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开发者谈从体验角度让玩家感到舒适的游戏设计

发布时间:2019-09-02 08:46:25 Tags:,

开发者谈从体验角度让玩家感到舒适的游戏设计

原作者:Tanya X. Short 译者:Vivian Xue

在热门游戏《动物之森》或者《星露谷物语》中,核心玩法体现的价值主张是“舒适”(coziness),哪怕难度更高的游戏《黑暗之心》或《塞尔达:旷野之息》也会在一定的地点和时间段内为玩家提供喘息的机会。(比如《塞尔达》的烹饪机制,通过让玩家搜集材料制作食物让玩家在任务之间得到放松,游戏邦注)

舒适度指游戏让玩家感到“安全”、“富足”和“柔和”。

-安全:危机感降到最低(包括身体、精神和社交方面的危机)。
-富足:低层次的需求得到满足,什么都不缺,也没有紧迫的任务。
-柔和:元素的刺激度较低,缓解精神压力。

这三个方面是相辅相成、互相促进的,若一款游戏(或游戏中的某个阶段)围绕 “安全”、“富足”和“柔和”,它往往还会鼓励玩家与空间场景建立亲密联系,以较慢的节奏发展,呈现出真实、纯粹和人性化的一面。

lucky(from gamasutra)

lucky(from gamasutra)

(马斯洛需求金字塔中与“舒适”相关的需求包括高层次需求: “掌控感”、“自我反省”、“社交/归属感”和低层次需求:“安全”、“食物”、“水”、“住所/庇护”)

破坏舒适度的因素包括外在奖励、危险、威胁、责任、令人分心的事物、强烈的刺激、遥远的距离、非自愿触发的社交、禁锢、欺骗以及富裕/华丽(富裕和华丽往往给人一种虚幻、陌生的感觉,并且会带来攀比的压力,游戏邦注)。但如果我们使这些消极因素分布在玩家划定的舒适区之外,从而形成一种对比,它们将起到增强舒适度的作用。

(热门游戏《牧场物语》在乡野间开辟了一块朴实、安乐的土地,人们根据四季的变化劳作和生活。)

许多看似舒适的事物(如可爱、浪漫、财富、童年甚至家)只不过和舒适存在联系罢了,它们是否真的能带来舒适感有待进一步考察。制作一款舒适的游戏时,我们必须检查任何可能带来风险、压力、责任、刺激、缺失感或恐惧感的元素。

当你思考舒适的设计时,记住舒适是一个形容词,它是一个美学目标,一种能够被应用到任何类型游戏中的调味剂。一些游戏机制在情感方面与舒适的契合度更高,但任何游戏都能提升舒适感。也就是说,没有任何一种类型游戏是绝对“舒适”的。

在这篇文章中,我们将从美学、机制、剧情和动态三方面挖掘游戏营造舒适感的方式。最后,我们还发现了游戏开发过程中一些能提升舒适感的工作习惯和方法。

舒适美学(Cozy Aesthetics)

舒适美学指一些玩家们所熟悉的声音/视觉感官元素,能够唤醒玩家对安全、柔和与满足的记忆。它们通常将一个安乐窝与相对恶劣的外部环境进行对比,作为一个重置或重塑玩家心态的时刻。

舒适美学常见形式包括:

1. 视觉上的丰富感,特别是在客栈、厨房、咖啡厅以及卧室这些空间里,充足的食物、水、愉悦氛围和温暖将带来舒适感。
2. 流畅的过渡和色彩渐变将带来舒适度。但在舒适区与非舒适区间设立明确的门槛也能增强舒适度,比如顶着暴风雪进入一间客栈,或穿过瀑布进入背后的洞穴。
3. 使人感觉受保护和支持的信号,比如一个悠闲自在的人或动物NPC告诉玩家他们可以尽情地在此地追求高层次的需求。
4. 清除所有干扰或压力,使玩家专注于某一块空间。
5. 比起陌生、奇特的场景,朴素和熟悉的场景更令人感到舒适和安全。
6. 若场景分为“内部”和“外部”,外部的危机将增强内部的安全感。
7. 房间、物品的大小尺寸合适,使人感觉熟悉、舒适。
8. 使玩家明确感受到自己受欢迎、能够自由、安全地探索和表达,没有压力和责任。
9. 让玩家进行一些重复、有意义的行为,增强熟悉感和满足感。
10. 四季的变化和不同季节的活动能带来丰富感,尤其是丰收的秋天和储物丰富的冬天。

舒适的视觉元素包括温暖、低对比度的颜色、柔和的光线、天然和熟悉的建造材料,封闭而具有亲密感的空间,以及通往外界非舒适区的窗口。

理想情况下,舒适的声音总是由场景内的事物产生,从而让玩家同声音的来源(无论是一名角色还是物品)产生亲密而具体的联系。

舒适的地点和物品具有休闲、实用、熟悉的特质,基于习惯和历史。舒适的内容给与玩家自由表达的私人空间,因此玩家可以选择由伴侣陪同,或者独处。由于熟悉程度和生理上的舒服是影响舒适度的关键,我们可以使用家庭场景、物品或者爱好物品来打造舒适感。一些舒适场景的例子包括:

1. 家和工作地点间的“第三点”,例如酒吧、咖啡厅、图书馆、小屋和花园。
2. 零风险和负担的移动空间,例如火车、轿车后座,或者缓慢移动的太空飞船。
3. 一些社交性较弱的场景,例如温顺宠物的陪伴、路人无关痛痒的关注。

舒适机制(Cozy Mechanics)

舒适度是玩家自发行为的结果。舒适的活动/机制必须是本身令人满意的,而不是因为它有助于玩家升级属性和增强能力(不是由外在动机驱动的,游戏邦注)。外界奖励很可能破坏舒适度,使活动/机制变成一种强制或利益最优的选择。

此外,若要使玩家以舒适的方式与某一机制互动,该机制必须是安全的、熟悉的和放松的——它不会因代价、难度和风险太大而玩家带来紧张感,而是让玩家进行一些日常的或是类似兴趣爱好的任务,例如:

1. 清洁或整理
2. 搜集美丽的物品
3. 钓鱼
4. 阅读
5. 缝纫
6. 酿造和饮用茶或咖啡

警示:不幸的是,随着玩家逐渐熟悉了这些系统机制并尝试最小化/最大化地利用它们,这些舒适机制很容易变质。某些残酷的设计师甚至将舒适机制当成了一项盈利工具,利用玩家放松时的心理弱点诱导消费。若要在盈利的前提下保证舒适,最佳做法是向玩家售卖他们当前可能需要的物品,避免人为设定商品的稀有度,或者激发攀比/比较的焦虑心理。

(《光环2》修改了匹配界面,玩家和队友坐在一张虚拟沙发上,此外每局结束后玩家将继续留在队伍中,不再像从前一样需要重新匹配。这些都提升了游戏的“舒适度”。)

舒适的玩家互动实现起来很困难,因为互联网经常使人们失去理智、违背人性。然而,还是有一些方法可以提升互动舒适度:

1. 减少陌生人的数量,我们对陌生人总是抱着不信任的态度,多让玩家与好友或认识的人接触、打游戏。
2. 推广使用永久化标识(persistent identities):如果玩家知道自己再也见不到彼此,就更肆无忌惮地攻击对方,推广永久化标识(如用户名)将促进文明社交。
3. 完善沟通渠道,提供额外增进交流真诚性的方式。
4. 建立并宣扬游戏礼仪规范,建立文明和谐的社区,增进玩家间的信任、合作。
5. 设立人际关系破裂后的原谅或弥补机制。
6. 建立反馈系统,对玩家的违规行为给予及时警告。
7. 将规则、价值观融入玩法之中(比如通过游戏任务让玩家互相馈赠,宣扬慷慨主义),即使没有特别诱人的奖励,宣传目的已经达到了。
8. 玩家自主决定是否与对方交流,交流的方式和程度,从而避免受到骚扰威胁。
9. 允许玩家在游戏开始前后在房间或区域内逗留交流。
10. 设计并鼓励玩家参与接触性强的、较为专注的团队活动,如钓鱼、集合或制造。
11. 允许玩家互相制作/赠送/索取礼物。
12. 建立一种无威胁性的反馈或者道歉渠道。

舒适剧情(Cozy Narrative)

就游戏剧情而言,舒适度表现在:

-压力小:即便风险性很高,不易让人产生焦虑感
-强度低:故事节奏缓慢,玩家可以从容选择
-自带光环的主角:关于“天选之子”的故事,强调主角的特殊性
-非暴力:矛盾和冲突总是短暂的,为了增进彼此的理解
-亲密感:角色数量合适,易于彼此建立亲密关系
-符合实际:剧情朴实、脚踏实地。在熟悉中寻找惊喜和满足感。
-反复性:剧情在各个季节、节日、白天/夜晚的轮替中缓慢展开。
-片段化:剧情由许多片段组成,任务活动丰富

剧情中最惬意的时刻往往是在暴风雨/冲突发生前或期间躲在家中或安全区里,或是游戏高潮结束、各项需求达成后的轻松自在。每一款经典的冒险游戏中都会有这样的时刻,比如在一场大战后,探险者围着火堆吃喝。

令人舒适的剧情以家园和家庭为主题,比如《林中之夜》的“回家”,《星露谷物语》的“逃往田园”。

游戏中令人舒适的角色通常是“培育者”(nurturer),他们为玩家提供庇护、食物、陪伴、或者仅仅向玩家表达关爱。注意这些行为应是自发的、无交易色彩的;角色间的互帮互助是美好的、一种不求回报的行为。

(游戏《Undertale》使用暖色调画面、重点突出的内室设计、以及悠闲的动物NPC表现安全和舒适。)

(《最终幻想15》中,同伴们对自己能为团队带来的东西充满信心,并且同伴之间经常表达关心和爱意。)

角色的一些表达信任的举动(譬如分享秘密或邀请对方到私人空间)能够让玩家感到自己受欢迎和喜爱。一些玩家可以对其进行赠予、表达善意和养育行为、没有惩罚性也没有期待的角色将会是极度舒适的,比如一只无需太多照料的猫咪。这些角色将潜在地激发玩家与它们接触并成为朋友。

暴脾气和被遗弃的角色看似与“舒适”不搭边,但它们可以激发玩家的同理心,同时增强剧情的真实感和趣味性。这些性格古怪的角色的存在不仅为玩家提供了更多可选择的交流机会,还时时提醒玩家他们在一个独立的世界中生活着。

舒适的游戏开发(Cozy Game Development)

你的团队如何营造舒适的工作氛围?安全感有助于真诚沟通与合作。富足感将激励成员不畏损失,勇敢进行尝试。当团队在一个安全舒适的环境下工作,核心员工的留存率也会大大提升。

理想的舒适工作场所应是:

1. 员工能够暂时逃离(在需要时去往另一个觉得舒适的空间,比如咖啡厅)或改变工作环境
2. 提供食物和咖啡
3. 同事之间彼此熟悉信任
4. 使用天然材料装修,自然光线充足
5. 员工可自由选择音乐
6. 工作时间灵活,支持家中工作
7. 提供远离外部压力或威胁的场所
8. 分离管理者和导师的角色,促进信任
9. 同事能经常相处、共度时光
10. 提供明确、温和、即时、周到的工作反馈。

不要走极端,不要试图让一切变得舒适!你不能强迫人们亲密相处,并且舒适的空间或时光可能会导致人们逃避令人不悦的话题,导致尴尬的认同。

在大多数工作环境中,职位高低的存在意味着人们无法真正舒适地相处——某个人能够对其他人的职业发展产生重大影响。因此,不要寄希望于信任或是依靠信任管理。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

Cozy Design

Popular games such as Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley offer coziness as a core gameplay value proposition to players, while the more stressful core gameplay of Dark Souls or The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild may provide breaks of coziness in select spaces and times to deepen and salve an otherwise stressful player experience with respite between adventures.

Coziness refers to how a game evokes the fantasy of safety, abundance, and softness:

-Safety: risk and danger (physical, emotional, social) are minimized.
-Abundance: lower-level needs are met and nothing is lacking or pressing.
-Softness: stimuli are gentle and comforting, reducing stress.

Each of these aspects of coziness reinforce each other, such that a game (or section of a game) centering safety, abundance, and softness will often also encourage intimacy of space and emotion, with a slower pace, implying authenticity, sincerity, and humanity.

Aspects which may negate coziness include extrinsic rewards, dangers or threats, responsibility, distractions, intense stimulus, vast distances, non-consensual social situations, confinement, deception, and opulence. These same negating elements can be used to enhance coziness if they are safely outside the player’s defined cozy space (spatial, emotional, etc) by providing contrast and juxtaposition. For example, cold rain against a window emphasizes the warmth of a reading nook without threatening to disrupt it. If that same cold rain was blowing through a broken window, the scene would no longer be cozy.

/picture
(Harvest Moon was a popular cozy title that offered a mundane, ritual refuge in pastoral life, with clearly demarcated seasons to signify both economic and community activities.)

