游戏邦在:
杂志专栏:
gamerboom.com订阅到鲜果订阅到抓虾google reader订阅到有道订阅到QQ邮箱订阅到帮看

如何在游戏中创造有意义的选择

发布时间:2013-12-07 15:25:59 Tags:,,,,

作者:Brice Morrison

我永远都不会忘记Boyd。愿他安息。

Boyd是我的助手,朋友,亦是知己。我们彼此信任。但是当我们在《火焰之文章觉醒》的战场中陷入困境时,我意识到Boyd将不会取得成功。他被骑士比如绝境,无处可退了。在玩了几个回合后,伤害已经造成了。我在一开始所控制的角色就这么被杀掉了。

我感觉糟透了。他本来不需要死,游戏并未要求它需要完成战斗。这是我的错,是我引起不必要的杀戮。他是一个带有强大武器和铠甲的强大角色,但现在一切都消失了。

在剩下的游戏中,别人一直在提醒我所犯的错。他的兄弟会说:“我们可以这么做!我想这是Boyd想要的。”他的朋友会插话:“如果只有Boyd在这里,你也知道该做什么。”当我进入战斗中时我便会想到他有多有有用,但现在他却不见了。该死,这款游戏已经有10年的历史了,我仍然记得它,尽管已经不记得游戏中另一个角色的名字了。

我与Boyd的游戏体验,即虚拟选择折磨着虚拟角色,教会我作为一名游戏设计师应该在游戏中创造一种“有意义的选择”。选择将扣动玩家的心弦,让他们透过自己在现实生活中的角色更深入地感受游戏,并伴随着强烈的情感体验。只有这样的设计将能将游戏变成艺术。

但你是怎么做到?你是如何赋予游戏中的选择意义?

比起相信我的话,让我们学学专家的经验——2012年广受好评的《行尸走肉》,我认为这款游戏能够代表当下的艺术状态。

什么是有意义的选择?

choice(from gamasutra)

choice(from gamasutra)

这类似于“游戏是不是艺术”的问题。这里存在选择空间。

对于我的设计以及本篇文章,我将更明确地定义有意义的选择。

有意义的选择要求如下四个组件:

1.意识——玩家必须知道他们在做选择(感知选择)

2.游戏玩法结果——选择必须带有包含游戏玩法导向和美学导向的结果

3.提醒事项——在做出选择后必须给予玩家提醒

4.永久性——玩家在探索完结果后玩家不能回头会撤销选择

如果都能满足这四个要求,我们便能够创造出有意义的选择。因为在现实生活中,这也是有意义选择的组件。

想想你在生活中所做的中做的决定——从哪里去学校,是否告诉你的朋友,与谁结婚,是否分手等等都带有这四个组件。而这些都是构成我们生活的种种选择。

在游戏中,基于这些组件的选择将唤醒玩家强大的情感反应,让玩家讨论,思考并记起某些内容。通过创造有意义的选择,我们也能让游戏变得更有意义。

让我们详细分析这四个组件。

组件1:意识

awareness(from gamasutra)

awareness(from gamasutra)

如果玩家并不知道他们在两个以上的选择中做选择,这便不会有意义。

想象玩家在一款游戏中,其中的角色Cindy正在呼叫救命。玩家跑过去帮助Cindy。那时候,游戏会说:“你选择去救Cindy而不是Bernard。”

但玩家却从未看到Bernard。他们甚至不知道Bernard陷入了麻烦,或者也不知道他的存在。这时候,玩家可能就会感到受挫。这就破坏了选择,导致它失去了意义。比起对Bernard vs. Cindy间的选择结果充满责任感,玩家将会开始责怪游戏。“什么?我并不知道需要救Bernard!我并不想要救Cindy的!”这看起来便不再是一种选择,最终出现的任何结果将被当成是不可避免的。

其次,玩家完全错失了思考,挣扎并决定自己想要做什么的体验。

《行尸走肉》是通过选择界面(游戏邦注:这是David Cage在自己的游戏《骤雨》和《Fahrenheit》所提倡的)去传达选择意识。大多数情况下当玩家面对一个选择时,他们便能明确地看到其它选择。

