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

开发者分享游戏剧情创作和推介的实用工具

发布时间:2019-08-19 09:26:29 Tags:,

开发者分享游戏剧情创作和推介的实用工具

原作者:Gregory Pellechi 译者:Vivian Xue

今天,我们来谈点不一样的东西。我们不谈写作、不谈叙事理论。不,我们来点实际的。

此处的实际,指如何向团队推介你的故事。除非心灵感应真的存在,否则你只能通过与他人交流来使他们对你的故事产生兴趣。那么就来看看这些对你有所帮助的方法吧。

并且如果所有方法都失败了,你仍然可以借助“形意舞”(interpretive dance,以舞蹈动作模拟事物)。

“故事和叙事方法是人类最宝贵的财富。我们的故事、歌曲中蕴藏无限智慧。故事是我们所构思的经历的表现形式。最简单的形式可能是:‘他/她出生,活着,死去。’这大概是所有故事的模板——一个开头、中间和结局。这种结构存在于我们的脑海中。”——多丽丝·莱辛。

你必须把你的故事推介给别人,也许是一位发行商、你的上级、团队或者投资人,并且你不确定他们是否会赏识你的作品。或者他们只想要更“传统”的结构、形式或角色。也就是三段式结构、一个英雄故事,和一名白人直男主角。

顺便说一句,看到《星球大战》新游戏的主角又是年轻白人直男,我有点失望。他们本可以用任何其他类型的主角,创作更多主题、故事和角色动机。这并不意味着我不会去玩这个游戏,因为我确实挺喜欢星战系列的一些作品。

不聊这个了。若你想讲述一个故事,你可以使用的工具方法有很多,每种工具方法都有它的优势和弱点,你必须根据你的目标受众选择最佳的方式。

1. 电梯游说(The Elevator Pitch)

这个术语大概会使你联想到“我们的游戏是X和Y的结合”之类的说辞。这不是电梯游说,它最多让目标受众知道你的产品是什么,但事实上他们一无所知。我斗胆将它称为一种危险的方法,因为没有一方处于真正的危险中,然而“X结合了Y”这种说辞最大的问题是你的受众或许根本不理解“X”或“Y”。

目前我正在开发一款游戏,《一个大问题》(A Giant Problem)。对,这是游戏名。如果我告诉你它是“一款塞尔达式的塔防游戏”,你的第一反应是什么?塞尔达艺术风格?单人游戏?武器损毁机制?还是海拉尔世界?你知道塔防是什么吗?

优秀的电梯游说,特别是在推介故事时,能够使用尽可能少的词汇总结产品。类似于——这是我为一款真实的游戏写的推介词——“身为超级战士的你孤身前往外星炼狱作战从而拯救战友、宇宙和自我”。

Marvel Strike Force(from pocketgamer.biz)

Marvel Strike Force(from pocketgamer.biz)

能猜到这是在描述哪款游戏吗?如果你答《光环:战斗进化》,你对了。如果你的答案是其它游戏……也可能是正确的。游戏剧情终将重复或者同质化,变得难以区分。我是在描述《毁灭战士》、《毁灭公爵》、《德军总部》或者其他系列游戏吗?大概。

我认为电梯游说必须是一句话。有些人认为再多也无所谓,只要你能在20至30秒内、或者在电梯到达前把它说完。我个人更倾向于用一句话。这要求你分析重点是什么并提炼整个故事。

无论你在介绍一名角色、一条任务线、一条剧情线、传说的一部分还是整个游戏,都应该遵照这个原则。或者你要推介一个YouTube和播客系列节目,你的推介词可以是——“The Writing Game是一个分析剧情设计理论并提供实用性建议的节目”。这就是为什么我使用了“剧情设计”这个标签。

最后再介绍一个电梯游说范例:“你好。我叫埃尼戈·蒙托亚。你杀害了我的父亲。准备受死吧。”——埃尼戈·蒙托亚。

通过这四句话你了解了一切。角色是谁,他们有怎样的关系,他们的动机是什么,接下来会发生什么。即便曼迪·帕廷金为了营造戏剧效果拖长了这些台词,也只用了11秒。再完美不过了。

除了电梯游说外,你可能需要向团队提供更多关于故事的细节。这也是为什么我们需要大纲。

2. 大纲(The Outline)

我知道你会说“但我不写大纲。写作时我跟着感觉走,肚子里的话一个劲往外冒,灵感来了挡也挡不住阿!”

你知道肚子里冒出来的还可能是啥——屁。没人想要。好吧,除了你以外没人想要。不写大纲对于独自创作的小说家来说没什么问题。但游戏开发是一个团队合作的过程。这意味着你的团队不能等待你的灵感爆发。

你工作时他们也得工作。这就是为什么你需要一个大纲。因此,大纲除了提供关于剧情的额外信息外,其他人还可以根据大纲制定计划、提供建议和反馈。

一份大纲可以简单罗列出章节或关卡,就像在《超级马里奥兄弟3》里,世界地图展示了玩家即将面临的章节。或者至少让玩家了解他们将经历几个阶段。

尽管如此,剧情大纲通常不太一样,没有固定的形式。我个人倾向于按地点和/或场景写大纲,因为我知道我想在哪个阶段安排重要情节。但与我合作的其它人当然不知道。大纲确实让他们了解了剧情的骨架。

与游戏的其它部分一样,剧情大纲也是会变化的。如今游戏在发行后都可能被改动。因此不要觉得你必须忠于永远无法改变的事物。如果你有了新的想法,可以通过更新大纲来体现它。

能够改变的好处之一是,你不会受制于某个重要情节,因为无论大小,大纲仅仅列出了故事的要点。但这也存在一个弊端,重大剧情间存在空白,将留给其他人想象的空间(这里可能指团队成员对重大剧情间的发展产生不同的想法,导致想法不一致的问题,游戏邦注。)

3. 梗概(The Synopsis)

如果大纲是故事的骨架,那么梗概包含了结缔组织。它基于大纲,包含了主要细节,比如角色、他们的职业、他们如何互动,以及故事如何发展。

对于许多作家来说,不得不在梗概中透露故事的转折和结局是一件令人苦恼的事。你不得不透露黑武士是卢克的父亲,蜘蛛侠死了,布鲁斯·威利斯一直都是死亡的(指《第六感》中的剧情,游戏邦注)。

你不应该在梗概中把这些全写出来,而应该简单阐述发生了什么。鉴于书籍的大纲通常使用现在时,加上游戏是交互式的,我想不到任何理由改变这种时态。

使用现在时撰写梗概能够帮助作者或游戏设计师更好地理解玩家“应该要”做什么,以及他们的重点是什么。

如果我们以游戏《看火人》(Firewatch)中的浣熊攻击为例,它的梗概将会是——亨利踏入烧毁的小屋。他走向旧炉子,打开它。一只浣熊从里面跳了出来,亨利摔倒。他还没站起身浣熊就跳出窗子跑掉了。

这段话里没有情绪,没有过多修饰和细节。当然这只是单个场景的梗概。在整个游戏的梗概中,它可能被缩减成一句话——亨利走入一间破旧的小屋,打开炉子时一只浣熊跳出来吓了他一跳。

如果我们拿梗概和实际场景作比较,它并不具备使剧情或遭遇与众不同的细节。梗概中没有机制、声效、艺术资源甚至对话。它仅阐述发生的事,所有写作细节和进一步的设计工作都被留到日后进行。

梗概的一个明显缺陷是制作时间长。并且即便你将它和大纲结合在一起,你的团队成员也未必能理解你想表达的东西。

4. 快速谈谈你的团队

让我们快速地谈谈你的团队,或者你尝试推介故事的人。事实上,你无法说服每个人,甚至无法说服任何人。人们有着不同的看法,对场景或创意的想象不同。你无法解决所有可能出现的分歧。你能做的是运用这些工具方法简化并清楚阐释你的想法,从而更好地呈现你的故事并为它辩护。

5. 故事板(Storyboard)

故事板本质上是漫画速写草图,它包含了各个场景最少的细节,使故事更加形象化。如果你看过有关电影制作的纪录片,你大概见过故事板。

一些电影作品,比如《疯狂的麦克斯4:狂暴之路》,是从故事板开始创作的。直到后来人们才基于故事板撰写正式的剧本。这种方式不一定适合所有创作,比如《异形3》,但它能生动地传达某个故事或场景的动作。而在游戏创作中,特别是当你谈论机制时,它将发挥同样的作用。

但制作故事板需要一名美术师、或至少一定的技巧才能轻松地传达你的想法。我发现故事板是一个非常有效的工具,并且为了确保我与合作的美术师们形成一致理解,我推荐大家阅读塞吉奥·帕兹(Sergio Paez)和安森·朱(Anson Jew)合著的《专业故事板绘制:经验指南》(Professional Storyboarding: Rules of Thumb)。这本书提供了许多优秀的故事板设计以及沟通术语。如果你们使用的术语与之相似的话,创作故事板将更加轻松。

