游戏设计应避免出现正反馈现象

标签: 资源分享 优势 奖励 惩罚 正反馈现象 | 发表时间:2011-08-10 09:24 | 作者:fanbinzhen hosven
出处:http://gamerboom.com

每到晚上,我和朋友们围坐在一起玩桌面游戏时,我们会先放点音乐,吃点东西,然后就开始游戏了。一开始,大家都乐在其中,但大约三十分钟以后,有人等得不耐烦了。随着时间流逝,问题越来越多。更多人觉得厌烦了,有些甚至对游戏完全丧失兴趣了。在游戏的最后三十分钟,只有两个人还在游戏上拉踞。这两位玩家也只是唯一两位有希望胜出的人。其他人不仅是输了,而且是早就知道自己输定了。

在这里,我们将这种情况称作“正反馈”。这个问题并不局限于桌面游戏。在游戏中,一开始只有一名玩家拥有险胜其他玩家的优势;利用这种优势,他可以慢慢地与其他玩家拉开距离,然后占据上风,最终获得游戏的胜利。即使游戏开始好一会儿了,他是最终赢家已经是铁定的事实了。

玩家心理状态1(from gamasutra)

玩家心理状态1(from casualgamedesign)

当赢家得奖励、输家受惩罚时,正反馈现象就出现了。占据领导位置的人往往容易保持领先,占上风的人也很容易保持优势。其他跟在后面的人则没有机会赶超。就这样,游戏很快就终结了,至少对于那些被甩在后面的人是如此。

作为游戏设计师,你可以防止这种问题的发生。因此,你要做的就是,稍微给领导者一点儿优势,但同时确保他明白自己仍然处于竞争的压力中;而对那些目前表现不佳的玩家,你应该让他抱有迎头赶上的希望。

玩家心理状态2(from casualgamedesign)

玩家心理状态2(from casualgamedesign)

当前游戏中的正反馈现象

个人认为,当今市场上的游戏普遍存在正反馈问题。有时候你甚至直到进行游戏测试你才意识到你的游戏受到正反馈的破坏,所以你必须特别关注这个问题。

对于硬核游戏玩家,这大概算不上什么问题。“如果你还没有赢的实力,你要么勇敢地接受挑战、提升技术,要么就淘汰出局。”

但是,一般的休闲玩家是不会这么想的。这并不是输赢的问题,重要的是游戏体验本身。在我给出解决问题的小建议之前,我先让你看看几个正反馈的案例,都是我经常遇到的。

1、赛车游戏。许多赛车游戏给予赢家的奖励就是,从领先位置起跑或占据跑道内圈。所以,如果你是上一场比赛最后一个抵达终点的人,你就必须从下一回合赛道的最后一个位置出发。占据前面位置的玩家当然比跟在后面的参赛者更有机会赢下这场比赛。

2、策略游戏。军队双方互相作战。一开始,我们的军队势均力敌。第一场战斗,你赢了。我们双方各有损失,但你的剩余势力比我稍强,所以下一次交战时,你就有了一点优势。第二场战斗,你又赢了——你的优势又增强了。以此类推。你可能非常享受,因为你一直在赢,但游戏进展到一半时,我已经索然无味。

3、角色扮演游戏。每一次你打赢一个对手,你就获得些许技能点。这样,你就更容易打赢下一个竞争者,然后你又得到更多技能点。过了一会儿,那些很难得到你第一次获得的技能点的人就再也不是你的对手了。你和对方交手,只是因为你能赢,并不是因为你需要那些技能点——你已经无敌了。

降低正反馈影响

预防正反馈问题相当棘手。你所需要解决方案往往有违常理,因为这种方案看似在惩罚赢家。然而,如果你希望制作一款从头到尾都保持良好的平衡性的游戏,防止正反馈就是必要的一步。

以下是预防正反馈的几个要点。虽然不完整,也不敢保证次次凑效,但姑且从中找出最佳解决方案吧。

1、设置游戏关卡。如果你把游戏分成关卡,你就可以分别重新平衡各道关卡。你可以让竞争者更强大一点,以保持挑战性。如果你的游戏涉及两名及以上玩家,你可以再次平衡游戏场所,或给予上一回合中败下阵来的玩家一点儿优势。

2、颠倒顺序。你可以颠倒上一回合的顺序。例如,在赛车游戏中,你可以根据上一回合赛车的顺序结果,决定参赛者的起跑先后位置。如果玩家确实强悍,即使从后面起跑,他还是能赢。如果他不够优秀,他可以尝试下一回合从更好的起点开始。

3、双刃剑的奖励。奖励赢家一般来说是个好主意,但不等于奖励就一定没有缺陷。如果说你给了玩家一把性能更好但重量更重的枪,那么玩家的前进速度就会减慢。如果你给了玩家更好的物资,那就让这种物资难以管理。

4、“惩罚”资源过剩行为。你可以限制玩家可拥有的资源总量,如不超过50单位的木材。如果你有办法把这种规定做得丝毫没有人为限制的痕迹,且不允许使用50单位的木材以外的单位量(游戏邦注:即拥有超过50单位的木材量不会给玩家带来额外的好处), 那就更好了。如果你有办法圆满完成,那么最理想的情况就是“惩罚”资源过剩行为。例如,拥有的金钱数量过多容易招徕窃贼,这会严重影响经营。所以玩家必须自己把握最佳平衡点。

