《Slay With Santa》开发者分享游戏制作过程
每一款电子游戏都为玩家设置了奖励。不管是一些可察觉到的功能，如经验值，或隐藏在图像游戏最后的关键信息，这都是推动着玩家继续游戏的重要元素。尽管很多人都认为游戏只需要具有“乐趣”，而不需要任何可激励玩家的元素——但是它也暗示着游戏机制中存在着奖励元素。为了更好地阐述本篇文章的主题，我想在此分析我与Wayne Marsh在极为紧张的时间框架内所创造的最新游戏《Slay With Santa》。
任何开发过游戏的人都清楚，在经历了几周的灵感匮乏后，总是会突然蹦出一个好点子。而当我与Wayne却非常幸运，因为当我们决定创造一款以圣诞节为主题的游戏时便立刻明确了游戏的核心理念，并围绕着这一理念创造出了最终的《Slay With Santa》。
我们的游戏《Slay With Santa》是围绕着射击僵尸，grubfish，挥舞着双手的姜饼人，以及我最喜欢的恐怖球展开。这些是完成游戏的必要元素。我们知道自己并未拥有太多的时间去制作游戏，所以比起构思一个较长的情节或大范围的地图，我们最终选定了一个简单的双屏幕游戏领域。
因为《Slay With Santa》是一款小游戏，它就需要利用一些额外的元素去吸引玩家的注意。Wayne投入了大量时间去确保游戏的核心（即平台）足够有趣。通过不断优化游戏引擎让玩家能够从平台底端跳到最上方，而不像许多基于浏览器的平台游戏那样，会让玩家在向上跳跃时撞到头部。
《Toss The Turtle》通过悬挂着胡萝卜向玩家承诺这是他们能够触及的距离；《愤怒的小鸟》未提醒玩家他们将获得一个新角色的做法便暗示着将出现额外的破坏性；《城堡毁灭者》不只拥有可爱的故事，同时还设置了可购买的道具，以及公开的属性增强内容。
另一方面，让我们着眼于能够提升游戏“粘性”的非间接奖励。就拿《Thomas Was Alone》来说吧，乍看之下这是一款乏味的独立平台游戏，但当我们深入游戏时会发现它比屏幕上看到的有内涵多了。当我们仔细观察游戏的发展时，我们会发现它是逐步引进各种新角色去帮助玩家解决谜题，并呈现出一个非常有趣的故事让玩家沉浸于其中。
Slay With Santa: Designing an Addictive Minigame
By Chaz Carter
At the core of every video game lies reward for the player. Whether this is an observable feature like experience points, or a message laying dormant in an art game until the final chapter, as players we need a reason to continue playing. It’s common to argue that a game need only be “fun”, without requiring a driving motivation to continue play – but even this suggests that factors within the game mechanic itself reward the player. In order to unravel the formula of these time sinks, I shall dissect my latest game Slay With Santa, created within a very tight time frame with the brilliant Wayne Marsh.
Anyone who develops games knows that a good idea can come in an instant after weeks of absent inspiration. When Wayne and I decided we’d like to make a Christmas themed game, we were lucky enough to instantly think of the core idea of what would eventually become Slay With Santa.
What was even clearer, in our short brainstorm, was that because we’d afforded ourselves nothing short of a pressing time frame with which to complete the game in (the two weeks leading up to Christmas) the game had to orbit around a rewarding game loop which basically ‘fed itself’. In real terms, that means that certain elements of the gameplay had to complement what was already happening to propel the gameplay forward.
I’m not a huge fan of rhetoric so allow me to illustrate exactly what I’m talking about:
Our game, Slay With Santa, centres around nothing more than shooting zombies, grubfish, dual wielding gingerbread men, and my personal favourite, Horrorballs. This is essentially the complete game in a nutshell. We knew we had little time to make the game, so rather than come up with a long plot or extensive map to traverse, we settled on a simple two-screen arena.
To further establish the foundations of our game, there were some vital inclusions, not least of which was meticulous balancing. For now, let’s focus on what we included at the start of the development process to enhance a simple two-screen shooter and make it as addictive as we could.
It is of course vital that as Slay With Santa is essentially a minigame, it has to be compelling to play prior to the addition of bells and whistles. Wayne spent considerable time making the core of the game – platforming – fun. The engine was completely polished and allowed for situations such as jumping from underneath a platform and landing on top of it, unlike many browser based platform games that make you bump your head if you hit it from underneath.
As it was set in a winter hinterland, I animated small touches such as clouds of cold breath, gun smoke, snow effects for running, jumping and landing, bullet shells that embedded themselves in the snow and some other little details. We also made sure that the shooting felt nice and chunky, prior to adding in any enemies. This was to ensure that the most important part of the game, shooting, was fun even before we added any obstacles.
The four types of enemies cover every base to present the player with a challenge: Range, Speed, Power and Height.
Zombies are slow and plentiful.
Grubfish are slightly faster, but are weaker and have a harmful poison puke attack that can be performed at range (sounds lovely, I know).
Horrorballs fly above you and swoop down to chew you up if you get in their eyeline; however, you can also use them to your advantage by bouncing on the top of them or squishing them against platforms for bonus points.
The gingerbread men stride about the landscape while dual wielding pistols. They’re fast, they’re scary, and they have a long range.
With the enemies added in, we had a fun mechanic working in a challenging 2D playing field. What was just as important was how fun it was to take these enemies out; they felt nice and juicy as particles flew around and splat sounds panned between the left and right audio channels.
Scoring and Levelling
Destroying enemies gains experience points for the players, who can spot their progress and current level at all times, as the top of the screen details what the next automatically unlocked ability is. We also included a score counter in the form of presents, which only zombies drop, and directly fed that into a worded ranking upon getting K.O’d to encourage another go.
As zombies occupy the lower tier only, and presents are the method for which we base the player’s score, it provides a reason for the player not to ‘camp’ at the top of the stage, and simply keep attacking the Horrorballs: doing so would leave you scoreless and with a heavily populated zombie occupation down below. This also forces players to move around the level and collect presents before they fade away, once again balancing experience farming and score harvesting at the same time.
A Broader Look
Those three core aspects make up what I believe to be a great formula for encouraging the ‘just one more go’ mentality that makes a game addictive. If we look at other successful games that use rewarding game loops or mechanics we can see the simplicity that compels players to continue.
Toss The Turtle constantly dangles a carrot which promises further reachable distances, Angry Birds doesn’t take long to remind you that you’ll soon get a new character heralding extra destructive possibilities, and Castle Crashers has not only a cute story but also purchasable items, unlockables and attribute enhancements.
So when you have a prototype of a game but aren’t sure where to go with it, one approach is to use some of the variables as “currency”. This basically means allowing the player to make their character faster, or able to jump higher, after completing a set goal such as completing missions or collecting money from the enemies they destroy. They then advance to another round where they continue doing more of the same.
On the other hand, let’s look at an indirect reward which contributes towards what the industry calls a game’s ‘stickiness’. Thomas Was Alone, at first glance an apparently bland indie platformer, reveals itself to be substantially more than what you could glean from screenshots. Look into how the game progresses, and we see the gradual introduction of new characters that can help solve puzzles, married to a charming narrative which sucks the players into its fiction.
Braid features the latter but with a unique hook in the form of time manipulation to assist in puzzle solving. And as frustrating as it is, we can use Super Meat Boy as an example of a game that pushes the player to keep trying thanks to the way it instantly resets the character’s position directly after dying; players know that once they finally complete the level, they will be able to see their progression and are rewarded with the satisfaction of being able to view said progress layered in the unique real time replays.
It sounds obvious, but a unique game hook can make the difference between an addictive game and one that gets overlooked or doesn’t retain the player’s attention as much as is possible.
Adding certain elements to your game, from upgrades and levelling up to unique game hooks and a compelling narrative, helps to keep your players’ attention firmly focussed on repeat play; they are the difference between an addictive, fun game and a badly built, aimless one.
What might they unlock next? How will the story unfold? It’s important to keep the aforementioned proverbial ‘carrot-on-a-stick’ well and truly dangling ahead of what is already laid out in your game. Alternatively, should you not wish to take this advice, you could always make an app where you dress up a biscuit.(source:tutsplus)