如果你倾向于使用这种方法,下面这种方式是它的升级版。

6. 彩绘剧本(Colorscript)

彩绘剧本的流行始于皮克斯动画,它的本质是彩色的故事板,通过不同场景的颜色变化来反映情绪或主题。它还确保了故事情节不会变得重复无聊。

当然,如果你没有一名美术师,或技巧,或时间来创作故事板或彩绘剧本,你可以简单地提供参考图片。不过,我不建议你在呈现故事时把所有图放在一张上,最好按有意义的顺序展示它们,这样当你向某人讲述故事时就不必从头讲到尾。

7. 故事地图(The Story Map)

我常常把它称为“故事分解工具”。我不知道怎么命名它好,并且我总是忘记其他人是怎么称呼它的。不过它结合了所有上述提到的工具,引用起来很方便。Thatgamecompany工作室使用它制作了游戏《风之旅人》。推特账号“@iamleyeti”提供了该游戏的剧情分解图。

就连《战神》的创意总监科里·巴洛格也使用了相似的工具绘制游戏剧情。并且我了解到Convict Games工作室的格雷戈里·洛登也采取了类似做法。布鲁克·马格斯在开发《花园之间》(The Gardens Between)时也创造出了一个这样的工具。

这些故事地图或者分解工具都有一个共同特征:它们包含了游戏中最常访问的地点、角色、每个地点发生的事件、每个阶段的情绪或主题等等。提供多少细节取决于你和你在团队中担任的角色。

以我的游戏《一个大问题》为例子,作为游戏的剧情创作者和设计师,我参考别人的工具,挑选出我想使用的元素。我以线性形式呈现游戏过程、玩家穿越的区域、玩家在不同区域将解锁的新机制和新技能、以及重大剧情。

我还制作了一个扩展版,它包括了参考图片、彩色剧本,甚至还有游戏场景的立面图,从而将剧情、故事线、游戏整体以及关卡设计连接起来。

如果你之前看过我的一篇文章,你还记得我提到的“故事网格”(The Story Grid)。真正的故事网格,正如同名书籍中对它的定义,在小说创作中发挥的正是这个作用。它帮助你安排即将发生的剧情、该剧情与其它事件的联系。因此这种方法完全可以被运用到其它叙事媒介里,比如游戏。

8. 建模(The Prototype)

如果这些工具都不符合你的喜好,或者你发现它们对你们没什么帮助,你可以为故事或游戏建模。

我推荐使用Twine或Ink为游戏故事建模,二者都简单易学,并且成果甚至能够被轻松应用到真正的游戏里。如果这种方法不起作用,你可以把故事直接写出来让别人阅读。

但我仍然希望这些工具:电梯游说、大纲、梗概、故事板、彩绘剧本、参考图片或故事地图能对你有所帮助。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Today, today we’re going to do something different. We’re not going to talk about writing, or storytelling theories. No, we’re going to get practical.

Practical in this case, is in how to sell your story to your team. Cause until telepathy becomes a thing you’ll just have to interact with others to get them interested in your writing. So why not have some props to help.

Download the Episode or Subscribe on iTunes or Stream on Spotify

And if all else fails you can always rely on interpretive dance…

“Humanity’s legacy of stories and storytelling is the most precious we have. All wisdom is in our stories and songs. A story is how we construct our experiences. At the very simplest, it can be: ‘He/she was born, lived, died.’ Probably that is the template of our stories—a beginning, middle, and end. This structure is in our minds.”—Doris Lessing
So, you’ve got to sell your story be it to a publisher, your lead, your team, or an investor and you’re not quite sure that they’re going to understand your brilliance. Or they may want something a little more “traditional” in structure, form or character. Which is another way of saying a 3-Act structure, the hero’s journey, and a straight white dude.

By the by, I’m disappointed that Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order is about another young, straight white dude. They could have done so much more with any other character, and had more themes, stories and motivations available to them. That doesn’t mean I won’t play it, cause I do like me some Star Wars.

That aside, there are a number of tools you can use when conveying your story to the intended audience. Each has their strengths and weaknesses, and as with anything you’ll have to figure out what will work best with those you’re speaking to.

For this episode we’ll go through each of those tools, which include: the elevator pitch, an outline, a synopsis, a story breakdown, storyboards, and references.

1. The Elevator Pitch

You’ve heard the term and you’re probably thinking it’s saying something like “Our game is X meets Y.” That’s not an elevator pitch. At best it’s an attempt to give your audience references for what you’re making, but in fact tells them nothing. I hazard to call it dangerous, since no one’s in any actual danger, yet the trouble with saying “X meets Y” is that you don’t know what aspects of either X or Y your audience has grasped.

I’m currently working on a game, A Giant Problem. Yes that’s really the name. If I were to describe it as Breath of the Wild meets Tower Defense. What are your immediate thoughts? Is it the art style? Or the focus on a single character? Breaking weapons perhaps? The world of Hyrule? Do you even know what tower defense is?

A good elevator pitch, especially when it comes to talking about a story, sums it up in as few words as possible. Something like, and I made this one up based on a real game—“Descend into an alien hell and fight your way out as a lone super soldier in a bid to save your crew, the universe and yourself.”

Care to hazard a guess as to what game I’m talking? If you said—Halo: Combat Evolved, you’re right. If you said anything else… You could also be right. Ultimately some of these story arcs are going to repeat or be so similar it’s hard to tell them apart. Was I talking about Doom, or Duke Nukem, or Wolfenstein, or any number of other series? Probably.

I say the elevator pitch needs to be a single sentence. Other people say it can be as many as needed, as long as you can say it all within 20 to 30 seconds, or an elevator ride. Personally, I prefer the constraints of talking about something in a single sentence. It requires you to really analyze what the focus is and hone the story.

This holds true whether you’re talking about a character, a quest-line, a story arc, a piece of lore, or an entire game. Or a YouTube and podcast series. In this case the elevator pitch is—“The Writing Game is a series about analyzing the theory and providing practical advice about designing stories.” Hence why I use the tagline, Designing Stories.

Here’s one final example of a great elevator pitch: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”—Inigo Montoya

In those four lines you learn everything you need to know. Who the characters are, what their relationship is, what their motivations are, and what’s going to happen. And even with Mandy Patinkin stretching those lines out for dramatic effect, it all happens in 11 seconds. Perfect in a manner deserving of a chef’s kiss.

So you may find yourself needing to provide more detail than an elevator pitch to get your team onboard with your story. That’s why we have Outlines.

2. The Outline

And I know what you’re saying, “but I don’t outline. I write as it flows, from the heart, from the seat of my pants, as inspiration strikes!”

You know what else comes from the seat of your pants—farts. And no one wants those. Well, no one else wants those. Not outlining is fine for the solo work of a novelist. But in game development you’re working as part of a team. And that means your team cannot wait for wit, whimsy, fancy or flashes of inspiration to strike.

They need to be working as you work. Which is why you need an outline. So asides from the additional information about your story an outline provides, it also allows others to plan and make suggestions or provide feedback.

An outline can be as simple as a list of the chapters or levels, similar to what we see in Super Mario Bros 3. The world map lays out the chapters we’re going to encounter. Or at least it provides a list for the player of how many stages they’ll have to go through.

For stories though an outline is often different, and there’s no set form. Personally I tend to write outlines as a location and/or scene because I know the story beats I want to hit during that section. But of course anyone I’m working with can’t. Though giving them an outline does provide the bones of of the story they’ll be working with.

Outlines as with everything else about a game can change during development. Hell these days a game can even change once it’s been published. So don’t feel like you’re committing yourself to something that you can never veer from. If the story takes you elsewhere, then it does and you can update the outline to reflect that.

Part of the beauty of this ability to change is you’re not beholden to any particular story beat as the outline is really just the major points in a story, no matter how big. The downside to this is it allows others the space to imagine something else entirely filling those gaps between the milestones.

3. The Synopsis
If the outline is the bones of a story, then the synopsis includes the connective tissue. It builds on the outline to include the major details, such as the characters, what they do, how they interact, and how the story develops.

The most disappointing thing for many writers in creating a synopsis is that you have to give away the twists and the ending. You have to reveal that Darth Vader is really Luke’s father, that Spider-Man dies, and that Bruce Willis was dead the entire time.

What you’re not doing in the synopsis is actually writing all of those bits out. Instead you’re simply stating what happens. With book outlines it’s often in the present tense, and given the fact that games are interactive I cannot think of a good reason to change this format.

Writing it in the present tense helps you as a writer or game designer to get a better idea of what the player “should be” doing, and what their focus is.

If we turn to Firewatch and the raccoon attack then the synopsis would be something like—Henry enters the burned down cottage. He goes to the old stove and opens it. A raccoon jumps out and Henry falls over. The raccoon then makes for the window and escapes while Henry recovers.

