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目录

游戏奖励定义及其类型编辑本段回目录

在这篇文章中,我将探索奖励的基本要素。首先,我会给奖励下个定义。随后,我会阐述奖励对游戏整体意味着什么,如果游戏中的奖励不够会出现何种状况。接下来,我会列举可供游戏设计师使用的不同类型的奖励。最后,我会讨论某些让奖励发挥更大效能的方法。

奖励

奖励指那些你得到了会感觉很高兴的东西。我觉得需要对这个定义的三个层面做些许解释,即东西、得到和感到高兴。随后,还需要解释某个没有出现在定义中却需要予以重视的层面。

“东西”这个层面并不明确。无论你得到的是什么东西,只要感到高兴,就可以称为奖励。可以是有形的东西,比如一袋硬币,也可以是像在背上轻拍一下或恭维话之类无形的东西。无论游戏设计师用何种东西作为奖励,也无论你是否能够察觉到这种东西,重点在于你在得到时感到高兴即可。

“得到”这个词可能会让你觉得我的意思是奖励总是游戏给你东西的形式,但我并不是这个意思。当然,游戏中有人交给你一瓶药水确实是种得到奖励的方式。游戏中分数的提升或赠予额外的时间以及游戏开发者让你得到了有价值的经验,这些也都是你得到奖励的形式。但在某些情况下,你只是偶然遇到了奖励,这样的奖励是你自己碰上的。比如,你看到许多孩童正在玩耍,这让你的脸上浮现出了微笑。你并没有真正得到某物,游戏也没有真正给你什么,但这仍然可以视为一种奖励。所以,用“得到”这个词或许并不准确,但这确实我能想到的最接近的词。而且,在这个定义中我们也确实需要有个动词,否则定义就会显得不完整,因为奖励并不只是那些能让你感到高兴的东西。我很喜欢推拿,但除非我能得到享受推拿的机会,否则这就不能视为一种奖励。

这个定义中最重要的部分是,你因得到东西而“感到高兴”。我觉得这无需多做解释,因为我确实不知道要如何进行解释,字词便足以说明其含义。但是,我还是想要强调,在这里我们说的是种感觉。换句话说,某种东西是否可视为奖励完全是主观的想法。如果你拍了下我的头,我说道:“谢谢,这正是我所需要的”,这样你的行为对我来说就是种奖励。但是如果我对你做出同样的动作,你可能并不会和我一样将其视为奖励。重点在于,只有得到那个东西的人才能决定是否将其视为奖励。作为游戏设计师,我们可以对玩家是否将某种东西视为奖励做出合理的猜测,但我们无法下肯定的结论。我们或许会认为某个东西是种奖励,事实上玩家可能并不这样认为,反之亦然。

定义中没有提到的层面是,奖励必须赚取。如果我们要讨论电脑游戏中的奖励,我认为应该要考虑到这一点。通常玩家得到奖励的原因是做出某种行动,也就是说,玩家靠自己的行动来赚取奖励。但是,这个层面不一定存在。比如,如果某款游戏设置成规定时间过后给予玩家额外的钱币,那么玩家在游戏中就不用通过自己的行动来赚取钱币,但是如果玩家因为得到这种钱币而感到高兴,这就可以视为奖励(游戏邦注:假设所耗费的时间并非游戏中的重要因素,比如在回合制的战略游戏中)。游戏中的多数奖励必须通过赚取方能获得,但有些游戏可能出现例外情况,所有“赚取”这个词就不宜出现在定义中。但是,它对奖励的察觉确实有所影响。我将在下文具体阐述这方面的内容。

playfish-cash-game-specific-rewards(from blog.games.com)

playfish-cash-game-specific-rewards(from blog.games.com)

有价值的体验

游戏必须提供有价值的体验,否则我就不会选择玩这样的游戏。游戏必须能够提供能让我感到高兴的体验。换句话说,游戏必须带有奖励性。我们决定玩游戏的原因在于,我们希望能够因这种行为而获得奖励,感觉我们获得了有价值的体验。

奖励固然是主观的东西,但是游戏中必须要有某些能让你感到高兴的东西,否则你就不会玩这款游戏。你之所以玩《宝石迷阵》,或许是因为宝石掉落的声音能够让你感到轻松。你之所以玩《雷神之锤》,或许是因为屠杀怪物会让你感觉自己很强大。你之所以玩《文明》,或许是因为你喜欢构建帝国的感觉。你之所以玩《模拟人生》,或许是因为你喜欢游戏中只用鼠标便可以揪出坏蛋的想法。你之所以玩《网络奇兵》,或许是因为你喜欢那种极度恐慌的感觉。你之所以玩《Paradoxion》,或许是因为它让你感觉自己很睿智。无论你玩何种游戏,其原因都是你想要从中得到某些东西,某些让你感到高兴的东西(游戏邦注:即便其他人觉得这种东西很古怪)。

要让游戏提供整体性的奖励体验,游戏就必须包含某些奖励性的元素。比如,我特别讨厌别人踢我的小腿,因此你不能创造出频繁让我的小腿受到攻击的游戏,这会让我对游戏感到厌恶。游戏中必须要有让我视为奖励的东西,否则就无法给我提供有价值的体验。当然,这并不意味着要将所有的东西都设置为奖励,或者说抛弃所有让人感到厌恶的东西。毕竟,我有时也会喜欢上橄榄球或足球游戏,尽管会被人踢到小腿,我会认为这种冒犯是理所当然的游戏需求。但是,要让游戏带有奖励性,势必要在游戏中包含奖励东西。

日常琐事和挫败感

提供奖励的游戏并一定有整体的奖励性。还可能出现两种情况的偏差:游戏中有过多的讨厌之物或者游戏中奖励过少。前者会让玩家在游戏中产生挫败感,后者使玩游戏成为普通的日常琐事。

如果游戏中经常出现让你感到厌恶的东西,这样的游戏确实会令人懊恼。你的士兵经常走错路、你在游戏中碰到无法解决的谜题或者游戏总是让你失败,这些都会让人感到沮丧。砸键盘、大吼大叫或者抛掉控制器,这些起不到丝毫的作用,你在游戏中得到的奖励根本无法补偿在游戏中产生的挫败感。奇怪的是,有时我们会不顾这种挫败感,继续将游戏玩下去。或许是因为我们不甘心自己被愚蠢的电脑游戏打败!无论出于何种想法,当游戏让你产生挫败感时,你唯一要做的事情应该是:放弃这款游戏!

有时游戏不会惹恼你,但是你也没有获得奖励。这样的游戏就像是日常事务,丝毫不具趣味性。玩游戏的感觉就像你在熨衣服,这不是种惩罚,但是你也没有因为这个行为而感到高兴。通常情况下,如果游戏中的奖励出现的间隔时间太长,游戏就会变得像日常琐事一样。你花了无数分钟(游戏邦注:或者无数个小时)在森林中游走寻找魔法箱,但是你什么都没有看到,没有朋友、没有敌人更没有箱子。我会觉得这种感觉确实很无趣。或许设计师认为是奖励的东西并没有让你产生高兴的感觉。我玩《Morrowind》一段时间后产生了这种感觉。从某种程度上来说,我觉得替某些游戏内的角色完成任务并不是种冒险。我只是在遵从设计师的步伐行动。我扮演的不是个英雄,只是个跑腿的而已。对我来说,这款游戏中提供的奖励过少,所以我选择了放弃。日常琐事类游戏无疑是乏味无趣的。

奖励的类型

作为游戏设计师,我们必须关心游戏所能够提供奖励的类型。这能够帮助我们对玩家能够感到高兴的东西做出合理的猜想。游戏中存在多种类型的奖励。我知道以下所提供的奖励类型并不完整,但不完整的列表总比没有要好。以下是我所列举的奖励类型:

资源奖励。在资源有一定作用的游戏中,得到资源通常可视为一种奖励。资源可以有多种形式,包括钱币、食物、士兵、武器等。将资源奖励融入游戏中通常并不难做到,因为游戏过程需要这些资源。

技能奖励。有些游戏有明确的系统,让玩家可以提升角色的技能。比如,角色扮演游戏中提供的技能包括力量、耐力和速度。还有一种是《文明》中的科技。技能奖励让玩家产生提升的感觉。

扩展奖励。如果玩家在游戏中可能因为血量或时间的原因导致游戏结束,那么这种游戏便存在添加扩展奖励的空间。通过向玩家提供额外的生命值、生命数或时间等方式,你增加了玩家的游戏时间。玩家会将这种做法视为奖励,但是如果游戏让玩家产生上述挫败感或觉得像是日常琐事,那么扩展奖励也无法挽救这种局面。

内在奖励。如果做得好的话,图像、音乐和音效都会被玩家视为奖励。许多人喜欢看到《毁灭战士》和《Carmageddon》中的血腥画面或扑克游戏中衣着暴露的女郎。就游戏可玩性而言,内在奖励并没有为玩家提供任何东西,但是却能够使游戏体验得到升华。

成就奖励。玩家在游戏中完成某件时间,这本身就可以视为一种奖励,比如击败对手、打通关卡和配对三个粉色香蕉等。成就奖励很微妙,因为每个玩家对它们的感觉都各不相同,而且游戏初期的成就在后期或许只是常事而已。

动机奖励。尽管有时玩家在游戏中获得的东西对游戏可玩性并没有产生影响,但是这些东西能够让玩家产生动机,鼓励他们获得更多的分数。在竞赛中获胜后获得的金奖杯起到的也是这个作用。过场动画也属于这种类型,但它们所激发的不仅仅是动机。游戏内角色的鼓励性言辞或许也能够产生这种效果。

在上面列举的奖励类型中,只有资源奖励、技能奖励和扩展奖励对游戏本身能够构成影响。内在奖励、成就奖励和动机奖励都不会影响到游戏进程,但是它们能够使游戏体验更加丰富,从而对游戏产生影响。我把第一类称为游戏可玩性奖励,把第二类称为体验奖励。

reward(from pocketgod.blogspot.com)

reward(from pocketgod.blogspot.com)

奖励增强方法

对游戏设计师而言,与奖励同等重要的是,你所采用的各种用来增加奖励效果的方法。我将这些称为奖励增强方法。它们不会为游戏增添新的奖励,但它们可以让你在游戏中获得奖励后感到更加高兴。必须再次声明,以下所列举的方法并不是所有可供采取的做法。

利益增加。增强奖励的一种简单方法是增加玩家从奖励中得到的利益。在与游戏可玩性相关的奖励方面,可以提供更多的钱币、力量或时间。在体验奖励方面,可以提供更多的血腥画面或更多的分数(游戏邦注:作者认为利益增加方法无法用于成就奖励中)。利益增加的有效性有一定的局限性,超过这个临界点,玩家得到更多的利益就不会再感到更加高兴。而且,游戏可玩性奖励的利益增加有可能扰乱游戏的平衡性,所以须谨慎使用。

期盼。如果玩家在任务过程中碰到的所有游戏角色都在谈论某个漂亮的魔法石,那么玩家对这个道具的期盼值就会增加。当他最终找到时,可能会非常兴奋,告诉所有人现在他是魔法石的主人。如果没有这个期盼,玩家只会捡起魔法石然后放进背包中,完全对其置之不理。期盼也可以来源于游戏之外,比如,当所有朋友都在谈论击败最终BOSS后看到的动画时,你也会很希望自己能够看到。

成就。成就既是种奖励,也可以用来增强其他的奖励。尽管有所期盼,但是当玩家在森林中行走时发现魔法石,除了喜悦之外就没有其他特别的感觉。然而,如果他需要打败大量怪物或者通过重重障碍才能找到魔法石的所在,那么玩家找到道具时的感觉会更好。

奖品。如果你将奖励当做奖品提供给玩家,那么就预示这玩家赚取了奖励。拾取散落在关卡中的血瓶并不会让人产生获得奖品的感觉,但是通过关卡后获得额外的生命数可以产生这种感觉。奖品和成就相辅相成。玩家已经因自己的成就感觉自己获得奖励,但如果用奖品的形式提供额外的奖励,玩家肯定会感到更加高兴。

结论

奖励是某些让你感到高兴的东西。奖励是游戏的必需品,如果游戏中没有足够的奖励,会显得乏味甚至让人产生挫败感。如果你恰当地运用奖励,就可以营造出有价值的体验。你可以在游戏中使用许多种类型的奖励。而且同样重要的是,你还可以用多种方法来增强这些奖励的效果。

游戏邦注:本文发稿于2006年9月20日,所涉时间、事件和数据均以此为准。(本文为游戏邦/gamerboom.com编译,作者:William)

The Reward series, part 1: The basics of reward

William

This article is the first part of a series about reward in computer games and all that is related to it. In this article, I’ll explore the basics of rewards. First, I define what a reward is. Then, I talk about what rewards mean for the game as a whole and what happens if a game isn’t rewarding enough. After that, I’ll try to identify the different types of rewards a game designer can use and finally, I’ll discuss some ways in which we can make rewards more effective.

Reward

A reward is something you receive and feel positive about. There are three aspect of that definition I believe deserve some explanation: something, receive and feel positive about. And then there is an aspect that is not in the definition and that warrants some explanation because of it. I’ll get to that in a minute,

The term something is vague on purpose. It doesn’t really matter what you receive, as long as you feel positive about it, it’s a reward. It may be something very tangible, like a pouch of coins, or it might be less tangible like a pat on the back or a compliment. It doesn’t matter whether the game designer put it in the game explicitly, nor does it matter whether you are aware of the something. All that matters is that you feel positive about it when you receive it.

The word receive might lead you to believe that I mean that a reward is always given to you, but I don’t. Sure, it might be that someone hands you a healing potion; in that case you received a reward. Or it might be the game that gave you points or some extra time; again, you receive a reward. Or it might be that the developers of the game gave you a worthwhile experience and then that’s the reward you received. But sometimes you just encounter a reward, you just run into it. For example, you see a couple of children playing and it brings a smile to your face. You didn’t really receive that, it wasn’t actually given to you, but it’s still a reward. So, receive might not be the perfect word to use, but it’s the best I could come up with. And we do need a verb in there, because otherwise it isn’t enough; a reward isn’t just something you feel positive about. I feel positive about massages, but unless I actually receive one, it’s not a reward to me. (Giving one might be rewarding too, of course.)

The most important part of the definition is that you feel positive about what you received. I hope that doesn’t need explaining, because I really wouldn’t know how to explain it; it’s just what the word means. I do want to emphasize, though, that we are talking about a feeling here. In other words, what is or is not a reward is completely subjective. If you give me a whack on the head and I say ‘thanks, I really needed that’, then you just gave me a reward. If I repay you in kind, you might be less enthusiastic. The point is that only the one who receives the something can determine whether it’s a reward or not. As game designers we can make an educated guess whether something will be perceived as a reward by the player or not, but we can’t be sure. We might intend for something to be a reward, while it really is not or vice versa: only the player can determine that.

What is missing from the definition is the notion that a reward must be earned. When talking about rewards in (computer) games, I think it is correct to leave this out. Often a reward will be given because the player performed a certain action and yes, in that case the player earned the reward: action = reaction. But that isn’t strictly necessary. If the game is set up to give the player extra money every time a certain random time interval has expires, then the player didn’t really do anything to earn the money, but if she feels positive about receiving it, it’s a reward. (I’m assuming that time elapsed isn’t an important factor in a game, like when playing a turn-based strategy game). It’s likely that most rewards in a game must be earned, but some may not, so earning is not part of the definition. It does have an effect on how the reward might be perceived, though. I’ll discuss that later in this article.