Many things which might be considered cozy (such as cuteness, romance, wealth, childhood, or even the home) are often cozy-adjacent upon further inspection. When creating cozy games, inspect every aspect for potential risk-taking, stress, responsibility, stimulus, and feelings of inadequacy or fear.

As you approach cozy design, remember that coziness is an adjective; coziness is an aesthetic goal, a flavor that can be applied to any type of game. Some mechanics are emotionally more in tune with coziness, but any game can be made more cozy. This also means that there is no single defining genre that is “coziness”.

In this analysis, we discovered patterns of coziness throughout games, including aesthetics, mechanics, narratives, and dynamics. Finally, we found patterns in our own work habits and approaches that allowed coziness during the process of game development.

Cozy Aesthetics

Cozy aesthetics are audio/visual sensory cues that are often familiar to the player that evoke images or memories of safety, softness, and contentedness. They commonly contrast a shared refuge from a less pleasant external environment, and can be applied as a moment to reset or reframe the player’s mindset.

Common cozy aesthetic patterns include:

1. Abundances of plenty and generousness, including plenty of food, drink, joy, and warmth, especially in spaces like taverns, kitchens, cafes, and bedrooms.
2. Smooth transitions and gradients can add gentleness to cozy areas, though clear thresholds may also preserve the comfort of a distinctly cozy area, such as coming in from a snowstorm into a log cabin, or ducking into a cave behind a waterfall.
3. Protection and support signalled, such by as a relaxed guardian animal or character, communicates to the player that they are free to pursue their higher-order needs.
4. Focus and elimination of interruptions or pressures can create a familiar, comfortable, intimate space.
5. Mundanity and familiarity will always be cozier than something alien or exotic, as its safety and abundance is clearer.
6. Refuge & Escape: if there is an “outside”, this place is a clear shelter
7. Human-centric: rooms and objects are scaled for human comfort and belonging
8. Welcome: the player is explicitly welcomed and given freedom and safety to express themselves however they wish, without responsibility or pressure to perform
9. Ritual: repeated, meaningful actions create familiarity and contentedness
10. Seasons: the familiarity and ritual history of seasons is often correlated with community and abundance, particularly in autumn and winter.

Cozy visuals may include warmer, low-contrast colors and lighting, natural and familiar building materials, enclosed intimate spaces, and occasional windows into the external, non-cozy space taken refuge from.

/picture
(Yoshi’s Woolly World makes the entire world feel touchable, soft, and lovingly crafted.)

Cozy audio would ideally always be diagetic, allowing the player to connect concretely and intimately with the sources of the sound (whether a character or object). Ambient or human-created music and audial reminders of safety, abundance, and reinforce comfort.

Cozy locations and items are centered on leisure, practicality, ritual, history, and familiarity. Cozy content allows for privacy and creative expression, so that players can be companionable or in solitude as preferred. As familiarity and physical comfort are core to coziness, domestic places and objects or hobby/crafts can be cozy. Examples given of cozy locations include:

1. “3rd spaces” separate from work or home such as bars, cafes, libraries, cabins, and gardens
2. Transition spaces without danger or obligation, such as trains, car backseats, or slow-moving spacecrafts
3. Places supporting low-intensity companionship, with calm pets or passive people-watching

Cozy Mechanics

Coziness is opt-in, depending on player agency, requires intrinsic satisfaction from the activity, not satisfaction contributing to some other purpose, such as progression, status, power, etc. Extrinsic rewards may undermine the coziness and make the activity/mechanic feel compulsory or optimal.

Furthermore, a mechanic will be engaged with in a cozy manner only if it is safe, known, and relaxing — it will not stress the player with undue costs, difficulty, or danger. This tends to create tasks that can become rituals or hobbies, such as:

1. Tidying or organization
2. Searching for or collecting beautiful items
3. Fishing
4. Reading
5. Sewing
6. Brewing and drinking tea or coffee

Warning: unfortunately, it is easy for cozy mechanics to devolve as players acclimate to the systems and seek to min/max them. Cozy mechanics may even be weaponized by cruel designers, such that the intimacy and vulnerability of a cozy moment is identified as a weak point to monetize. To preserve coziness even in a monetized environment, the best practice is to service existing player needs and avoid introducing artificial scarcity or anxiety-inducing social comparison.

/picture
(Halo 2 re-imagined the matchmaking lobby as a virtual sofa. At the time, staying with the same group from match to match was a big innovation. A very cozy move for a decidedly un-cozy game.)

Cozy interactions online can be difficult, as the internet is arguably inherently dehumanizing. Tips for cozy social mechanics include:

1. Reduce the number of strangers, which inherently signify risk and lack of trust
2. Promote persistent identities to encourage pro-social behaviour
3. Deepen communication channels to allow additional signals of sincerity and meaning
4. Promote social norms of trust and successful reciprocation loops
5. Comfortable spaces with politeness and consent
6. Capability for forgiveness and repair when interpersonal mistakes are made
7. Codes of conduct help players agree to ideals of behaviour
8. Feedback systems immediately targeting a behaviour can help players reform
9. Gameplay scenarios can reinforce desired norms (such as generosity), even without a strong extrinsic reward
10. Escalating layers of opt-in social interactions, allowing players to gradually expose themselves to risk of unpleasantness and threat
11. Allow players to linger in rooms or areas after its purpose has been completed
12.Design for group activities that encourage proximity without high-intensity distraction, such as fishing, gathering, or crafting
13. Allow for personal sourcing, creation, and/or delivery of gifts
14. Create non-threatening ways for players to ask each other for feedback or give apologies.

Cozy Narrative

In a game’s narrative, coziness may manifest as

-Low-pressure – Even if the stakes are high, anxiety is low.
-Low-intensity – Cozy stories unfold at a place of the player’s choosing with little urgency.
-Ensemble – Stories of a “chosen one” that emphasize the exceptionalism of the player are at odds with authenticity.
-Non-violent – Conflicts are ephemeral and a path to understanding.
-Intimate – A moderate size number of players to build familiarity
-Down-to-earth – Humble and grounded. Find wonder and contentment in the familiar.
-Emphasis on ritual – seasons, holidays, day/night, harvest cycles. Stories that lazily drift along the river of time
-Episodic – The sum of experiences is greater than any one story

The most cozy moments within a narrative are often respites that involve a place called home, safety before or within a storm/conflict, or as denouement post-climax. This is a common grounding moment in classic adventures, in which adventurers bond with food and drink over a campfire, before or after a big battle.

Cozy narratives and themes center around homes and family, or practicality, such as homecoming in Night in the Woods, or the pastoral escape of Stardew Valley.

Cozy characters are often nurturers, providing affection, shelter, food, companionship, and acceptance, or simply reassuring the player that they are loved. Note that these labors should be non-transactional; in this fantasy, characters help each other because it is nice and gifts expect no reciprocation, without obligation or neediness.

/picture
(Final Fantasy XV’s companions are confident in what they bring to the team and look out for each other, and often express affection.)

Gestures of trust, like sharing a secret or inviting the player into a private space, helps the player feel welcome and appreciated. Characters who can be recipients of the player’s generosity, kindness, and nurturing, without punishment or expectation, such as low-maintenance pets, can be exceedingly cozy. These characters provide a potentially appealing target for the natural “tend and befriend” response.

Perhaps surprisingly, curmudgeons and pariahs have their place in a cozy game as an opportunity for player empathy, and adds authenticity to a community that might otherwise seem fake or oppressive. From cranky villagers in Animal Crossing to Oscar the Grouch, grumpy characters can be charming as opt-in engagements and reminders that life goes on in a community independent of the player.

Cozy Game Development

How does your studio or your team allow for coziness? Emotional safety allows for honest communication and collaboration. Abundance leads to a willingness to experiment without fear of loss. You may also find key personnel are easier to retain when they’ve experienced a place they are able to feel safe and cozy.

The ideally cozy workspace would have:

1. Opportunities to escape and change environments
2. Food and coffee provided
3. Familiarity and trust in colleagues
4. Natural materials and lighting
5. Access to the music or audio of choice
6. Flexible hours or working from home support
7. Refuge from external forces, pressures, or threats
8. Separation of the role of manager and mentor, to allow for trusted confidantes
9. Opportunities for work cliques to mingle and spend repeated time together
10. Clear, gentle, considerate, and timely feedback when opted in

Don’t go overboard trying to make everything cozy! You cannot force intimacy, and cozy spaces or times may be used as an escape from difficult topics or unpleasant interactions, leading to awkward conformity.

In most employment scenarios, the power differential guarantees that all parties cannot engage in true coziness — one person has the ability to severely affect the career of the other, and therefore, trust should not be expected or used to manipulate.(source:Gamasutra

 


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