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阐述RPG机制扩散对游戏设计的影响

发布时间:2014-06-17 15:42:31 Tags:,,,

作者:Josh Bycer

RPG是一个有趣的分析题材:它是市场上最古老的游戏题材之一,不受限于任何平台,拥有多种设计。但我认为其有趣之处在于该题材的机制和系统在完全不相干的题材中的扩散和发展方式工。

身重玩《Odin Sphere》时,我脑海中冒出了一个已经被无数次提到的问题:“什么是RPG?”尽管你们当中许多人可以快速作答,但其定义却远不止表面看上去那么简单。

God of War Destructoid(from gamasutra)

God of War Destructoid(from gamasutra)

动作vs抽象

从80年代到90年代的大部分时期,动作和RPG游戏就因玩家对游戏的实际控制方式而完全不相关。抽象的定义可能因我们所讨论的内容而不同,但对于电子游戏而言,我们可以这么说:

抽象化:将一个复杂的动作划分成更易于表达的事件。

当你在玩类似《Baldur’s Gate》这种RPG时,你对于控制角色动作的实际输入并不重要。我无法摁压方向键来控制角色迂回行进以避免被剑砍伤,或者准确计算举起盾牌的时机。而角色的属性和盔甲数值却会对战斗的抽象结果产生影响。

另一方面,如果你玩的是像《Devil May Cry》这种动作游戏就没有什么抽象性了。你可以完全控制Dante的防御和功击能力:游戏中没有抛骰子或数值会影响到你的输赢。

题材之间的分割设计正是80和90年代大多时间的情况。但进入2000年开始,游戏设计就开始打破这堵墙,并在这一过程中制作出更加难以看出RPG决定性特点的游戏。

回到《Odin Sphere》这个话题,玩家可以像在动作游戏中一样完全控制攻击和躲避操作。但是玩家的命值点数和攻击强度却要取决于两个截然不同的抽象升级系统。

这种动作与抽象系统的结合正是动作RPG或ARPG子题材的基础。

现在,回到原先的问题:什么是RPG?你们多数人也许会列举一些使用了抽象系统的游戏来作答。

但如果我们仅仅到此为止,那么就会令其定义过于宽泛,我甚至可以作出以下疯狂的论断:

《战神》和《使命召唤》也像《龙腾世纪》和《天际》一样属于RPG题材。

RPG设计的扩散

我曾在《阐述以“技能抽象化”平衡游戏设计的方法》一文中讨论了过去十年游戏系统抽象化的程度如何令动作游戏更具RPG属性,令RPG更具动作元素。

这也催生了《Borderlands》这种含有RPG抽象升级系统和武器的第一人称射击游戏。或者《暗黑之魂》这种要求玩家移动和攻击的状态影响抽象RPG。

鉴于游戏题材惯例和设计的变化,我们可以创造RPG题材和抽象化的新定义:

RPG:围绕玩家影响抽象系统而创造的游戏

这里的“玩家影响”很重要,因为它是区分游戏设计的方法。如果只说“抽象化”就不够准确了,因为每款电子游戏在创造过程中都有一定程度的抽象性。

没有人会问为何马里奥跳得这么高,或者Nathan Drake为何能够准确使用多种武器。因为设计师抽象化了这些概念令游戏更具吸引力。

但是,玩家影响抽象意味着玩家拥有基于自己操作和选择的玩法抽象控制权。在纸笔RPG中,设计师描述了人们通过训练和持续使用而变得更棒的升级行为。

换句话说,剑客在舞剑上会越来越得心应用,并且使出更高超的技术,而不是说他们的剑会在升级后更具攻击力。

回到《战神》的例子,通过搜集红球,玩家可以将它们分配到一系列Krato的能力中。

随着时间发展,玩家自己的剑可以更具杀伤力,这并不是因为他们更用力地摁压按钮,而是源于武器的抽象化升级。

使用“玩家影响抽象”一词还可以让我们排除出特定的游戏。《军团要塞2》因其所有的道具、帽子和武器而不被视为RPG游戏。虽然其中有不少抽象元素,但都不受玩家控制。我不用道具也能以自己的体重来实现相同的破坏力,像其他人的体重一样可以痛击对手。

另一个例子应该就是《The Binding of Isaac》,尽管游戏为玩家提供了大量极大影响其体验的道具,但没有一者会真正受到玩家影响。在这一点上看,玩家无法控制道具的升级/降级情况。

重要的是记住,根据题材增加更多或更少的抽象性并不能创造出“完美的游戏”。市场上有不少并不支持刷任务体验的动作游戏玩家,以及并不想一路狂摁按钮来获胜的RPG玩家。

RPG机制的扩散很有趣,如果设计得当可以提升游戏品质。但即便它在不断扩散,我们仍然可以看到大量持续优化和创造出新机制的RPG。

随着更多RPG设计师从其他不同题材借鉴元素,我们将见证JRPG和CRPG设计的变化过程。如果这意味着我们将看到更多扩展RPG定义的游戏,那我完全乐见这一情况发生。(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

Following the Spread of RPG Mechanics in Game Design

by Josh Bycer

RPGs are a fascinating genre to analyze: it’s one of the oldest genres on the market, not limited by platform and has a huge variety of designs.  But what I find interesting is how the mechanics and systems of the genre have spread and thrived in completely unassociated genres.

While replaying Odin Sphere, a question popped into my head that has been asked countless times: “What is a RPG?” And while many of you will be quick to answer, there is more to examine under the surface.

Action vs. Abstraction:

From the 80s to the majority of the 90s, action and RPG titles were completely separated by how much actual control the player had in the game. The definition of abstraction can vary based on what we are talking about, but for video games we can say the following:

Abstraction: Breaking down a complex action into an easier represented event.

When you play a RPG like Baldur’s Gate, your actual input doesn’t matter in terms of controlling the character’s actions. I couldn’t press the arrow keys to control how a character bobbed and weaved to avoid sword slashes or correctly timed the raising of a shield. Instead, the character’s attributes and armor value factored into the abstracted results of combat.

On the other hand, there is very little abstraction when you are playing an action game like Devil May Cry. You are in complete control of Dante’s offensive and defensive capabilities: There are no dice rolls or stats to affect whether you win or lose.

Segmented design between genres was the status quo for much of the 80s and 90s. But starting from the early 00s, the wall started to break down and in the process, made the determining qualities of a RPG harder to spot.

Going back to Odin Sphere, the player had complete control over attacking and dodging as in an action game. However, the player’s health points and attack strength were based on two different abstracted leveling systems.

RPG mechanics can be seen in everything from Skyrim…

This kind of combination of action and abstracted systems was the basis of the Action RPG or ARPG sub-genre.

Now, going back to the original question: What is a RPG? Chances are that most of you responded with something along the lines of a game that uses abstracted systems.

But if we just leave it at that, then that actually opens up the door and allows me to say the following crazy statement:

God of War and Call of Duty are as much a part of the RPG genre as Dragon Age and Skyrim.

The Spread of RPG Design:

In my article: The Abstraction of Skill in Game Design, I talked about how the degree of abstraction in game systems over the last decade has made action games more RPG-like and RPGs more action-like.

This in turn has lead to games like Borderlands which was a first person shooter with RPG abstractions of leveling and weapons. Or Dark Souls which was a stat influenced abstracted RPG with player involved movement and attack.

Because of the change of genre conventions and design, we can create a new definition for the RPG genre and abstraction:

RPG: A game built on player-influenced abstracted systems.

The term “player-influenced” is important as it provides a way to distinguish game designs. Just saying the term “abstraction” is not specific enough, as every video game ever made has some level of abstraction built into it.

No one questions why Mario jumps so high or Nathan Drake can be that accurate with a variety of weapons. Since the designers abstracted the concepts to make the titles more appealing.

However player-influenced abstraction means that the player has control of the abstraction at play based on their actions and choices. In a pen-and-paper RPG, the designers described the act of leveling as the person through training and continued use becoming better.

In other words, a swordsman would become more comfortable swinging a sword and could better use it for more powerful swings, not that their sword attacks magically did more damage after leveling up.

…To the leveling systems and upgrades of Call of Duty multiplayer

Going back to God of War, by collecting red orbs the player could distribute them to a number of Kratos’ abilities.

As time went on, the player would do more damage with his blades of chaos, not because they were hitting the button harder but because of the abstraction of leveling up the weapon.

Also by using the term “player-influenced abstraction” we can also rule out certain games. Team Fortress 2 for all the items, hats and weapons available would not be considered a RPG in any aspect. As while there was plenty of abstraction at work, all of it was not controlled by the player. My heavy without items will do the same damage and have the same chance at critting as everyone else’s heavy.

Another example would be The Binding of Isaac, while the game offered the player a huge variety of items that greatly affected the experience; none of them were actually influenced by the player. In the sense that the player could not control the upgrading/downgrading of items.

Regarding my article, it’s important to remember that adding more or less abstraction based on the genre doesn’t create “the perfect game.” There are plenty of action gamers who don’t want to have to grind experience and RPG gamers who don’t want to button mash their way to victory.

The spread of RPG mechanics has been interesting and in the right design can improve the respective titles. Yet even with the spread, we still have a number of RPGs that continue to refine and build new mechanics.

As more RPG designers borrow elements from different genres it will be interesting to see how the once rift between JRPG and CRPG design will change. And if that means that we’ll see more games that push the definition of a RPG then I’m all for it.(source:gamasutra


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