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阐述电子游戏压缩时间的操作手法

发布时间:2012-08-21 17:00:59 Tags:,,,

作者:Randy Smith

为了将现实与乐趣结合起来,掌握扩大、抽象以及压缩现实的能力至关重要。在此不得不提到《火星漫步》。在现实生活中种植一颗外来的种子只为了看到种子会发出什么样的芽,这应该很令人吃惊,但如果为了体验乐趣,你当然不愿等待几个星期只为了看到葡萄藤破土而出。我们的解决方法是展示植物在几秒钟内迅速成长这一奇特的景象。这阐明了一个问题:现实世界的缓慢节奏会扼杀乐趣,但是如果将其扩展得过于丰富或者过度浓缩,这种乐趣也就丧失了真实性。我很想知道:电子游戏是否存在可以压缩时间的工具,正如其它媒介一样。

videogame_time(from edge-online)

videogame_time(from edge-online)

我首先把电子游戏同电影作了比较,电影可以在时间和空间上便捷地跳跃。电影可以将镜头切换到同个村庄的夜晚来表示一天的结束。拍摄学生学习剑术时可以运用蒙太奇手法。这样我们看到的就是压缩的版本——只捕捉最具代表性和最有趣的画面,并且可以从开头直接跳到结尾。几个月的故事情节一瞬间就呈现完毕。这里的时间压缩神奇地让故事情节发展顺序简洁且可信。而文学作品在此方面的功能更强大。“在孤儿院受折磨的那段日子,Miles这个孤独的门童一直生活在紧张的氛围中,最后在1918年的时候死于肺结核。”文学作品可用两种方式处理这一问题,如果有必要的话,只需几十秒就可以呈现大量的事件和活动。

放慢时间这一手法让我想到了《英雄本色》中的子弹时间,它是游戏中时间操纵上的典范。这一手法主要衍生于电影中的慢镜头,是扩展时间的一种简单方法。那么快进是压缩游戏时间的好方法吗?这有些例子:《模拟人生》或《Osmos》中就有由慢转快的滑动条以模拟时间发展速度。然而这可能不适用于诸如《火星漫步》这类以虚拟形象为主的游戏。撒上种子然后看着你化身的主角像植物一样进行快进式的成长,这听起来既不可信也不吸引人。由于大多数镜头都是无关紧要的内容,采用快进方式可以省略对每一秒镜头的描述。《孤岛惊魂2》中的睡眠有助于跳过时间,但是如果主角一直保持清醒状态,那有没有其它的办法可以加快时间进程呢?

这让我想起了《创世纪4》。1999年Origin Systems利用改进的3D图像及无缝行程展示了一个更加真实的世界。你会很惊奇地发现城堡高出自己的个头,河水在桥下翻滚。然后我走进了森林,向旁边的城镇走去。结果在英国与Paws之间有一些大树,我经过时碰到了每棵树。由于在现实时间中穿过树林会显得很无趣,所以几乎每隔一米就会看到一些村庄。因为创建房屋模型的成本较高,所以游戏中每个村庄都只有一些房子。想单靠一棵树、一块石头和一座建筑物构造一个完整的世界,只会让游戏丧失了它的可玩性和真实感。然而在早期版本的《创世纪》中,我经历了穿越大陆的冒险,到了中世纪,我进入了主题公园内,树根成了我最畏惧的敌人。这是时间压缩与抽象化的严重脱节。

相较而言,《创世纪4》及《创世纪5》则是有效压缩时间的典型。在《创世纪4》中,你需要好几天的游戏时间才能从一座城镇走向另一座城镇,但只有一些快进按钮。在世界地图样式的视野中,你会看到自己穿过了大片的森林,而无需看清你穿过的每一棵树。太阳上山或下山时,你的团队都会吃些东西,周围会自动发生一些其他不相干的事情,这样有助于缓解长途旅行带来的乏味感。当发生一些有趣的事件时,比如埋伏,游戏中的画面会拉近放大,这样有助于你更好更细致地操控整个场面。当你进入一座城镇的时候,你可以采用同样有效的方案。当时间和空间缩小的时候,你就可以观察到居民的生活。这种模式可以按故事中相关的细节调整画面比例,这样就可以在不破坏连续性,无需依靠奇特快进手法的前提下有效压缩时间。

最后我要谈下《Rogue》及其衍生出的游戏。《Rogue》中有个控制功能表示“你可以保持做某事及作出明显决定,直到发生某些有趣的情况”。利用这一功能,你可以一路穿过走廊,直到遇到一些道具、威胁或分支通道。你可以在黑屋子内摸索,直到你找到了一些事物。它的做法与《暗黑破坏神》中无关紧要、连续点击的操作截然相反。

《Rogue》中的任何事物都可以压缩,你可以用闪电般的速度完成日常行进、战斗以及寻找目标等常规事件,游戏只会在出现困难问题或者重要决定时才会放慢速度。《Rogue》及《创世纪4》/《创世纪5》代表了一种游戏设计理念——它们可以提供大范围的内容和体验,允许玩家根据自己的时间安排筛选相关内容。(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

Passing time in videogames

by Randy Smith

On the quest to combine truth with entertainment, the ability to compress, expand and abstract reality is crucial. We bumped up against this while developing Waking Mars. Growing an alien seed to see what emerges would be amazing in real life, but when it comes to entertainment, you don’t want to wait weeks just to see vine tentacles poking up from the soil. Our solution was to present, without comment, the dubious vision that Martian flora grows in mere seconds. It illustrates the problem: reality is too slow to be entertainment, but entertainment can strain truth when it becomes too juicy and condensed. I started to wonder: do videogames have tools for time compression, anything as effective as other media?

My original comparison was with film, which skips through time and space easily. A cut from a day shot to a night shot of the same village shows time has passed. Consider the training montage where the pupil learns sword fighting. We see the condensed version – only the most representative and interesting bits – and jump ahead to the conclusion. Months of fictional time pass in moments. The magic of time compression makes this sequence both brief and believable. Literature, however, can perform even mightier feats. ‘After his ordeal at the orphanage, Miles lived in constant anxiety as a lonely porter and died of tuberculosis in 1918.’ And literature can go both ways, if desired, unpacking a handful of seconds into a huge quantity of events and observations.

Slowing down seconds reminded me of Max Payne’s Bullet Time, a fabulous example of time manipulation in games. It inherits primarily from film’s slow motion, a straightforward way to create time expansion. So could fast-forwarding provide good time compression for games? There are examples: simulations such as The Sims, or Osmos, which features a slow-to-fast slider for simulation speed. But it’s less appropriate for avatar games such as Waking Mars. Planting seeds and then watching your avatar’s sped up idle loop as plants grow in fast-forward still sounds neither believable nor engaging. The goal is to avoid depicting every second, since most are irrelevant. Far Cry 2 is an example where sleeping enables you to skip time, but is there a way to do this when a player’s fictionally awake?

I was reminded of where the Ultima series had got to by Ultima IX. In 1999, Origin Systems leveraged improved 3D graphics and seamless travel to portray a more realistic world. It was breathtaking to see castles towering over me and rivers bubbling under bridges. But then I headed into the woods to walk to an adjacent town. It turned out there were about two dozen trees between Britain and Paws, and I managed to bump into each of them. Because walking through woods in real time wasn’t fun, villages were barely a mile apart. Because houses were expensive to model, there were only a few per village. The ambition of spelling out an entire globe one plant, stone, and building at a time robbed the game of both playability and realism. Whereas in earlier Ultimas I was on an epic adventure spanning continents, now I was in a medieval theme park with tree roots as my most daunting foe. It was a serious breakdown of compression and abstraction.

Comparatively, the classic Ultimas, say IV and V, provided an amazing example of effective time compression. In Ultima IV, you walk from one town to another on a journey that takes days of game time, but only a few rapid button presses from you. On a world-map-like view, you see you’ve journeyed through a vast forest without having to prove you can navigate past each tree.

The sun rises and sets, your party eats meals, and other less pertinent events happen automatically, contributing to a weighty sense of long-distance travel with the tedium abstracted out.

When something interesting occurs, such as an ambush, you zoom in for finer control and detail. A similarly effective solution is employed when you enter a town. Time and space become more granular, so you can watch citizens go about their lives. This modal adjusting of scale to correspond with the contextually relevant details is how time compression is achieved without breaking continuity or resorting to weird fast-forwarding.

I’d say the final word comes from Rogue and its kin. Rogue featured a control that essentially meant ‘keep doing this and make the obvious decisions until something interesting happens’.

With it, you could proceed instantly down corridors until you encountered an item, threat, or side passage. You could stumble through a dark room until you reached something. It had the opposite result of the low-importance, continual clicking of Diablo.

Everything in Rogue can be compressed, and when played well the routine moving, fighting, and searching blurs past at lightning speed, the game only slowing when difficult problems and important decisions arise. Rogue and Ultima IV/V embody an ideal of game design – they’re able to provide a wide-ranging scale of content and experience that filters itself gracefully to the parts that most merit your time.(source:edge-online


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