“One of my favorite places in the game is that you can get real feedback by slashing the wall with your weapon, there is a weak rebound and splashing gravel.” Ari Gibson, co-producer, animator and artist of the Empty Knight , “This is just a small detail, but it transforms your image from a few animations into real characters in the game world.”
Hollow Knight “Shell outside“” (Original chitin-on-chitin, I do n’t know how to translate) epic adventures are built on countless small details, “hit the wall” is just a typical example of it. Development team Team Cherry said that whether it is the Cavaliers or other future games , Will be driven by a basic principle, that is consistency.
Warning: The following is a slight spoiler on the location and path of the Cavaliers.
The word consistency is simple and boring. But there is richness hidden in simplicity, and every little detail stimulates new ideas and makes the world created wider.
For example: In the early days of development, another co-producer William Pellen began to think about the problem of this silent little bug being hurt. At the earliest, he adopted the common red flashing, but Gibson pointed out that this seemed strange, and it did not match the world with a single hue. So they decided to use black flashes instead. Later, they discussed how to show the low blood volume, and decided to let the protagonist body leak black matter.
At the same time, they also came up with the death mechanism of the hollow knight: a ghost was left in place at the time of death. “It just happened that black began to connect with the protagonist, so the ghost became black, and we started to call it” shadow shade. “” Pellen and I said. The shadow of death is a malicious idea. The protagonist is injured and shed black blood. “But the cause of the matter is not to set the background of the story, but to try to integrate the elements consistently.” Pellen said.
Sometimes the situation is just the opposite. There is an area in the game called the City of Tears because it sounds beautiful.The name gave rise to a new idea: the city of tears kept raining even deep underground. Then it caused Team Cherry to start thinkingWhere does the rain come from. There is still a blank space above the tear city area, so in the end a new one is added to the gameBlue lake.
There is also this prop that allows you to kick the wall and jump, because it is in the praying mantis village, so it is called praying mantis claw. Then if the prop is the paw of the praying mantis, the praying mantis can jump for granted, right? As a result, this prop affects a key action of the mantis enemies in the area-the mantis walking on the ground will jump. There is also an upgrade to the protagonist’s ability to swim in acid, originally called “acid armor”. Later, Team Cherry began to explore what it is, from plants to seeds, and finally set it as a fruit. This fruit “tea tears of Isma”, deep in the sewer, there are leafy plants matching it, and its source Isma has become a role in the history of the world.
Playing games in this free and random way sounds full of chance and even evil. If ideas always lead to one idea after another, and endless, how can the game feel complete?
But Team Cherry can prevent the game design from getting out of control, like the process of pursuing truth-spiraling up. Because most of the design was closed by Gibson and Pellen, the game was later handed over to the other two, technical director Dave Kazi and sound designer and composer Chris Larkin.
Not all two-person partners can work this way. A harsh game jam led to the “marriage” of Gibson and Pellen’s creative design. About fifteen years ago, film animator Gibson and web designer Pellen met for the first time because of a common friend. In 2013, after Pellen started a small platform jumping game, Gibson contacted him again and proposed to participate in the 27th Ludum Dare (a game jam competition) with the theme “10 seconds”. Team Cherry made the hungry knight, the protagonist is the same as in the empty knight later.
“Game jam is a good place to test the relationship between creative designers,” Gibson said. “It’s hard to find people who match your personality and ideas, and can share the troubles.”
“It’s important to generate a large number of ideas repeatedly and quickly. You also need to trust each other no matter where you are, to work together on the ideas and get similar results.” Pellen said.
“You also have the ability to end thinking and integrate ideas into a form that others can understand, because the final result may be difficult for most people to understand.”
One year after joining Ludum Dare for the first time, they began to make hollow knights and developed a very effective plan to ensure that the game could be completed. The first step is to polish the character’s mobile design perfectly, which not only feels comfortable, but also facilitates the design of the mobile space for it.
After that, they first built the first area in the game, the forgotten crossroads, and set up character enhancement collections, enemies, small bosses and a big boss in it. In essence, they completed this area. There has been no construction in other areas.
they thinkForgotten intersections can be used as templates or quality assessment standards in other areas. “This area determines our production expectations.” Gibson said. When other areas reach the same quality standard, even if the production is completed. Of course, with the production of subsequent areas, the level of the team continues to improve. The team has also accumulated experience in designing bosses. Later bosses are more complicated than before, but this is compatible with the game experience-players will only encounter them later. Gibson also admits that players often find the late area more attractive, just because the late area is more refined.
But the team never thought that the forgotten crossroads should be completely renovated, they just thought that the new area reached the standard. In addition, they have invested a lot in this. “You have to be careful about the standards you set!” Gibson said. “We put 3 small bosses in the first area, which caused us to have to create a large number of small bosses to maintain consistency. We finally did. This may be A good thing, the game goes further because of it. “
Another example is that they decided to join in the backgroundMulti-level parallax scrolling(Layers of parallax scrolling, that isSeveral layers of background textures move at different rates as the character moves) to make the scene feel deeper. “This work feels pretty easy to do, but good work in one area does not mean how quickly and economically the work of the whole world can be completed,” Gibson said. “The result is that the background of the entire game is maintained at the At the same level of the area, it adds a few months of work. ”Fortunately, the decision to simplify the enemy and NPC modeling allowed Gibson to make several times a day, freeing up time for the background’s inflated workload.
In the last 6 months, the main thing is to test the game non-stop. Gibson or Pellen would sit on the sofa and play games, yell bugs or other problems and report them to another person, and let him fix them directly during operation. At this time, the concept of consistency has undergone a subtle change, extending from “comparing other areas with the forgotten crossroads” to thinking about the consistency of the entire game. “In this way, players can feel completely immersed in this world, and every jar and every platform can’t have a sense of disobedience.” Gibson said.
This is a period of minor adjustments: add a perspective in a suitable location, or add a hidden element in a corner. If a journey is a bit bland, they will consider adding an NPC to enrich it.
But Team Cherry is also cautious about excessive consistency. “There is a consistency that sometimes numbs the player,” Pellen said. “If you have experienced a lot of battles in the game field, you will see more, and you will know when you will encounter a save point or boss. Of course you can say that this is good The design of the game uses the consistency to grasp the rhythm and display the impressive content at the right time. The archive point is the archive point, which is clear and crisp. But sometimes the player will lack the immersion. “
They don’t want to make a game, but create a world where players can explore freely and feel that anything can happen at any time. Players will sway, get lost in the world, or spend 20 minutes without finding the archive chair. If the player accidentally breaks a wall, a brand new area of two hours may be discovered. “This design eliminates the feeling of forgery.” Gibson said.
“(Excessive design) is the other side of consistency, it makes you notice the marks of artificial excavation.”Pellen said.
It is worth noting that no one outside the studio has played this game in the 6 months of testing. Replaying the game over and over again for six months sounds like a crazy idea, but Pellen emphasizes that making small additions to the room to make it perfect is a pleasant thing, enough to make up for the boredom of replaying the game.
A typical example of the agreement reached in the hollow knight is actually a major loophole that Gibson believes. Two bosses have been added to the “Hidden Dream” DLC released last August (this article was written in August 2018). “But one of us did not add more narrative around him.” Gibson said. After you killed him, the world line did not change, and the NPC did not respond to it. Players just got some Gio drops, Gio Geo is the currency in the game.
“Compared with other parts of the game, the inconsistency here is obvious,” Gibson said. In order to fix this loophole, they designed a boss that will become stronger every time it is defeated (original it got harder every time the player failed to kill it, will it make it stronger every time it fails to kill the boss? The game I played Why not? ”This is a hint of an inner life, a story that has not been revealed. “Previously players found that they only got some money after killing the boss. This is lack of fun and can’t let people invest in the backstory. So players will be very angry.”
Team Cherry added some stories, and learned one through the feedback of the game: the communication of the world’s realism comes from consistency. “Our previous design was‘ discovering bosses, defeating bosses, and getting money ’. But this is not a world, this is a game mechanic system.”
“God and Glory” (later renamed the God Seeker) as the final free DLC for the Kickstarter crowdfunding goal of the Cavaliers, will be released this month. Although there are follow-up content updates, Pellen and Gibson have begun to think about the world outside of the Cavalier World. “The concept of continuity is beyond the Cavaliers, it’s about our Team Cherry,” Pellen said. “Our future goal seems a little distant, and that is to play other games than the Cavaliers.”
Gibson agrees with this: “Only after making multiple worlds for players to explore, will players clearly realize our creative vision and our unique values for games, rhythm, world, and challenges.”
Author: a pack sandbags rdw
Source: Games and Sandbags