设计敌人(3)

原文地址:http://www.flark.net/designing-enemies/

作者:Mike Birkhead(战神系列战斗系统高级设计师)

感谢作者和他的分享精神,我这里也不过是薪火传递,将好文引入国内。为方便查阅,着重翻译一些重点段落。

Our goal until now has been the break down and analysis of MvC2′s combat system, but now we are going to switch gears. MvC2 has, hopefully, served its purpose and given us some usable ideas. Applying these ideas to an action adventure game is not like designing characters for a fighting game, just as designing cars for Gran Turismo is not like designing cars for Burnout; different styles of games have different design goals.

One of the major goals in a fighting game is to minimize your barriers to entry and maximize the potential for mind games. This is achieved through minimizing depth and maximizing breadth; by this I mean not that a character takes no skill to master, but that (in successful games) the mastery is applicable to numerous characters in the cast – I learn to Dragon Punch, I also learn to Tiger Knee. The challenge comes in judging and anticipating the moves of your opponent, not in executing your own.

格斗游戏的主要设计目标之一是降低使用(角色的)门槛,让玩家专注于“思维游戏”(例如预判对手的行为)。为了达到该目的,格斗游戏被设计为深度浅但宽度广。这并不是说掌握一个角色不需要技巧,而是指这些技巧可套用在多个角色身上。格斗游戏真正的挑战在于判断及预测对手的行为,而非执行你自己的套路。

Action adventure games, however, have a different goal: Accomplishment. This requires a depth of player and a breadth of cast. The player must grow and have a sense of depth, which applies to more than just his attacks. Every system the player learns (magic, climbing walls, world interactions) is a new system to master, so do not go crazy with the player’s attacks. Avoid superfluous attacks. This “back of the box” design has no place in compelling games. The player doesn’t need breadth, as he has no one to play mind games with. Who is he going to fool? He requires only the moves that get the job done, in the coolest way possible. Again, this is why MvC2 is so great, because everyone in that game is doing wacky, powerful shit all over the place. One can imagine the designers on that game standing on a box shouting, “Subtlety is for pussies!”, and I say Amen.

然而动作冒险游戏有着截然不同的设计目标:成就。这需要高度可成长的玩家和丰富的敌人阵容。玩家可以成长且要有一定深度,这些不能仅仅存在于战斗方面。角色习得的每个系统(法术、爬墙、场景互动)都是需要去掌握的全新领域,所以别在战斗上耗费太多资源,避免多余的攻击方式。玩家不需要广度,因为他没有需要猜测行为的对手。他无须愚弄某人,只需要执行操作达成目的,以尽可能酷的方式。

designing_enemies_ryu_subtle

Ryu doesn’t give a fuck about your subtlety

The tight, focused and subtlety-free design of our player also applies to our enemies. We want breadth, but we want it to come from the cast as a whole and not the individual enemies. The monsters are not there to play mind games with the player, they are there to make me feel like a bad ass. I want to smash faces. If I want subtlety, I will play a fighting game. A game which is DESIGNED for mind games, and I’ll play it with real people who are infinitely trickier than a computer. This does not mean that your enemies cannot be tricky – they can and should have a trick. That is trick, in the singular. The player learns the monster’s trick, and once overcome, gives her a sense of accomplishment. She is getting stronger and better than her adversaries.

人类对手总是比电脑更加诡计多端,但这不是说电脑敌人不能设计得很狡猾。他们可以有也应当有一些花招,但每种敌人只能有一个。玩家能够学习到对付敌人花招的方法,一旦他们凭此战胜了敌人就会获得成就感——比起他的对手他正变得越来越强。

Accomplishment is a major driving force behind the best Action Adventure games, and though you may not be consciously aware of it, you know when games have failed to grant that feeling. Have you ever lost to a boss numerous times in a row, your frustration growing to a boiling point, until finally you squeak out a victory more through luck than anything? I’ve been there, and it sucks. Most regrettable is that the shitty feeling is directed more to yourself (why was that so hard for me?) than the game (who designed this bullshit).

成就是优秀动作冒险游戏背后的主要驱动力,虽然你可能没有意识到它的存在,在游戏无法给予你成长感时才有所体会。你是否有过这样的经历:在BOSS面前死了无数次,挫败感一路累积到极限,最终靠运气才险胜?我曾有过这番体验,简直糟透了。最不幸的是这种糟糕的感觉更指向玩家自己(为什么这么难?)自己而不是游戏本身(谁设计的这一坨屎)。

designing_enemies_worst_boss

The Conan final boss exemplifies frustrating over challenging

So if you want player’s feeling accomplished and not asking what idiot ruined their night, there are three things to keep in mind. First, you must always keep in the mind the roles your cast must fill. Second, you must type your cast in a balanced manner. Third, you must find your trick.

所以若想玩家获得成就感而不是质问某个白痴毁了他们美好的夜晚,你需要记住三件事。首先要时刻记得敌人所要扮演的角色;其次以平衡的方式将敌人划分类型;最后是要发明自己的花招。

Roles 角色

When discussing roles it is wasteful to speak in specifics. The mechanics of your game, which are unique to each game, define the roles for your enemies. In God of War, for example, the Gorgon’s beam attack is countered by using Kratos’s dodge, so her role is to emphasize the dodging mechanic; a role that makes her compelling in tight spaces or against heavily armored enemies that require commitment. With no dodge mechanic, the Gorgon serves little purpose, which leaves her boring and frustrating. We must instead instead view our cast from a higher, more generic level. Doing so forms a picture, independent of the mechanics, of four major reoccurring roles: Emphasizers, Enforcers, Smashers and Challengers.

