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游戏设计可适当令玩家“丧失”控制权

发布时间:2013-08-02 17:36:05 Tags:,,

作者:Ben Serviss

你玩的每一款电子游戏都与“控制”有关。如果某种媒体可以称得上是电子游戏而不是电影或动画,那么它必然包含至少一个玩家、一种允许产生交互作用的输入机制——或者说,是控制器。

为了克服挑战、进展到下一关或精通游戏,你必须控制你的周围事物,比如打败BOSS、通关、解决谜题等。如果你失去对情节的控制,那么挑战就要重新开始,你必须再试一次,直到你解决问题。

然而在现实生活中,我们并非总是拥有控制权。对于焦虑症患者和控制狂,知道什么时候应该承认事态已经超出自己的控制范围是成为一个成熟的成年人的关键环节。游戏通常有助于治疗这些心理障碍,然而大部分针对更有经验的玩家的游戏往往用掩饰这种潜能、倾向于求稳求妥,放弃改变玩家人生的机会。

heavy-rain-mall-scene(from gamasutra)

heavy-rain-mall-scene(from gamasutra)

(在《暴雨》中,玩家经常遇到让他们措手不及的情节。)

在几乎所有电子游戏中,你都会因为失去控制权而受到惩罚。是不是很有意思?

对于玩家,准确无误的控制是王道,且在功能水平上,控制的反应必须快。

然而,当你把电子游戏与桌面游戏相比较时,你会发现一件有趣的事。在电子游戏中,你总是发现自己因为好胜的对手或环境障碍物而失去控制权。

那些运气不好、策略失误或对手太强的玩家很快会发现自己受制于更有经验的玩家,但如果游戏的设计得够好的话,他们还是有希望扭转局势的。对于这些游戏,缺少控制权不是一个输/赢情况,而是一个逐渐改变整个游戏过程的体验。

然而在大多数电子游戏中,这些动态通常被压缩为一个草率的结论:玩家是否达到控制情节的要求。甚至在具有更多模糊选择的游戏中,如传统的RPG或偏动作类的剧情游戏如《质量效应》,这些更加自由的选项却被置于主要玩法的情境之外。

换句话说,无论你选择怎么处理某个对话事件,你仍然必须赢得所有战斗,否则你的一方就输了,你就得重新加载保存好的游戏了。玩家必须具有控制权才能按自己的心意把游戏玩下去。

heavy-rain-robbery(from gamasutra)

heavy-rain-robbery(from gamasutra)

(《暴雨》是例外,它允许玩家坚持自己的决定,即使是错误的决定。)

不能保证玩家具有角色控制权的游戏很少,所以更加值得研究一番。

《Condemned 2: Bloodshot》在这方面做了有意义的尝试。游戏一开始,你的角色是一名落破的的FBI兼酒鬼。当你玩游戏时,画面会经常变得模糊不清,除非角色喝酒才能恢复视野。这是一个有创意的设定,但因为与机制的关系太单一,所以浪费了这个想法背后的意义。

独立游戏设计师Lars Doucet用他的原型《Tourette’s Quest》也做了相同的实验。在这款“塞尔达传说”式的游戏中,你的角色患有不受你控制的小儿抽动症。你如何避免战斗、抑制病症——给游戏体验增加了另一层动态。

《行尸走肉》非常好地处理了玩家控制权这个传统的概念。在僵尸大乱斗的背景下,你要经常与故事的中心角色对话,你对情境很少有真正的控制权,因为角色会根据你与他们之前的互动做出意料之外的举动。借助Telltale精妙的脚本和机制,游戏世界和角色似乎是根据你的行为寻找线索,然后自主行动。

但如果有人把这个概念进一步运用,会怎么样呢?玩家角色自己会注意玩家对他的所做所为,这种游戏会怎么样?如果当你经常做出玩弄游戏的动作——让角色不断地跳跃或旋转、跑圈圈、打墙踢墙等,你的角色会对你的行为感到惊恐,会怎么样呢?

