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

开发者谈游戏成功的包括Game Feel在内的三个关键要素

发布时间:2021-01-12 08:59:13 Tags:,

开发者谈游戏成功的包括Game Feel在内的三个关键要素

原作者:Josh Bycer 译者:Willow Wu

很久之前,我曾为Gamasutra写过一篇文章,谈论的是何识别低劣游戏,这篇文章引来了很多批评,因为当时大家觉得我写得太主观,文章内容太泛。8年过去了,我玩了大大小小超过2000个游戏,我觉得是时候重新来谈谈这个话题了。今天,我们要讨论的是当今游戏市场成功产品的必备要素,也可以说是“真正成功的游戏设计应该是怎样的”。

游戏感觉(Game Feel)

“游戏感觉”是一个用来描述玩家体验的术语,指的是在玩某个游戏时的真实感受。不管你设计的是什么类型的游戏、你的目标用户是哪些人,如果你的游戏玩起来感觉不对,用户是不会继续玩下去的。

读到这里,有些人可能会认为那些复杂、颇具深度的游戏在这里肯定是亮绿灯的吧——但其实并不是,这可能是挺令人意外的。电子游戏不应该是很难操作的,混乱、考虑不周的用户界面设计一般就是第一个危险信号。易上手、难精通的游戏通常就能带来好的游戏感觉。因此,我会不厌其烦地强调UI/UX的重要性,还有就是找人测试你的游戏。痛点对游戏感觉来说就像是毒药,最让玩家气恼的痛点往往都是跟UI/UX有关。糟糕的操作设计在游戏还没正式开始之前就能产生毁灭性的影响。

game loft(from games industry.biz)

game loft(from games industry.biz)

对于RPG或其它偏抽象的产品,游戏感觉跟菜单的设计、信息显示方式都有关系,还有就是玩家是否能理解正在发生的事。人们很容易会产生这样的想法:假如我的游戏是回合制的,在UI设计方面就不用担心那么多,因为玩家有足够的时间去消化一切。然而,UI真的会对回合制设计产生极为关键的影响,因为这是玩家摸索玩法的唯一途径。在策略游戏中,你的游戏系统的深度、趣味性或许是无人能及的,但如果玩家因为UI设计不合理而摸不着头脑,那这一切都形同虚设了。

动作类的游戏也是要讲究游戏感觉的,但相比其它类型,它们的游戏感觉确实比较容易把控。就算是相关设计经验不多的新手开发者也能做出成功的动作游戏,我经常能看到这样的实例,着实令人意外。我个人认为这可能是由于他们之前玩过很多好游戏和烂游戏,这种经历能在设计时发挥作用。

优秀的动作玩法可以总结为一个基本原则——屏幕上所展示的动作应该完全遵从玩家的按键操作。也就是说,玩家应该对角色有百分百的掌控权,玩家要是没有输入的话角色就应该保持“待机”状态。

我玩过的很多平台游戏和动作游戏,会给人一种行动迟缓的感觉——我按下按键时角色没有立即执行动作,有的是进入了一段或长或短的动画,还有的让我觉得自己是在跟游戏操作打架。你可能会遇到输入缓冲(input buffering),就比如魂类游戏,但你的游戏仍然应该尽量遵循这条基本原则。通常情况下,你应该是先确定机制,然后进行测试和迭代,直到感觉对了,然后再创造游戏空间去充分利用它,好的游戏感觉就是这么一步步塑造出来的。

如果是在几年前,你的游戏面向的是非格斗高玩,那么刻意做一个行动迟缓的游戏我认为确实没有多大问题,但就如今的游戏市场而言,这样的理由实在是没有说服力。因为现在的游戏市场已经发生了天翻地覆的变化。如果用户在玩游戏时遇到了问题,他们会很干脆地退款,从他们庞大的游戏库中再选一个来玩。

有许多开发者坚持将糟糕的UI视为游戏体验的一部分,这是最可怕的错误之一。如果你的游戏感觉很糟糕,那么在玩家看来你的游戏就是糟糕的。如果你的意图是创造一个“比较菜”的角色,那还有其它更有创意的方式,没有必要破坏游戏感觉,而且这些创意会帮助游戏获得成功。