关于呈现给玩家多少意识全是取决于你。

在《行尸走肉》中,一些选择及其结果都很明显。这种情境与上述例子非常相似,玩家在便利商店中躲避僵尸。一群僵尸窜入商店中,两个角色被抓住,玩家必须选择救哪个。

这时候玩家会获得足够的时间去做出选择,并且被抓住的角色也都处于玩家的视线范围内。这让选择变得更加明显,所以当玩家做出任何选择时,他们都会具有责任感。

有意义的选择的意识水平非常广,甚至让玩家知道自己在做一个明确的选择。

举个例子来说吧,在游戏一开始与Hershel的交谈中,玩家被问到一些问题,“你们来自哪里?”“你是她的父亲吗?”“你们是和谁一起来这里的?”他们并不清楚哪个问题真正重要哪个问题只是闲话家常。但是,玩家仍然知道他们正在做出选择,即使他们不敢保证最终结果会是怎样的。谈话的界面让这一切变得明朗。

所以当Hershel在对话或谎言中抓住你时,玩家便会觉得这是自己的错。他们本可以说“我是独自一人”而不是“我与一位警官一起来的”,所以当Hershel谴责他们时,他们便知道这是自己的决定。

组件2:游戏玩法结果

想象你在玩一款游戏,你获得一个藏宝箱。藏宝箱里有两件东西:

1.一把更强大的新剑,能够一次击毙其它武器需要两次攻击才能打败的敌人

2.一把与你现在的剑作用相同,但是颜色却不同的剑。

你会想要哪个?显然你会选择第一把剑,因为它带有游戏玩法结果。

游戏玩法结果并不只是改变游戏的标志或声音,它也会改变玩家的行为和行动。它们不是只改变游戏的外表,它们也会改变游戏的行动。

最有意义的选择是既带有美学也带有游戏玩法结果。改变游戏体验和玩家的行为比反复玩带有不同布景的同一款游戏有意义多了。

在《行尸走肉》中便存在许多来自玩家选择的游戏玩法结果。在Kenny与Larry的战斗中决定支持Kenny影响着他对你的看法。在战斗中支持Kenny意味着之后当你陷入与Larry的混战时,Kenny将会对你提供帮助。这也影响着他是否愿意执行你的计划。

忠实于游戏前提,你所做出的选择将产生连锁反应,直至大结局。

最近发行的一款带有有意义选择的叙述类游戏,David Cage的《Beyond Two Souls》便是游戏玩法结果的反面例子。与大受欢迎的《骤雨》不同的是,《Beyond Two Souls》遭受到了来自玩家和评论者的鄙视与嘲笑。尽管图像效果非常显著,其游戏玩法似乎还存在很大的漏洞。

来自Ars Technica(游戏邦注:热门科技博客网站)的Kyle Orland写道:

在《Beyond:Two Souls》中我几乎不曾停下来考虑过一个选择。相反地,我一直朝着预定的故事节奏前行着,并在为察觉不到任何有意义的代理的情况下完成了一个老套的情节。

做出是否告诉Ellen Page他的着装与宾客不相称的决定并不会出现任何结果,除了只是改变对话内容而已。剩下的游戏只会是一样的。

通过为有意义的选择使用框架,我们可以假设《Beyond Two Souls》中的众多选择有些问题:它们没有足够强大的游戏玩法结果。结果这都是假设,可能Quantic Dream众多 团队已经证实了这点,也许玩家所做出的决定会让人感觉它们有更强的情感分量。

组件3:提醒

reminders(from gamasutra)

reminders(from gamasutra)

后悔是一种非常复杂的人类情感。不管是丢失了友谊的后悔,将过多精力付诸于工作室而没有足够时间陪伴家人的后悔,还是在有机会的时候从未去追求自己梦想的后悔。后悔是失望与责任感的结合,而现在悲伤难过也不会再带来你想要的结果,因为机会已经过去了。

骄傲是后悔的对立面。当你因为自己所做出的选择得到了自己所想要的结果时,你会兴奋,这便是骄傲。你会因为嫁给自己喜欢的人感到骄傲,你会因为选择了正确的工作感到骄傲,你也会因为做出正确的决定感到骄傲。