假设你要跳过一个壁架——这在第三人称动作游戏中经常遇到,如果这个动作会损作角色的膝盖,当你按下按钮时,角色不愿意再跳壁架,那又会怎么样呢?

battle-decision(from gamasutra)

battle-decision(from gamasutra)

(如果玩家的决定对自己的角色有害,那会怎么样呢?)

或者,在一个策略游戏中,玩家扮演一个指挥官,你做了一个会导致两艘战舰被破坏的错误决定,会怎么样?如果你的角色被你的糟糕命令感到迷惑,会怎么样?如果角色的罪恶感影响他对未来情况的判断,导致他做出一般情况下会不同于玩家的决定现在几乎与玩家的决定几乎一样,会怎么样?

或者,如果在某游戏中,你扮演一个配角,你的任务是帮助一个AI控制的主角达成他的目标和支持他的决定,会怎么样?

或者,如果你在游戏中扮演一个老年人,你的身体越来越不听使唤了,只有通过讲你自己过去的经历给年轻人听,你的年轻的自我才会被召唤出来成为可操作角色,去完成你的目标,然而这完全取决于这个年轻的自我是否关注维持它本身存在的故事,会怎么样?

控制权、失去控制权和当别无选择时接受失去控制权的现实,是值得在游戏中探索的人生技能。游戏提供的这种角色扮演机会,创造了这么多种体验,这是传统的非交互性媒体做不到的事。

然而近年来,我们的实验变得更大胆了。《暴雨》的出乎意料的成功证明了,玩家要求更能唤起情绪的、更有助于培养成年人敏感性的体验。

头戴显示器Oculus Rift的出现可能宣告另一种游戏类型——“观察者游戏”的诞生。在这种游戏中,你唯一的任务就是观察,观察不同的空间,不需要执行对周围物事和玩家角色的控制(这是我们对几十年的游戏常规的期待)。

想象一下,你只要存在于游戏中,你就是在玩游戏了。

这一切都始于你放下控制器的那一刻。(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

Giving Up Control to Grow as Gamers

by Ben Serviss

The following blog was, unless otherwise noted, independently written by a member of Gamasutra’s game development community. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of Gamasutra or its parent company.

Want to write your own blog post on Gamasutra? It’s easy! Click here to get started. Your post could be featured on Gamasutra’s home page, right alongside our award-winning articles and news stories.

This article originally appeared on dashjump.com.

In Heavy Rain, players were faced with scenarios they were frequently unprepared for.

Every video game you’ve ever played is about control. If something is even to qualify as a video game as opposed to machinima or animation, there needs to be at least one player, and there needs to be an input mechanism in order to enact agency. In other words, a controller.

But it goes further than just semantics – in order to pass a challenge, to progress to the next level or to master a game, you must demonstrate control over your surroundings. Defeat the boss. Complete the level. Solve the puzzle. Should you fail to control the scenario asked of you, the challenge is reset and you must try again until you dominate the problem with a solution.

Yet in life, we don’t always have control. For the perennially anxious and the control freaks, the benefits of maturity and knowing when to acknowledge when things are beyond our means to control them are critical parts of becoming a well-rounded adult. Games certainly have the power to alter troublesome habits, yet games that aim for a more sophisticated consumer tend to gloss over the massive amount of potential to tap into this rite of passage. Instead, for the most part, would-be ‘mature’ titles ignore these opportunities, preferring to play it safe, passing up chances to give us potentially life-changing lessons.

You are punished for losing control in almost every video game you have ever played. Isn’t that interesting?

Pick Any Card (Until You Pick the Right One)

For players, tight controls are always something to be desired, and on a functional level, controls need to be responsive in order to actually play the thing.

However, an interesting thing happens when you compare video games to board and tabletop games. In these types of games, you can constantly find yourself losing control as you’re beset by competing players or environmental obstacles.

