Arcen Games

Games => Bionic Dues => Topic started by: MaxAstro on September 11, 2013, 10:45:13 PM

Title: Multiplayer....
Post by: MaxAstro on September 11, 2013, 10:45:13 PM
(Editorial note from moderator: this thread is stickied to demonstrate our rationale for Bionic being a singleplayer game.  Until players can articulate what kind of MP would actually satisfy them, at least :) )


Let me start by saying this game is awesome.  Really, really enjoying pretty much everything about it.

Now on to the feedback: Multiplayer... is a mess.  As it stands, I'm not sure why you would even play multiplayer.  Both players have to use the same set of bots and the same customization parts, which is already a mark against it.

The real crippler, however, is action economy.  Every time any player takes an action, the enemies move.  This means, honestly, there's no reason for players beyond #1 to be there in a combat situation.  My g/f and I tried multiplayer and it quickly became apparent that I should just sit there while she killed things - otherwise I just got in the way.  The only time multiplayer becomes an advantage is in the rare situation that it saves you one action to switch bots - assuming the other player isn't blocking you from taking the action you need the other bot for.

Oh, one other thing.  Not sure if this is intentional, but it is really, really easy to get ambushed by doors.  I'm not really sure how to open a door without giving a bot on the far side of it a free attack.  Worse, you can't seem to see bots standing directly on the far side of doors on your sensors.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: mrhanman on September 11, 2013, 10:48:26 PM
Not sure if this is intentional, but it is really, really easy to get ambushed by doors.  I'm not really sure how to open a door without giving a bot on the far side of it a free attack.

I haven't tried multiplayer, so I can't comment on that, but you can stand back in whatever cover you can find and shoot the door open.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: khadgar on September 12, 2013, 12:32:54 AM
I agree. I tried some multiplayer last night, and I didn't really see the point. With only 1 action for the player's entire team, having multiple people control things seemed pointless. Worse than pointless, as my friends were getting quite bored and we were constantly "fighting" over who got to take the next action, often ending up with us all (hilariously) dead. That is to say, My assault would open a door, but then my sniper friend decides its a good time to travel 15 squares down his hallway because he is bored of waiting. I understand the game is intended to be balanced around one player action per round, not 2, 3, or 4... but as it stands right now multiplayer isn't something I would do again.

That said, I'm not sure what a balanced solution would be in terms of challenge versus fun in a multiplayer situation. Obviously giving each player one action per round is the obvious solution, but it might throw balance out the window. Perhaps if the enemy stats (probably only health) scaled for each new human player, so they might need to focus fire to achieve success? I think around 1.5x scale would be best, since although 2 assault bots are twice as powerful as a single assault bot, I assume that the player won't be rolling a 4 assault-exo team all the time. The science bot will never add too much firepower to a fight, so no need to scale up an enemy by a full 100% for having an extra player on science-exo duty.

Other options, just brainstorming them out here:

--Only enemy bots within a certain range of a player get an action, so multiple players can each be in their own sector
        pros: players won't step on each others' toes unless nearby.
        cons: probable balance / exploit issues, if players must be separate might as well not even play multiplayer

--Confirmation dialogue before a player can take an action
        pros: gives players a chance to tell their ally not to make a move because THEY need the action instead.
        cons: annoying, doesn't really solve the issue

--Turn order, assault, science, sniper, enemy, etc.
        pros: easy to keep track of who goes next.
        cons: might actually be hard to keep track of who goes next in a 2 or 3 player match with the players switching exos around

--Give the player +1 free action per human player connected
        pros: each player can get 1 move per turn, probably easy to implement.
        cons: very imbalanced, doesn't necessarily solve the problem, accident prone

--Multiplayer is changed to each player doing their own mission in a different location.
        pros: easy to implement probably. solves the key issues.
        cons: bots in 2 locations at once? outfitting while in a mission? exploit? continuity? boring MP implementation?


TL;DR
There currently isn't a reason to play multiplayer over singleplayer since you and your allies both share the same single action per turn.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 06:34:17 AM
A few notes:

1. Enemies already only DO get an action if players are within range 20 of them.  So if you and I adventure on entirely different sides of the map, then it plays like solo.

2. I should have mentioned before, although it sounds like that really hasn't been encountered yet, that the multiplayer here is entirely preliminary in terms of underlying bugs.  The design is considered pretty much close to final, which is of course what you are complaining about, though. ;)

3. In general, the goal of co-op for me is to have it be "the same game, but I can play it with my wife."  In other words, not some special other mode.  Having double the number of Exos, or quadruple even, would absolutely wreck the balance of the game in all respects.  We'd have to do missions that were twice as big or more, which again would wreck things.  So the whole thing with the shared bots is rather a necessity.  I understand that some folks may not like that, but I think it's unavoidable.

4. There honestly is a good reason that there are not many multiplayer roguelikes.  I feel like we've solved the problem pretty well, insofar as this is an intractable problem in the first place.  During combat, having it be so that each action is carefully placed is kind of the point anyhow.  But it's only really something that is solved if you have two methodical, tactical-minded people.  And the point about there being a point-person causing issues is certainly well taken.

5. That said, if it's not fun for you, then obviously that is a huge problem beyond any platonic ideals of balance. ;)

------

Here's how the turn stuff currently works: every time a player takes a non-free action, the enemies who are alerted within range X (currently 20) get to take a move.  Right now I think it's manhattan distance rather than flood fill, which is probably not the best.

