. In the past I’ve tried social games like Farmville, Outernauts and a few others, and whenever I see one or both of these mechanics, the red flag goes up. If the social game market is to evolve beyond the Zynga style games, then social designers will need to find a way to make money without resorting to these tactics. Considering the problems Zynga has going on right now, it may become a matter of “sink or swim.”(Source:chronicgamedesigner


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