开发者应挖掘游戏无限玩法而非短暂体验

作者:Anton Temba

我们总是会永无止尽地等待下一个好东西的出现。

书籍,图像,音乐和视频都属于一次性产品。当你看到它们,阅读它们或聆听它们时,你便会有新发现并能够转向其它产品。

当然,你有可能再次访问它们,但是那时候对于你而言它们便不再是新事物了。你已经知道了会出现什么,并知道它的外观以及其中的感受等等。

等待抛弃的产品。

在我继续陈述之前,我的确意识到了它们变成了人们的废弃品。不过因为这个世界上每天都会诞生许许多多人,所以这在某种意义上赋予了这些产品无限的生命周期。

而在本篇文章中,作为读者的你只需要扮演好消费者的角色,而无需代表整个世界。你需要设想:

你经历了一款基于脚本的游戏,而现在已经完成了游戏。真的是款非常有趣的游戏。

你想要进一步获取这种体验。

但是此时此刻却不行。

要知道创造游戏是一个困难而又缓慢的过程。

……

这种情况真的是糟糕透了不是吗?

你将不得不从头再来一遍。你会经历一些让人激动的场景,但这终究会结束。你想要获得更多体验,但当内容结束时这种体验也会被切断。所以你只能去寻找其它可游戏的内容。

更糟糕的是,你需要经历很长时间才能再次遇到有趣的内容,而如果这还是同样的局限设计,那么你将像之前那样在短短的几个小时内消费并再次回到同样的空虚状态。

这是一种无休止的循环。所以我们还有继续的意义吗?

不过还有另外一种方法。

计算机程序可以做到而电影却做不到。

电子游戏拥有一些电影,音乐和书籍所没有的元素。其潜能是无限巨大的。

当我说到无限游戏时,我并不是指那些简单的高分街机游戏。而是那些既带有完善脚本内容也具有较长冒险行动的游戏,如《质量效应》或《天际》,并且具有更棒且真正的无限性。

不要怀疑,这种游戏的确存在。上述的例子与无限游戏间的最大区别便在于,玩家能按照自己的想法去游戏,而不会被强迫扮演其他人。

从游戏设计角度来看,它能更加流畅地运转,并且不需要像脚本游戏那样受到人为的约束。

大多数情况下,除非你的主要目标是教授玩家某些东西或者讲述一则故事,就像电影,视觉小说或书籍所擅长的那样,否则这些游戏都会提供一些特别的体验。让玩家产生紧张,激动等特别的情感。

当游戏的真正目标是提供给玩家一种体验,如作为飞行员,怪物,士兵,猎人,间谍,英雄,冒险家,指挥官或上帝等等,那么我们便需要专注于这一体验,并围绕着它进行创造,而不是强迫玩家扮演某些角色。

让玩家去扮演某一特定的角色将导致游戏脱离真正的重点,即游戏应该是关于传达某一体验而非变成某一角色。

之前我们未能创造出真正想要的游戏,那现在呢?

可惜的是,游戏产业(注:不管是AAA级还是独立游戏)似乎遗忘了这点并一直在重蹈旧辙,尽管事实上我们真的想要无限游戏。来说说疯狂的定义?

令人震惊的是, 开发者花了好几年的时间去创造游戏,却只是为了让它拥有局限的设计,即在几个小时,甚至几分钟内便会让玩家玩透。

如果是在电影和书籍中便很好理解,因为它们不具有互动属性,不能像计算机程序那样生成新内容(不管是通过多人模式,用户内容还是程序随机生成)。

而关于电子游戏中基于脚本的电影框架又是什么情况?

这是一种特别的情况,即将玩家安置在一个特定的角色中,并希望他能通过一个更近的视角去体验游戏故事。

而关于这种设计存在着一个很大的问题。一个巨大的冲突。

整体显得有些格格不入。

你让玩家去完全控制或部分控制一个拥有之前获得的能力或拥有一些个性描述的角色。

问题在于玩家能做任何自己想做的事。角色所具有的任何故事或个性或者他所选择的道具都将遭到扭曲。

这不仅仅是一种巧合,即玩家能够开心地做着一些可笑的事,但是他们所扮演的角色却从未做过这些事。就像tea-bagging corpses,或者在与NPC聊着一些重要事物时暂时离开。

开发者应挖掘游戏无限玩法而非短暂体验

indifferently(from gamasutra)

为什么?就因为你能这么做。毕竟作为一名玩家,你也是受控制的。

游戏是一个互动系统,它总是会体现出互动行为的本质,所以如果你尝试着去阐述一个脚本故事并基于这种方法创造沉浸感的话,你必然会遭遇失败。

显然,与这种行为相反的做法便是限制玩家的权利,不过如果这么做的话你的游戏便会变成一部美其名曰的电影。

这么做将会削弱游戏的无限能力,并会大大约束游戏玩法的灵活性已经玩家在游戏中的体验。

尝试着在电子游戏中使用叙述方法并让玩家能够直接控制角色将会让人感觉是开发者硬塞到游戏中的。如果游戏能够更加重视自己,它便会越有价值。

所以从根本上来看,如果你采纳了电影和书籍所使用的方法,你就是在搬起石头砸自己的脚。

所以,让我们回到无限游戏中。

就像之前所提到的,有三大元素能够成就无限游戏理念,即多人模式,程序随机生成以及用户内容。

使用这五大理念(不管是全部还是其中一些),你都能够创造出一款不会过时,或者避开电影,书籍或传统脚本电子游戏所采用的的方法的电子游戏。

说到这里,我将回到最初的问题:

为什么你会花这么多年时间去创造出与电子游戏一样复杂,并传达有限体验的有限设计?

既然你所投入的所有努力会在几个小时内便被用尽,那么你何不创造一个无限的游戏设计?

如此你不仅能为自己创造出无尽的乐趣,同时也能够提供给玩家持久的产品,带给他们无限的娱乐与更加灵活的游戏体验。

想想玩家所投入的钱能够换来多大的价值。这不仅是电子游戏的命运,也是它们所能够做到的。

除此之外,人们都很渴望无限游戏,你可以在任何硬核游戏社区中发现这点。所以你最好把握住这一巨大机遇,并创造出全新的游戏形式去娱乐玩家。

放手去设计无限的游戏玩法,并专注于它所带给你的氛围和情感。这便是你需要考虑的设计问题。

(转自游戏邦)

Games have the potential to be infinite, so why are you still working on a throwaway project?

by Anton Temba

The never-ending cycle of waiting for the next great thing.

Lets get this straight. Books, images, music and video are a single-use item. Once you’ve seen them, read them or listened to them, the discoveries has been made and you move on to something else.

Sure, you may revisit them for a second or even a third go, but by that time, they’re already old. You know what happens, you know what it looks likes and how it feels. Its done.

A throwaway product.

Before I continue, I do infact recognize that its a throw-away product for a single person. It may have as many uses as there are the amount of people, which are born every day, making its potential lifespan infinite in that sense.

But thats not the point. Lets get a bit selfish here.

This article about you as a consumer, not the whole world.
Picture this the following:

So you’ve experienced some neat scripted game and its now over. It was fucking awesome.

You want more.

There is none at the moment.

Lets also mention that making games is a hard and slow process.

That sucks, doesn’t it?

You’re back to square one. You experienced something inspiring, but it ended and thats it. You wanted more, but the experience was cut off as soon as the content ended. Now you’re left stranded to look for something else to enjoy.

Whats worse, is that it may take a long while before you get something that good again, but if its the same limited design, you’ll consume it in a few hours like the last game and be back in this same state of emptiness.

Its an endless cycle. So what’s the point of continuing this?

However, there is another way.

Something a computer program can that a movie can’t.

Video games have something that movies, music and books don’t. The potential to be infinite.

When I say infinite games, I don’t mean those simple highscore-based arcade games, no.
I’m talking about games with the same seriousness and scale as those massive scripted ten plus hour adventures like Mass Effect or Skyrim, but much better and truly infinite.