--

One solution that we thought of prior to the private alpha, that was rejected at the time but which I see hasn't been mentioned here yet, was to have only the player closest to a given enemy give that enemy an action when that player takes an action.  The problem we saw with that was having one player stand back and fire while another player stands closer to the enemies and just stands there, granting them no actions and blocking them from taking them.

A solution to that problem would be to make it so that if an attack on a tile is closer than any player, OR the firing player is closer than any other player, the enemy gets a move.  That would solve all the exploits I can think of, although this solution is new in my mind so there may still be some.

--

The other thing we could do, of course, is just say eff the balance and let there be one move per connected player.  We could also cap the player count at 2 rather than 4, to prevent this from getting runaway crazy.  I'm just not sure this would be feasible with more than 2 players anyhow, in a fun or coordinated fashion.  That's probably something we need to do in any case.

If we needed to counterbalance the enemies in this scenario of having two moves per player team when there are two players, we could increase bot ranges by 1 or something.  Throw the balance off AGAIN in a different way, so that simply the MP is a different experience.  There are surely things we could do to make the balance there interesting, at least.

--

The other thing we could do is make this a single-player game, if this is just going to wreck impressions of the game or cause buyer's remorse for someone who buys a game to try to play multiplayer and then gets enraged by the implementation.

--

The other thing we could do is make this a semi-secret unadvertised semi-unsupported feature, where you have to enter a special code to get this to appear, and then that's that.  I say semi-unsupported because for a feature like this there's a limit to how much we can support it if it's that hidden and secret.  I'd be pretty tempted just to cut the feature when it comes to that, because if a secret feature is interfering with the main game, that's not good.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Gemzo on September 12, 2013, 11:55:56 AM
In my opinion the only intuitive way for multiplayer to work is if every player gets a turn, with enemies being buffed or there being more enemies to compensate. All these extra rules on getting to play with your friends just don't seem like a fun way to go about things.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 12, 2013, 01:01:17 PM
In my opinion the only intuitive way for multiplayer to work is if every player gets a turn, with enemies being buffed or there being more enemies to compensate.
But does that mean that if player 1 moves, and player 2 hasn't done anything, that player 1 cannot do anything until player 2 plays their turn?


That's one of the main problems that led us away from that kind of model.

Which isn't to say that the current model is acceptable, but it is the least disastrous we were able to think of ;)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: mrhanman on September 12, 2013, 02:18:36 PM
In a turn based game, would players not expect to have to wait for the other player?
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 02:21:01 PM
Walking down a hall gets to be muuuurous, trust us. It's absolutely terrible.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Tridus on September 12, 2013, 02:41:43 PM
Maybe this should be a single player game at release, and add MP in an expansion just to give some more time to figure out how it works.

I was around for the launch of Elemental: War of Magic. That had quite possibly the worst multiplayer support of any game, ever. It would have been an improvement to not have it at all (which is what they did in Fallen Enchantress).

MP is one of those things were not having it at all is preferable to having it not work well.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: mrhanman on September 12, 2013, 02:48:26 PM
I tend to agree.  I'd rather it not be there than work poorly.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 12, 2013, 02:54:18 PM
I tend to agree.  I'd rather it not be there than work poorly.
That's my own opinion, fwiw.

One general question for y'all: if the problem of not being able to act close to one another without both triggering enemy responses were somehow dealt with, would that be a decent model or still fundamentally unsatisfactory?  Specifically, the points of "still only having a team of four exos" and "all players sharing the same parts inventory".  Are those dealbreakers in and of themselves?
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 03:40:38 PM
These are all good points.  We'll continue coding in an MP-safe way, but there's no way for us to tackle this problem now, with so few people, while also trying to finish the game, with so many likely changes for it, with the likelihood of failure of doing so.

So, yeah.  Boom.  Singleplayer. ;)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 12, 2013, 03:44:00 PM
Yea, definitely keep the actual sim/network model that makes MP possible, either way.

I'm pretty sure we can eventually solve this problem, but I don't have a clear solution.  And "no clear solution" 1 month from desired release means "don't try to solve it", generally :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 03:45:04 PM
This is quite true.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 03:46:41 PM
It's crazy how easy that was.  6 minutes, and it's completely gone from visibility to players.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 12, 2013, 03:52:39 PM
It's crazy how easy that was.
Says the executioner after pulling the guillotine rope ;)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on September 12, 2013, 03:55:02 PM
True!  It took a lifetime to birth and raise that man, and then he's dead in an instant. ;)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on September 12, 2013, 03:56:00 PM
We'll just say an EagleBot tried to play MP, and, well...
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: goodgimp on October 01, 2013, 12:29:10 PM
I hope you guys get MP sorted out at some point post-release, either in the form of a patch or a DLC or something. I'm very interested in the game but it's a no-go for me without co-op. I've read the thread and understand why it's not there, but I won't be purchasing this title without that component and wanted to at least provide a datapoint instead of staying silent.

Good luck with the release!
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 12:33:28 PM
I hope you guys get MP sorted out at some point post-release, either in the form of a patch or a DLC or something. I'm very interested in the game but it's a no-go for me without co-op. I've read the thread and understand why it's not there, but I won't be purchasing this title without that component and wanted to at least provide a datapoint instead of staying silent.

Good luck with the release!
We appreciate your saying something.  If no one ever said something the feature would probably never happen.

That said, in order for it to happen we need an answer to this question: what do you want MP in Bionic to even do?  None of the obvious (to me) approaches seem feasible from a "is this fun?" perspective because they either involve crazy unintuitive rules or tons of waiting.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: goodgimp on October 01, 2013, 12:44:08 PM
We appreciate your saying something.  If no one ever said something the feature would probably never happen.

That said, in order for it to happen we need an answer to this question: what do you want MP in Bionic to even do?  None of the obvious (to me) approaches seem feasible from a "is this fun?" perspective because they either involve crazy unintuitive rules or tons of waiting.

That's hard for me to say exactly since I haven't played the game. If this is a game that co-op just doesn't fit at all then that's all there is to it. :) I have very little solo game time, most of my gaming time is spent with friends or family, so a multiplayer component is almost a requirement for me to buy a game these days. I've just looked at the Bionic Dues features page, watched the video, and thought that it looked great and would normally be an instant buy for me.

I hope my post didn't come across as some sort of whiny ultimatum or something, that wasn't the intent. I  really like Arcen Games and so only wanted to provide feedback as to why I'm not planning on buying the newest title and what would prompt me to buy it in the future. I totally understand if those criteria are unable to be met for a particular game, in which case I'll be around for the next one that supports co-op. I know I'm just a tiny datapoint in a sea of them but I at least wanted to try to provide you what data I could on one of them.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on October 01, 2013, 12:50:22 PM
It didn't come across as an ultimatum at all, often I'm in exactly the same boat as you and so I quite understand.  It's definitely a tricky proposition here, though.

The main problems seem to be:
1. Having a shared set of Exos is not fun, but the game isn't really designed around having multiple copies.
2. Putting Exos of multiple players into one mission just doesn't really work well because of timing issues (either things get slow or they get crazy, there's not much middle-ground).
3. Having a multiplayer mode where players are always in separate missions and are thus "alone together" would work in some ways (logically, I mean -- it would be a technical upheaval of no small scale for now), but that gets rid of all the fun chances to really work together on things, etc.

I dunno.  I keep coming away with the impression that the multiplayer would be inherently inferior no matter what we do, or else it would be disappointing in the sense of not providing much togetherness.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 12:53:02 PM
I dunno.  I keep coming away with the impression that the multiplayer would be inherently inferior no matter what we do, or else it would be disappointing in the sense of not providing much togetherness.
That's my sense of it too.

So really the challenge is to you community folks: come up with a multiplayer approach you're actually _excited_ to play, and we'll talk :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 01, 2013, 03:16:52 PM
Here are a couple of balancing ideas. Oh, this is presuming each player gets a bot on the map and a turn each which I think is really the best way to go.

In order to balance the game, you could have a system something like System Shock 2 used (not the greatest example seeing as the co-op mode is very maligned, but hey) and use the pre-existing difficulty modes to rebalance the game for the increasing number of players.

For example, player picks a two player game -- the game would automatically use hard mode.
Players pick a 3 player game -- game sets to expert.
Player picks a 4 player game -- Misery it is then!

The advantage of this is that it doesn't require wholesale rebalancing of the game for multiplayer mode. Disadvantage is what do you do if the player wants a 4-player Misery game? Also, would the balancing even do the trick?

Second idea, I thought something like this might work for a proper Dark Souls co-op mode, but maybe it's worth discussing for this game. Instead of rebalancing the enemies what about if you instead rebalance the player exos? Or does this produce the same problems (or even result) as rebalancing the enemies, I'm not sure.

Player picks 2 player mode -- all exo stats now 50%.

Player picks 3 player mode -- all exo stats no 33.3%.... etc (can see some problems already with this..trap skill for example).

That's about it, just throwing ideas out. I've been on the look-out for a roguelike with good multiplayer for a while -- if anybody knows of one, please do tell.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Teal_Blue on October 01, 2013, 03:27:40 PM
Didn't see Pepisolo post, i was writing too long, anyway, here's some thoughts...



Ok, lets see if i can offer an idea and not get too carried away, but more feet on the ground kind of thing.

What if...
                         we had 4 to 6 player co-op where the players go into a lobby and get a 'single' bot, what they get is one of the base exos, not the epics. they can trick it out with perhaps 2 accessories (there are usually 4 in a team of 4, so that is doubling for mp, but i'll explain why that is ok in a minute)

So, when they are done tricking it out they hit a 'ready' button, that just tells the others they are ready to go. First one ready will be assigned the unofficial role of commander, meaning if the other 3, or 4 or 5 players aren't ready, he can signal them with a red 'Hey!' button that simply flashes and honks and lets the other players know you are waiting on one or more of them.

When in the mission, they each control their own bot  and go in rotation in the same order as they 'readied in'.
So we have player 1, player 2, player 3, player 4, player 5, and player 6 and then the bots, which can move together or separately, you just put in 4 times as many bots as before.

Am i trying to be stealthy and careful and bob rushes in willy nilly guns blazing and ruin everything!? WELL, we are going to have a talk about that!

So, we need to have some form of 'communication' inside the game, either voice, or chat window and maybe a ping on the map thing. But anyway, i think this could work, its just a matter of the team being civilized inside their game and talking and deciding what they want to do, perhaps in the lobby before they get into the game, or sit in the game and talk strategy and then start moving about.

Anyway, the sequence of players taking turns will work, if some 'single' person (first one ready) has the ability to bump the others if they aren't quick enough. For Friends this shouldn't be too rough as they know each other, but would solve people holding up your game and you not knowing them very well. Also, you could have a default 'Fail' timer, say 5 minutes, that is ticking down and if everyone isn't moving after 5 minutes on their turn it dumps them automatically, and if the entire team isn't ready to go within say the same 5 minutes in setup, well then the team is warned at 3 minutes, warned again at 4 minutes and game cancelled after 5 minutes.

If this is all played on someone's home machine and they are all dialing into one players pc, then all this stuff about 5 minute drop time can be disregarded and the person hosting can call the shots on how long to wait and what is reasonable.

Still with alternating turns for the players, each with a single exo, instead of a whole team, so the team consists of a player having a single exo each, and then pumping up the bad bot numbers to deal with 4 or 5, or 6 people running around a mission.

Also if the missions are randomly built, then perhaps 're-sizing' them for 2 or more people would be a good thing, Gives more room to run around. Of course this involves other things like cover and other things too, but if this goes in later you can take your time and get it to work without the pressure to get this in quick and have it work while players expectations are panting.

Anyway, just my two cents, I think it could work, and if done in the background and slow, it doesn't have to be a pressure cooker, and also, the players in the team have to take some responsibility on how they deal with each other in a game, it isn't all on the dev to figure that out, or make that work. Just give them their turns and tell them to be nice and then throw them to the wolves... er, bots i mean.  :)

-Teal

Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on October 01, 2013, 04:05:07 PM
Bear in mind that balance isn't even a consideration or a worry yet.  That's something that is fairly trivial.

The problem is as the following:

1. If "every player gets a turn" but every player has to wait for the prior player to go before they get their next action, then walking down a hall is torture (that's like 30 turns, potentially).

2. If "every player gets a turn" but you don't have to wait on other players, I don't really know what that means.  If I act 3 times, do you get 3 queued actions?  Boy would that be exploitable.  Etc.

3. If "every time a player acts, the bots act," which is what we had before, then you get untenable situations where one player basically has to do nothing because to act will make the bots act and kill the other player.  So there are severe limitations there.

Hence the dilemma.  Scaling bots is just details, if we actually had a functional model for moving around.  The root problem here is much, much more fundamental.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 04:14:41 PM
Yea, numeric balance isn't the problem.  If a model is really fun then it would still be fun even if we didn't touch the numbers at all (we probably would, but just saying).

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?
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on October 01, 2013, 04:54:22 PM
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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 01, 2013, 04:58:41 PM
OK, cool. This narrows the root cause of the problem quite a bit -- forget all the balance stuff! I'll think on it some more to see if I can come up with any ideas. Hmmm.... (thinking)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 05:01:09 PM
Hmmm.... (thinking)
Is that a plume of smoke I see coming up over the horizon?
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Teal_Blue on October 01, 2013, 05:07:56 PM
Hmmm..... I see your point, i didn't see that at all. Well... i guess i have got no answer to that. Hmmm... there must be some way, haha, i think i'm just being stubborn, well... maybe there isn't a way. The last one you said, if everyone could move around how ever many turns and the bots act against that, i wonder how that would be to test?

Haha, lose half my team because i aggro the bots.  :)

Well... back to the drawing board, thanks for listening though, appreciate it.   :)

-Teal

p.s.   I wonder if that isn't the answer right there, i aggro the bots and everyone just fends for themselves, come heck or high water.  :)
It might be crazy wild for the players, but that might be pretty cool, (at least it would be to watch)  :)

Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Penumbra on October 01, 2013, 05:13:35 PM
The following is crazy, but maybe it will help someone think of something better.  ;)

For multiplayer, it really can't work in the simplistic way of just sticking two players in the same game. The different players would have to have their own time scale. Each their own turn based system, which means they would need their own turn based enemies.

I am reminded of the original multiplayer synchronization of AVVW. Each player saw their own copy of the monsters, but could see each other.  What if this worked in a similar fashion. Players could be in difference "phases" of reality, or an AI hack, or polarization, or whatever story reason could be come up with.

That "fixes" the timing of enemies, what it needs is how there can be meaningful interactions between the players. Some ideas:  hacking could be shared, assistance in healing or rearming, increased sensor range, "decoy" whistling.

Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 05:18:56 PM
I am reminded of the original multiplayer synchronization of AVVW. Each player saw their own copy of the monsters, but could see each other.  What if this worked in a similar fashion. Players could be in difference "phases" of reality, or an AI hack, or polarization, or whatever story reason could be come up with.
The problem with this idea, from my perspective, is that I have never seen as negative a reaction from our community to a particular feature as I did to AVWW's initial multiplayer model.  AIW's CSGs provoked more uproar but opinion was actually much more divided on it.  Bionic's initial multipliayer model got somewhat similar negativity but with less vehemence.

So anything that comes from the "maybe do something like AVWW's first multiplayer model" corner is... well, not likely to fly, I think :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Penumbra on October 01, 2013, 05:28:53 PM
Yeah, but that was real time. And the monsters were the same with double life. I am only thinking of the "phasing" concept.

Two sets of monsters, heck, even two areas. They could be side to side or co-located. But if each player has entirely their own monsters to deal with, all the negatives from AVVW first multiplayer go away.

Remember Gyromite? Two players, one opening doors for the other? Or any subsequent co-op game were players are in different areas with solo challenges, but need to overcome door puzzles/switches/keys/hacks/etc. to allow their partner to proceed.
 
