Jibble

Author Topic: Sarien.net - Classic Sierra Adventures with sort-of multiplayer  (Read 3003 times)

Gamer_V

  • Or is it?
www.sarien.net

I'll keep it short: Police, Space and Larry Quest are playable online in a browser. Works just like the old games, except that you can see all the other people playing. It's not really multiplayer (some silly people here claim that just wouldn't work for adventures) but it's pretty fun. I started playing Space Quest, immediately died to the soldier coming into the room (I finished it a long time ago, eh!) and another player walked to my body and typed "take clothes body". Well, I'm sold!

According to the faq they don't have Activion/Blizzard permission so play it while you can!



Jared

  • Feel like I should hate him for some reason
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with story design
    • Jared worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Jared worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Activision/Blizzard? Surely Vivendi hasn't been acquired...

Layabout

  • Mittens Knight
  • Brogan
    • Layabout worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Layabout worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Oh yes they have. By a company who's CEO is only interested in games which have the potential to be exploited each and every year. Sequelmania!!! It all happened last year sometime, which is why the awesome game Brutal Legend had to find a new publisher.

Read this! http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3171153

Personally, I do not think I would like to work for them. HI ERIC!!!
I am Jean-Pierre.

Leon

  • Seems like the Thumb can't get a signal here.
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with translating
    • Leon worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
It would be nice to get some identifier to your character because it took me a while to find out which Larry I was...  ???
Not my cuppa but hey, it's free. When you really want to get the retro feel goto this site to play Police Quest or any other game if you like. This site has been around for ages so no worries it will be shutdown shortly...  :=
Ultimate Game Solutions - 'cause there's a solution for everything

Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens

  • Mittens Serf
  • GARBAAAAAGE DAAAAAAY!
    • I can help with animation
    • I can help with characters
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    • I can help with making music
    • I can help with proof reading
    • I can help with scripting
    • I can help with story design
    • Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Shane 'ProgZmax' Stevens worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
It's an interesting idea but I'm not exactly sure what the purpose is.  I mean, the author's own explanation for adding pseudo-multiplayer support to these games is really flimsy since you can't interact with each other beyond basic text, and I've found that wandering through most multiplayer games is like playing a single player game with a ton of foulmouthed and/or idiotic npcs.  Most people in online games don't really seem to want to interact with anyone beyond being a jerk or killing you, anyway.  This makes a multiplayer concept in an adventure game never designed for it even more pointless. 

One thing this does remind me of is Lucasarts' all too brief foray into online adventures with Club Caribe (aka Habitat), where you could actually solve puzzles in a group and share inventory and all sorts of weird stuff like start a business or a cult.  It would be awesome if they'd release the server code so someone could host it again, even for nostalgia purposes.

Technocrat

  • AGS Baker
  • Always finishes what he sta
    • Technocrat worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Technocrat worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Wow, that was surreal. I think I could see potential for this concept if there was, perhaps, a newer game that placed more emphasis on cooperation, but AGS doesn't seem to have much in the way of networking aspects.

Leon

  • Seems like the Thumb can't get a signal here.
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with translating
    • Leon worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
You could create a multi-player Nanobots where each player is a bot with it's (dis)abilities. You could only give object to others, not take so you need to discuss. So I could imagine a combination of adventure/chat functions on each character. Talking to another character would open a textscreen so you can type.

There would be a limited number of players and you can only play if all players are present but then again, you can start multiple instances yourself to fill up the blanks. But that wouldn't be as much fun of course. If you want to play with fewer players than default you could give the missing abilities to the players present. So in the end you can play alone with all abilities or play together with 1 per character.

I can imagine one of them can pick up/move objects. So when you find something, you need to inform the other to pick something up etc..  It's colaborating and communicating.
Ultimate Game Solutions - 'cause there's a solution for everything

blueskirt

  • I'm a doctor!
Quote
You could create a multi-player Nanobots where each player is a bot with it's (dis)abilities.

My opinion exactly. I've always found laughable the concepts of "multiplayer adventure game" that consist of putting several persons in one chatroom, debating with each others of the next thing to do while only one of them control the player character. Just imagine how lame it would be if it was implemented in a FPS or RTS.

More and more action games are now featuring co-op multiplayer for their story mode. I say give each players their own player character. If one want to see multiplayer adventure games, one should start by remaking Maniac Mansion where each kid is controled by a different player. Then maybe try experimenting with the DOTT formula (every players stuck in their own area, solving their own puzzles, trading ideas and item, with extra replayability as the players could switch characters once the game is over) or the Goblins formula (less chaotic than MM as all the players are in the same room and can see everything that's going on)...

Who knows where that might bring us, maybe one day it will be possible to play the Blackwell games with a player controling Angela and another controling Joey.
« Last Edit: 22 Apr 2009, 18:15 by blueskirt »

Leon

  • Seems like the Thumb can't get a signal here.
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with translating
    • Leon worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
The problem is only the abilities. When you can both do the same, it will become a hunt for the .. (whatever object you need to collect). Another issue would be the overview. You then need to see at all times what each is carrying. I'm talking about the adventure games, not rpg or rts. When you disable characters, you force them to cooperate.

I think Maniac Mansion would be a nice example because only one of them could be working out and thus open the grate to the basement. But you'd have to define the abilities more to prevent the game from becoming a hunting game instead of adventuring. But it should be feasible.
Ultimate Game Solutions - 'cause there's a solution for everything

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Private Insultant
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2018, for his numerous additions to the AGS open source ecosystem including the new Awards Ceremony client and modules
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
My opinion exactly. I've always found laughable the concepts of "multiplayer adventure game" that consist of putting several persons in one chatroom, debating with each others of the next thing to do while only one of them control the player character. Just imagine how lame it would be if it was implemented in a FPS or RTS.

Where have you seen these concepts, blueskirt? I ask because I've had that idea (and unlike you I think it would be cool), but I've never seen anyone else propose it.

twentyfour

  • FLASH! A-A Defender of the Universe
I've seen something similar over at http://www.mspaintadventures.com ... except the creator seems to pick what action to take based on what he's given by the audience. Still, pretty neat schtuff.


aaaand the site is havin troubles. Well, maybe it'll pop up later.
-24

blueskirt

  • I'm a doctor!
Quote
Where have you seen these concepts, blueskirt? I ask because I've had that idea (and unlike you I think it would be cool), but I've never seen anyone else propose it.

I've seen this idea proposed many many time back in 2000-2003 on older, now defunct, adventure games forums and chatrooms, it was pretty much the sole solution people could think of anytime such topic was brought up, and most discussions were wasted thinking about solutions for this concept's problems and technicalities, rather than considering all the alternative available (such as giving each players their own character).

You don't need to pit 8+ different players against each others in the same game to have multiplayer, more and more action games, like Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, feature co-op multiplayer, in some games you can play the main campaign and story in co-op with one or several friends, rather than keeping the multiplayer aspect in a story less environment. And IMO that's where the answer to multiplayer adventure game is. If the idea of multiplayer adventure games had been a big dream back in the golden age of adventure games, MM, DOTT and Gobliins 2 could have very well been the games that would have gotten this dream off the ground (albeit with much less timed puzzles in the case of Gob2).

With multiple characters, it's just a matter of playtesting different ideas and implementations to find the optimal formula. Whether it is better to have a common shared inventory like in Gob2 or a separate inventory for each characters like in MM, whether is it better to keep all characters in the same room and keep the action in several small enclosed area, or to let them lose themselves all over the game area, or give each characters their own area to explore, allowing players to switch roles once the game is over, whether each characters should have different talents or give them all the same capabilities...

Back in the IF days, didn't people consider adventure games to be a spin off on RPG video games, where the focus was less about exploring maze, killing monster and leveling up and more about storytelling, interacting with your environment, solving puzzles and discussing with NPCs? If so then pen and paper RPGs that focus less on battle and more on roleplaying and puzzle solving, like we did with my old roleplaying group, are pretty much multiplayer adventure games. It can be done, I am sure of that, it's just a matter of someone actually doing it.

Snarky

  • Global Moderator
  • Private Insultant
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2018, for his numerous additions to the AGS open source ecosystem including the new Awards Ceremony client and modules
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Snarky worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
I've seen this idea proposed many many time back in 2000-2003 on older, now defunct, adventure games forums and chatrooms, it was pretty much the sole solution people could think of anytime such topic was brought up, and most discussions were wasted thinking about solutions for this concept's problems and technicalities, rather than considering all the alternative available (such as giving each players their own character).

Interesting. I'd be interested in the names of those forums, if you can remember them. Might still be available on Archive.org or Google Groups or something. My experience has been rather the opposite: that people who talk about multiplayer adventure games are always assuming that each player is going to control their own character and you'll have co-op puzzles. That's what the only multiplayer adventure I'm aware of, URU Online, did as well (and it failed miserably).

Personally I think the multiple character idea will never work because it's fundamentally at odds with what adventure games are all about, while having multiple players figure out how to progress by offering suggestions to the person at the controls hearkens back to a time when people used to crowd around the computer to all play the newest game.

To quote myself:

Quote
Instead of working out the highly complex issues of designing adventure games with multiple independent characters, how about trying to replicate the old experience of huddling around a computer playing a single-player game?

A group of people (say 2-6) would log on to play the game together. They'd have a chat window to talk to each other. One player would get to control the character, and it would switch off every 5-10 minutes.

A problem with this would be that the people who aren't in control of the character could feel a bit powerless. It's fine if they can help out solving the puzzles, but what if the player in control is able to solve them alone, or just ignores the suggestions of the other players?

One way to get around this would be to make it so the controlling player could only perform actions suggested by the other players. Basically, the other players would type text commands ("take key", "open door", etc.), and the player who's controlling the character would click on the one they wanted to do. That way, cooperation is required, and the other players get to see how their input is helping. (I'm not sure whether the main player should be allowed to chat with the others. It'd be fun if they could only make the character gesture with sign language in order to make suggestions to them. Also, if the main player had an idea none of the others had for how to solve a puzzle, they would have to give up control of the character to one of the others in order to state it.)

Another thing I like about this idea is that it would revive the parser interface by merging it with a chat. You could write whatever: chat with your mates, discuss the game story, speculate on the puzzles, and suggest actions. If what you write is recognized as a command, it would become available for the character to execute.

Also, by distributing the writing load between several different people, it would get around the sometime tediousness of the parser interface.

And it would probably take a longer time playing a game this way, increasing the perceived value-for-money.

It sounds like fun to me...

I even suggested this in a position paper I did for a workshop on social interaction around TV content and games. Here's a version of a mockup image from my submission:


blueskirt

  • I'm a doctor!
Hmmmmm...

You were right, Snarky, with a text driven interface, lot of humor, and if every players quickly took turns to control the main character, like say, switching to the next player after 2 or 3 commands rather than 10 minutes long turns, chatroom multiplayer could be fun!

Peder 🚀

  • Been nearly 10 years, think it's time for a change
    • Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
    • Peder 🚀 worked on one or more games that won an AGS Award!
    •  
    • Peder 🚀 worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
That looks very interesting Snarky :).

Who will be the first to make such a game?? hehe ;D.

blueskirt

  • I'm a doctor!
Friends of mine stumbled on a couple of IF IRC bot projects. None of the projects seems completed but they're trying to get them to run. At this point it might very well be faster to create a little game from scratch just to see how such game would play rather than wait for the completion of a bot that can run IF games. That said, having the entire catalog of IF games to experiment with different gameplay formulas would be very useful if someone wanted to make such game in a different engine while making as little mistakes as possible.

Leon

  • Seems like the Thumb can't get a signal here.
    • I can help with play testing
    • I can help with translating
    • Leon worked on one or more games that was nominated for an AGS Award!
That said, having the entire catalog of IF games to experiment with different gameplay formulas would be very useful if someone wanted to make such game in a different engine while making as little mistakes as possible.

Try BAF's Guide. A very large repository of IF games.
Ultimate Game Solutions - 'cause there's a solution for everything

Instead of Baf's Guide, try this instead: http://ifdb.tads.org

Not only do you get the reviews from Bef's Guide, but you also get reviews and comments from other users as well. Kinda like what TIGDB is for TIGSource.