正是这些后悔与骄傲的故事构成了我们的生活。

然而,如果你不记得自己之前的选择,你便永远都不会感受到骄傲或后悔。如果你之前的选择并未影响你现在的生活,你同样也不会感受到这些情感。

在《行尸走肉》中,玩家会不断受到有关自己之前做过的选择的提醒。Kenny会喊道:“你从未支持我!”之后在游戏中出现的另一个角色会说“你在Motor Inn中未能保护她。”你所做出的选择不仅会对当下产生影响,同时还会影响你与其它角色的长久关系。如果Telltale未添加这些提醒,那么许多选择对于玩家来说也就失去了意义。

通过适当体现玩家他们之前做过何种选择,选择的分量也会变得更重。当玩家随着时间的发展而前进时,同样的选择会更多地影响他们的体验,并伴随着意义。如果你做出选择,然后忘记它而继续前进,你便不会在之后产生后悔或骄傲。

组件4:永久性

在《纸片马里奥:千年之门》的最后,最终boss问马里奥他是否想要加入自己的一方。而玩家可以在此选择是或否。

如果你选否,最后的战斗便会开始。而如果你选择了是,玩家便会看到“游戏结束”画面,并往前倒退10秒。

没有人将其作为揭示自己品格的最终结局。实际上,如果你能够回到过去改变自己的选择,那么再有趣的游戏玩法也会变得无聊。

现实生活中的选择之所以充满情感,悲伤和目的,是因为它们都具有永久性。我们不可能重新选择再来一遍。你只有一次机会,这也是为何你需要谨慎地选择自己的言行的主要原因。

而在你可以重置的游戏中,你却可以毫不犹豫地摧毁建筑或攻击无辜的人。

《行尸走肉》通过使用自动保存功能去处理这种情况。一旦玩家做出了重要的选择,游戏便会锁定它,从而确保它们不会倒回去。因此,面对自己需要做出的每个选择,你都必须确保那是自己真正的想法。

当然,玩家也可以重新开始或重置某一章节,但不便性也足以阻止他们这么做了。

结论

我希望这一框架对你们会有帮助。如果你能够确保游戏中的选择带有这四个组件,那么我相信你肯定能够呈献给玩家巨大的价值。

就像我之前所提到的,关于如何创造有意义的选择可能存在数千种方法,我所列出的是许多成功游戏反复实践过,也是对我自己非常有帮助的一种。

我相信游戏是一种艺术,而真正有内涵的游戏能够进一步深入电影和文学所呈现出的情感,甚至会做得更好。通过创造让玩家经由做选择而以人类的角度去评估自己的角色,从中吸取经验教训并应用于现实生活中的游戏,作为游戏开发者的我们便能创造出一些真正特别的内容。

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

Meaningful Choice in Games: Practical Guide & Case Studies

by Brice Morrison

I’ll never forget Boyd. May he rest in peace.

Boyd was my mate, my friend, my confidant. I trusted him and he trusted me. But in a difficult spot on the battlefield in Fire Emblem, I realized that Boyd wasn’t going to make it. He was cornered by knights, no way out. And after a few more turns, the damage was done. The character I had since the beginning was killed.

I felt terrible. Awful. He didn’t have to die – the game didn’t have any requirement that he not make it through the battle. It was my fault, needless bloodshed. He was a good, strong character with some good weapons and armor, but now he was gone.

Throughout the rest of the game I was reminded of my mistake. His brother would say, “We can do this! It’s what Boyd would want.” His friends would chime in, “If only Boyd were here, he’d know what to do.” I’d go into battle thinking how useful he would be, but he was gone. Heck, this game is almost 10 years old now, and I still remember it, despite not remembering the name of a single other character in the game.

My experience with Boyd, a virtual character afflicted by a virtual choice, taught me as a game designer what it is to create a “meaningful choice” in a game. Choices that pull at players heart strings, that make them look deep inside themselves at their own character in real life, that they remember as deeply emotional experiences. These are the designs that turn a game into art.

But how do you do it? How do you make a choice in a game truly meaningful?

Rather than take my word for it, let’s learn from the masters – 2012’s critically acclaimed Walking Dead, which I personally believe that this game is the current state of the art.

What Is Meaningful Choice?

This is one of those “are games art?” type questions that everyone has an opinion on and discussions go on forever. That’s fine, there’s room for opinion.

But for my designs and for this article, I define meaningful choice very specifically.

Meaningful choice requires the following four components:

1.Awareness – The player must be somewhat aware they are making a choice (perceive options)

2.Gameplay Consequences – The choice must have consequences that are both gameplay and aesthetically oriented

3.Reminders – The player must be reminded of the choice they made after thay made it

4.Permanence – The player cannot go back and undo their choice after exploring the consequences

If all four of these requirements are satisfied, then we have a recipe for meaningful choice. The reason that this is true is that these are the components of a meaningful choice in real life.

Think of the big decisions you made in your life – where to go to school, whether to tell on your friend, who to marry, whether to break up – all of these choices have these four components. And these are the choices that make up our lives.

In games, choices with these components will evoke a strong emotional reaction, something that players discuss and think about and remember. By making the choice meaningful, we help to make the game itself meaningful.

Let’s step through each of these four components in detail.

Component 1: Awareness

If the player isn’t aware they are making a choice between two or more options, then it isn’t meaningful.

Imagine that a player is in a game where a character named Cindy is crying for help. The player runs over and helps Cindy. At that moment, the game says, “You choose to save Cindy instead of Bernard.”

But the player never saw Bernard. They didn’t even know Bernard was in trouble, or that he even existed. At this point, the player would probably feel frustrated. This ruins the choice and makes it meaningless. Instead of feeling responsibility for any consequences of the choice of Bernard vs. Cindy, the player will instead blame the game. “What?! I didn’t know I could save Bernard! I didn’t even want to save Cindy!” It’s no longer viewed as any kind of choice, and anything that happens as a result will be viewed as inevitable.

Second, the player completely misses the experience of having to think, agonize, and decide what they would like to do themselves instead of what the game is telling them to do. If the player isn’t aware they are being presented with a choice,

The Walking Dead handles the awareness of choice through its choice interface largely pioneered by David Cage in his games Heavy Rain and Fahrenheit. Most of the time when a player is presented with a choice, they can clearly see the other options.

Exactly how much awareness you give the player is up to you.

In the Walking Dead, some choices and their consequences are obvious. A situation very similar to the example above, the player is hiding out from the walkers in a convenience store. A group of walkers breaks into the store and two characters are grabbed, and the player must choose who to save.

The player is given plenty of time to make this choice, and both characters are in the player’s field of view. This makes the fact that it is a choice obvious, so when the player picks one, they feel responsible.

The level of awareness of a meaningful choice can vary, however, long as the player knows they are making an explicit choice.

As an example, In a conversation with Hershel at the beginning of the game, the player is asked a number of questions, “Where did you guys come from?” “Are you her father?” “Who did you come here with?” It isn’t exactly clear which of these questions are significant and which aren’t. However, the player is still aware that they are making choices, even if they aren’t sure what the consequences will be. The interface for conversation makes this clear – the player is never presented with one response – always two or more.

So when Hershel catches you in conversation or in a lie, then the the player feels like it was their fault. They saw that they could say, “I was alone” versus “I was with a police officer”, and so when Hershel reprimands them, they know that it was their decision.

Component 2: Gameplay Consequences

Imagine you’re playing a game and you get a treasure chest. Inside the treasure chest there are two items:

1.A new sword that is more powerful and will defeat two-hit enemies in just one hit

2.A sword that acts the same, but it’s a different color than your current sword

Which would you want? Obviously you would want the first sword, because it has gameplay consequences.

Gameplay consequences don’t just change the signs and sounds of the game, they actually change the behavior and actions of the player. They don’t just make the game look different, they make it act differently.

The best meaningful choices have both aesthetic AND gameplay consequences. Changing the experience of the game, the behavior of the player, is typically more meaningful than just playing the same game with different set dressing.

In the Walking Dead, there are numerous gameplay consequences from the player’s choices. Deciding to back up Kenny in a fight he’s having with Larry affects how he feels about you. In a fight in the convenience store, backing up Kenny means that later he helps you when you get into a scuffle with Larry. It also affects whether or not he decides to go along with your plans.

True to the premise of the games, the choices you make have ripple effects until the final episode is complete.

For a poor example of gameplay consequences, one of the more recent games in a narrative genre dealing with meaningful choice was David Cage’s Beyond Two Souls. In contrast to the critically acclaimed Heavy Rain, Beyond Two Souls drew scorn from many players and reviews (Score of 71 Metacritic, versus 87 for Heavy Rain and 92 for Walking Dead). While the graphical effects were phenomenal, the gameplay seemed by many to be lacking.

Kyle Orland from Ars Technica wrote:

I rarely if ever stopped to consider a choice in Beyond: Two Souls…Instead, I mainly sleepwalked through a seemingly endless sequence of practically preordained story beats, struggling to care as I was dragged through a clichéd plot with no sense of meaningful agency.

Making a choice of whether to talk about Ellen Page’s dress versus the guests has no result other than changing the dialog for that line. The rest of the game is the same.

By using the framework for meaningful choice, we can make a hypothesis of what was wrong with many of the choices in Beyond Two Souls: they didn’t have strong enough gameplay consequences. While it’s all conjecture, perhaps if the team at Quantic Dream had improved this, maybe the decisions players made would have felt like they had greater emotional weight.

Component 3: Reminders

Regret is a very complex human emotion. The regret of letting old friendships slip away. The regret of having worked too much and not spent enough time with family. The regret of having never went for your dreams when you had the chance. Regret is the combination of disappointment and responsibility, the sadness that comes from the present not working out as you wanted because of choices in the past.

Pride is the opposite of regret. Pride is when you feel elated because of a choice you made that has resulted in the outcome you wanted (or better). It’s being proud that you decided to marry the person you love. It’s being proud that you chose one job that turned out great. It’s being proud that you made the right decision.

These stories of regret and of pride are the stories that make up our lives.

However, if you don’t remember your previous choices, then you will never feel pride or regret. Or if your previous choices don’t affect your present world, then you will similarly not feel anything.

In Walking Dead, the player is constantly reminded of choices that they made in the past. “You never backed me up!” yells Kenny. “You weren’t able to protect her at the Motor Inn”, says another character later on in the game. The choices that you make not only affect the moment, but the long term relationships that you have with other characters. If Telltale hadn’t put these reminders in, then many of the choices would have meant nothing to the player.

By sprinkling reminders through the game of what choices the player made previously, the choices take on more and more weight. As the player goes forward in time the same old choice affects more and more of their experience, imbuing it with meaning. If you made your choice and then went on without even remembering it, you would never later feel regret or pride. You’d just feel nothing.

Component 4: Permanence

At the end of Paper Mario and the Thousand Year Door, the final boss asks Mario if he would like to turn evil and join their side. The player can choose yes or no.

If you select yes, the final battle commences. However if you choose no, then the player simply gets a “Game Over” screen and is reset about ten seconds backward.

No one talks about this as being an incredible ending that reveals something about your own moral fiber. If they remember it all, they talk about it being annoying. The fact that you can go back and change your outcome immediately turns what could be interesting gameplay into a boring formality.

The reason that choices in real life are so fraught with emotion, with sadness, with purpose, is because they are permanent. We can’t live our lives over again.  In real life, you can’t have a fight with your significant other and then rewind and do it again. You only get one shot, which is why you need to choose your words and actions very carefully.

And yet in games where you can reset, you have no problem blowing up buildings or attacking innocent bystanders with no hesitation.

Walking Dead handles this by using autosave functionality. As soon as the player makes a significant choice, the game locks it in so that they cannot go back. Thus, with every choice you make, you need to be sure it’s what you believe.

Sure, players could restart from the beginning or reset the episode, but the added inconvenience is usually enough to deter them.

Conclusion

I hope this framework is useful to others. If you can make sure your choices in games have all four components, then I believe they will carry enormous value to players.

As I mentioned earlier, there are likely thousands of variations and permutations on how to create meaningful choice, this is just one that has been helpful to me that I see over and over again in successful games.

I do believe that games are art, and the deeper games can probe into emotions normally reserved for film and literature, the better. By making games that cause players to make choices that cause them to evaluate their character as a person, to take the lessons of the game and apply it back to their real lives, we as game developers will have done something very special.(source:gamasutra)


上一篇:

下一篇: