Hybrid Multiplayer Mess

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Wait wait. There is such a game. A point-and-click adventure for two people, where one creates the world and the other plays it. I just don't remember the name. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

this game already exists, its a mod for halflife called zombie master... sure its not single player but it has a coop fps team and one RTS dude controlling all the zombies in more or less the exact way described here.

oh if you don't necessarily want survival horror, there is also iron grip: the opression

I dont quite get what yahtzee was saying about motion capture, does EVERY game use it? because I never found it noticible except for Mass effect

"...and with Brutal Legend, RTS and literally anything else."

Brutal Legend was a great RTS/Flight Sim/Hockey/Turn-based RPG.

Demon's Souls did the single player/multi player-hybridization well though. For instance, having a boss be the summoned soul of a dead player is a pretty awesome idea.

draythefingerless:

Grouchy Imp:
So the basic proposal at the end there was for a Space Crusade/Space Hulk type of game? Well I suppose a modern reboot couldn't hurt...

Overall though I'm not a fan of crossover/hybrid games, simply because they tend not to include enough of a genre to satisfy the fans of the genres involved. An RPG/FPS game (lets say Fallout 3) doesn't have enough RPG elements to cater to the RPG crowd, and the combat mechanics aren't tight enough to appease the diehard FPS gamer. Compromise just sells both sides of the arguement short.

Funny, cause Fallout sold a shit ton of copies. So, not sure that argument about appeasing genre fans is sound....It applies to you, but doesnt damage the community.

InterAirplay:
And yet a metric fucktonne of praise and money was heaped on it.

I think there's a flaw in your argument.

Zom-B:
interesting. i find that the RPG elements of Fallout 3/NV are fairly deep and that the FPS elements were just tacked on. Really, most of your combat should be done using VATS and the only time to play it like a traditional FPS is when you're either saving your AP or you're out of AP. Aside from that, while the RPG elements may not have been as in depth or expansive as the hardest of the hard core RPG players wanted, I don't think anyone purchased either Fallout game (and there were a lot that bought one or both, myself included) that expected any sort of polished or top tier FPS experience.

I understand the point you're making, but I think perhaps Fallout was a poor example.

Right, for the sake of convenience I'll try and respond to these at the same time. I know I didn't go into the depth my example perhaps needed, so let's try and fix that now. I did not say F3 was in any way a bad game. What it did very well was appeal to a large audience by taking elements from popular gaming genres and fusing them together. This undoubtedly resulted in the mass appeal that contributed to its success, as most people who played the game found many features to their liking. Understand that I'm not bashing F3 for this, the gaming industry is, well, and industry these days and developers have to look for the largest return on their investments.

What I was trying to get across was the idea that if you make a game (for example) 40% RPG, 30% FPS and 30% Sandbox you will appeal to all of the demographics you cover, but will not give a 100% experience to any of them. So, to draythefingerless and InterAirplay, this was what I was really driving at - the idea that whilst crossovers appeal to nearly everyone they very rarely fully satisfy anyone. To split a gaming experience even 90%/10% is to let one side or the other miss out on a 100% game.

@Zom-B, I find it interesting that you bring up FNV as well as F3. The FPS system in F3 was fairly rudimentary (kind of reinforcing my point about crossovers) but the system was vastly improved in FNV, especially as far as ADS aiming was concerned (a strength literally highlighted by Boone's companion perk). I agree with you that no-one buys a Fallout game looking for an FPS experience, but it is certainly possible to play it like one.

In closing then, people: I'm fully aware of the mass appeal of the crossover. By splitting the percentages of the experience over several genres developers ensure a game that most people will go crazy for and will literally fly off the shelves. But the very act of trying to cover all the bases means that no genre gets the attention it deserves. Yahtzee himself covered this in his AvP review where he accuses the developer of spreading themselves too thin (and certainly with AvP he was bang on the money). I picked F3 (and FNV now that Zom-B brought it up) specifically because I enjoy it (them) as a gaming experience, but one (ones) I wished were just a little more focused. Of course, crossovers by their nature can never be focused, and I suppose that's my problem with them.