Players struck by bad luck, poor strategy or a group of more experienced competitors can quickly find themselves at the mercy of more dominant players – though if the game is well designed, they’ll always have some kind of hope for the tables to turn. For these games, a lack of control isn’t a win/lose condition, but a gradient of experience that changes throughout the course of the game.

Whereas in most video games, these dynamics are usually distilled to a curt summation of whether the player has met the requirements to control a scenario or not. Even in games that incorporate more vague decisions, like traditional RPGs or more action-oriented narrative games like Mass Effect, these more open-ended choices lie outside the context of the main gameplay.

In other words, no matter how you choose to handle a particular dialog sequence, you still have to win all of your battles or your party dies and you have to reload a saved game. The player must be in control in order to play the game as intended.

Heavy Rain is a notable exception to the trend, allowing players’ decisions to stick with them even if they were ‘wrong.’

Press X to Pull Yourself Together

Rare instances where the player’s control over his character is not guaranteed are worth investigating.

Condemned 2: Bloodshot attempted an interesting wrinkle to this effect. Your character starts the game as a disgraced FBI agent and alcoholic, and as you play, the screen goes blurry and your aim deteriorates unless you drink alcohol pickups to restore your vision. It’s a novel twist, but with only a simple tie-in to the mechanics, the meaning behind it quickly dissipates.

Indie game designer Lars Doucet set out to create this exact kind of experiment with his prototype for Tourette’s Quest, a Zelda-style roguelike where your character experiences Tourette’s symptoms beyond the player’s control. How you choose to handle them – avoiding combat, attempting to suppress oncoming tics – adds another dynamic to what could very well stand in for a typical game experience.

The Walking Dead does an admirable job of playing with the traditional idea of player control. In the game’s chaotic zombie apocalypse setting, while you frequently talk with characters central to the story, you rarely have true control over a situation since characters may react in surprising ways depending on how you interacted with them earlier. Through Telltale’s masterful scripting and mechanics, the game’s world and characters seem to act on their own accord, taking cues from your actions.

Lose Yourself

But what if someone took this idea a step further? What if there was a game where the player’s character himself was paying attention to what the player was doing with him? What if when you did typically playful game actions – jumping or rolling incessantly, running in circles, punching and kicking walls just for fun – the player character was horrified at what you were making him do?

Say you went around jumping off ledges, as is common in third-person action games. What if this gradually hurt your character’s knees, making him more hesitant to jump when you pressed the button?

What if the player’s decisions had potentially traumatic effects on their character?

Or how about a strategy game where you play as a commander and you make a wrong decision that gets two of your battleships destroyed. What if your character was haunted by his bad call? What if his sense of guilt affected his judgment enough to cloud his future decisions, making normally distinct unit UI designations seem almost identical to the player?

Or a game where you play as a support character for an AI-controlled protagonist, and you’re tasked with helping them reach their goals and supporting their decisions?

Or a game where you play as an elderly person and your body doesn’t obey you as effectively as you’d like, and only by telling stories from your past to young people can your younger self be summoned as a playable character to accomplish your goals – yet it all relies on the young person paying attention to the story to sustain itself?

Let Go to Continue

The concept of control, of losing it and accepting the loss of it when there is truly no other action to take is an important life skill worthy of exploration in games. The power of agency that this medium offers makes so many potential experiences possible that just couldn’t exist in traditional non-interactive media.

Yet in recent years, our experiments have gotten bolder. The success of Heavy Rain against formidable odds validates the idea that gamers want more evocative experiences that play to more adult sensibilities.

The advent of the Oculus Rift may very well usher in a sub-genre of ‘observer games’ that play up the aspect of watching, of just being in a different kind of space, without having to exert the kind of exacting control over their surroundings and player characters that we’ve come to expect from decades of genre conventions.

Imagine that – a game that you play just by being.

And it all starts with putting the controller down.(source:gamasutra)


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