How to create a moving moment for a game story?


sequence

Don’t get me wrong, both new DOOM and old Sam are good games. I still support DOOM in this answer. But compared with “Half Life”, I still couldn’t clear the new DOOM even once. Every time I try to play this pure shooting game, I will be tired quickly due to high-intensity battles, and I have to switch to a more soothing, slow-paced experience.

So in the process, I started playing some critically acclaimed games that are very good at creating moving game experiences. As I have always believed, although the debate about story and gameplay still exists and is probably not going to stop, I tend to start with game design based on emotion or experience. I want to know if these games that give players an unforgettable experience have something in common from a narrative perspective. So from this question in Kannai and other similar topics, I found some games that I have played or never played, and experienced (or experienced again).

First of all, I must admit that I have suspicion of the title party, because this article only summarizes some regular principles, even a lot of what you already know. This article does not have a dry goods methodology, and it is estimated that it cannot directly tell you how to make your game bring a better gaming experience to players or let your game convey moving emotions. Secondly, due to the shallowness of what you have learned, you may only see something superficial, but you cannot yet dig deep connections or points. If there is an article that attempts to fully discuss all aspects of interactive narrative, this article may be dozens of times the length of this article. But maybe this article can give you some inspiration, so you can think about how to create touching moments

Summary: Due to personal limitations, many things that have not been discussed, or things that have not been discussed but have not been seen at a deeper level, have been moved out to be ugly.

Basic and dramatic elements

Games are often made up of players, goals, rules, resources, conflicts, boundaries, and results. Let’s call these seven elements the basic elements. For example, for table tennis, two players are required. These two players must follow the rules of international competition and participate in the game in the demarcated field. The goal of both sides is to score points, so they also constitute conflicts. As a result, one player must win. You may find that all elements are involved except “resources”. But in fact, several other factors, including the physical strength of athletes, can also be used as resources held by players in table tennis games.

The seven basic elements mentioned above form the structure of the experience. If one or more of these seven elements are missing, then the structure of the experience will be disrupted and the game experience may be affected. For example, if there are no rules for table tennis, or three players can participate, or the goal of both sides is to make the opponent score, then the game will be very chaotic. But maybe this is not absolute. One of the reasons why designers want to learn theory is to be able to try outside the theory in the future.

Table tennis is a fascinating sport (except for the finals, because I find that table tennis finals in international competitions are often played by two athletes from the same national team), but you will find that so far no table tennis has appeared A huge worldview or a touching story, no one plays to save their village from the mouth of the dragon.

But the absence of a story does not prevent table tennis from becoming a fascinating sport, because the table tennis game itself has other dramatic elements than stories. In traditional and video games, dramatic elements often include challenges, stories, and characters. Table tennis games have this element of challenge. Challenges create tension, which in turn creates a sense of accomplishment or frustration. The concept of flow in video games is also analyzed from the challenge.

In order to write this article, the games I play basically use the power of stories and the environment created by basic elements to make players feel engaged. The story is also part of the dramatic element. This brings us back to the old-fashioned topic: “What proportion should the basic and dramatic elements be combined? Should the gameplay change the story? Should the story decide the gameplay? Is” Going to the Moon “a game? No one in academia can give a definitive answer to this question. But there is no doubt about it-whether from a designer’s or player’s perspective,The combination of basic and dramatic elements often creates powerful emotional experiences.

Summary: The basic element is the structure of the experience. The use of dramatic elements can make the experience boost as the basis for creating a touching moment.

Use story

When I was a kid, I and the children in the yard liked to play electric 4WD. Without considering some complicated factors, racing on a straight road is a typical game that determines the success or failure. If you look at it from the current perspective, the essence of a four-wheel drive competition can be simplified as “who has a large output power , Run fast, anyone can win. ” But the children were obviously not satisfied with such boring game content, so they began to imagine that their four-wheel drive vehicles have some special skills that can help them defeat the victory and even defeat the bad guys to save the world.

This example may not be good, but it does illustrate the power of the story. To create a stronger connection between the player and the game, we often need to create a dramatic story for the player.