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 01, 2013, 05:35:33 PM
Just to get this out of the way, I'm noticing a couple of roguelikes have gone multiplayer and the way they've done it is by moving the game to have a kind of real-time turns mechanic. As I understand it, the turns just advance automatically at a certain pace.

I'm presuming this is out of the question?
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 01, 2013, 05:39:47 PM
Just to get this out of the way, I'm noticing a couple of roguelikes have gone multiplayer and the way they've done it is by moving the game to have a kind of real-time turns mechanic. As I understand it, the turns just advance automatically at a certain pace.

I'm presuming this is out of the question?
Not necessarily.  Actually, one of the optional conducts I was thinking of putting in for the expansion is "Think Fast!", where while on the mission map if you take more than 5 seconds between actions it just automatically picks "wait" for you.

Something like that could work for MP.  But then you wouldn't really be playing Bionic together, so much as "speed Bionic" together.  Though I guess the thresholds could be adjustable.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 01, 2013, 05:50:29 PM
Quote
Something like that could work for MP.  But then you wouldn't really be playing Bionic together, so much as "speed Bionic" together.  Though I guess the thresholds could be adjustable.

Interesting. Introducing Speed Bionic Mode.... with multiplayer!!! Now that's a DLC I'd pay for. Seems to work well for those games that do use this real time mechanic. The big problem I guess is that you don't want the single player experience to be different to the multiplayer, and having one real time (ish) and the other turn-based is a pretty big difference. If you were to explicitly label the mode Speed Bionic, though, I don't think it'd be a problem -- in fact it'd be an awesome feature.

Oh, regarding the separate planes co-op a al AWWW, I think Wazhack does something similar to this. I was actually disappointed when I bought that game because I thought it had "proper" co-op. It's a good little game, though.

Edit: On the planes idea. Wazhack developer on his solution to the roguelike multiplayer problem. http://www.indiedb.com/games/wazhack/news/wazhack-beta5-multiplayer-roguelike
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Tridus on October 01, 2013, 07:01:43 PM
Yeah, but that was real time. And the monsters were the same with double life. I am only thinking of the "phasing" concept.

Two sets of monsters, heck, even two areas. They could be side to side or co-located. But if each player has entirely their own monsters to deal with, all the negatives from AVVW first multiplayer go away.

Remember Gyromite? Two players, one opening doors for the other? Or any subsequent co-op game were players are in different areas with solo challenges, but need to overcome door puzzles/switches/keys/hacks/etc. to allow their partner to proceed.

But then you're not really playing with someone. You're doing your own thing and happen to be in the same game.

The problem in Bionic is that a turn is moving one square. If a turn was moving 10 squares, it wouldn't be nearly as bad because you could travel a significant distance and thus you're not going to be spammed with short little waits.

Multiplayer in turn based games works better when you have more to do on a turn, and then a gap. In somtehing like Age of Wonders I'd spend a while (a minute or two) on my turn, then you go. When it's my turn I get to act without waiting, and when it's your turn I can eat popcorn or something. But if turns switched after every single unit move it'd be HUGELY frustrating because I have to always pay attention or slow the game down. I never get enough time when it's not my turn to do anything, but my turns are so short that it's hard to execute anything.

Moving down a hallway in this game right now would take at least fifteen turn switches. I move one, wait, move one, wait, move one, wait...You have to do the same thing. It's painful.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: mrhanman on October 01, 2013, 07:53:14 PM
Actually, one of the optional conducts I was thinking of putting in for the expansion is "Think Fast!", where while on the mission map if you take more than 5 seconds between actions it just automatically picks "wait" for you.

With or without multiplayer, this sounds really interesting to me.  I kind of already play like this, most of the time.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 02, 2013, 09:17:20 AM
Just been scouting around the rogue-like scene for any perspectives on the multiplayer problem. For anyone interested, one quote from Darkgod, the lead dev of Tales of Maj'Eyal.

"The only solution (and the one in tomenet) is realtime.

The biggest problem is actually implementing multiplayer in T-Engine yes; due to the way the engine works (which allows all the incredible flexibility & malleability we all love) sychronising states between computers would be a terribly huge task"

For anyone interested, some explanation of how time works in Tomenet: http://www.tomenet.net/guide.php?chapter=4.14
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 02, 2013, 10:32:57 AM
Alright, how's about a combination of realtime and turn-based, sprinkled with some ideas from what I understand the existing implementation used. This idea is assuming a turn per player.

As I understand it, with the original implementation it was possible for two players to be off on their own and the game would behave as if they were playing solo? If so, this is great! I don't know exactly how you achieved this, but it seems nice to me. The problems arose when playing with two players in the same area.

OK, so let's say that whenever the players are not in their own areas, together, and also not engaged in combat the game would switch to realtime (or free move) -- allowing painless traversal of corridors. Let's then say that whenever a player is engaged in combat (with each player not in their own zone) the game switches back to turn-based mode allowing both players to tactically think about their actions. These players are now in the combat zone. Since both players are in this combat zone (close together and under attack) each player would get a turn. There should be minimal problems with players just chilling around -- why would you when under fire?

If one of the players then decided to retreat, eventually that cowardly player would exit the combat zone (joint turn-based) and would eventually enter their own zone again leaving each player alone as if they were playing solo. If all the enemies are destroyed the game would then enter free move mode again.

To key to this solution is the idea of a combat zone. The players would be notified when they are in a combat zone together and possibly would even be notified of the zone boundary via an overlay. When in this combat zone both players should realize "right, we're in this together now, either man up and let's work together or flee to your own zone".

Actually, that's about it for the basic idea. Feel free to tear it to shreds. I think together we can solve this.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on October 02, 2013, 11:03:12 AM
That's similar to what we originally did, although somewhat refined.  The tricky thing is deciding upon what a combat zone means.  There are a lot of potential exploits if that is too small, and there is much strangeness if it is too big.  Up until a version or two ago we still did have a combat zone defined, where your actions would not grant actions to enemies.  But that was causing the RazorBot oddities, among other things.  So we just did remove that concept because it was interfering with solo play.

Something in that realm may still manage to work, but it's not blindingly obvious to me just how that would be.  The only really fair rule I can think of is "if there is any enemy that is currently alerted, then all players are considered in the same combat zone," and that's not really what you meant.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 02, 2013, 12:51:32 PM
Quote
The only really fair rule I can think of is "if there is any enemy that is currently alerted, then all players are considered in the same combat zone," and that's not really what you meant.

Yeah, not really what I was looking for; however, as a simple refinement of a basic one move per player system, that seems pretty good to me. So, as players we would at least be able to walk down the same corridor together painlessly or anywhere on the map as long as one or the other isn't currently engaged in fighting enemies....OK. Whether that'd be good enough on it's own, though, I'm not sure. Maybe it would suffice. Must be a nicer solution out there, though. Hmmmm.....
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on October 02, 2013, 12:59:39 PM
Yeah, not really what I was looking for; however, as a simple refinement of a basic one move per player system, that seems pretty good to me. So, as players we would at least be able to walk down the same corridor together painlessly or anywhere on the map as long as one or the other isn't currently engaged in fighting enemies....OK. Whether that'd be good enough on it's own, though, I'm not sure. Maybe it would suffice.
In theory, for players who knew what they were getting into, this would probably be fine.  Peculiar, but fine.

The bigger issue is that if we're going to provide a multiplayer feature, then it can't just work for "players who know what they are getting into".  They're not going to have the patience to figure out some significantly-novel approach to synchronization or whatever.  They want to jump into the game, and play the game together, and have fun.  Not be faced with a bunch of compromises brought on by design/technical challenges.

So with the solution you discuss, while I agree that it's probably the best we could do right now, "the best we can do" does not equal "good enough".

In other words if we buried the feature enough so that just you guys and the truly persistent could find it, it'd probably be fine ;)  But I think it's better to either find an MP design that works for most/all of the game's audience, or just focus on the singleplayer experience.  Because the singleplayer experience appears to be kicking butt and taking names.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on October 02, 2013, 01:11:41 PM
I agree 100%. If you were to put in a multiplayer feature that was pretty peculiar, the average player would just go WTF, and come out with a negative reaction. Much like I did when I found out that the Wazhack multiplayer was not multiplayer as I knew it.

I would like to see such a feature buried underneath a console prompt or cheat code or something, if that wasn't too much work. In time more dedicated players could then test and provide feedback. Maybe this could then evolve into a solution more pleasing to all.

If this game were to somehow evolve a multiplayer system that did work pretty well, I think that would be a huge selling point. No other roguelike has really achieved this, not that I've found anyway. You'd probably get design awards and plaudits... but then, you would have definitely earned them if you could accomplish such a non-trivial task.

Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Diazo 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Tridus 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: zharmad 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.
 
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Tridus 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. :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Teal_Blue on October 02, 2013, 08:48:43 PM
Way to go Tridus!!  Maybe MP can work after all.   :)

Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 on October 03, 2013, 08:55:22 AM
Oooh, indeed!  That's actually super promising in a lot of respects. :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: goodgimp 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Tridus on October 03, 2013, 12:08:39 PM
Glad I could come up with something useful. :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: zharmad 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: yllamana 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: x4000 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: FurryRage 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 :)
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: LaughingThesaurus 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.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Darloth on October 12, 2013, 07:42:24 PM
The queued movement solution would be lovely for the main game as well - I've often wanted to say "go move over there" and have it actually walk there, only stopping if an enemy decloaks or is revealed, that sort of thing.

Regarding the 'combat zones' potential solution though - how about this: If there's an alerted bot within a floodfill distance of: max(player's longest range weapon, enemy team's longest range weapon, 20) then everyone has to play in turn based.  Otherwise, everyone can move whenever they like.

This is pretty much what already happens (to a lesser degree) in singleplayer - try walking down a 30 tile long hallway when half the map is alerted, and it takes ages as every bot gets to move between each of your moves... so, if you don't feel like waiting, don't alert a lot of people.

I think this sort of shifting between turn based and free-move system would be the one I prefer, but I'd certainly also play a mode where one or more players fold into/attach onto the main player.  Perhaps there would be bonuses for being all attached together - hopefully you'd still get actions if stuff was in range, so you could fire more than one weapon per enemy turn, but of course you are one big target and damage would be... shared I assume? Something to consider anyway.

I'd like to try some implementation of co-op for this game for sure.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Lokarin on October 14, 2013, 02:00:09 AM
The way I'd do multiplayer is to instead have all players simply complete individual missions at their own pace.  If a player is "on mission" no other player can attempt it.  When the mission is over, it is cleared like normal, but all the players can be spread out doing different parts of the map.  Similar to A Valley Without Wind if you never do the same mission.  Level Ups and Level Downs happen in (semi) real time.

This does add the possibility of multiple missions being open during the final day, but I don't think that actually matters much - no harm in going into overtime.

One problem though is the final mission would be dreadfully lame, and you technically would never be actually playing "together", but it also means you can go through 50 days worth of missions in half the time.

On the other hand, this means you could have 8 players doing their own missions at their own pace without interference.  Items can be traded by adding items to the Buyback menu, and a group Credits pool... the store only resets on your end when you do a mission.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: FrostyThePyro on October 19, 2013, 11:29:10 AM
I think the combat zones bit deserves another look. 

Though instead of dividing the map up into zones just make it collective, so the entire map is one zone.

By which i mean you  have exploration and combat modes.  Exploration is basicly real time (for traveling down hallways, seting up traps, and the such), in combat mode everyone takes their turns in order.  If there are active bots within x (something relitively signifigant like 25) range of any exo the game sets to combat mode for everyone, if there are no active bots within that range its exploration mode.

active bots that are too far away to start combat mode (aka the game is in exploratoin mode but has active bots) make a move every 2 player actions, no mater which player makes those action (or 3 player actions for 3 players and 4 player actions for 4 players)

And what the hey, give each player a teleport action, it forces them to wait for 3 or 4 actions and then teleports them to the nearest other exo (the forced wait is to prevent it from being a get out of jail free card if you overextend).  as a shortcut to working together if you find yourself in combat mode and seperated by a 30 square halway (which would be a pain to move through)

And finaly increase bot levels to help compensate for the extra amount of player actions. 
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Goekhan on November 01, 2013, 05:31:45 AM
What's on my mind is this:
-Each player (max 4) gets to choose 1-2 exos (2 player: 2-2, 3 player: 1-1-2, 4 player 1-1-1-1).
-Only the host's pilot skill is active; other players are "guests".
-All players vote on a mission; majority rule. If there is a dispute (equal votes on different missions), whatever the host has voted for will be chosen. This can be disabled, and host can be granted "power" over mission choice before loading a saved game / starting a new one.
-EnemyBots gets buffs, some new co-op stuff are introduced (discussed/explained below *1).
-"Guest" status may also expand to inventory management, exo customization and shopping too. Host can decide what guests can / cannot do while loading a save / starting a new game.
-All Exos that each player control are spawned at the same time, game requires players to commit their actions (gameplay example below *2).
-Host can choose between shared and private inventory which cannot be changed after a game is started. If private inventory is chosen, all players get full single-player rewards, can access shop, and customize their exos. No trading between players (?). Individual loot follows a round-robin rule to get distributed. If shared inventory is chosen, it is like single player, but with one difference; more rewards are gained at the end of the mission, depending on how many people are playing the game, customization and shopping depends on the game setting.

*1 Co-op pitfalls, suggested mechanics, and stuff:
There are possible problems with the enemies scaling with player count. Increasing the HP and damage of the enemy is not really the answer to balance the game for a co-op experience. An example game: Borderlands. I really don't like Borderlands, because it does whatever it can to discourage co-op. The kill skills, which activate after you kill an enemy are a direct contradiction to the nature of co-op. Also, enemies becoming incredible hulks with each player; becoming "Bullet sponges" is another pitfall to be avoided. Or, enemies suddenly destroying you since you are trying to play the game with more people.

While they should become tougher and their numbers should increase, it shouldn't be too much. Other mechanics that encourage co-op should be explored in addition to those. For example, a bot that only appears when you play in multiplayer (Co-opBot lets call it for now) is a way to do it.

Example Co-Op mechanics:
-Exo disable: Players have certain amount of repair kits (just 1-2); if an exo gets hit by a shot that'd kill it in single-player, it instead gets disabled, before going critical and "die" in a few turns. If a player reaches the disabled exo, it gets re-activated with a portion of HP, and that player's repair kit is expended. Like in many co-op games, you are helpless on your own, and you wait for someone to get to your aid (L4D, L4D2, Warframe, etc...)

-Exo link: Active exos could provide bonuses to other players' active exos, a Sniper exo could increase the range of the other exos, etc... IF both exos are within close range (5-7 max). While enemies get a boost, players will also get a boost as long as they stay together. Sensor data is also shared when exos are linked to each other.

-Abilities (below), visual cues to plan a turn (mentioned above; pinging a tile/exo, seeing which player is attacking who, and dealing how much damage beforehand, etc...)

Example Co-opBot X abilities:
-Deflective Shield: Deflects any number of shots or damage unless gets focus-fired. Lets say me and a friend are playing, and we faced a bot with this ability. The bot has a deflective shield. Unless we both fire at the same target, it will deflect all but one point of the damage. This means, we need to stay together to deal with these enemies (ignore the sentries & hacked bots for now). AoE weapons are a different story, deflective shields deflect a big portion of the AoE damage, but does not reduce it to one point.

However, there are sentries and hacked bots that interfere with this "idea"; one way to deal with it is simply ignoring them altogether when it comes to dealing with deflective stuff. Another way to deal with this is, giving an ability to exos to break this deflective shields, although only when fired by multiple exos. When this ability is used on the same target on the same turn, deflective shields will be broken and the bot in question can be damaged on the next turn. The deflective shield recharges on the turn after that if the bot didn't take any damage.

-Hardened Armor:
Well, as the name suggests, bots having this ability will not take any damage from one side (most possibly front), or just take a portion of it. But this idea is inferior to deflective shield, as it will slow the game down, and may force the players to spend a lot of time dealing with this. Another approach to hardened armor; Some (all?) exos could have a target-painter, a whistle-like infinite amount ability to mark weak spots of the enemies with hardened armor. Other exos could fire at this target, dealing full damage. This 2nd approach promotes co-op even more, similar to deflective shield, but treated in a different way.

