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# The neglected gamers..

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OrangyTang    1298
Looking at most modern games now, it seems that theres a neglected area - that of decent co-op game modes. Back in the 16bit era there was plenty, as both players often played though a game and worked together as a team. But since then it seems that multiplayer gaming is purely vs. modes, be it standard head to head or team vs team. Is it just that co-op is less popular, or are the companies too focused on single player mode and deathmatch modes? Sure decent co-op takes more effort, but when done well (say, Time Crisis 2) the scripting and level design can be much more rewarding and interesting. Anyone else feel the same, or is decent co-op becomming a dying breed?

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Anaton    122
I recently read an article, cant'' remember if it was PC Gamer or Computer Gaming World, but it was about this very topic. Someone wrote in to the magazine saying that when it says MultiPlayer it means MultiOpponent because the only option you have is do you fight everyone or just half the people in the game?

There are a few games out with multiplayer campaigns that are a lot of fun, Rogue Spear comes to mind. I know it''s old but a friend and I beat every map together in a few hours. That was a lot of fun.

I think one problem with coop campaigning is the length of games. How long does it take to go through a single level of Ghost Recon? Now multiply that by all the missions, I think there''s 13 (been awhile since I played it) so it''ll take a long time to beat it all the way through. Of course it would be nice to have the option of doing individual missions together.

Just my 2cents.....

Anaton
Flying Tigers CFSG

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superpig    1825
IIRC, Half-Life on console (either DC or PS2, don''t remember which) was going to have a co-op mission called ''Decay.'' It was somehow related to Blueshift, though, so I don''t know what happened about it.

I completely agree about the need for more co-op stuff in general, though. The only problem is that it''s quite a bit more difficult to make levels for - the whole ''player can''t reach high ledge'' thing gets kinda solved by ''here, stand on my shoulders.'' As usual, two heads are better than one; so you''d have to think extra-devious to come up with good puzzles for them.

Superpig
- saving pigs from untimely fates
- sleeps in a ham-mock at www.thebinaryrefinery.cjb.net

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Kylotan    9860
The funny thing about cooperative play back in the days of Doom and Doom 2, is that everyone played it, but no-one would admit it. All the magazines mentioned that cooperative was ''for girls'' and so on, but everyone you spoke to in private played coop at least as much as deathmatch

Today, it''s likely that team-based games with a degree of cooperation are the most popular form of multiplayer play.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions ]

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Zanthos    300
I actually made a couple co-op duke nukem maps which i thought ROCKED! me and two of mates playing as a recon group basically being dropped into ugly situations and having to get out of them working as a team, some of the problems involved having to have somebody distract a great big evil looking thing guarding an entrance, flicking a switch so somebody could just jump in and start room clearing, and one part involved the team splitting up to go and reactivate two generators to power up this rail system(sounds so much like ''On A Rail'' - HL real team work is such a huge buzz.. ah.. the days when CounterStrike wasn''t full of cheating n00bs.. but real teamwork only seems to appear within clans, else its just two groups of people against each other cs_militia.. to storm the place as an all SAS strike team and kill all the T''s with near military precision and lots of "GO GO GO" radio messages

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Wavinator    2017
quote:
Original post by OrangyTang
Is it just that co-op is less popular, or are the companies too focused on single player mode and deathmatch modes?

I actually haven''t heard a decent excuse from companies yet as to why they can''t do co-op. I was amazed that, before going out of business, Looking Glass seemed to just *drop* multiplayer right into System Shock 2. The common excuse I hear is that the single player game would be too easy, puzzles would be subverted, players might get trapped... etc. I don''t buy it, though. You can always crank up the difficulty level on enemies, and the other two problems are a matter of level design.

I think they can do it, but, honestly, I think young male testosterone and bravado typically get in the way of their vision.

quote:
Original post by Kylotan
All the magazines mentioned that cooperative was ''for girls'' and so on...

FEH!!!!

quote:

...but everyone you spoke to in private played coop at least as much as deathmatch

My best memories were of 4 player co-op on my company''s LAN: Leading the pack in somebody''s custom WAD and being blasted backwards while my buddies shouted, "Holy crap Wavy! Was that your carcass I saw flying??!?! Guess there''s an Arch-vile up there!"