You know, there are many types of players. I can just give a few examples, all of us can observe what type of players colleagues, classmates, and friends belong to:

  • Competitive players: like multiplayer competition and confrontation, have a strong competitive spirit;
  • Exploration players: like to explore the vast world;
  • Craftsman-type players: like construction, assembly, optimization, design, promotion;
  • Entertainment players: play games just to relax, care about the socialization and fragmentation of the game;
  • Achievement players: Set goals for your experience in the game, like to challenge challenges and achievements;
  • Collective players: try to understand all the mysteries of the game world, or just like to collect all the game collections that have meaning / meaninglessness;
  • Easy player: I only like the refreshing rhythm and don’t like watching cutscene or listening to dialogue between characters. I just want to gain full control of the character and advance the game.

For different types of players, your story may not produce the same effect, because the “engagement” of different players is different. For example, some audiences like to watch basketball games, while others prefer magic movies. Another example is that some players can get great satisfaction just by watching other people playing games, and some players must experience it themselves. “GTA3” has given a lot of players a great sense of participation. I still remember that when playing “GTA3”, many students in front of the console looked forward to the current students playing “death” in the game, so that it was their turn. That feeling. As a game designer, can you incorporate “audience” into your game like GTA3?

Let’s go back to the structure of the story. If your composition level is basically up to standard, you will find that a story usually contains time, place, characters and main goals. I think the reason why Space Invaders was (at the time) so fascinating is that, compared to games like Pong, it has a story about an “unknown protagonist destroying an alien by firing a cannonball People come to stop their own Star Cup aggression “story. Although this story is very simple, it shows us an innovation in the traditional narrative medium.

The primary purpose of the story should be to make the basic elements of the game more meaningful to the player. Players want to shoot aliens, not abstract cubes on the screen (though they are actually doing so). All the players in “Go to the Moon” are direction control and interactive buttons. But in order to make these operations meaningful, “Go to the Moon” provides an excellent story with a series of clear opening, development, suspense, climax, etc., so that players are willing to promote the development of the story, and make players feel like they are Promote or change the state of the story through interaction. Even better, even if no interaction is required at all, as a traditional narrative medium to tell the story, the story of “Going to the Moon” is enough to attract players from an emotional level.

Let’s talk about the story design itself.

A typical Hollywood movie always includes a character with a clear goal (we will talk about the character in a later section), and obstacles that prevent the character from achieving the goal. Dramatic stories arise when characters and obstacles interact. If you want to exacerbate this drama, then you can set the obstacle that prevents the character from achieving the goal to another character with conflicting goals. This simple model can be extended to trigger almost all drama modes, because it means that characters must communicate with each other in order to solve obstacles, and this communication is often accompanied by conflict. I forgot whether it was Pan Changjiang or any laughing star who said that the laughing point was caused by the gap between the audience’s expectations and the reality of the performance. Once there is a conflict between roles, it is easy to cause this unpredictable and unexpected plot development.

In the area of ​​interactive narrative,Two commonly used storytelling methods are called scripted and user generated respectively. The first game often contains a large number of scripts, and the story flow (overall) is linear. This type of game includes linear games such as Uncharted and The Last of Us and some box games. This is the most narrative way that allows players to engage in the story. Players are allowed to perform activities within a certain range until a short-term goal is reached. The game enters the next link through a non-interactive segment (process animation, etc.) to control. Power is once again passed to the player. Many people think that this is not really interactive narrative, but just shows traditional narrative through a new medium, and nothing more. But it is undeniable that “Uncharted” and “The Last of Us” are rare rare works.

Another type of user generated game is a game similar to Minecraft, The Sims and even FIFA. This type of game doesn’t really create a story. The story is generated through player interaction (and to a certain extent imagination). After a player has played a game of FIFA, it is easy to get satisfaction because the player feels that he has created his own story. Similarly, there are many game reviews in Niu Guanzhong that are not game reviews at all, but some players are sharing stories created by themselves, such as “World around the World” and “Hot Signature”. “Hot Signature” even has a smart way of marketing-they encourage players to share the stories they create. Thanks to the refreshing sensation brought by the design of the game, many player stories have a very high level of fun and gaming experience. Many people think that this is not really interactive narrative. It even requires players to make up for themselves, which means that some players can never have fun in this type of game.

Many players will say that they want to see a work that truly enables interactive narrative. Over the years I have seen some very good attempts, such as in an “Event[0]I mentioned in the answer that players in the game can type chat with the artificial intelligence on the spacecraft. In fact, this game is not realized by artificial intelligence, but you can still see some of this game from my answer. Good try.

So far, 90% (or maybe even more) of the games that allow players to choose are actually letting players choose from some specific options, and only have a certain degree of impact on the plot. This approach does not necessarily give players an experience superior to traditional narrative. The reason is simple. Technically and costly, you don’t want choice hell (I coined the term), and you don’t want a fragmented gaming experience. Let’s talk in detail why it is sometimes better to give up the player’s right to choose.

If you are a developer, you will often need to solve the “callback hell” problem when optimizing some quick and dirty code. 1

Callback hell

In a game that allows players to choose, if the player can choose from 4 options each time, a total of 8 times can be selected, then from the perspective of data structure, you will face a very large tree structure. So many games come up with better methods, such as The Walking Dead and a lot of Galgame. The former allows players to influence the plot, but the effect quickly disappears. Regardless of the choice line, the plot will soon return to the same line. For example, if you need to save one between two people, this may lead to a completely different story. But don’t worry, the person you rescue will die for another reason in the next scene, so it does not increase the cost of story design. The latter is by reusing certain scenes and dialogues. Although you choose to push different girls, some scenes and dialogues are always the same, so you will skip ctrl all the way. 1


Choose hell


“Fake” selection

In addition, the willingness to give players more choices means that these choices have the risk of causing the story to split, especially if the character often has a distinctive personality. For example, in Pillars of Eternity 2, Divine Realm: Original Sin 2, or Fallout: New Vegas, many options cannot be selected due to the character / trait mismatch. If you let a good-looking knight choose to help the elderly for free, help the elderly but charge a fee, help the elderly also maliciously increase the price, and rob the elderly directly, it is clear that many options will destroy the unity of the character and the story, causing the player to experience emotional fragmentation . More about character traits will be mentioned later in the character section.

summary:

1. Different players’ sense of participation will cause the story to be attractive to different players;

2. The primary goal of the story is to make the basic elements meaningful to the player;

3. The story always contains the target character and obstacles that hinder the role. Well-designed obstacles can enhance the drama;

4. Two methods of storytelling are scripted and user generated, but emerging works are constantly challenging interactive narrative innovation;

5. Avoid choosing hell;

6. Sometimes in order to ensure the unity of the story, the diversity of choices must be sacrificed. Similarly, the more choices a player is allowed to make, the greater the potential (but not absolute) risk of the story being disrupted.

Interest curve and suspense

One of the reasons stories attract participants is that they want to know how the story is going. In games that include story elements, the development of the plot is often accompanied by conflict, and conflict is one of the basic elements of the game. The unity of the two can make the game logic self-consistent, full of drama and tension, and more attractive to players.

The game “Mysterious Island” has a sufficiently attractive story: players know nothing about Mystery Island and encounter two brothers trapped in a magic book during the process of exploring Mystery Island. The brothers asked the players to find the missing pages in the book and help themselves escape, but at the same time, they also hoped that the protagonist must not rescue his brother. The mutual distrust of the two brothers has led players to realize that they may have lied to themselves. This conflict creates a powerful suspense and enriches the player experience.

“I’ll wait for you in 7 years” also has a very clever place, which is to divide the game into many small chapters. Basically, at the end of each chapter, an unexpected flip, suspense or puzzle is thrown on the screen. Therefore, players can easily get involved in the game story, even if the voxel modeling of this game is not good, the characters are not animated, the operation is a bit lame, and there are often some bugs that should not appear. At the same time, the short chapter length and the suspense left at the end of each chapter allow players to continue to play this game without animated performances and not very brilliant.

When it comes to the suspense of the story and the rhythm of the game, a game that uses player selection as a promotional feature is inherently well versed in this. The Walking Dead throws some choices at the player, and in many cases limits the time the player can make a choice. This allows players to secrete adrenaline in a game that is not intense at the same time, and at the same time tighten the consciousness that has been relaxed for the next period of time, and start to pay attention to the development of the plot or the choice of coping with the possible continuity. Although these choices have different ends, they are called fake choices, but they adjust the rhythm of the game so that the player’s interest will not plummet.

When it comes to player interest, in fact, one of the main evaluation methods for the experience is to use the interest curve. The interest curve is actually similar to the speed (v) -time

Interest-time curve

In this example, the player starts the game with a certain interest (a). Subsequently, the game should start with a very amazing moment that instantly increases the player’s interest, otherwise the player may not be attracted by the game. After a long or short game, if the game design is reasonable, the player’s interest will fluctuate, but the overall trend is rising. Finally, the game reached its climax, and the ultimate goal of our article—a touching moment emerged—players’ interest reached its highest point (e). After that, the game ended quickly.

