Author Topic: Multiplayer....  (Read 13927 times)

Offline Diazo

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #45 on: October 02, 2013, 06:16:34 PM »
(Disclaimer: Did not join Alpha due to time constraints so have not actually played the game.)

As I understand it, this is a turn based game with a single action per game-piece (player has one on the board, then each enemy is one also) in a fixed order.

The only way I can see multiplayer working is it being limited to the level.

IE: Only the host can do anything on the world map, it is only once a level starts that each player in the game gets a controllable game-piece.

Then, assuming 2 players, when the players turn starts you "do" your action which is then previewed for you, once all players have done their action, those actions actually execute, the AI's actions execute and they we are back at the players turn.

The host having to hit 'end-turn', or the end turn just happening once all players input an action would be optional.

There would be no dropping in and out, or running 2 different levels or anything. Where the host is focused is where everyone is limited to being.

Hence the limit of only the host controls the world map, if multiple players can't run different missions simultaneously, the host is the one who gets to decide the mission.

The other advantage this has, in terms of amount of gameplay for return on development time, is that it would also be the basis for a single player controlling more then one exo in a level at a time.

Looking at AI war, the 2 or 4 planet start has become a very popular starting position, so I think that one player controlling multiple exos at once has some appeal.

Having said that, this is a big investment in development time so we are not seeing it anytime soon.

D.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2013, 06:25:32 PM »
Then, assuming 2 players, when the players turn starts you "do" your action which is then previewed for you, once all players have done their action, those actions actually execute, the AI's actions execute and they we are back at the players turn.

The host having to hit 'end-turn', or the end turn just happening once all players input an action would be optional.

That would make the "walking down a hallway together" problem even worse. You only get one move a turn, so it takes say 15 turns to walk down the hallway.

The other problem is that player 2 is going to be figuring out what action to take before player 1's action has happened, which is going to be all kinds of confusing if player 1 is shooting a rocket launcher. If you're going to show a preview for player 2, it makes more sense to just go ahead and do the action since player 2 only gets to go after player 1 anyway.

Offline zharmad

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2013, 06:45:24 PM »
 From the gamut of other old turn-based like multiplayer games, the only ones I've thought worked was either:
 - fast simultaneous turns with an reserve allotment of time for more complex planning. Chess!
 - asynchronous simultaneous turns. Although stepped real-time would be more accurate. This can't really apply with the current mechanics...

 I watched a couple of LPs of Bionic - how much time would people need to make decisions in a given fire-fight? How long odes a firefight last?  A 5-second turn clock + 2~5 minute reserve time might work.
 - Turns resolve whenever all players have an action in queue.
 - Time ticks down for each player which has an empty order queue.
 - Reserve time is kept separately for each player.
 - The fast clock +reserve system only applies when players are in the combat zone (taking Chris's model of all players being treated in the same combat zone, so players can't fly in to help).
 - Time-reserve refills outside of combat zone, so each firefight can be planned separately.
 - Queues of multiple potential actions to take is allowed: so players can give multiple orders to attack a series of bots, and whatever orders that become invalid is automatically dropped. This is used regularly in Laser Squad Nemesis (dodge-fire-fire-fire-dodge-fire-fire-fire-etc.). The other player moving to join and can simply queue a bunch of move order. One key to immediately clear queue.
 - A pause-order *can* be issued, say I want to immediately switch exos and fire on a couple of bots in range, but want to see which other bots move in before deciding what to do next. Switch-fire-fire-pause allows me to do that while my co-op has a longer list of move-orders.
 - Time-delay between resolving each order can also be set so as to have a chance to interrupt your queue to take evasive actions.

 The trouble I'm seeing with combat zones here in Bionic is that your weapon ranges are constantly expanding, which means effective combat zones (loosely defined as a distance in which players and bots can possibly interact) are constantly growing throughout the game. I don't know what this Razorbot is doing to wreck the idea - but would it be better off if bots never completely switch-off after being alerted / damaged / etc.?  If we wanted to remove combat zones entirely, ...then 10-second clocks with gradual refills of reserve (whatever you don't use from that 10 seconds, up to 2 minutes)?

Quote
The first question to answer is: You're fighting a mob of bots.  Your friend is coming down a 20-tile hallway to help you.  How is this handled in a way that is fun and not brokenly-exploitable?
Quote
The second question is: You're fighting a mob of bots that are arrayed in front of you.  Your friend is positioned a couple of tiles back behind you and to the side.  How can they help you in the fight in a way that does not cause the bots to unexpectedly unload all their ordnance into you when you are not ready, and which is not exploitable.  And which is still fun.
The only non-exploitable way is I think to have all players and virused bots share the same combat status and turns. Discouraging independent exploration is I think an okay drawback. No switching in and out of combat zones to regenerate, or wait for a player to grab a lone ammobot somewhere else, etc. So no player can take two turns at once within combat. To fix the torture issue out of combat, one might have to simply allow for a long queue of actions. Click a destination and automatically send a queue of move-command type of action. Either that or implement a switch between non-simultaneous turns and simultaneous turns.
 

Offline Tridus

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2013, 07:18:39 PM »
I'm going to throw a wacky idea out there.

Add a button that lets players 2-4 deploy or retract from player 1. That is, during non-combat exploration, the other players can just fold up into player 1's exo and only one person has to move around. No more "moving down the hallway lag issue".

If they push the deploy button, they pop out next to player 1. Now the turns go player 1, player 2, bots. For each extra player, the bots gain X% bonus shields, which is a number we need to figure out later.



As I said, wacky idea. Maybe someone can turn it into something more viable. :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2013, 08:24:08 PM »
I'm going to throw a wacky idea out there.

Add a button that lets players 2-4 deploy or retract from player 1. That is, during non-combat exploration, the other players can just fold up into player 1's exo and only one person has to move around. No more "moving down the hallway lag issue".

If they push the deploy button, they pop out next to player 1. Now the turns go player 1, player 2, bots. For each extra player, the bots gain X% bonus shields, which is a number we need to figure out later.



As I said, wacky idea. Maybe someone can turn it into something more viable. :)
Ooh, yea, that has potential :)

Might still fall in the "why is it making us follow these weird rules?" category, but I could see that solving some of the problems.
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Offline Teal_Blue

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #50 on: October 02, 2013, 08:48:43 PM »
Way to go Tridus!!  Maybe MP can work after all.   :)


Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #51 on: October 03, 2013, 08:55:22 AM »
Oooh, indeed!  That's actually super promising in a lot of respects. :)
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Offline goodgimp

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #52 on: October 03, 2013, 12:03:14 PM »
Woo! Would be cool for me if my annoying thread necro actually resulted in a working MP component at some time down the road due to community/dev brainstorming. Even if not, at the very least this thread has been a very interesting read.

Offline Tridus

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #53 on: October 03, 2013, 12:08:39 PM »
Glad I could come up with something useful. :)

Offline zharmad

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #54 on: October 06, 2013, 05:53:01 PM »
 A great idea, there - being able to pack the exos together.

 I have some reservation on how coop MP might be not-so-well implemented.  Depends on how much the combat takes up core gaming - there were games with separate strategy/storyline and combat phases, in which co-op was implemented only in the combat phase. Being second player then feels like a jump-in assist who does away and makes tea when player 1 switches back into the overall narrative. This was particular bad in, say, X-men Legends, where the story-line segments are completely un-skippable and player 1 makes all the build decisions on superheroes.
 Is there any game outside of horror where watching someone else move down hallways is fun? :P Or more to the point, watching someone else tinker with the bots you'll be using? All such problems are surmountable, but should be identified beforehand.

 = = =
 Edit: Don't get me wrong - piloting an EVA-01 cable-tied to the Argamma is probably still every-bit awesome.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 06:12:48 PM by zharmad »

Offline Pepisolo

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #55 on: October 06, 2013, 06:09:49 PM »
I'm still hoping that a "combat zone" style solution may surface. Ideally, I'd like to be able to walk off on my own. The "deployment" idea is still pretty cool, though.

