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《植物大战僵尸2》设计师谈新游戏特点

发布时间:2013-08-17 15:32:08 Tags:,,,,

作者:Jon Robinson

植物小心,有只新的僵尸正朝你哪个方向前进,这一次它带的武器是小鸡。

没错,当提到PopCap的《植物大战僵尸2:奇妙时空之旅》时,即他们之前发行的最受瞩目且让人上瘾的手机游戏的续集,游戏设计团队将僵尸放置在植物所看不到的地方。

艺术总监David Paul解释道:“鸡农会把一群鸡用铁丝捆在僵尸身上。如果你对他造成了巨大的伤害,他便会将小鸡砸向你。我们将这一攻击称为‘小鸡行动’。”

不过植物也不甘示弱,它们也拥有一些非常厉害的计划。

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

Paul笑着说:“寻找Bonk Choy(白菜搏击手)。我们的设计理念是创造出一些可以快速造成伤害的内容,但因为对象都很脆弱,所以我们更加担心这种伤害。我们经历了许多次迭代,并最终创造出一些强大的内容。我认为很多玩家都会喜欢这样的角色。”

创意总监Jeremy Vanhoozer说道:“我喜欢Bonk Choy不仅是因为他的混战,他的表情也是游戏中非常突出的一大元素。在游戏过程中,你将会发现他的目光到处扫射着,当你看到他时,你便会立马产生‘我喜欢这个人’的想法。在游戏中他散发着独特的人格魅力,因为他如此果敢,所以他看上去就像是能够带给你帮助的植物。我问过许多人,他们都表示喜欢Bonk Choy以及他的个性。”

带有个性的植物?装备着鸡的僵尸?PopCap的Paul和Vanhoozer将和我们分享更多他们疯狂的续集内容,奇思妙想的图像设计,以及免费模式所带来的利益。

Inside Mobile Apps:当你们尝试着创造第一款游戏的标志性图像风格,同时还在想办法添加自己的创新内容到续集时,你们承受着多大的压力。

David Paul:如果你将《植物大战僵尸》当成一本漫画书,那么公平地说,《植物大战僵尸2》便是星期六早上播的卡通片或最佳动画长片。

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

Jeremy Vanhoozer:这是关于保持《植物大战僵尸1》的魅力,即关于游戏的外观和感觉以及角色架构,但同时我们也想更好地完善它。我认为我们团队在这点上做得很好,即未改变内容的本质而有效地发展它们,同时还添加框架并进行优化,确保所有的内容都足够清晰整洁。

DP:我们拥有许多强大的动画系统,所以我们能够创造并有效地完善所有动画,我们真的对此感到非常骄傲。我们付出了巨大的努力,因此我们能够比一开始做得更好。

IMA:当你们在路上看到各种僵尸玩偶或玩具,甚至看到有人将《植物大战僵尸》的角色图案纹在自己的身上时,你们会有何感受?

DP:会被吓到吧,但同时也会因此而自喜。

JV:我认为对于任何图像设计师来说,每当我们看到自己创造的作品出现在公共场合,甚至变成一种流行文化,我们都会很高兴。几周前我们参加了一个动漫展,在那里看到了许多我们都非常喜欢的大品牌和知名角色,也有许多小孩来到我们的展台并表示非常喜欢我们的游戏,这真的是个非常棒的体验。我认为任何人都会为此感到自豪,不只是关于我们所创造的作品,还包括我们所组合的角色,而小孩们能够向你描述一些细节性的内容真的非常真实。听着他们诉说着自己喜欢的角色,坏蛋等等都是再真实不过的场景了。

DP:我们便遇到一个小孩,他应该算是世界上最忠实的《植物大战僵尸》粉丝。他拥有许多想法,同时他也是个积极的图像设计师,因为他告诉我们自己每天晚上都会认真画画,希望有一天能够梦想成真。对此我们都深有感触,而这也是在硬核游戏中所看不到的。

IMA:当你们在创造新的僵尸和植物时是从哪里获得灵感的?

DP:说实话,在图像和设计部门的创造过程中,理念都是来自任何地方,而未真正触及植物或僵尸。甚至在图像方面,我们所有的图像团队也并未真正碰触到所有的资产。我们拥有一些设计师负责创造90%的资产,然后我们便会着眼于这些资产而想办法去突出它们,我们还有一些设计师会进行尝试。也就是说每个人都有自己负责的任务,所以说我们的灵感是无处不在。

一个有效的例子便是在设置了2搜海盗船的海盗关卡中。这一理念是源自其中一位美术设计师,Mark Barrett。我们想要让2个海盗船相抗衡,所以他便绘制了相关场景,即在2艘船之间搭建了木板,然后作为设计团队的我们便会觉得‘嘿,这看起来好酷。’随后他们便会开始思考如何将这一木板机制整合到完整的关卡中。该理念是源自图像,然后通过完善而将其突显出来。其它时候,设计人员们总是非常清楚自己想要做些什么。就像在牛仔关卡中,他们希望植物能够四处移动,一开始我们便会想‘该如何做到这点?’这是在设置游戏设计的主题之前,所以我们并不知道是要创造浮动平台还是小河等等。但是当我们明确了想要哪种类型的移动后,“西大荒”的理念便浮现出来,然后其中一名成员便建议可以创造铁路上的移动,即在运货车上。当每个人都各尽其职时,我们便能够创造出非常棒的游戏内容。

IMA:从想出一个非常酷的新僵尸到将其画出来并看着它能在游戏中四处走动需要花费多长时间?

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

PvZ(from insidemobileapps)

DP:我们拥有一个快速迭代过程,但这至少需要花上几周的事件。我们会尽早创造出一些临时的图像并交给设计师,这可能只需要花费1个小时,即我们可以画个黑白草稿,然后通过Flash输出,看看它在游戏中会怎样。一旦明确了设计是合理的,我们便会开始执行,即在一个白板上明确他们想要创造哪种类型的移动,然后我们便会在概念图像上进行优化,之后便是直接转向Flash。一旦开始用Flash制作动画,我们便只需要1周时间就能创造出该资产。

JV:我曾致力于多个游戏团队,但是在这个团队中,我们所拥有的时间非常有限,即从商讨理念到在游戏中创造图像。最让我惊讶的还是每个人在不同理念间的快速转移,即使这些理念并不是多出色。你将在游戏中看到一些全新的内容,然后每个人便会坐着评论关于这些新角色哪些内容可行哪些不可行。所有的一切都快速发展着,不久之后便进入了优化过程。

DP:我们投入了巨大的努力去创造“西大荒”中的公牛骑士,但是设计团队却因为该角色并不是他们想要的而将其删除,但幸好我们拥有一些非常棒的优化图像。也就是我们将其删除了1个多月后,再重新访问了该角色时发现其实他真的很酷,所以设计人员便为此倾尽全力,并想出了一些好方法去完善他。

IMA:你之前提到一个小孩每天晚上都在练习画画。所以你们能否给予那些充满抱负并想要进入电子游戏产业的图像设计师们提供一些建议?

DP:首先,你们需要关注一些基本面。你可以从各个地方获取相关教育,如美术学院,任何带有艺术课程的大学,甚至你还可以自学成才。当我开始进入该领域时,还没有任何在线资源,但是现在,你们可以在网上找到各种教程。你可以让网上的专业人员评论你的图像。你们的面前摆着许许多多方法,我并不能评论哪种方法才是最好的,你需要根据自己的需求做出选择。如果你真的是个被动的人,也许学校并不是最好的选择,但如果你想要找到志同道合的朋友,彼此学习分享,那么学校便是非常合理的选择。

JV:你必须真正想要做到这点并不断受到该目标的推动。当你开始说自己想要成为一名专业的设计师,不管是关于游戏,漫画还是电影,总会跳出一些人说着你不能这么做,或者你这样是赚不到钱之类的话。作为一个小孩,你应该找出真正能让自己快乐的事,明确自己想画些什么,并直接画出来。而当你逐渐长大时,特别是在这个网络发达的时代里,你就没有理由说找不到人来教自己了。

在这个时代,你可以轻松地上网并找到一些在这方面非常出色的人。你也会经常发现各种出色的图像设计师,并获得许多学习机会,所以这时候你需要做的便是信守承诺,集中注意力,专注于自己的工作,你需要意识到,有无数人都在为此而竞争。所以如果你想要致力于一款顶级游戏或顶级电影,或画出蜘蛛侠这样出色的内容,你就需要非常非常努力地去做。

DP:切记不要听信那些认为你这么做是赚不到钱的人的话。这真的很可笑。我还记得中学的时候有一个咨询顾问在我们最后一次见面时说,我不可能通过创造图像养活自己的,还是去找份主业。看看吧,他的话根本不可信。没有想象力的人只会将自己逼到绝境。

IMA:所以《植物大战僵尸2》何时才会与我们见面,粉丝们能在这款游戏中看到哪些之前游戏所不具有的内容?

DP:最值得注意的便是地图。说得婉转些,我们的世界地图真的很真实。(笑)这是由我们的一名美术设计师Augie Pagan所创造的。他真的很让人惊讶。我们想要呈现出《超级马里奥》那样的世界地图,我们不希望地图上只有一些简单的图像。他真的很认真地绘制了这张地图,在每次关卡结束后玩家都能够回到自己的基地,这真的很棒。这里有许多很酷的小动画,你可以在每个场所进行探索。同时每个世界还具有它自己的世界地图。

JV:游戏中的动画真的很棒。豌豆射手能将豌豆射向世界地图上,并且该动画会出现在你从一个关卡转向下一个关卡。当我反复游戏时,我仍然会因为一些动画以及二次动画感到惊讶,可以说这是该团队有效创造的结果,因为他们并未鲁莽从事。适量的动画设置能够有效传达故事并让角色显得更加逼真。所以不管你是个小孩还是50代的中年人,你都能够清楚地看到我们在游戏中所做出的优化,并且你将比之前更好地了解这些角色。

DP:除了世界地图,植物食物也是一个很有趣的新内容。这一次整款游戏都是围绕着它而展开。随机僵尸将丢下我们所谓的植物食物,你需要去抓取它们,然后你便拥有一个藏匿处能够在此放置任何植物,并且每种植物都有其自己的反应。每种反应都是非常疯狂,你真的非常希望能够使用事物,因为这才能让植物做些超乎平常的事。这就像是植物加速器。

IMA:对于我来说,最大的惊讶是这次的游戏竟然采用了免费模式。你认为在不远的将来是否所有手机游戏都将变成免费游戏?

DP:我认为95%的游戏都将变成免费。你不需要为游戏支付任何费用,这真的很棒。我们不再是小气鬼了。

JV:这将是iTunes商店中最大也是最完善的游戏之一,特别是基于免费模式就更加吸引人了。显然的,这里存在许多让玩家购买内容的机会,但是我们真的很想以免费的方式将这款游戏交到玩家手上,我们将给予玩家购买内容的机会,但是他们可以自己做出选择,这在当今时代是很少见的。我们面前存在各种采取其它方法的机会,但是我们真的对基于免费模式的这款游戏感到骄傲,这点对我们来说真的很重要。你说免费模式是否会成为移动平台的新形势?PopCap希望将这款游戏推向更多玩家,我认为只要越过了那道障碍,人们便能够轻松地下载游戏,如果他们不喜欢游戏,他们也可以毫无损失地停止游戏。我们的目标是让所有人都能玩游戏,我认为所有人都会第一眼就被这款游戏吸引住。这不一定是大势所趋,但却是我们想要创造游戏的方向。我们真的为此感到非常自豪,我们能够基于游戏的高质量成功地做到这点。

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Insider Q&A: Plants vs. Zombies 2 designers David Paul and Jeremy Vanhoozer

By Jon Robinson

Plants beware, there’s a new zombie limping your direction and this time he’s armed with chickens.

That’s right, when it comes to PopCap’s Plants vs. Zombies 2: It’s About Time, the sequel to one of the most iconic and addictive mobile games ever released, the game’s design team took the zombies places the plants just didn’t see coming.

“With the Chicken Farmer, you basically have a bunch of chickens strapped to a zombie with barbed wire,” explains art director David Paul. “Then once you do enough damage to him, the chickens bum rush you. We’ve nicknamed that, ‘The Chickening.’”

Not to be outdone, the plants have some pretty poisonous plans of their own.

“Lookout for Bonk Choy,” laughs Paul. “Design wanted something that could do a lot of damage really fast but was paper-thin as far as damage was concerned. We went through a lot of iterations, but finally settled on something that literally punches the crap out of things. I think a lot of people are in love with that character.”

Adds creative director Jeremy Vanhoozer: “Not only do I love Bonk Choy because of his melee, but his facial expressions are some of the best in the game. As you play, you’ll see him shift his gaze, and when you see it, you’re just like, ‘I like this guy.’ He gives off some of the highest levels of personality in the game, and because he’s so determined, he comes across as the plant who will do anything for you. Everyone I talk to just loves Bonk Choy, and it’s because of his personality.”

Plants with personality? Zombies with chickens? Inside Mobile Apps sat down with PopCap’s Paul and Vanhoozer to find out more about their sensationally insane sequel, the art behind the “brains”, and the benefits of seeing the game go free to play.

