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Ideas on Uncooperative Co-Op


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#1 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:57 PM

I'm very new to game design but I want to work in the industry eventually. But anyway, I was watching a rage video on youtube and it made me think about how people can enjoy a game that makes them angry at themselves. But has anyone ever best a rage inducing game in a cooperative situation. Picture say a zombie survival game. The basis of most of these games is that to survive you must band together. Through experiences in Dayz I have realised that when given the choice us as human beings prefer to stand alone because of the awards associated with it compared to the setbacks of a partner making mistakes or halfing a resource.

But what if a zombie survival game forced you to have a partner (would probably work better with local co-op) and didn't reward you for working with them. You could steal resources from each other and then you would be put into a situation were you had to defend them but come out worse for wear. In a game situated like this difficulty wouldn't be measured on a pre decided scale but on the morals of your partner.

Am I the only one who would find it appealing to have game play were the enemy is your only friend and to see how situations would pan out.

I haven't completely though this through but its not an actual game proposal but just an idea on how a fresh innovative style could form. Please tell me what you think.

Edited by Big_Fuzzy_Dude, 22 January 2013 - 02:59 PM.


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#2 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3386

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:35 PM

The success of this idea might come down to the mental health of the player. Designing a game that seeks to create tensions akin to rage and then providing a focal point as to another player being the "element" which helps as well hinders you at the same time may not result in an enjoyment of the game. Of course that said, the reality is many games have a pvp content as well team based play options and are successful. COD for example as more light version or as mentioned DayZ for a far more gritty experience. DayZ would in truth be truer to your ideas as betrayal is emminently possible and the ability to go into another person's inventory and rob them without their immediate knowledge can lead to unfortunate situations when you find you have no bandages all of a sudden smile.png. Anecdotally though I seem to see more rage arising in CoD games than I do in DayZ where the opportunity of direct betrayal does not really exist.

 

I can perceive of designs such as where you might lock two enemies together to defeat a third enemy that could not be done individually by either and the resulting resources gained filched before the other player obtains them with a final "end game" being the fight between both players strengthened by whatever resources each had managed to accrue or interactive elements requiring two players to operate forcing a "cooperation" for game progression tradeoff. So your theme is viable.


Edited by Stormynature, 22 January 2013 - 04:18 PM.


#3 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:49 PM

I've been thinking about this quite a bit lately, especially due to the DayZ and WarZ debacles; it's a "Shoot-first. Why-ask-questions?" model of game play. Players can survive on their own; other players pose a risk as you can't be certain you can trust them; there's no penalty for killing them; and you gain resources from killing them...in addition to the whole "Now they can't shoot me" thing. I do not find this style of game appealing as-is because there's no mystery as to how the situations pan out: paranoia tends to make those situations predictable. sad.png The game design basically supports murdering one another. That said, when camaraderie does take shape in that kind of game, it's fascinating to me...but I don't think it's a good game. It's more of a social experiment.

 

Perhaps it would be different if co-operation was somehow rewarded (e.g. dungeons/buildings are set so single players cannot possibly conquer them) while killing other players was somehow meaningfully punished: maybe a 'Police Force' (something like CONCORD from EVE Online), or a bounty system, or a HUD widget that would tell you if a given player was a known player-killer. Permanent Death (lose all of your character abilities, gathered equipment and resources, even your character name forever) might work. With Perma-Death a possible consequence, players would be very motivated to try and talk things out first; supported by a bounty system and a way to recognize player-killers immediately, you have a potentially interesting mechanic. (You also have a painfully steep learning curve.) If it's the kind of game that "resets" after a set time period, perhaps players - as they die - could become zombie-fied; I've seen both video games and real-life games do this with some success.

 

Another way to do it (just off the cuff) would be to have the zombie-equivalent-threat in the game hunt player-killers more aggressively and/or deny them resources and safe havens (forbid them from entering Towns/Player Hubs or whatever): this could, to a degree, balance out with the surplus of resources they would gain from player-killing...but more to the point would (forcibly) engender cooperative play.