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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Kylotan    9860
quote:
Original post by Wavinator
I actually haven''t heard a decent excuse from companies yet as to why they can''t do co-op. I was amazed that, before going out of business, Looking Glass seemed to just *drop* multiplayer right into System Shock 2. The common excuse I hear is that the single player game would be too easy, puzzles would be subverted, players might get trapped... etc. I don''t buy it, though. You can always crank up the difficulty level on enemies, and the other two problems are a matter of level design.

Well, I agree, but only to a point. I think it was a wise and courageous move on their part to reject any kind of multiplayer aspect. It''s obvious the marketing people would have preferred it, but they chose to drop that part of the game to concentrate on a higher quality single player game. I''m sure they were capable of adding cooperative play before release, but unfortunately time and budgets are limited. Therefore in my opinion they made a good decision to focus their resources on making the main gameplay method as good as they could. There were obvious pressures to get products on the shelves.

Of course, it did get patched in the end.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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liquiddark    350
In the Deus Ex mod community, the main problem we''ve heard postulated is that co-op isn''t a feature with good return on investment. Audiences enjoy it, but for the time and resources it takes to do decent co-op play you might as well just concentrate on good single player action.

Having said that, modders *have* done coop for a bunch of different games: Svencoop for Half-Life, Rune coop for Rune, The Coop Project for Deus Ex, X Coop for AvP2, and so on. Unfortunately, IME coding for a coop mod consists primarily of hacking around the base code, and in the case of Deus Ex at least this is not very pretty. Nevertheless, the presence of this type of dedicated resource to test the waters may pose a stumbling block to professional efforts to do the work.

ld

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jwalker    122
ever try coop in serious sam ???
Loads of fun, but a bit stale after awhile.

but i for one love to play coop modes. I would love to play a coop like medal of honour with all human players.. that would be cool..

Its my duty, to please that booty ! - John Shaft

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KingRuss    134
Cooperation eh... I say once they get a game that is realistic (where jumping on players shoulders is a common task, but not dreadful) and other realistic stuff can be done (destroying anything...you know) then I say make everything cooperative and don''t worry if someone gets stuck... sure it might be bad while -you- are playing the game, but it could happen in real-life so I see no reason why it shouldn''t happen there (besides the whole fact of games, and their supposed fun factor, I myself see fun in realism). After having said that, I must say... First person shooters haven''t taken a large step in a long time... not since doom... I mean... run around, shoot anyone with a weapon, pick up stuff lying around...sure some have fancy stuff, or mission objectives, but its still the same game. I am disappointed

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The big problem with co-op is scripted sequences. Thing like this move the story along without being full blow "cut-scenes" which usually take control away from a player.

Think of DeusEx and HalfLife, how many ties in that game did things seem better because of certain scripted events that happened as you went along. In co-op its very hard to have these because there is no guarentee that the players will all be togeather.

It seems almost inevitible that co-op games are bound to be "run-and-gun" (like Serious Sam or Halo) because of the in ability to really move a complex story along without restricting the players too much.
When designing a game you consistantly have to check to make sure your player is going to do or be able to do the things needed to move along in the game while keeping the story and fun elements in check. With co-op mulitply this by the number of expected players co-op-ing at one time.

I''m not saying it can''t be done. I''m just saying it would be extremely difficult, restrictive and time-consuming to do so. And with games being pushed into smaller and smaller development times it makes it just than much harder.

I can think of one game (off the top) that is an exception to this, Project Eden. It was a adventure/puzzle style game that used a group of people (either AI or co-op) to get through the game. It worked god in SP where you had full control over each of the 4 "characters" as you really had to think and work hard to figure out things. But in co-op it was extremely booring as you spent most of yor time waiting for other player do do their assigned tasks while you had already done yours.

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Wavinator    2017
quote:
Original post by TheDelinquinaut
I can think of one game (off the top) that is an exception to this, Project Eden. It was a adventure/puzzle style game that used a group of people (either AI or co-op) to get through the game. It worked god in SP where you had full control over each of the 4 "characters" as you really had to think and work hard to figure out things. But in co-op it was extremely booring as you spent most of yor time waiting for other player do do their assigned tasks while you had already done yours.

Wow, your point gives me an idea. I actually loved Eden, but I played it single player on the PC and multiplayer on the PS2, where everyone was in one room, could see each other''s progress, and could puzzle solve all together. But I bet PC multiplayer was just each player, alone at his/her own machine.

Do you think being able to see each other''s screens at will, and voice over IP would help this?

--------------------
Just waiting for the mothership...

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d0hboy    122
Funny thing about co-operative play is that it removes (or at least lowers) the incentive to be an a-hole to the rest of your players. Because there''s not much reason to put people down or kill them (because they''re important to your finishing the mission or winning the game), the environment fosters good gameplay and a more helpful atmosphere.

I too use Ghost Recon as an example; the coop game play generally features nicer people as opposed to hardcore clan players in the team/solo games.

For a fair share of people that equals a better gaming experience (for others, I''m sure they get more enjoyment out of the sheer competition and berating).

just an opinion.

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Dobbs    164
Out of curiosity, how did coop work in Shock2? Could you move around the ship independently, to different decks? Could you communicate with each other without restrictions?

The problem as I see it with coop mode, in FPS games at least, is that they''re just the regular single player game with 2 people playing. As a result there''s usually neither a need nor incentive to cooperate. Playing Serious Sam coop is sort of fun but it gets tired pretty quickly when you realize you don''t actually need the other guy, he just sort of helps you finish quicker.

So there, my theory is that you need incentive/need for coop play to work. You need the players to make choices about how they''re going to work separately or apart, and have real consequences for those choices. Sid Meier once said "A game is a series of interesting choices" (heh ok just plugging my idea here).

Ok, an example. I''m loosely basing this off a scenario from the first Alien movie btw.

The players are on a ship that''s going to self-destruct in 10 minutes, and the ship is infested with dangerous creatures. They have 2 options: make it to an escape pod and evacuate the ship, or complete a series of tasks that will deactivate the self-destruct mechanism. Simply crossing the ship to the escape pod will take a significant amount of time, and the path is filled with hostile aliens. Deactivating the self-destruct mechanism will naturally also involve combat but the taks is also more complex - it requires moving through many parts of the ship, crawling through access tubes, passing through areas of dangerous radiation etc - it''s generally harder but the post-mission rewards are greater, more experience, better weapons, whatever. Which path do the players choose? Or do they split up, one player trying to end the self-destruct sequence while the other attempts to leave evacuation as an alternate route in case the first player isn''t successful? Of course splitting up also makes them more vulnerable to attack, and maybe one player encounters an obstacle he can''t overcome alone. Decision, decisions...

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shurcool    439
this is why i found Serious Sam 2 (as well as the original) a lot of fun! the only mode i ever played was co-op, and i have to admit it was a great experience! :D

---
shurcool
my project

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nyStagmus    122
Diablo (I and II) is a good example of cooperative multiplayer gaming, without the explicit choice of coop. Most of my experience with Diablo multiplayer is cooperative, not vs. gaming.

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deClavier    122
If my pessimism is unchecked let me know, but the problem with co-op as I understand it is that computer networks only allow you to sustain or break friendships - they don''t function as a useful base for building friendships. The reasons for this are twofold a) you can''t depend on someone who depends on a computer, they are by default "not there" for you (but for the computer, in other words) and b) you can''t do more with a computer network friendship than computer network things - the reason being that for it to be a success you have to have a motive strong enough to bridge the gap between computer and reality (online marriage is about the only working example I can think of). In most cases, computers are turned to for the very reason that real alternatives are absent... except that I love computer games because you can think about really abstract stuff in a really direct way.

Now, its easy to complain about it, solutions are more hard to come by. LAN parties are definately a good start, porting computer content to hard copy form as a way of generating gift relationships is good and as is doing the same as a way of generating environments supportive of interest based friendships . But how do you make these things a game? How is being at a computer shooting drones or whatever a starting point? Perhaps the answer is think-tanks that take problems like this and make the solution a livable reality. That would be what we were trying to do here... if we were committed to doing more than typing, right?

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Waverider    169
Gaming is whatever anyone wants it to be. Just because the games are cooperative doesn''t mean the game is attempting to be a replacement for real world friendships. It certainly isn''t the same as sitting down at a table and playing cards with friends, and it shouldn''t attempt to be.

But cooperative games have that extra/different dimension of knowing you''re not alone in your single player video game experience. Granted, it doesn''t always work out. I had a regular group that I played through LAN with, and two of them always ran off with each other and pretty much said NOTHING to the rest of us. They almost never waited for us as they were making progress, if the rest of us got killed, respawned and were running to catch up. Not exactly "cooperative".

Some games don''t always lend themselves all that well to coop, but they try to. XWing vs. TIE Fighter somehow always managed to separate us so much in a dogfight that we couldn''t effectively cover each other. But that was probably just poor tactics on our part.

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MENTAL    383
I suggest you all go out and buy a dreamcast with phantasy star online v2 and play it online. the only multiplayer options are co-op, and it''s absolutely amazing.

failing that, get a game cube and wait for PS0 to come out on that as it''s got 4-player splitscreen coop play.

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Ingenu    1629
Never Winter Nights can be seen as a strong co-op game.

Wonder who played it, it''s not available here (europe) atm.

-* So many things to do, so little time to spend. *-

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thona    100
Igenu, dont lie :-) Last time I went to my shop (last SATURDAY) It had a whole shelf of them :-) Berlin, Germany, BTW.

Thomas

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Cooperative multiplayer has also a psychological advantage also. Knowing that someone ''has your back'' as you scout the room ahead takes away that artificial paranoia that games like to make. Co-op gives you a sense of friendship, a sense of belonging, and a sense of realism in a game.

A good example would be Return to Castle Wolfenstein or Team Fortress. You log in and you don''t even know the team members half of the time, but you get in and they don''t shoot you. Some actually go so far as to say ''nice shot'' or ''could someone kill that sniper?''. This gives you a sense of belonging, as said before, and I think that it makes the game much more fun.

Perhaps the problem with cooperative games is that the community doesn''t want to be involved(?). Because if you think about it, most coop games, if not played at a LAN party or something, will just be a group of guys on blue team and some guys on red team. They will all do their jobs, (i.e., engineers build the turrets, snipers cover the halls and open areas, Heavy Weapons mow through infantry), but hardly ever do they COMMUNICATE.

I think if there were a way to hook up some voice chat with a whole fleet of players on one side (Lets say they are the imperials against the rebels). I think it would be cool to be able to talk to wingmen while flying... Request assistance from the mothership... Report in... Order my wingmen to do something, or acknowledge my orders from my leader...

The only problem is the players. Who is actually going to jump into the game that much besides me? Most people would hook up and shout profanities and ruin the entire game.

Okay, well that was my 3 cents.

~Dwarf

PS The price for good game ideas HAS DROPPED! It is now 8 cents per dozen (according to DOW Industrial). Change your sigs!!

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deClavier    122
Shared focus = shared identity + No identity = no meaning == group consciousness - love.

Question: is your success on a computer game ever going to win you love in reality?

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Vlion    151
Lets take Starcrafts popular 3v3shared map-type.
Its a form of map thats user-made.
Basically there are two landmasses with a bridge and each team is on one.
You go and assault the enemy.
It requires communication to do it well.

I like the idea of coop games.

In regard to XvT...
I dont think any of the XW* games were realistic in covering for others.
I have all of them :-) and none were terribly realistic...even for SW.

How would I do a coop mode ?

Make a coop campaign.

Dont do a rerun of the SP campaign, do a unique CP mode.

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Eli Gottlieb    122
Role playing is very good for coops. Because companies don''t want to edit their characters to require say, that Alpha 1 out of 5 Alpha team members destroys Vesudan base X to get a step of the mission completed instead of Alpha 4, we wind up with games not made to handle coop play. Give each player their *own* powers and weaknesses plus a time limit and coop works well.

void Signature(void* Pointer)
{
PObject(Pointer)->ShowMessage("Why do we need so many pointers?");
};