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Impossible

Multiplayer with a storyline?

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Currently most multiplayer games don''t have any storyline. A lot of people say that it''s not practical to design a multiplayer game with a complex story, but why not? Here are a few possiblities: COOP Cooperative gameplay isn''t very popular in action and strategy games, but it is in RPGs. Currently (as far as I know) the only multiplayer storylines are coop. This is basically playing the single player game with partners, not the most interesting option. Competitive Something like standard team deathmatch or CTF, except far more complex. Instead of playing unrelated games everything (at least for a few days or so) runs as a connected story with two sides. Maybe short cuts scenes or mission breifings between rounds can be used to give the game more of a sense of narrative. Players on different sides can plan their missions to win certain goals, so instead of just trying to win a specific round, you''re playing to change a whole world. Flightsims with dynamic campaigns use a similar system to this, I think it would be cool to add to multiplayer action and strategy games. Massively multiplayer This is the trickiest one, many people have tryed, but I''m not ure if they''ve succeeded in adding stories. A good enough quest generator could probably solve these problems, as well as using a system like the one above (except individuals would have less influence.) comments?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
That''s what Anarchy Online is trying to do. We''ll have to wait until the story line is started to see if it''s succesful or not.

I do think than it''s possible to have a storyline in online games, especially MMORPG, as long as the players are given the opportunity to play an active part in the said story. However, I wonder how good of a story you can make if all you can do in MMORPG is kill stuff, kill stuff and... Kill stuff.

Therefore, my wish would be a good, solid storyline that involves more than just combats (I''d love something with complex politics a la Dune, as long as it''s not a complete ripoff). Give the players a real role to play, allow them to alter (sp?) the story as it is going, and I think it could be succesful, if done in a proper way (I used to hate events in UO where the issue was already planned and there was nothing to do about it).

My 2 cents.

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serious sam ..

try playing cooperative with serious or mental difficulty ..

wowoowowow .. super fun ...



{ Stating the obvious never helped any situation !! }

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There was a game for Nintendo 64 called Armorines. It had the best cooperative play I have seen yet. If there is ever a game like that for PC and playable over the internet, I will most surely buy it.

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What about a realistic massively multiplayer game? Realistic damage, perma-death, etc. This probably wouldn''t work well for a fantasy setting, so I''m thinking either a modern or futuristic setting. Because of the realistic damage players would be more likely to try to avoid combat instead of looking for it.

The goal of the game would be to gain money and power through various channels (business, crime, politics, etc.) Characters wouldn''t gain so much in skills or stats (although an experienced assassin would be better then a newbie, he wouldn''t be invincible in comparision), but players with strong influence would have a big advantage over newbies.

I''m not sure if this would lead to a better storyline (seems like the intrigue it allows for would), but it sounds cool anyway.

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Hey guys! What an interesting topic, mainly because I''ve already covered the idea myself.

I agree that storytelling in mutliplayer games is a pain in the ass, but the challeneges are welcoming I think. MMOG are just about impossible, but it can be done in certain ways. I really can''t say how, cause I wrote an article for a book coming out next GDC and I''m not allowed to talk about it - but it covers storytelling in MMOGs among other things. You may wanna check it out. However I will give out one clue and see where the conversation goes from here.

Tribal Warfare

Now think about that for a while, and tell me how you think that setting would make for a good MMOG storyline.


==============================
"Need more eeenput..."
- #5, "Short Circuit"
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Have a look at Adellion - that will be a MMORPG with a storyline. The easiest access is on the stratics pages.

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Dont know if this would work, but how about letting the game run for a few weeks, logging special events or major character interaction that have occurred and then generat a story form what info is collected. That way when the story is put into effect, the players feel that they are already immersed into the game. I dont know how well this would work, and for it to be truly original the stories would have to generate around the characters...... something I am trying to figure out how to implement well in my own game. The way I see it everytime you start to play you have a week warm up time to define who you are to the world and these actions help put you in some sort of direction depending on the story generated. This will allow for a new experience every time. Also this will allow character classes to be more tailored to exactly how the person plays the game. (example: steal a lot and your considered a theif class) Tell me what you think.


"There is humor in everything depending on which prespective you look from."

Edited by - chronoslade on August 2, 2001 3:17:14 PM

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Chronoslade:
Tailoring the story to the players is a really excellent idea if you have a small player-base, but it would not work so well when your players number in the tens of thousands, and you can''t guarantee they''ll be online when you need them.

Impossible:
If you want to make a story for an MMORPG, it most certainly cannot be competitive. Players will almost invariably side with the most powerful party, and this will further disrupt your game''s balance. Starfleet Command 2 is having this problem bigtime right now.

The only way to avoid this is to balance each side with NPC''s, but players are going to rue any administrative decisions that work against them, and they will complain very loudly. Those sides that are getting new over-powered NPC''s will probably love it, until those NPC''s start stealing kills, at which time your complaint department will demand a raise for overtime.

If you''re going to make a well-developed story, you will definitely want to keep it cooperative. There will be a class of players who get off on challenging other players, and this class should not be diminished or overlooked, but your focus should be on cooperative play just to be safe. The best players enjoy cooperating with each other, and these are the people who will make your game world thrive.

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The competitive storyline was really more for teamplay games (like Counter-Strike or Starcraft with a dynamic campaign, and a semi-persistant world), so it doesn''t really matter what side players are on. People don''t always side with the winning team in competitive games now (alot of the time they don''t have a choice.) Players choosing sides shouldn''t be a problem, a forced autobalance, or other incentives (like better oppurtunities for cool weapons or a higher position in a MMORPG) should be able to balance any competitve game. Also if the game is designed well enough, one side becoming way to powerful and completely taking over shouldn''t be a problem (and if that does happen you can introduce new plots or just reset the story.)

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Multiplayer can certainly have a storyline, but as with any ''write once, run once'' content, it gets harder to make enough of it as the number of players increase. The phrase "A good enough quest generator" sums it up: it''s still proving next to impossible to come up with a good enough quest generator. I am working on it, though

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Well yes, there is one i played is called "Diablo 2"(as well as Diablo 1) on PC that allow you play multplayer with storyline in it...

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Hey Guys

When I started to write my CRPG I thought it would be nice to make the Multiplayer version a la Dungeons and Dragons, having a Dungeon Master (in this case a Game Master) that would like in pen and paper RPG write a story, make maps and all that, then this Game master would host his game in a Game server, and up to 4 or 5 players would be able to play with him, and his story, the Game master would play the parts of NPC''s, and enemies, and would control the game, the problem is that what if you want to play and there is no Game Master? then I thought there could be Bot GM''s running pre written stories, keeping still the option of having a Human GM, I dont know if it was such a good idea, since the GM would have to deal with Game scripting and all the duties of a Game Designer, so now I am thinking about just making the Multiplayer Game a Shared version of the single player mode where you play just another citizen with no relationship to the Hero in the Single Player mode.

anyway, I am telling you this so you might get better Ideas and post them up!!!

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Two double digit threads in a row! I''m on fire . The game master idea should work out well (I''ve never played Vampire, but I can''t wait until NWN), but isn''t a standard single player RPG basically a game with a "Bot GM"? Maybe bot GMs could act more like GMs and less like a predefined story and react to the players like an all knowing, all powerful enemy\NPC helper. Maybe something like the god AI in Black and White, except the players become the little villagers (per se). It would of course be on a much more personal and detailed scale (the players, or "villagers" becoming the focus instead of a resource), but it a good comparison. Pretty good suggestion, designing a game this way would work well for single player and multiplayer games. Any more ideas?

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Hey! I''ve got this great multiplayer idea! See, there are two teams, lets say Red And Blue, though there are a ton of different ways of describing them....and....lets say that both teams have this thing....umm....a FLAG! Yeah, a flag. And you have to STEAL the other team''s flag and take it back to your own while they do the same to you! It''d be great! What a storyline!
//End Sarcastic Humor//

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-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
"Doubt Everything. Find your own light." -Dying words of Gautama
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My manic new web journal! Warning: Some ''adult'' language used, not suitable for anyone without a sense of deep-thought and cynicism

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*wince*

But seriously, there are loads of ways to make a storyline happen within an online game community. But you must keep a few things in mind:

- Your options for storyline are limited to just beyond the capabilities of the physical game engine. Players will use their imagination to push limitations of the game engine (roleplaying MUDs, anyone?) only so far before they become 'bored' and resort to using the actual game engine for entertainment.

- Players like administrators to 'play' with them. When I admin'd a privately-owned UO shard, we often ran quests for players in the form of character interaction that did not require or involve combat or other limitations of the game software. Instead, we introduced and enjoyed interaction based on intrigue, or comedy, or small amounts of action mixed with the above (for example). It got the community involved; some players were the good guys, some were the bad guys, but everyone had fun on a roleplayed level... there were little to no ego competitions that are found in other game genres (FPS, RTS, etc) because players wanted to immerse in a realistic fantasy setting (no, that's not an oxymoron ). But automating the 'quest' system is likely impossible, because you may only introduce so many "save the princess", "retrieve the chalice", "kill the monster" 'quests' before things become boring.

- Admins need to introduce new things to users often, or else they become bored. This isn't to say there are a few players who will create their own fun times because they want to contribute to the community, but keep in mind that players may be looking for thrills or features or new additions often.

- Know your target audience. If you are designing an action game, make sure that you include things that make action games fun (mainly, customizability and realism). If you are designing a roleplaying game, include things that make RPGs fun (anything to do with evolving a societal model). Mixing the two is possible, but remember that driving one player-type away is also possible if too much of the other type of player saturates the user-base.

And that's all I have to say about that...



MatrixCubed
http://MatrixCubed.org








Edited by - MatrixCubed on August 11, 2001 11:19:06 AM

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About MMORPG...

Having a storyline is pretty simple with those games. Just encourage a restricted PvP.
Something like a 3 region permanent war for the control of the land. Players own towns for one of the 3 provinces and when they get a new town their province is greater.
I know this is not a storyline its much like a CTF but let me explain my point.
In an action games the most interesting thing after the gameplay is the storyline, unfortunately when it comes to multiplayer the storyline disappear.
Instead in a roleplaying game the most important is the freedom of your character AND the "freewill" of the worls itself. So a storyLINE in MMORPG just make the game more annoying because u have thousands of free player in a world where the story is already written.
So here we go whats he most important is to let people create thei own storyline by their imagination and the immersive sensations they have.
For instance I am actually playing Everquest on the new Server Sullon Zek, its a deitywar with 3 deities groups (Evil-neutral-good) and well player, some at least are trying to have a real storyline. For instance as a member of the good team I am stuck in the northern part of the world and we are working on getting alliances with neutrals to balance the power of Evil. And trust me thats an amazing starting ground for a good tale.
Let just the people be able to "really" own land and the story can evolve (i.e. Evils eradicate all good cities and just let the server restart). But I repeat the most important is freedom and players imaginatin in a MMORPG.

Well I hope I am not too confusing I know my english is bad. Let me know what u think.

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