如今你要做一款生存恐怖游戏,将体验中无处不在的挫败感视为原设定的一部分,这是绝对行不通的。出现类似问题的产品还那些靠剧情驱动的游戏,这也是开发者要注意的另一个陷阱。即使你的整个游戏只是四处走动+解决一些简单的谜题,这也不能成为你的借口,让探索世界的体验变得相当折磨人,或者把环境互动这做得非常繁琐。在有些游戏中,玩家得在一个巨大的世界中探索,但奔跑能力非常有限或者直接就不能奔跑,这只会加剧游戏的乏味感。我认为剧情游戏确实需要有很好的游戏感觉,因为这类游戏的机制相对没那么丰富,不太好平衡。

正如我在前几段所说的,有些设计师在他们的早期作品中能够很好地塑造游戏感觉,但不幸的是,他们经常会在下一个我们要讲的方面遭遇失败。

演示效果(Presentation)

我们在这篇文章里所说的“演示效果”指的是关于游戏画面和美学的所有内容。电子游戏是一种视觉媒介,是可以演示给你的消费者的——新手开发者经常会忽视这一点。有些开发者在“艺术”方面很有想法,有些则会感到犯难,具体取决于你的背景。但有个关键问题就是艺术是主观的,所以我们要怎么判定这个游戏的演示效果是优秀的还是糟糕的?

在过去十年中,我们见过了用干瘪的艺术素材堆起来的游戏,也见过了开发者在自己的风格框架内努力探索做出来的游戏。就比如说像素艺术,就画面和动画来说,好的像素艺术和差的像素艺术之间是有明显区别的。就如我之前说过无数次的,如果你想模仿那些经典游戏,而你的游戏视觉还没有原作的好,那么你就有大麻烦了。

即使开发商自己制作了所有素材(或做了一定修改),但游戏看起来还是很低劣廉价,很多人就会用“asset store rip off”(从素材商店扒下来直接使用)来描述这种游戏。如果画面各部分之间看起来一点都不搭,素材调整不到位,或者就是单纯地看起来很廉价,那么人们就会认定这个游戏就是很差的。接下来我要说的话可能对在看这篇文章的开发者来说很难接受,但是我必须要说出来:

一般的消费者是不会买不好看的游戏的。

关于这句话,我想好好展开说一说。就我个人而言,我可以完全无视审美、艺术设计的问题去审视游戏玩法,因此我每年都能找到许多隐藏的珍宝。但对于大多数人来说,如果游戏看起来很丑,他们连一秒钟都不会留给你。我知道有很多开发团队最注重的是程序方面,美术工作可能要排到第三或者是第四位。让我们来面对现实吧:艺术这个东西是很难把控的。但是如今的消费者购买游戏,他们看重的是质量,无论你的游戏是20分钟还是20小时都没关系。

最快的评判方法就是看画面,而那些画面大于机制的游戏通常在营销上也能获得更好的效果。

坚持自己的艺术风格能够帮助你吸引人们的注意力。你所需要的只是一个画面/艺术风格独特的优秀预告片,让玩家快速对这个游戏产生兴趣(就比如《茶杯头》)。当然,相比游戏玩法,艺术和主题部分是比较容易展示的。

关于演示效果,还有一个方面容易被忽视(但不在本文所定义的讨论范围内)——你的游戏中是否有明显的bug?大至游戏崩溃,小至角色穿模。这是另一个可能会引发争议的话题——但消费者忽略微小甚至是重大bug的日子已经结束了。只要是没有达到演示时的效果,消费者马上就会对游戏产生不好的印象。

人们想要玩的是开发者倾注很多心血的游戏,而不是什么东拼西凑的东西。好的演示效果能促使人们去搜寻关于的游戏更多信息,好的游戏感觉和设计是玩家坚持玩游戏的动力来源。

我们目前为止所谈论的这些元素都是游戏设计师能够理解、能够努力改善的,但有一个元素,无论是什么游戏,它都能产生决定性的影响。

营销

全面分析成功的游戏营销并不在本文的讨论范围之内,也超出了我个人的专业范围——我研究的是游戏设计,并不是营销。然而,对于每一个正在阅读这篇文章的开发者来说,无论你公司规模大还是小,都需要一个懂营销的人。可能你在游戏感觉和游戏演示上都做得很好,但如果没人知道你的游戏,你还是会以失败告终。

我们已经说过无数次了,如果开发商十分抗拒营销——因为他们认为营销游戏是一件“出卖灵魂”的事——那么他们在这个行业是呆不了多久的。在这里,我想引用一位在Serenity Forge工作的友人Z的一句话:“商业与艺术的关系是你中有我,我中有你。”

人们通常会忽视市场营销和PR对游戏成功所起到的作用,他们只会去在意结果,而不是努力的过程。《暗黑地牢》《杀戮尖塔》《极乐迪斯科》这些游戏能够爆红是有原因的,不仅仅是因为他们的游戏玩法。开发人员制定了出色的营销策略,把游戏推广给更多的人,确保大家知道你的作品。

再强调一下,上面说到的三个游戏本身就是非常优秀的,但这也是营销点之一。一旦有可玩的东西可以展示,你就应该开始着手营销游戏了。有些人认为成功的游戏就是在某一天“神奇地出现”,但基于我的经验,我可以告诉你那些热门游戏都会花几周、几个月的时间来营销,让更多人注意到他们的游戏。确保你的游戏和公司有一个着陆页,还要具备宣传资料袋和基本联系信息,这还只是营销工作中的一小部分。

游戏成功的真相

我还得再强调一件事:能够真正做好我们上述所说的这些工作的,其实并不在少数。我自己就玩过很多游戏感觉很好,但演示效果不好,而且完全不做推广的游戏。有的游戏玩法很赞,演示效果也很好,但是因为没怎么做推广大多人都不知道它的存在。而有的游戏营销做到位了,看起来的效果也很好,但是实际玩法很无聊,玩家没玩多久就抛弃它了。

我想提前回应一下这几种评论——我觉得等大家看完文章后应该会出现这样的留言。

首先就是像《玩具熊的五夜后宫》还有Among Us这样主要是因为有外部力量助推而幸运走红的游戏,你不能因为存在走运的可能性就把工作室的生死押作赌注吧,这就是为什么我说上面那三点很重要。在游戏爆红之前,《玩具熊的五夜后宫》的开发者Scott Cawthon已经在行业默默无闻地工作了20年了。

我知道此时此刻会有一些人认为他们能够(也应该)创造一款类似于Among Us的游戏,因为它的讨论热度非常高。我就这么直接地跟你说吧:Among Us在商业上是很失败的。任何工作室都不应该抱着这样的期望设计自己的游戏——即在发行后两年内没有人会买它,然后它突然被知名主播注意到了,游戏终于走红。我之所以这么说是因为我看到太多太多的独立开发者在追随热门趋势时并不清楚这些游戏为什么会走红、它们哪些地方做得好哪些地方做得不好,这种盲从只会迎来失败的结局。

第二就是关于激情项目或开发者职业生涯中唯一走红的作品,比如《矮人要塞》《我的世界》或《异星工厂》——这游戏从2012年年末就开始开发了,直到2020年下半年才发行较为稳定的测试版本。激情是游戏开发的主要动力来源,但不幸的是,它可能也会蒙蔽开发者的双眼,让他们无法真正投入到帮助游戏获得成功的工作中。你想要做什么跟你能做什么,这二者之间通常是有很大区别的。作为一个没有开发经验的人,你不应该一上来就做梦想中的游戏。激情项目往往会演变成超长的开发周期,而且绝对大多数都会出现资金资源短缺问题。

“说不定自己的某一个游戏也能风靡全球”——抱着这样的想法去创建工作室很有可能会迎来一个悲惨的结局。我刚才提到那几个游戏是例外。对于大多数正在读这篇文章的人来说,你们是不会拥有那种收益达上亿规模的现象级游戏的,不是我刻薄,只是平均法则就是这样的。