Yahtzee never played counter-operative on Perfect Dark I take it?
One player took control of Joanna, the other of the various fodder/npc enemies.
It worked quite well I think. I had a lot of fun with it.

Secondly, Yahtzee has essentially described "Zombie Master", a Source Mod where there are set environments the ZM can manipulate to trigger traps or spawn a horde, as well as spawn points where they can choose from a number of different types of zombies to spawn.
And all these is balanced and managed through a sort of 'resource' system.
Lovely birds-eye view too.
The humans work as a team, in first-person (shooter) mode, to achieve a number of various objectives and ultimately escape.

In fact there are a number of mods, including some for Starcraft II, that blend this sort of thing.
Would it work as a triple A title?
I think, yes, provided it had the support and development it needed.
Blizzard spent over a decade on Starcraft II, and how much money did they invest in it?
Maybe they might consider making an off-shoot game of Terran vs Zerg, with the Terrans being FPS and the Zerg being RTS controlled?

Edit: Also, Fallout wasn't an FPS. The contribution of 'player skill' to aiming was your ability to put the crosshair over your enemy. Burst firing didn't help, no recall to account for.
It was a first or third-person perspective, which is what a lot of people seem to COMPLETELY MISS. It was no more a FPS/RPG hybrid than it was a TPS/RPG hybrid.
It wasn't an "X-person shooter" hybrid at all. It was an RPG that allowed first and third person perspective.
The RPG elements were the entire core of combat and environment interaction.
Is Myst an FPS hybrid because it uses a first-person perspective too?

Grouchy Imp:

draythefingerless:

Grouchy Imp:
So the basic proposal at the end there was for a Space Crusade/Space Hulk type of game? Well I suppose a modern reboot couldn't hurt...

Overall though I'm not a fan of crossover/hybrid games, simply because they tend not to include enough of a genre to satisfy the fans of the genres involved. An RPG/FPS game (lets say Fallout 3) doesn't have enough RPG elements to cater to the RPG crowd, and the combat mechanics aren't tight enough to appease the diehard FPS gamer. Compromise just sells both sides of the arguement short.

Funny, cause Fallout sold a shit ton of copies. So, not sure that argument about appeasing genre fans is sound....It applies to you, but doesnt damage the community.

InterAirplay:
And yet a metric fucktonne of praise and money was heaped on it.

I think there's a flaw in your argument.

Zom-B:
interesting. i find that the RPG elements of Fallout 3/NV are fairly deep and that the FPS elements were just tacked on. Really, most of your combat should be done using VATS and the only time to play it like a traditional FPS is when you're either saving your AP or you're out of AP. Aside from that, while the RPG elements may not have been as in depth or expansive as the hardest of the hard core RPG players wanted, I don't think anyone purchased either Fallout game (and there were a lot that bought one or both, myself included) that expected any sort of polished or top tier FPS experience.

I understand the point you're making, but I think perhaps Fallout was a poor example.

Right, for the sake of convenience I'll try and respond to these at the same time. I know I didn't go into the depth my example perhaps needed, so let's try and fix that now. I did not say F3 was in any way a bad game. What it did very well was appeal to a large audience by taking elements from popular gaming genres and fusing them together. This undoubtedly resulted in the mass appeal that contributed to its success, as most people who played the game found many features to their liking. Understand that I'm not bashing F3 for this, the gaming industry is, well, and industry these days and developers have to look for the largest return on their investments.

What I was trying to get across was the idea that if you make a game (for example) 40% RPG, 30% FPS and 30% Sandbox you will appeal to all of the demographics you cover, but will not give a 100% experience to any of them. So, to draythefingerless and InterAirplay, this was what I was really driving at - the idea that whilst crossovers appeal to nearly everyone they very rarely fully satisfy anyone. To split a gaming experience even 90%/10% is to let one side or the other miss out on a 100% game.

@Zom-B, I find it interesting that you bring up FNV as well as F3. The FPS system in F3 was fairly rudimentary (kind of reinforcing my point about crossovers) but the system was vastly improved in FNV, especially as far as ADS aiming was concerned (a strength literally highlighted by Boone's companion perk). I agree with you that no-one buys a Fallout game looking for an FPS experience, but it is certainly possible to play it like one.

In closing then, people: I'm fully aware of the mass appeal of the crossover. By splitting the percentages of the experience over several genres developers ensure a game that most people will go crazy for and will literally fly off the shelves. But the very act of trying to cover all the bases means that no genre gets the attention it deserves. Yahtzee himself covered this in his AvP review where he accuses the developer of spreading themselves too thin (and certainly with AvP he was bang on the money). I picked F3 (and FNV now that Zom-B brought it up) specifically because I enjoy it (them) as a gaming experience, but one (ones) I wished were just a little more focused. Of course, crossovers by their nature can never be focused, and I suppose that's my problem with them.

Dont clinge yourself to Yahtzee so hard. And specially dont clinge yourself to labels such as FPS or RPG. Labels can ruin an experience. Look at what it does in the music industry. People will listen to genres or bands instead of listening to the musics themselves.

draythefingerless:

Grouchy Imp:
>snip<

Dont clinge yourself to Yahtzee so hard. And specially dont clinge yourself to labels such as FPS or RPG. Labels can ruin an experience. Look at what it does in the music industry. People will listen to genres or bands instead of listening to the musics themselves.

But in any industry (music, gaming, literature etc) there need to be lines. Not labels, per se, but certainly definitions. Without defining characteristics to seperate out different forms and styles any medium is in danger of devolving into a samey morass as it absorbs all the individuality from its genres and works.

RTS and literally anything else.

Although they're rare there are games that do manage to blend RTS with another genre. The Horde springs to mind which was a PC game from the mid 90s in which the game was divided between fortifying a village and 3rd person hack and slash. I think Dungeon Keeper could almost be included as well since you spent most of the game in an overhead perspective but could also possess creatures and go off exploring.

Yahtzee Croshaw:

Designing a single high-definition model could be the best part of an artist's work day

Wait, what? What godly artists have you been talking to? I'd be very happy with anyone who could finish a highpoly character model in less than a regular work week, and that wouldn't be counting making a lowpoly, texturing it and skinning it.

I'd say the average artist would take up to a month at least to finish a high-definition character with any form of quality. And that's "finish" as in "ready for animation" Sure, there are always amazingly quick people and people who make sloppy models and models that are easier to make etc, but it certainly isn't done in a day's work. When I started studying 3d art people used to bring up that the poor people who made Marcus Phoenix in Gears of War supposedly "only" had four weeks of twelve hour shifts to do it, but then again tools were crappier a few years back.

Uh, so what I'm saying in relation to the point you were making: You're even more right than you know. :D

I see a lot of people mentioning "Zombie Master" or even "Empires" as excellent examples of Multiplayer hybrids. But they all suffered from one fatal flaw...

The players. You get a bad commander in Empires (or an uncooperative team as the commander) or a 10 year old Zombie Master - the game would get very unfun very fast. But then again, that is the fundamental flaw with multiplayer these days: it's full of a bunch of foul-mouthed, tea-bagging, smacktards with no sense of sportsmanship.

The original Natural Selection (Classicmode, not combat mode) also had a commander in it as well. The game included other RTS elements in it's FPS which included the taking of resource points. But again, it depended heavily on the commander and it's marine team working together and being competent. Something you just can't find in the common pug of smacktards.

But, it's not to say the games didn't have their merits. You get a good bunch of players in any of the above, and they were truly memorable experiances. The hybrids can be done, but they just depend too heavily on people you can't trust to make them worthwhile.

Ahh good times...

That game described at the end sounds just like the old board game Space Hulk.

I think the cost of game development and AAA polish is the reason Nintendo intentionally crippled the Wii graphically (you think they couldn't build or buy something better than an overclocked Gamecube if they wanted?). With motion control they had to experiment and on a weaker console that's much cheaper to do.

