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现在可能是成为游戏开发者的最佳时期。市场从未如此开放地对待行业新人,人们也远比过去更喜欢玩游戏。但如果你在这一行业尚未站稳脚跟,那就有点棘手了。这就好像没带地图和指南针进入地下城一样。我们将在下文中探讨该如何设计一款完整的游戏,并给予一些基本建议,为你说明该如何开始你的游戏职业生涯。先从第一部分开始吧,我们在每个部分都列出了更为详细的建议。

video-game-design(from msu.edu)

video-game-design(from msu.edu)

第一部分:设计玩法

1.确定你的目标。你想用这款游戏做什么?你想讲个什么故事?你想让玩家最终获得什么感觉?你想让它呈现什么体验?你想从这个项目得到什么?这些都是你在开始动工之前要先解答的重要问题,因为这些问题会为这一问题中的瓶颈指明方向。如果你想顺利到达目的地,就要清楚自己的方向。

2.确定你的用户。不同用户玩法习惯也不尽相同。他们偏好的游戏类型也不同,对内容也有不同的标定。记住,针对特定群体制作游戏并无不妥,只是这会让你的利润很有限。所以现实一点吧。

3.瞄准不同的设备。在你深入开发过程之前,你必须考虑自己想针对哪类设备开发游戏。移动平台正迅速成为主流,但PC和主机仍然很有市场。这会涉及到编程、尤其是界面和控制方式的问题,并且会因为你所选择的平台而呈现极大的变化,所以要弄清楚你的游戏将在哪个平台运行。

4.考虑游戏题材。你的游戏题材会决定它的多数设计层面。它是FPS?平台游戏?RPG?社交游戏?几乎没有什么游戏层面不会受到题材的约束。当然,你可以说“别理会题材”,只管做自己想做的,但这很难推广游戏,并且会迫使你发挥更多创意和原创性,它绝非进入设计领域的最佳捷径。

*根据题材设计游戏时你必须考虑的问题之一就是如何呈现UI。不同类型的游戏会有不同的UI可见度,这通常要取决于控制方式的复杂性。

*另一个考虑要素就是,有些题材虽然几乎没有对话,但有些题材的游戏几乎不能没有对话。你的对话内容需要记录下来吗?它是以文本方式呈现吗?其互动性如何?事先设计好对话非常重要,因为你不但要设计系统本身,还得设计对话树。

*许多类型的游戏都需要战斗系统,如果没有战斗系统,你也要找到其对应系统。我们可以将视此为游戏中的“游戏”成份,它是设计中最重要的环节之一,如果你有现成的模板那就再好不过了。

5.确定玩家代理选项。一般来说,你会想让玩家觉得自己的行为有所选择。但是,特定类型的游戏可能会比其他游戏拥有更多选择。添加选择可能会变得极为复杂,但也可能相对简单,这要取决于你如何执行。

*例如,有些游戏会呈现玩家有所选择的样子,但实际上玩家可以选择的东西极少。这种设计可好可坏。

*在玩家选择方面表现良好的例如《生化奇兵》系列和《Witcher 2》。而表现糟糕的选择当属《旧共和国》等游戏。

Witcher 2(from moddb.com)

Witcher 2(from moddb.com)

6.概括你的挑战。开始严肃的设计了:你必须创造自己的玩法循环。它概括了你的游戏运行方式。它通常包括玩家目标,以及玩家将遇到的挑战详情,以及他们将实现的目标。这方面的例子包括原版《马里奥》,其循环就是:奔跑,避开障碍,击中旗杆。

7.为玩家创造动机。无论你制作的是哪类游戏,都必须给予玩家实现目标以及在整个游戏中前进的理由。它应该针对挑战的程度而逐步提升奖励。

8.平衡难度与可玩性。你还必须确保游戏不会太难,至少不会让玩家觉得不可能或几乎不可能玩游戏。你的游戏应该具有一些挑战,但不能有过多挑战,因为这会激怒玩家。这通常需要一些测试,但这并不是问题:因为这正是beta版本存在的原因。