Inside Mobile Apps: How much pressure is it trying to live up to the first game’s iconic art style, while at the same time trying to add your own flair to the sequel?

David Paul: If you think of PvZ as an animated comic book, which I think is fair to say, then PvZ2 is more of a Saturday morning cartoon or an animated feature.

Jeremy Vanhoozer: It’s about keeping the charm of PvZ1 in terms of the look and feel of the game and character construction, but at the same time evolving it. I think the team has done a really good job of not changing things for changing it’s sake, but letting things evolve while adding frames and polish and making sure everything is very clean with the cell shaded approach.

DP: This go-around, we had a much more robust animation system to use, so we were able to really squeeze a lot out of our animations and we’re really proud of that. We put a lot of effort into it, and because of that, we can get away with so much more than we could in the first.

IMA: Is it crazy for you guys to walk around and see plush zombies and toys and even people getting tattoos with the PvZ characters?

DP: Oh yeah, it’s pretty nuts, and at the same time, it’s pretty flattering.

JV: I think for any artist, anytime you see something you’ve created or worked on on a much grander or even a pop-culture scale, it blows you away. We were just at Comic-Con a few weeks ago and just to see that experience with us tucked in alongside all of these mega brands and characters that we all know and love, and to have kids come up to our booth and tell us how much they love the game, it was a pretty epic experience. I think it makes everybody really proud, not only of the work we’ve done, but of the characters we’ve put together, and the fact that a kid can describe every detail back to you is a very real-world thing. To hear about his favorite character, his favorite bad guy, that’s a real moment right there.

DP: Yeah, we ran into this one kid and he was probably the world’s biggest PvZ fan. He had tons of ideas, and he was an aspiring artist who told me that he practiced his drawing every night just so he could get them right. That’s really touching to hear. You just don’t see that a lot with core games, so when something like that happens, it’s really cool.

IMA: Where do you guys draw your inspiration when creating the new zombie and plant characters in the game?

DP: Honestly, in our design process with art and the design department, any idea can come from anywhere and probably every discipline touches every little bit of a plant or zombie. Even on the art side, I’d be hard-pressed to say that all of our art team didn’t touch all of our assets in some way to make it better. We have some artists who might take the assets 90-percent of the way, and then we’ll go back and take another look at it and look for ways to really make it stand out, and then we’ll have another couple of artists take a crack at it. So everybody has their hands in it, and again, an idea can come from anywhere.

A good example of this is in our pirate level with the two pirate ships. That idea came from one of our artists, Mark Barrett. We knew we wanted to have two pirate ships fight, so he just drew up a sketch of these two ships with planks between them, and then as a design team, we were like, ‘Hey, this is pretty cool.’ They then went back and figured out how to actually make that work for the board mechanic for the entire level. So the idea came from art, but then design really honed it and made it something special. Other times, design will have a very explicit idea of what they want to do. Like in the Cowboy level, they wanted plants to be able to move around, and at first, we were like, ‘How are we going to do that?’ And this was before the theme of the world was even set, so we didn’t know if we wanted floating platforms or rivers or what. But once we figured out what kind of movement we wanted, the idea of the Wild West came into the picture, then one of us just suggested we do the movement on rails, on a literal rail cart. When everybody contributes, it can help make everything pretty awesome in the game.

IMA: How much time is actually spent from thinking up a cool new zombie to drawing it out to actually seeing it moving around in the game?

DP: We have a pretty quick iteration process, but it takes a couple of weeks, at least. We try to get some very early temporary art for the designers to use, so early that in an hour, we can take a black and white sketch and we can export that from Flash and see how it will feel in the game. We’ve done that with pretty much everything. Then once design is happy with the way it’s going to perform, we go to a white board and figure out what types of moves they are going to have, then we do a polish pass on the concept art, and then go right into Flash. Once you get to the Flash animation part, you’re looking at about a week total to create the asset.

JV: I’ve worked on several game teams, but with this team, there is very little time from when something is talked about to getting the art in the game. It’s amazing to see how quickly everyone moves on ideas, even if they’re not that great. You’ll see something new in the game and then everybody stands around and critiques what works and what doesn’t work about the new characters. So things happen quickly, and then that feeds right into the polish process, so it’s a good split.

DP: The bull rider on Wild West took a lot of effort to get up and going, and then the design team took him out because he wasn’t working like we wanted, but we had some pretty polished art. So we took him out for more than a month because we couldn’t figure out what to do with him, and then we revisited the character and decided he was just too cool to leave out, so design really buckled down and figured out a way with art to work well and we pulled it off.

IMA: You mentioned earlier about the kid practicing his art every night. What advice do you have for aspiring artists who want to break into the video game industry?

DP: First and foremost, focus on the fundamentals. Your education can come from anywhere as you can go to art school, you can go to any college with an art program, or you can even learn on your own. I’m an old guy, and when I first started, there weren’t a lot of online resources, but now, there are just so many tutorials. You can even get your art critiqued by professionals online. There are so many avenues, so I can’t really say which one is best, you need to decide what works for you. If you’re a really driven person, maybe school is not the best idea, but if you want the camaraderie of having a student body to be with and to learn from, then that’s a very valid option.

JV: You have to want it and you have to be driven. When you start talking about wanting to be a professional artist, whether that’s in games or comics or film or whatever, you’ll have people tell you that you can’t really do that or you can’t make money doing that. As a little kid, find out what makes you happy, find out what you like to draw and draw it. Then when you get a little older, there’s no reason this day or time that on the Internet, you won’t be able to find someone to teach you.

I call it the artistic gut punch, where you get online and you find someone who is amazing at something. You’ll always find great artists, and you’ll always find opportunities to learn, so for me you need to stay committed, you need to stay focused, do the work, and the cooler the job, you need to realize, the more people are going to want it. So if you want to work on a top game or a top film or draw Spider-Man, you’re going to have to work really, really hard and you’re going to need to want it more than the next guy.

DP: And remember to never, ever, never listen to anybody who tells you that you can’t make a living doing art. That is absurd. I remember my guidance counselor in high school, my last meeting with her she told me that I might need to pick a new major in college because I’ll never make a living doing art. Well, see how that worked out. People with no imagination will back themselves into a corner.

IMA: So when Plants vs. Zombies 2 finally comes out, what are some fun things fans of the series can expect that they didn’t see in the first game?

DP: The big thing is the map. Our world map is, to put it mildly, really rad. [laughs] It was developed by one of our artists, Augie Pagan. He is just amazing. We wanted to give it a throwback to a Super Mario World map, we wanted that feel, only not as quite simply drawn. It’s pretty elaborately drawn, and it’s really cool to have that as your home base to go back to after every level. There are lots of cool little animations and you can explore every place. Each world has its own world map as well.

JV: The animation in this game is astounding. Everything from the Peashooter actually fitting the pea to what is on the world map and the animation that happens when you go from one level to the next. As I play over and over again, I still get surprised by little bits of animation, little bits of secondary animation, and it’s a testament to the team because they didn’t go overboard at all. It’s just the right amount of animation to tell the story and make the characters look fantastic. So whether you’re a little kid playing or a guy in their 50s, you’re going to see the polish we put in the game, and you’re going to get to know these characters better than ever before.

DP: Outside the world map, the other thing that will completely melt brains is the plant food. That’s basically what the entire game is based around this time. Random zombies will drop what we’re calling plant food, and you grab that, then you have a stash that you can drop on any plant in the game and each plant will have their own reaction. Each reaction is completely over the top and crazy and you really look forward to using the food because it causes the plants to do something wildly different than they normally do. It’s like turbo boost for plants.

IMA: To me, the biggest surprise is that the game is free to play. Do you see all mobile games becoming free in the near future?

DP: You can play about 95-percent of the game for free. You don’t need to pay for anything to complete the game, which is pretty awesome. We are not stingy.

JV: This is one of the largest, most polished games that will be in the iTunes store at launch, and to get that for free is amazing. Obviously, there are opportunities to buy things, but we’re really trying a free-to-play method where we’re going to put this amazing game in your hands, we all believe in this game, and we’re going to give you the opportunity to buy things, but you don’t have to, and that’s rare in this day and age. There are all kinds of opportunities to do it differently, but we’re really proud of the game, and that’s important to us. As far as free-to-play being the new state of mobile? PopCap is interested in getting this game in as many hands as possible, and I think when you take that barrier away, people can download the game, and if they don’t like it, they can stop playing without having invested anything. But our goal is to get everybody the game, and I think when you see this game, from moment one, you’re going to be invested. It’s not necessarily the way things are going, but it’s the way we decided to build the game. We’re proud of it, the game stands up for itself, and we’re able to do this based on the quality of what we think the game is.(source:insidemobileapps)


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