-Overload (?):
Similar to EMPBot; but it has a different mechanic. It is a very short range ability. An overloaded exo will take 5-10% damage each turn, regardless of damage reduction, and cannot regen. The bot having this ability will keep using this ability till its target is disabled. An overloaded exo will not be targetted by other enemies. It is a temporary disable so to speak. Think of special infected from L4D series. Unless the bot having this ability is destroyed, the overloaded exo will get disabled, and a repair kit will be needed to reactivate the exo. If the aggressor has been dealt with, overloaded exo will reboot on next turn. Overload will not affect the last remaining player; if all other exos are overloaded, or disabled, or exploded, the last player will not get this ability cast upon (otherwise, it'd be a mission over each time you got "unlucky").

*2 Gameplay Example:
Lets say I'm playing with a friend. First, I choose a pilot. We each pick 2 exos, and we vote on a mission, and mission begins. 2 bots spawn next to each other, and we play at the same time; we do something, then we commit our actions, and then watch the results. This has one big problem: game will be slowed down. Immensely. So, how can this be avoided? If there are no alerted enemies, no skills currently being active (stealth) no commit would be required. When there is a fighting going on, when I click on an enemy, my exo will point a green laser on that enemy, and a damage number will be shown over its head, so my friend can decide whom to shoot, or not without having to go through chat fast(er). Also, I can click a button to ping a tile or mark an enemy for my friend with ease. Any AoE effects that'll happen will tint the tiles slightly to red to warn me / my friend, so we can avoid it. Whenever a turn is committed, our actions are the first to be executed (like in single-player), followed by AoE and enemy actions.

I selected shared inventory, and since we've won a mission in co-op, we got more loots than usual. The same mark button can be used on inventory/shopping panel to "mark" items, my friend cannot unequip items on my exo, but he can mark them to tell me if he wants to try it or not. If I was playing with someone else that I don't know really well, I would've set the lobby with private inventory enabled, but this is not the case. And game goes on like this...

----Excuse my english, haven't slept, did a lot of re-writing, and forgot some stuff while writing. Any numbers are for example.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Pepisolo on December 09, 2013, 05:45:48 PM
How about making multiplayer predominantly "speed bionic" (real time treadmill) with free actions for any time the players aren't engaged in battle, and an additional tweak.

So:

If no enemies are alerted: players can move freely
Enemies are alerted: speed bionic is activated
Additional tweak: give each of the players a bullet-time button

The bullet-time could be activated by either player. Once activated, the treadmill would slow down considerably, allowing the player more time to make critical decisions, plus it would also be matrixy cool.


Walking down a corridor together -- should be solved.

Fighting together -- this would result in a frenetic battle with both players engaged, interspersed with occasional bouts of bullet-time for those "see you in hell, candy boys!" moments.

Players not in the same area -- the non-engaged player would be temporarily slowed to the treadmill pace with occasional bouts of bullet-time, which is not quite as bad as it might sound. If the non-engaged player were to suddenly be overcome by bullet-time this would at least add some drama to the proceedings as they consider what scrape their unfortunate compadre has gotten themselves into. Once battle is over it might then soon be the non-engaged players turn to engage in combat, so at least there would then be a bit of a see-saw effect of one player skirmishing, then the other etc. Corridor walking would still result in free movement (or at least treadmill speed if the other party is engaged).

This actually sounds pretty decent to me, and would be a multiplayer mode that I would like to play. If it were possible to prototype this without significant problems then I'm pretty sure that the first tests would reveal it's fun-ness, or lack of.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: kasnavada on April 08, 2014, 09:36:56 AM
What's on my mind is this:
-Each player (max 4) gets to choose 1-2 exos (2 player: 2-2, 3 player: 1-1-2, 4 player 1-1-1-1).

I'm kind of like way AFTER the battle, necromancing... but !

I've read the first 2 pages and glanced over the rest... And it sounds like the main problem is that "one bot" movement tying to everything in the game does not translate well to multiplayer. So... let's find something that does. The only way I see bionic dues with multiplayer is "throw away the whole one switching bot concept".

I would be to have "Singleplayer" mode control 4 (more ?) bots. That requires redoing the entire game, so that'll be more "bionic dues II" than anything else. Having the bots either player controlled, of AI-controlled (assist mode).

For multi-player, the only thing left to do is to just divide the bots as stated above by Goekhan. Keep the missions short enough so a early death does not force a player from being bored to death, or allow a "sub" mode (killed mech becomes a weapon on one of the survivor, he becomes a ghost...), or repair possibilities... basically just checking other team games around would give you the necessary ideas.

Also, this more or less enables PVP as a side effect.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: Alex Heartnet on August 07, 2014, 01:23:23 AM
With the recent addition of the "On Your Toes" game setting perhaps the idea of multiplayer should be re-visited?

"Everyone takes turns simultaneously and has 5 seconds to think fast" is simple and seems like it would flow well.
Title: Re: Multiplayer....
Post by: keith.lamothe on August 07, 2014, 11:31:13 AM
Yea, the 5-second-rule thing actually came out of thinking how multiplayer would be done.  Perhaps we'll give a try down the road, but for now there are bigger priorities, as I expect getting multiplayer to a fun state will be a protracted effort.