最后一种评论也是我想重点讨论的。我知道有人在看完文章后会想评论类似这样的内容:“我那不知名的‘丑’游戏已经卖出了近千份,足够维持我的生活了,所你算老几啊来告诉我该怎么设计游戏?”在我之前写的“What is Videogame Criticism”文章中,我谈到了为什么开发者需要竭尽全力减少发行游戏所面临的风险。

如果你有足够多的资金,游戏开发挣不挣钱你都无所谓,那你可以无视我说的所有东西。我写这些东西是给那些想要靠做游戏为生、想要在这个行业发展得更好的人看的。那些已经“做到”的人就没必要看了——也就是你已经拥有很多成功产品,还有一大群无论如何都会支持你的粉丝。如果你无法建立、扩大自己的受众基础,你的公司自然也就无法实现增长。通过做一些简单的改变,让你的工作室&产品获得更多的关注度,这样你会看到产品销量增长,在行业中站得更稳。有些人得确保他们仅有的几百个粉丝每个人都买了游戏才能维持公司的正常运营,你肯定不想过这样的生活。你得拥有比这多上好多倍的粉丝,只要其中一小部分人买了游戏你就能获得成功了。

如今,电子游戏的质量评判标准已经提高了——这个我说过很多次。你不能盲目地去设计一个游戏,然后期待着它会成功。不是每个游戏都会成为下一个《我的世界》,你不能指望做一个游戏就可以让你的工作室声名远扬。通过专注于我们今天所概述的要点,你就能更有针对性地审视自己以及自己的游戏,努力创造出更好作品。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

A long time ago I wrote an article for Gamasutra talking about how to spot bad games which was critiqued because people felt the list was too subjective and broad for the time. About eight years later and now over 2,000 games played from all corners of the industry, I feel it’s time to revise this topic. For today, we’re going to talk about the basic building blocks of what is not only a successful videogame for today’s market but signs that the game design truly worked.

Game Feel

“Game Feel” is a term to describe how a game feels in the player’s hands and represents what it’s like to actually play the game. It doesn’t matter what genre you’re designing for or your intended audience, if your game doesn’t feel right to play, people aren’t going to stick around.

Some of you reading this may think that complex or deep games are a positive here, and you may be surprised to know that they’re not. No videogame should be hard to control, and a confusing or poorly thought out UI is often the first red flag of an experience. A game that is simple to learn and challenging to master is always the goal of good game feel. Therefore I continue to harp on the importance of UI/UX and getting playtesters on your game. Pain points are often the antithesis of good game feel, and the big ones that often end up frustrating players come with the UI/UX. A bad control scheme can ruin a game even before someone starts to play the game.

For RPG or abstracted titles, game feel is also about how menus are set up, information is displayed that they need to know, and does the player feel like they know what’s happening. It’s easy to think that if your game is turn-based that you don’t need to worry so much about the UI because the player has all the time to process what’s happening. However, turn-based design really lives or dies by their UI, as that’s the player’s only window into figuring out how to play. Your game could have the deepest, most interesting game systems of any strategy game, but if the player has no idea what’s happening because of the UI, then none of it matters.

Action-based games are not exempt from game feel, although it is a little easier for them. Surprisingly, this is a category where I tend to see newer developers succeed even if they don’t have much design experience with the genre or even with the industry. I tend to chalk it up to having played so many good and bad examples to draw from when designing.

Good action-based gameplay can be drilled down to a basic tenet — the action on the screen should be 1:1 to the buttons pressed by the player. What that means is the player should be in complete control over their character and nothing should be happening that the player did not input.

I’ve played plenty of platformers and action games where the general feel is sluggish — the character doesn’t perform an action when I push the button, gets stuck in long or short animations, or I feel like I’m fighting the controls. You can have input buffering, as with soulslikes, but your game should still be close to a 1:1 ratio. Often, good game feel in action games is about deciding on the mechanics first, playtesting and iterating on them until they feel right, and then building the game space to fully capitalize on it.