5、不要惩罚输家。惩罚游戏的输家可能只会导致他更不可能在下一回合中胜出。

别忘了提供奖励

解决正反馈问题很大程度上是一种平衡性行为。如果玩家赢了,你应该奖励他,只是不要奖励过头,以致牺牲整个游戏的乐趣。另一方面,也不要过份预防正反馈——不应该让玩家产生自己是赢家而受到“仇富”式的惩罚。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,如需转载请联系:游戏邦

The dangers of positive feedback

When I sit around with my friends to play a board game, the evening usually goes something like this. We put on some music, break out the food and drinks and set up the game. Somebody says that he doesn’t remember all the rules, so I read parts of the manual to everyone. And then we start playing.

At first everybody is having fun, but after about thirty minutes, someone gets bored waiting for her turn. As time passes, this problem increases. More people get bored and some of them even lose interest in the game all together. During the last fifteen minutes of play only two people are paying any attention to the game at all. Those two players are the only two who stand a chance at winning. All the others have already lost and they know it; they have known it for quite a while already.

The problem here is positive feedback and it’s not limited to board games. During the game, one of the players gets a slight edge over the others. By exploiting that edge, she opens up a gap and she uses that gap to get in an even better position for winning the game. Even though the game still goes on for quite a while, it’s already fairly certain she’s going to win.

Positive feedback in games occurs when winners are rewarded and losers are punished. Being in the lead makes it easy to stay in the lead, being good makes it easier to become better. And those who follow have no chance of catching up. This can quickly ruin a game, at least for those that are left behind.

As a game designer, you can prevent this problem. What you want to achieve is to give the leader a slight edge, but to make sure she knows the heat is still on her. The players who are doing badly now, should have the feeling that they can still catch up.

Positive feedback in current games

Positive feedback is a problem that can creep up in any game. Sometimes you don’t even realise your game is suffering from it until you start playtesting, so you need to keep a special eye on it.

Personally, I think there are too many games on the market today that suffer from positive feedback. Maybe it isn’t as much of a problem in the market of hardcore gamers. ‘If your not good enough to win this game, you should either take up the challenge and improve or you should quit as a loser.’

That’s not the attitude of your average casual gamer, however. It’s not winning or losing that matters, it’s the experience of the play itself. Before I give you some tips on preventing positive feedback, I’ll give you some examples of positive feedback I regularly encounter in current games.

Racing games – Many racing games reward the winner of a race by letting him start the next race from pole position. Consequently, when you came in last in the previous race, you will have to start this race from the back of the field. The racer in front has a lot more chance of winning the race this time too than the one who has to pass every single opponent.

Strategy games – Your army against mine. When we start, our armies are equally matched. Then comes the first battle and you beat me. We both suffered casualties, but you come out just a bit stronger, so when we next meet you have a slight advantage. You win the battle again and your advantage gets bigger. And so on. You probably love this, because you are winning the war, but halfway through the game, I’m not having fun anymore.

Role-playing games – Each time you beat an opponent, you gain skill points. This makes it easier to beat the next opponent and this gives you even more skill points. After a while, that opponent you fought so hard to get your first skill points is no challenge for you anymore. You’re kicking his butt just because you can, and not because you need the skill points; you are already invincible.

Preventing positive feedback

It can be quite tricky to prevent positive feedback. You often need a solution that feels very counter-intuitive, because it seems like you are punishing the winner. However, preventing positive feedback is a necessary step if you want to create a well-balanced game that is fun through-out.

Below are some pointers on how to prevent positive feedback. This list is not complete, nor will any of these tips work every time. Just find the one that works best for your situation.

Break up the game into levels – If you break up your game into levels, you can rebalance each level seperately. You can make opponents more powerful to keep the player challenged. If your game involves two or more players, you can level the playing field again or even give the loser from last round a slight advantage.

Reverse the order – Picking up where the previous tip left off, you can reverse the order from the previous round. In a racing game, for example, you can determine the order in which racers start a race by reversing the order in which they finished the previous race. If a player is really good, she should be able to win from the back of the field, too. If not, she can try again next race from a better starting position.

Make every reward a double-edged sword – It’s often a good idea to reward a player for winning, but that doesn’t mean the reward can’t have a downside, too. If you give the player a better gun, make the gun really heavy so he’ll walk more slowly. If you give the player better resources, make those resources harder to manage.

Punish a surplus – You can cap the amount of a resource a player can have: no more than 50 units of wood. It’s even nicer if you can do without the artificial limit and make it such that having more than 50 units of wood doesn’t help anymore, because you just can’t do anything with the surplus. If you can pull it off, the nicest solution is to punish a surplus, for example: having too much money will make you a likely target for thiefs and they do serious harm to your business. This way the player must find the right balance herself.

Don’t punish the loser – Punishing a player for losing a game will probably only make it harder for him to win the next time.

Don’t forget the rewards

Dealing with positive feedback is pretty much a balancing act. If your player wins, you should reward her, just don’t reward her so much that it takes all the fun out of the game. On the other hand, don’t go overboard trying to prevent positive feedback either. A player should never feel she is being punished for winning. (source:casualgamedesign

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