Multiplayer Functionality

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Multiplayer Functionality

Postby Adam » Sat Aug 10, 2013 2:43 pm

Hey all! A few people have expressed interest in the multiplayer possibilities in our game. Fun fact: Dave originally designed this game as an MMO that could be scaled back to single player. The design logic there is that MMO systems can work for a single player game but the opposite is rarely true.

So, we're putting it to you. What kind of multiplayer interactions would you like to see in the game?

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby nesetalis » Fri Aug 16, 2013 11:48 am

I'd hope for a large community of "space", whether its a single system, star cluster, or an entire galaxy... its all your local community.
Stuff happens on your station and maybe a friend's officer was delivering a supply of something and got involved to bring the story back home.
Possibly group oriented objectives for the entire sector. Like say some alien race is attacking this part of space, so you are all tentatively involved in the same invasion, possibly sending support or requesting support.

Don't really have a good enough feel for your game yet to suggest anything more exact.

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby Dave » Mon Aug 19, 2013 2:45 pm

I'm a huge MMO player (or was, until they devolved into bad single player games). I started with MUDs, and Ultima Online was like a revolution. As a developer I've deliberately worked in the MMO space. So I also know what it takes to do it "right" both for design and technology.

For multiplayer, to do the full version I imagine you have your station which is your space. You own that chunk of the universe. You can log in and play around in your sandbox. Multiplayer is cooperative or PvP by doing the same things you like doing alone (missions, exploration, combat) but with, or against (Pvp) other people. Our guild metaphor is basically a federation.

There are plenty of sci fi examples of federations and empires coexisting in the same universe with isolationist or otherwise unaligned species. :)

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby DocKenobi » Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:06 pm

I'm not a fan of MMOs, but I think multiplayer could be nice. However, i think it could work the way Sim City 2013 (with all the bad things that the game has) does for regions and different cities and mayors. You could be the "mayor" of a station and collaborate with other "mayors" in order to achieve something big or maybe even go "Leroy Jenkins" to conquer them all and create your own empire on that region. But you shouldn't be limited to a single region or a single station... that's a concept to develop further into... :P

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby Neulut » Tue Aug 20, 2013 7:11 pm

Multiplayer is a can of worms, I would focus on single player and get that right.

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby Ninetailed » Tue Aug 20, 2013 9:19 pm

Neulut wrote:Multiplayer is a can of worms, I would focus on single player and get that right.


I couldn't disagree more. If you plan to do multiplayer at all, you have to design it in from the very beginning, or you'll give yourself a lot of headache later on.

As a case study, look at Minecraft. During alpha, when multiplayer support was (re-) added, at first almost nothing worked. You couldn't open doors, use the furnace, do anything at all except harvest and place blocks. You couldn't kill or interact with the monsters, you couldn't die. It took over a year for full functionality to be added, and then the developers were stuck with the headache of maintaining two separate codebases, single and multi. Until finally, not so long ago, they made single-player simply run a local server and connect to it - and broke a whole load of things in the process, which were only recently fixed.

If you try to add multiplayer after the fact, it will either feel tacked-on and broken, or you'll spend more time than you did on the game itself making it behave. Our good friends at Jellyfish are entirely correct about this point. It's much, much easier to build a single-player game from multiplayer components than vice versa.

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby Neulut » Tue Aug 20, 2013 11:49 pm

Ninetailed wrote:
Neulut wrote:Multiplayer is a can of worms, I would focus on single player and get that right.


I couldn't disagree more. If you plan to do multiplayer at all, you have to design it in from the very beginning, or you'll give yourself a lot of headache later on.

As a case study, look at Minecraft. During alpha, when multiplayer support was (re-) added, at first almost nothing worked. You couldn't open doors, use the furnace, do anything at all except harvest and place blocks. You couldn't kill or interact with the monsters, you couldn't die. It took over a year for full functionality to be added, and then the developers were stuck with the headache of maintaining two separate codebases, single and multi. Until finally, not so long ago, they made single-player simply run a local server and connect to it - and broke a whole load of things in the process, which were only recently fixed.

If you try to add multiplayer after the fact, it will either feel tacked-on and broken, or you'll spend more time than you did on the game itself making it behave. Our good friends at Jellyfish are entirely correct about this point. It's much, much easier to build a single-player game from multiplayer components than vice versa.


I agree with you :)

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby nesetalis » Thu Aug 22, 2013 1:17 pm

Very very true...
if You want multiplayer at any time, design with it in mind from the get go.

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby MaxShields » Thu Aug 22, 2013 2:19 pm

Multiplayer would be neat, but I would like to be able to opt-into PvP. I'd hate to not be able to access my station for a few days and come back to find it in ruins, or keep getting raided by folks who realize that I'm easy pickings because I've decided to make it a science station or mining post.

Collaborative efforts to optimize station specializations like Sim 2013 sound like a great idea, trading with buddies, and being able to lead massive and coordinated operations with friends against a larger hostile force would be lots of fun. I can also imagine a certain degree of pleasure with being able to travel from my station to a friend's to be able to wander its corridors with a character just to take the in sights.

I would personally spend most of my time in single player, though, so please don't create MP at the expense of SP experience.

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Re: Multiplayer Functionality

Postby SAMsite » Fri Aug 23, 2013 8:57 am

The main benefit you get (as developers) from any multiplayer option is that you'll see emergent gameplay happen faster and in more varied fashion than in a single player environment.

Let's take the ultimate sandbox, Minecraft, as exhibit A here - without multiplayer servers that have allowed collaborative play the amount of inspiring content out there driving players forward would be cut significantly.

A full MMO maybe isn't the right approach, but a server-bound persistent world supporting up to hundreds of players at the administrator's discretion might well be.

The one thing I would say from personal experience is that I play multiplayer games for a considerably longer length of time than their single player brethren, because the interaction with other players creates more varied gameplay that simply cannot be programmed.

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