A few years ago I would have argued that you can have a game where things feel purposely sluggish if you were trying to represent someone who isn’t a master fighter/soldier, etc. However, in today’s market, I feel that is just a poor excuse. Part of our overall topic in this post is that you are no longer designing games in a vacuum. If someone finds a problem in your game, they can just switch over to any of the other dozen/hundreds of games in their library and return your title.

There are too many developers who adhere to a poor UI as part of the game experience, and that is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in terms of game feel — If your game feel is terrible, then your game is terrible. There are far more creative ways to have a “weaker” character without hurting your game feel, and conversely, has been a part of the successful games that have elevated their genres.

The days where you could make a survival horror game frustrating to play, and write it off as part of the experience are over. This point also relates to story-driven titles and is another trap for developers. Even if your entire gameplay is just walking around and solving basic puzzles, that is not an excuse to make the feel of exploring the world poor, or cumbersome to interact with the environment. There are games where the player must wander around huge environments with either a limited run or no running ability that just pads out the tedium. I would argue that a narrative game should have an amazing game feel because there are fewer mechanics to design and balance.

As I said a few paragraphs up, there are designers who early in their game dev careers nail the feel of their first games, unfortunately, they often slip up on our next topic.

Presentation

“Presentation” for our purpose today is going to define everything about the look and aesthetics of your game. Videogames are a visual medium, and being able to present your game to the consumer is often overlooked by new developers. The “art” side of a videogame can be either quite easy or exceedingly difficult depending on your background. Our chief problem when describing the presentation of a game is that art is subjective, so how can we put a label on a game to say that it has good or bad presentation?

What we have seen over the last decade is the difference between a game that the art of the title is simply there as assets vs. a developer exploring what they can do within the constraints of their style. Take pixel art as an example, there is a monumental difference between good and bad pixel art in terms of look and animation. As I’ve said countless times, if you’re trying to emulate classic games and your game looks worse than them, then you have a big problem.

We have all heard the complaint of “asset store rip off” to describe the look of a game when it appears to be low quality, even if the developer made (or retouched) all the assets. If things looked mismatched, not enough was done to change the assets, or things simply look low quality, people are going to view your game as low quality. I’m about to say something very mean to every developer reading this, but it needs to be said:

General consumers are not going to buy ugly looking games

There is a lot to unpack with that damning statement. For myself, I can look past any issues with art and aesthetics to examine the gameplay underneath, and how I find a lot of my hidden gems each year. For most people, however, they’re not going to give your game one second of their time if your game doesn’t look presentable. I know there are a lot of developers out there who are programmers first, artists maybe third or fourth down the line, and let’s face it: art is hard to do right. But in today’s market with the consumers buying games, they’re looking for quality, whether your game is 20 minutes or 20 hours long it doesn’t matter.

The quickest way for someone to judge a game is on its art, unfortunately, and often why games that have good art over good mechanics tend to do better market-wise.

A solid aesthetic for your game can go a long way towards getting people interested in it. All it can take is one well-done trailer featuring a unique look or art style to quickly elevate a game in the consumer’s eyes (see Cuphead’s announcement for instance). Of course, it is easier to show off art and theme compared to gameplay.

There is one other aspect of the presentation that is often overlooked and not discussed in this capacity — Are there noticeable bugs in your title? From big examples like the game crashing to minor ones like characters clipping through objects. This is another point that could prove to be divisive, but the days in which consumers would ignore major, or even minor, bugs are over. Anything that lowers the quality of the presentation of your title is a major red flag to the consumer.

People want to play a game that looks like the developer put a lot into it, not something that fell off the back of a metaphorical truck. Good presentation gets people to check out your game, good game feel and design is what keeps them playing and not refunding your title.

What we’ve talked about so far are elements that designers can understand and work to improve, but there is one that is often the most damning for any videogame.

Marketing

To explore the entirety of marketing a successful game is beyond the scope of this piece and my own experience — I study game design, not marketing. However, for every developer large and small reading this right now, you need to have someone in your corner who gets it. You can do everything right about the first two points of this post, and still fail horribly if no one knows about your game.

We have said this countless times, but any developer who refuses to market their game because they view it as “selling out” is not going to last in this industry. I go back to a quote from my friend Z over at Serenity Forge, “There is as much art in the business as there is business in the art.”