单独谈角色是在浪费时间。每个游戏的机制都是独一无二的,这些机制定义了你的敌人所扮演的角色。以战神做例子,美杜莎的射线可被奎爷的闪躲化解,因此她的角色就是强调闪躲机制。这让其在狭窄区域或对付重甲敌人时很有优势。假如游戏中没有闪躲机制,美杜莎的能力就没多少用处了,会显得无聊。下面将从更为通用的角度——独立于游戏机制本身来讨论敌人的4种角色定位,分别是:强调者、强制者、猛击者、挑战者。

Emphasizers

Emphasizers should, when striving for mass market appeal, make up the majority of your cast. As stated, your player has several tools in her toolbox for dispatching the creatures she faces. An emphasizer is a creature that rewards, not requires, the use of one specific mechanic. The key is to have positive reinforcement. You are not penalized for using the wrong method, simply rewarded for doing it the “correct” way. God of War has several examples of emphasizers, but I particularly like the Gorgon.

若想追求对主流市场的吸引力,敌人中大多数都应是强调者。如上所述,玩家有许多工具可用来对付他面前的生物。强调者是那种奖励但不强制玩家使用特定机制的生物。关键在于要使用“正加强”——玩家不会因错误的战斗方式受到惩罚,而只会在做对时受到奖励。在战神里有许多强调者的例子,我尤其喜欢美杜莎。

The Gorgon is considered a higher tier creature, in that she poses not only a greater challenge to the player but also requires more work to implement and create. She is fast, avoids your attacks, and has her deadly gaze, which if the player stays in too long, will turn Kratos to stone. Behind the scenes, when the player is “inside” the cone of the Gorgon’s gaze the game starts a timer, and if the timer ever reaches a certain point Kratos is turned to stone; however, if the player ever uses his dodge (roll) the timer is reset, regardless of whether Kratos is still in the gaze. Dodging (rolling) gives the player an advantage against this creature, but Kratos is not required to do this. For example, if the gorgon is hitting me with her gaze and I attack the gorgon with a significantly heavy enough attack she will stop her gaze and react to my attack. They key here is “significantly heavy enough” attack. Not just any attack will be effective. Only Kratos’s heaviest “ender” attacks work, but it still gives the player a choice and that choice is what makes her a compelling monster.

如果奎爷在美杜莎的凝视下时间过长会被变成石头。若玩家使用闪躲(翻滚)就会重置凝视计时器,这给予玩家一个对付美杜莎时的利器。但奎爷面对美杜莎并非一定要使用闪躲——当美杜莎用凝视攻击我时,我也可以用终结技来打断它的凝视(普通攻击是不行的)。这2种方式使得玩家在战斗时要进行选择,也因此美杜莎还是一个挺有威胁的怪物。

designing_enemies_gorgon

Better start rolling!

Let’s say I have started to attack a creature and at the same exact time the Gorgon has started up her Gaze attack. I must now make a choice, do I continue with my combo in the hope that I will have time to hit the Gorgon with my heavy attack (risky), or do I forgo the damage I could do and roll away (safe). This meaningful choice comes from her emphasizing mechanics and not enforcing mechanics. Very rarely, if ever, should enemies be constructed with the purpose of requiring a specific action from the player. Emphasis rewards experimentation, while requirements brutally teach. The former flows naturally, and over time the player discovers the best course of action. The latter brings the game to a screeching halt, while the player must deign the correct solution. There are times when you should enforce a mechanic, and those times are when you want to teach your player something core to the game.

让我详细描述一下这种选择:当我开始攻击一个美杜莎的同时它开始对我进行凝视。我需要立刻做出判断:是继续将连招打完以期用终结技打断凝视(有风险)还是放弃攻击转而滚开(安全)。这种有意义的选择来自美杜莎强调了玩法机制而并不强制使用它。只有很少的敌人需要被设计为强制玩家进行特定行为。强调是在鼓励尝试,而强制是在生硬教学。前者的游戏过程是很自然的,经过一段时间后玩家会发现最佳的行为方式。后者则给游戏过程来了个急刹车,然后玩家需要找到正确的答案。诚然,有时候的确需要强制玩家使用某种机制,这种情况发生在你想教会玩家一些游戏核心机制的时候。

Enforcers

The majority of your cast should be emphasizers, but they do have a downside. By allowing for multiple killing solutions they lack the ability to forcibly teach the player. Sometimes you have a mechanic that is so core to your design that a player must learn it. Enter the enforcers. These creatures require a mechanic from a player, and without the player using it, they will not progress.