If you’re freaking out and saying this is impossible, then stop. It is. The main difference between those above examples and the infinite game, is that you play as yourself and not forcibly being someone you’re really not.

From the perspective of gameplay design, it works much more fluently, is more consistent and doesn’t require the artifical constraints you get often get in a scripted game. It just works.

Most of the time, unless your main goal is to specifically teach something or tell a story, which movies, visual novels and books are more fluent at, these games are meant to give you a specific experience. A thrill, an emotion or some particular feeling. An atmosphere.

The trick is to focus on that experience and build around that, rather than stuffing the player into a some arbitrary role, when the real goal of the game is to simply give an experience, like being a pilot, monster, soldier, hunter, spy, hero, adventurer, commander, god… you name it.

The whole aspect of putting a player into a specific character’s role only shifts the focus from what is really important, which is about delivering an experience, not being someone you’re not.

Were not really making the games we really want, are we now?

But alas, the games industry, both AAA and indies, seem oblivious to all this and keep doing the same thing over and over, despite deep down really wanting that infinite game. Talk about the definition of insanity, eh?

Whats mind boggling, is that developers spend years of their life to create games, only for them to have such a limited – and often rather shoe-horned – design that can be exhausted within a few hours, some times even in just mere minutes.

This is understandable for movies and books, since they’re not interactive by nature and cannot generate fresh new content like a computer program is capable of doing, either through multiplayer, user content or procedural random generation.

But come on, whats with the obsession of shoe-horning the scripted movie framework on video games?

This is especially the case when the player is put in the role of a specific character, usually with the hopes that he or she will experience the story from a more closer angle.

There is a huge problem with this design. A big conflict.

Fitting a square peg in a round hole.

You put the player in full or even partial control over a character that has a previously established past, abilities and perhaps a personality of some description.

The problem is that the player can do anything he wants. Any story or personality the character has or the path that he takes will get perverted in one way or another.

Its no mere coincidence players are having fun doing absurd things that the character they play as would never ever do. Like tea-bagging corpses. Or going AFK during a conversation with an NPC in the middle of something important.

Why? Because you simply can. As the player you’re in control, after all.

A game is an interactive system and its natural for this behavior to occur, so your attempt to tell a convincing scripted story and creating strong immersion in this way goes right out the window.

And yes, an obvious thing to do against this is to limit what the player can do, to the point that the pretty much runs on rails, but at that point your game has turned into a glorified movie.

Doing so cripples the game’s ability to be infinite and it greatly limits its flexibility in terms of gameplay and what the player can experience within it. Thats just contradictory game design right there.

Trying to force a storytelling approach to a video game while giving the direct control over a character to the player is as shoe-horned as it can get. The more serious a game tries to take itself, the more cringe worthy it becomes.

So you’re basically shooting yourself in the foot with a design that adopts the approach of movie and books.

So, back to the point of infinite games.

Like mentioned previously, there are three big things that make the whole infinite game idea possible; multiplayer, procedural random generation and user content. In addition, there are two more; persistency and emergent behaviour.

Using these five concepts, either all of them or even just a few of them, it is possible to create a video game that never gets old or lame unlike a movie, book or those traditional scripted video games do inevitably.

With all that said, I return to my initial question:

Why would you spend years creating something so complex as a video game with the goal to deliver an experience that limits itself with a scripted, finite design?

All that hard work you put in would get used up in mere hours, where instead you could create a game with a design that is infinite?

Not only you could create something that will have virtually infinite longevity for yourself to have fun with endlessly, but also provide a lasting product to your players that offers them same infinite entertainment, with much wider flexibility on how it can be played.

Talk about some seriously huge value for their money. This is what video games were meant for. This is what they’re capable of.

Besides that, people are starved for infinite games, you can see signs of this in any hardcore gaming communities when you ask them about it. Theres a huge opportunity to be had here for success and a new form of games to enjoy.

Go out there and design your games with infinite gameplay in mind and a strong focus on the atmosphere and emotion its supposed to evoke in you. Its all a matter of design.(source:gamasutra)