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分享好游戏必不可少的10大要素(上篇)

发布时间:2011-11-24 13:57:20 Tags:,,,

作者:Mark Rosewater

1)目标

游戏需要目标。玩家需争取什么?如何获胜?(点击此处查看下篇内容

当你向新手解释新游戏时,通常你告诉他们的第一件事都是他们要进行什么操作。游戏的目标是什么?玩家如何获得胜利?新手开发者常犯的错误是他们过多关注游戏的杰出元素,而忘记玩家进行此操作的原因所在。

我是写作出身,喜欢以平行模式叙述故事。故事有主角,他/她想要某东西。欲望推动故事发展。目标推动游戏发展。需注意的是,游戏目标要符合玩家欲望。

目标需要具有吸引眼球,这意味着实现目标的过程要非常享受。玩家愿意体验游戏,因为他们喜欢游戏所设置的任务。例如,“用针刺伤脸部”的游戏内容永远都不会受欢迎。

gameBox from wizards.com

gameBox from wizards.com

此外,目标需清晰而准确。另一新手设计常犯的错误是创建目标模糊的游戏。玩家得摸索着弄清自己所要完成的任务。要避免出现这种情况。让玩家在实现目标方面享有足够的灵活性,同时保证目标的稳定性和准确性。通常若玩家需问说“我赢了没?”,游戏就缺乏明确目标。

《Magic》在此表现突出。什么是目标?在魔法斗争中打败对手,或者以更机制化的角度来说,将他的生命值从20变成0。这听起来非常有趣,玩家需要完成的任务非常清晰。其实我觉得《Magic》的一大优点是目标非常清晰。

但玩家是否能够凭借装饰、毒药或其他获胜条件取得胜利?可以,这没问题。其一,核心目标不会发生改变,其二,这些选择只是游戏整体体验的一小部分。《Magic》这类庞大而灵活的游戏能够支撑若干获胜条件,但这是由于其目标非常清晰。

2)规则

游戏需要明确罗列玩家的操作范围。限制条件是游戏的重要组成。完成游戏目标的过程不应过于简单。

多数产品的设计目标都是尽可能简化内容。设计灯泡时,你的目标就是简化灯泡的开关操作。但游戏设计是例外,它的目标是将内容复杂化。设定好游戏的目标后,余下任务就是让实现目标的过程变得富有挑战性。

back To Basics from wizards.com

back To Basics from wizards.com

游戏体验从根本来说就是解决各种障碍。你希望在自愿情况下操作游戏任务,或者通常是在他人企图阻碍你的情况下。实现目标的过程非常有趣,因为完成困难任务总是充满迫切性。从生物学角度看,主体内容要能够刺激你完成内容,然后给予你化学和心理层面的奖励。作为游戏设计师,你需要设计障碍。游戏过于简单就会缺乏获胜满足感,而过于复杂,玩家将永远无法获胜。

我通常坚持“限制条件创造创造性”原则。这运用于游戏规则设计再适合不过。作为游戏设计师,你的任务是迫使玩家创造性地克服你所创造的限制条件。设计师应花时间思考自己设定的目标及玩家会如何完成这些目标。然后开始以他们的方式放置障碍。

如果说创造愉快体验是本文的主题之一,那么另一个话题就是清晰的重要性。规则的第二个主要功能是明确规则玩家的操作范围。含蓄在很多情况下能够制造很好效果。但游戏体验不在其中之列。当玩家需花时间弄清游戏运作方式时,他们通常会选择退出游戏体验。

《Magic》规则有利有弊。弊端是,它们使得游戏变得难以掌握。我已多次谈到《Magic》的进入障碍。但只要投入其中,规则就会变成有趣元素。问题总有答案,总有解决办法。

就阻碍目标实现来看,《Magic》规则堪称绝无仅有。《Magic》设计师Richard Garfield成功创造富有组织性的平衡游戏机制。每个策略都有反攻战略。游戏的开放结构令玩家得以自由寻找解决方案,给对手创造新问题。在我看来,游戏之所以持久留住玩家是因为游戏非常有深度,而关键要素就是规则机制,这创造众多制约和平衡关系。

3)互动

游戏需要融入某些鼓励玩家互做反应的元素。游戏如何促使玩家进行互动?

玩家需要存在某种欲望。游戏需让实现此欲望的过程变得富有挑战性。下一步就是确保所有玩家都体验相同游戏内容。最简单的方式就是给予所有玩家相同目标,让所有玩家都互为障碍。但无论如何,最关键的还是游戏要同玩家操作建立联系。

为什么这点如此重要?有多个原因。首先,游戏体验的一个重要元素是社交互动。电脑和手持设备令我们能够轻松单独体验游戏。传统游戏依旧受欢迎的原因在于其存在一大优点:面对面的互动。人类天生就是社交性生物。融入欲望元素的游戏让玩家得以进行互动。互动是游戏的一大核心目标,因此强化互动元素非常重要。

double Negative from wizards.com

double Negative from wizards.com

其次,若你将其他玩家当作必需阻碍,就会获得大量资源。例如,《Magic》在挑战用户方面表现突出,玩家会同其他玩家比拼智慧。自我选择意味着玩家倾向选择认同其提高游戏体验方式看法的玩家。

研发部门常关注的一点是保持游戏互动元素。这也是我们谨慎看待组合技能(游戏邦注:即组合系列纸牌,创造赢得比赛的强烈效应)的原因之一。若组合技能足够强大和迅速,玩家完全没有必要在乎其他玩家的操作。

《Magic》创造互动性的两大工具都是纸牌模式:创造和瞬间。创造操作带来互动是因为它要求玩家推动对手采取行动。进攻带来阻止操作。瞬间操作创造互动是因为它让玩家能够在对手的操作时间里采取行动。

《Magic》互动的另一主要内容是融入解决问题的纸牌。Richard清楚令集换式卡牌游戏顺利运作的关键是确保所有威胁都有解决办法,这让牌组能够随子游戏的改变而改变。《Magic》是款变化的游戏,实现此目标的关键是向玩家提供能够同当前主导策略相抗衡的工具。

4)追赶功能

落后玩家要有追赶渠道。若玩家觉得自己没机会胜出,游戏就会变得令人沮丧。

另一创造此必要条件的途径是利用投入概念。为让游戏能够以最佳状态运作,所有玩家都要给予关注。若无法做到这点,核心体验小组的目光就会离开游戏。如何让玩家持续关注游戏?通过让他们投入其中。

玩家离开游戏的一大原因是他们不再投入其中。而其中的主要原因是玩家觉得自己没有获胜的机会。游戏的着眼点就是实现所有目标。只要玩家无法实现此目标,游戏对他们来说就缺乏吸引力。

wheel Of Fortune from wizards.com

wheel Of Fortune from wizards.com

实现这点最有效的办法就是在游戏中融入能够让落后玩家迎头赶上的元素。其中也许包含某些能够扭转局面的随机事件。领先玩家也许会遇到阻碍因素。也许游戏中的收获会随游戏的进展变得日益丰富。无论如何,游戏要融入能够让玩家有所期待的元素,即便只是很小的期待,这点非常重要。

那么《Magic》的最大追赶功能是什么?答案在于游戏原始设计中的巧妙设置:魔法值机制。由于玩家会慢慢强大,游戏鼓励玩家亮出在游戏中屡次表现突出的纸牌。这里的巧妙之处在于玩家总是能够就最佳和次佳纸牌进行选择。在第一回合中输掉比赛非常刺激,但在第十回合输掉就很糟糕。而第五回合的失败则能够制造悬念。

纸牌根据游戏游戏进程的不同而有不同表现,纸牌可能变成好牌,也能变成烂牌。纸牌效果的不确定性令落后玩家能够起死回生(游戏邦注:此外,由于所抽之牌属于隐藏信息,游戏因此能够有效留住玩家,因为玩家有望抽到扭转局势的纸牌)。

5)惯性

游戏需有推动游戏朝目标迈进的元素。游戏有推动内容结束的元素。游戏设计师在设计首款游戏时遇到的首要问题是什么?游戏长度。制作精良的游戏应在玩家失去体验兴趣前结束。设计师要如何实现此目标?通过在游戏中融入足够的惯性。

惯性理念是指处于中立状态的游戏应推动玩家朝目标迈进。若玩家需要通过斗争结束游戏,那么通常游戏不会在玩家希望结束时结束。这意味着有很多游戏都是在玩家的不满中才拉下序幕。

martial Coup from wizards.com

martial Coup from wizards.com

我的一位写作导师曾表示,“创作长度合理故事的要诀是尽可能缩短故事,然后去除10%的内容。”

游戏需尽早结束。玩家希望游戏持续更久要比玩家希望游戏尽早结束的情况好很多。在前种情况中,玩家可以选择重新体验,但后种情况中,玩家永远不会再次体验。这里的要诀是制作推动玩家朝目标迈进的游戏。

就《Magic》来说,这款游戏如何结束内容?游戏持续提升魔法等级。游戏最终会步入尾声,因为这些魔法最终会强大到足以结束游戏。这款游戏创造允许玩家结束内容的机制。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

Ten Things Every Game Needs

by Mark Rosewater

#1) A Goal or Goals

There needs to be a point for your game. What are your players trying to do? How do they win?

When you sit someone down to explain a new game to a beginner, usually the first thing you tell them is what they’re trying to do. What’s the point of the game? How do they win? A common mistake beginning game designers make is that they focus too much on the cool thing the game does and forget why the players are doing it.

As my background is writing, I enjoy the parallel to telling a story. You have a main character. He or she has to want something. That want is what drives the story. The goal is what drives the game. Due to keeping my sheet to one page, I didn’t go into depth on this point, but here’s something else important to know. The players have to want to do the thing the game drives them to do.

The goal has to be attractive, meaning that the act of getting to the goal has to sound enjoyable. (You’ll see how these all tie together. Fun isn’t until #8, but it’s important in every facet.) Players will want to play the game because they will like the idea of doing what the game tells them to do. The “stick needles into your face” game, as an example, is probably never going to catch on.

Also, the goal has to be very clear and precise. Another common beginner design mistake is to create a game where the goal is murky. The players fumble around trying to figure out what they need to do. Don’t do that. Let the players have plenty of flexibility in how they solve the goal but make the goal rigid and exact. Usually if a player has to ask “Did I win?” the game is lacking in the goal department.

Magic does wonderfully at this need. What’s the goal? Defeating your opponent in a magical duel or, in more mechanical terms, driving his or her life total from 20 to 0. That sounds like fun and it’s clear what needs to be done. In fact, I believe one of Magic’s strengths is the clarity of its goal.

But wait, can’t I win with decking or poison or having a giant deck or whatever other alternate win conditions the cards allow? Yes, you can, and that’s fine. One, the core goal doesn’t change (defeat the other player in magical battle) and two, those alternatives are a tiny, tiny part of the overall game experience. A game as large and flexible as Magic is capable of supporting a few alternate win conditions, but that is because of the overall clarity of its goal, not despite it.

#2) Rules

There needs to be a list of what players are and are not allowed to do. Restrictions are an important part of a game. Accomplishing your goal shouldn’t be too easy.

The design of most products is about making things as easy as possible. When you’re designing a lamp, the goal is to make the lamp simple to turn on and off. Game (and puzzle) design is unique in that the goal of the design is to actually make the thing harder to do. Once you’ve set out the goal of the game, the next part of the design is to make meeting that goal a challenge.

Game playing is essentially about overcoming obstacles. You want to do your thing and the game, of its own accord or often through the other players, tries to stop you. Accomplishing your goal is fun because there’s a rush in completing a difficult task. Biologically, the body has to be able to motivate you to do things, so it tends to reward you chemically and emotionally (some would argue those are the same thing) for doing them. As a game designer, you have to build the hurdles. Make them too easy and there’s no thrill in victory. Make them too hard and the player never gets to win.

Regular readers of my column known that my favorite mantra is “restrictions breed creativity.” Nowhere is this more true in game design than rule creation. Your job as a game designer is to force your players to have to be creative to overcome the restrictions you create. Spend time thinking about what goals you’ve set and how your players would naturally want to complete those goals. Then start throwing obstacles in their way.

If creating enjoyable moments is one theme of this column, another is the importance of clarity. A second major function of the rules is making it crystal clear what the players are and are not allowed to do. Ambiguity is wonderful in many facets of life. Game playing is not one of them. Every moment players spend trying to figure out how the game works is one where they are pulled out of the game experience (there are exceptions to this, but I’m talking about the basics here).

Magic’s rules are both a curse and a blessing. Their curse is that they make the game hard to learn. I’ve talked numerous times about the barrier to entry when learning to play Magic. Once you are invested in the game though, the rules become a wonderful thing. Problems have an answer, and there are means to solve them (our Game Support team among them).

From the perspective of keeping you from your goal, Magic’s rules are a masterpiece. Richard Garfield, Magic’s creator, did a wonderful job creating a structured, balanced game system. Every strategy has a counter-strategy. The game’s open-ended structure allows players infinite ability to find solutions and create new problems for their opponents. One of the reasons I believe that the game keeps players so long is that the depth of strategy is remarkable and a key part of this is the rules system, which creates so many intricate checks and balances.

#3) Interaction

There needs to be some aspect of the game that encourages the players to react to one another. What does your game do to make the players interact?