你游戏中大多数敌人都应是强调者,但他们也有消极的一面。允许被多种方式击杀意味着它们无法用来对玩家进行教学。有时候你有一个设计上非常核心的机制需要玩家必须学会,就可以改用强制者。面对这种生物时玩家必须使用所需的机制才能通过。

designing_enemies_automoton

The Automaton forces Kratos to use his fire blades

The shield bearing enemies from God of War are the perfect example of Enforcers. You cannot grab them, you cannot hit them with light attacks, and the only way to get passed their shields is to hit them with a “significantly heavy enough” attack. These moves are known as his “crush” moves, and are made up of all the heavy ending moves of Kratos’s combos. (Square, Square, Triangle) — (Square, Square, Square, Square, Square, Triangle). These moves are so core to God of War combat that the game wants to make sure the player understands their power. Enforcers have their place, but their place should be rare. Use this only when something MUST be taught to the player, and do so with as much obvious flair as possible; this is not a time to be subtle. Subtly and enforcers do not mix well, and if handled poorly can quickly become frustrating.

战神中的持盾敌人就是强制者的一个绝佳例子。你无法抓住他们,无法对其用普通攻击。击破盾牌的唯一的办法是用重击来打击他们。重击包含了碾压、所有连招的终结技。这些招式在战神的战斗系统里是非常核心的,需要确保玩家对其的理解。强制者有其用武之地,但范围应该很小。只有在必须要教会玩家什么东西时才用强制者,而且要直达主题避免给玩家传递模糊的概念。

Challengers

These are the bosses, the difficult enemies, the ones you use all of the tools in your toolbox to defeat. Challengers are separated from your emphasizers and enforcers due to their complexity of design and cost to implement. Where most enemies in your cast will have their one or at most two attacks, a challenger might have three or four. Remember, the more attacks you give an enemy the more it can play mind games with the player, and mind games are dangerous. Catching a player off guard and providing a greater challenge, if handled well, can spice up the game and drive the player to break through to a new level of mastery. More often, however, they are a hell of frustrating and repeated deaths to overly cheap tactics that follow no pattern and offer no accomplishment.

挑战者就是boss或者超难的敌人,你必须使出浑身解数才能将其击败。他和强调者、强制者的区别在于他的设计更复杂、制作成本更高。当你的游戏中大多数敌人具有1~2种攻击时,挑战者往往会有3~4种。要记得,你给一个敌人越多的攻击方式他就越可能和玩家玩起思维游戏——一种非常危险的东西。给玩家一个出其不意的挑战,如果安排得好能为游戏增添乐趣,让玩家对游戏的掌握上一个台阶。不过因为挑战者捉摸不定的策略,这么做更多的时候导致了玩家的挫败和反复死亡,毫无成就感。

One of my favorite questions is to ask for the difference between challenging and frustrating. While there is more than one answer, I prefer to define it succinctly: “Challenging is a struggle against oneself, frustrating is a struggle against the game.” Challengers, more than any other, are the enemies that attempt to walk that fine line between challenging and frustrating. These enemies control the flow of your game by inserting spikes in the pacing, and a well paced game follows a sinusoidal curve of difficulty. It starts the player off with simple tasks, increases the challenge gradually up to a climax, and then quickly eases back to let you cool down. Where the challengers control the mountains of our pacing, the final group makes up the valleys.

一句话说清挑战和挫折的区别:挑战是让玩家跟他自己纠结,挫折是让玩家跟游戏纠结。挑战者就是试图在这两者之间找到平衡点。一个好的游戏节奏是类似正弦图形那样的难度曲线。首先给玩家的是简单任务,逐渐增加一些挑战到最高峰,然后快速下降让玩家释放。在其中挑战者就控制着波峰,下面要介绍的最后一类则构成了波谷。

Smashers

Providing the player with challenges is important, but sometimes you just want to destroy something – a lot of somethings. Smashers are the smaller, weaker and easily dispatched enemies that you throw at the player, sometimes alone, but most times accompanying other enemies, and they let you get your smash on. Remember our number one goal in these games is to give the player a sense of accomplishment, and letting your mass murderer out of the bag every once in a while feels really good. Where Challengers strive for difficulty, Smashers strive for simplicity.

给予玩家挑战是相当重要的,但有时你只是想让玩家发泄一下破坏欲。猛击者就是一类弱小、容易杀死的敌人,适合扔给玩家(或单独或混杂着别的敌人)让他们开始一顿猛干。记住我们游戏的首要目标是给予玩家成长的感受,让敌人定期冒出来会让他们感觉良好。挑战者为了营造难度,猛击者为了营造简单。

designing_enemies_flood

The Infection form of Flood from Halo is a classic Smasher.

Note: this simplicity should be applied not only to their difficulty, but also to their implementation. The Smashers serve a secondary function. By making them lightweight in terms of AI, poly count, texture size, and basic memory footprint, you can sprinkle these enemies liberally across the game, without having a major impact on your level designs, and we all know how important that is when memory becomes tight.

注意:这种简单并不仅仅指他们的难度,还包括他们在实现上很容易。因为具有轻量ji级的AI、多边形数量、贴图大小、内容占用,你可以随意使用它们而不会太影响关卡设计,这在内存紧张的时候尤其有用。

Two groups (Epmhasizers and Enforcers) are defined through the player’s mechanics. Emphasizers, the most common, reward the player for using a specific mechanic without requiring it, while enforcers teach a specific mechanic to the player. The remaining groups (Smashers and Challengers) are defined by difficulty and implementation, which again is independent of the specific mechanics. Smashers are weak and easily dispatched, while Challengers pose a great challenge to the player. These four role archetypes are important, but they are not enough if we want to have a balanced cast that is diverse in play style. For that we need to group our creatures by additional criteria.