第二部分:包含元素

1.设计教程。制作教程的方式多种多样,而关于哪一种是最佳方法也有诸多不同理论。你可以将教程隐藏在让玩家获得训练的故事里(例如《Fable》),或者可以简单地展示操作指导(游戏邦注:例如《质量效应》)。你甚可以将教程无缝融入游戏或一次性展示所有教程。无论你怎么做,要确保它同你的游戏自然融合。

2.设计世界。世界是玩家玩游戏的场景。你的世界有多大?挑战性如何?你该如何指示玩家需探索某一区域?这都是你必须考虑的内容。

3.设计机制。这些是游戏的内在规则。你需要确定规则系统,确保它的平衡性与一致性。最佳方法就是查看其他游戏在此方面的正确与失败案例。

4.设计关卡。关卡是游戏的独立模块,也就是玩家在整款游戏中通关所需经历的“章节”。这些关卡应该具有吸引力,以及适量的挑战。它们应该以一种合理的方式布局。

5.设计内容。你还需要设计所有内容,例如那些具有交互性的道具,角色本身,场景道具等。这可能极为耗时间,所以要提前计划!试着找到循环利用资源而不会令其显得过于重复性的方法。

6.设计界面。界面包括菜单和UI等内容。你要让这些内容易于导航和使用。可以从你最喜欢的游戏中借鉴经验,但要记住通常情况下越简单越好。如果8岁小孩都能想出怎么玩,那你就走对路了。

7.设计控制。感觉自然的控制方式让玩家真正喜欢上游戏,并从游戏中获得最多好处的关键。记住保持事物的简单性和流畅性。如果有疑问,那就遵从标准的控制系统。

第三部分:设计视觉效果

1.让你的视觉元素与游戏相匹配。也就是让你的游戏看起来就属于你所制作的游戏类型。例如,多彩、卡通式的图像可能就会毁了一款具有严肃意味的游戏。如果你打算设计现代游戏,就要避免使用像素式的8位风格。

2.选择富有吸引力的色彩。富有魅力的视觉元素是制作游戏的重要环节。糟糕的色彩会摧毁玩家在游戏中的趣味。要先研究一些色彩理论,如果有疑问记住:采用简单性原则。

3.选择视觉提示。你可以选择常规方法让游戏易于导航和体验。使用常用的图标和视觉提示让玩家沉浸于游戏世界中。你还可以使用视觉元素引导玩家穿过地图,例如将你并不想让他们经过的地图设计成暗色和恐怖的样子,把你想让他们经过的区域做成亮色而有趣的样子。

4.不要拘泥于美观的图像。不要有你必须成为制作下一款《质量效应》开发者的想法。视觉简单的游戏也可以很优秀,只要游戏本身质量过硬。这方面的典型例子就是《Journey》或《Bastion》,它们的图像都不是很复杂,但都得到了极高的评价。

journey-game-screenshot(from freakinawesomenetowrk)

journey-game-screenshot(from freakinawesomenetowrk)

第四部分:设计音频

1.创造直接音效。直接音效是诸如声音、武器噪音以及道具互动音效等内容。你要确保游戏中含有这些内容,并且它们能够与游戏对应。尽量选择一些特殊的音效,因为太多相似的内容会让你的游戏产生重复感。

2.创造氛围音效。氛围音效是背景音,通常与情境有关。它们有助于设定背景,让你的玩家感觉沉浸于游戏之中,所以不要忽略这一点。

3.尽量使用原创作品。制作音效作品时,最好是尽量录制更多原创音频。你可以使用样本库,但这会让懂行的人觉得你很不专业。

4.不要忽略音轨。音乐对游戏来说也很重要,你万万不可忽略这一点。有时候,音轨是让游戏脱颖而出的必要元素。可以聘请一些内行的人来负责此项,使用你的音轨可以创造富有沉浸感的玩家体验。

第五部分:设计故事

1.从可靠的理念入手。糟糕的理念是可能扼杀一款游戏的元素之一,所以在你深入开发项目之前很有必要先敲定理念。要吃透你的理念,并确保其复杂度足以支撑一个丰富的世界、角色和玩法。

2.合理调整节奏。节奏就是故事情节或游戏在玩家面前呈现的速度和强度。就像优秀的电影或书籍一样,你想让人们看到游戏的节奏。你不想让游戏一开始就过于紧凑,而游戏其余部分则非常松散无趣。通常来说,最佳节奏就是从一个整体构架到一个紧凑的高潮,其结构是由兴奋的高峰和休息的低谷组成的。

3.学习经典的讲故事技巧。许多最佳游戏都会使用经常的故事讲述技巧。你应该掌握这些技巧,并看看它们是否有助于你创造游戏。

*剧本结构普通运用于戏剧、电影和书籍,有助于游戏获得正确的节奏。如果你对自己的节奏没有把握,可以看看剧本结构。

*“单一神话”或“英雄之旅”就是最普通的叙事原则之一,多数故事都遵从这个模板。你可以利用这一模板来挖掘人类心理。《Journey》就是运用这种原则的最佳游戏之一。

4.避免隐喻。隐喻是常规的叙事方式。有些游戏可能在这方面表现较出色,但通常来说你应该尽量避免落入这一俗套。花点时间看看TVTropes网站,看看你是否在设计一个俗套的故事。

第六部分:设计角色

1.完全开发角色。你想让角色完整而丰富,因为这会更吸引你的玩家,并让他们更加投入游戏。这意味着要给予角色复杂的个性和缺点。如果你需要想象和编写复杂的个性,不妨试试进行一些角色开发训练,可以将你的角色置于Myers-Briggs的个性表格或角色校准表中。

2.留下角色发展空间。你的角色应该随着人们在游戏中的体验而变化。这可以让它们更富有趣味。这意味着他们一开始可能会有一些缺点,或者相比结束时拥有更糟糕的人品。

3.让角色富有智慧。我们非常容易按照自己而非角色的思路来编写游戏。但这种懒惰的编写行为很容易让玩家看出破绽,因为它并不是那么自然。要专注于你的角色会做的事情,这样才能让游戏更出色。

4.考虑多元化和多样性。游戏通常缺乏多样性,主角通常就是一些白人直男,而非现实生活中的人物。这可能会让游戏看起来很无趣。可以在游戏中引进多样性,这样不但会让游戏更有趣,还可以通过让游戏与众不同而为其制造一些营销话题。

第七部分:总结

1.掌握你所需要的技能。为了制作一款游戏,你将需要一些复杂的技能。你可能要去学校掌握这些技能,但也可以选择自学。你需要良好的数学理解能力,因为许多游戏都会涉及一系列运算。你还需要学习编程语言(游戏邦注:通常是C,C++或C#)。现在已经有不少传授游戏设计的学校了,但去最好的学校掌握编程技术是最佳选择。这可以让你得到更多样性的技术,这样如果你无法立即被某游戏公司聘用,至少还能得到一份程序员的工作。

2.从制作小型游戏入手。如果你想进入行业并与大型发型商共事,有个好主意就是先从制作小型但富有趣味的游戏入手,这可以展示你的技术,但却并不需要长达5年的制作时间。这可能会吸引对此感兴趣的人,他们有可能为你提供一份工作或是向你投资。总之要量力而行。

3.保持独立性。你并不一定需要主流发行商发布你的游戏。除了玩家之外,你也未必要受到所有人关注。独立游戏市场富有生机和活力,现在就是制作此类游戏的最佳时机。

4.善用Kickstater等众筹平台。如果你想制作一款很棒的游戏,你就得有一定的资金。目前最佳方法就是展开一项Kickstarter众筹活动。可以上该网站看看过去成功筹资的项目,借鉴他人的经验,但我认为最好的建议就是要有足够的动机和持续交流。

5.在Steam发布游戏。Steam是Valve的数字游戏商店,也是PC游戏世界中最受欢迎的分销渠道之一。它也是最受独立游戏开发者欢迎的分销平台之一。如果你制作的是此类游戏,将游戏发布于Steam会有更大胜算。目前Steam Greenlight就是你可能通过的渠道。