Offline yllamana

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #56 on: October 08, 2013, 10:12:50 AM »
I just wanted to say I checked the website, saw the game (for the first time), read about it, watched the video, thought, "huh, that looks like something Arcen would put coop in... except they didn't mention it at all so it probably doesn't have it." :) After reading this thread the whole situation makes a lot more sense.

I hope you can find a way to get it back in, somehow, that doesn't involve multiple parallel nega-verses or whatever. I don't feel like I can provide any particularly meaningful commentary on how you might do that until I've played the game, so that's all I have to say about it until then!

Congratulations on your impending launch and I hope it goes really well.

Offline x4000

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2013, 10:22:12 AM »
Thanks very much!  And I think that this topic is important enough to deserve a sticky, since other folks will undoubtedly stop by and have the same sort of wonderings.
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Offline FurryRage

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #58 on: October 09, 2013, 06:37:16 AM »
I know that part of what I'll say has already been said a few times, but here's my two cents :

In AVWW each player add to the team power, and monsters are tougher to compensate.
In skyward collapse, each player brings actions meaning even if the ressources are still the same, you can do much more each turn, even if its just placing ressource tokens or smiting tiles at first, later when ressources aren't a problem anymore, it adds A LOT of towns, units, etc... everything you do is basically doubled past the first 10/15 turns.
In most of your games, the multiplayer brings more power to the player and give some to the comp to balance things, or just let the player search for higher challenges and up the difficulty. I know I play in a higher difficulty most of the time when I'm with a friend than what I'd choose in singleplayer. Your game customisation and difficulty selection is well made and offer an experience fit for any type and number of player, use it!
In the end, it's not a bad thing, you keep the base gameplay but just add more players, in bionic dues, it would mean playing with multiple exo on the same screen instead of switching, like it seemed to be the case at first (I didn't play prior to release), that was the good choice, but no need to increase actions of the bots or limit players to one action only like I saw suggested here, just give one action to each player and then comp plays, if it's easier this way, so be it, there's higher difficulties to compensate when you launch the game.
That's just based on your previous games and I may be saying what was already there during alpha, but that's my opinion nonetheless.
That's for the general approach on multiplayer.

Now let's answer a few problems I saw in this topic :

Limiting exo's to 4 isn't a problem, as long as each player gets a choice in the matter. I think allowing each player to select an exo during game creation is the best answer here (1 each for 4 players, 1 each and 1 more for player 1 with 3 players and 2 each for 2 players). It means that you'd probably need a game setup screen like in AI war though. During missions with 2 or 3 players, each should be able to change exo with one of the unused ones like in single player or ask someone for a swap. With 4 players, only the swapping is left, sending a popup to ask a player like in most rpg/hack n slash when you ask for trade, only here it would swap both exos on agreeing, could need a lot of coop so as to choose with who to swap since many players could need it at the same time (which is a GOOD thing, you're supposed to play multiplayer for the COOP part). Another way to do it would be to keep control of your bot all the time, and just swapping the positions, not exo ownership, except when you swap for an unused bot with 2 or 3 players. It would give a "your problem is now mine" feel.

As for inventory, each player should be able to custom his own exo and shouldn't be able to touch others so someone isn't taking back items from another player's exo or tinkering with it while he's not looking. Which means you should be able to swap exo "ownership" even on the city map. As for sharing the items, well, it's basic hack n slash/rpg cooperation, if you keep playing with dickheads who steal all the loot, maybe you should just stop and start finding a real team, you play for the COOP like I said. Add a "roll" option if you must. Alternatively, you could lock items to the player who found it or give them at random and add a "trade" system between players, like in most hack n slash/rpg again.
I don't think any of this is necessary in a proper team but eh...

Anyway, on to the next point, mission choosing should be done by first player, with a possibility to "ask for a vote" in order to see what's the general opinion/needs (by placing markers on map?), but ultimately, player 1 should be the one choosing.

Now on the "hallway problem", I really don't see it. It's dumb but true. Sure it takes 15 tiles so 15 turns. But in the end, if there's no ennemy in sight, it barely takes a second to decide which way to go, forward! The only thing that would be needed would be either to end the turn automatically once each player made his move (hallway could be done in 15 to 30 second top this way) or to add an end turn shortcut (didn't check the options to see if there was one) to speed it up a little (double the previous solution time to consider the clicking/moving of the mouse otherwise)
All in all, it's really not that big a problem, since if there's a situation to assess (like an ennemy bot in the middle of the hallway) everybody should stop anyway to see what's the best way to deal with it.
The only problem would be with a proper turn based game where each player is separated, in this case, if player 3 is first in the line, it takes one more turn for player 1 and 2 to move since they're blocked by player 3 in the rare case where everyone is stuck to each other which is probably a VERY VERY BAD IDEA in this game, even MORE in a hallway situation, it really shouldn't happen for real, but let's say it does, in this case, a really simple thing to do would be to make the turns simultaneous for players, this way, everyone plays during the same "player turn" with a limit of one action, and then the comp takes its turn. Thus, the first in line move, then second, then 3rd and finally the last one (if you're playing with 4 players). It should barely take 5 seconds to do it and frankly, with the number of bots, I think you'll spend more time watching the computer move than waiting for your friends. And of course, swapping bots/positions count as an action for both swapping players while I'm on the "turn" topic.

The main argument I can see here is that everyone seems to think that people will do whatever they want, and in this case, yes, it's utter chaos and it will probably always end in the death of the team, but hey, that's NOT proper coop, so of course it takes a bit more time to play than solo, but that's compensated by the fact that if everyone plays right, you spend more time thinking but less time exploring/fighting since many player can do it at once, so in the end, hallway or not, a 20 minute mission in singleplayer should be more or less a 20 minute mission in multiplayer.
Of course, it goes in pair with the "what will my team do" since if someone launches a rocket while you were preparing to fire your laser, it disturbs you and your plans, but then again, it's COOP, I'll keep repeating that until it's heard, if you want chaos, you get chaos, if you want coop, you get coop, multiplayer is multiplayer, if it's not a successful experience, it's not the game's fault but the player's. If you want to play coop, the bare necessity is to at least talk or write to your friend so you can all check what can/must be done in any given situation. Moreover, most of the people who play online nowadays use teamspeak mumble or skype (just a few exemples) to speed up the discussing process by talking instead of writing, but hey, even without that, you can still chat in game if need be.
And you can always add an undo button like in skyward collapse, if you have a beef with  someone, just don't use your action, undo the last and talk it out with the concerned player. As long as everyone didn't use their action, you should be safe anyway, the common "player turn" won't end.

As for the "support you friend from afar thing", the swapping should help, and if it doesn't, then you should have gone with him instead of wandering on your own, player's fault, not the game, solved. A roguelike is supposed to be unforgiving, blame yourself :D
There's lot of possibilities once you add 4 bots instead of one, like playing with an brawler supported by a sniper, or making a group of 4 ninjas to stealth kill all the bots of a room at once with careful positioning. Even if your friend is a few tiles away, with the range some weapons get, that's easy to cope with, and it will make bot customizing and item choice all the more important.
Of course it'll be a little different from the single player experience but like I said in the beginning, it's also the case in all the other games anyway, it's close, but not totally the same, it's not such a big deal, don't forget that you said the important was to make it fun, and it should be.

That should answer the main problems right now, if there's anything I'm missing (which is probably the case), feel free to tell me, also I'm not trying to judge or anything, everyone play the way he wants, but don't blame the game for a situation the player caused. It's all the more true in a roguelike. That's all I'm saying. As I see it, the multiplayer could be a blast and work real well. There's no reason it shouldn't. As long as someone doesn't go take a shower during the game... If players are focused on the game and speak with each other, the game could go quite fast, even faster than solo on the same difficulty due to the added power on the players side. In the end it's all a question of teamplay.

