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Is co-op just too difficult for Developers?


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@ Colin -

spot on with his theory of the longevity of a good coop over time.

take GR - well made coop, good tools, and despite all the mods, players snapped up every expansion as soon as they hit the shelves and would have done so for another 5 years if the expansions had continued to roll out.

compared to GRAW - halfbaked COOP which ###### players off so that buy the time they get to the third release - how many ppl will actually bother with it?

good coop= good game for up to a decade = profits.

addon - mods will never be as accepted as an official expansion, so selling a game with the line "and you can mod everything else you want into it is BS - duznt work" - must deliver official expansions and a completed game.

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@ Bueghler (miss you all ...sniff)

agreed - Devs spend so much time with bells n whistles, graffix and 'the best AI' but ###### tools.

the fact is GR didnt have best graffix and the AI were actually very simple - it was the scripting tool (IGOR) that made it work so well.

so many Devs miss the Tools - its a last thought, a secondary addon - but it should be a major focus - make it intuitive, make it easy to script, and then we can make the AI dance.

how is it that all these new and amazingly intelligent AI do the most stupid things - something aint working.

my opinion is keep them stupid so they cant think for themselves and f^&@ up - provide the scripts so they follow orders exactly as they are told.

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anyone who has opened GRAW editor and played with vehicles would notice how the 'dynamic' vehicles can behave so badly - why? what is the benefit really - a blown tank is a blown tank anyway you cut it - its the bells n whistles again. and with so much cpu demand forget the coop.

anyone who dropped some of the dynamic tents in GRAW would have seen the framerates nosedive from high 80s to low 20s - again, why? its a frikkin tent.

Devs need to stop with the BS and get back to the roots of what its really all supposed to be about. ITS ABOUT THE ######ING GAMEPLAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Netcode - ###### is with the code?

It's 2008 ###### - how can it still be so krap?

If a Dev cant build good netcode - why build a frikkin MP game?

Drives me crazy, and makes me despise a company that allows a game to be released that can't get it right.

We play MP bcoz we want to enjoy the game with others online - if you cnat mkae MP enjoyable - DONT BUILD A ######ING MP GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lazy - it takes a lot of skill to build good missions with open play - linear is easy.

And therefore when I see linear I think cop out.

In terms of linear - it's a niche which COD4 has sewn up quite frankly - noone does it better - but at the end of the day, it's lazy scripting.

Im losing my way in this post - starting to become a rant about everything I hate about the lack of COOP in other games.

I just hope Ground Branch nails it - even if it's only 6 players to start with.

I see my blatantly faked tourettes syndrome is contagious (and catching on) :)

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This thread really needs some Dev input, give us a clue, help us out, Grin/RSE anyone.

You see to us it is obvious what worked before should be able to work again, we really need to know WHY.

Come and tell us we dont bite honest.

AND PLEASE BE HONEST dont say its about profit, because we know this is not true, we know the sales figures for all three games.

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This thread really needs some Dev input, give us a clue, help us out, Grin/RSE anyone.

You see to us it is obvious what worked before should be able to work again, we really need to know WHY.

Come and tell us we dont bite honest.

AND PLEASE BE HONEST dont say its about profit, because we know this is not true, we know the sales figures for all three games.

I second that.

I'm pretty much clueless about code and stuff like that. And I've heard "there is a lot more stuff going on than back then" from developers that I trust to be honest with me. But why was the likes of Ghost Recon the only game to feature 9-man co-op? Did they pull off some sort of miracle?

Why do shooters seem to get more and more linear? It is just me or does the AI seem to be getting dumber, or rather less able to react to anything but the player being at an exact location to trigger the action?

Respectfully

krise madsen

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Why do shooters seem to get more and more linear? It is just me or does the AI seem to be getting dumber, or rather less able to react to anything but the player being at an exact location to trigger the action?

Again, that's not dumber, it's a design choice. If you were to create the same scene in GR and in COD4, and properly set up cover zones and whatever systems COD has in place, i can guarantee the COD4 enemy is going to maneuver in a more complex and intelligent manner.

The thing is, the developers were looking to create the most thrilling, carefully paced game possible -- thrills and pacing being something GR is incredibly weak in. Combat is a point and click affair, and you can wander the map at just about any speed you want.

Developers are making the games they're making because of market trends, conventional wisdom, and games they find to be fun. I can also say, pretty much for sure, most gamers would rather play COD4 than GR. It's also, really -- if you take time into consideration, GR is, honestly, dated -- the better game, regardless of whether it appeals more or less to your personal taste.

Also, you guys have gotten into the really bad mindset that anything which isn't a realistic 'tac sim' game is unoriginal. COD4 is pretty by the numbers, but the sidekick character driven level design on the SAS end and some stuff like the coup cutscene 'level' was pretty damn creative.

On the console end, we get games most of you would label as childish that break new ground all of the time.

The Darkness, for example -- another 'kiddy' arcade shooter, with no HUD and a perfect execution of superhero gunplay -- recharging power based on lighting in the environment, an automatic lean around surfaces with handguns, a smart dual wielding system that positioned firearms at the perfect angle to fire around the environment, martial arts oriented 'gun kata' melee shots. All definite innovations. Just because a shooter isn't delivering what you, a pretty small group, want out of it, doesn't mean it isn't creative or professionally made. Hell, even GRAW, on the 360, made some advancements in movement and combat.

