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Specialists in multiplayer games

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A ''specialist'' is a player who shares the game world with more players, but is playing a very different game than the majority of players. Examples : - Vehicle drivers in a FPS - team leaders / generals - can work in a FPS as in a RTS. They give orders and have certain powers to convince their comrades to obey (not necessary punishing them, but also various rewards, awards, reinforcements, etc.) - hackers: (I''d really like to see some sort of programming skills required for this job - they can break into systems, run security scripts for automated defenses, open or block doors, etc.) - wizards: (wizards are supposed to be, uhm, magical somehow. meaning that seeing a mage should be a rare and strange event - having different game goals, methods and information for wizards could create this image) So here''re the questions. What are the problems, the gains and the design means of adding specialists to a game? Some problems can be: -nobody wants to play the specialist. The game should not depend on the specialists. A good specialist on a team should certainly be able to affect the game more than a good regular player (or _nobody_ would ever play the specialist), but a bad or non-existent specialist must not wreck the game. To solve the first problem, a player should be allowed to refuse the specialist role. Example: a hacker may open doors, turn off lights, change the AI for automated machine guns and fight it with the enemy hacker. A soldier can do all of these too, but with a different set of restrictions (turn off lights from a certain position or by shooting at them - betraying his position, he can open locked doors and disable AMCs with grenades). -everybody wants to play the specialist. CounterStrike did this greatly - the special player is randomly changed each round. Other means of limiting the number of specialists may be creating a fixed number of artifacts that allow specialists. Normal players may try to win the specialist position by fight or other means. (king of the hill - like) -different pace and scale between the specialist gameplay and the general gameplay.

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My approach to this would in fact be to make everyone a specialist all the time. That is, make it so people rely on others for certain abilities and provide certain indispensable abilities themselves. I know there are some downsides to this, but I would like a game with some forced cooperation.

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