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关卡设计师谈游戏中的敌对角色设计Monster Design

发布时间:2020-04-13 08:56:47 Tags:,

关卡设计师谈游戏中的敌对角色设计Monster Design

原作者:Emil Glans 译者 Willow Wu

关卡设计是一门非常广泛的学科,不仅涵盖了基础几何学、脚本中的事件&敌人设计,还涉及到不同部分的组合、紧张度调节和叙事。在本文中,我将重点讨论一些与核心游戏设计密切关联的话题——怪物行为、武器设计和关卡几何结构,以及它们是如何共同发挥作用从而影响玩家的行为、迫使他们做出决策、丰富游戏玩法。

好,我们开始吧。

每个游戏都需要敌人,游戏的写实程度越低,敌人多样性的发挥空间就越大。奇幻或科幻游戏的敌人可能会直接无视物理法则,然而这一般都不会打破玩家的自愿搁置质疑。但更拟真化的游戏就不得不遵循现实规则了。比如对于想要获得逼真二战体验的玩家来说,游戏中出现会飞的坦克就是一个败笔。

敌人与设计优秀的敌人,这二者是完全不同的,让我们先从后者说起。为什么有这么大的区别?因为设计优秀的敌人通常是独一无二的,或者至少很有辨识度。在本文中我会拿《毁灭战士》《雷神之锤》《半衰期2》中的一些敌人来做讲解。

但你也不能仅仅因为某个敌人不够独特就认定它设计得不好。然而,不管是从玩家还是设计师的角度来看,敌人的新鲜感很有可能会随着游戏的展开而消失,毕竟它的设计目的是很单一的。

Shadow gun Legends(from pocketgamer.biz)

Shadow gun Legends(from pocketgamer.biz)

敌人类型

大多数游戏都存在以下三种类型的敌人:

1.Hitscan:他们的武器会射出一条隐形的线,如果这条线触到了玩家,你就会立即被击中。

2.Projectile:发射火箭弹、火球或扔东西的敌人通常被认为是projectile。Projectile通常可以通过移动来躲避攻击,扰乱它们的准头,但一旦命中就会造成严重伤害。

3.Melee:必须要接触才能造成伤害的敌人。它们必须要接近你,用利爪、牙齿或者武器来实施攻击。

有了这三大类,趣味对战就有很多不同的构建方式了。正常情况下,考虑到平衡方面,hitscan敌人一般都比较弱,因为它们的命中率比较高。Projectile敌人比较强,但是可以智取。Melee敌人的伤害中等,但是血厚。

敌人行为

这是一个很棘手的话题,可说的内容太多了。但是,我们可以缩小到几个主要方面:

敌人的外观外表是至关重要的,因为视觉主导是人类的天性。玩家第一眼能从外观中获得很多信息。这也与下文将讲到的“泄密”相关。谈论到视觉方面,首先我们想到的是敌人的轮廓。类人的敌人,尽管盔甲或体格的有所不同,但还是会出现容易混淆的问题,虽说不同的服装色彩或武器可以在一定程度上发挥作用。
第二就是敌人发出的声音,因为声音会提醒玩家敌人的出现或者预示敌人的下一步行动。这也是一种“泄密”。开发者巧妙地发现,当玩家面对类人敌人时,让士兵呼叫增援部队、从侧翼包围或其它战术性移动既能表现对战的真实性,同时又能为玩家提供必要的信息。

这种行为通常称为“泄密”(the tell)。泄密涉及到听觉和视觉两方面,它能告诉你敌人正在或者将要做什么。大多数敌人都能给出某种信号,但是通常很少有敌人会表现得更加明显——这些敌人通常都很特别,无论是从运作机制还是玩家互动方面。在这种情况下,信息的泄露可以帮助玩家做出更好地选择——是先消除最大威胁还是先寻找掩护。

《雷神之锤》Shambler这个怪物就相当典型。首先它冲到一定距离范围内,将双手举过头顶,蓄力雷击——你可以从它的双手中清楚看到。然后它朝着玩家的方向发动攻击。紧接着,第二次泄密表明了这是melee类型的攻击。和之前一样,它把双手举过头顶准备击倒玩家,但是现在没有闪电,双手之间的空间变大了,这预示着这将是一次近战攻击,因为它现在离玩家更近了。动作与咆哮声/电流声的结合,游戏为玩家提供了全方位的提示。

了解概念

这些组合提示构建出了怪物的常规行为,玩家也必须学会理解这些信号。通过重复表现这些行为,玩家很容易就能形成认知。然而,要求还不止这些。这些行为必须易于识别,这意味着怪物与怪物之间应该有明显区别,以便玩家能够在眨眼间做出判断。玩家不应该对怪物接下来要做什么产生犹豫,因此怪物的行为必须是前后一致的,每次都做同样的事情,符合玩家的预期。如果怪物在不同的攻击中做同样的动作,玩家将会一头雾水,他们不知道该期待什么,更不知道要如何应对。

当玩家认识、理解了这些行为,也就能够适应游戏了。适应,基本上就是说能够做出合适的决策。我不会费心去写“战术性的、有意义的选择”这些漂亮词,如今它们已经被过度使用了。归根结底就是玩家根据输入做出决定,别无其它。在射击游戏中,你基本上就是两个选择:移动/射击,或者两者一起,其它的都不算决策。

我们来举一个实例。如果我作为一个玩家,现在明白Shambler这个怪物伤害很高,闪电攻击是远程,那么攻击即将到来时我应该找个掩护。我不会急着把它撂倒,因为我知道它血非常厚。我的适应,或者说我所做的决定都是基于经验中的知识。我肯定是观察过这个怪物的行动,或者之前跟它对战过才会如此了解它,之后我就可以征服它。在能找到掩护、躲避攻击的情况下选择盲目往前冲,这肯定是不明智的。

目标优先级

这些知识也形成了我所说的目标优先级列表,对于关卡设计师来说是一个很好的工具。你可以构建出现多种类型敌人的对战场景,你或多或少可以预料玩家会采用某种形式对付敌人。优先级列表本质上就是玩家脑中的威胁等级排名。伤害值和生命值不是唯二的排名依据,这意味着血最厚的敌人不一定是怪物群中的最大威胁。那些能够惹恼你的敌人往往就是最大的威胁,就比如《半衰期2》中的猎头蟹。

猎头蟹本身是杀不了你的,但是它的毒药可以让你离死亡只有一步之遥。你的生命值不会被永久置为1,相反,你会恢复得相当快,所以确切来说这并不是伤害,而是减益。然而当开发者把其它敌人置于同一场战斗中时,危险程度就立即飙升了。

玩家面对一只毒蟹僵尸,它会在一段距离内朝你丢螃蟹,这些螃蟹也会成为独立的小怪。除此之外,在这次对战中还多了僵尸。僵尸通常是缓慢、虚弱的,能造成低到中等的伤害。 在正常情况下,僵尸不会构成太大的威胁。然而,结合毒蟹的攻击和十分有限的移动空间,这无疑是致命性的威胁。这就是环境设计发挥作用的地方。

有了这种经历,玩家会自动把猎头蟹列为需要优先处理的敌人。一听到这种猎头蟹的独特噪音,就会立即进入高度警惕状态,仔细留意它的位置,而其它敌人的威胁就没有那么高了。“威胁列表”一直会在我们的大脑中更新。这创造出了一种有趣的动态:如果玩家定位猎头蟹失败并被它击中,局面就由此改变——任何敌人现在都是致命级别的威胁,因为它们能够轻易杀死玩家,迫使玩家放弃射击改为移动。

几何体

关卡的几何形状构建或布局应该考虑到敌人的优势及弱点。如果你有一个速度很快、走位很强的melee敌人,那你必须为敌人设计好一条无障碍路线。不然这个角色就没有意义了。

如果你有一个使用远程攻击的敌人,它得有清晰的视线才能够击中玩家。距离也很重要,尤其是对于projectile敌人来说,因为投射物需要一定的时间触及玩家。如果关卡有太多的掩护区和视线阻挡物,远程敌人就完全发挥不了作用。反过来,如果玩家没办法拉开距离,没有掩护,游戏体验对他们来说也是相当不愉快的。

总结

如何塑造成功的敌人并做到物尽其用?你需要个性化的轮廓、独特的声效和前后一致的特殊行为,环境设计要能够发挥敌人的优势同时也要考虑其弱点,教玩家认识、适应和征服这些敌人。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

On Monster Design

Level design is a broad discipline. It not only covers laying down geometry or setting up events and enemies in script, it is also responsible for composition, intensity and storytelling. In this article I will focus on another department that is more tied to the core game design. This article will focus on monster behaviors, weapon design and level geometry and how they combined influence player behavior and force decision making and variation in gameplay.

Let’s begin!

Every game needs enemies and the less restricted in reality the game is the more freedom can you have in the enemy diversity. A fantasy or sci-fi game can have enemies that disregard physical laws without it breaking the suspension of disbelief while a more realistic type of game will have to be confined reality. Flying tanks in a world-war 2 game would not be successful for players wanting to enjoy the more authentic WW2 experience.

Since there is a big gap between well-designed enemies and mere enemies lets start with the well designed ones. The reasons there is a gap is because well designed enemies are often unique or at least distinct enough to be recognized. In this article I will mention some enemies from Doom, Quake and Half-Life 2 when talking about well-designed enemies.

Now, just because an enemy is not distinct or unique doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not well made or fitting for its appropriate setting. However, there is a higher risk for that enemy to become blurry, bland and boring after a while, both from a player perspective facing the same thing over and over again but also from the designer’s perspective since it’s not as multifaceted to use.

Enemy Types

Most of the time there are three types of enemies. These are:

Hitscan enemies. Hitscan means that they shoot an invisible line from their weapon against the player and if it connects with the player you are instantly hit.

Projectile enemies. Enemies that fire a rocket, a fireball or throws something at you are normally regarded as projectile enemies. The projectile can often be dodged by moving thus making it harder to hit but more punishing if it connects by dealing heavy damage.

Melee enemies. Enemies that will have to touch you. They need to get in next to you and hit you with their claws,teeth, arms or weapons.

With these three you have many possibilities to craft interesting encounters. Normally as a balance aspect hitscan enemies are weaker due to their natural talent of hitting you more often while projectile enemies are stronger but can be out-maneuvered. Melee enemies are in the middle-class on dealing damage while they are tougher when it comes to taking damage.

Enemy Behavior

Enemy behavior is a tough topic since it encapsulates so much. But it can be narrowed down to a few primary attributes that will influence most of it. These are:

The looks of the enemy. The looks are crucial since humans are visually-oriented by nature, this is the attribute that will provide the player with the most information at a first glance. This is also heavily tying in to “the tell” which I will explain later. The first thing that comes to mind when talking about visuals is the silhouette of the enemy. Human enemies even with variation in bodyarmor or size, will suffer from a distinction problem although it can be reduced by having color coded uniforms or different weaponry.

Similar silhouette but different in color and weaponry

The sounds the enemy make. Sounds comes in second since sound will alert the player of the presence of an enemy or the next move of the enemy. When it’s monsters the sounds will alert the player of an ambush or the next coming attack, also tying in to “the tell”. When players face human enemies, developers have ingeniously figured out that having soldiers call out for reinforcements, flanking routes or other tactical moves provide both the believability of a working unit while at the same time providing the player with essential information.

The behavior itself or normally called “the tell”. The tell is a combination of attributes both visually and audibly. The tell is the identifier of what the enemy is currently doing or going to do. Most enemies have some kind of tell but there are a often few enemies that are relying on this more heavily. Those enemies are often special in how they work and how the player must interact with them. The tell in this case will lead to prioritization for the player, whether it is to eliminate the highest treat or seek cover.

In this gif the Quake 1 enemy called the Shambler is properly distinctive in its tells. First it charges up a ranged lightning-attack by putting its hands above its head and charging lightning, clearly shown, between its hands. Second it shoots it out in the direction of the player. The second tell is the melee attack. As it did previously it raises both its hands above its head to strike down, now however there is no lightning, the space between the hands is now greater, signaling that this will be a melee attack since it’s now closer to the player as well. This in combination with sound cues like roaring or electricity will provide for the full spectrum of tells for the player.

Understanding the concept

These tells in combination will become the behavior of the monster and behaviors must be learned by the player. The player will easily learn the behaviors if they are exposed to them by repetition. However, there are more requirements. The behaviors must be easily recognized, meaning that they should be distinct enough for the player to tell one monster from another in the blink of an eye. There should be no hesitation in what the monster is going to do thus the behavior must be consistent, the monster should do the same thing every time, which will lead to player expectation. If the monster is doing the same move for different attacks the player will have a hard time learning and figuring out what to do since they don’t know what to expect.

When these behaviors are learned and understood by the player, the player can begin to adapt. Adaptation basically means proper decision making. Now, I won’t bother writing “tactical, meaningful choices blah blah blah” buzzwords that are so commonly thrown around and overused these days. In general it comes down to the player making a decision based on input, nothing more, nothing less. In a shooter game you basically have two choices, move, shoot or both, nothing else is a decision.

Let me provide an example. If I as a player now understand that this Shambler enemy hits hard and the lightning attack is ranged, I ought to properly check for cover when facing it. I will not rush up to it hoping to take it down quick since it has such a high amount of health. The adaption, or decisions I make, are based on knowledge through experience. I must have seen this monster in action or faced it previously to be able to understand it. When I understand it I can conquer it. It would not be wise to rush when I can take cover and deny the attack.

The target prioritization list

This knowledge leads to what I call the target prioritization list which is a great tool for the level designer. You can construct combat scenarios with multiple enemy types and you can more or less expect the player to focus down enemies in a certain pattern. The prioritization list is basically a threat meter constructed in the players head. This threat meter is not based on raw damage and health alone, meaning that the toughest foe is not necessarily the highest threat in the mix. Enemies that are annoying are more often than not the highest threats. A perfect example of this is the black headcrab in Half-Life 2.

The crab alone can never kill you, however its poison puts you at one health away from death. Your health is not set to one permanently, instead you regenerate health back fairly quickly, so it’s not damage per se, instead it acts as a pretty decent debuff. The danger arise when you put other enemies in the same encounter.

In this gif the player is facing a poison crab zombie who throws crabs at you form a distance and basically spawns them to be independent entities. In this encounter however, I’ve added a zombie. Zombies are normally slow, weak and do low to moderate damage. In normal scenarios the zombie wouldn’t pose much of a threat. However, in combination with the poison crab and the tight movement space this combination proves lethal. This is where geometry can increase or decrease the threat level.

After having this experience where the player is weakened to one health, they will automatically prioritize this headcrab first in the coming battles. As soon as the player hears the distinct noise of this particular headcrab the player will go in to a state of high alert and search for the headcrab since all the other enemies are of lower threat. This “threatlist” updates in our minds automatically all the time. This creates an interesting dynamic because if the player fails in locating the crab and gets hit by it, the power balance changes and the other enemies are now of highest threat since they are the ones able to kill the player, forcing the players decision to go from shooting to moving.

Geometry

The geometry or layout of the level should play to the enemy’s strengths, but also to its weaknesses. If you have a melee enemy with speed and mobility as its main strength, you will have to provide routes without obstruction for the enemy to use it. Otherwise there is no point having it in the first place.

And if you have a ranged enemy it will need clear sightlines to be able to hit the player. Distance is also important, particularly with projectile-based enemies since the projectile will have traveltime before it reaches the player. If you have an environment with too much cover and line-of-sight blockers the ranged enemy will become totally obsolete. The same thing will happen if the player has no distance and no cover which only will lead to frustration.

Summary

Requirements for successful enemies and their use, are strong silhouettes, unique identifiable sounds and distinctive, consistent behaviors with support from a well-designed environment that play to the enemy’s strengths while also covering its weaknesses, will teach the player how to understand, adapt and conquer the encounter.

(source:gamasutra.com


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