There’s no emotion, no gilding, no great detail there. And of course that’s just a synopsis for a single scene. In the context of the wider game it may have just been reduced to a single sentence—Henry goes to a dilapidated cabin, opens a stove only for a raccoon to jump out and surprise Henry.

If we compare that synopsis to the actual scene it includes nothing of the detail that makes it a unique story or encounter. The synopsis doesn’t list mechanics, not sound effects, art assets or even dialogue. It states simply what is to occur. Leaving all of the nitty gritty writing, and further design work, for later.

The obvious downside to a synopsis is the amount of time it takes to produce. And even with an outline your team may not understand or get what you’re trying to do.

4. A Quick Detour To Your Team

So let’s take a quick detour and talk about your team or those you’re trying to sell your story to. The fact is you’re not going to convince everyone, nor are you going to convince anyone all the time. People have different, competing concepts and differing abilities to imagine scenarios, scenes or ideas. You can’t account for all those possibilities. What you can do is use these tools to simplify and clarify for yourself. Then you’ll be able to better present your case and argue it.

5. The Storyboard

Storyboards are essentially comics strips that are quickly drawn and have minimal details that help tell and visualize a story. If you’ve watched a making of documentary for most movies you’ll probably see some storyboards.

Some works, like Mad Max Fury Road, started as storyboards. It’s only later that an actual script was written based upon them. That’s not always the way to go as was the case with Aliens 3. But it is an excellent way to convey the action of a story or scene. And for games it’s no different especially when you’re talking mechanics.

But a storyboard takes an artist, or at least some level of skill so readily convey your intent. I’ve found storyboards to be quite useful and to make sure I and any artist I’m working with are on the same page I recommend “Professional Storyboarding: Rules of Thumb: by Sergio Paez and Anson Jew. It provides a lot of great examples of how to draw different scenes and the language used for talking about them. And if you have that shared terminology it makes creating storyboards that much easier.

There’s an additional level you can take the storyboard to if you are so inclined.

6. Colorscript

Popularized by Pixar, it’s essentially taking the storyboard and adding a color palette to it. All in order to demonstrate how the color changes over the course of a scene or story and thus affects and reflects the mood or themes. It’s also a great way of ensuring that things aren’t being repeated too often and thus become boring.

Of course if you don’t have an artist, the skill, or the time to create a storyboard or color script you can simply provide references. Though I wouldn’t recommend just putting all of your images on single poster if you’re trying to present a story. Rather tell that story with those images by putting them in an order that makes sense, so you can present it to someone and not have to talk them through it.

7. The Story Map

Or as I sometimes call it the story breakdown tool. I don’t have a good name for it and I keep forgetting what others have called it. But it’s a combination of all of the previous tools in an easy to reference manner. It’s been used by the likes of thatgamecompany to make Journey. The photo of which is courtesy of @iamleyeti.

Even Cory Barlog, the creative director of God of War, uses a similar tool for mapping out the game. And I know Gregory Louden from Convict Games does something similar. Even Brooke Mags when working on The Gardens Between developed such a thing.

All of these maps or breakdown tools have a number of things in common. They include the major areas visited in the game, the characters, the events of each area, the mood or themes for each section, and more. The amount of detail you provide in the breakdown is up to you and your role.

As you can see from my own work on A Giant Problem, as writer and game designer I’ve picked and chosen what elements to use from other’s own tools. Like most of them I’ve laid it out in a linear format representing the campaign as played, the areas the player traverses, what new mechanics or skills they gain in those areas, and of course the story beats.

My expanded version includes reference photos, color scripts and even elevation of the environments all in an attempt to tie together the story, it’s arc and the general game as well as level design.

And if you’ve listened to an episode before then you’ve heard me mention The Story Grid. The actual grid, as defined in the book of the same name, does this very thing for novels. It gets you to plan out what happens and how it relates to everything else happening in your story. So it’s readily transferrable to other storytelling mediums like games.

8. The Prototype

If none of these tools are to your liking or you don’t find them helpful with your team, you can always prototype your story or game.

I recommend using either Twine or Ink for game story prototyping as both are relatively easy to learn and could even be implemented as part of the real game. If that doesn’t work then you can always just write the story and ask others to read it.

But hopefully an elevator pitch, outline, synopsis, storyboard, colorscript, references or story map will be of use.(source:Gamasutra

 

 


下一篇: