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开发者谈游戏互动小说创作的七个需要关注的问题

发布时间:2020-03-27 09:06:39 Tags:,

开发者谈游戏互动小说创作的七个需要关注的问题

原作者:Lucas Zaper 译者:Willow Wu

1.懒于写分支

两点之间的最短距离是直线,但这条线在大多情况下都不是最有趣的。除非你时不时地给玩家提供岔路选择,不然即使是在中途加点弯路,玩家还是会感觉自己像个旁观者,只能朝着同样的方向前进。

玩家想要选择路线的权力,无论最终的结局是什么样的。自己的选择应该是至关重要的,沿途上的某个选择可能会让他们走上一条完全不同的道路。

即使最后得到的结局不是最好的结局,他们也愿意带着好奇心和挽救的欲望重来一遍。只要游戏成功迷住了他们,给他们机会从错误中吸取教训,玩家就会渴望重新踏上的旅程。

有时让玩家脱离主线,让他们自由地在荒野中探索也不会带来什么负面影响。

writing your own story(from calendar.azwestern)

writing your own story(from calendar.azwestern)

2.对完美选项的执念

玩家每次要面对多少个选项,这并不是关键。如果其中一个选项明显比其它的更为合适,那么这次选择就毫无意义。

最好的选择设计是提供同样可行的选项,对同一问题采取不同的做法。在这种情况下,提供多种选择方案是比较合理的,即使它们最终失败或导致了意想不到的结果。

当然,这并不意味着选项对所有角色都会产生同样的效果。某些因素应该会在一定程度上影响行动的成功率。比如一个野蛮人可能无法像吟游诗人那样用巧言妙语来解决问题。

你不应该执着于给每类角色设定一个最佳选项,否则玩家的游戏体验就会受到限制。充分利用你的想象力,努力思考可能解决问题的所有方法,以及为什么它们在这种情况下能起作用/没有用。否则玩家可能会认为你是一个懒惰的人。懒惰的创作者会造就懒惰的玩家,既然是懒惰的玩家,他们也不会一遍又一遍去地玩你的游戏了。

把你创作的一切内容都呈现给玩家,让他们自己掌控方向。他们将会为自己的选择付出代价,之后不断地回头寻求更多刺激。

3.把玩家当木偶操纵

玩家不想成为吊在线上的木偶,根据主人的动作来跳舞。非要说的话,他们想成为的是操纵木偶的人。

有时,作者想要让某件事发生,他们会无视玩家的选择,无论如何都会触发。更糟的话,他们会在玩家没有任何输入的情况下,强制主角做某件事触发剧情。

如果最初的触发不是有理有据的,会让人觉得这一切纯粹就是因为情节需要。如果这意味着你必须从玩家手中夺取主角的控制权,那么这段内容或许就不应该加入进来。

作为一个互动小说作者,你必须要知道什么时候该放弃。从玩家开始游戏的那一刻起,主角就不再是你的了,而是他们的。

不要当操纵木偶的人。你可以是吊线、可以是操纵板、可以是创造木偶的人,但不要成为控制它的人。在玩家面前隐藏自己,塑造出木偶是活的的氛围,而不是提醒玩家它不是。

4.对对话的掌控欲

跟上一条类似,在玩家没有输入操作的前提下,主角会做一些莫名其妙的事。这里具体指的是他们会自己说一些话。

有时只是偏离了最初的对话选项提词,因为玩家所选的选项不一定能准确反映角色最终会说的内容(某些大型系列游戏会出现这种情况,如《质量效应》《巫师》)。有时则会令人觉得更加无厘头,因为整个对话过程中没有一句是玩家可选择的,全都是自动剧情。

虽然第二种方式造成的负面效果明显比第一种更大,但我发现通常情况下,这两种方式都会打破沉浸感,让玩家跳出角色。如果你有充足的艺术资源&配音演员,也许你不应该吝啬呈现对话选项。你可以利用配角表演你想出的绝妙笑话,或者把它变成一个特定选择的结果。内容越多越好。

玩家会觉得自己的仔细推敲得到了回报,游戏的娱乐价值也不会受到影响。

5.漠视玩家的努力

不要忽视你的玩家。我发现,自引用是增强故事连贯性的好方法,你应该时不时地给予玩家认可,对他们的努力表示肯定。

不要只是设置成就,而是让其他角色来评论他们的行为,不管是好是坏。注意寻找适合的时机来提起他们之前做的一些事情,并试着考虑可能造成的影响,不要直白生硬地甩出评论。

不管是一句对白、一个额外的段落、一个新的选项、一种不同的描述,甚至是一个独特的场景……只要你用合理的方式呈现它,玩家就会知道你并没有忘记他们。这是互利的,你注意到这一点,玩家也会把你的游戏放在心上。

6.浪费时间

不要浪费玩家的时间。不要为了制造意外效果而布置死亡陷阱。沿途中要给出隐晦的警告——有些线索在一开始并不能传达出什么明显信息,但是事后看来就觉得这个结果顺理成章。

如果你的游戏既长又有分支,那就尝试添加一个保存功能。这样玩家所承担的风险就没有那么大,可以大胆实验,就算失败了也不用从头开始游戏。游戏中应该有足够丰富的内容保证多重游戏玩法的可行,而不是单纯依赖廉价的死亡。

7.记错

如果说漠不关心是没有用合理的方式肯定玩家的行为,那么错误记忆就会直接造成矛盾。非线性游戏/多分支游戏经常会出现逻辑错误、前后不一致的问题。因此Beta测试员是非常重要的一个群体,能够帮助你找出问题,确保所有的结果都安排在对应的剧情线后。

无论是字符串、布尔值还是数字,创建一个变量就意味着多了一份责任。你是在承诺作为游戏的创作者,你会记住玩家的选择,呈现对应的剧情。不会因为错接内容而破坏他们的游戏体验。

这些是我近期制作游戏时参考的指南,这并不是设计互动小说时的唯一标准(有许多优秀的游戏都包含上文所说的禁忌),但它们确实反映了我在玩和设计这类游戏时的个人偏好。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

1 – Railroading (The Sloth of Not Branching)

The shortest distance between two points might be a straight line, but it rarely is the most fun. Even if you add curves or bends to the path, your players will feel like passengers being propelled in the same direction unless you present them with a fork in the road from time to time.

Players want the power to choose where they are going, regardless of what that destination may end up being. They want to feel like their choices matter, and that a different decision somewhere along the road could have led them to a completely different path.

Even if the ending they get is not the best possible one, they will want to play your game again and again, propelled by curiosity or a desire to make things right this time. As long as you manage to captivate them and give them the opportunity to learn from their mistakes, they will be eager to make new ones.

And it doesn’t hurt to let them hop off the train and wander around the wilderness from time to time either.

2 – Compulsive Choices (The Lust for the Perfect Option)

It doesn’t matter how many choices you present to your player at once; if one of those options is obviously better than all the others, then it is no choice at all.

The best choices are those that present equally viable options, with different approaches to the same problem. Multiple alternatives should make sense in the context, even if they end up failing or giving unexpected results.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that all choices need to work for all characters. Some variables should rightfully impact the success rate of a course of action, and, understandably, a barbarian might not be able to sweet-talk their way out of a problem as well as a bard, for example.

But you shouldn’t stick to a single good option per character type all the time, or you will be limiting your player’s choices. Put your imagination to good use here, and think hard about all the possible ways to solve a problem, and why they would or wouldn’t work in each situation.

Otherwise, you run the risk of coming off as lazy. And lazy authors inspire lazy players, and lazy players might not want to keep playing your game. Instead, give your players all you got, and they will owe up to the consequences of their decisions and keep coming back for more.

3 – Puppeteering (Being Envious of Your Player)

A player doesn’t want to feel like a puppet on a string, dancing according to their master’s movements. If anything, they want to be the puppeteer.

Sometimes, when an author wants something specific to happen in a game, they will make it occur regardless of the player’s actions. Even worse, they will make the main character do something to trigger those events without any previous input from the player.

But if the initial trigger wasn’t authentic, then it just feels like things are happening because the plot demanded it. And if the plot demanded it to a point where it had to seize control of the main character from the player’s hands, maybe it shouldn’t be happening at all.

As an author of interactive fiction, you have to learn when to let it go. The main character is not yours anymore; the player owns it from the moment they start playing the game.

Don’t be the puppetmaster. Be the strings, the control pad, the person who made the marionette — not the one who’s controlling it. Hide yourself from the audience and help create the illusion that the puppet is alive, instead of reminding the player that it isn’t.

4 – Ventriloquism (The Greed of Owning All The Words)

Similar to Puppeteering, this is when the main character does something without the player’s input. In this case, it refers to instances where they speak on their own.

Sometimes, it only diverges from an initial dialogue prompt, as the choice selected by the player ends up not reflecting what their character eventually says(this is the case in some big franchises, such as Mass Effect or The Witcher). Others, it happens even more gratuitously, as entire exchanges transpire without any of the dialogue coming out from the main character’s mouth being something the player chose to speak.

While the second is evidently more intrusive than the first, I find that, more often than not, both break immersion and undermine roleplaying. If you’re not limited by art assets or voice actors, then perhaps you shouldn’t be sparing dialogue options. Make that brilliant banter you came up with be spoken by secondary characters instead, or turn it into the consequence of a specific choice. The more content, the better.

The players will feel like they have earned it, and the entertaining value will remain the same.

5 – Indifference (Neglecting the Pride of Your Players)

Don’t neglect your players. I find that self-reference is the glue that keeps a good story together, and from time to time, you should make an effort to acknowledge what they have accomplished so far.

Instead of just handing achievements, make it so that other characters comment on their actions, be it good or bad ones. Don’t just hamfist commentaries of their deeds into the game either; look for the perfect opportunities to mention something, and try to take into consideration the possible repercussions as well.

Be it a single dialogue line, or an extra paragraph, a new option, a different description, or even a unique scene… as long you present it, and do so efficiently, your players will know you have not forgotten about them, and the feeling will be mutual. They will not forget about your game either.

6 – Time-Wasting (The Wrath of a Sudden Death)

Don’t waste your player’s time. Avoid making deathtraps that are only there for shock value. Give subtle warnings beforehand; things that may not appear evident at first but will make a lot of sense in hindsight.

And if your game is long and branchy and unless it is against a fundamental principle of its design), try adding a save feature. Let players experiment and take risks without having to restart the game from the beginning. There should be enough varied content in your game to warrant multiple playthroughs without having to rely on cheap deaths.

7 – Misremembering (A Gluttony of Consequences)

If Indifference is not properly acknowledging a player’s actions, then Misremembering is directly contradicting them. Logical failures and inconsistencies are well too common when developing nonlinear or branchy games, and having beta testers to help you find them is an invaluable asset in making sure that all consequences are appearing where they are supposed to be.

Be it for strings, booleans, or numbers; every time you create a variable, you are also assuming a responsibility. You’re making a promise that you, as an author, will keep the record straight for your players. That you will not disrupt their experience by giving them anything other than what they deserve, and that you will always be there, watching and keeping the record straight.

Those are the guidelines I followed when making my latest game. I’m not trying to enforce them as the only possible way to design a piece of interactive fiction(numerous excellent games do stuff I said to avoid), but they do reflect my personal preferences both when playing and designing games of this kind.

(source: gamecareerguide


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