强调者和强制者这两个类型从玩家的能力机制的维度来定义。强调者是最常见的,奖励玩家使用某一特定机制但并不强制这一点。强制者教导玩家某些特定机制(无法跳过)。猛击者和挑战者这两个类型从难度和实现情况的维度来定义,与玩家的能力机制无关。猛击者很弱易于杀死,而挑战者对玩家而言就是个大麻烦。这4种角色定位非常重要,但还不足以让我们拥有一套平衡且多样化的敌人阵容。因此我们还需要将这些生物分组。

Classes 分类

A balanced cast is one diverse in style, complexity, and mechanic. In the old days, it was as simple and clean as a “skinny”, “medium”, and “fat” hockey player, but now balance has a more textured meaning. In God of War they break enemies down into several classes, which ensures clarity in discussion, ensures designers (and others) visualize their workload, and ensures there is a properly distributed variation in play. Classes range from “Pests” which contains all of the lightweight annoying enemies, all the way to “Bosses” which, obviously, tracks the bosses.

一组平衡的敌人在风格、复杂度、机制上具备多样性。在以前,这就类似曲棍球中具有瘦子、普通人、胖子三种球员一样简单清晰。但如今平衡性具有更丰富的含义。在战神里为了方便讨论将敌人分为很多种类型,这也便于让设计师和其他人明确他们的工作量,同时确保做到了适当的玩法区分性。

Ice Hockey for the NES

Clear and distinct classes are necessary for meaningful discussion. Why spend time and effort describing a monster’s presence when you could say he’s of class (to borrow the term) “Pests”, which starts you both on a mutual foundation. To reach this understanding requires your design department be both vigorous and consistent. If you are lazy, forgetful or inconsistent, you will seriously harm communication. The rewards, however, outweigh the dangers, as enforcing this lets other departments quickly understand not only what you want, but also how much work it creates (or saves if it’s cut). Visualizing your workload, while important in the beginning, is just as critical near the end when things are being cut. Your cuts need to save time and they need to leave the game without a gap in its play.

Classes can also help you to keep track of your play variation. In MvC2 you can break all characters down into three classes: Huge (Sentinel), Quick (Spiderman), and Ranged (Cable). Huge counters quick, which counters ranged, which counters huge – rock, paper, scissors. Keeping these three classes even maintains a feeling of balance, but say I need to cut three characters out of the game. Without class structure, I could unknowingly choose three characters out of the Huge group, and with fewer counters to the quick characters, leave the game feeling broken and unbalanced.

类型定义可以帮助你跟踪游戏变化。在MVC2中可将所有角色分为三类:重型、敏捷、远程。重型克敏捷、敏捷克远程、远程克重型——剪刀石头布。具备这3种类型就可维持基本的平衡感。比如我要砍掉3个角色,如果没有类型这个概念我可能不知不觉中删掉了3个重型角色。这将导致敏捷型角色变得有优势,破坏掉了游戏的平衡。

Roles and Classes, while appearing redundant, serve two distinct goals for the game. Roles are about the the player, while Classes are about your cast. The mechanics of your player demands enemies that work well against and with him, but only viewing your cast through that particular lens leads you to end up with lots of functionally distinct but visually similar enemies. The ultimate goal is a diverse cast, and having Classes helps to ensure visual diversity.

角色和分类这两个看起来重复的东西其实分别服务于不同的游戏目标。角色是关于玩家,分类则是关于敌人的外观。玩家的能力机制需要有相应的敌人才能施展,但如果仅从这样单一的角度去审视你将会得到一群功能相异但外观雷同的敌人。最终的目标应该是一群多元化的敌人,并由分类来保证他们之间的外观差异。

Tricks 花招

Everything must serve a purpose. If you cannot explain to me why a creature must exist – in less than two sentences – then it’s a safe bet the player is not going to enjoy killing it. Lacking purpose reduces your creatures, effectively, into very fancy desctrucible objects. A great designer I know always asks, “What’s this guy’s trick?” The question has stuck with me, and it’s a great question to ask of your enemies. A trick implies that you can fool me, but once I know your trick it loses its effectiveness. Being fooled keeps you on your toes, while providing you with the opportunity to learn and grow as a player, which leads to our ultimate goal of accomplishment.

游戏中的每样东西都应服务于某种目的。如果你不能用两句话解释清楚某个生物为何会存在,那我打赌玩家也不会因杀它而获得乐趣。我认识的一个优秀设计师问我:这家伙的花招是什么?面对你设计的敌人也可常常问这个问题。花招意味着你可以欺骗我,但一旦我知道了你的花招它就失去作用了。让玩家受欺骗,同时让他有机会从中学习并成长,这样就能达到我们设计的终极目标:成就。

And so I return, one last time, to MvC2. If ever there was a game that could be called a Bag of Tricks, it is this game, but there are even more tricks out there, existing in other games, that can add spice and vitality to your boring designs. Go, mine, study what they have done, and if you choose to take away only one thing, let it be this: ideas are meaningless, execution is everything.

让我们最后一次回到MvC2上面。如果有哪个游戏能被称为花招锦囊的话非其莫属。但在别的游戏中还有着更多的花招可供借鉴。去挖掘和研究它们做了什么。如果你只能选择一样东西带走的话,则应该是:创意是没价值的,将其实现才是。

designing_enemies_disgaea

Disgaea is a fantastic example of over the top ideas

Every move you can think of has already been created by someone. Mining their ideas doesn’t make you a bad designer, because, believe it or not, taking that idea and executing it to the same (if not higher) quality is harder than you can ever imagine, and if you are smart, you will choose to devote all your limited time and dwindling energy on executing to the fullest of your extent.

所有你能想到的动作都已经被某人创造出来了。借鉴他们的创意并不会让你变成糟糕的设计师,因为不管你是否相信,使用那个创意并将其实现到同等水平的难度远超你的想象。如果你足够聪明,你会投入所有的时间和精力尽你所能做到最好。

设计敌人(2)

原文地址:http://www.flark.net/designing-enemies/

作者:Mike Birkhead(战神系列战斗系统高级设计师)

感谢作者和他的分享精神,我这里也不过是薪火传递,将好文引入国内。为方便查阅,着重翻译一些重点段落。

In the first part of this three part post I started with a basic premise: every move you can think of has already been created. I focused on Marvel vs Capcom 2 as a powerful resource for studying cool and powerful moves, as it has both depth and breadth in play, and it has a large tapestry of themes to pull from. Now we are going to get into the nitty-gritty fun of breaking down moves by understanding not only what you are seeing, but also why you are stealing it.

Just to be clear: my vocabulary is NOT congruous with the MvC2 community. These are the terms I was taught while working on god of war, which I have adapted and applied to the game of MvC2. I do this, number one, because it is easier for me to think in terms of god of war terminology, and number two, I do it to reinforce the idea that this is not “about” MvC2. The purpose is to talk about how to effectively construct ideas for use in an action adventure game, with MvC2 being the greatest source.

All moves are broken down into three stages: Action, Reaction, and Result. The player performs some action, his opponent reacts, and it results in both of their status changing. Some moves involve all three stages (throwing a fireball), while others might only involve one (teleporting), and yes, sometimes it can be hard to fit moves into any mold. Do not lose heart but instead remember: eventually you are going to reconstruct these ideas into your own moves. A structured approach helps in both construction and balance; additionally, this way of thinking reminds you of the important questions to ask: what does it look like, what does it do, how do I react, why should I use it, and how can I counter it?

一般来说动作可被分为3个部分:行为、反应、结果。玩家执行行为,它对手作出反应,结果是双方的状态都发生变化。特别的,像传送这样的动作只包含了行为。用这个框架去分析动作有时候可能套用不上,但没关系,我们的目的只是拆散动作成原型最终用于自己的设计之中。这种结构化的思维方法对构建角色的动作和平衡它们都很有用,而且会使你专注于这些重要问题上:这个动作看上去怎么样?有什么作用?我如何反应?我为什么要使用它?我如何克制它?

When designing, there are those rare moments where the process seems to flow naturally. Inspiration is striking left and right, and you know the exact move that you want. One look at a piece of concept art, and you know exactly what moves it should have. These perfect moments are all too uncommon. Inspiration, that most elusive friend, chooses when she wants to strike; however, that doesn’t mean we just sit around waiting. That’s where mining for ideas comes in, and whether we are looking for a move to fit a monster, or hoping to find a monster to fit a move, the search starts with an action.

灵感总是不期而至,大部分时候我们没法消极地等待它上门。为了挖掘一个点子,可能是为一个怪物找到适合的动作,也可能是为了一个动作找到适合的怪物,首先要研究的就是行为。

Action

Every move your character makes is some kind of action. The first step in deconstructing the actions you see in MvC2, or any game, is by understanding their basic structure. A move is made up of frames of animation, and these frames are broken down into three stages: Startup, Hit, and Recovery.

角色的每一个动作都是某种行为,它由动画帧构成。这些动画帧按照阶段可分成3段:发招(又叫做起始、前摇)、击中、收招(又叫做恢复、后摇)。

  • Startup: The move is starting, but nothing has happened yet. If I was going to punch you, this would be the part where I pull my hand back and get ready – my muscles tightening in preparation. The longer this period last, the more time your opponent has to figure out what move you are doing and react. When someone says a move is “telegraphed”, they are likely referring to the fact that a move had a long and obvious startup.

发招阶段角色的动作是收缩肌肉蓄力,为之后的发力做准备。这个阶段持续得越久,对手越容易反应过来并采取应对。

Frame 5: Readies the kick

  • Hit: The move is now “active”. If it was a punch and it was touching someone else, this would be the part where they take damage and react to it. The longer this period lasts, the easier it is to hit someone. At first glance it appears that “longer is better”, however the longer your hit frames are active the more time your character spends locked into this move. In Street Fighter 2, M. Bison’s crouching heavy kick (c.HK) makes him slide along the floor a decent distance. His hit frames encompass the entire slide, which makes it a risky move. If the other player blocks the move, since you are still locked into the slide, they can easily counter attack.

击中阶段角色的动作可对别人造成伤害,但此时角色也处于“锁定”状态不能做其他操作。因此表面上击中时间越长越好,实则很容易被人抓到破绽进行反击。

Frame 8: Extends and connects

  • Recovery: The move is no longer active, but I must spend time recovering back to my “rest” state before I can perform another move. If I was punching you this would be the time it takes me to bring my hand back. If I really put my all into this punch, it could also be the time I spend trying to catch my breath. The longer the recovery, like having a large number of hit frames, means that you are locked into this move, or “committed”. A particularly powerful move might be balanced by having a long recovery – high risk high reward.

收招阶段类似击中,角色此时被锁定不能做其他操作。越是强大的动作需要的收招时间越长以此作为平衡——高风险高回报。

Frame 12: Brings the leg back

Fighting games, action adventure games, beat em ups… they all make it or break it by the strength of their melee moves. Do they feel powerful, do they flow, and do they make sense. The majority of moves in MvC2 – in fighting games in general – fall into the category of melee moves. From quick jabs that let you poke your opponent to death, to arm-stretching overhead smashes that flatten them to the ground; the number of ways you can slap some part of your body against someone else is as varied as our imaginations. This variety comes from the interplay between three attributes: Power, Range, and Speed. These attributes are a sliding scale and not a harsh choice – imagine dials not check boxes.

近战攻击是格斗游戏、动作冒险游戏、割草游戏的核心。漫威VS卡普空2这种格斗游戏里大部分的动作都是近战攻击。我们可以想象到的用身体的某些部分攻击某人的方式是非常丰富的。这种丰富来自3个属性的相互作用:力量、范围、速度。

Understanding how to adjust these dials requires a firm grasp of our three stages of a move. You can have the most powerful move in the game and I the weakest, but if my move has fewer start up frames I will beat you all day every day. My speed defeats your power, and while we could fix this by giving that powerful move greater range, the better solutions present themselves when we have a robust understanding of reactions, and how different kinds of reactions (or a lack of them) can be used to balance moves.

只有充分理解了动作的3个阶段(行为、反应、结果)才知道如何调整这3个属性。重拳也会被轻拳打败——假如它有最快的速度。我们可以通过增加重拳的范围来作为弥补,当我们对反应以及可用于平衡动作的不同反应类型(或缺少类型)的理解更深刻,我们就能想到更好的应对方案。

Reaction

Actions are the fun part – the part we fixate on – but they are not the most important part. A powerful move feels like a powerful move only when it is sold by a powerful looking reaction. Understanding how and why characters react to various moves is integral in making sure your moves don’t come off feeling underwhelming, or even worse, comical.

强力的动作必须有看起来激烈的反应才会让人觉得真的很有力道,否则会使得这个动作平庸甚至是滑稽。

As you study moves, observe the difference between an opponents normal reaction and his reaction when blocking (guarding). When you are hit by a move, much like when you perform an action, you play an animation, and your character is locked into this reaction for a period of time. The reaction animation you play is, most times, visually different when you are guarding, but more importantly, the animation you are forced to play is shorter (fewer frames). The variance in length between taking a hit and guarding a hit can mean the difference between landing a combo, or getting brutally punished. A normal reaction means that you are stuck in Hit Recovery (also called Hit Stun). If you are guarding, you are stuck in Guard Recovery (also called Block Stun). Note: I do not like the terms stun or block. The former because you are not actually stunned, and the latter because blocking implies a negation of all damage, while guarding implies a reduction in damage, which is more accurate.

你被击中后的反应是受击恢复,如果你防住了攻击则反应是防御恢复。这2种恢复的时间不同将导致完全相反的结果。

Let’s say I have a punch with 2 hit frames, 4 frames of Recovery, and a kick with 3 frames of Startup. The punch causes 10 frames of Hit Recovery but only 5 frames of Guard Recovery. If I attack someone with this punch (and they do not guard it), I can combo into my kick and get a free hit (my hit, recovery and startup is less than his hit recovery). If they guard my punch, however, he will recover before I do. This is just a simple example, but you can see the importance in understanding the difference.

假设一个拳击的击中阶段为2帧、收招阶段为4帧,踢击的发招阶段为3帧。拳击命中将导致对手10帧的受击恢复,被防住了则是5帧的防御恢复。也就是说如果我用拳击命中了对手则可以无缝接一个踢击,因为它们整体时间小于对方的受击恢复时间。如果对方防住了则他会比我更早恢复。

The attacker recovers first

The defender recovers first

This is just the beginning of what you can do when you begin to understand reactions. Return to the example above, with the ridiculously powerful but slow move and the weak but very quick move. The quick move was going to have the advantage, but what if we can introduce a new trick to the slow move? Some moves allow the player to have armor or “tank” through attacks. While tanking you take damage, but do not react. This gives you a clear advantage. The quick move will hit you, and you will take damage, but it’s no matter because you plow right on through and smash that punk to bits – huzzah! Tanking is an example of a modifier that we can place on a move, and it’s not the only one you can use. Note: even though modifiers are an attribute of the action, I feel it’s important to talk about them here in reactions, because they deal almost exclusively with how you react (or don’t react) to moves. There are quite a few modifiers, and again, these are terms I learned from working on god of war, but you can see most of them in some form in MvC2:

前面提到过用受击者的反应而不是范围来平衡动作是更好的选择。在那个例子中快速轻拳更有优势,但如果给慢速重拳加一个“霸体”特性(会受到伤害但不会进行反应)它就能对付快速轻拳了。霸体是一种对动作改良的例子,这种修改主要影响角色如何对攻击进行反应。下面列举一些常见的修改:

