Author Topic: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.  (Read 18701 times)

Offline x4000

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2015, 03:34:56 PM »
Hi Chris! Been an Arcen fan since Children of the Neinzul, but I lapsed until just last year. Have had a blast catching up.

It's a shame about multiplayer, but I agree that it's really a mess in 4X games because of variable play speeds. There is a solution of sorts, and it's especially good if you're interested in the social aspect of co-op: Hotseat gaming. Early experiences with HoMM2/3 are still some of my favorite multiplayer memories since I learned how to play just by watching everyone else, got help immediately just by pointing, and spent the turns until mine asking questions or socializing. And when need arose, heckling and chivvying the one who just wouldn't end their turn.

It's not a silver bullet, most of the reason online co-op is popular is that we can't meet up with our friends for a turn around the PC, or console for that matter. Still something worth considering, maybe.

Welcome to the forums!  And thanks for the kind words, too. :)

Hotseat multiplayer is a really interesting idea, actually.  That sort of thing isn't really hard to do; though again we run into problems of people getting bored, etc.  And others not really feeling like it's true multiplayer and thus calling us liars if we say the game has multiplayer on the features list.  I think I prefer the idea of letting everybody just control the one faction all at once.  It's basically like hotseat except anyone can touch it at once.

One thing that I do think this game could be ripe for is succession games.  But that's not really something that needs code.  You can do that with any game, really.

Chris,

You don't know me. I've signed up just so I can say this.

I'm one of the few. One of those who really do play co-op multiplayer strategy games. Civ, AI War, the few others in the genre. AI War is the best multiplayer co-op game I have ever played. Playing it that way has given me some of the most fun times I have ever had. I was looking forward to Stars Beyond Reach co-op multiplayer a *lot*, and I am deeply, deeply sad that it won't be there.

But the point of my message is not that I'm sad. It's that I believe you've made the right choice. I thank you deeply for setting out your reasoning in the way you have done, and I agree with it completely. If you can't make the multiplayer experience as fun as the single-player experience, if it would take significant additional effort to develop (and I'm a programmer myself. I *know* that it would), it should not be in the game. I and my friends will do what we've done with other games before - simply fire up a single-player game and a screenshare. My sadness that I won't get co-op multiplayer does not diminish the anticipation I have for this game.

Thankyou for having the dedication to making the best game you possibly can that you make the hard decision.

That is all.

JJ

Thank you so much for signing up -- it's great to meet you!  I am also one of those who play co-op games, too -- I'm one of the few, too, that I now have to ignore.  It's actually a situation where normally I pretty much don't play any strategy games that I can't play some form of co-op in.  Less so now, but it was that way for a good decade and a half or so.  I want co-op in all games partly for very selfish reasons.

Very cool idea on the screenshare!  That's a pretty fascinating concept.  I'm surprised you can get acceptable framerates on any of the remote machines, though, with any game.

I remember in some of the older games -- Rise of Nations, maybe? -- if multiple players chose the same color, they'd share control of one faction.  Age of Empires II must have done that too, now that I think of it.  That was fun because it let me just absolutely rule the economy and push the limits of efficiency there.  And then I'd be routing troops to one of two front lines that my dad and uncle microed, respectively.

I don't know.  Something like that might be something we do in post-release if there's sufficient traction for the game.  Knock on wood, the traction seems likely at least.  If there's extra programming time at some point prior to release (ha.  ha ha ha. ha.) then maybe earlier, who knows.  Probably that is better spent on polish in the meantime, though.

Anyway, thank you very much for the kind words and the understanding.

Cheers!
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Offline NickAragua

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2015, 05:24:50 PM »
It's cool, I wasn't even aware that multiplayer would exist in this game. I applaud the practicality in the decision making process though.

I loved multiplayer coop in AI War, but it took my friend and I like four months (once a week for three or so hours) from start to "get stuck on second AI homeworld", and we've never tried it again due to the time consumption involved. Also, ditto on Heroes of Might and Magic. Played that hot seat way back in high school. The only thing I remember clearly is one of my friends standing over the current turn taker and saying "NOOMAAAD" in a deep, rumbling voice. Freaked the kid out so bad he almost fell out of his chair. Don't think we ever finished a game, but who cares, it was fun.

Offline Zebeast46

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2015, 05:26:35 PM »
I know this is a long shot, but after the game is released is their a possibility that you will add hotseat, just asking since I love to play with my brother and I think {not sure though} that hotseat will be easier to code in.  :D
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Offline Dominus Arbitrationis

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2015, 06:47:08 PM »
I know this is a long shot, but after the game is released is their a possibility that you will add hotseat, just asking since I love to play with my brother and I think {not sure though} that hotseat will be easier to code in.  :D

Based on what Chris said earlier, there does seem to be a possibility of that occurring, or some form of post-release multiplayer that is similar to that. Of course, I could be entirely wrong and it could be completely scrapped (I doubt it), or for sure planned (Also doubt it). Regardless, you can always play it like that locally. :)
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Offline x4000

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2015, 07:20:31 PM »
Quite cool.  My wife was on board with the everyone-does-one-faction-and-controls-everthing-at-once thing, for her part.  Really doing that and doing hotseat aren't particularly difficult.  For hotseat it's the same as the simultaneous one, except that each player can only control things on specific turn numbers and is otherwise view-only.  So I guess that is some extra, but it's not horrendous.
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Offline Cyborg

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #20 on: February 05, 2015, 07:56:45 PM »
An Arcen game without multiplayer? What is this?

Bionic Dues or The Last Federation, I guess. ;)


It all makes sense. Although that part about your customers not using multiplayer for your games is most likely true except for ai war. I think a lot of people play multiplayer ai war. One other side effect of multiplayer is that some people do buy multiple copies for friends and are less likely to do so without it, but maybe not enough to have a big impact right now.


All in all, sounds good.
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Offline x4000

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #21 on: February 05, 2015, 08:16:39 PM »
Oh yeah, I know that customers do use multiplayer -- it's somewhere between 10% to 30% of customers, though, from what data I can tell.  We don't have any direct tracking mechanisms, so this is somewhat inferred from our data and that of Starcraft and so on.  And I'm being overly optimistic with how many people are playing multiplayer in those cases -- I think.

I do hope to solve the issue at some point, but I guess there's a limit to what I can do all at once.  Trying to be too experimental in too many ways too fast led to a lot of problems with past projects, and layoffs in the case of TLF.
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Offline mrhanman

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #22 on: February 05, 2015, 09:26:42 PM »
Personally, I rarely play games with others.  When I do, it's never a strategy title, excepting AI Wars (and even that's very rare).

The alone together thing could be interesting, though.  Or maybe something like a trans-dimensional warp disturbance causing a building or event from another player's game falling into your world.

I appreciate the new screens, too.  They're lovely as ever!

Offline Alex Heartnet

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2015, 09:50:24 PM »
In my testing at the moment, despite all the early-alpha things that either Keith or I need to fix up before we bring in more players (ETA still hopefully the start of March), I'm finding that quite fun as it is. The turns are a lot more granular than I expected, which is going to be a big problem for multiplayer, though. That's really the biggest issue I've seen. But the early game is always that way even with Civ, and once diplomacy is integrated (we're working on that now), I think that will change a lot. That will take some substantial balance work, but it's all a numbers game at that point.


To avoid having to wait for others to take their turn, Sword of the Stars has an adjustable time limit for each turn.  Default is no time limit (naturally), but if you really wanted to you could set the time limit to 60 seconds per turn and play a complete speed chess version of the game  :P  (or be more reasonable with 3 minutes/turn but where's the fun in that)

This will no doubt lead to messy poorly planned cities  :P

Offline Cinth

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2015, 11:23:00 PM »
I'm ok with no multiplayer.
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Offline Misery

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2015, 02:15:56 AM »
Hm, I may as well chime in also, for what little good it'll do.  On both multiplayer in this game, and just in a general sense.

One of the biggest things in there I agree with is:

Quote
Keith Pops By: "Multiplayer is always a rat hole ;)"

That's pretty much how I tend to think of multiplayer much of the time.  Which can be... frustrating.  I think my biggest problem with it as a whole is how STALE it can get.  I do fighting games as the genre I'm best at by far, moreso than the shmups.  And that genre NEEDS multiplayer to work; I've not found a single fighting game where the AI isnt dumber than a sack of hammers.  And I need a challenge to hold my interest.  Theoretically, this means multiplayer will give me what I want.  In practice though?  Nope.  Because it just gets so freaking stale, due to how the majority of players treat these games.  They gotta use the BEST combos and characters only.  Which, I point out, are determined by a pile of numbers, not by anything else.  And because of this, nearly all opponents arent really thinking for themselves;  they're just copying what the well-known ones do.  This is amazingly boring to deal with.  And with the fact that they're the "best" ways of doing it, you'd at least think it'd provide a challenge, yeah?  Nope.  Seen those tactics too much, my own screwball ways of playing, despite not being made of numbers, usually win out in the end.   But that sort of opponent will JUST KEEP COMING.  Over and over.  And over.  Each time, it gets easier to beat the character in question.  Yet there remains no deviation.... even against the same opponent again and again, they're so used to the tactic that they didn't even come up with that they dont seem to be able to do anything else.

And that carries on into every genre.  Doesnt matter which one, it's going to be there.  And generally, I get piles of insults thrown at me if I'm not doing things the "right" way, even if I'm winning.  Which just adds to it.

For co-op though, it's even more annoying.   If I dont play the RIGHT way, even if my way of doing things does the trick, nobody will want to team up with me.  That I dont like the "best" tactics and also that they often just dont work for me simply doesnt matter, I get shoved away anyway.  Games like the Monster Hunter series, I've seen this so often.... good luck getting a party going if you arent using exactly the super specific equipment to take down the specific monster you're up against. 

And with turn-based games, those tend to be the sort where the numbers really are very important, though in a GOOD one they'll be balanced out so that there's still a ton of viable ways of doing things.  Yet even so, there'll be that ONE way that everyone tends to do it, co-op or competitive, and if you dont do that, out you go!  After the proper set of insults is thrown at you as required by multiplayer protocol, of course.

And considering that forced multiplayer in games that do not absolutely NEED it tends to take away time/resources that would otherwise go into the basic design, well.... yeah.  You often end up with a good game that could have been a GREAT game.  With Stars here, I sure as heck wouldnt want to see that happen.


Also bad, at least for me, is.... well, this is turn-based.  Turn-based multiplayer is a big no-no for me.  It's possible that you may, perhaps, have noticed that I'm not exactly the most patient individual.  If it's not moving like a greased lightning bolt, I'm probably bored.  So having to freaking WAIT for my opponent/ally to VERY VERY SLOWLY take their turn so that things can continue is super frustrating.  Honestly, I just cant tolerate it.  I've tried it before, and just.... arrrrgh.  It causes me to play the multiplayer only a couple of times, and then never touch it again.  I dont understand at all how people can sit through a multiplayer game of Civ.  Or even worse, one of Paradox's grand strategy games.  And they do it with like, 8 players at once!  I just... I dont even.  Does not compute.  And you're right, the ratio of players that actually DO that is typically very low when considered against the overall community size... and the slowness probably ALSO pushes away even many players that normally like multiplayer games, which just shrinks it that much more.  And all of that then causing time and resource drain on the developers.... ugh.  Really, really dont like the design philosophies that cause the decision to include such a thing in a game that seriously doesnt need it.


So yeah, that's my own thoughts on that.  I can definitely agree with your decision to do this.  Yeah, it'll irritate some, but I think it'll be sooooooo much better off for it.  And an example that I wish devs of other 4X games could learn from.

Good job on the detailed explanation of all of that too, it's interesting to see that decision-making process from the developer's perspective.


....there, I'm done rambling now.  Probably.

Offline Captain Jack

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2015, 02:59:04 AM »
Oh yeah, I know that customers do use multiplayer -- it's somewhere between 10% to 30% of customers, though, from what data I can tell.  We don't have any direct tracking mechanisms, so this is somewhat inferred from our data and that of Starcraft and so on.  And I'm being overly optimistic with how many people are playing multiplayer in those cases -- I think.

I do hope to solve the issue at some point, but I guess there's a limit to what I can do all at once.  Trying to be too experimental in too many ways too fast led to a lot of problems with past projects, and layoffs in the case of TLF.
Wow, I really have been out of touch, I remember problems after Children, but I'd had no idea that TLF caused problems. If it's any consolation, TLF is fantastic, and is just inches from being the Star Control follow up I've wanted since SC2. Really hoping to see more from you on that front... after SBR has its time in the sun. Speaking of, are you still looking for tech suggestions or ways to affect Ivoria's temperature? I noticed that no one mentioned a real world proposal to cool the planet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_fertilization.

Offline x4000

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2015, 08:14:00 AM »
There was a postmortem I wrote about TLF back last June, which included a lot of things from across other games between there, too: http://arcengames.com/followup-to-last-years-ai-war-postmortem-now-discussing-bionic-tlf-etc/

Basically it was getting to be super dark days, and then bam TLF was suddenly our hugest hit ever in terms of bulk and speed of sales, even though AI War has sold more over a 6x larger timespan.  But TLF is already 1/3 of the way caught up to AI War after just 1 year instead of 6, so it's doing OK. :)

Still, it was very dark right before that.

And yep, please do make suggestions in the cooling thread, and in the other tech suggestions thread!  I am not being super active in them, sorry about that, but I kind of come and go with unfortunately huge gaps because it requires a lot of mental energy on my part to process them.
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Offline Nodor

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #28 on: February 06, 2015, 03:28:32 PM »
Age of Wonders 3 and Civilization 5 & BE get a lot of play with my friends because of their co-op modes - despite those modes generally speaking being terrible and/or less stellar than the single player experience.

We've all logged more than 500 hours of AI War because of it's excellent co-op - I can't really bring myself to play it solo anymore.   

When I am buying games to play with friends or nieces and nephews, I am looking at the strategy category first and then at co-op.  It is not uncommon for me to purchase 5+ copies of a 4x game.

So while I agree that co-op does not sound like a good fit for this game, I strongly dispute that co-op does not drive sales.
 



Offline x4000

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Re: No Multiplayer For Stars Beyond Reach.
« Reply #29 on: February 06, 2015, 03:33:02 PM »
I definitely agree that co-op drives sales -- I worded it poorly.  Best as I can tell from data, a tiny minority of sales are driven by co-op.  Aka, sales that would not have happened had co-op been in there.  The rest happen either way.  The tiny portion is still thousands of sales, though.  And obviously, since I'm in the very group that it drives sales for (many were the years where I bought no strategy games I could not play co-op in), I'm a fan of having it in there for the minority who use it.

Hopefully something post-release if this hits if big.  Fingers crossed.  But as I noted, I can't promise anything just yet.
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