Obviously you can’t guarantee that your game is always attractive to players, and you ca n’t make your story climax at any time, so you need to adjust the story or other factors of the game according to the feedback of the player, so as to adjust the rhythm of the game so that players can The game maintains basic interest and maintains a basic sense of participation in the story. If even the most basic point cannot be guaranteed, even if the game includes life and death, it is difficult to retain the player before creating a moment that moves the player.

However, it should be noted that it is not just the development of the storyline that can affect the interest curve. In other words, the interest curve is not only used to measure whether your story can attract players. The player’s interest curve may also be affected by other factors in the game, such as a very beautiful scene, an infectious lens, a picture full of explosions and adrenaline, and so on. In addition, common scenes like this are assisted by disadvantaged characters. For example, the valley knight rescues Winterfell in “Game of Thrones” and “Battle of the Begotten Child.” , Or the sudden emergence of middle school students in “Anonymous”.

summary:

1. Instantly increase player interest and participation in the story by creating suspense;

2. Player interests need to be adjusted in specific parts of the story. Prolonged concentration can easily cause fatigue, and prolonged depression can easily make players give up.

Credible world

As mentioned earlier, creating compelling stories can sometimes be a priority in game design. But it is much more difficult to integrate the story perfectly into the gameplay, mechanics or system of the game. Games that can do this often have a credible world. The credible world doesn’t need much realistic picture. In fact, this picture is basically irrelevant. Some of the most famous fictional worlds today are Tolkien’s “Middle-Earth World”, George Martin’s Westeros Land, and Harry Potter’s Magic World.

These worlds often contain detailed settings in all aspects of history, politics, humanities, race, religion, class contradictions, literature and art, science and technology, and economics. Although players, viewers, or readers can only see the tip of the iceberg, it is precisely because the rest of the huge iceberg that is not exposed below the sea level makes these worlds so real that they can penetrate the hearts of the people. Some games use the Middle-earth worldview, but simply applying the framework is enough to make players feel like the game is a magnificent picture and maintain long-term interest in the game (such as “World of Warcraft”).

In addition to the Middle-earth world, which is a more “medieval world of swords and magic”, the construction of a modern or near-future world must take into account almost all factors. Alex McDowell, a well-known Hollywood producer who has participated in the production of films such as Minority Report, Fight Club, and so on, has created the “Immersive Design 5D Institute”. Sci-fi films such as Minority Report and Interstellar have invited scientists, architects, professional engineers, and mechanics to participate in the construction of the world in the early stages of design and consult their professional opinions to build a credible world.The entire design process can be non-linear, but every aspect of the world must be linked.

The cost of creating a credible world in the game will be huge, butSometimes all you need is to pay attention to some details. This will not add much cost, but it will make a great contribution to building a credible world and our ultimate goal-to create a moving game experience for players.

“The Last of Us” brings us the world of doomsday. The government loses control, and the army can finally abandon bureaucracy and defend the people: Marshall Law, strict military inspection and control, shoot to kill, and so on. And when the player controls the protagonist to try to intervene in the virus quarantine scene, the player will be warned by the guards “close to me and make a hole in your head”. If the player is really close, the guard will really make a hole in your head. In contrast, if the guard simply ignores the player ’s response, and the game world simply puts an “air wall” in front of the player to prevent the player from really interfering with the virus quarantine scene, then the player will have a “this world is not The letter therefore I can jump in front of the guard as I want to see if I can find a BUG card into the model of the building next to it, although I know the 3D models in the game are hollow “mentality.

There are many similar details. For example, whenever it rains in “Witcher 1,” in addition to the guards on duty, the NPC will run to the roof to hide from the rain and complain about the weather. The picture of “Witcher 3” has been improved by several grades. When it rains, you can even see the rain on the NPC’s face running down the face and nose from the hair … oh, wait, why the rain is so heavy, Do n’t you all stay inside?

“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” raises the credibility of the open world to another level. When it rains, the NPC will hide from the rain, the rock wall will become slippery, the flames will be extinguished, and the lightning attack will be more lethal. Water accumulates in low-lying areas, and raised metal objects may conduct electricity. Zelda’s Systemic design has improved the credibility of the world. At the same time, this law is more in line with the real world, so that players can arrange certain strategic tactics and in-game activities based on their own experience and common sense.