6.创建粉丝基础。为你的游戏创建一个网站或社交媒体帐号,即时更新内容,让人们与这一过程保持同步。要尽量与对你的游戏感兴趣的用户沟通和对话。拥有对你的游戏感兴趣的群体是独立游戏获得成功的关键,因为用户的兴趣通常就是游戏进入Steam平台的一个主要因素。

7.在社区中交友。独立社区是一个团结一心的群体,许多独立开发者可以为你指点迷津。如果你想成功,最好是与他们成为朋友,为他们提供支持,帮助宣传他们的游戏。如果他们对此感兴趣,也会给你相应的回报。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,拒绝任何不保留版权的转载,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

How to Design a Video Game

Now is pretty much the best time there’s ever been to be a game developer. The market is extremely open to newcomers and people are playing more games than ever. But if you’re not already knee-deep in the industry, it can be confusing. It’s like entering a dungeon without a map and compass! Well, let wikiHow be your map and compass. Below, we discuss what you’ll have to design to create a complete game, give some basic protips on how to do it well, and show you what to do to take your career and game pro. Get started with Step 1 below or see the sections listed above for more specific advice.
Part 1 of 7: Designing Gameplay

1
Determine your goals. What are you trying to do with this game? What story are you trying to tell? What do you want your players to feel at the end? What kind of experience do you want it to be? What do you want to get out of the project? These are some important questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you begin the process, because the answers will provide the light at the end of the tunnel for this process. You need to know where you’re going if you want to get there efficiently.

2
Determine your audience. Different audiences are more likely play in different ways. They are also more likely to prefer different types of games and have different standards for content. Remember, it’s fine to want to make a game for a very specific audience, but it will limit the profits that you make. Be realistic.

3
Design for different devices. Before you get very far into the process, you need to consider what kind of devices you want your game to be on. Mobile platforms are quickly becoming a major player but PC and consoles are still (and will likely remain) strong. The programming involved, and especially the interface and controls, will change drastically with your platform, so it’s important to understand what you’re going to be putting the game on.

4
Consider your genre. The genre of your game will determine most of how it’s designed. Is it a FPS? A platformer? An RPG? A social game? There are very few aspects of design that are not influenced by the genre. Of course, you can say “forget genres” and just make whatever you want, but this is more difficult to market and you will be forced to be more creative and original: not the easiest way to break into the design world.

One of the things that you’ll have to think about when designing based on genre is how you wand the UI to look. Different types of games will have the UI more or less visible, depending usually upon the complexity of controls.

Another consideration is that while some genres lack it almost entirely, other game genres have become synonymous with dialogue. Will your dialogue need to be recorded? Will you do it text based? How interactive will it be? Planning ahead for dialogue is important, as you’ll have to not only design the system itself but also the dialogue trees.

You’ll need to decided on a combat system for many types of games, or find the equivalent if your game does not have combat. Think of this as the “game” part of the game. It is arguably one of the most important parts of design and having a model to work from is very helpful.

5
Determine player agency options. As a general rule, you want your players to feel like they have a choice in what they’re doing. However, certain types of games have come to be associated with much more choice than others. Adding choices can be very complex but it can also be relatively simple, depending on how you decide to do it.

Some games give the appearance of having choice, for example, but actually have very little choice involved. This can be done well or it can be done poorly.

An example of choice done well would be the Bioshock series or Witcher 2. An example of choices done poorly would be something like Old Republic.

6
Outline your challenges. The serious design work begins next: you need to create your gameplay loop. This is an outline of how your game works. It usually ends with your player’s goal and details the challenges they’ll have and the goals they’ll need to meet. An example would be the first Mario game, where the loop would look like: run, avoid obstacles, hit flagpole.

7
Create the incentives for your player. No matter what kind of game you’re making, you need to give your player a good reason to want to achieve the goals and progress through the whole game. It needs to be proportionately rewarding for the level of the challenge it poses.

8
Balance difficulty with playability. You also need to make sure that the game isn’t too hard, or at least not so hard that it makes playing the game impossible or nearly impossible. Your game should pose some challenge, but not so much that it’s going to induce a lot of ragequit. This usually requires some testing, but that’s okay: that’s what betas are for.

Part 2 of 7: Covering the Components

1
Design the tutorial. There are many different ways to do the tutorial and many different philosophies about the best way to go about it. You can hide the tutorial within a story about the player character getting training (ala Fable), or you can simply display instructions (ala Mass Effect). You can even try to hide the tutorial altogether blending it seamlessly into the game or display all of the tutorial all at once. No matter what you do, make sure that it feels natural within your game.

2
Design the world. The world is the environments in which your player will play the game. How expansive will your world be? How challenging? How will you indicate that an area should be explored? That it shouldn’t? These are things you’ll need to consider.

3
Design the mechanics. These are the internal rules of the game. You’ll want to decide on a rule system and make sure that it’s balanced and consistent. The best way to do this is to look at what other games do right or wrong in this area.

4
Design your levels. The levels are the individual chunks of the game, the “episodes” that the player has to get through to make it to the end of the game. The levels should be engaging and just the right amount of challenging. They should also be physically laid out in a way that makes sense.

5
Design the content. You’ll need to design all the content, like the items that can be interacted with, the characters themselves, the environmental items, etc. This can be extremely time consuming so plan ahead! Try to find clever ways to recycle things without making them seem repetitive.

6
Design the interface. The interface includes things like the menus and UI. You want these to be easy to navigate and natural to use. Take cues from your favorite games but remember that generally the simpler the better. If an 8-year-old can figure it out, you’re set.

7
Design the controls. Having controls which feel natural are key to players really enjoying and getting the most out of your game. Remember to keep things simple and streamlined. When in doubt, conform to standardized control systems.

Part 3 of 7: Designing Visuals

1
Make your visuals match your game. The way your game looks should match the type of game that you’re making. Peppy, colorful graphics, for example, can ruin a game meant to have a serious tone. You also want to avoid pixelly 8-bit style if making a game that is meant to come across as modern.

2
Choose a cohesive, appealing color palette. Charming visuals are an important part of making a game. Bad ones can kill a players enjoyment of the game. Read up on some color theory and, as with most things, remember that when in doubt: take the simple route.

3
Use visual significance. You can play on cliches to help make your game easier to navigate and play. Use commonly accepted icons and visual cues to keep your player immersed in the world. You can also use visuals to lead your players through a map, by making areas where you don’t want them to go look , for example, dark and scary, but areas where you do want them to go clearly lit and interesting.

4
Don’t feel limited to fancy graphics. Don’t feel like you have to make the next Mass Effect to be a successful game maker. Visually simple games can be just as good if the game itself is good. And excellent example of this is Journey or Bastion, which had uncomplicated graphics but were both highly regarded.

Part 4 of 7: Designing the Audio

1
Create your direct sound effects. Direct sound effects are things like voices, weapons noises, and item interaction sound effects. You’ll want to make sure you have these in and that they make sense within your game. Try to get as many unique ones as possible, since too many of the same makes your game sound repetitive (giving you a bad case of “Then I Took an Arrow to The Knee” syndrome).

2
Create your ambient sound effects. Ambient sound effects are background noises, usually environmental. These are important as they help set the scene and make your players feel immersed in the game, so don’t neglect them.

3
Try to use original work. When you’re doing the sound work, it’s a good idea to try and record as much original sound as possible. You can use a sample library, but people that know what they’re doing will notice and it will come across as unprofessional.

4
Don’t neglect your soundtrack. Music is also important to the game and you shouldn’t forget about it. Sometimes, a soundtrack is all that’s necessary to make a game really stand out, even if it’s otherwise an unknown. Hire someone that knows what they’re doing and use your soundtrack to help create an immersive player experience.

Part 5 of 7: Designing Your Story

1
Start with a solid concept. A bad concept is one of the things that can really kill a game, so it’s important to have this really nailed down before you get too far. Think your concept all the way through and be sure that it’s complex enough to make for a rich world, characters, and gameplay.

