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NIm

Multiplayer cooperative RTS

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It seems that Real Time Strategy players sometimes focus on one area of playing, such as micromanaging, general strategy, or using a particular kind of unit. Most multiplayer RTS gamesallow one plyer per team, period. THey allow alliances, but You still have to manage all aspects of your own team, even if you do have someone backing up your offence or defense somewhere. So what if Two players could control different aspects of the same team? player 1 can be micromanaging resources with player 2 fighting off the enemy. Or player one could order an attack, and player 2 micromanages that assault, leaving player 1 free to defend against the counterattack. Or player 1 can do general strategy and resource management, while players 2 and 3 manage seperate assaults on the enemy. What do You think?

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If I remember correctly, Warcraft 3 had an option where you could grant a teammate full control of your units. It was possible to split up the duties as you describe, but it never seemed to be that effective. Both players micromanaging seems to me to be much more effective, as you can perform twice the abilities/tricks in combat.

I think a co-op RTS is a strong concept, but I would think that forcing the players to perform separate tasks would be difficult.

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They have that ability in Age of Empires 2. Never tried it much, but you might want to check it out.

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Could you describe how it works in AoE II? I've never played that one. Please, Tell me your thoughts, opinions, etc.

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Rise of Nations allowed multiple players to cooperatively control a single side. This was fun to play with my wife, while I managed economy stuff and building, she was doing the military stuff, defense, attack, etc...

You can also do this in Supreme Commander if you start a multiplayer game with cheats enabled, and in the console do SetFocusArmy(x), where x is the index of the army you want to control, so if you chose the army of your friend you would both control the same side.

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I also did it in AoE II. It's basically identical to controlling one army, except that two (or more) people are doing it. A click by either player is treated the same, except that each of you can have different units selected (of course). I did it once with my little brother; it was pretty fun.

To do it, make sure both players are the same team and the same color in the setup screen.

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I think this idea has merit, but the division of duties should be voluntary. The only times I've ever played anything close to this was when I got defeated in Starcraft and moved the command center to an allied base. It wasn't one faction but the coordinated feeling this gave was quite interesting.

Coordination between players can be effective - with built-in voice chat it would be easy to delegate tasks. "Build more marines" or "take groups 2 and 3 and attack the upper left base". The workload is not constant though. Sometimes there is a lull when you are waiting for things to build or for more resources to become available. Sometimes it becomes more than a single player can manage, with multiple attacks going on or with an expansion being built. You don't want the player controlling the attacks to sit around doing nothing half the time, since they'll get bored. So let the players coordinate the management themselves.

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Thank you, lightbringer. Hmmm... I guess when designing a game with this mechanic in mind, it becomes important to make sure that players don't get bored. Maximize micromanagement possibilities, without maximizing micromanagement requirements, all the while ensuring that winning does not boil down to superior micromanagement.

If better micromanagement wins, one side could just have alot of players, with one manageing each little detail.

What do you mean by "the division of duties should be voluntary"? How could it be deterministic?

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Quote:
Original post by NIm
What do you mean by "the division of duties should be voluntary"? How could it be deterministic?


I was under the impression that you are proposing something along the lines of: player A only has control over structures, player B only has control over units. I thought that wouldn't be a good idea. Reading it now more closely, you do not really specify it like that :)

I think often in these types of games the winning does boil down to superior micromanagement. But what's wrong with that? :D

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