Some of the older games don’t have great graphics, but they can still build a credible world for players. For example, “Final Fantasy 6.” This game does not even have a day and night cycle of day and night, but as the game progresses, the same NPC may make different comments based on changes in the situation. The old lady at home in ordinary houses talked about the price of cabbage, and the profit-seeking merchants figured out how to buy and sell it, and the city guards who reluctantly maintained their independence secretly worried that the future was not clear. If Edgar is used as the leader, then when buying goods in the city, the merchant will take the initiative to say hello and sell his goods at half the price. These small details are not part of the game story, but as the huge foundation of the iceberg, these elements make the game world more credible, and also help players build an understanding of the game world and the storyline.

summary:

1. The design of the game world involves many aspects. Although the player can only see part of the world in the game, this does not mean that you only need to design a part of it;

2. Sometimes small details can also increase the credibility of the world at a micro level.

Role and empathy

The role is the medium of the story, and the story is told through the role. Good game, literary or film works make participants feel empathy and empathy for the characters.

Empathy is an amazing human ability to project itself into the position of others. Once humans use this ability, they can easily understand others. Just as an actor with experience and acting skills can make the audience experience deep emotions and be moved by just one eye contact, a good character in the game can make the players empathize, so that the players can experience the characters in the story To the emotional experience the game is trying to convey.

The first 11 minutes of the classic animated film “Traveling Around the House” shows the process of Carl and Ellie’s life from acquaintance to love. This process takes up only a small part of the film’s narrative time, but it fully shows the life course of two humans through key clues. This 11-minute clip is carefully designed, and each one can reflect the love between the two in some small details. By the end of these 11 minutes, the audience had been moved. Afterwards, the audience could better understand why Carr chose to be a “nail house” through the principle of empathy, which hindered the huge city reconstruction work.

This is the usual method used by artists. Our brains are not directly empathizing with real people. Think about it, the nipples in the animated movie “Coco” are bigger than the boy’s body, Carl’s mouth in “Flying House Travel” is wider than an A4 paper, and we see the dog in the cartoon Dogs also feel cute and compassionate-none of them are real creatures. So, our empathy is for a certain model. Our brain condenses the complex reality into a slightly simpler model, so that whenever we encounter a problem, our brain will recall whether it has encountered a similar model before. If so, we can directly apply the previous model so that we can It can be concluded quickly. Magicians often use models formed by our brains: we would think that models are reality, so we think that magicians have done things that are impossible in reality.

The above paragraph can give us an inspiration:We do n’t even have to create a complicated character if we want to empathize with the audience(Because the player ’s brain is not empathizing with the character),Just need to shape a model. The most common are models that represent the “American Dream” (you can think of many), or selfless dedication models represented by Grandpa Zhang Fuqing, and so on.

Speaking back to the role of shaping.

You can use the character’s language, behavior, appearance, and comments from others to build a clear sketch of the character. According to the different roles and roles of different characters in the story, the meticulous level of description of the characters is undoubtedly different. If there are many detailed descriptions of the characteristics of a character in the story, then the character is very full, such as “White Album 2”. However, the character of other characters is often very singular and does not change, such as the evil stepmother who framed the bad-hearted stepmother in standard fairy tales and captured the princess.

A trick that makes a character plump is to shape the character’s personality change under some kind of opportunity. For example, I casually say an example:

Min Ziyi lost his mother at an early age, and his father found a stepmother for him. Just like the stepmother in a Western call, this stepmother is good to her child and often treats Min Zixun as a bad girl. Min Zixun knew well but never told his stepmother, but instead treated his stepmother and his stepmother’s children like his loved ones.

Winter is here, and Min Ziyu ’s stepmother sew cotton quilts for her children, and fills Min Ziyu ’s cotton quilts with reed flowers that are not hardy. So cold Min Min shook his hands and accidentally turned over the ox cart. His father was furious and beat Min Ziyu with a whip. The whip broke the clothes and the reeds flew. His father realized what was happening at once, and was angry when he came home to divorce his wife. Min Ziyu stood (kneeled) and stopped his father, saying: The mother is cold in one son, and the mother goes to the third son. My stepmother heard her heart warm, so she repented and regarded Min Ziyu as her own son.

In this simple story, Min Ziyu’s stepmother’s personality changed a lot. Compared with the immutable stepmother, the shaping of the stepmother can make participants realize that even the villain role in the story is as multifaceted as the real world. Such characters are more three-dimensional than pale characters. However, this kind of personality change and the opportunity to trigger a character personality change are best applied only to a representative character. If too many characters in your story have changed personality, then the story may become very chaotic.

