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

游戏开发者谈游戏产品设计中的平衡和失衡问题

发布时间:2020-04-17 09:06:51 Tags:,,

游戏开发者谈游戏产品设计中的平衡和失衡问题

原作者:Joost van Dongen 译者:Willow Wu

Ronimo工作室目前开发的游戏都非常注重多人竞技元素。设计、测试、迭代这些游戏让我们学到了很多关于平衡的知识,尤其是我们最熟为人知的游戏《王牌英雄》(Awesomenauts)。今天我想跟大家分享一些我们学到的重要经验。

1.Overpowered比underpowered更加糟糕

说到游戏平衡方面,人们凭第一直觉可能会认为过弱(underpowered)和过强(overpowered)是一样糟糕的:它们都意味着游戏平衡有所欠缺,需要进一步调整。话是没错,但是实际中我们发现过强造成的影响比过弱严重很多。

玩家会无视其它东西,只选择最强大的。就比如《王牌英雄》里有34个角色,如果其中有3个角色是比较没有优势的,那么大部分玩家会把他们排除在外,在其他31个中继续选择。也就是说选项还很多,游戏体验的多样性没有受到太大影响。而如果34个角色中有3个是非常突出的,那么玩家会倾向于只在这3个角色之间做选择。这样一来,游戏内容的重复率就会大大提升,很快就变得乏味。

在没有更好的解决方案的情况下,你可以利用这个知识制定临时应对措施。举个例子,如果某个角色过于强大——但只在某些特定条件的情况下,那么你可能会选择削弱它,让它在这些条件下表现为正常,而在一般情况下都是过弱的状态。至少这样,它就无法在对战中轻易碾压对手了。

ubisoft assassins creed rebellion(from pocketgamer.biz)

ubisoft assassins creed rebellion(from pocketgamer.biz)

2.内容丰富总是会导致天平倾斜

如果一款游戏是在一张对称性地图上展开、只提供一种武器,平衡问题当然是无需担心。因为所有的玩家都处于完全相同的情景中,然而,这样的游戏不仅非常平衡,而且非常无聊。所以我们需要增加更多不同的内容:更多武器、更多地图、更多道具、更多建筑等等,或许还有非对称性地图。但最重要的是你要意识到,随着游戏变得越来越复杂,“完美”的平衡就会越来越难以实现(很快我们就会说到“完美”的平衡实际上是不可能达到的,你给游戏增加的内容越多,它就会离平衡的道路越来越远,校回正轨需要花更多功夫)。

让我们来分析一个很简单的例子:有些角色走得快,有些角色走得慢。从理论上来说,走得慢的角色可以通过增加血量或者伤害值来平衡。然而,现在我们有了不同规模的地图,如果是比较大的地图,走得慢的角色的劣势就会更加明显。如果对战场地小,就算走路速度再慢也能及时到达另一边。所以你无法确定到底要加多少血量/伤害值才能解决这个问题,因为游戏中有各种各样的地图。

关于解决办法,你可以参照我们的游戏《剑与勇士2》(Swords & Soldiers 2)。在在线配对战斗模式中,我们只使用特定的地图——那些我们认为平衡性最佳的地图。而当你邀请一个朋友来玩时,你可以在所有地图中选择,包括那些非常奇葩的。它们虽然平衡性较差,但同时也带来了很多乐趣和刺激。这具体要取决于竞技元素在你心中的地位,看是选择那些内容更丰富但平衡略差的地图,还是其它的。

3.竞技玩家通常都不喜欢随机元素

当《王牌英雄》发行时,游戏中是有随机暴击的,能够造成不小的伤害。这带来了惊喜和悬念:每一次攻击都可能是致命的!但这也意味着即使对手比你强,运气好发得出暴击的话,你偶尔还是能赢的。这样对新手来说也会友好一些。举一个典型的例子:《马里奥赛车》这个游戏有很多随机元素,再结合各种各样的追击机制,赛车菜鸟有时是能够打败高玩的。

然而,随机也意味着噩运可能降临:你的实力明显高于对手但最后还是输了,原因就是对方运气好,一连出现了好几次暴击。也就是说对手显然只是运气好,你不需要因为失败而自责。然而,很多竞技玩家并不喜欢这种设计。他们想要的很简单:胜利应该属于强者。“我努力练习、玩得更好了,胜者理应是我。”《王牌英雄》发行数年后,社区中的玩家都变得更厉害了,于是就有不少人希望我们移除游戏中的随机暴击。出于这个原因,我们最终把暴击改成了一个可预测的系统——命中三次就会造成更多的伤害。

4.平衡会随着时间的推移变糟

即使你认为你的游戏平衡做得很好,但如果就因此放着不管,它是会变质的。经过一段时间后,玩家们会变得的更加熟练,会跟其他人取经、学到更多新技巧。他们的游戏体验发生了变化,平衡感受也有所不同——通常不是更好:开发者没有调整平衡曲线,天平开始出现倾斜。

《王牌英雄》出现的一种情况是游戏维持了几个月的稳定平衡,后来某个的团队发现了一种非常强大的新战术。这种战术其实早几个月前就存在了,但是不知道为什么一直没有人发现。第一次使用是在某场锦标赛中,那支队伍横扫千军,成为最后的赢家。比赛结束后,消息迅速传播开来,之后的每场比赛都出现了这种战术。我们只能迅速开发平衡补丁,削弱这一战术。

另一种平衡性变差的情况并不是因为某个东西能带来压倒性优势,只是使用效果相对比较好——只有好一点点,实际不会造成什么影响。随着时间的推移,玩家会写攻略、讨论最佳策略。他们会告诉彼此哪里有小小的优势可以利用,导致越来越多玩家采用这个策略。即使优势非常小、甚至其实它并不存在,一切只是玩家的主观感受,这仍然会破坏游戏,因为每个人都开始做同样的事情。这会让游戏变得很乏味——你都能推测出对方的战术了,毕竟大家都是这么做的。

有时你很幸运,玩家会自行想出不平衡的应对策略。也许是在某个特定情景下,一个原本较弱的角色显现出了它的独特优势。突然之间,这个角色在绝大多数对战中都占据了优势,导致很多玩家重新注意到了这个之前无人问津的角色。他们的策略不断变化,增加了多样性和乐趣。有人告诉我,在《任天堂大乱斗》系列对这个问题处理得非常好:一旦某个角色占据主导地位,它的对手就会表现的更加吸引人,于是许多玩家就开始尝试对手角色,然后对手的新对手又会展现它的魅力,以此类推。平衡会缓慢而持续地变化着。

5.“完美”平衡是不存在的

我要分享的最后一点是既让人宽心,又难免让人沮丧的:无论游戏的复杂性、多样性有多出色,完美的平衡永远是不存在的。即使你是世界上最好的游戏设计师,你的游戏仍不可能达到完美的平衡,然而游戏设计师的目标之一就是让游戏的平衡达到最好,所以这是有点矛盾的。知道完美的平衡是永远都无法真正实现的,在进行这方面的工作时难免会感到丧气。

所以,为什么说“完美”平衡是不可能实现的?上文已经说过,随着游戏丰富性提升,你无法保证在所有情况下,无论做出哪种选择都不会给玩家带来劣势,但是除此之外还有别的原因。比如,玩家的技能差异呢?有些角色/武器/地图肯定比其它的更难玩。对于新手来说,他们感受的游戏平衡效果肯定跟高手的不太一样。再比如,单纯的个人品味。有些玩家更注重乐趣和丰富性,而有些玩家更注重策略和技能。一种平衡设计不能保证两方都非常满意。所有这些因素结合在一起,就不可能达到“完美”的平衡。

以上是我们从多年经验教训中学到的关于平衡的知识。你在平衡方面有什么值得分享的见解呢?

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

The games we’ve so far made at Ronimo have all featured a heavy emphasis on competitive multiplayer. Designing, testing and iterating these games, especially our biggest hit Awesomenauts, has taught us many things about balancing. Today I’d like to share some of the most important lessons we’ve learned along the way.

1. Overpowered is much worse than underpowered

At first glance one might think that in game balance, underpowered and overpowered are equally bad: they both mean something is badly balanced and needs to be improved. This is true, but in practice overpowered things turn out to have way more impact than underpowered ones.

The reason for this is that players tend to flock to whatever is strongest and use only that. For example, Awesomenauts has 34 characters. If 3 of those would be underpowered, then most players wouldn’t play those, leaving 31 valid characters. That’s still plenty of choice and variation. On the other hand, if 3 characters were overpowered, then players would play only those 3 and would ignore the rest. That would make the game very repetitive and turn stale quickly.

This knowledge can be used as a crude tool in cases where no better solution is available. For example, if something is overpowered but only under certain circumstances, then you might choose to nerf it until it’s okay under those circumstances only and is underpowered in all other situations. This way at least it isn’t dominating the game anymore.

2. Variety always adds imbalance

A game with just one weapon on just one symmetrical map will pretty much automatically be balanced. Even if only because all players are in exactly the same situation. Such a game would however probably not just be balanced, but also be boring. So we need to add variety: more weapons, more maps, more items, more builds, more everything. Maybe even asymmetrical maps. The key thing to realise when doing this, is that as the game becomes more complex, ‘perfect’ balance becomes ever more difficult to achieve. This quickly gets to the point were ‘perfect’ balance is impossible, and every bit of variation you add makes the game a bit more unbalanced.

Let’s look at a really simple example: walking speed. Let’s say some characters are fast and others are slow. This gives the slow characters a disadvantage that can be balanced by giving them more health and damage. However, now we also add maps of different sizes. On a bigger map, the disadvantage for the slow characters will be bigger than on a small map. This is because if the arena is small, slow characters can get to the other side fast enough anyway. No amount of health or damage tweaks will fix this, since it differs per map.

One solution to this can be found in our game Swords & Soldiers 2. There in matchmade online matches, we only use certain maps: the ones that we feel are most balanced. On the other hand, when you invite a friend to play, you can choose from all maps, including a bunch of pretty weird ones. Those might be less balanced, but they add a lot of spice and fun. Depending on how much you want to appeal to players with a competitive mindset, you can choose to include those varied but imbalanced maps, or not.

3. Competitive players often dislike randomness and luck

When Awesomenauts launched, the game had random crits, which dealt a lot of extra damage. This added surprise and suspense: every hit might be extra strong! It also means that even if the opponent is better than you, you might occasionally win because you got lucky. This makes a game a lot more friendly for beginners. An extreme example of this can be found in Mario Kart: this game includes a lot of randomness. Combined with a bunch of catch-up mechanics, Mario Kart is a game where occasionally a n00b can beat a pr0.

However, randomess also adds bad luck: sometimes you clearly outplay an opponent and still lose, because the enemy got lucky and landed several crits in a row. In a sense this might feel nice: since the opponent clearly just got lucky, you don’t need to blame yourself for losing. Many competitive players however don’t want this to factor into the equation. They want a very simple thing: the best player should win. “If I practice more and get better, then I should always win.” In the years after release many players in the Awesomenauts community got better and more competitive, to the point where a lot of players really wanted the random crits to be removed from the game. For this reason we ended up changing crits into a predictable system where simply every third hit deals more damage.

4. Balance automatically becomes worse over time

Even if you think the balance in your game is in a good place, by simply leaving it as it is for a while, it will deteriorate. The reason for this is that as time passes, players get better at the game, learn new tricks and talk to each other. This changes how the game is played, thus also changing how the balance is experienced. Usually not for the better: as time progresses and no balance tweaks are made, balance usually becomes worse.

One example we’ve seen with Awesomenauts was that at some point after a few months of stable balance, one specific team discovered a new tactic that was super strong. This tactic had been possible for months, but somehow no one had found it yet. This tactic was then first used in a tournament, where that team gloriously beat everyone else and won. After the tournament, news spread like wildfire and suddenly this tactic was used in almost every match. We had no choice but to quickly do a balance patch specifically to nerf this one particular tactic. (The fact that our game is deep enough that players can discover new tactics this way is one of the things I’m most proud of in all of my career as a gamedev.)

Another example of balance getting worse over time might not even be caused by something actually being way too strong. Maybe there’s something that’s just slightly overpowered, so mildly that it really doesn’t matter. As time passes, players write guides and talk about the best tactics. They will point each other at this subtle advantage, causing more and more people to use it. Even if the advantage is really small, or, even more extreme, even if the advantage doesn’t exist and players are just imagining it, this still ruins the game for the simple reason that everyone starts doing the same thing. This makes the game predictable and boring.

Sometimes you get lucky and players start responding to that imbalance. Maybe an underpowered character happens to be really strong in that particular situation. Since that situation now happens so often, that underpowered character is suddenly super strong in most matches, causing lots of players to choose him. This makes the dominant strategy shift naturally from one thing to another, adding variation and fun. I’ve been told some games in the Super Smash Brothers series have balanced excellently for this: as soon as one character becomes dominant, its counter becomes extra interesting and lots of players start playing the counter, at which point the counter of the counter becomes useful, etc. This causes the balance to slowly but constantly shift.

5. ‘Perfect’ balance is impossible

The final point I’d like to share today is both soothing and intensely frustrating: for any game that has significant complexity and variation, perfect balance is impossible. This is a soothing thought in the sense that it makes you realise that even if you were the best game designer in the world, your game would still not have perfect balance. It’s also frustrating, because of course the goal of the game designer is to make the balance really good. Knowing that the balance will never be truly fantastic makes balancing a frustrating experience.

So, why is ‘perfect’ balance not possible? I’ve already mentioned above that as more variation is added, it becomes impossible to make all options equally strong under all circumstances. But there’s more. What about players of different skills? Some characters/weapons/maps are bound to be more difficult to play than others. The result is that for beginners, the balance will be different than for pros. And what about simply different tastes? Some players prefer fun and variation, while other players prefer predictability and skill. The balance can’t make both groups perfectly happy. Combined, all of these elements make it impossible to achieve ‘perfect’ balance.

This post has shared some of the things we’ve learned through the years about balance. What are your most valuable or most surprising insights regarding balance?

(source:gamasutra.com


下一篇: