作者：Bill Tiller, Larry Ahern
在过去9年里，Larry Ahern和我与许多不同的冒险游戏设计师都合作过，并致力于多款冒险游戏中。在所有的这些项目中，我们都做出了巨大的贡献。Larry甚至与Jonathan Ackly共同设计了《猴岛的诅咒》。在致力于这些项目的过程中，我们学到了关于这一游戏类型的各种内容，包括这些基本冒险游戏设计的“规则”，或者你可以将其当成是“有效的建议。”似乎对于冒险游戏这一灵活的类型来说“规则”这一词不是很合适。但不管怎样这些“规则”也可以成功地应用于其它游戏类型中。——Bill Tiller
我们便从Luke Skywalker（游戏邦注：《星球大战》中的角色）身上找到了许多共同点，即我们不愿意按照父母的要求去做些无聊的事，希望去探索世界并不断冒险。Luke也一直在梦想与现实间的抗衡中挣扎着。当他的姑姑和姑父被杀死时，我们真的感受到他的可怜，并希望他能够去报仇。在《猴岛的诅咒》中，Guybrush Threepwood希望成为一名海盗。一开始一切都很平静，但是当他迷上了Elaine并与Fester Shinetop展开冲突时，游戏才真正变得有趣。而当坏人为了绑架Elaine并强迫她与自己结婚而想把Guybrush淹死时，游戏变得更加戏剧化了。
如果玩家在游戏一开始便问“我要做什么？”的话，你的游戏就有问题了。不管是由导师引导玩家进行冒险，角色请求帮助还是直接将玩家置于危险中，你都需要提供一些明确的内容去推动他们朝着准确的方向前进。在《猴岛的诅咒》中，总会出现一个善良的Voodoo Lady去提醒玩家他的目标。有说服力就代表着信息足够明确切富有逻辑。所以如果我给那个老人一个神圣的树根，他就会告诉我城堡的秘密出口。这种设置非常直接。但是如果我递给他的是普通的原木，他便会栓上通道的大门，从而让所有的一切变得更加混乱且让人困惑。为了在一开始进行尝试，玩家该如何知道事情的发展？确保目标是容易管理的。就像在《Full Throttle》中，为了逃离城镇，Mellonweed Ben必须获得三件物品：汽油，切碎器的新刀叉，以及喷灯。这是一个容易管理的任务。而如果说Ben还需要获得油脂去涂抹链子，灯泡用于前照灯，火花塞以及催化转化器等内容，那么任务将变得更加繁琐切难以控制。这便会导致玩家将慢慢忘记自己真正致力的任务，并因为未获得真正的前进而感到厌烦。
21 Adventure game design tips
Written by Bill Tiller, Larry Ahern
Over the past nine years Larry Ahern and I have worked with many different adventure game designers and on many adventure games. We both contributed heavily to the game designs for all those projects. Larry even got to co designed The Curse of Monkey Island with Jonathan Ackly. During those projects we have learned a lot about the genre including these basic adventure game design ‘rules’, or you could just consider them ‘strong suggestions’. The word ‘rules’ seem a bit strong for such a flexible genre as adventure games. Also many of these ‘rules’ can be applied successfully to other game genres as well.
- Bill Tiller
1) Show the barrier before you show the way to overcome it.
Clearly define the problem before you send the player looking for solutions. If the goal of the level is to save the princess, use a cinematic at the beginning showing the villain carrying her off to his castle. When the section becomes playable, it’s very clear that the player needs to get into the castle and save her. The “how” part is the game.
2) Don’t wear out the player character’s shoes.
Keep locations close or make shortcuts to get to those locations. Edit out the tedium. When films portray characters doing legwork, they edit it down to key points that convey the necessary information. Make that interactive via portals or shortcuts that bypass the uneventful 20-minute walk across town to the crucial clue. Also, if a player solves a puzzle for one item in a sequence, don’t make him repeat the same solution for the remaining items unless there’s some potential for variation (just cut away to the conclusion).
3) Keep the player entertained even when they are not solving puzzles.
Make sure there are other things for the player to do and see when the puzzles have them stumped. This can range from mini-games, to interactive toys, to interactive dialogues with NPC’s, to exploration, to viewing active elements of your living, breathing game world.
4) Reward the player with animated sequences, new areas, or new powers for solving major puzzles.
Players want to feel a sense of accomplishment, so don’t just show them the same overused reach animation when the character finds an object that changes the course of the game. If it’s a big deal, there should be a resulting dramatic animation payoff and then possibly some new territory, both physically and interactively, to explore. Other reward ideas include a point system with bonuses, new playable characters to unlock, bonus levels, new physical appearances for player characters, or access to behind-the-scenes or ‘making of’ materials for viewing after the game.
5) Show the consequences of the Player Character’s actions.
If he foils a villain’s plans, show how it affects the villain. If a player cuts off the power to a building, show how that affects the people inside. If the player releases a hideous voodoo curse, leaving a swath of death and destruction in its wake, by all means let the player visit that swath and suffer at the hands of the curse’s survivors!
6) Provide subtle but entertaining and clear clues to give the player a fighting chance at solving the puzzles.
Don’t try to create any ultimate stumpers. Puzzles in these games are challenging enough without a little help from the designer. The path to a solution should be fun, whether the player rushes down it because the way is immediately clear to them, or whether they’re unsure of the direction and are forced to search around a bit. There should be fun in the tangents and detours, and often this is where much of the character and detail of your world exist. Take advantage of it.
7) Vary the puzzle types and styles throughout the game to keep things fresh.
Repetition is boring and can discourage people from playing your game. But if the puzzles are unusual and unexpected, players will be intrigued and stick with your game much longer. Don’t be afraid to use arcade or platform style puzzles too, as long as they aren’t too hard and can be bypassed by those who don’t like this style of puzzle.
8) Make the player care by creating drama and empathy.
We all relate to Luke Skywalker because we hate doing boring chores for our parents and would rather go off exploring the world and seeking adventure. We empathize with him and his dreams vs. the reality of his tedious existence. Then when his aunt and uncle are killed we really feel bad for him and want him to have revenge more then ever. In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush Threepwood just wants to be a pirate. That’s good enough for starters, but the game really gets interesting when he falls for Elaine and comes into conflict with Fester Shinetop. The drama kicks in when the villain attempts to drown Guybrush in order to kidnap and marry Elaine himself.
9) Let players interact with the villain.
Don’t have him commit a terrible crime at the beginning, then sit in his hideout until the end of the game waiting for the player to come to him. Design multiple confrontations that build in intensity. The villain should react to the hero’s progress, trying to stop him or slow him down, and their conflict should evolve. This doesn’t necessarily mean that players need to chat with the bad guy every 5 minutes (too much access destroys the illusion of threat), but there should be confrontations, reactions, twists, turns, reversals and the like, as well as interactions with his lieutenants and cronies.
10) Use interesting situations, NPC’s and dialogue to transform even your most rudimentary puzzles into entertaining gameplay.
If you have a standard lock and key puzzle, at least make the person with the key unusual and entertaining. For example, the voodoo villagers in The Secret of Monkey Island took the cannibal stereotype and turned it on its head-they wanted to eat you, but had recently become vegetarians in order to limit their cholesterol intake.
11) Design puzzles and locations to minimize small, single-use animations.
Animation is expensive, so save your animation budget for rewards and sequences that the player will see multiple times.
12) Use the language of film.
Edit the game the way a film or TV show is edited. Our visual language is a familiar style taught to us through TV and film and perfected over the last 100 years. It is the clearest most effective way to speak to your audience. For example, if the player is following an NPC to a certain location with no opportunity to interact en route, then don’t show them walking all the way over there. Watching people walk is boring. Instead, use a film editing trick called a ‘cut’, to instantly transport them to their destination. Players understand what happened and can fill in the blanks, as well as realize that action’s lack of significance. There are a lot more rules about film language but it would take another article to list them all. I suggest anyone who wants to learn these get a book on the subject or take a class at a local junior college.
13) Listen to everyone’s ideas and pick out the good ones that match your vision.
Despite the fact that many games have one person’s name on the cover, it most certainly doesn’t mean that that person came up with every idea themselves. Nor usually does it mean he wrote all 7,000 to 10,000 lines of dialogue typical to an adventure game. Most production staffs include designers, scripters, writers, artists, and testers that help come up with all the ideas. It’s the team leader’s job to elicit, inspire, encourage, nurture and direct these ideas (along with a healthy dose of his own), and then keep the ones that fit with his image of the game, and set aside the ones that don’t.
14) Plan ahead when designing your game, and be realistic about what you can achieve.
Completing a small, solid project is better than having a grand vision never realized. I’ve done the latter myself when I was younger, and have seen many a film student’s work go unfinished after realizing he’d bitten off more than he could chew. Meanwhile, filmmakers who did work that was short but brilliant were often rewarded with bigger budgets the next time and went on to create their grand vision.
15) Don’t tease the player with things they can’t access.
The most interesting place in the game should be right where the action is, or where it’s going. Do not show anything in the background that is too distracting, confusing, or intriguing unless you are going to let the player interact with it eventually.
16) Don’t underestimate the importance of music, voice acting, and sound effects.
Music sets the mood and the emotional state for your game. Sound effects make your images come to life. Great character voices are so very important. Be especially careful whom you cast as your main characters. A miscast lead character with an irritating or otherwise inappropriate voice can ruin an otherwise successful game. Great casting choices, on the other hand, elevate a pretty good game to a higher level.
17) Games are about wish fulfillment, so don’t let the gameplay feel mundane or like work.
The player doesn’t want to be reminded of his life, he wants to do something exciting for the short period of time he is playing your game, whether it’s saving the world or just wearing someone else’s shoes for awhile. Some games let you play the hero, while others, such as The Sims revolve around more mundane activity, but players get to be someone else and do things they couldn’t or wouldn’t do in real life. That is the aspect of wish fulfillment. You’ll notice that there is no expansion pack called The Sims: Commute to Work.
18) Make the quests clear, cogent and manageable.
If the player asks at the beginning of the game “what do I do?” you have a serious problem. Whether it’s a mentor sending players toward the adventure, a character’s plea for help, or putting the player character’s butt on the line, something needs to clearly propel them in the right direction. In the Monkey Island games there is always the good ole’ Voodoo Lady to remind the player of his goals. Cogency means clear and logical. So, if I give the old man a sacred root he will tell me about the secret entrance to the castle. That is pretty straight forward. But if I have to push him over a log so his arm accidentally triggers the secret latch to the passageway, then things are getting a little muddled and confusing. Why can’t the player push the lever himself? How is the player supposed to know that this is going to happen in order to be motivated to try it in the first place? Make sure the goal is manageable. In Full Throttle, in order to escape the town of Mellonweed Ben has to get three things: gas, new forks for his chopper, and a blowtorch. This is a manageable quest. But let’s say for a moment that Ben also needed to get grease for his chain, light bulbs for his head light, spark plugs, a catalytic converter etc. That might be too much, and too hard to manage. Eventually, players will start to forget which quest they are actually on and get bored with the lack of real progress.
19) Don’t waste the players’ money with multiple solutions to a single puzzle.
If you animate both solutions the player is probably only going to see one of those animations, but he paid for both when he bought the game. However, do provide payoffs for failed attempts-this is a great chance to build character. If there are obvious (but incorrect) solutions that most players will try, make sure there are some entertaining animations of the Player Character failing. Players will be bored out of their minds if your character stands there and says, “That won’t work” to all but the correct answer.
20) Never give the player a tool that can too easily be used to solve a number of puzzles (e.g. a gun, some dynamite, a blowtorch).
Make the items very puzzle specific-unique to that problem. Also, make sure it seems somewhat reasonable within the fiction that items like these wouldn’t be available to your character (you wouldn’t want a game whose central character was a mobster, if you are going to have him solving lots of obscure lock-and-key puzzles. He’d most likely have a gun). In Full Throttle the designers knew allowing Ben to hold onto the blowtorch would let him get into the junkyard and the gas tower, and generally cause a big ruckus. So to prevent this, as soon as the player finds the blowtorch, the game cuts to Mo’s shop and plays a cinematic of Ben handing it over to help with the repairs. There was never an opportunity for the player to use the blowtorch to solve puzzles.
21) Have fun.
If you aren’t having fun with your game, most likely your players won’t either. If you enjoy what you’re doing and like the work you’re producing, it will probably show in the final product.(source:adventuredevelopers)