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Author Topic: ~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~  (Read 31912 times)

~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« on: 16 Mar 2004, 15:12 »
What I want to discuss is the future of multiplayer adventure games.  I've been experimenting with the TCP/IP plugin for AGS with a few others in the #ags chat room, and we've found it works quite well.  It has quite a few nice features, yet it's kept very simplistic in its functionality and implementation.

I recognize that some people will disagree with me about this, but I personally don't like the idea of making a multiplayer epic quest.  Regardless of the game's design, you would probably be dependent on the other player(s) throughout the entire game.  Each player would have to stay caught up with the others.  You couldn't advance through the storyline without the other players being on the same wavelength.  This degree of dependency is not a desirable feature, in my opinion.  Instead, multiplayer adventure games should take a different angle if they're going to be recognized as an enjoyable part in the future of gaming.

Any multiplayer game needs either (1) teamwork and/or (2) competition.  In some of the most widely-played multiplayer games, both teamwork and competition are incorporated.  The players understand that by working together they can "beat" the game faster or have a better chance of doing so.  Competing against a human adversary is the ultimate challenge, since no AI yet has been made that can imitate the unpredictability of human thinking.

These are the proven features of multiplayer games that players tend to find enjoyable.  How do we transfer these features into an adventure game?  One idea in particular seems quite promising to me.  This is all purely conceptual, and is just a brief introduction to the idea.  Any comments and suggestions you might have are most welcome.

A Multiplayer Murder Mystery

I'm quite excited about this concept.  Have you ever played Mafia, the party game where a group of people sit in a circle, draw cards to randomly determine who are the cops, the mafia, and the townspeople, and then try to eliminate the Mafia each turn?  The idea here is similar.  The setting of the game is, e.g., a mansion estate.  Appropriate characters are chosen at the beginning of the game, such as a butler, a doctor, and so on.  One player is randomly selected as The Killer.  The others have to figure out who the killer is, and avoid being murdered in the process.

The game is very much an adventure game.  Puzzles are solved, normally consisting of gaining access to certain areas of the play area, like the attic's drop-down stairs or the locked garage.  Some items, such as a fireplace poker, a machete, or a gun can be used as murder weapons or as items to solve puzzles.  Each player has an inventory, but only 2 items are allowed at a time.  Because of this, players will constantly be dropping items.  Every time someone touches an item, he/she leaves fingerprints on it.  Certain items such as gloves or a handkerchief can be used to avoid leaving fingerprints or wipe them away, but these are difficult items to find.  Fingerprints can be scrutinized by other players.

General Philosophy
As far as I'm aware, a similar game like this has not been made.  It goes beyond mystery games like Clue!, since the killer is still very much active, and the life of each player is threatened with each step.

The idea is to invoke paranoia in each player.  You don't KNOW who the killer is.  You don't KNOW if the crowbar you see a character holding is going to be used as a murder weapon against you in a few seconds or just to open the locked trunk.  You don't KNOW if the guy lurking in the shadows is going to burst out with a chainsaw or just passively observe you.  Teamwork is possible, to figure out who the killer is, but the paranoia is always there, since you can never be sure you're teaming up with the right people.  Whenever the player is selected as the killer, he would have to be very devious and put on a fake identity for everyone, trying to convince everyone he's just a normal non-killer like the rest of them.

The Server-Client Network
As a software developer, I'm very much aware that creating a multiplayer game is no easy task.  The most effective way to create the game would be to designate one player as the server and the others as clients.  Every time a player wants to do an action, it would poll the server, which keeps a record of where every item and every character is.  It would simplify the game process and avoid duplicate actions (such as two people trying to pick up an object at the same time).  Typical stuff, as well as a proven effective method.

The Atmosphere
The game undoubtedly would contain a survival horror element.  Normally, survival horror games have to be carefully planned out and the atmosphere thoughtfully constructed.  In this game, enough elements can be given to the players so they can construct their own survival horror atmosphere.  In some rooms, lights can be turned off, casting shadows all over.  Doors can be locked, so you can avoid the killer chasing you.  Dialogue with other players should be restricted to the same room, rather than a global in-game chat, adding to the element of seclusion.  Plus, this would avoid the problem of a sneaky player saying at the beginning, "BUDDY SYSTEM!  Everyone choose a buddy and stick with him/her.  If someone dies, we'll know the buddy did it!"

