Author Topic: Multiplayer?  (Read 3839 times)

Offline Kemeno

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Multiplayer?
« on: January 27, 2011, 08:32:21 PM »
First of all: I read the preview of A Valley Without Wind that you wrote up, and like everyone else around here, I'm pretty excited about it. I'm sure the excitement level will only increase as you guys reveal more details! :D

I was a little surprised that there was no mention of multiplayer in the preview, though, especially given Arcen's track record with multiplayer in their games, so I figured I'd just come out and ask:

Is there any multiplayer planned for the A Valley Without Wind? If so, is it going to be a ground-up multiplayer design like AI War or something different? How many players are going to be able to play together?

Offline dumpsterKEEPER

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2011, 04:22:31 PM »
There's some information posted here. Full post:

it will have online multiplayer, yes?

That's something we aren't promising yet, but hopefully so.  That will involve a very new kind of networking for us, and if the project isn't gaining a lot of traction that's something we're likely to cut.  Also, it's unlikely the multiplayer component would be there for alpha.  But we are making notes in the code for places to go back and fill in networking code at, if we get to that point, so it's certainly something we're thinking about.

And we're specifically not doing anything to make the online networking impossible, or any more difficult on ourselves than it has to be.  But it's definitely different programming an action game, which is something we managed to avoid with AI War and Tidalis.  Most game developers seem to think that the strategy game way of network programming is vastly, intensely harder than the action game sort (one word: desyncs), but that's what I'm used to programming so it feels the opposite to me at the moment.

You know me, though: I love co-op in gaming. So it's definitely something I really want to have there, and I know Keith feels the game.  We'll just see if reality matches up with our desires.  At worst, if AVWW has a similar amount of popularity to AI War, then we can probably implement the multiplayer as a free DLC addon in tandem with work on a paid expansion, or something like that.  Who knows. 

We're hoping that the game will be massively more popular than AI War, though, and in that even the multiplayer would be an absolute 100% no-brainer.  Me being wary and without a crystal ball, I'm not ready to commit to that feature yet, though.  If we have to make an amazing non-networked adventure game, it wouldn't be the end of the world.  Though I'd have to find some clever way to get some form of local co-op in there, in that event (otherwise it would be network-only, not local).

Offline Fleet

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2011, 09:06:51 PM »
I'm pretty happy with that response, seemed honest and comprehensive.

A co-op multiplayer game from Arcen? Insta-buy for me, since I buy for the experience I have with friends on off-time (when we are not studying).

Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #3 on: February 01, 2011, 04:03:53 PM »
Well, as it turns out, we're starting to think about the multiplayer component more and more.  We suspect it might be rather critical for the game to really take off, and plus you know how I love co-op.  Since I want to avoid a lengthy refactor period later (as has happened to Minecraft, for example), we might have some multiplayer available in alpha.  Of course, it's probably going to be pretty buggy if it's even in there at first, but it will still be quicker to test and fix up than what happened with Minecraft.

We'll see.  A lot of that makes suppositions based on implementation work that we haven't done yet. We should know more next week or the week after.
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Offline getter77

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2011, 06:37:13 PM »
I'll be "that guy" again:

Reckoning on "bots" for the co-op/party/community/community+ experience when other, or not enough to taste, real people are not quite around?   Seems ripe to make use of all that AI War AI experience for a more potent and "living" than most NPC and the like---and surely more nuanced possibilities than the examples of FFXII and back in Secret of Mana/Seiken Densetsu III....
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Offline tigersfan

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2011, 06:41:38 PM »
Well, as it turns out, we're starting to think about the multiplayer component more and more.  We suspect it might be rather critical for the game to really take off, and plus you know how I love co-op.  Since I want to avoid a lengthy refactor period later (as has happened to Minecraft, for example), we might have some multiplayer available in alpha.  Of course, it's probably going to be pretty buggy if it's even in there at first, but it will still be quicker to test and fix up than what happened with Minecraft.

We'll see.  A lot of that makes suppositions based on implementation work that we haven't done yet. We should know more next week or the week after.

I hope this means that it won't be ONLY multiplayer? I certainly see why you feel that this game needs it to take off, I'd probably come to a similar conclusion were I in your things on your feet. But personally, I'm not a fan of mulitplayer games too often, so I'm hoping that it will be like AI War, supported, even encouraged, but far from required.

Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2011, 06:42:52 PM »
If there were "bots," they would be a very later-added feature.  I'll be really surprised if we add something like that, though.  The game is about solo adventuring, except when you're playing co-op with other actual living folks.  Most of our AI War experience would be utterly useless for creating effective bots of this sort.  That's much more boring, run-of-the-mill game AI sort of logic.  That said, it's definitely nontrivial to implement.

Just in general, though, this isn't meant to be a game where you run around with a team of folks all the time.  You can do so in multiplayer if you wish, and that's fine, but it's meant to largely be more like Zelda or Crystalis or whatever where you are the lone adventurer out facing the perils of a stronger world.  I like playing co-op, so when I'm out in the wild "alone" that means I want my wife along.  But to me that's just us playing the game together, as opposed to a game intrinsically about parties of people running around doing stuff.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2011, 06:43:51 PM »
Well, as it turns out, we're starting to think about the multiplayer component more and more.  We suspect it might be rather critical for the game to really take off, and plus you know how I love co-op.  Since I want to avoid a lengthy refactor period later (as has happened to Minecraft, for example), we might have some multiplayer available in alpha.  Of course, it's probably going to be pretty buggy if it's even in there at first, but it will still be quicker to test and fix up than what happened with Minecraft.

We'll see.  A lot of that makes suppositions based on implementation work that we haven't done yet. We should know more next week or the week after.

I hope this means that it won't be ONLY multiplayer? I certainly see why you feel that this game needs it to take off, I'd probably come to a similar conclusion were I in your things on your feet. But personally, I'm not a fan of mulitplayer games too often, so I'm hoping that it will be like AI War, supported, even encouraged, but far from required.

I feel confident in saying that we will never, ever, make a game without single-player.  And this game definitely won't be omitting single player.
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Offline getter77

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2011, 08:43:47 PM »
If there were "bots," they would be a very later-added feature.  I'll be really surprised if we add something like that, though.  The game is about solo adventuring, except when you're playing co-op with other actual living folks.  Most of our AI War experience would be utterly useless for creating effective bots of this sort.  That's much more boring, run-of-the-mill game AI sort of logic.  That said, it's definitely nontrivial to implement.

Just in general, though, this isn't meant to be a game where you run around with a team of folks all the time.  You can do so in multiplayer if you wish, and that's fine, but it's meant to largely be more like Zelda or Crystalis or whatever where you are the lone adventurer out facing the perils of a stronger world.  I like playing co-op, so when I'm out in the wild "alone" that means I want my wife along.  But to me that's just us playing the game together, as opposed to a game intrinsically about parties of people running around doing stuff.

Ah, I gotcha!  Still, would be interesting to see "rival" AI Adventurers with their own intent/means of altering the world so as to create situations where the player(s) have to improvise a bit as opposed to just dealing with their own largely somewhat pre-meditated handiwork---could see how such would be hefty doings compared to the usual NPCs, enemies/monsters, and so forth though.
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Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2011, 08:49:08 PM »
A lot of that sort of thing will happen "off screen" during the rapid aging of the simulation.  So, you might be having some adversary that does unpleasant things to some part of the world you care about, and you always come in on the aftermath, etc.  In terms of a showdown, the adversary would have enemy-style limited AI, most likely.  At least that's the current thinking; most likely that sort of thing will change a lot between now and implementation, because it's way after alpha when we'd be thinking about that sort thing.
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Offline TechSY730

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2011, 09:51:27 PM »
A lot of that sort of thing will happen "off screen" during the rapid aging of the simulation.  So, you might be having some adversary that does unpleasant things to some part of the world you care about, and you always come in on the aftermath, etc.  In terms of a showdown, the adversary would have enemy-style limited AI, most likely.  At least that's the current thinking; most likely that sort of thing will change a lot between now and implementation, because it's way after alpha when we'd be thinking about that sort thing.

Ah, the classic trick of changing things while people aren't looking.
It works wonderfully when you are trying to create a large dynamic world but don't want people to see things "warp" in from nowhere when there is no story explanation why they can do so. (AI War doesn't count, there is a good explanation for why things can warp in from nowhere)

Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2011, 11:02:28 PM »
Movies use that sort of trick all the time, to save on special effects.  Even movies with tons of special effects often do that, simply to save on budget and just keep things moving.

Personally, when something is overly flashy about showing me how amazing a job the animators/coders/designers/whoever did, it really starts to seem gratuitous.  You know what I mean, where there is just a ton of excess emphasis on things that would normally be ordinary, but which they wanted to emphasize for technical reasons.  You see this more in movies sometimes, and in a few AAA games I can think of, rather than anything else. 

Or in a related example, it's like having a three-second animation that is really flashy and exciting, rather than having a 0.5 second animation that actually feels better for gameplay and doesn't make you want to rip your skin off after the 10,000th time you've seen it.  The 2008 Prince of Persia game had a lot of that sort of thing, compared to the more economical and streamlined Sands of Time.

As with all things, there are infinite things we could do with this game.  Question being: do we want to spend time making NPCs walk around and do stuff in a fancy scripted way?  And do we expect you to sit there and watch that over and over again?  Or do we put emphasis on things you and your character can do, instead, and keep to the gameplay?  For me, clearly, it's the latter, but I don't think it's a cop-out. 

Anywho. ;)
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Offline getter77

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2011, 01:40:00 PM »
A lot of that sort of thing will happen "off screen" during the rapid aging of the simulation.  So, you might be having some adversary that does unpleasant things to some part of the world you care about, and you always come in on the aftermath, etc.  In terms of a showdown, the adversary would have enemy-style limited AI, most likely.  At least that's the current thinking; most likely that sort of thing will change a lot between now and implementation, because it's way after alpha when we'd be thinking about that sort thing.

Very nice, but would it necessarily always have you coming in on the aftermath as opposed to a "arriving in the nick of time/moment of truth" fashion?  I don't know why, but somehow AVWW keeps wanting to jump out to me as the "dramatic flair/sit-up-in-chair attention grabber" project moreso than the "methodical machinations" of AI War---though I can't say why really...

I'd also think that ultra-sim NPC might not be the way to go, but I would lobby for dynamic actions in the thick of it---flat characters for the mundane doings that become appropriately round when the extraordinary occurs.
The Roguelike Guy...also hopefully an overall skilled developer as time rolls on.

Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2011, 01:58:22 PM »
Possibly -- at this point it's really hard to say.  But certainly showdowns with your antagonists are planned, so I imagine that will happen as a matter of course to some extent.  There's a lot of things we can do with this game, but right now we're focused on the basics and just proving out the general concept and getting that fun.  Then, assuming players get behind it, we're planning to grow it like we have AI War, through expansions and free DLC.

Hopefully the general feel and polish of AVWW 1.0 will be more like AI War 3.0 minus the expansions.  And then hopefully we can build upwards from there in terms of adding a lot of content and extra abilities on to the game, like we have between AI War 1.0 and 5.0.
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Offline Nalgas

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Re: Multiplayer?
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2011, 02:24:57 PM »
Or in a related example, it's like having a three-second animation that is really flashy and exciting, rather than having a 0.5 second animation that actually feels better for gameplay and doesn't make you want to rip your skin off after the 10,000th time you've seen it.  The 2008 Prince of Persia game had a lot of that sort of thing, compared to the more economical and streamlined Sands of Time.

I think an even better example would be the summons in some of the Final Fantasy games, which are just brutal to sit through more than once or twice in the ones where they're not skippable.  Some of those are more like push the button, go make a sandwich, and come back when you're done with lunch to be just in time to catch the ending of it and see yourself winning the game.  The pacing of PoP was ridiculously fast and uninterrupted in comparison.  Heh.