A worthwhile experience

A game must offer what I call a worthwhile experience, otherwise I’m not going to play it. A game must provide an experience that I feel positive about. In other words, a game must be rewarding. The entire reason we decide to play a game, is because we expect to be rewarded for it, to feel that we are having a worthwhile experience.

What exactly that reward is, is of course subjective, but there must be something about the game you enjoy, otherwise you wouldn’t play it. Maybe you play Bejeweled because the sound of falling gems relaxes you. Or maybe you play Quake because killing monsters makes you feel powerful. Or maybe you play Civilization because you enjoy the fantasy of building an empire. Then again, you might prefer to play The Sims because you like the idea that you can take out the trash using nothing but your mouse. Or you might play System Shock because you like being scared shitless. Or maybe you play Paradoxion because it makes you feel smart. Whatever game you play, you play it because you want to get something out of it, something you feel positive about (even if others find it weird).

In order for a game to provide a rewarding experience as a whole, it must contain certain elements that are rewarding. You can’t create a game that constantly kicks me in the shin – something I find extremely annoying – but leaves me feeling that the game as a whole was quite enjoyable. There must be at least something in the game that I would consider a reward, otherwise the game won’t provide me with a worthwhile experience. Of course, that doesn’t mean everything should be a reward, or that nothing can be annoying. After all, I do enjoy a game of football (or soccer, if you prefer) on occasion and that includes a bit of shin kicking, which I’ll just take for granted. But still, for a game to be rewarding, it has to include rewards.

Chores and frustrations

Even a game that offers some rewards might not be rewarding as a whole. One of two things can go wrong. Either the game has too many annoyances or the game has too little rewards. In the first case, playing the game is frustrating and in the second case, playing the game is a chore.

A game is frustrating when it annoys you. Your soldiers keep walking the wrong way, or you’re faced with a puzzle that you just can’t solve, or you lose all the time, or the game is just not supposed to do that! Pound on the keyboard, yell at your friends, throw the controller across the room, it won’t help one bit: the rewards you receive cannot make up anymore for all those things that annoy you about the game. Strangely enough, sometimes we feel compelled to keep playing regardless of the frustration. Maybe it’s because we don’t like the thought of being beaten by a stupid computer game! Or maybe we still hope for that wonderful feeling we had the last time we played this game. Whatever the case may be, there’s really only one thing you should do when a game frustrates you: stop playing it.

Sometimes a game doesn’t annoy you, but you don’t get any rewards either. Such a game is a chore, it’s boring. It’s like ironing your clothes: it isn’t really a punishment, but you don’t feel positive about it either. (No, I’m not saying ironing is a game, it’s just a comparison.) Often, a game becomes a chore when rewards are spread too far apart. You spend endless minutes (or hours, doesn’t really matter since they’re endless anyway) walking around the forest looking for that Magic Chest, but you don’t find anything: no friends, no foes, no chests. Chore, I say. It might also be that what the designer intended as a reward just doesn’t fill you with that positive feeling you are after. I actually felt this way after playing Morrowind for a while. At some point I realised that running errands for some in-game character didn’t feel particularly adventurous anymore. I just did what I did, because I was supposed to do that. I wasn’t playing a hero, I was someone’s whipping boy. (Actually, I was everybody’s whipping boy.) There was too little reward left in the game for me, so I gave it up. Chore: boring.

Types of reward

As game designers, we should be aware of the rewards our games can offer. It helps us to make an educated guess about what players will feel positive about. There are many types of rewards in a game. I’m sure the following list is incomplete, but an incomplete list is better than no list at all, so here goes.

Resource rewards. In games where resources play a role, receiving those resources is often a reward. Resources can be anything: money, food, soldiers, weapons. Including resource rewards in a game is usually not hard to do, because the game requires those resources.