Whether it is a multi-faceted villain role, a villain role from the beginning to the end, or any other role, when you are inWhen creating a character, several questions must be clarified: what does the character want? What will he do? What do players expect? The goal of Barret Wallace in “Final Fantasy 7” is to take revenge on Shinra, so he … revenge on Shinra. The goal of the New California Republic in Fallout: New Vegas was to re-establish order in the Mohave wasteland, so they fought the Legion and established a strict legal system. The goal of the robbers in “The Elder Scrolls 5” is to feed the young daughter, so they risk their lives to block roads and rob and so on.

Conversely, if a game character has no goals, or if the character’s behavior is not determined by his goals, then the character may appear pale and even funny. If there are too many such characters, then it will affect the model we build for player “empathy” and even the credibility of the entire world.

Another trick that makes the game appear relatively infectious moments is the clever use of the “three problems” of character shaping. At any time, the character’s goals and behavior must be related. When we tell the player the goal of a character, the player will expect the character’s behavior based on the “model” in his mind. If the final behavior of the character deviates greatly from this expectation, but the final character’s behavior can still be explained by the character’s goal, then it can often bring an unexpected impact to the player. For example, Raul Menendez’s goal in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 is to ignite the Sino-US war and build a new post-war world according to his own will. Players expect that he will escape danger in every hunting operation, but escape. He was arrested on a mission by the CIA tactical team. Finally, the mystery revealed that Raul was deliberately arrested so he could be taken on an aircraft carrier of the US military to execute his plan, and he also had an inside line in the US military.

There are almost no restrictions on the capacity of modern games, so many game characters have complex backgrounds and rich descriptions. In order to make the player more able to bring into the character, and to feel the strong emotional impact in the touching moment,A common practice is to let players grow with the character.The goal of Wanda and The Colossus is to revive a girl named Mouo. We don’t know anything about Wanda’s past or what relationship Wanda has with this girl. But as the game progressed, we continued to grow along with Wanda, and the characters began to plump with his behavior and our understanding of him. So we finally felt a very powerful emotional experience in the game.

Similar techniques are often used in movies depicting animals to earn audience tears. In “10 Promises to My Dog” we grew up with the protagonist and the protagonist’s dog and experienced the story they experienced. The movie’s interest curve is very reasonable, so players basically keep an eye on the direction of the story. Touching moment When the dog died, the audience often cried.

I also watched “Pamper”.但在这部电影中我没和这些动物一起成长,我不知道他们从哪来,也不知道在和主人一起长大的过程中他们经历了哪些喜怒哀乐的故事,所以我在touching moment根本不能体会到任何情感的波动。我本身也是养宠物的人,但即使这样,我依然没有对里面的任何角色产生共情。我在恒隆百丽宫看这部电影,影厅很豪华,来的人很多,观众素质也挺高,然而看到一半还是有了此起彼伏的呼噜声。我相信他们尽力了,作为创作者,我们更多的应当在创作本身寻找问题,而不能将责任一并推给“观众参与度有所区别”这种并不是决定性因素的因素上。

另一个塑造角色的法宝就是从方方面面展现角色的特有性格,避免角色的扁平化和趋同化.如果所有的角色性格都是相近的,又或者设计师根本没有考虑到角色的性格应该如何体现出来,那么玩家就很难分辨出不同的角色了。 《我在7年后等你》从这个角度来看是十分失败的作品,还好角色们的名字十分好记,否则即使这个游戏缺少一两个角色或者增加一两个角色,这么多角色也根本就只是一个“喜欢为他人付出并且守护着朋友”模型的延伸而已。缺少了对角色性格的区分和塑造,让这一模型的感染力下降了很多。比较优秀的例子是《白色相簿2》,虽然以文字叙事展示角色的性格算是最普通的形式了。玩过《最终幻想7》,那么Barret的暴躁性格肯定会给玩家留下深刻印象。从他的对话语气、夸张的动作乃至不使用假肢而安装了一支枪等地方都可以看出他脾气火爆没有耐心的性格特征。而《刺猬索尼克》中,一向喜欢以最快速度做完事情的索尼克也是没有耐心的暴躁老哥。但与Barret体现暴躁的方式不同,索尼克没有什么对话,他的暴躁通过一个很小的细节体现出来——当玩家一段时间不操控索尼克时,索尼克的idle动画是不耐烦地抱起双臂踏着脚,看起来像是表达着因为玩家浪费了他的时间而导致的不满。

