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Charley Miller谈游戏设计教学经验编辑本段回目录

Charley Miller是驻扎于纽约的游戏设计师和制作人。

Charley from boingboing.net

Charley from boingboing.net

首先能否和我们介绍下自己?

我的名字是Charley,我来自肯塔基州,我是来自纽约的游戏设计师。我的时间主要用在个人游戏项目、教授游戏设计及和客户合作上。客户工作主要集中在游戏设计及帮助非游戏项目查看其用户体验。我现在把自己看做游戏大使,因为很多人想要将自己的产品游戏化,但很多在此操作不当,他们只是融入静态奖励。我现在正在和一个团队合作开发一款iPhone社交游戏,主要围绕现实世界的疾病传播问题,游戏名称是《Outbreaker》,游戏主要基于病毒传播主题。

你是怎么对游戏设计产生兴趣的?

我觉得是在不知不觉的情况下。记忆中,我制作游戏是为了娱乐自己和好友。我从没想过自己可以靠此谋生。在念纽约大学ITP研究院时,我发现自己有设计游戏的天赋。我离开纽约大学后的首份工作是,于2008年加入Kognito Interactive,在此我学会如何进行教学设计——主要是基于学习目标制作模拟游戏。随后我开始转移方向,我于2009年创建了一个约会网站,主要替慈善事业筹集资金,但不久之后我又重拾自己的全职独立游戏设计工作,此时纽约独立游戏设计领域刚刚开始起飞。

CharleyMillerGameDesignPrototype from boingboing.net

CharleyMillerGameDesignPrototype from boingboing.net

在你看来,什么是游戏?

如今对于“什么叫做游戏”的界定越来越模糊。在我看来,游戏应该有具体的目标、确定的游戏空间、供玩家选择的有意义决策。从一般意义上来说,游戏不是电影、小说或者艺术。游戏有自己的独特王国,它们有自己的表现方式。我们才刚意识到游戏设计的发展空间。

什么是游戏设计?

游戏设计是创造游戏的过程。这是个能够带来内在回馈的过程,充满乐趣和挫折。游戏设计师也是玩家,设计游戏的最佳视角是以玩家作为切入点。设计游戏时,你需要考虑诸如此类的问题:玩家将如何学习游戏体验;玩家要如何变得更好;玩家要如何获悉自己的游戏状态,对自己进行评估;游戏机制如何创造意外机制,玩家如何探索这些空间等。所以从根本来说,游戏设计其实就是设计出供玩家进行探索的复杂游戏空间。这需要进行众多测试和平衡工作,需要设计师坚持不懈。但游戏通常以另一决策奖励玩家所做出的某个决策。没有徽章、积分或排行榜。

游戏设计为什么颇具重要性?

认为游戏设计将解决全球所有问题的想法过于天真。但游戏有其重要意义,因为游戏让我们知道自己是谁。体验游戏时,它是我们的个人映射,游戏通过设计呈现全球文化。就连谈到民间游戏,我们脑中都会闪过某个规则。所以若我们是游戏玩家,那么从某种意义上来说,我们也是游戏设计师。通过这类游戏体验,我们创造出通用语言,试验游戏构思。

我在纽约大学的会员大会上上过很多游戏设计课程,我的学生纷繁复杂,从希望制作出下款《侠盗猎车手》的12岁孩童到想要了解更多游戏化知识的50岁产品经理。有人问我,一个游戏设计课程如何满足大家的不同需求,我的答案是,大家可以从基于物理建模和游戏测试的迭代设计基本要素中学到很多。

为什么纸质模型依然在游戏设计中扮演重要角色?

过去教授高中新闻学时,我会在沟通过程中向学生解释我们大脑的首次审核过程。我们会在说话或行动前过滤自己的思想。但任何设计师(游戏邦注:无论是编程,还是游戏设计)都会随手进行记录,以记录尽可能多的想法,这样脑中想法就能够得到更自由的表达。这令设计师能够在随后进行过滤工作,在受到灵感启发时,优秀想法不会遭到封存。有时糟糕构思也能够引出杰出想法。这就是创造性的有趣之处:这是个充满各种意料之外可能性的过程。我们很难逐一叙述自己的游戏设计,你需要在纸上捕获灵感——无论游戏构思是关于游戏机制、主题、故事叙述、角色,还是目标,这样你就有迹可循。你很难预料它将如何进行发展,或者自己什么时候需要回去寻找另一线索。

确定核心机制后,你就可以通过纸上建模开始游戏测试。我将游戏测试划分成4个步骤,主要回答如下具体问题:

1. 核心机制是否富有趣味?

2. 游戏是否出现破裂?

3. 游戏机制是否需要更多平衡性?

4. 你如何教授他人体验游戏?

纸上建模帮助你回答所有这些问题,即使你制作的是电子游戏,让你能够判定什么促使游戏富有趣味。

我经常向自己的游戏设计学生提出这样的问题:“游戏中,玩家在何处面临有趣选择?”这些时刻促使游戏富有深度,因为玩家会想要挖掘决策的可能性。

简而言之:纸上建模协助你完成设计工作。

你曾和孩子们共同制作游戏。

教授孩子游戏设计和教授成人没有什么不同,有两点除外:多数孩子尚未掌握高效合作的软技能,很难做到坐着不动。去年夏天,我协助Quest to Learns举办移动夏令营,在此即将步入6年级的学生们基于ARIS手机平台制作高线公园定位游戏。了解高线公园的人都知道,这是个非常狭窄的公园,绵延20个街区。孩子们将这片区域变成一款平台游戏,其中玩家将通过自己的GPS智能手机体验融合实际高线公园和虚拟游戏元素的故事内容。如今的年轻人非常幸福。

在和孩子们的合作中,什么最令你吃惊?

在游戏设计方面,孩子们非常有天赋,原因很简单:他们知道什么富有趣味,他们唯一想要做的就是进行游戏测试。但最令成年人们吃惊的是,多数孩子都能够构想出复杂机制。这主要归功于如今孩子们能够体验到众多丰富的游戏。

着手学习游戏设计的最佳切入点是什么?

要成为设计师,你首先要是个玩家。先从体验各种各样的游戏和分析游戏体验入手。先问自己这些问题:为什么设计师选择这些元素;这些元素如何共同创造出游戏动态机制。这应该让我们感到既舒服,又困惑,希望挖掘更多知识。在此,你需要学习两点知识:什么是游戏的核心要素;什么是游戏设计过程。关于这些话题的优秀书籍很多,但我建议大家从游戏设计师身上进行学习。加入测试团队,这样你将学会如何进行观察和聆听。然后开始着手:所有游戏设计都是由纸笔入手。作为设计师,你将从自己的失误中学到重要经验。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:Avi Solomon )

Game Design with Kids: An Interview with Charley Miller

By Avi Solomon

Charley Miller is a game designer and producer based in New York City.

Avi Solomon: Tell us a bit about yourself.

Charley Miller: My name is Charley, I’m from Kentucky and I’m a game designer based in New York City. I split my time between personal game projects, teaching game design, and working with clients. The client work is split between game design and helping non-gaming projects think through their user experience. I think of myself as an ambassador of games right now because so many people want to gamify their product but most are doing it wrong by just adding static incentives. I’m currently working with a team on an iPhone location and social game about spreading viruses in the real world called Outbreaker—not as scary as it sounds—that plays with the idea of what it means to go viral. I’m also hoping to release games about running for President and walking the streets of NYC this year.

Avi: How did you become interested in designing games?

Charley: I think it found me before I found it. I was making up games to entertain myself and my friends as far back as I can remember. I never thought I could make a living doing this. It was at NYU’s ITP graduate school where I realized I have a knack for game design (studying under Frank Lantz who now leads the NYU Game Center). My first post-NYU job was with Kognito Interactive in 2008 where I learned instructional design—basically making simulations with learning objectives in mind. I veered off course when I started a dating website that raised money for charity in 2009 but jumped back into full-time, independent game design shortly thereafter when the New York City indie game design scene started to take off.

Avi: What is a Game for you?

Charley: Well the lines of ‘what’s a game’ are becoming blurred these days, for better or worse. To me, a game is a game is a game. They should have clear goals, a defined game space, and meaningful choices for the players to make. Games aren’t film, or novels, or even art in the general sense. Games are their own unique kingdom and they’re expressive in their own way. And we’re only at the beginning of realizing the possibilities of game design.

Avi: What is Game Design?

Charley: Game design is the craft and process of inventing games. It’s an inherently rewarding practice that’s equal parts fun and frustrating. All game designers are also players and the best perspective to design a game from is that of the player. To design a game, you must consider things like how a player will learn to play; how a player will get better; how a player will understand their game state and assess themselves; how the game systems will create emergent systems and how players will explore these areas, etc. So in essence, game design is about designing a complex space to be navigated by players. It requires a lot of testing, a lot of balancing, and a lot perseverance. But this is what games do best: rewarding a decision with another decision to make. Not badges or points or leaderboards.

Avi: Why is designing games important?

Charley: It’s naive to think that game design is going to solve all of the worlds problems. But games are important because games say a lot about who we are. They are a reflection of us as individuals when we play and reflections of cultures around the world based on their design. And even when you consider folks games (games that sort of emerge on their own, like hide and seek) at some point, somewhere, someone suggested a rule that stuck. So we’re all game designers in some sense if we’re all players. And it’s through this sort of play that we develop a common language and experiment with ideas.

I teach a lot of game design classes at General Assembly in NYC and my students are a fairly diverse set of minds, ranging from twelve year olds looking to make the next Grand Theft Auto to fifty year old product managers looking to know more about gamification. A question I get is how can one game design class serve all of these interests and the answer is that the basics of the game design process of iteration through physical prototyping and playtesting has something to teach everyone.

Avi: Why is paper still useful in designing games?

Charley: When I used to teach high school journalism, I’d explain to my students during our conversation about censorship that the first pass on censorship happens inside our mind. We literally filter our thoughts before we speak or act. But any designer, whether engineering or game designing, will keep a journal nearby to capture as many ideas as possible so that ideas can more freely pour out. This allows a designer to do the filtering later so that no good idea is canned at the moment of inspiration. Sometimes bad ideas can lead to great ideas. That’s the funny thing about creativity: it’s a process with emergent possibilities that are unpredictable. This is a long way of saying that for game design, you need to capture your inspiration on paper—whether the ideas is about a game mechanic, a theme, a narrative, a character, a goal, etc.—so that you can give yourself a trail. You never know where it will lead or when you might need to double back to find another route.

Once a core mechanic is set (the thing a player does in the game), then you can paper prototype to start playtesting. I break playtesting down into four steps along the game design process to answer specific questions:

1) is the core mechanic fun?

2) does the game break?

3) do the game systems need more balance?

4) how do you teach someone to play?

Paper prototyping helps you answer all of these, even if you’re making a video game, and allows you to figure out what makes your game interesting.

I always ask my game design students: “Where in this game is there a moment where the player is faced with an interesting choice?”. These are the moments that give a game depth because players will want to explore the possibilities of their decisions.

So long story short: this is what paper prototyping helps you design.

Avi: You have worked together with kids to design games.

Charley: Teaching game design to kids really isn’t much different than teaching it to adults with two exceptions: most kids have not developed the soft skills to collaborate effectively and have a bit more trouble sitting still. Last summer I helped out at Quest to Learns’ mobile summer camp where these soon-to-be sixth graders worked on the ARIS iphone platform to create location-based games on the High Line. If you know the High Line, you know that it’s basically a very narrow park that runs for 20 blocks or so. The kids turned this space into a platformer game, where players will use their GPS enabled smart phones to play through a game narrative that blends the physical of the High Line with the virtual of their games. It’s good to be young these days.

Avi: What surprised you the most in your work with the kids?

Charley: Kids are typically naturals when it comes to game design and it’s easy to understand why: they know what’s fun and all they want to do is playtest. But what might surprise adults is to know that most children these days are able to wrap their minds around complex systems. That might be thanks to the amount of gaming kids are able to enjoy these days.

Avi: What is the best place to start learning about game design?

Charley: To be a designer, you have to be a player first. Start by playing a variety of games and try to deconstruct the experiences. Start asking yourself questions about why the designer choose certain elements and thinking about how systems are working together to create the dynamics of the game. That should get anyone nice and confused but hopefully stirred to know more. At that point, you need to learn two things: what are the core elements of games and what’s a process for game design. There are a few books out there covering this stuff that are decent but I recommend finding a game designer to study from. Join a playtesting group so you learn how to observe and listen. And then just start doing: all game design starts with pencil and paper. The most important lessons you’ll learn from your own mistakes as a designer. Anyone in NYC should feel free to reach out to me @superfection. I love talking games.(Source:boingboing

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