2
Tailor your pacing. Pacing is the speed and intensity with which the plot or game itself comes at the player. Like with a good movie or book, you want the pacing of your game to be spot on. You don’t want it to start really intense, for example, and then have the rest of the game feel comparatively boring. Generally the best pacing is to have a overall build to an intense climax, with the build make up of peaks and valleys of excitement and rest.

3
Learn about classic story telling techniques. Many of the best games make use of classic storytelling techniques. You should study these and see if they can help you in creating your game.

Act structures are commonly used in plays, movies, and books to help get the pacing correct. Look up act structures if you’re feeling unsure about your pacing.

Monomyth or the Hero’s Journey is one of the most common story-telling philosophies, arguing that most stories conform to an overall pattern. You can exploit this pattern to help it play on inherent human psychology. Journey is one of the best examples of the use of monomyth in games, but it can be found in most of them.

4
Avoid tropes. Tropes are storytelling cliches. Some are better than others and some can even be useful, but generally you should avoid as many cliches as possible. Spend a little time on the TVTropes website and see if you’re designing a walking cliche.

Part 6 of 7: Designing Your Characters

1
Fully develop your characters. You want your characters to be full and rich, since this makes your players more engaged and invested in the game. This means giving characters complex personalities and faults. If you need help imagining and writing complex personalities, try some character development exercises, by plotting your character on the Myers-Briggs personality chart or the character alignment chart.

2
Leave room for character development. Your characters should change as people over the course of the game. This makes them more interesting. This means that they should generally start off with some major flaws or a generally worse personality than how they end up.

3
Get in your character’s head. It’s really easy when writing characters to make them do what we would do instead of what they would do. But this kind of lazy writing is often visible to players because it comes across as so unnatural. Focus on what your characters would do and you’ll make your game much better.

4
Consider some diversity. Games tend to lack diversity, with characters being vastly more white, straight, and male than people are in real life. This can make games feel samey and boring. By including diversity in your game, you can not only make it more interesting, but also increase the hype for your game by setting it apart from others.

Part 7 of 7: Going Pro

1
Learn the skills you’ll need. You’ll need some skills in order to make a game (skills we can’t teach you here because they are too complex). You might need to go to school in order to learn these skills but it is technically possible to learn them on your own as well. You’ll need a good understanding of math, since many games boil down to a series of equations. You’ll also need to learn a programming language (usually C, C++, or C#). There are schools for game design, but your best bet is to go to the best school you can get into for programming. This will give you a more diverse skill set so that you can take a general job as a programmer if you don’t immediately get hired with a company.

2
Start by making a small game. If you want to break into the industry and start working with major publishers, it’s a good idea to start by just making a small but engaging game that shows your skills but doesn’t require 5 years to make. This can get someone interested enough to give you a job or give you money. You also just don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.

3
Stay indie. You don’t need to get your game published by a major publisher. You don’t have to be recognized by anyone but your players if you don’t want to. The indie game market is alive and kicking and right now is the best time to be making this kind of game. Keep this in mind before strongly pursuing official backing.

4
Make use of Kickstarter and other crowd-funding sites. If you want to make a great game, of any type at all, you’re going to have to get some money. It takes a LOT of money to make a game. Currently, the best way to get that money is to run Kickstarter, which is one of many crowd-funding platforms. Check out some Kickstarters that have been successful in the past to see what they did right, but the main pieces of advice are to have great incentives and communicate constantly.

5
Get your game on Steam. Steam is Valve’s digital game store and one of the most popular distribution channels for PC games. They are also one of the most friendly distribution channels for indie games. If you’re making this type of game, your best bet for success is to get it on Steam. Currently, Steam Greenlight is the channel you will probably have to go through.

6
Build a fanbase. Build a website and an army of social media accounts for your game. Update constantly and let people feel involved in the process. Communicate as much as possible with people who become interested in what you’re doing. Having people excited about your game is key to indie success, since interest is often the main factor in things like getting on Steam.

7 Make friends in the community. The indie community is very tight knit and many of them can help you on your road to success. If you want to succeed, it’s a good idea to make friends with them, help support them in their ventures, and promote their games. They’ll help you do the same if they think you’ve got something worthwhile.(source:wikihow


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