A different take on multiplayer

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jonnyincognito
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A different take on multiplayer

Post by jonnyincognito » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 05:44

Greetings all!

I'm a bit of a lurker, and I've read through many locked threads about possible MP in X:R. Many have asked about it, and mostly the responses are reasons why it wouldn't happen, and those are valid if you head in the direction where each player has his own ship. What I haven't seen is a suggestion about everyone crewing the same ship.

From what I've been reading, the player will be based in just one ship perm. It will be highly detailed internally, with crew and what not. Now, this sparked an idea...why can't we have multiplayer co op where everyone is crew on the main ship of the storyline? (Sorry, I forgot it's name...its been a few months since I played AP!) I mean think about it, if you're going to have NPC crew, why not make it so they can be PC as well? Everyone works together for the same goal...avoiding all the problems that would happen if everyone was piloting their own ship in a more adversarial role with each other. You can still have a very involved story, the game dev direction wouldn't change any, and you would get to enjoy the game with other people! Take a look at the interest that a game like Artemis: Starship Bridge Simulator or even Guns of Icarus Online draws. It's a small niche granted, but I would find it very satisfying to be able to crew up a ship and take on the X universe!

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Post by theeclownbroze » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 06:29

I aint against multiplayer at all, i think it adds a whole dimention to gameplay im especially with multiplayer in an x game because they decided to remove seta which made it impossible to have multiplayer. However, there is always a catch lets adress this..first off, i really don't want to wait another full yearjust because the devs need yo implement multiplayer, 2nd when your onlne and your maby playing with an online crew for your ship some people are just not loyal enough or are impatient and will just go against what you achieve, third, will all the players on the ship have the same story line and quests than you considering there different people?, my take on multiplayer would be a planet side 2 onlinesystem where there is a persistant universe and lots and lots of players, but dont forget that x rebirth is a SINGLE PLAYER GAME and to implement multiplayer takes time, experience, risk, deep silver getting pissed off and money $$$

What i reckon is maby when x rebirth is finished and put on the market, they begin to work on an mmo using the rebirth engine and that way it wont take so much resources, not like egosoft will be making an mmo anytime soon though

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Re: A different take on multiplayer

Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 08:01

jonnyincognito wrote:why can't we have multiplayer co op where everyone is crew on the main ship of the storyline?
Try playing Artemis - that's exactly what you are describing.

As for why that doesn't happen in X... well, aside from netcode problems, there's the simple fact that it would be basically impossible to work out a reasonable system to make something like that work.

A game like Artemis actually takes the time to balance out what each of those different jobs are there to do.

What happens in X is that you get players who spend most of their time trading... and then you'll have most of your co-op players sitting in turrets with nothing to shoot at (or worse, will start shooting at things just because they're bored). Or they'll be on some sort of coms station with nobody to com. Or they'll be in some VR goggle controlling a drone when there's nothing but boring routine mining going on.

What's more, games like X are ones where "player expression" is one of the core gameplay aesthetics people play to enjoy - they want to make their way through the sandbox in their own way, whether it means choosing their own combat style or playing as pacifistic and diplomatic a game as possible, while another may want to go pure pirate. How do you encourage self-expression without trampling the expression of your partner, who may want to express some very different things in the way they play?

It's not that it can't be done - like I said, Artemis is doing it - but that it wouldn't be X if they did it. They'd have to gut several key aspects of the game to make it work unless you were only going to cut it down to two people, and make one person purely an armchair admiral that does nothing but order other units to move around or do paper pushing for the person actually flying the ship.

wolvern
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Post by wolvern » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 08:32

it'd be better to have a more simple co-op .... like minecraft...

the game is the game and people have their own ships / items to use...

co-op would be just having people party with you and help you out :D

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Post by Alan Phipps » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 12:19

Any parent with teenage kids will tell you that a 'Mum's/Dad's Taxi' life of driving others about at their whim and command is no real fun.
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s9ilent
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Post by s9ilent » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 12:32

So I get to fly whilst everyone walks around my ship doing random stuff? (Fixing my ships engines, redistributing power... etc)

I had considered such an idea for a long time, but the key thing that makes games fun is that you get to be in control. Sharing control doesn't work very well.

I've played a mud before where you can control a ship from a bridge, from several turrets, or run around repairing the various subsystems from the engine room. Needless to say, EVERYONE wants to be on the bridge, some people are ok with turrets (which have less fire power) NO ONE wants to be in the engine room. (Even thou the "best" way to play that game was really one person on the bridge, and EVERYONE else in the engine room, the converse was always true)

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Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 17:56

wolvern wrote:it'd be better to have a more simple co-op .... like minecraft...

the game is the game and people have their own ships / items to use...

co-op would be just having people party with you and help you out :D
This is an idea that X is even more ill-designed to accomidate.

For starters, it has no competitive balance. What happens when you take a TP craft out to ferry some passengers around, and then your "friend" decides now would be a funny time to pop up and blow you out of the sky? What happens when you're starting out and building your first stations or TS, and your friend shows up with a whole billion-credit fleet to curb-stomp you just to be a jerk?

What happens when you sign off in a game like this? Do all your ships and stations disappear? What happens to an economy where huge factory complexes that make up significant chunks of the economy can appear and disappear overnight? What happens if they don't disappear? Can you wake up the next day only to find out that a Xenon invasion came by and destroyed billions of credits of complexes because you weren't there to order more reinforcements to guard them?

What happens when one of your "friends" starts blowing up all the asteroids that are irreplaceable in the game that you wanted to start mining? What about if they blow up all the Terran stations when you wanted to buy some missiles or a factory from them? How do you keep them co-operating when, after all, there's no real reason for them to do so unless you personally know them, and can give them a real-life punch for being a jerk?

There's a reason I don't play Minecraft with anyone I don't personally know. Or, for that matter, most multiplayer games turn off all friendly fire and have static worlds.

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Post by Falcrack » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 19:16

Multiplayer with someone you know can be a lot of fun. For example, we have two desktops at home that are gaming capable. We could choose coop multiplayer, where we share the same account and each be able to fly in one of our jointly owned ships. We could decide among ourselves who would control such things as setting up freighters or factories, etc, while the other is busy fighting pirates or Xenon.

Or, we could play as separate players with our own accounts, and choose to either ignore the other, cooperate, or compete to see who could become the top dog in the universe.

The best potential for multiplayer would require someone you are very well aquanted with and feel you would have fun playing with. We already have EVE for an MMO.

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Post by Falcrack » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 19:19

Wraith_Magus wrote:What happens when you take a TP craft out to ferry some passengers around, and then your "friend" decides now would be a funny time to pop up and blow you out of the sky? What happens when you're starting out and building your first stations or TS, and your friend shows up with a whole billion-credit fleet to curb-stomp you just to be a jerk?

What happens when you sign off in a game like this? Do all your ships and stations disappear? What happens to an economy where huge factory complexes that make up significant chunks of the economy can appear and disappear overnight? What happens if they don't disappear? Can you wake up the next day only to find out that a Xenon invasion came by and destroyed billions of credits of complexes because you weren't there to order more reinforcements to guard them?

What happens when one of your "friends" starts blowing up all the asteroids that are irreplaceable in the game that you wanted to start mining? What about if they blow up all the Terran stations when you wanted to buy some missiles or a factory from them? How do you keep them co-operating when, after all, there's no real reason for them to do so unless you personally know them, and can give them a real-life punch for being a jerk?

There's a reason I don't play Minecraft with anyone I don't personally know. Or, for that matter, most multiplayer games turn off all friendly fire and have static worlds.
What happens then is that you decide now would be a good time to find new friends, if they are going to start doing stupid stuff like that for lolz. That may be the caliber of your friends perhaps, but my friends who I would play with are a bit more mature.

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Post by Nanook » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 19:22

Falcrack wrote:...
What happens then is that you decide now would be a good time to find new friends, if they are going to start doing stupid stuff like that for lolz. That may be the caliber of your friends perhaps, but my friends who I would play with are a bit more mature.
Well good for you. Now please refrain from commenting on the poster and stick to the actual subject of the thread. Your remarks can be construed as a veiled insult, and we'll have none of that.
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Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 19:29

Falcrack wrote:What happens then is that you decide now would be a good time to find new friends, if they are going to start doing stupid stuff like that for lolz. That may be the caliber of your friends perhaps, but my friends who I would play with are a bit more mature.
I say "friends", but I also mean "anyone you meet randomly online", or just the sort of people you meet when you leave a Minecraft lobby publicly open.

There is a reason multiplayer is despised in long-time single-player games like these - maturity on the Internet is rare and far between.

For that matter, there's a reason the most successful multiplayer games all involve just killing other players. Because griefing is what strangers do best.

Simply saying "get a new friend" doesn't solve the problems I outline, anyway - what happens when you log off, log back on the next day, and find out that Xenon wrecked your trade empire and billions of credits in stations because the server wasn't shut down? What happens when you don't realize how untrustworthy that new guy really is until after he wrecks a set of complexes that took 100 hours to build up?

MMORPGs don't let you lose more than half an hour's worth of effort for dying for a reason... and they still have obscene amounts of drama over ninjas and the like - here, you stand to lose potentially months of playing to one random jerk overnight.

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Post by Falcrack » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 19:57

Nanook wrote:
Falcrack wrote:...
What happens then is that you decide now would be a good time to find new friends, if they are going to start doing stupid stuff like that for lolz. That may be the caliber of your friends perhaps, but my friends who I would play with are a bit more mature.
Well good for you. Now please refrain from commenting on the poster and stick to the actual subject of the thread. Your remarks can be construed as a veiled insult, and we'll have none of that.
I'm sorry, I meant no offense, I merely meant to say that for a good multiplayer experience in the type of multiplayer X game I am envisioning you would need to have a level of trust in the person you are playing with for it to be enjoyable. I should not have commented on his friends.
Wraith_Magus wrote:Simply saying "get a new friend" doesn't solve the problems I outline, anyway - what happens when you log off, log back on the next day, and find out that Xenon wrecked your trade empire and billions of credits in stations because the server wasn't shut down? What happens when you don't realize how untrustworthy that new guy really is until after he wrecks a set of complexes that took 100 hours to build up?
The type of multiplayer I was thinking would be good would not be server based, but rather saved and run on your own machine and the machine of your coop partner. You could save it, shut down the computer, and open it up later as a multiplayer game later. Stuff would not be happening when the game was not running on your machine.

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Post by Wraith_Magus » Fri, 7. Dec 12, 20:22

Falcrack wrote:The type of multiplayer I was thinking would be good would not be server based, but rather saved and run on your own machine and the machine of your coop partner. You could save it, shut down the computer, and open it up later as a multiplayer game later. Stuff would not be happening when the game was not running on your machine.
Given the way that people demand multi-player everything, if you open the door to multiplayer, will there be that many people satisfied with just two-player co-op? Unless you were literally just doing the thing where you limit one person to flying the ship, while the other person commands the drones or something, and you kept everything else about the game (including plot) intact, there would be very little justification for not going further.

Even the examples of games like Minecraft run on servers that are independent of any given player.

I think the greatest problem with X going multiplayer in the "everyone gets their own ships and does their own thing" sense is that the universe is fairly small and finite. There are a set number of asteroids to exploit, and when used, are gone forever. There are a set number of markets to sell to, and saturation can be reached, limiting trade. There are a set number of war sectors to blow things up in, and how far the ships from one side can be pushed back.

Because of how things are tracked OOS, that finiteness is inherent in how the game plays; Minecraft can make up infinite stretches of land on command, and nothing ever happens in those chunks when a player isn't nearby - it isn't even loaded. You can't do that in X (except for unfocused jumps to empty sectors that are deleted permanently after leaving) because the economy and battles have to keep running in the background.

Most co-op games have static worlds that get reset whenever players travel back through them. The only thing that players can personalize are their own characters, which let them be popped in or out without much impact on the world. Meanwhile, because of the need for player expression and capacity to own huge amounts of property and manipulate the economy personally in X, the game can quickly become rather crowded.

Being single-player ultimately lets the player be the center of the universe, in a way, and that's what sandbox games like X do best - letting the game be catered to the player, themselves, and that tends to get disrupted in co-op play. (Just look at how pointless multiplayer was in some of the GTA games - it's pretty much just a deathmatch with bad controls for a FPS.)

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Post by koyuka » Sat, 8. Dec 12, 19:30

I agree with the last post, the only way of countering this in my opinion is to make stations extremely expensive and and make them use a lot of resources and so the 'average' or 'beginner' player would be the small traders whereas the more experienced players might eventually be able to afford their very own station! Guilds and corporations etc would pool their money together to be able to afford the shipyards, trading stations and equipment docks where the final products were sold, the could also be responsible for providing security for the sector with rewards for how successfully they manage this. Of course I am just day-dreaming at this point :lol:

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Post by VIP-Killer » Sun, 9. Dec 12, 13:25

As far as i understand your intentions correctly, you want to get a multiplayer with many people? Well, nice idea, but for X it's not a good idea.

Couldn't you focus on multiplayer sizes something like Left 4 Dead or Borderlands? You can play together with max. 3 friends, that boosts the game fun and balance is still good. You could either play completely together (managing same stations, creating one company), or you could play as separate companies (war would be stupid, so compete, but peacefully)

Having more than 4 players leads to a gameplay like Freelancer had. It was also really good, but i think it's more difficult to realize such a multiplayer, cause in Freelancer you just had your ship, that's it. It was kind of a "short term game". X is a "very long term game", means you can't just play for like 10 hours and achieve the best ship and so on.

So max. 4 players would be awesome! More than 4 would create balancing problems and a problem in finding enough players, who want to play for long term with you... (Even though games like minecraft are also long terms, but they still somehow managed it to make a very good multiplayer)
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