Players have to want something. The game has to make acquiring that thing challenging. The next step is making sure that everyone is playing the same game. The simplest way to do this is to give all players the same goal, making each of them an obstacle of the others. However you do this, though, it is crucial that your game interconnects the actions of the players.

Why is this so important? There are several reasons. First, a big component of game playing is the social interaction. Computers and hand-held devices have made it easier and easier to play games solo. The reason that traditional gaming is still popular is that it has one huge advantage: face-to-face interaction. Humans are by nature social creatures. Gaming plays into the desire allowing people to interact. As interacting is one of the key goals, it’s important that your game reinforce this interaction.

Second, there’s a great conservation of resources if you use other players as the needed obstacles. Magic, for example, does a great job of challenging a player because they are matching their wits against another person like themselves. Self-selection also means that players will tend to play against players who share their vision of how the game should be increasing the chances that all parties have a good gaming experience.

One of the things that R&D is constantly conscious of is making sure to keep the interaction in the game. This is one of the reasons, for instance, that we are very cautious with what we call combos—that is, groups of cards that combine to create a giant effect that usually wins the game. If the combo is powerful and fast enough, there’s no reason for you to even concern yourself with what the other players are doing.

Magic’s two greatest tools to creating interactivity are both card types: creatures and instants. Creatures force interaction because they require you to bring the action to the opponent. Attacking allows blocking. Instants create interaction because they allow you to act during a time that normally is focused on your opponent.

Another big part of Magic’s interaction is the inclusion of cards that answer problems. Richard understood that a key to making trading card games work is to make sure that every threat had an answer, which allowed decks to change over time as the metagame shifted. Magic is a game about change, and a key part of making this happen was giving the players the tools to combat whatever was currently the dominant strategy.

#4) A Catch-Up Feature

There needs to be a way for players that have fallen behind to catch up. A game becomes frustrating if a player feels like he or she has no chance to win.

Another way to think of this requirement is the idea of investment. In order for a game to function at its best, all its players have to care. If they don’t then the core of the play group’s attention will shift from the game. How do you keep focus on the game? By keeping all the players invested in it.

The biggest reason players disconnect from a game is because they no longer have any investment. The number-one cause of this is a belief that you can’t win. The point of the game is to complete the goal from #1. Once you are no longer able to do that (or, more importantly, once you no longer believe you can do that) the game stops having any pull over the player.

The classic way to do this is to build something into the game that allows players that are behind to catch up. There might be some random event with a huge swing. Players in the lead might pick up handicaps. The game might be built such that the gains made in the game get larger as the game progresses. No matter how you do it, it’s important to make sure that players always have something to hope for even if that hope is a small one.

So what is Magic’s biggest catch-up feature? The answer lies in a very clever part of Magic’s initial game design: the mana system. Because you slowly build up over time, the game encourages you to play cards that work best at various times during the game. What’s so wonderful about this is that it means that you always have cards you can draw that are optimal and suboptimal. For example, a one-drop is a wonderful first turn draw, but a horrible tenth-turn draw. A five-drop, though, is the exact opposite.

Because cards have variance based on where in the game they are drawn, they make sure that there are always good and bad draws. This swing in utility allows players who are behind to make dramatic comebacks. In addition because the draws are hidden information it helps keep players in the game because there is always the hope of a drawing a card that will swing the game in their favor.

#5) Inertia

There needs to be something in your game that moves it along towards completion. You have to have something built into your game that makes sure it ends.

What do I believe is the number-one problem game designers have with the first game they design? Game length. A well-crafted game should end before the player wants to stop playing. How do you accomplish this? By making sure your game has enough inertia.

The idea behind inertia is that your game in a neutral state should be pushing the players towards completion. If the players are fighting against the game to end it, on average half the time the game will not end when they want it to. That means half the games will end with the players unhappy with the game.

One of my writing professors used to say, “The key to having the right story length is to make your story as short as you possibly can make it and then cut ten percent.”

Your game has to end as early as you can make it end. It ‘s much better to have a game that you wanted to last longer than one that you wanted to stop earlier. You’ll play the first one again, possibly right away, and you might never return to play the second one. The trick to doing this is to set up your game so that it pushes the players towards completion.

Let’s take Magic as the example. What does Magic do to ensure its completion? It keeps raising the power level of its spells. The mana system works such that as you get to the late game you have the ability to play larger and more powerful spells. The game will end because these spells are big enough to make it end. The game creates a system that enables the players to end it.(Source:wizards


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