  • Tank: You take damage, but do not play reactions. Sometimes a move can only tank a fixed number of hits. For example, you can tank the first hit, but if you are hit a second time you play a reaction normally.
  • Invulnerable: You take no damage and do not play reactions.
  • Guard Break: Attempting to block a move with this attribute forces you to play a special kind of reaction. You do not take damage, but you are left vulnerable.
  • Unblockable: Attempting to block a move with this modifier forces you to play a normal reaction as if you did not block it at all.
  • Crumple: A special kind of reaction. Your character loses control for a period of time. Being hit while crumpled causes you to play a normal reaction. Note: THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS BEING STUNNED. When you are stunned and receive a hit, you remain stunned until a period of time has passed. The Crumple state, however, ends once you are hit.
  • Frozen: Turned to ice, turned to stone; theme is irrelevant, the reaction is the same. You are locked down, stunned, and you cannot break free until a timer runs down. Note: this is the first time I have used the word stunned. That is because this is the first time it has been factually correct. Do not use it when not appropriate. It’s confusing, and only serves to weaken communication and meaning.

霸体、无敌(不受伤害且无反应)、破防(之后更易受伤)、无视防御(防不住)、崩溃(失控一段时间,被打后恢复)、冻结。

With all of the various reactions (normal hits, guarded hits, air hits, crumples, etc.) and with the knowledge that to truly sell an attack it has to have an appropriate reaction, you can see how the workload begins to balloon when left unchecked.

Note: If you don’t have time to make heavy reactions, all that time and effort making ‘cool’ heavy looking attacks is now worthless.

如果你没时间制作与之相配的反应,那么制作看起来‘很酷的’攻击动作就是白费力气。

It is purely anecdotal, but it is my belief that what separates the good from the great is having a truly competent grasp of how important reactions are to the system; not just how to make them look good, but how to make them look good within a budget. Your workload dictates the possible reactions, the reactions dictate the feel of your attacks, and the feel dictates the final piece, your results.

好与非常好之间的差距就在于是否真正理解反应对动作系统的重要性;不仅是知道如何把它们做得好看,而且知道如何在预算内把它们做得好看。

Result

What is the difference between reaction and result? Viewed casually, reactions seem to be results, but there is a worthwhile distinction here. First, a move can have a result without a reaction (I drink a health potion). Second, and more important, reactions are animations, while results are changes in state.

反应是动画,而结果是状态的改变。

State, in this context, refers to more than just the health of your character. Other changes in state range from altering your current armor rating, to altering whether you are considered on the ground or in the air. For clarity I will break them down into categories, and then provide some examples within each category to illustrate its uses.

状态,在这种语境下不仅指角色的命值。其他状态改变包括当前装备等级、站在地面还是半空中等。下面将结果分类:

Health

  • Damage: A fixed reduction in health. The amount of damage done is scaled by two factors: the opponents armor class, and the current combo count. A character like Sentinel takes less damage from hits than someone like Akuma because they have different armor class ratings, additionally, the more you hit someone, the more your damage is scaled down (eventually reducing down to 1 damage per hit).
  • Poison: A fixed reduction in health over time.
  • Heal: A fixed increase in health
  • Regen: A fixed increase in health over time
  • Drain: Reduces health from one person, healing someone else for some fraction of damage done.

Defense

  • Armor: Increases or decreases the amount of damage scaled by your armor.

Time

  • Increase: Making one character move faster than another is a simple to understand, if complex to implement, example of this concept, but a better illustration is to consider what happens if we simply reduce the number of startup frames a character plays.
  • Decrease: Much the same, but in reverse. I could increase the length of my opponents recovery, giving me a major advantage.

Position

  • Impulse: Not all moves shove you across the screen, some suck you in. Impulse is the generic attribute, applied programmatically, of how much (both positive or negative) something shoves you.
  • Launch: Knocking an enemy into the air places him into a completely new state. The game must understand not only that he acts differently, but also that he reactsdifferently. There are a whole new set of reactions to play when you are in the air; remember what I said about your workload ballooning when you don’t pay attention?

Results are easy to grasp and fun to think about, but do not get carried away. Their simplicity in concept belies their complexity of implementation. For every system you wish to modulate, the programmers must expend time and effort making that system variable instead of fixed. Pick your battles carefully.

结果是容易理解的,想起来也很有趣,但别得意忘形。它们在概念上的简单掩饰了执行上的复杂。对于每一个你想要调整的系统,程序员都必须花时间精力让它具备调整参数。谨慎处理你的战斗吧。

A Job Half Done

Action, Reaction, and Result. These stages help us answer three questions: what does it look like, how do I react to it, and what does it do? We have yet to learn why we should use it and how to counter it, but these questions are answered by taking the deconstructed parts and ideas and reconstructing them into a coherent package. It sounds a hell of a lot easier than it is, and crafting new ideas from our deconstructed parts can, once started, seem like a Herculean task; however, with some simple guidelines (and patience), it is very manageable – maybe even fun.

根据我们解构的部分想出新创意似乎是一件极为艰难的任务;然而,借助一些简单的指导(和耐心),仍然是可以完成的——甚至可能很有趣。

设计敌人(1)

原文地址:http://www.flark.net/designing-enemies/

作者:Mike Birkhead(战神系列战斗系统高级设计师)

感谢作者和他的分享精神,我这里也不过是薪火传递,将好文引入国内。为方便查阅,着重翻译一些重点段落。

 

Every move you can think of has already been created.

所有你能想到的动作都已经被创造出来了。

It sounds ludicrous, but there are only so many ways that one character can beat up another character, and all of that expended effort, all of that struggle to come up with a “cool” new special move, all of that work comes to naught when you end up with something that is, at its core, derivative. That time is better spent on other areas of the game.

Do not be ashamed to use the ideas of other designers. It is no more offensive to use a pre-constructed library in Java, than it is to take the ideas from another game and reapply them. The ideas don’t make the designer, execution does. Throw off these chains of constantly reinventing the wheel and get to stealing borrowing mining. The mining process begins at the greatest source. At the fount of cool, flashy and powerful moves: Marvel vs Capcom 2.

designing_enemies_mvc2_logo

Rides are about to get taken

The year is 1998 and Marvel vs Capcom explodes into arcades, and taking the ideas learned from the previous VS titles, it expands them to both the marvel and capcom casts. Two years later, its follow up, Marvel Vs Capcom 2 (MvC2), was the pièce de résistance. It used all the wonderful ideas of simplicity, massive fan service, team attacks, and bad-ass moves laid down by its predecessors, refined those ideas, and then coupled them with a dizzying cast of character. Do the math and you quickly see why this game is a treasure trove of ideas. 56 characters in total, each with several normal attacks, air attacks, special moves, assist moves, hyper moves… it quickly adds up.

漫威VS卡普空2 是动作创意的宝藏。56个迥异的角色,每个角色都有数种攻击、空中攻击、特殊招式……

The quantity of moves is not the only reason MvC2 is an inspiration. The design philosophy of this game, of the VS series in general, is that if you “break” everyone, everyone is balanced. Too often, when things seem overpowered, our instincts tell us to swing that “nerfbat” like the game owes us money, but if you are going to make a move impotent, then why even have the move? It’s true that in MvC2 not every single move, of every single character, is a game-breaking super attack (that’s just unrealistic). But for each character the designers strove to give each character a “trick” – something fun to give them style. Here emerges the beauty and joy of this game. Around every corner is some new eye-exploding, opponent-smashing or health-restoring nugget that is yours to discover, and there is a lot to discover. Yes, many moves are character-themed, subtly-twisted derivatives of other moves, but it still leaves us with a large amount of ideas to mine both thematically and functionally.

漫威VS卡普空2 之所以适合作为设计时的灵感来源,还得益于其设计理念:要平衡每个角色,就让每个角色都能被别的击败。(意思就是没有无敌角色)如果因为要保持平衡而把角色招式削弱得惨不忍睹,那为何把它设计出来?不如直接删了。诚然在MVC2中角色如此之多,无法做到让每个角色都攻击超强,但设计师尽力让每个角色都有独一无二的东西。因此在这款游戏中可以挖掘的动作原型非常多。

designing_enemies_epic_attack

Shit’s about to get real

Having a cast of 55 characters means you have a great collage of themes to pull from: plant guys, giant robots, samurai, cyborgs, ninjas, demons, hulks, egyptian gods, juggernauts… the list goes on. When stuck thematically, this game can be an inspirational source. Even if you have a character that doesn’t fit a mold cast by MvC2, the level of creativity can be helpful to get ideas popping.

As a thematic tool MvC2 is great, but what is more beneficial is its help in defining functionality. When designing enemies your goal is to make sure that every guy gets his own little trick. The trick can be something as simple as the pest enemy you use to swarm the player (emphasizing your big area attacks), or it can be something as special case as the medusa from god of war (emphasizing movement and timing your attacks).

每个敌人都有其设计目的,因此每个敌人都应具备它独特的用处——使角色的某个能力有价值。比如一拥而上的杂兵是为了强调角色的大范围攻击,战神里的美杜莎是为了强调角色的走位和攻击时机。

designing_enemies_full_cast

That’s a lot of characters

As a source of potential ideas MvC2 has both depth and breadth, and this combination makes it an intimidating game to mine. So, if MvC2 is the source we should steal from, where and how do we start? First, you must understand how to deconstruct the game, because knowing how the moves are constructed gives you a fighting game lexicon. Second, you must understand why and how you reconstruct them. Just taking random moves and smashing them — square peg round hole — into your cast of characters defeats the purpose of this exercise. Additionally, if you are making a single player action adventure game, there are certain philosophies that are incongruous with a fighting game. Your cast has roles to fulfill, so you will need to know what moves help you define these roles, how to modify these moves so they are compatible with the game you are making, and how to maintain a balance in your play.

对动作冒险游戏来说(正好是我现在做的项目),角色动作需要包含角色的性格、故事。设计师在设计动作和招式的时候要很明确怎样的设计能更好地塑造这个角色,同时如何让它们符合游戏的玩法框架。

Marvel vs Capcom 2 is an amazing resource, but it isn’t the only resource. Tekken, Street Fighter, Guilty Gear, the list goes on and on. In the next post I will talk about how to analyze, describe, and deconstruct what you are seeing in MvC2, and armed with this you will, hopefully, be able to apply this knowledge it to any game you see, not just MvC2.