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Staying away from Co-Op play

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Ok, I was just reading another article on Half-Life 2 and they''re claiming no co-op mode will be built in. This is something I don''t understand it a lot of games. Recently I played medal of honor w/ my roommate on co-op mode and it was awsome. I think that its an extremly good way to play a game. Halo for XBox was also awsome being able to work together to complete a task. Now this isn''t a post about games or if they''re good or if you hate them, because I could care less. But why is co-op mode stayed away from in typical game design? It doesn''t seem to make sense, the framework for a FPS game is laid, and all you have to do is create a new player. Also with the success of online gameplay, and mods like counter-strike when people work together (depending on who you play with) to win, you would think that they would create team play in other games that arn''t for online play. What do you think?

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I agree - I''m a big fan of cooperative play. I think another very important thing about it is that it allows you to enjoy a game with someone of a vastly different ability level. That''s how I got into playing Pro Evo with my younger brother - if all we could ever have done was play against each other, he''d have trounced me every time and I probably would have gotten bored.

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Yeah I wish co-op were included in more games. Easily my favorite way to enjoy agame. Even on non-co-op games, such as single player rpgs etc, I get most enjoyment from them playing with a few friends and taking turns. Games are just too lonely to play alone! Even if the co-op mode is unsupported and a little weird (i.e. an exact copy of the protaginist character is used) I really wish it was included in every game.

But handling co-op can be difficult to program, and I''m still pissed from playing halfway through system shock 2 co-op and then having a crash and the load game function not work.

But I think designers should put co-op into their designs more often. If you already have netcode, it''s not that much of a stretch.

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I suppose the argument against co-op is generally that it takes time to balance the single-player campaign for two players. Bungie fixed this in Halo by just having the co-op playable on any of the difficulty levels, and then making Legendary so damn hard it practically requires two players to beat.

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Agreed! I''ve had the best time playing Doom II (via Doomsday) recently with a buddy across the continent. I play Age of Empires with another buddy in a different city and we always play co-op against the CPU players.

How I wish Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Half-Life were co-op enabled!

Regards,
Jeff

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Well, you can always try coop mods. They arent *that* common, but still, it''s better than nothing.

Maybe at some point designers will figure it out, but to be honest, it''s so damn hard to think of all the stupid things a group of players can do.

I remember trying NWN coop, and it was quite a mess. One player goes wandering, and BAM! he triggers the next encounter.

Now if it''s only fights we are talking about, it''s cool enough, but how to handle cinematics ? Not easy at all.

If only Sven Coop didnt look so crappy, I am sure we would play it more, as it is quite fun.

Oh, and of course you can simply play multimlayer against bots... but I am sure that''s not what you were referring to.


Sancte Isidore ora pro nobis !

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Back on PS1 the only good co-op game I had was "Future Cop." It was a fun game and all, but the co-op was, RUINED by a stupid opinion of one of the devs.

The devs must have though it would be too easy with 2 people taking on a level built for 1 person. Sooo...

They allowed 2 people to play co-op...

BUT YOU HAD TO SHARE YOUR HEALTH!

LOL, there were 2 health bars (why? I dunno) and they would each change in sync with each other. My noober cousin walk off the cliff, and I blow up with him.

LOL, guess it could be good incentive to prevent team damage in some games.

Still was fun despite this lame setting.

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quote:
Original post by ahw
Maybe at some point designers will figure it out, but to be honest, it''s so damn hard to think of all the stupid things a group of players can do.


Agreed. It can be a big problem in a serial storyline where certain events HAVE to happen in a certain order. But this is more like a movie than a game.

quote:
I remember trying NWN coop, and it was quite a mess. One player goes wandering, and BAM! he triggers the next encounter.

Now if it''s only fights we are talking about, it''s cool enough, but how to handle cinematics ? Not easy at all.


Basically you can avoid this if you consider all your cinematics happen IN THE GAME, not jump to a cut scene. That is, if a character is now going to speak some dialogue, have them do it in game coming from the model your facing. If the other player is not within earshot, he misses the dialog, but can walk in in the middle and catch part of it.

I have a feeling you''re right and that it''s more complicated than that, but can you give me an example that couldn''t be handled this way?

Regards,
Jeff

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They didn''t bother with Co-Op in HL2 because they knew that the Sven Co-Op team would do it for them.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Best co-op game ever is NES''s Chip n'' Dale.

I also like playing sports games in co-op mode (2 or more persons in a team), but it seems like no one likes to play that way

Also, Ghost Recon''s coop mode is really fun because it involves real communication between the players to complete the missions.

I hope to see more coop games in the future

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I have to say I''m defantly not a major game designer, but I really don''t see why it''d be that hard. Games that go to a cut scene.. well heck who cares if there is more than one. MOH Rising Sun was great.. a little easy but great.. but it ends at a certain point earlier than the single player. HL2 is all in game scenes, I don''t see the problem there.. Split the screen like they will for the xbox multi player modes and let them play it out. The story line and the details don''t have to be exact.. its just a fun mode to play in. And it won''t be used all the time.. To say that another mod designer will make co-op play to me sounds like a cheap crappy way out. Valve could make it an awsome mode with little extras. Now I''m not bitching about the game being delayed (and don''t start discussing that please) but even without the delay it seems that they''d have enough time and resources to add a comprehensive co-op mode to the game. And no matter what happened or whatever, they''ve got time now.. I think I''d be trying to spice it up, write the fixes, and create better game play with this time (reglardless if it is done or not (for all those people that this it wasn''t)) But in reality I think that more games, even games like Hitman 2, etc...

Also gost recon was really cool watching people communicate to achieve a task.. I mean if thats not real then hell what is? Even though you do communicate when you co-op with someone right next to you.

It just seems like a really cool ''feature'' to add on to a game.. even if it isn''t the 100% perfect, or if it doens''t let u completely beat the game....

Heck, HL2 could add the feature adn design one map for it. In a matter of days there''d be more for co-op mode.. thats just as cheap and cuts down half the time if they wanted to go in a different direction...

anyway it was just one of my design issues.. I''m enjoying hearing peoples thoughts and hopefully this will continue to be about the co-op modes and not about other issues.

Thanks,
David

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Co-Op isn''t included into game design as a whole that much. Your right, however, in many cases there are good reasons. Such as being on a computer.

Half-Life 2 is already delayed, thanks to the theft of the source code. Being on a PC, you can''t just plug in another controller, and hope for split-screen. Especially for hardcore Keyboard/Mouse Devouts. That means network Co-Op. I don''t know if any of you have actually thought about network Co-op, but it''s hard. It requires sync with randomizers, and tons of other little choices that usually an indiviual computer makes. Trying to sync these, while still running a normal game, is hard and resource tasking. Not just on the computer, but to develop also.

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Best co-op game ever is NES''s Chip n'' Dale.
Wow! I loved that game!!!! I second this opinion ... it rocked

Joel Martinez
http://www.codecube.net/

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Games that avoid coop generally don''t avoid it for coop reason; they avoid it for technical reasons.

For instance, trigger based puzzles that work for a single player may be impossible (or trivial) with more.

Many events in games destroy the players ability to backtrack (blowing up bridges and such). If a player is on the wrong side, there may be no way to get back together.

In game scripted events generally require that the player be in a general location; best case, other players will miss them. Worst case, other players being in unexpected locations will cause them to blow up completely.

If a game isn''t designed for coop play from the beginning, adding it in later can be extremely difficult. It also tends to restrict the core single player experience for level design.

Unfortunately, there isn''t a huge market for coop at this point, so justifying the cost in time/etc can be difficult.

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Ooooooh one-way-to-solve-trigger-puzzles and cutscene problems? If co-op play means none of those, I will be so disapointed. If those are the best aspect of a game and its gameplay, its a sorry game that isn''t worth playing in SINGLE player (unless the player really likes the cutscenes or the trigger-puzzles). Not to mention that trigger tiles triggering events like monster spawns and cut scenes etc., are a really cheap trick of lazy level/game designers.

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It doesn''t matter, the public will release Co-op mods just like what they did with the original half-life. The only problem was that you saw why they didn''t build it directly into the game itself to begin with. There were too many bugs when playing the original levels.. players spawning outside the monorail, xen levels had players purposely falling off causing the server to reset the map.. over, and over.

Now that I think of it, every game I know of had co-op mods for players to play the original game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:

because I could care less



Read that again. It doesn''t mean what you think it means.

You probably mean you could NOT care less, or, in short, "couldn''t care less".

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You know, the funny thing about cooperative play is that I noticed that not a single journalist would ever admit in a review to enjoying it or considering it worthwhile, but not a single person I knew would say that deathmatch (or equivalent) was more fun than cooperative. It was as if there was some sort of public stigma attached to it, like "enjoying co-op makes you Weak!" or something. There''s something about shared adversity that brings people together.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL Docs | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost
Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff | Tiny XML | STLPort]

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quote:
Original post by HemoGloben
That means network Co-Op. I don''t know if any of you have actually thought about network Co-op, but it''s hard. It requires sync with randomizers, and tons of other little choices that usually an indiviual computer makes. Trying to sync these, while still running a normal game, is hard and resource tasking. Not just on the computer, but to develop also.


That''s why a server-client architecture is so nice.

On the topic of ccop and hl2; I wouldn''t be altogether surprised if valve included ccop and then just chooses to not support it, just because they know people want coop but they don''t want to support all the bugs and inconviniences connected with coop.

...and wasn''t it possible to get the original hl to play coop with some trixes due to the server-client nature of the game? I believe you should start a multiplayer map and enable monsters or something like that.

-Luctus

Statisticly seen, most things happens to other people.
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Puzzle games, I think it makes sense... problems with a bridge blowing up I see can be a problem but why not just make it so the player blows up the bridge? MOH rising sun did that. I think a lot of those problems can be easily solved.. when one player goes to far snap him back near the other play (Again MOH Rising sun) did a great job of this. Puzzles and stuff like that.. thats harder I understand.. Now Half-Life. Think about team based play in multiplayer. Its already implemented in HL. More towards Deathmatch. Also most people just screwing with mods create effective team based play. So what is the problem with creating a co-op mode at that level? Cut secenes, when one triggers it, the cut scene happens, in game cutscenes, if one player misses it its his problem, and can watch the other screen or the entire screen could fill with the player who caused that screen.

Now with the mods, that doens''t prove that anything didn''t work. Falling off the screen is just bad desin on their part. Amateur modders will make mistakes like that. But if they would have just created a new entity for the other players to spawn at (many in fact) and written the code correctly crap that that shouldn''t happen.

I think there is a huge market in for co-op, but no one realizes it. I know so many people that would love to play a game with friends. And I think it''d help prolong the life of a game. I am talking about console development or network based co-op only. Your defantly right about the PC problems.

Also I think this is a mode that should be added into the design phase from the beguinning.. Just doesn''t make sense to me.

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quote:
Original post by HemoGloben
I don''t know if any of you have actually thought about network Co-op, but it''s hard. It requires sync with randomizers, and tons of other little choices that usually an indiviual computer makes. Trying to sync these, while still running a normal game, is hard and resource tasking. Not just on the computer, but to develop also.


There is literally no difference between networked deathmatch and networked coop. None. All that changes is the rules of the game and the scoring system - you don''t get points for killing your friends. The architecture required to sync lifts and doors between players provides for syncing pretty much anything, including AI agents.

I also agree that coop multiplayer is (a) better than singleplayer and (b) better than deathmatch. They''re my friends; why do I want to be shooting them? Much more fun to be saving their asses when they''re too incompetent to get out of the way of the Big-Assed Monster™.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
its all a government conspiracy to prevent us from cooperating with each other and rallying against them. they want us all to fight with each other so we don''t care about them? you see? its all so clear!

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quote:
Original post by superpig

There is literally no difference between networked deathmatch and networked coop.




I couldn''t agree more - if a game is going to include multiplayer in the form of deathmatch, it doesn''t seem much of a stretch to allow cooperative play as well. And also, if while playing some of the main game levels in cooperative mode some slightly odd effects do occur, such as seeing enemies spawn or puzzles becoming trivial, I think most players would be pretty forgiving. I for one would certainly take the view that it was better to be allowed to play cooperatively even if there are glitches, rather than not because some of the levels wouldn''t work as intended.

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I was under the impression (I hang around HL2.net a lot) that the Sven team have been appointed by Valve to be the official coop mod makers, so they''ll get Valve''s support in making it, but Valve won''t be officially shipping it with HL2.

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Three of the best Co-op games I''ve played are: (in no particular order)

Serious Sam (PC) your basic FPS on steriods
coop mode was implamented very nicely, wep pickups stayed, I thinka ammo to. and MOBs grew more powerful for each player you added (very powerful, first set dificulty, then for start of coop pick percent of dificulty (up to 200%) then percent PER ADDITIONAL PLAYER (again up to 200%), and you can have up to 16 players in coop mode.) Man what a LAN game.

Diablo 2 (PC) Well done RPG
Coop was basic play with another person. I think there was a dificulty bonus per player, but don''t remember. Very nice was the ability to play over diablo net for people in different areas.

Gunstar Heros (Sega Genesis)
This is a classic, still played by friend and I even after all this time. side-scrolling shooter, with weps being built on a combo of four items, (total of 10 combinations) and very fast paced. Only one area where coop mode made it dificult (fighting the other player to get ahead, the Dice room for those who''ve played it).

This is a very great way to play and in games that I will be working on I will always have this feature with multiplayer modes.

Erik of Ekedahl



I am a madman running through the halls of computer latency, freeing the dark-suckers from their pedistals of atrophy... man I need some sleep.

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