Skill rewards. Some games have explicit systems for letting the player improve. One example is the various skills in role-playing games like strength, stamina and speed. Another example is the technologies in Civilization. Skill rewards give the player a feeling of improvement.

Extension rewards. If a game can end because the player runs out of health or time, then there is room for extension rewards. By giving the player extra health, extra lives or extra time, you extend the time the player can spend on her current game. She’ll consider this a reward, unless of course she already considers your game a chore or a frustration; extension rewards can’t help you out of that one.

Visceral rewards. Graphics, music and sound, when well done, can be very rewarding to the player. Many people enjoy the blood and gore in games like Doom and Carmageddon or the naked ladies in a game of strip poker. A visceral reward doesn’t offer the player anything in terms of the gameplay, but it does enhance the experience.

Accomplishment rewards. When a player accomplishes something in the game that can be a reward by itself: beating an opponent, finishing a level, matching three pink bananas. Accomplishment rewards are tricky, because everyone feels differently about them and what may be an accomplishment to the player in the beginning of the game may just be routine at the end of it.

Motivational rewards. The points a player receives during a game usually have no effect on the gameplay whatsoever, but they do help to motivate the player, to encourage her to score more points. The same goes with that shiny, gold cup with the number one on it you get after winning a race. Cut scenes also fall into this category, although they might offer more than just motivation. An encouraging word from an in-game character might also do the trick.

Of the types of rewards listed above only resource rewards, skill rewards and extension rewards offer the player something in terms of the game itself. Visceral rewards, accomplishment rewards and motivational rewards have no influence on the game itself, but they can add to the experience and thus have an effect on the game as far as the player is concerned. I’ll call the first group gameplay rewards and the second group experience rewards.

Reward intensifiers

Just as important to the game designer as rewards, are the various methods you can use to increase the effectiveness of your rewards. I call these methods reward intensifiers. They don’t add new rewards to the game, but they do make the rewards you receive taste even sweeter, they make you feel more positive about them. Again, the following list is not complete, but it’s better then no list.

Increased benefits. A simple way to intensify a reward is to increase the benefits the player receives from the reward. For gameplay related rewards, this can mean things like more money, more strength or more time. For experience rewards it might mean more blood and gore or more points. (I don’t think you can apply increased benefits to accomplishment rewards.) Increased benefits have only limited effectiveness; there is a point beyond which the player just won’t feel more positive for receiving more benefits. Also, with gameplay rewards increased benefits can upset the balance of the game, so be careful.

Anticipation. If all the characters a player meets during her quest keep talking about that beautiful Magic Gemstone, then it’s likely she wants to find that much sought after item. When she finally does find it, she’s probably going to be very thrilled and tell everyone she is now the owner of the Magic Gemstone. Without the anticipation, she might just pick up the gemstone, put it in her backpack and never give it another thought. Anticipation can also come from outside the game, for example, when all your friends keep talking about that cool cut scene that’s coming up after you beat the Big Annoying Boss.

Accomplishment. Accomplishment can be a reward in itself, but it can also serve to intensify other rewards. When the player just walks into the forest, walks around a bit and then finds the Magic Gemstone, it might not feel very special to her, despite the anticipation. On the other hand, if she has to beat a lot of monster for it, or if she went through great trouble to discover the location of the Magic Gemstone, then she’ll feel a lot better about herself for finding it.

Prize. If you offer a reward as a prize, then that implies that the player has earned the reward. Picking up health packs that are scattered throughout the level often doesn’t feel like receiving a prize, but getting an extra life for finishing the level might. Prizes and accomplishments complement each other nicely. The player already feels rewarded because of her accomplishment and by offering her another reward, making that reward the prize, she’ll surely be left with a positive feeling.

Conclusion

A reward is something you feel positive about. Rewards are essential to a game, if you don’t have enough of them your game may become a chore or even frustrating. If you use rewards just right, though, you create a worthwhile experience. There are many kinds of rewards you can use for your game. Just as important, there are ways to intensify those rewards. (Source: Casual Game Design)

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