One last thing before I go, if it's really needed in the end, why not use propulsion to give one more stat, a move stat, each turn you can move several tiles, not just one. Obviously not 9 tiles in a turn, but 2 or 3 at first depending on your exo type and up to 4/5 with items, or just 2/3 all the way, it doesn't matter, you could speed up the moving phase like that, be it solo or multiplayer, and of course ennemy bots should be able to do the same, why not add new type of ennemies with faster movement for example?
It's not an ideal solution as it makes planning more difficult (and planning is everything in a roguelike) but it could probably be done and the game would still be enjoyable as long as it doesn't get you to move too far. It just save turns (and allow you to take cover, retreat faster, but that could be balanced by altering something else, like the number of covers on the map by making them more scarce and reducing the range of some weapons/ennemies to compensate the faster moving in range). The problem with this would be balance mainly so don't go that way unless you really have to. It would also probably make it a mix of tactical rpg instead of a pure roguelike.



tl:dr I'm with Teal_Blue on most of the things he said, and moving down the hallway isn't really a problem since it shouldn't take a normal person more than one or two seconds to move one tile forward goddammit!
With an auto end turn function when all players did their action, it should speed things up even during firefights and out of corridors

Sorry if it's really long, I tend to speak too much.
I'm open to critic so don't hesitate and fire away!
I'm all for multiplayer, I'll do what I can to help achieve it.

P.S. Just a thought about the pilots, 1 pilot per player would be OP, for example if someone takes an epic exo with genji (only one exo would be epic, the one this player chose), another one take emma and buy things, then a third one take meg and equip the parts and exo both others brought with them. Could be quite powerfull. But all relying on the same pilot while being in different exo doesn't make sense.
A good solution could be to allow one pilot per player but reduce their effect in multiplayer to a fraction of what it should be. Half for example. Emma would only get half of her price bonus, meg would only get one more level instead of two, genji would get epic bots who are only half better as their solo counterparts (who could be renamed legendary if need be), rey could revive once, tuck could only reveal  loot an terminals in twice his sensor range instead of all the map and axis could stay the same but view missions from 5 tiles in solo instead of 4 which would be multiplayer. Just an idea, but it could balance multiple pilots while keeping things interesting in multiplayer. I would still make the game easier than  having only one pilot but so is having multiple exo anyway, like I said, better let the difficulty selection be the judge here. Players can always crank it up :)
« Last Edit: October 09, 2013, 03:18:11 PM by FurryRage »

Offline LaughingThesaurus

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Re: Multiplayer....
« Reply #59 on: October 12, 2013, 02:45:22 AM »
I totally read like two pages, then glanced over the rest of the thread. Maybe I can offer some vague direction to think on.

I think I do like the idea of everybody having a separate exo and everybody getting 1 action per turn. Now, how do you walk down a hallway without it becoming torture? Think about Civilization. Imagine if you had to order your worker or scout warrior every single turn to move one or two spaces when you already know exactly where you're going. It's really tedious. However, Civilization also allows you to queue movements. So, what you might do is allow players to do this same thing. You queue up a series of movements and when the other player takes their turn, your exo just moves. Bam. Done. If you queue up 30 movements down a hallway, then your partner does the same, then the game advances all 30 turns reasonably quickly and gets to the point where your action queue has completed.

Now... what happens if a problem comes up while this happens? What if you see a new enemy, or you get shot at, or something? The queue is paused and the game lets you consider what to do from there. You can abandon the queue entirely, perform only the next queued action, or ignore the threat and complete the queue regardless.

How do you set up a queue? Perhaps, like Civ, you can just click a place you want to move (use the mouse to mark the destination, the game pathfinds), or you can just line up a bunch of individual movements that the game will attempt to resolve in order whenever it is capable (ie, once everybody else has moved). If you, however, try to move into fog of war or an obscured area, the game makes no guarantee that this action will be able to proceed. It'd only actually let the queue continue on if you reveal the fog of war and the area you queued a movement through is actually open... if that makes any sense to you guys.

And, well, a compensation mechanism probably doesn't need to be a stat increase. You flat-out get more actions. Would it be too game-breaking if the enemies got more actions as well? I don't know the dynamic really, but I figured I'd pitch in some kind of idea.