为角色创建性格的目的就是使不同性格的角色之间发生互动。试想一下,如果你的角色性格鲜明,但是你的角色只在空旷的房间里说着台词——这并不是一个有戏剧性的故事。当不同性格的角色之间发生交互时,一种不同性格之间的人的磨合或冲突会使故事具有极大的戏剧性。下面是人际关系环状图(Isbister,Better Game Characters),可以帮助设计师设计不同性格角色之间的关系:


人际关系环状图

人际关系环状图的每一个扇区代表了一些可被辨识的角色性格,可以帮助你将你的角色归类。通常情况下你应当避免游戏中所有角色处于一个扇区内,

还有一些游戏能够使玩家创建自己的角色,并赋予自己的角色以一些基本的特征(包括了性格特征、样貌特征和能力特征等等)。漫画家Scott McCloud提出了一个有趣的观点:一个角色身上的细节越少,读者就越可能将自己投射到这名角色中。因此,玩家创建的角色有很好的使玩家带入的潜力,但前提是游戏被谨慎的设计以使玩家不会体会到角色的表现和玩家的创造相矛盾的感受.举例来说,在《永恒之柱2》或者《神界:原罪2》中,玩家创建的角色在对话中通常有特定的选项无法触发,因为这些选项往往需要角色带有“邪恶”、“谨慎”等性格特质,而玩家没有为自己的角色创建这样的特征——这是很容易理解的。如果玩家创建了一名立下誓约保卫人民群众的骑士,但玩家却可以为了买东西的时候获得折扣而要挟店铺的老板,那么角色的性格就变得不那么可信,玩家就会感受到游戏没有被精心设计。如果这种现象十分严重,那么玩家大脑中建立的这种“不惜生命保卫他人”的模型就会被摧毁,玩家很可能不会对“不惜生命保卫他人”的这种形象产生共情,甚至会削弱游戏最后的touching moment本来应该具备的感染力。

从玩家创建的角色推而广之到所有游戏角色中,有的时候为了避免这样的现象发生,设计师不得不在角色的“自由意志”和玩家控制之间做出平衡.所谓“自由意志”就是角色根据自己的目标、性格、行为等综合产生出来的表现,而玩家控制则是角色在玩家控制下的表现。在很多游戏中两者之间需要某种制约或者平衡,例如《刺客信条》中的兄弟会从来不会滥杀无辜,因此一旦玩家屠杀了无辜路人,同步就会出现紊乱。完全被玩家控制的角色没有自己的行动机会,因此往往也没有办法展示自己的个性或内心活动。 《我在7年后等你》在面对两者的冲突时放弃了玩家控制,使角色在游戏大多数时间内完全是脱离玩家控制的。本来这种方式最能够塑造形象鲜明的角色,但说实话,这个游戏确实搞砸了。相比之下同样是以讲述故事为主要目的的《白色相簿2》则做的很出色:同样在游戏的大多数时间内角色完全脱离玩家的控制,但《白色相簿2》中的角色形象鲜明到没话说。 《The Last of Us》等游戏则是通过Cinematic的场景来分界玩家控制和自由意志的。在cutscene中电影化的动画能够在故事叙述中展现角色的形象,而动画之间的玩家控制阶段则无法这么做。于是每当玩家将要触发一个故事的关键点时,下一个动画就会出现,阻止玩家的控制毁坏角色的形象。

小结:1. 玩家会对“模型”产生共情。你可以根据模型设计一个或一类角色;

2. 塑造角色时始终明确角色的目标、行为和玩家的预期;

3. 为角色塑造鲜明的性格,可以从动作、语气甚至外貌等细微的层面进行展示;

4. 可以设计让角色性格产生巨大转变的契机事件,使角色形象更加立体;

5. 通过其他元素的合理设计,让玩家与角色一同成长和经历可以营造强大的情感羁绊;

6. 避免你的所有角色都具有相似的性格,或者压根没有性格;

7. 通过不同性格角色之间的互动以更好地展示角色的个性,有助于增强角色可信度;

8. 完全由玩家创建的角色往往具有更好的代入潜力,更容易使玩家投入;

9. 平衡角色的“自由意志”和“玩家控制”。

故事与玩法的矛盾

我虽然很反感这个话题,但毕竟是绕不开的。互动叙事让人们沉迷,其中一个很重要的原因就是游戏允许玩家自由地互动性,即便是最简单的选择、交互、移动,到复杂的收集线索、侦破案件、飞檐走壁、飞车枪战等都属于玩家自主进行的、自由的、非被动的互动。这种自由感是区分游戏和其他娱乐形式的感受之一。