People often gloss over the impact of marketing and PR has on the success of a videogame, and only tend to understand the results, not the work itself. There is a reason why games like Darkest Dungeon, Slay the Spire, and Disco Elysium blew up, and it wasn’t just for their gameplay. The developers did the work of putting together attractive marketing campaigns, reaching out to people, and making sure that the world knew about their respective titles.

Again, all three of those games were amazing on their own, but that became a part of their marketing plans, not the only element. You should be planning the marketing of your game as soon as you have something playable for people to look at. Some people tend to think that successful games just “magically appear” one day, but I can tell you from experience that the games that blow up like that had weeks or months of marketing their games and reaching out for coverage. Making sure you have a landing page for your title and company, press kits, and general contact information, are just some of the marketing 100 things you need to do.

The Truth of Videogame Success

It’s time for one more salient point for this piece: Games that truly succeed do everything that we’ve talked about today correctly, not just one or two. I have personally played many games that have great game feel to them, but the presentation was lacking and there was no marketing to them. There are games that have great gameplay and presentation but did truly little marketing and most people didn’t hear about them. There are games that did a good job of marketing with a good look, but their gameplay was poor and people didn’t stick around.

There are three comments I want to address, as I feel people are going to leave them after reading this post.

The first has to do with lucky breaks like Five Nights at Freddy’s and Among Us –games that managed to blow up in a big way thanks to outside forces. Luck is something you never want to gamble your studio on, and why the three points mentioned here are important. With Five Nights, it has been said that Scott had been making games for around 20 years before he struck gold with it.

I know at this very moment there is someone out there thinking that they can (and should) emulate Among Us and build a game that is just like it because that’s the game everyone is talking about. Here’s the truth as bluntly as I can put it: Among Us was a commercial failure. No studio should be designing their game under the idea that no one will buy it for two years and then it gets picked up by famous streamers and blows up. I’m saying this bluntly because I have seen way too many indie developers chase after popular games without understanding why they’re popular and what they did right/wrong, and often end up failing in the process.

The second point has to do with passion projects or one-hit wonders like Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft, or Factorio, who spent an awfully long time in development. Passion is both a major source of inspiration in game dev, and unfortunately can be blinding to the actual work that goes into a successful game. Understanding what you want to make vs. what you can make are often different. No developer should make their dream game as their first title without any experience when it comes to game dev. Passion projects end up turning into incredibly long dev cycles, and sadly, rarely are able to support their cost.

Building your entire studio on the hopeful mega-success of one game is another easy path to failure. The games I just mentioned are exceptions to the rule. For most of you reading this, you are not going to have that multi-million dollar game that succeeds on all fronts; I’m not trying to be mean, that’s just the law of averages here.

And the final comment is especially important to discuss. I know there is someone out there who is going to write something like the following: “My “ugly” unknown games get hundreds of sales and earn me enough money to live off of, so who the **** are you to tell me how to design a videogame?” In my previous post about understanding and celebrating game criticism, I talked about why developers need to do anything and everything they can to mitigate the risks of releasing a game.

If you are earning enough money and don’t care about turning working on games into a commercial business, then you can ignore everything that I say. What I talk about is for people who are trying to earn a living and grow in this industry. This is not for people who have “made it”– having years of successful games and a sizable fanbase who will support them no matter what. A company cannot continue to grow and improve if it’s not extending and building its audience and consumer base. If you can make simple changes that can start attracting people to your studio and titles, that can lead to more sales and better security in the industry. As a company, you don’t want a reach of 200 fans that you need to guarantee every single one of them buys your titles in order to stay in business. What you want is to have a fanbase several times more than that, and only needing a fraction of them to buy your game for it to be considered a success.

I have said this many times — the bar of quality for videogames has grown. You cannot just design a game in a vacuum and hope that it does well. Not every game is going to be the next Minecraft, and building a successful game company will require more than one game. By focusing on the points that we’ve outlined today, you can see how to improve yourself and do more to get your games out there.

(source:gamasutra.com )


上一篇:

下一篇: