本文原作者：Jon Irwin 译者ciel chen
《德军总部3D（Wolfenstein 3D）》发行日期是1992年5月5日，今天正正好是它上市的第25年。该游戏的主管和共同设计者Tom Hall说道：“我们当时是知道这款游戏绝对是与众不同的，但后来还是被人们对它的疯狂热爱吓了一跳。”
他同他在iD software的共同创始人很快地意识到——他们开发的这款游戏火了。但他们当时没办法知道的是B. J. Blazkowicz（游戏的主人公）和以他为视点的游戏叙述究竟能让电子游戏发生多大的变革。
因此这款游戏以及其他Softdisk所发行游戏的幕后主要人员——John Carmack、John Romero以及Tom Hall——他们再次做起了相同模式的游戏开发。一改暗黑奇幻充满各种咒语的游戏风格，《Wolfentstein 3D》让玩家扮演的是一个体格健硕动作灵活的英雄人物，玩家要操作他带着致命的弹射武器在廊道间急速穿梭，给纳粹分子应有的惩罚。
半个世纪过去了，如今FPS（第一人称射击游戏）已经成为了游戏产业里的一块屹立不倒的基石，开发者们以此为基础创造了大量热销游戏——有《战地》系列游戏、《使命召唤》和有原创游戏《守望先锋》、恐怖向游戏《极度恐慌》、浸入式体验游戏比如《网络奇兵》和《生化奇兵》系列作、还有像《地铁2033》的生存向游戏、甚至还有带古怪的个人表情的游戏如Andy Sum制作的《GAME OF THE YEAR 420BLAZEIT》。Hall说：“是我们的激情得以让我们成为“第一个吃螃蟹的人”，这确实是我们难得的机会——给世界带来了全新的游戏类型——这种事不常发生。因此我很荣幸能和团队一起定义了FPS这个游戏类型的基本概念。”
Hall后来又继续共创了ION Storm和Monkeystone工作室，还设计了《毁灭战士（DOOM）》和《龙霸三合会（Rise of the Triad）》、《星际之门（Anachronox）》还有PlayFirst的《DASH》游戏。我们此次请他跟我们分享了一些他在《Wolfenstein 3D》开发工作过程中吸取一些沿用至今的设计经验。对于他会从“枪”开始给我们陈列设计经验要点的清单时我们丝毫不感到惊讶。
“在一款游戏里，你不会希望这个游戏让你一直做出同样的操作而让自己产生疲惫感的，”Hall说道。他是这样描述《Wolfenstein 3D》的主游戏循环的——“射击守卫、拿走战利品、拿到钥匙、开门、射击守卫、拿走战利品、拿到钥匙、开门……”他说曾经有一名开发者John Carmack质疑过假门是不是真的有必要，而Hall则为“假门”据理力争，结果证明这些“假门”让游戏更加出彩有趣了。
是的，密道为整个游戏的氛围添加了一份神秘感，并且为进一步作战提供了转折点。他补充道：“游戏是需要’10%的内容’来让你感受多种不同的游戏体验。”他还举例《魔兽世界（world of warcraft）》中的职业选择系统和《荒野之息（Breath of the Wild）》中的烹饪系统，这些都是用来作为附加的游戏内容来打破游戏主旋律的千篇一律。
Carmack、Hall以及John Romero趁胜追击，把在《Wolfenstein 3D》上的成功延续在其精神续作《DOOM》上。尽管仍旧是快节奏行动，翻天的暴力内容和简练的幽默感游戏，但进步的科技让游戏环境更加开放和灵活。而在《WOLF 3D》只能把注意力集中赋予简单走位更多变化的保持玩家在游戏中的活力。
“在《Hovertank one》中【他们《catacomb 3d》的前作】，我们的墙壁是纯色的没做什么纹理。所以我就放上了绿色东西然后想,‘好了，这个层面上的话那是棵树——努力解决局限性是很了不起了！不过有时候它也可以很愚蠢》……”
几十年前在还没有Unity和Unreal的时候，Hall和他有名的iD共创伙伴John Romero和John Carmack一起开发编程工具。“Romero做的TED5确实是非常了不起的地形编辑器，它参与了我们大概37款游戏的开发制作。”Hall如此说，并且《Wolfenstein 3D》就是其中的一款。
Hall一直以来都倡议要把他的技艺教给年轻的编程者，目前为止，他诉诸过Kickstart来众筹一款名叫《Worlds of Wander》的游戏制作软件。（没能成功。）不过他至少因此在其他相似的项目上看到了这款游戏制作软件的印记。
“《超级玛丽制造(Super Mario Maker)》就是一款类似《Worlds of Wander》的游戏，使用的是任天堂的IP。它真的是一款很棒的游戏和工具，它所达到的效果和我所想做的事情不谋而合，甚至连‘自我设定主题’生成新的图形界面这个概念都与我契合了；还有连它转换（主题）的方法都跟我想的一样！”
现在Hall是PlayFirst Studio的高级创作设计师，他最新的作品集中最新迭代的《Diner Dash》受人尊敬，然而相比在iD Software那时的鼎盛时期相比就差得远了；不过那种要把B.J. Blazkowicz这个角色深入到数以百万计的玩家心中的激情依旧存在，只是他把这种激情投入到了他白天工作以外的其他追求上了而已。
Wolfenstein 3D came out exactly 25 years ago, on May 5th, 1992. Nothing was the same after that day. “We knew it was new and special, but we were pretty blown away by the reception,” says Tom Hall, the director and co-designer of the game.
He and the co-founders at iD Software quickly realized that they had a hit on their hands. What they couldn’t have known then was how much B. J. Blazkowicz and his subjective POV would revolutionize video games.
It wasn’t the first game to use a first-person perspective. In 1991, Softdisk released what has been called the original first-person shooter, a wizards-and-warlocks dungeon crawler called Catacombs 3-D. But the game didn’t click with the public.
So the main people behind that game, and dozens of other Softdisk releases–John Carmack, John Romero, and Tom Hall– reworked the formula. Instead of dark fantasy and spells, Wolfenstein 3D cast players as a beefy action hero racing through corridors with a deadly projectile weapon in hand, giving the Nazi’s what-for.
A quarter-century later, the FPS is a cornerstone of the games industry. The genre is a foundation upon which developers create massive sales juggernauts like the Battlefield and Call of Duty and Overwatch franchises, horror games like FEAR, immersive experiences like the System Shock and Bioshock series, survival games like Metro 2033, and even quirky personal expressions like Andy Sum’s GAME OF THE YEAR 420BLAZEIT.
“Since we made games out of passion and were so geeky-early, that gave us a leg up, a rare opportunity to make a new genre come to life,” says Hall. “That doesn’t happen very often, and I’m honored to have come up with the fundamentals of what an FPS is with the team.”
Hall went on to co-found ION Storm and Monkeystone, and designed titles like DOOM, Rise of the Triad, Anachronox, and PlayFirst’s DASH games. We asked him to tell us about some design lessons he learned while working on Wolfenstein 3D that he still uses today. He began his list, not surprisingly, with guns.
1. Stick to your guns
This seemingly simple shooter was full of hidden secrets.
“Design-wise, if something is critical, stick to your guns. I fought for pushwalls,” Hall says, referring to the secret parts of the corridors in the game that appear to be solid wall but can be opened, leading to new areas.
“Adding pushwalls made Carmack’s engine slightly less elegant, but it made the game way more fun.”
“In a game, you don’t want activity fatigue, where you get bored doing the same thing all the time,” Hall says. He describes the main gameplay loop of Wolfenstein 3D as “shoot guards, loot, get key, open door, shoot guards, loot, get key, open door…” He says that programmer John Carmack questioned the need for fake doors, but he argued for it, and the end result made for a more surprising, compelling game.
The pushwalls added secrets to the environment, and added a twist to the propulsive combat. ”There needed to be that ‘10% thing’ that you can do for a variety of experience,” he adds. He describes the professions in World of Warcraft or cooking in Breath of the Wild as examples of side activities that help break up the sameyness of the main gameplay.
“Adding pushwalls was a classic way to hide secrets, using the exact same controls as doors, so it made sense,” he says. “It gave you that rush of discovery that Bartle’s Explorers crave. It made Carmack’s engine slightly less elegant, but it made the game way more fun.”
“Carmack shines at optimizing and making things fast, and figuring out tricks to do more and do it faster than would be straightforwardly possible,” explains Hall. “He had crafted an elegant and efficient renderer. This would make it less elegant, plopping what was essentially a special case kludge in the middle of all that nice, clean code. But it was super-necessary for fun.”
Wolfenstein 3D was a paradise of creative visual freedom compared to the old games, but it had its limitations. Things on the ceiling were just hanging from a flat colored surface, same for the floor. But it was okay. But since everything was on one level, it was rather difficult to surprise the player, so the design had to be tricksy. Alcoves with walk-throughable or shoot-throughable objects, so enemies could surprise you, and from then on, make you paranoid, even if they weren’t there!
[FASCINATING SIDE NOTE FROM HALL: "Off-topic, one sad story was this -- Wolfenstein actually had animating wall textures. From early on. The scene is this: we were making a cool FPS in a crazy short time. We had an outside artist helping on art, and the art wasn't turning out very good. A flickering torch wasn't well done. We parted ways. And then, WE FORGOT TO USE ANIMATING WALLS. At all. They could have really added to the atmosphere and been used for interesting things.... but, well, we had so much to do and simply forgot."]
2. Embrace limitations
Map of Episode 1 Floor 5 of Wolfenstein 3D
Carmack, Hall, and John Romero would go on to build off of Wolfenstein 3D’s success with the spiritual successor DOOM. Though the fast action, over-the-top violence and pithy humor remained, advancing technology allowed for more open, flexible environments. With Wolf 3D, Hall had to focus on making simple locations feel more alive.
“What little you could achieve had to be effective in saying a lot.”
“Before DOOM, these 3D spaces were more primitive, as they were limited to a tile grid: a bunch of square walls or not-walls. So your creativity is trying to work within those constraints,” he says. Today a designer can effectively create an environment as abstract or realistic as they want; the choice is one of intent. But in 1992, you could only do so much. So what little you could achieve had to be effective in saying a lot.
“In Hovertank One [their predecessor to Catacomb 3D], there were no textures, just solid-colored walls. So I placed a green one and thought, ‘Well, in this level, that’s a tree,’” he says. “Working with constraints is amazing! But it can also get silly…”
3. Think cinematically
The advent of first-person games shifted not only the player’s perspective, but that of the creators as well.
“Our 3D shooters, starting with Hovertank, were the first I imagined as real three-dimensional active spaces, so a lot of things would come to me sort of cinematically,” says Hall. “It was a new, different way of thinking about what you were making.”
“How does this feel different than other levels? What is this space like, how can I convey its uniqueness? How does it begin, how does it flow and progress, how does it come to a close?”
“Before the games got textured 3D, you would make a clever maze, or do a layout similar to a familiar architecture shape,” he adds. “But now that it was textured, and you could have detailed sprites to make rooms feel different. It became more of a true first-person experience, a visual and sonic experience that as both a designer and a player, you were the authoring protagonist of.”
The first-person games we play in 2017 have accumulated two decades worth of tropes and assumptions of what best practices are. But back in 1992, there were no rules. There were no obvious answers.
“So you start asking questions,” Hall says. “How does this feel different than other levels? What is this space like, how can I convey its uniqueness? How does it open (like the start of a movie), how does it flow and progress, how does it come to a close? What new way can I sneakily hide stuff in unexpected areas? You could begin to be less abstract and really create a sense of place, of progression. A unique experience in every level. It was the tiniest start of what you expect today.”
The technology built and the design authored during Wolfenstein 3D’s development, Hall says, “challenged you with these amazing, if primitive, new toys to play with.”
4. Use the best tools…or make them
John Romero made a labor-saving level design tool for iD
“Nowadays, you can learn any language and any platform by checking out the hundreds of available tutorial videos, articles, and books,” Hall says, “or the dozens of available classes. But tools and resources were much more primitive back in the early 1990s. Back then, you had to Assembly-code the stuff you wanted to blaze. And often, you’d roll your own tools.”
Decades before Unity or Unreal, Hall had his famous iD co-founders, John Romero and John Carmack to craft tools. “Romero did make a pretty amazing one, TED 5, the tile editor. [We] used that for like thirty-seven games,” he says. Wolfenstein 3D was one of them.
The benefit of rolling your own tools is that you become intimately familiar with what your game can and can’t do. But it took time. And energy. And money. Today’s shortcuts have allowed many more into the garden of game creation. Current developers have a head start in some ways. But with that added opportunity comes a price.
“Games are easier to make now, but it’s harder to get your stuff noticed.”
“Now it is much easier to make your game,” Hall says. “Compilers optimize code fairly well now. But the downside is that there is a tsunami of games. They are easier to make, but it’s harder to get your stuff noticed. Conversely, if you have the particular sickness that compels you to make games, there are a lot more game jobs now.”
Hall has been a proponent of helping teach young coders his craft, going so far as to Kickstart game-creation software named Worlds of Wander. (It didn’t succeed.) But he sees its stamp on other similar projects.
“Super Mario Maker is like a simpler Worlds of Wander, applied to Nintendo’s IP,” Hall says. “It’s an amazing game and tool. And pretty much precisely what I wanted to do, even down to the concept of auto-theming to a new graphics set. Even the way it changes [themes] — with a wave across the tiles!”
But the passion, the geekiness, the long hours, and the attempt to push the edge in various ways always has to be there. Though Hall says “it would have been great to have informative books and amazing tools back then,” you wonder if today’s pre-built engines and asset libraries hamper the ability to revolutionize the way Wolfenstein 3D did.
5. Don’t burn out
Twenty-five years on, Hall looks back fondly on the madness that birthed a classic and, indeed, an entire genre. But with age comes a change in perspective.
“I still have that love of making games, but I also have a life.”
“Our time management making Wolfenstein was ‘Work on the game for 14-18 hours, seven days a week,’” Hall says. “I like the balance I have now better.”
Hall is now senior creative designer at PlayFirst Studio. His latest projects, among them the latest iterations of the venerable Diner Dash series, may seem a far cry from the gory frantic envelope pushing action of iD Software’s heyday. But the same passion that helped introduce B.J. Blazkowicz to millions of players persists. It just gets funneled into other pursuits beyond his dayjob.
“Those were amazing times to be young and making games for the love of it,” Hall says. “I still have that love. But I also have a life.”（source：gamasutra.com）