玩法是需要玩家“自由”的,如果玩家只是被动地接受一切,那你的游戏和美剧有什么区别呢。但很多情况下故事是需要剥夺“自由”的,如果玩家真的自由了,你就很难控制玩家对游戏故事的兴趣曲线始终维持在合理范畴。

很多时候你只需要通过一些设计手段让玩家感受到自由就可以了,在很多游戏中这意味着通过使玩家没有注意到的方式控制玩家,毕竟像前面提到的《Event[0]》一样自由的创新毕竟很少,风险也很高。

一个例子就是饮品店的“畅销榜单”。很多顾客会尝试从畅销榜单中选择自己想要的饮品,或者通过冷饮/热饮,含酒精/不含酒精等标签做出选择。因为真正的饮品菜单长的出奇,很多顾客都会面临选择恐惧。通过“畅销榜单”这种提供选项的方式,可以使顾客倾向于更快做出选择,并且在一定程度上“操控”顾客的选择。

说道操控玩家,更多的方式是通过感官和角色。我们先从角色开始。

互动电影是近年来刚刚出现的新鲜玩意儿——不,当然不是了。早在1961年就有一部轰动一时的互动电影《山多尼卡斯先生》。电影会在放映到需要互动选择的部分时,让影院的观众投票进行表决是否“宽恕”或者“惩罚”坏蛋,然后放映人员根据观众的投票选择插入不同的录影带。不过出人意料的是,导演William Castle根本没有准备“宽恕”的录音带,换句话说整部电影只有“惩罚”这一条故事线。且不说这样的电影究竟是不是互动电影了,William Castle通过十分成功的角色塑造来打动和感染观众,使得观众对角色产生共情,从而操控观众的选择。导演从一开始就吃准了观众一定会选择“惩罚”。设计师给了观众权利进行选择,但这个选择本身并不自由,不过观众还是感到了自由感。

《古堡迷踪》中,游戏删除了复杂的战斗系统、装备系统、连续技和反击等对游戏体验有所影响的因素,而将游戏全神贯注与主角和公主的情感描绘上。《古堡迷踪》里玩家甚至不会死,游戏会在恶灵抓走公主后结束。同时,玩家在安全的时候随时都是牵着公主的手前行的,而当玩家不得不攀爬或解密时,玩家放开公主的手就会感受到不安全感和担忧的感觉。这种感觉鼓励玩家在很多时候做出冒险的决定或者快速的反应,从而能够尽快回到公主身边保护她。这也是设计师通过塑造角色来鼓励玩家进行某种特定行为的技巧。

此外,一个成功的游戏往往可以通过感官引导和操控玩家。例如《塞尔达传说:旷野之息》中,刚刚从山洞爬出来的林克看到了远处的黑云笼罩的城堡,于是玩家意识到那个地方隐藏着游戏的终极奥秘。《神秘海域》也同样深谙此道,年轻的德雷克在房顶上躲避追捕者时,画面镜头总是会略微偏转,将一条通道展现给德雷克,甚至通过飞起的鸽子群来提示玩家需要跑向哪里。即使这一段紧张刺激的追逐逃亡中玩家没有地图,甚至没有时间做出思考而只是随机应变,玩家也根本不会迷路而是走到正确的道路上——因为玩家自己没有意识到,设计师在凭借场景中的很多因素诱导玩家走正确的道路。

除了视觉上,听觉也可以成为游戏中操控玩家的法宝(毕竟在高科技出现之前人们只能凭借视觉和听觉去玩游戏了)。餐厅会播放一些高能音乐促使顾客很快用餐完毕并腾出座位,而在非高峰时期他们则会播放舒缓的音乐,以致于顾客会想要再续一杯咖啡。顺便一提,恐怖游戏最擅长使用音乐暗中操控玩家了。如果把耳机取下,或者找一个主播在线直播,很多游戏就不再恐怖了(所以越来越多的主播开始上传no commentary version)。

小结:

1. 通过某些技巧可以让玩家自以为自由,但其实是你在操控玩家按照你的设计进行游戏;
2. 操控的手段有很多,例如感官或者塑造可信的角色。

作者:OwenTsai
来源:奶牛关
原地址:https://cowlevel.net/article/2092688

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