John Romero与Brenda Brathwaithe分享游戏设计见解
游戏设计界两大传奇人物John Romero与Brenda Brathwaithe曾在科斯威理工大学SBIGDA举办的见面会上与游戏设计师们分享了他们在该领域的经验。我们从中获得不少感悟，以下选自其中的关键要点。
John在设计过程中开创了一种游戏设计思潮，名为Romero Archives，即讲述游戏设计历史。当前有关游戏历史的保护工作仅局限在收藏硬件、游戏、磁盘，但至今为止，无人知晓游戏构造背后的故事。对大部分游戏设计师而言，游戏是种艺术形式。这并非基于屏幕上呈现的原始画面，或游戏中精巧制作的声音与音乐。Brenda指出：“游戏是由一系列规则构成，这促使其区别于其它艺术形式。”而游戏设计是定义这些规则的过程。如我之后提到的，如果没有完美构造的核心游戏机制，玩家将不会沉浸在游戏中，即使John Williams为其作曲，或宫本茂为其绘图。
也就是说，最终，游戏是为了满足人类欲望，消除负面情绪。John解释道，游戏中存在两种人类互动的核心形式——创造与破坏。在《The Sims Social》这类游戏中，玩家的行动旨在按一定顺序建造游戏。而在第一人称射击游戏（John倡导的题材）中，玩家的行动则由大脑欲望驱使，即通过消灭所有坏人完成整道关卡。
在Brenda制作的非电子游戏系列《The Mechanic is the Message》中，每个安装模式均是同个游戏机制的衍生物。比如，《Train》（2009）模拟在大屠杀中运输犯人，其中，玩家行动是由甲板上抽到的卡片规则决定。如该游戏博文中指出：
“《The Mechanic is the Message》通过游戏这种介质捕获并传达出不同体验模式。如同相片、图画、文学与音乐这些媒介能够在人与人之间传递人类的整个经历，出色的游戏设计同样具有此功能。这种安装模式表明，由于具有互动性，该游戏具有更高层次的交流形式，即玩家会积极参与其中，逐渐融合并成为游戏的一部分，而不是被动的旁观者。”
Game Design Insights from John Romero & Brenda Brathwaithe
Last night, the legendary duo of John Romero and Brenda Brathwaite shared their experiences in game design to an intimate crowd of aspiring game designers at the Cogswell Polytechnical College at an SVIGDA-hosted event. We learned a lot from the event and wanted to share some key takeaways with you.
IMMORTALIZING GAME DESIGN: IT’S A FORM OF ART
John is in the process of creating a game design zeitgeist, dubbed the Romero Archives, that tells the history of game design. Current preservation efforts of game history collect copies of hardware, games, disks, but until now, no one has captured the stories behind the games built.For most game designers, games are a form of art. This is not because of the pristine graphics you see on your screens, or the artfully composed in-game sounds and music. As Brenda described, “a game is about the rules set, which separate games from other forms of art.” Game design is the process of defining those rules. As I describe later, without a perfectly crafted core game mechanic, players won’t be captivated by your game even if John Williams composes your score, and if Shigeru Miyamoto draws your art.
DO GAMES NEED TO BE DESIGNED FOR “FUN”?
“People play games for different reasons,” explained John, and “fun means to be engaged,” added Brenda. People play games to distract them from their daily grind, play games to learn, play games to laugh, and play games to be afraid (Ghost Recon scares the crap out of Brenda). You can design games for all of these things.
That said, ultimately games are trying to deal with the human desire to clean things up. John explains that there are two core human interactions in games, creation and destruction. In games like The Sims Social, the player’s actions aim to organize the game in a way that creates order. And in first person shooters, the genre that John pioneered, the player’s action is driven by the brain’s desire to clean up the level by killing all the bad guys.
THE GAME MECHANIC IS THE MESSAGE
If you are not familiar with Brenda’s work, she is creating non-digital game series called The Mechanic is the Message, where each installation of the series drills down on a single game mechanic. For example, Train (2009) is a game that simulates the transportation of prisoners during the Holocaust (WSJ Interview), where a player action is determine by a series of rules on cards that you draw from a deck. As described in the game’s blog:
“The Mechanic is the Message captures and expresses difficult experiences through the medium of a game. Much like photographs, paintings, literature and music are capable of transmitting the full range of the human experience from one human to another, so too can well designed games. Due to their interactivity, the installation suggests that games are capable of a higher form of communication, one which actively engages the participant and makes them a part of the experience rather than a passive observer.”
SECOND-TO-SECOND PLAY: CORE GAMEPLAY MATTERS
John warns that under no circumstances should “waterfall development” be a part of your game design process. Good game design requires the game to be built AROUND the core game mechanic and not derived from it. Don’t let your game be constrained by giant game design docs.“Focus on second-to-second play first. Nail it,” Brenda says, “If your second-to-second play doesn’t work, nothing else matters.” Game design is meant to constantly captivate. Whether your core mechanic is the cadence of how you interact with the game (think L.A. Noire) or how a player navigates the world (think Portal), without properly developing these essential components, your game will cease to captivate.
FINISH YOUR GAME, THEN START TAKING THINGS OUT
Another key insight from John Romero was that features only serve to make games more confusing and complicated. Once you have finished your game, you should go back through it with a fine-toothed comb and eliminate excess features with prejudice. For every UI button or additional menu option, you need to ask yourself: is there a way that I can integrate this into gameplay? The goal is to make your game’s interface exceedingly simply so that the player can focus on the game and not on the menus.
These were just some of the great game design insights that we got from John Romero and Brenda Bathwaite. We highly recommend that you follow John and Brenda on Twitter, and we echo Ann’s sentiment that both John’s blog and Brenda’s blog are must-reads on game design and game mechanics. You can also follow Betable for more game design insights that we gather from the best in the industry.(source:blog.betable)