Author Topic: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play  (Read 6378 times)

Offline tigersfan

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #30 on: December 08, 2013, 12:22:25 PM »
Hmm, the social networking aspect of this honestly had not occurred to me at all.  And yeah, I hate that sort of thing and have really negative reactions to it, too.  Some of my family were really into Gardens of Time, and while I'm glad they enjoyed it the social stuff was a real turnoff for me (aside from the fact that the game is not my sort of thing at all).

The problem with this is, of course, that if the game is PERCEIVED as having those elements, then we'll never be able to combat that.

Offline Wharrrrrrgarbl

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #31 on: December 08, 2013, 04:55:32 PM »
For some reason it reminds me of those multiplayer Tetris games but backwards.  When you make a good move more blocks hit the other player and such but what if it wasn't always backwards and there was an option to play it exactly like that?  What I mean is instead of co-op I think a competitive mode in this style would be really, really cool since I fall in to the category of: not liking co-op multiplayer due to not having friends who like the same games as myself, but liking competitive multiplayer because competition makes the game more interesting and appealing to me.  A game like League of Legends makes me furious because I'll leave a match with 20 kills and no deaths that still results in a loss because I got matched with a bad team but if I lose a game in Swarm Arena or Total Annihilation or any FPS 1v1 or in a pub setting where my score takes priority over match win/loss count such as CS Source I can laugh it off and say I need more practice, I feel a drive to become better.
So for something like Bionic Dues, it'd be asynchronous competitive multiplayer where rather than defending your city against a robot uprising, it would be defending it against the other player's robot army, huh? Advance the robot manufacturing progression so that it eventually gets unwinnable, but the choices the players make can slow it down so the contest is to see who loses first?

Offline chemical_art

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #32 on: December 08, 2013, 05:26:44 PM »
I find the idea mildly interesting but fret with peril.

To start, one risks diverting media that would be on the games virtues to instead cover the gift giving. Is that really wise? The social media perception could dilute the perceived depth of the game due to association with like games.

Secondly, while the coding may be simple, balancing this would not. It seems like a mess when considering difficulty levels and differing player balance of how much impact it should have. This at the very least time consuming, and seems easy to get wrong. Doubly because it will be hard to judge from the alpha crowd  what things should be since they are different from the public crowd.

Time running short, but i don't want the potential chore of finding players .
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Online Pepisolo

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #33 on: December 09, 2013, 10:21:29 AM »
Initial thoughts are that you are correct to be extremely cautious about the advertising of such a "co-op" feature. A while back I bought the game Wazhack as it seemed to be advertised as a co-op rogue-like, but once I eventually discovered that the game was using an "Alone Together" form of multiplayer I momentarily felt cheated. After chilling out I realized the game was still a good purchase, but my initial reaction was still one of annoyance. So, I'm in complete agreement that this game should not be advertised as multiplayer. "Ability to link single player worlds" sounds fine to me. There's no way I could take that to mean co-op in the traditional sense. ... Oop, gotta go, might as well post this quick.

Edit: added an idea about Bionic Dues multiplayer to the relevant BD thread. While this "Alone Together" mode sounds interesting and has potential for The Last Federation, I still think that BD could have a more traditional form of co-op.

« Last Edit: December 09, 2013, 05:50:41 PM by Pepisolo »

Offline Wingflier

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #34 on: December 09, 2013, 06:16:58 PM »
I think there was a lot of very insightful thoughts and information in that article, and I thank you for being extremely honest and straightforward about why "traditional multiplayer" isn't an option for this game, but also willing to make a compromise for your players in the form of the "alone together" mechanic.

Specifically, the part of your journal where you explain that multiplayer RTS games already are "alone together" to some extent. I began to think about what you said. I play co-op RTS games with my friends frequently, and I hadn't even thought about it this way! When you brought this concept up, I began to realize that you were right. Most of the enjoyment of playing the RTS together is not the level of interaction we have (because with 2 separate opponents, we tend to be quite individually busy), but the mutual FEELING of co-operation, and the imagined goal of working together to achieve victory. Perhaps simply the idea of "if I succeed we succeed, if I fail, you fail" is what makes multiplayer co-op so fun. Though you may not be DIRECTLY influencing how your opponent does, if you begin to fall behind, he or she will certainly be paying the price in the long run. On the contrary, if you are defeating your opponent to a greater degree, then you can transfer some of your resources to your partner's battlefield and help them out as well.

As I was thinking about this concept, I began to question whether simply giving your friends "resources" every so often was really conducive to this same kind of feeling that we seem to be shooting for. For one thing, it's only positive. If this is really the system we choose to implement, you're only sharing the rewards between allies, not the risks, which is literally half the fun! Another important aspect that you mentioned is having to create or manage an arbitrary resources that could be sent "between galaxies" which would fit into this category. I'm never a big fan of "forced design", and honestly I think there are even better options than what has been discussed.

Have you ever played a multiplayer arcade puzzle game? Think Tidalis. One of the most enjoyable aspects of those games that we can probably all remember from our earliest gaming days is sending your opponent "difficult blocks" or "beneficial packages". True, each player was playing their own side of the puzzle, but their actions and success or failures had a very real effect on the other player.

What if we attempted to add a mechanic like this into TLF? True, each player will be playing alone, but every big event, victory or defeat, will send waves of prizes or enemies to their allies doorstep. In this way, the well-being and success of each player is, in large part affected by their allies. When one ally begins falling behind, all the allies pay the price. However when one ally begins to succeed, all the allies see the benefits. These "parallel universes" are connected in a fundamental way, and the ripple effects can be felt by all players involved.

This just seemed a lot cooler, more functional, and more unique than the suggestion that was originally proposed. Mixing popular elements of a puzzle game into a single-player RTS/TBS hybrid would be pretty groundbreaking from everything I know, and would probably be a lot more appealing to multiplayer lovers in the end, because it creates the same sense of dependency and group success of the traditional multiplayer model.
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Offline Tridus

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2013, 07:31:11 AM »
Gotta be honest, this holds zero appeal for me. I wouldn't consider it multiplayer, any more than I consider Assassin's Creed 4's "send your fleet ships on the same mission as mine to speed them both up" to be multiplayer.

To use your Civ example, I've currently got a game of Civ V going with my best friend. We're not interacting all the time. We do interact pretty regularly, to do things like deciding on research priorities, figuring out who is going to try to build which wonders, arguing over who gets to put a city on that really great spot we just discovered, and trading units back and forth to help out in our wars. What I do has an impact on him, and what he does has an impact on me. We're trying to win as a team.

Under this model? Not so much. Aside from occasionally giving some stuff across the border (which feels like a Facebook game, as others have mentioned), we have no impact on what the other person is doing. If I get into trouble, he can't come bail me out. We can't decide to double team the biggest guy on the map. Strictly speaking in this model, there is no reason why we even need to be playing at the same time. (In that sense it reminds me of the MLP iOS game, where you needed to have lots of friends send you hearts back and forth to get some of the items.)

I'd be very careful about how you market it with something like this, because if you said TLF had "co-op multiplayer" and I got this model, I'd not be a happy customer.

Offline Bluddy

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Re: Thoughts On "Alone Together" Collaborative/Competitive Networked Play
« Reply #36 on: December 10, 2013, 11:23:35 AM »
To give some examples of games that have this kind of asynchronous connectivity, Spelunky has the Daily Challenge mode where everybody in the world gets to try the same random seed for the day. You only get one shot, and scores can be compared afterwards.

Race the Sun also has the unique feature of allowing a friend to continue on from the point where you died, like a relay race.

From these 2 examples (maybe not enough to generalize but I don't know of any others), it seems to me that asynchronous multiplayer is best used for ancillary features. A clever asynchronous idea can enhance a game (Spelunky's daily challenge is one of its biggest selling points, but the game doesn't rely on it), but I don't know if it should be relied on as a main mechanic.