Replayability
The game can't be the same each time, since that might get boring.  Items could be placed randomly (yet still in appropriate locations) whenever the game starts.  The fact that someone different is the killer each time would keep the game interesting and replayable as well.



I'm going to draft a detailed design document for this game (when I get around to it), then post a link to it for comments and criticism.  Hopefully, this will invoke further interest in the idea.  Would anyone be interested in working on a project like this down the road?  I think it has enormous potential.  It could definitely leave a mark and be a good way to bring adventure games into the multiplayer world.

One thing you might notice is the lack of storyline.  Stories are typically important to adventure games.  There might be a way to accommodate a story, such as giving each character a purpose in the game, or adding a secondary quest for the players such as finding a hidden treasure, and throw in some NPCs.  This may or may not be a good idea.

Eventually, I'd like to see different versions, i.e. different levels, of the game made.  It doesn't have to take place in a mansion.  The setting could also be a desert island, an abandoned amusement park, or (my favorite) a teenage party.

But first, I'd like to make a smaller multiplayer game.  One idea is a Spy vs. Spy type game where two players try to sabotage each other.  It would let us experiment with incorporating multiplayer features in AGS, and be a nice stepping stone before launching into the larger multiplayer murder mystery project.  Some of the network features could be carried over, too.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2004, 15:22 by Migs »
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #1 on: 16 Mar 2004, 15:28 »
Do you have any comments other than "Sounds brilliant!" (which I do appreciate).  Any potential flaws you see, or any reason why you might not want to play such a game?  It might be useful to make this an open source project, too, so those who don't know how to program for a network could benefit from it, and learn how to use the TCP/IP plugin to do so.

I'd really like to know if people would be interest in working on such a project.  Not immediately, but somewhere down the road.  Like I said, I'm going to write up a design doc so everyone can have a better idea what we were talking about in the #ags chat room.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2004, 15:32 by Migs »
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #2 on: 16 Mar 2004, 15:30 »
Migs, I think that it sounds at least very good.

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #3 on: 16 Mar 2004, 15:38 »
That's an interesting idea.  The point would be that no one knows what anybody is.  That's the paranoia: you can never be completely sure.  What would happen is that when you THINk you know who the killer is, you lock in a vote.  However, once you make your vote, you can't change it.  If, say, the majority of the players vote correctly, the non-killers win and the killer loses.  If they guess incorrectly, the killer wins.

There has to be a balance.  It shouldn't be TOO easy for the killer to kill people.  For example, rather than just picking up a gun and shooting, he has to find bullets first.  Moreover, most of the clues the players will use will probably be just observing what the other players are doing and carrying.  It would be quite incriminating to see a player carrying around a sniper rifle (he could try to play it off by saying, "I'm keeping it so the killer doesn't get it").  If the killer is given a handkerchief right from the beginning, what's the point of even giving the other players the ability to look for fingerprints at all?  I think most objects should be located during the course of the game, adding the necessity for strategy and just plain good fortune.

I admit, the idea strays from how we traditionally view adventure games.  Nonetheless, the basic adventure game elements are still there: inventory and puzzles.  Story could be incorporated, too, but that would require some careful thought.  Would you find a multiplayer game that had the same story each time you played it enjoyable?
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #4 on: 16 Mar 2004, 15:54 »
Nice ideas Migs. I'll throw mine into the mix (so it doesnt get forgotten again) and then talk about yours later this evening.

I had an idea once for a multiplayer adventure, it'd be a race to find say, the treasure, (simple cliched plot but it'll get the idea/point across).

Basically, lets say the game is 30 rooms or so. Up to four players can play (for example) and the main goal of the game would be to locate and find the Stone Of Slofrueiughdr. Each player starts in a randomly selected room, they could find themselves in an office, at a sea port, in a museum, etc.

They'd walk around in search of this thing, getting clues from characters within the game. As characters tell the players clues, they'll get a little less happy to talk to say, the last person - and will give them a harder clue, etc.

Along the way the players will bump into each other and will be able to chat to one another, revealing whatever they want but also hiding the truth or meddling with clues to put them off etc.

Eventually one person will find the stone, and when the others get to that point the ending will be different for each of them.