 

If you've ever played the Munchkin card game, that's a reasonable (if cheeky) example of how cooperation with an enemy can be engendered by a game. And there are some very good examples of true co-operative games (e.g. Left 4 Dead) where co-operation is required and working against one another virtually guarantees failure.


Edited by serratemplar, 22 January 2013 - 03:51 PM.

I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

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#4 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:35 PM

When I read the topic title, I immediately thought of Portal 2 and my online coop experiences there. That game presented so many opportunities for cooperation and so many opportunities for a player to royally screw his teammate. Besides all that it was fun to see who can outsmart who in that game, and toss the other player into the abyss or throw them into the giant spinning fan (ah the fun times).

I think the only reason that was fun though, is because at the end, we both knew that we absolutely needed the other player to progress through the level, and any deaths were not a major setback (not minor at times either, but definitely not major), and yet the methods we could kill each other were always fun.

 

Not sure if that's what you meant though, since DayZ has quite a different view on death than Portal 2 did. I'm not sure if I'd be as excited about being constantly backstabbed my my teammate if it meant a pretty large setback. DayZ also has no other goals besides survival (note: I have not played it myself, though I've watched others play), while Portal 2 had cooperative goals that required teamwork.

That's my view anyway.



#5 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 04:52 PM

When I read the topic title, I immediately thought of Portal 2 and my online coop experiences there. That game presented so many opportunities for cooperation and so many opportunities for a player to royally screw his teammate. Besides all that it was fun to see who can outsmart who in that game, and toss the other player into the abyss or throw them into the giant spinning fan (ah the fun times).

I think the only reason that was fun though, is because at the end, we both knew that we absolutely needed the other player to progress through the level, and any deaths were not a major setback (not minor at times either, but definitely not major), and yet the methods we could kill each other were always fun.

 

Not sure if that's what you meant though, since DayZ has quite a different view on death than Portal 2 did. I'm not sure if I'd be as excited about being constantly backstabbed my my teammate if it meant a pretty large setback. DayZ also has no other goals besides survival (note: I have not played it myself, though I've watched others play), while Portal 2 had cooperative goals that required teamwork.

That's my view anyway.

 

Actually I remember playing Portal 2 co-op and it's a better example. Just imagine that you need the other players help to proceed but are also going to have to fight them in the end. That would be the bare bones of the game. It would be a test of weather or not you can put your differences behind ach other when you know the goal will still be a fight. Perhaps, as thade said, rewarding team work. I don't think I would like the idea of punishing fighting, cause wheres the fun in that >:).



#6 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:09 PM

Just imagine that you need the other players help to proceed but are also going to have to fight them in the end. That would be the bare bones of the game. It would be a test of weather or not you can put your differences behind ach other when you know the goal will still be a fight. Perhaps, as thade said, rewarding team work. I don't think I would like the idea of punishing fighting, cause wheres the fun in that >smile.png.

 

This very thing happens in the Munchkin card games...in fact, this is the very thing they're designed for: you start out cooperating but - since only one person can win - the entire table very quickly turns competitive. There's no test and really I've never seen a single player have any qualms about it: when the time comes to switch from cooperation to competition, players seem very ready to do just that. It's in everybody's interest to cooperate early because, frankly, you need help to overcome the enemies early on. Once you can stand alone, you really are forced to stand alone.

 

There are many, many, many FPSs that hinge upon competitive play. Virtually every FPS on the market is sold with this in mind; pick your favorite Call of Honor game, for instance. DayZ supports this kind of game play and is a familiar environment anyway...so that's the kind of game play that it's target demographic is accustomed to...and that's the kind of game play we're seeing. Players are killing each other, so much so that members of one of that design team complained about players killing each other so often.

 

If you want players to cooperate, you have to teach them to cooperate; and, in this case, you need to keep in mind the literal decades of other FPSss before you that have taught players otherwise. It's not all bad, of course; Doom, Halo, and some of the CoD games have co-operative modes; there's L4D of course; even Team Deathmatch encourages co-op. What do each of those co-op modes have in common? They punish killing friendlies: Halo and the CoD games often force you to restart the level when your partner dies; in L4D the content is balanced around four players and being short makes it much more difficult; killing friendlies in Team Deathmatch reduces the Team Kill Counter by a point; in all cases, killing friendlies imposes unrest in the team. Not to mention, if you don't work together in each of those games, you stand basically no chance of succeeding.

 

With all of that in mind, the Munchkin method may be the way you want to go. If early in a game the obstacles are too difficult to surmount alone, but ultimately only one player can win, you may very well see things play out the way you want them to. Pick up a copy of that card game and play it with your friends; it's fun and you'll see exactly what I mean.


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#7 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3386

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 06:17 PM

This very thing happens in the Munchkin card games

 

A youtube video of how Munchkin is played.



#8 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

Picture this:

2D Top Down Retro 4-player Team Based (Sorta)

Premise - Limited Story
Group sent out to retrieve something from zombie infested wasteland.

Objective - Enter. Locate objective. Retrieve intact.

Mechanics - Team work is key but when fast leveling and increasing power builds your characters you can kill anyone of your teammates in order to get more experience. Earlier kills gains more experience. Kills near extraction give little to no experience if entire team survives.

Heavy
Medic
Stealth
Engineer

Heavy - More Hp and Dm. Slows team down and easily overcome alone.

Medic - Can heal the team and himself. No reason to live other than heal.

Stealth - Stealth field. Invisible to zombie and Team. Broken with gun fire. Knife and stay invisible. Invisibility lasts longer with more team members. Alone doesn't work.

Engineer - Fairly useless offensively. Can hack turrets (Turrets loyal to engi if team attack). Open shortcuts. Can repair objective.

#9 Stormynature   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3386

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:34 PM

Mechanics - Team work is key but when fast leveling and increasing power builds your characters you can kill anyone of your teammates in order to get more experience. Earlier kills gains more experience. Kills near extraction give little to no experience if entire team survives.
 

 

 

How would you propose to deal with the following situation:

 

 

Step 1: Start a game

Step 2: Kill your team member straight away for the xp

Step 3: Leave game

Step 4: Go to Step 1


Edited by Stormynature, 22 January 2013 - 07:35 PM.


#10 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

I'm dumb. :) Sorry for not stating all details (the post would have been longer than my arm). Xp would be awarded at the end of a match instead of in game or the death of all characters. More Xp for winning instead of death. Matches would be short and quick allowing for say 4 matches in a game. Not the best at visualising lvling but i would say it would cap at 8.

#11 thade   Members   -  Reputation: 1652

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:42 PM

My assumption was that each player levels up only for a match (like League of Legends or a DOTA) and not a persistent thing. If that's not the case, then I'm also stumped.

 

Have you ever played Castle Crashers? The end of each chapter sees a princess rescued...but only one of the four players gets a kiss. To secure that kiss, the players are pitted against one another immediately. Some characters (Red Knight with his lightning and Green Knight with his poison) are far better suited for this than all of the other characters and very often come out on top and get the kiss. Now, the 'kiss' is meaningless...nothing more than brief bragging rights and a good laugh. But if the game was centered on this, then suddenly there'd be a lot of legitimate complaints around the VS balance.

 

Not to mention, this game idea seems very hard to justify; why would a team of individuals who need one another to get to the helicopter suddenly decide to turn on one another? People wouldn't do this "just for the experience points". Don't forget that XP and levels are an abstraction. Again, this lends toward Munchkin in that it seems to be tongue and cheek.


I was previously serratemplar; a name I forfeited to share a name with an angry rank-bearing monkey.

http://thadeshammer.wordpress.com/


#12 Milcho   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1177

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

Picture this:

2D Top Down Retro 4-player Team Based (Sorta)

Premise - Limited Story
Group sent out to retrieve something from zombie infested wasteland.

Objective - Enter. Locate objective. Retrieve intact.

Mechanics - Team work is key but when fast leveling and increasing power builds your characters you can kill anyone of your teammates in order to get more experience. Earlier kills gains more experience. Kills near extraction give little to no experience if entire team survives.

Heavy
Medic
Stealth
Engineer

Heavy - More Hp and Dm. Slows team down and easily overcome alone.

Medic - Can heal the team and himself. No reason to live other than heal.

Stealth - Stealth field. Invisible to zombie and Team. Broken with gun fire. Knife and stay invisible. Invisibility lasts longer with more team members. Alone doesn't work.

Engineer - Fairly useless offensively. Can hack turrets (Turrets loyal to engi if team attack). Open shortcuts. Can repair objective.

I can see where you're going with this, encouraging teamwork.

It seems like any team would require a Medic of any sort, basically running into the old "lfg healer" issue. If you've ever played Killing Floor, they had a pretty good healing mechanic there. Basically everyone could heal themselves, but a) it means changing weapons for a short time to pull out med syringe, thus making it a non-viable tactic if alone, and b) self-healing is far less effective than healing another player. There are no fixed classes in that game, though each player got to choose a 'perk', one of which was healer - which only gave increased healing without any other drawbacks (but no additional benefits)

 

I can see the role for each, except the Stealth. While he can benefit from more players, it doesn't seem like he'd contribute anything to the team, while all other classes do something more .. unique that no other role can fulfill. This reminds me a little of the damage dealing classes in some rpg/fps games, which are usually the least team-oriented players, since they only benefit from their team and don't contribute much (and often seem to just run off expecting the whole support crew to run behind them)

 

I think it's important that every player not only relies on their team, but has something to contribute as well.

 

Going a slightly different way, without 'classes' - the way L4D dealt with this was beautiful. Every player was equal, but self-healing was slow (just as Killing Floor's), and the most unique part was that certain zombies would immobilize individual players, requiring the help of another. 

 

Well, I guess this doesn't solve the core issue here, which is that all these games encourage cooperation only, and thus somewhat harshly punish uncooperative players. That also may be an issue with the classes you proposed, as if a medic decides to go backstabbing, he's left alone without much of a chance.

 

I can't imagine how a non-coop coop game would work without any quick respawns, and low penalties for death, but that doesn't mean it can't be done



#13 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 07:59 PM

To address xp and leveling: the game is played game by game (4 matched per game) for fun. No overarching use for xp. Reset ever game. I guess I always imagined playing this with my friends so, like L4D, you can communicate but also mock and plea. The idea of classes seemed to fit because most had equal pros and cons (you're right about stealth though) but this also makes players act mire tactically in when to betray someone. Say a stealth attacks a heavy. The medic and engi would have to quickly chose sides. Weighing up options. Is the stealth reckless? Can we survive without the heavy? Overall there is a low penalty for death. But this means quick ability to retaliate. Holding a grud can payoff in some cases.

#14 lithos   Members   -  Reputation: 413

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:04 PM

Some of the starwars games had side games that were Co-op.   Basically you and a bunch of friends were put in an areana to face unending waves of enemies.

 

I could see a mechanic where players are given "tricks".  basically abilities that modify the game whenever a player activates one:  Enemies counter tracking missiles, players shields slowly drained(soft time limit), and other similar mechanics that affect ALL players.

 

So all players are rewarded for surviving and similar.   However if a player dies when one of your tricks are active you get extra bonuses.

 

____

 

Could see this brief mechanic going well with a horror game.   You know you have allies who want larger rewards by advancing further, but at the same time you know those same allies want you dead from time to time with expected help just not coming.



#15 Big_Fuzzy_Dude   Members   -  Reputation: 111

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Posted 23 January 2013 - 05:07 PM

Some of the starwars games had side games that were Co-op.   Basically you and a bunch of friends were put in an areana to face unending waves of enemies.

 

I could see a mechanic where players are given "tricks".  basically abilities that modify the game whenever a player activates one:  Enemies counter tracking missiles, players shields slowly drained(soft time limit), and other similar mechanics that affect ALL players.

 

So all players are rewarded for surviving and similar.   However if a player dies when one of your tricks are active you get extra bonuses.

 

____

 

Could see this brief mechanic going well with a horror game.   You know you have allies who want larger rewards by advancing further, but at the same time you know those same allies want you dead from time to time with expected help just not coming.

 

Was that a really thing or something you came up with?






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