Klumpfot:
Someone start a Facebook campaign for the video game idea proposed at the end there. Facebook's the only way things get done these days.

something similar already exists. Half life 2 mod... zombie... panic something like that.

The idea wound hinge on your monster pawns having tactical advantages or disadvantages in some situations...

So, maybe there are leaping monsters that walk on walls which will be more effective in large rooms. Or maybe there are dudes who swing giant maces very slowly, and they are best positioned right around the corner, in in dark nooks/crannies.

Also, 1v1 sounds slightly boring to me. 1v4 or 1v5 sounds a lot more interesting. Especially if you did it where the group of players running through the labyrinth could choose between a number of different classes with different strengths and weaknesses.

I do really like the idea of the dungeon master type person being able to inhabit the body of a select monster. Might make for some interesting boss battles.

Am I wrong, or does Yahtzee chastise Brutal Legend for mixing RTS/direct control, and then at the end of the article propose the same concept as one side of a new multiplayer game?

Or maybe his point was that half of Brutal Legend's single-player campaign was a standard action-adventure game that cut over to the aforementioned design.

I actually liked Brutal Legend a lot, and I'm not a metal guy. But I do think the pre-release demo was a HUGE bait-and-switch. I just happened to enjoy both facets of the game.

Hybrid Multiplayer in Mindjack sounded like a really good idea.

Right up until people gave feedback.

I do think it could be done and I like the suggestions, so I'm hoping soon we see the first GOOD hybrid multiplayer title of this sort.

Valve experimented with a hybrid FPS and RTS for Team Fortress 2 very early in its development.

image

Team Fortress 2 was to be a modern war game, with a command hierarchy including a commander with a bird's-eye view of the battlefield, parachute drops over enemy territory, networked voice communication and numerous other innovations. ... Valve had quietly built "probably three to four different games" before settling on their final design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_fortress_2#Origins

I've always thought that Mindjack had gotten the multiplayer backwards. Rather then going and making competitive multiplayer where-in players would barge into other players' games and grief them to kingdom come, the mode should have instead have been made a co-operative game, where-in players would break in and play as the sidekick character whats-her-face, or as any bystander that happens to be loitering around at that moment. It takes down the partner AI problems as well as the multiplayer issues all in one fell swoop.

Which is all water under the collapsed bridge that was the rest of the game.

For those talking about Zombie master, one thing you're missing is the whole idea of the ZM only gets points as the team advances.

That said, my version of the RTS vs. FPS idea is a Batman game. Batman plays FPS style (of course) hunting down the mooks and muggers of the RTS player as they attempt to collect resources so that he can complete his super-villain plot, which he has to balance out with recruiting more bad guys or building traps for Batman, etc. As the game progresses, Batman interrogates the badguys and bit by bit learns clues as to the villain's location, eventually leading to a final showdown where both players are FPS, but villain is hopelessly outmatched (of course) unless he's got a bunch of underlings with him which might give him a chance.

There is already a mod for Unreal Tournament 3 called the haunted that has a game mode very similar to the one described, if intrested you should check it out, http://forum.i3d.net/unreal-series/58012-ut-3-mod-haunted-v3-0-updated.html

Don't know if this counts, but the original Perfect Dark did a decent job at their multiplayer/single player hybrid attempt, where people could play as the main girl, and the other person could play as all the weakling grunts, though one at a time.

Maybe it was the localization that made it work. I think that having a few people play a team of weak thugs (who will then take over an idle one when killed) would be a fun game to play with people you can actually see and yell at.

Can't remember if that was an option in Perfect Dark for more then one opponent or not or not, but the multiplayer in that game had so many decent options, it was mind-boggling.

Savage 2 A Tortured Soul is an example of a hybrid RTS/RPG that's incredibly fun to play and never gets boring.

It's also an MMO.