It's a rough idea but I thought it'd make a great multiplayer adventure game.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2004, 15:55 by m0ds »

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #5 on: 16 Mar 2004, 16:04 »
Darn it. I had composed an excellent reply and then lost it.

Spy vs Spy is quite a well thought out but simple game, so it would be a good starting point. I doubt that the split-screen stuff is managable in AGS, though. Some of the gameplay relied on you being able to see the nother player setting traps, so I dunno how it would work if you couldn't see it. Count me in on the Spy vs Spy project, at least. (I was going to do this myself afetr I get the Sphinx demo out)...

As for the murder mystery: even if people had buddies, think about what happens in horror movies: there is always some trapdoor, revolving fireplace or something that separates the buddies in the buddy system. Now, if people know about these then they may try and avoid them, so maybe we need to work out how to make them unavoidable:  have them right next to entry/exits and fired randomly, or maybe the doors themselves open to different rooms each time you use them (have you seen/read Steven King's Rose Red?)

Also, the non-murderers need some motivation to move around. Maybe completing various tasks can let a player get some evidence that shows that another player didn't do it or even gives the player a bulletproof vest so that if the killer does try to kill them , the immediately win (because they survivie and yet know who the killer is). Also, maybe you need to reach the telephone to call the police once you know who the murderer is, but the killer might kill you too. The killer wouldn't be allowed to kill everyone though becuase then it would be obvious who did it, maybe there are limited murder weapons too.

Maybe a mechanism to frame other people too. And lockers to hide items in so people can't ask you what you're holding (where a refusal to show would be suspicious). Framing could maybe be the killer finding a "clue" item or something that both killer and a non-killer would want and then rendering it useless in some way, but the other player wouldn't know until they pick it up and leave fingerprints. Also, the murderer would have to dispose of the murder weapon somewhere, but then someone else could find it. Maybe there's a crowbar around to break into other people's lockers...

And if there's one NPC, the butler, who can also possibly be the killer...

Lots of possibilities here. But start with simple Spy vs Spy first... 320x200, roger sprites and concentrate on getting up to speed on gameplay and using the TCPIP stuff.


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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #6 on: 16 Mar 2004, 16:06 »
Sounds interesting, but I have a question. I guess it has to do with the "story" part which is, as you say, not finalised yet. What would be the reason for the murderer to murder? Just cause he got the "murderer" card? There should be some other mission for him to need to complete (ie. the reason) by killing someone. If this is so, the placement of items should not only be randomised, but the elements of the story as well.
Also, would the other players be restricted to not being able to murder? Will they also be able to murder other people (even the murderer himself)? What is going to stop a player from taking all items and hiding them in some place by dropping them on, for example, a walkbehind?

Don't take any of my comments as meaning I think this is a dumb idea, its just constructive criticism for you to use to bring your idea to reality. It sounds like a great idea, I would love to see it implemented.
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #7 on: 16 Mar 2004, 16:40 »
Nice ideas Migs. I'll throw mine into the mix (so it doesnt get forgotten again) and then talk about yours later this evening.

I had an idea once for a multiplayer adventure, it'd be a race to find say, the treasure, (simple cliched plot but it'll get the idea/point across).

Basically, lets say the game is 30 rooms or so. Up to four players can play (for example) and the main goal of the game would be to locate and find the Stone Of Slofrueiughdr. Each player starts in a randomly selected room, they could find themselves in an office, at a sea port, in a museum, etc.

They'd walk around in search of this thing, getting clues from characters within the game. As characters tell the players clues, they'll get a little less happy to talk to say, the last person - and will give them a harder clue, etc.

Along the way the players will bump into each other and will be able to chat to one another, revealing whatever they want but also hiding the truth or meddling with clues to put them off etc.

Eventually one person will find the stone, and when the others get to that point the ending will be different for each of them.

It's a rough idea but I thought it'd make a great multiplayer adventure game.

I like this idea.  A lot.  A multiplayer treasure hunting adventure game would be very enjoyable, provided it's as random as possible, so that even if someone plays it 100 times, he/she wouldn't necessarily know where the treasure is after just a few minutes of playing and recognizing the pattern.

It seems like it would play on the whole idea of not knowing if someone is deceiving you or not, too.  There seems to be a common theme there.  What would be the advantage to helping someone find the treasure as opposed to hiding what you know?

Darn it. I had composed an excellent reply and then lost it.

