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开发者谈响应式叙事在游戏设计中的应用

发布时间:2020-09-14 08:35:55 Tags:,

开发者谈响应式叙事在游戏设计中的应用

无需充值送38元彩金原作者:Sam Luckhardt 译者:Willow Wu

无需充值送38元彩金赢得玩家的唯一途径就是抓住他们的情感。

David Hume在1739年写过这样一句话:“理性是且只应当是激情的奴隶,并且除了服从激情和为激情服务之外,不能扮演其他角色。”

无需充值送38元彩金他用这一句话来概述了一个人要怎么做才能在争论中真正地说服对方。很多经典的修辞学知识都可以应用到现代叙事中,如今要吸引玩家进入游戏、在这样的互动媒介中唤起玩家的情感,对我们这些叙事设计者来说是无比艰难的,同时还要注意到不限制玩家的掌控权。

我们不能强迫别人去感受,我们不能强迫别人去理解,但我们可以做的是带领他们朝着同样的方向前进,这种企图隐秘到他们甚至可能都没有注意到自己被“牵着走了”。我们希望玩家有“啊哈!我做到了!”或者“我真不敢相信这一切!”这样的感受。我们要激起他们的好奇心,引发自主回应。《最后生还者》的设计师Peter Field曾说过这样的话:“优秀的游戏机制是让玩家觉得自己很聪明,而不是炫耀设计师有多么地聪明。”

现在我们来问自己一个关键的问题:
无需充值送38元彩金 想想看如果屏幕前的玩家看到的剧情展开是一模一样的,就好像游戏可以自己推进情节——无论玩家选择了什么,那这还算是一个游戏吗?或者同样的情况也出现在其它形式的互动节目中,那从本质上说,这样还有趣吗?我们要怎么确保自己的游戏、互动体验能够在保持乐趣的同时给出冲击力十足的情感回应,就如人们从散文、电影、电视剧或者书本中所获得的那样,令人沉浸其中且难以忘怀。

答案就是响应式叙事(responsive narrative),但这究竟是什么呢?我们该怎么使用?

荒野大镖客(from radoff.com)

荒野大镖客(from radoff.com)

我觉得这个问题很大程度上取决于你对“响应式”的定义,以及选择与后果之间的关联程度,多少才能算得上“响应”。让我们用一个例子来解释一下:《史丹利的寓言》,可以说是最具代表性的响应式叙事游戏了,旁白、你脑海中的声音、关卡进程和结局全部都取决于你,也就是玩家的行为选择。它并不算是开放世界的游戏,而是一个利用复杂时序将许多线性剧情剧展串联起来的综合体。还有《巫师3》《上古卷轴5:天际》《荒野大镖客:救赎2》这些游戏,游戏中的被动叙事很大程度上都是受玩家行动影响的。比如杀掉重要的NPC,你就得承受后果——声誉损失、对角色有不同的反映,结局动画改变。所以,这个界线在哪呢?到什么程度叙事就不算有响应的了?如果我撞倒了一个花盆, NPC不能再往里插花了, 这还算是响应式叙事吗?还是你需要给出一个严重后果?就比如毁了粮食,你营地里的某个人会因为饥饿而死,他们本来是能够给你提供支线任务的。或者,任何直接基于主动选择的,并且玩家在做出决策之前必须充分了解这些选择及其后果的,这样的叙事都可以称为响应式叙事?一个最典型、直白的例子就是询问玩家:

你想上前干涉吗?

A)不!绝不!后果:某个人死去

无需充值送38元彩金B)是的,当然!后果:某人存活。

无需充值送38元彩金如果我们没有设定一条界线,基本上任何游戏的叙事都可以算是响应式叙事——鉴于游戏本身就是具有互动性的。

让我们来看一个不一样的例子:2013年发行的《古墓丽影9》,因其剧情与玩法之间产生冲突(“ludonarrative dissonance”,由原LucasArts创意总监Clint Hocking提出,游戏邦注)而被大众所诟病,比如劳拉在过场动画中(图片中展现的是臭名昭著的杀鹿场景)表现得很珍视人类和动物的生命,几乎无法下手杀死任何生灵,也不能对生命的流逝坐视不管,然而在之后游戏中,她(玩家)在劳拉却能毫不在意地屠岛。

无需充值送38元彩金这个问题更关键的一部分是玩家对剧情影响的缺失。有时,游戏会呈现出互动的假象,但实际上玩家对剧情走向从来就没有产生过有意义的影响。再比如《神秘海域》,它和《古墓丽影》一样都是非常有趣、画面精致的冒险游戏。虽说叙事方面没有什么响应,但只要传达适当的期望,让玩家意识到他们的目标是什么,这种按照既定轨道展开的游戏体验实际上并不会对游戏的核心乐趣造成什么负面影响。就我们的了解来说,只要你,作为一个玩家,无法影响剧情走向,那么这个游戏的叙事就是无响应的。

但是,如果开发团队的预期目标是塑造一个更加开放的世界、更具沉浸感的体验呢?我们作为设计师,必须把焦点放在逻辑连贯上。无论是小事件(比如《巫师3》中选择合适的衣服)还是大事件(比如《巫师3》中跟皇帝的对话),都要注意前后的一致性,不要破坏这个奇妙虚幻世界的神秘面纱。随着游戏规模和难度的逐渐提升,你可以实现这一点。玩家角色在一些支线任务中了解到了关于主角熟人的某些信息,而如果在之后任意的剧情线中,跟这些信息有关的东西都被忽略不提了,那么我们倾注了这么多爱与心血打造的气氛和幻象,就可能会出现裂痕。

无需充值送38元彩金这自然就要说到有意义的选择这一话题上。如果说玩家因为某个微不足道的道德选择失误而迎来了一个完全不同的结局,那么,他的其它选择是不是就都无所谓了呢?

给大家做个小练习吧。

以下那种结构是更好的,原因是什么:

A)玩家要做上百个决策,游戏中有文字提示(类似于《巫师》),整个过程就是选择如何对待NPC,如何处理支线任务,甚至是否做支线任务。他们会影响游戏中那个不可见的天平吗?他们的选择是否会影响剧情的走向?如果你愿意的话,还可以加入一个道德奖励系统。

或者:

无需充值送38元彩金B)只有一些非黑即白的选择题,所以玩家在玩的时候不会有很多顾忌,可以大胆尝试,不担心自己会后悔或者说不害怕后果。

虽然人们可能会倾向于选择其中之一,但答案是最好两者都不选。你可以在A和B之间找到一个平衡,因为就目前的实际情况而言,在大型游戏制作中A是几乎不可能实现的,这些选择感觉毫无意义,而B对内容要求很高,而且无法带来足够的满足感。因为一次选择就导致了完全不同的发展,这真的说不通。就比如说你把游戏中的NPC全杀了,但是你在主线任务中做了一个“好的选择”,因此获得了HE的结局。

此外,你很难激励玩家去完成没有多少叙事反馈的任务,就比说玩家帮助农民,他的收获肯定远远比不上揭开一个宏伟计划的谜底那样令人满足。《辐射》系列的剧情选择设计多年来都奉行极简主义,这大概是很让人意外的。从颇具深度的分支对话树到只有“是”“否”“也许”这种简单选项的道德选择,有时还会出现讽刺选项,这意味着设计团队优先考虑的事改变了,让玩家了解后果才是首位的。

无需充值送38元彩金即将发行的开放世界RPG游戏《赛博朋克2077》给了玩家完全的掌控权,想成为耸人听闻的暴力犯罪者还是致命的潜行高手都可以。对于支持潜行的游戏,连贯性的问题往往会从boss战中表现出来——你不能用潜行来解决boss,这样一来玩家之前所付出的努力是否真的很重要?他们自己的剧情选择还有没有意义?

再说说《耻辱》,我最喜欢的游戏之一。通过引人入胜的环境叙事和直观的游戏设计,游戏给玩家提供了一些系列耐人寻味的选择,让他们能够完全沉浸于剧情中,并且真正做到了传达期望并尊重玩家的决策。玩家也会想知道如果没有救她,没有牵她的手会怎么样,这就体现了游戏的重玩价值。玩家可以用各种方法杀死或放过角色,直接改变剧情发展,但同时仍会提供RPG游戏固有的技能进阶内容、大量的被动叙事(NPC对话、日记、信件等)和主动叙事。

最后,我想引用Thorsten Becker的一句话,概述响应式叙事应给出的预期体验:“它不仅仅是一个故事,它成为了我的故事,即使最后这些选择会汇入成一个已经预设好的结局。但我是凭借自己的决策、影响走到这个结局的。”

这正是我们想要的。我们想要玩家有这种感受。

无需充值送38元彩金感谢阅读,我希望你现在已经知道该如何使用响应式叙事了。欢迎你到社交平台联系我,告诉我你是怎么打造一个身临其境的奇幻世界的。

本文由游戏邦编译,转载请注明来源,或咨询微信zhengjintiao

The only way to win your player over is through their emotions.

David Hume wrote in 1739: “Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.”
He was formulating this regarding what one needs to truly win someone over in an argument. But much of classic rhetoric knowledge can be applied to modern-day storytelling, especially since we narrative designers are faced with the daunting task to hook into and evoke our player’s emotions in an interactive medium while not limiting their player agency over it.

We can’t force someone to feel and we can’t force someone to understand, but what we can do is lead them with us in the same direction so delicately that they might not even notice they’ve been lead. We want the player to think “Aha! I’ve done it!” or “I can’t believe this is happening!” We want to stoke their sense of wonder and induce an autonomous response. Quoting then Last Of Us designer Peter Field: “A good game mechanic is something that makes the player feel clever, not something that shows off how clever the designer is.”

Now to ask ourselves a critical question:
If a game can be “lets played” and everyone watching will have the exact same story unfold as if they had been playing it themselves, is that still truly a game? Or an interactive show of some sort, is that still playful at its core? How can we make sure our game, our interactive experience, stays playful while still delivering that powerful emotional response that we know and love so much from all kinds of prose, be it in film, television or books.

The answer is responsive narrative, but what is that? And how do we make use of it?

无需充值送38元彩金I think a big part of the question rests on the assumed definition of responsive and how direct or indirect it is allowed to be before it’s not considered responsive narrative anymore. Let’s explore the question by example: Stanley Parable, arguably one of the most narratively responsive games ever, bases the entirety of its announcer plus voice in your head, level progression and endings solely on what you as a player decide to do or not do. It’s not necessarily an open world game but rather an amalgamation of many linear progression strings tied together through complex timings. Then there are games like The Witcher 3, Skyrim or Red Dead Redemption 2, where the passive narrative in the world is mostly affected by your actions. I.e. kill important NPCs – suffer consequences (reputation loss, different reactions to your character, alternate ending slides) So now, where is the line? At which point does a narrative stop being responsive? If I knock over a flowerpot and the NPC can’t place flowers in it anymore, is that still responsive narrative? Or does it need to have grave consequences? Like knocking down the food rations and someone in your camp dies of starvation because of it who would otherwise still be able to provide you side quests. Or is a responsive narrative only any narrative, that’s directly based on active choices and that the player must fully be aware of the choices and their consequences before committing to them? A typical example quite literally being a question prompt asking the player:

Do you want to intervene?
A) No! Never! – Some guy dies
无需充值送38元彩金 B) Yes of course! – Some guy doesn’t die.

Because if we don’t draw a line, basically any game’s narrative is a responsive one, given the medium’s interactivity.

Let’s have a look at a different example from 2013: Tomb Raider. The game is already well known and critically discussed for its strong ludonarrative dissonance, as in Lara caring deeply about humans and animals alike while in cutscenes (the image depicts her in the infamous deer killing scene), almost not being able to kill anything or let anything die, yet during gameplay, she (the player) has no problem murdering hordes of hired hands just manning posts on private expeditions while Lara is sporting quirky barks.

The more important aspect for our question is its complete lack of player influence on the story. Sometimes the game presents an illusion of interactivity, yet never follows through offering meaningful influence on how the narrative unfolds. Just like Uncharted both games are still immensely fun, stunning adventures proving that while the narrative is unresponsive, as long as proper expectations are communicated and the player is aware of what he is in for, a guided almost railroaded experience, the game’s core fun isn’t affected. What we learned is, that as long as you can’t influence the narrative as a player, the narrative is not responsive.

But what if the intended goal is indeed a more open world yet also a more immersive experience? Our focus as designers must lie on cohesion. Both small scale (The Witcher 3: wearing the right clothes) and large scale (The Witcher 3: conversing with an emperor) events must be considered by each other in order to not break the veil that is upheld by our wondrous fictional world. With the increase of the game’s size so does the difficulty to achieve that. The player’s character gains knowledge in some side quest involving one of the main cast’s acquaintances and now if anything related to that information is ever disregarded by any of the other story threads going on involving that character, then the atmosphere and illusion of our world that we spent so much love and effort crafting might ring dissonant.

This naturally leads us to the topic of meaningful choices, because if one moral tiny error in the player’s choices could lead him to an entirely different ending, did his other choices up until this point really matter?

An exercise for the reader:

Which is the better structure and why:
无需充值送38元彩金 A) Having hundreds of decisions including text prompts (similar to the singular Witcher event prompts like saving someone) and just how you treat NPCs, how you handle side quests or if you even do side quests. Do they influence a hidden scale (good; neutral; bad alignment) and does that influence where your narrative is going? A system of rewarding virtue if you will.

Or:
B) Just a few major black and white decisions so players don’t have to stress while playing and can experiment freely without remorse or fear of consequences.

无需充值送38元彩金While one might be inclined to pick either, the answer is much rather neither. There is an equilibrium to be found here between A) and B) because as it stands, in a large game production, A) is close to impossible to achieve and the individual choices feel meaningless and B) is too heavily loaded and not satisfying enough. Your character taking drastic turns on a single decision realistically makes no sense (Murder all NPCs the entire game, choose the one important do good option in the main quest and get the good player ending?)

Additionally, it’s hard to motivate players to do tasks that provide less narrative payoff (helping a farmer does not deliver the same satisfaction as unveiling a grand scheme mystery). Even more surprising is that Fallout’s choice design adopted a minimalist mindset over the years. From deep branching dialogue trees to a moral compass offering “yes”, “no”, “maybe” and sometimes sarcastic options of the former, which shifted their design pillar to prioritizing understanding of the consequences.

无需充值送38元彩金Upcoming open world RPG Cyberpunk 2077 offers the player complete agency over the fact if he wants to be lethal, non-lethal, stealthy, or violent. The problem upholding coherence in stealth supporting games often manifests itself in boss fights not being solvable by stealth, which in turn devalues the narrative the player has built for himself inside our narrative.

无需充值送38元彩金One of my favourite games, while demonstrating phenomenal environmental storytelling and intuitive game design, Dishonored, delivered an amazing set of choices to immerse the player in the narrative and truly communicate and respect the player’s agency. Also furthering replayability since you want to see what happens if you do not save her, do not hold her hand. Everyone can be creatively killed or spared in multiple approaches with direct consequences as to how the story unfolds while still offering RPG like skill progression and a lot of passive (NPC chatter, journals, letters, voices etc.) and active narratives.

To close out I’d like to quote Thorsten Becker, pinpointing the intended experience using responsive narratives: “It becomes more than a story, it becomes my story even though ultimately resolved into one of several pre-set endings. But I reached it solely on my own agency.”

And that is exactly what we want. We want the player to feel.

Thank you for reading and if it wasn’t already, I hope responsive narrative has now found its way into your tool belt. I’d love to hear about your opinions or how you are dealing with building an immersive world on any of my socials.

(source: )


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