Grouchy Imp:
What I was trying to get across was the idea that if you make a game (for example) 40% RPG, 30% FPS and 30% Sandbox you will appeal to all of the demographics you cover, but will not give a 100% experience to any of them. So, to draythefingerless and InterAirplay, this was what I was really driving at - the idea that whilst crossovers appeal to nearly everyone they very rarely fully satisfy anyone. To split a gaming experience even 90%/10% is to let one side or the other miss out on a 100% game.

I guess then I would counter with, what is a 100% sandbox game? What is 100% RPG? Even an FPS which we might think of as easy to define in terms of a percentage value might not be so easy to pigeonhole. Many FPS games incorporate a large open world as RPGs. Does this make them less FPS or RPG?

Further, a game like say, Black Ops, which is very definitely in the FPS genre has been criticized for linear level design and not having a lot of player choice involved, and I've heard that in fact you can practically let the single player campaign play itself, and yet this game and it's predecessors sold as many, if not more copies than either Fallout game.

I don't think genre blending has any real impact on game sales or popularity. I think what it comes down to is a quality product (despite some bugs, looking at you FNV) with a compelling world and visual look will often be a sales driver and most gamers won't care if it has gameplay elements from different genres.

I remember Perfect Dark for the N64 having a split-screen function where the second player would control a random enemy. It was funny because as the enemy, you had the option of taking a suicide pill. So I just kept jumping from enemy to enemy making them create mass suicide so my friend could freely roam the level.

Kwil:
For those talking about Zombie master, one thing you're missing is the whole idea of the ZM only gets points as the team advances.

That said, my version of the RTS vs. FPS idea is a Batman game. Batman plays FPS style (of course) hunting down the mooks and muggers of the RTS player as they attempt to collect resources so that he can complete his super-villain plot, which he has to balance out with recruiting more bad guys or building traps for Batman, etc. As the game progresses, Batman interrogates the badguys and bit by bit learns clues as to the villain's location, eventually leading to a final showdown where both players are FPS, but villain is hopelessly outmatched (of course) unless he's got a bunch of underlings with him which might give him a chance.

..what?
An FPS batman? Really?
Talk about horrid concept.

As for Zombie Master, no you get a regular stream of resources from the very beginning. It increases as the team advances, but you are always getting that stream.

now that's an interesting game idea.

I'm also not a fan of teh current-gen graphics. Not because they look bad - they're gorgeous. But there is so much focus on making things pretty for the box art and promotional screenshots that they forget how to make things fun, well written and creative.

I enjoyed Borderlands partly because of its retro step in graphics - they looked good, but still looked a bit cartoony. I think replicating that level of graphics would be easier for a low-budget developer. (also, it was great that you never found yourself lost in the dark in that game).

I'm looking forward to a Left4Dead kind of game that doesn't involve zombies. I like the idea of an AI director, and I think that L4D has taught Valve a lot about how to make it work (see Alien Swarm as another good example). But I don't like zombie games, so I'm looking forward to something in a nicer setting with a similar director.

MindJack.....his name is Jim and you hack rather than Jack......not sure where they were going with that. Once again, another entertaining Zero Punctuation.

Zom-B:

Grouchy Imp:
What I was trying to get across was the idea that if you make a game (for example) 40% RPG, 30% FPS and 30% Sandbox you will appeal to all of the demographics you cover, but will not give a 100% experience to any of them. So, to draythefingerless and InterAirplay, this was what I was really driving at - the idea that whilst crossovers appeal to nearly everyone they very rarely fully satisfy anyone. To split a gaming experience even 90%/10% is to let one side or the other miss out on a 100% game.

I guess then I would counter with, what is a 100% sandbox game? What is 100% RPG? Even an FPS which we might think of as easy to define in terms of a percentage value might not be so easy to pigeonhole. Many FPS games incorporate a large open world as RPGs. Does this make them less FPS or RPG?

Further, a game like say, Black Ops, which is very definitely in the FPS genre has been criticized for linear level design and not having a lot of player choice involved, and I've heard that in fact you can practically let the single player campaign play itself, and yet this game and it's predecessors sold as many, if not more copies than either Fallout game.

I don't think genre blending has any real impact on game sales or popularity. I think what it comes down to is a quality product (despite some bugs, looking at you FNV) with a compelling world and visual look will often be a sales driver and most gamers won't care if it has gameplay elements from different genres.

And highlighted in your post is a very good example of the crossover/pureblood debate. Black Ops is as close to a 100% FPS as it is possible to get, and because it didn't contain crossover elements it took a lot of flak from the critics and much of the player community found fault with it due to a lack of this that or the other, but it still outsold most other games because it appealed to the purists. Fallout 3 was met with glowing praise from reviewers and the gaming community flocked to its mass appeal, but it put off a lot of Fallout 1&2 players because the RPG experience had become diluted, and one has to wonder (taking the success of the CoD series as a template) if Fallout 3 wouldn't have sold even better if it had stayed as a thoroughbred RPG.

Thing is I'm only shouting at the incoming tide here, crossovers are here to stay. All of the points you have highlighted are the very reasons why crossovers make for a more accessable gaming experience for a wider audience, and hence why they make much more commercial sense than thoroughbred games. I agree that crossovers make sense, I guess I'm just a grumpy purist at heart!

Its strange to hear all the efforts taken to get certain games to the triple a 'big boys table' because more and more I find myself avoiding triple a games. As I have found that they are much like the popular girls in highschool (ok maybe its changed since I've been there but I doubt it) that is pretty but dumb, boring and a little bit slutty.

My point is the fun interesting games like minecraft, torchlight, zenoclash, din's curse and others dont have triple A rated graphics and usually they seem to be better games for it.

Maybe triple a developers need to put away the expensive motion capture equipment and start creating fun games again, rather than 8 hour interactive movies..

Grouchy Imp:
And highlighted in your post is a very good example of the crossover/pureblood debate. Black Ops is as close to a 100% FPS as it is possible to get, and because it didn't contain crossover elements it took a lot of flak from the critics and much of the player community found fault with it due to a lack of this that or the other, but it still outsold most other games because it appealed to the purists. Fallout 3 was met with glowing praise from reviewers and the gaming community flocked to its mass appeal, but it put off a lot of Fallout 1&2 players because the RPG experience had become diluted, and one has to wonder (taking the success of the CoD series as a template) if Fallout 3 wouldn't have sold even better if it had stayed as a thoroughbred RPG.

I don't think there's really any way of knowing for sure, but I'd have to wonder if those fans of Fallout 1&2 who griped about 3 weren't just griping that the style of the game had changed. I played either 1 or 2 many moons ago, and from what I remember, the core RPG elements of the game still remain- experience points, perks, dialogue choices and even VATS is just an evolution of the combat system.

It's too bad though, in some ways. I think just because developers can make a game a certain way, like making Fallout 3 look like an FPS doesn't mean they should. I wrote in another thread about Alpha Protocol, an ambitious game that ultimately fails because it tries to be a Splinter Cell or MGS but Obsidian didn't have the money or the time or the team or a combination of some to pull it off. But if they had scaled down their ambition and designed the game like a tried and true isometric action/RPG game like a blend between Fallout 1/2, Diablo and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, it may have been a better game.

I think if Bethesda had kept Fallout 3 like it's predecessors they could have made a mind blowing game, taking current graphical capabilities and applying it to that old model. I guess it would be like, speaking of, if Diablo 3 finally came out looking like Fallout 3. The uproar would be deafening. Instead, Blizzard knows what their fans want and they want to give it to them, but they'll update the look and hopefully have a great game, while still keeping the style that people know and love.

Maybe we'll be lucky and some more developers will move forwards by looking back and give us some games that aren't played from 1st or 3rd person perspective.

Looks like you didn't do your homework, Yahtzee. That exact game already exists.
It's a Source mod called Zombie Master.

Novur:
I would buy that game in a heartbeat.

Hear that, developers? I will buy this game.

I'm with Gonzo! I would buy that! BUY THAT!

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