Spy vs Spy is quite a well thought out but simple game, so it would be a good starting point. I doubt that the split-screen stuff is managable in AGS, though. Some of the gameplay relied on you being able to see the nother player setting traps, so I dunno how it would work if you couldn't see it. Count me in on the Spy vs Spy project, at least. (I was going to do this myself afetr I get the Sphinx demo out)...

It wouldn't have to be exactly like the original.  We were talking about a WWII theme for the game, where you could plant land mines, bombs, possibly snipe the other player, and so on.

As for the murder mystery: even if people had buddies, think about what happens in horror movies: there is always some trapdoor, revolving fireplace or something that separates the buddies in the buddy system. Now, if people know about these then they may try and avoid them, so maybe we need to work out how to make them unavoidable:  have them right next to entry/exits and fired randomly, or maybe the doors themselves open to different rooms each time you use them (have you seen/read Steven King's Rose Red?)

If people start off in random locations and are only able to talk to each other when they're in the same room as another, the problem is practically resolved.  People could use the buddy system if they find another player in the course of the game, but how would you know that person isn't the killer?  You'd be taking a serious chance.

Planting traps would also be a great way to kill people, like dropping chandeliers on players CB-style.  I do like the idea of setting it in not just a mansion, but a HAUNTED mansion.  NPC ghosts could roam around or something.  They could be used to weave a story into the game, like the former owner of the mansion was wrongfully murdered.

Also, the non-murderers need some motivation to move around. Maybe completing various tasks can let a player get some evidence that shows that another player didn't do it or even gives the player a bulletproof vest so that if the killer does try to kill them , the immediately win (because they survivie and yet know who the killer is). Also, maybe you need to reach the telephone to call the police once you know who the murderer is, but the killer might kill you too. The killer wouldn't be allowed to kill everyone though becuase then it would be obvious who did it, maybe there are limited murder weapons too.

We were talking about this, too.  Also, simply surviving a murder attempt would not make you automatically win, since you would have to find all the other players and convince them the guy tried to kill you.  The killer could just follow you and pretend that you, the would-be victim, actually tried to kill HIM.

I was thinking that maybe once everyone has locked in their votes, the roles could be reversed.  Suddenly, all the non-killers are capable of killing, and the killer has a limited amount of time to escape.  Just a thought.

It seems that the non-killers in the beginning of the game just dwell in the mansion, without any action starting until the killer actually kills someone.  Then it's no fun for the first victim (he could still roam around as a ghost or something).  Here's an idea, but it would require assigning roles to each person, similar to Mafia.  Gossip Rule: One player could be randomly selected as the Detective (he could have some special advantage, like being able to look at anybody's inventory), one as the Killer, and the others as just normal players.  The normal players could be given the chance to select anybody to learn "Gossip" about.  If they choose a normal player, they'll know that person is just normal.  However, if that person is SOMETHING, i.e., the Detective or the Killer, the player will know it, but won't know if that player is the Detective OR the Killer.  Nevertheless, he could use this information, find other players, and tell them what he knows.  Then the players could track down who they think is the killer and try to trap him/her in a lie.  It would be up to the players to use it as a strategy.  The killer could pretend to be the detective to try to fool the other players.

Hopefully that wasn't too confusing.

Maybe a mechanism to frame other people too. And lockers to hide items in so people can't ask you what you're holding (where a refusal to show would be suspicious). Framing could maybe be the killer finding a "clue" item or something that both killer and a non-killer would want and then rendering it useless in some way, but the other player wouldn't know until they pick it up and leave fingerprints. Also, the murderer would have to dispose of the murder weapon somewhere, but then someone else could find it. Maybe there's a crowbar around to break into other people's lockers...

This could be implemented by wearing gloves when picking up items.  Objects could contain only the fingerprints of the last person to touch it, so it would seem as if someone else was holding a murder weapon.

I think the best way would be to give the players a bunch of items that have multiple functions, and let them decide what to do with them.  There could be multiple ways to reach and pull down the rope to the attic, so the killer could be waiting up there for someone to come up.  Or when the killer is pursuing someone and the person locks the door behind him, the killer can go outside and break through a window.

And if there's one NPC, the butler, who can also possibly be the killer...

That would be immensely interesting.  I was thinking there could be a clown character, too, for the abandonment amusement park scene.  Nobody would trust the clown no matter who was selected as the killer.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2004, 16:49 by Migs »
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #8 on: 16 Mar 2004, 16:40 »
Sounds interesting, but I have a question. I guess it has to do with the "story" part which is, as you say, not finalised yet. What would be the reason for the murderer to murder? Just cause he got the "murderer" card? There should be some other mission for him to need to complete (ie. the reason) by killing someone. If this is so, the placement of items should not only be randomised, but the elements of the story as well.

One possibility is that the killer could secretly be given a [random] motive when he's selected.  Maybe he could score extra points (or something) if he kills certain characters first, or within a certain time frame.  If this is going to truly be an adventure game, and if people really think having a story to this game is important, care will need to be taken to make sure the story is enjoyable and interesting enough each time the game is played.

Also, would the other players be restricted to not being able to murder? Will they also be able to murder other people (even the murderer himself)? What is going to stop a player from taking all items and hiding them in some place by dropping them on, for example, a walkbehind?

No, the other players wouldn't be able to kill.  If they were, we'd just have another FPS on our hands, and I think we need to create something unique.

The players are restricted to two items each, so hording items isn't possible.  We could script it so when players drop items, AGS checks to see if there's a walkbehind and places the item a little to the side so it's not obscured from view.

Don't take any of my comments as meaning I think this is a dumb idea, its just constructive criticism for you to use to bring your idea to reality. It sounds like a great idea, I would love to see it implemented.

That's really all I wanted when I posted this, just constructive criticism.  It's good to know if people are actually going to WANT to play something like this before going to the effort of creating it.
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #9 on: 16 Mar 2004, 17:00 »
I would like to make a multi-player VPXT game, and have always dismissed the use of two-at-one-pc because you'd need two mice to work at the same time (which is how you'd want to be able to play...)

Perhaps using the plugin it would be possible, but I don't know enough about the mechanics, and I don't have an example network I could use... sniffle sniffle oh well...

Still, I think the problem with jumping into plot-based multi-player games is that multi-player and plot-based are two very disprate eXtreems of the game spectrum. People would need to get into the mind set of both before they could bring them together, which would probably mean taking the time to make specifically multi-player non-adventure games, then slowly introducing plot and adventure elements to them, one game at a time. Obviously this would take AGES, but I think that trying to skip a few steps and dice in at the deep end is asking for trouble (or fairly un-memorable games...)

Or you could take adventure games and strip the mechanics down further and further, until multi-play makes proper sense...

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #10 on: 16 Mar 2004, 17:17 »
Migs... WOW. That is an AMAZING IDEA!!!

I want to play that, NOW! Hehehe.

But seriously, I thiknk this idea could go very far, and I would be willing to help out in any graphical or musical means. I look forward to seeing updates on this progress. Create a play test, using all rogers, and place holder graphics. If it works, then I could probably get the rest of my team to help graphically and with other small things, such as hopstop descriptions (Looking at things in the mansion) and so on.
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #11 on: 16 Mar 2004, 17:31 »
Ok, i've read most of what migs said (in his 1.st) and what m0ds said.
I was thinking, what about the dialogs, could we be able to chat, or even SHOUT? so other people can hear us when we're dying?
But how to unable the abuse of it like "I 0wnZ y00!!"

And I have a similar idea, a combination of mods' and migs'.
What about the a murder mystery, where YOU are the detective, but, you are not the only one... You see where i'm getting, it's something like m0ds's idea, but with migs' elements of murder mystery.

And about the actual game being played, it could be like those FPS, we make up a server, several players register (up to 16?), and then they play. If they wish to stop ( in a mutual agreement), they can save, but then, all of them must start it again together, and/or the player that is missing will be considered dead...

Do i make any sense?
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #12 on: 16 Mar 2004, 18:05 »
I would like to make a multi-player VPXT game, and have always dismissed the use of two-at-one-pc because you'd need two mice to work at the same time (which is how you'd want to be able to play...)

Perhaps using the plugin it would be possible, but I don't know enough about the mechanics, and I don't have an example network I could use... sniffle sniffle oh well...

I really do think any work done on this should be open source.  It would benefit everyone who feels too intimidated to use the TCP/IP plugin.

Still, I think the problem with jumping into plot-based multi-player games is that multi-player and plot-based are two very disprate eXtreems of the game spectrum. People would need to get into the mind set of both before they could bring them together, which would probably mean taking the time to make specifically multi-player non-adventure games, then slowly introducing plot and adventure elements to them, one game at a time. Obviously this would take AGES, but I think that trying to skip a few steps and dice in at the deep end is asking for trouble (or fairly un-memorable games...)

Or you could take adventure games and strip the mechanics down further and further, until multi-play makes proper sense...

I don't necessarily think multiplayer games and plot-based games are diametrically opposed.  However, your concern is precisely why I think careful planning of the story needs to be undertaken, since it's not difficult to see a lot of problems emerging when the story conflicts with the multiplayer gameplay.  It might be best not to incorporate a story into the multiplayer murder mystery, at least until we know the basic mechanics work and the gameplay is sound.  Having NPCs, dialogue trees, and secondary objectives could be considered in future versions.

Migs... WOW. That is an AMAZING IDEA!!!

I want to play that, NOW! Hehehe.

But seriously, I thiknk this idea could go very far, and I would be willing to help out in any graphical or musical means. I look forward to seeing updates on this progress. Create a play test, using all rogers, and place holder graphics. If it works, then I could probably get the rest of my team to help graphically and with other small things, such as hopstop descriptions (Looking at things in the mansion) and so on.

I like that idea.  To start out, I think I'm going to rip the graphics from a game like Fate of Atlantis and just have it so players can connect, choose a character, walk around, and talk to other players in the same room.  It would give me a chance to make a simple (!) server-client system that could be used in later games.  Then I could advertise the game as INDIANA JONES ONLINE!  Hours of fun.

By the way, most of the credit goes to a-v-o, Geoffkhan, and Hotspot.  They came up with the best ideas (not to mention a-v-o made the TCP/IP plugin).  Now let's just make the ideas come to life.

Ok, i've read most of what migs said (in his 1.st) and what m0ds said.
I was thinking, what about the dialogs, could we be able to chat, or even SHOUT? so other people can hear us when we're dying?
But how to unable the abuse of it like "I 0wnZ y00!!"

I think if you chat, it should only be with people in the same room as you.  However, if you die, you automatically scream and other people can hear it.  Then it tells each player in what direction the scream came from or something, assuming they're in a reasonable promixity.  If a player is in the basement, he wouldn't be able to hear someone who is murdered in one of the far corners of the mansion estate; or if the game's setting is the teenage party, you wouldn't be able to hear someone who is being drowned in the swimming pool outside if you're right in the middle of the partying and boozing.  This could be used as another clue for acute players...they could try to recall who was in the proximity at the time of the murder.  This would also mean the killer would need to act quickly, and possibly try to dispose of the murder weapon and just act cool.

And I have a similar idea, a combination of mods' and migs'.
What about the a murder mystery, where YOU are the detective, but, you are not the only one... You see where i'm getting, it's something like m0ds's idea, but with migs' elements of murder mystery.

So the competition would involve trying to figure out who the killer is before anyone else does, and then if you do, you win?  That's a good idea, too.    Basically, in the MMM idea, everyone is a detective except the killer, and ideally they WOULD work as a team, except their paranoia and inability to truly trust any other player might keep them from doing so.  Would you want to have an NPC killer then?

I think the idea has so much versatility that is left up to the players, without necessarily incorporating too much into the game itself, that the game would be an enjoyable and unique experience each time it's played.

And about the actual game being played, it could be like those FPS, we make up a server, several players register (up to 16?), and then they play. If they wish to stop ( in a mutual agreement), they can save, but then, all of them must start it again together, and/or the player that is missing will be considered dead...

Do i make any sense?

It's a good idea.  Consider the cost and work involved in creating a server, though.  Moreover, I don't think each game should be long enough to warrant saving.  Half-an-hour per game at the most.  What do you think?

Eventually, I'd love to see this whole idea turned into a game using the latest 3d technology (still 3rd person adventure, though...the last thing we need is another FPS) with a bunch of different levels, different and unique characters, and different items for each level.
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MrColossal

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #13 on: 16 Mar 2004, 19:55 »
Question: How will conversations be handled?

If you use text overlays or background speech there's only so many people that can be talking at the same time in the game. If you go into your own little two headed room like in Innocent Until Caught [or locally, Shadowplay] then you'll not know who's entering and exiting the room and the killer can walk in stroll around and murder both of you.

Instead of a mansion imagine this: Take Scorpious' CCS plugin and add let's say, 20 computer controlled people to the game. Imagine walking around outside and there are 8 people walking around and... Wait, is that person following me? Oh no! Is that the killer? I'll duck into this alley and see if he follows then I'll run... Ok, he didn't follow that was scary... Wait, who's this hiding in the shadows ARGHH!!!!

Maybe you have 1 day to stay alive and find the killer. You start in early morning and it ends late at night with the sun going down and the stars coming out and as the day gets later less and less computer controlled people are about because they're all going home. This makes it harder for the killer and easier for the victims [who had it easier at the beginning of the game staying alive] now you have only a few people to be curious of and there are less people around for the killer to kill you easier [let's say the killer can't kill you if anyone else is in the room, so you could stand in a populated place for protection though it would discourage a 2 person buddy system cause death would come easier.]

add in the flashlight plugin and nighttime gets uber scary [finding a light source first [flashlight/batteries lantern/fuel]

How does a vicitim stay alive when confronted by the killer?

The addition of a character select screen [adding special facial features/clothing so everyone doesn't look the same and one can hide among the NPCs better]

If someone dies within earshot of one of the NPCs the NPC will retain a short description of the last person they saw or something "He had a mustache and he went down that alley."

Adding the ability to run [like Revenants] this will make you suspicious to other NPCs and PCs.

The killer will have a photo of all the players in the game [since the character selection screen would allow new people to be created each game the photos would be necessary] or a description.

Can the killer kill NPCs?

i think i'm going to stop because i may just go on for pages
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #14 on: 16 Mar 2004, 20:48 »
Question: How will conversations be handled?

If you use text overlays or background speech there's only so many people that can be talking at the same time in the game. If you go into your own little two headed room like in Innocent Until Caught [or locally, Shadowplay] then you'll not know who's entering and exiting the room and the killer can walk in stroll around and murder both of you.

A-v-o updated the test game for the TCP/IP plugin, and it uses text overlays in the default LucasArts style.  It looks really good.  Background speech obviously wouldn't work.  When players speak, they need to speak in real-time; the game can't halt just because someone is speaking.  One solution to the potential screen clutter is to limit the number of characters a player can type at a time.  Problems would only arise if the game had quite a large number of players, like 10+, and they all decided to crowd together in one room and blabber at each other.  In later versions, more than one killer could even be designated for larger games.  That could get interesting.

Instead of a mansion imagine this: Take Scorpious' CCS plugin and add let's say, 20 computer controlled people to the game. Imagine walking around outside and there are 8 people walking around and... Wait, is that person following me? Oh no! Is that the killer? I'll duck into this alley and see if he follows then I'll run... Ok, he didn't follow that was scary... Wait, who's this hiding in the shadows ARGHH!!!!

Maybe you have 1 day to stay alive and find the killer. You start in early morning and it ends late at night with the sun going down and the stars coming out and as the day gets later less and less computer controlled people are about because they're all going home. This makes it harder for the killer and easier for the victims [who had it easier at the beginning of the game staying alive] now you have only a few people to be curious of and there are less people around for the killer to kill you easier [let's say the killer can't kill you if anyone else is in the room, so you could stand in a populated place for protection though it would discourage a 2 person buddy system cause death would come easier.]

NPCs would be a nice feature to have, and the CCS plugin would definitely be the best bet, but I think starting simple would be the best maneuver for now.  In later versions of the game, NPCs could be used to incorporate a story into the design.  Setting the game in a teenage party like I mentioned earlier would be a great place to include NPCs.  It would be a great classic take on horror movies, because people only die when they're all alone.  The unofficial "safe zone" would be where everyone is gathered, dancing, getting drunk, getting high, making out, having sex (open to debate), and so on.  For now, though, I think we should focus on how we can successfully make this a PC-only game, with the intent on adding more to it later.

Imposing a time limit might work.  One problem I can see is that this may discourage the killer from killing, if the condition is that the players have to figure out who the killer is.  Perhaps the game could start with a NPC murder and the clues could be randomly generated, but I'd rathed avoid making the game create things like this, when the players can create their own clues, their own suspicions, and their own fear sufficiently well.  The game also wouldn't be very enjoyable if the killer found it easy to kill people.  I think a lot of testing will be necessary, with different combinations of features turned on and off to get the right feel to the game.  Ideally, half the time the regular players will win and half the time the killer will win.

The 2 person buddy system was just a point that was raised during discussion over the game.  A cunning player could propose having a buddy system at the beginning, but only if all the players started in the same room, or had the ability to talk to players regardless of where they were.  Placing the players in random rooms at the beginning and only letting them talk to each other if they're in the same room safely avoids this problem.

add in the flashlight plugin and nighttime gets uber scary [finding a light source first [flashlight/batteries lantern/fuel]

This would definitely be a worthwhile addition.

How does a vicitim stay alive when confronted by the killer?

What do you think people would prefer?  In most survival horror games, the player has a method of defense, but in this game only the killer is capable of killing.  Maybe bulletproof vests could be used, but this obviously would only protect from bullets.  We can give the players the ability to lock certain doors behind them and turn lights on and off to hide in shadows.  These could be used strategically by both the killer and the other players.  In most cases, though, there should be alternative methods for the killer to reach his target, e.g., if a player is being chased he can lock himself in a room, but then the killer can use the master key to unlock it, or circle around outside and break in through the window.

The addition of a character select screen [adding special facial features/clothing so everyone doesn't look the same and one can hide among the NPCs better]

Definitely.  Each character could even have unique abilities, too.  One character, for example, could be a doctor and heal murder victims if he can reach them in time.  Of course, this would mean the killer would probably want to eliminate him first.  Just an idea.

If someone dies within earshot of one of the NPCs the NPC will retain a short description of the last person they saw or something "He had a mustache and he went down that alley."

This would be a great idea if/when NPCs are included.

Adding the ability to run [like Revenants] this will make you suspicious to other NPCs and PCs.

The ability to run is a must.

The killer will have a photo of all the players in the game [since the character selection screen would allow new people to be created each game the photos would be necessary] or a description.

All characters in the game are sprites, so too much diversity can't be used.  If we allow for numerous combinations in hair color and eye color, these all have to be individual sprites.  Even just by doing quick edits of a base sprite, this would be difficult and perhaps more trouble than it's worth.

Can the killer kill NPCs?

I don't see why not.  Kind of a useless thing to do, but immensely fun for the killer.  Maybe this could give the killer points or something.  Or maybe that's a dumb idea).

i think i'm going to stop because i may just go on for pages

The design doc will address every single possible feature of the game, and I'll make a short multiplayer demo game, too, then post a link to them so everyone can see how the game will basically function.
« Last Edit: 16 Mar 2004, 21:46 by Migs »
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m0ds

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #15 on: 16 Mar 2004, 21:28 »
Quote
What would be the advantage to helping someone find the treasure as opposed to hiding what you know?

Heh, haven't figured this one out entirely - but I'd assume you could follow them or something, then when they're stuck on a puzzle you could solve it, leaving them behind ;)

The advantage of helping them though could be used as a bargaining tool. I'll scratch your back if you scratch mine, kind of thing. Depends if the player is an asshole or not, I guess!

 ::)

Felipe

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #16 on: 17 Mar 2004, 05:45 »
WOW, Migs, I think your idea is GREAT! Really! ;)

I mean, it's an excelent way of implementing the multiplayer system, and also making a game that'd be fun to play...

Quote
Would anyone be interested in working on a project like this down the road?
Hell Yeah!
I could help you with it if you want ;)
I also have many ideas for it but I won't talk about them now cos it's really late.

PM me if you want, and we can discuss more about it.

BTW, I'd like to see the design Document to have a general idea of what you want...

Cheers

-Felipe-
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auhsor

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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #17 on: 19 Mar 2004, 00:14 »
I would love to work on a project like this. Its a pity i got uni now and don't have much time. I'm still really interested in this idea, especially the haunted mantion thing. It sounds really cool.


Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #18 on: 19 Mar 2004, 21:54 »
Oh man, feel free to contact me...
« Last Edit: 20 Mar 2004, 15:58 by Czar »
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Re:~ The future of multiplayer adventure games ~
« Reply #19 on: 20 Mar 2004, 12:18 »
Erics idea makes me so excited, i blow a load!

It would be fantastic to see it implemented properly.

It would be a lot of work, but it would bring adventure games into the 21st century...
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