Shooters aren't getting more linear, either. Remember Duke Nukem? There are plenty of more nonlinear shooters out today, and plenty of highly linear ones. It's a design choice, neither is superior to the other -- nonlinear is a bit more replayable, and linear is a bit more consistently high quality, assuming your level design team is good.

To say linear is 'easy' is pure idiocy. I'd love to see Lightspeed make a few missions as complex as any in COD4 -- he'd have a great new career, which is actually very difficult to break into. And that's just the level scripting; Balancing difficulty, pacing, varied gameplay, and all of the complex situations that arise is incredibly difficult. Art is usually held to a higher standard, and with so many set pieces less can be re-used. Scripting a mission as tightly as COD's is an incredibly difficult task, and then getting all of that working in game is just as hard. All of this is on top of the same level of AI code you see in an open world game -- although that code does different things in each type of game, to fit the situations it's needed for. You also need all of the unique sound effects and voice acting, all of the unique art, all of the unique animations for specific scripted events (anyone remember a few marines shuffling to push a dumpster ahead on War Pig? Tons of moments like this -- along with a few which are reused in multiple levels, kinda fun to play through and see if you can spot how it's all made) -- all and all, you're talking hours upon hours of work per level just to make that 'easy' linear stuff work. And that's on top of all of the normal requirements to make a game level.

Also, don't forget work that comes in at an earlier stage in the development process, like writing -- COD4 told a much more intricate story than any GR game, and that was without the benefit of wall of text pre-level exposition briefings. Just in game chatter and dialogue.

Open world has it's own challenges, sure -- i'm not saying linear is the hardest of the two, i honestly don't know. But doing either one wall takes quite a bit of skill and manpower.

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Grin at one point during GRAW 1 had stated the injury model was the way it was because of all the animations that would need to be made.

I think the markerters are rushing the devs to get games out the door.

Oh, and 9 man co-op... was that stock in gr1? I though there was a mod or tweak needed to enable that? I could be wrong though as it's been a bit.

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As released GR seemed to support just one 9 person squad.

In practice. they forgot to mention that you could in fact have THREE 9 person blue squads and one empty red squad insert in what was apparently a "funny" TvT game that includes AI and mission objectives etc. the end result was up to 27 people playing a coop mission together. No "mod" required, it just needed missions that were properly designed to support more than one 9 person squad, and would offer some appropriate challenge to the larger group of players -- and in general including just a bit of a stealth related objective, or suitably difficult visibility and spotting distance combinations worked well to discourage people from treating every mission as a firefight (even if they had overwhelming firepower).

And as 4X already mentioned it was only when you got to ~15 players and ~100 tangos plus 1/2 dozen tanks that his dialup connection would no longer keep up.

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Why do shooters seem to get more and more linear? It is just me or does the AI seem to be getting dumber, or rather less able to react to anything but the player being at an exact location to trigger the action?

Again, that's not dumber, it's a design choice. If you were to create the same scene in GR and in COD4, and properly set up cover zones and whatever systems COD has in place, i can guarantee the COD4 enemy is going to maneuver in a more complex and intelligent manner.

The thing is, the developers were looking to create the most thrilling, carefully paced game possible -- thrills and pacing being something GR is incredibly weak in. Combat is a point and click affair, and you can wander the map at just about any speed you want.

OK, I get the point about design choice. And for what it's worth, I think CoD4 was extremely, extremely, well made, regardless of the fact that it was the kind of linear "cinematic experience" that doesn't suit my taste. And no, I'm not the one to say that there is no innovation in games these days (though it does seem a bit stale from time to time). Heck, what I'm asking for is basically a remake of GR1! And you have to admit that an awful lot of shooters seem awful similar in the way they work.

I like cinematic effects and razzle dazzle. But I tell you if it takes away even an ounce of gameplay then I'll happily settle for a briefing consisting of a WordPad document (in fact, one of my favorite, and commercially successful, games did just that).

What I'm asking is, why don't I see ANY games like GR1? Why are every MMOFPS looking to Battlefield 2 for inspiration rather than America's Army? And while we're at it. Why haven't anyone designed a game like Battlefield 2 or Americas Army with an actual single player/co-op campaign? I mean, something with the fairly big and open maps of those games and the non-linearity where you can go almost everywhere, only with actual objectives rather than just capturing flags and shooting as many enemies as possible?

These are not a rhetorical questions. I'm asking because I don't know and I would greatly appreciate if someone from the games industry could explain it all to me.

Respectfully

krise madsen

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I know this is the PC part of this forum, but in the xbox versions done by RSE, GR2 and Summit Strike, GRAW1 and GRAW2 you can play co-op up til 16 people. [GR] and GRIT is up to 6 people. Americas Army 2: Rise of a soldier made by RSE is up to 16 people co-op.

So to me, it seems like it's up to the developer to decide what do and it seems like RSE knows how to do 16 man co-op missions, and I hope for your (PC-gamers) sake that RSE will develop the next Ghost Recon game for PC too.

I can answer that one!!!!

GR2 and Summit Strike where made with a updated [GR] engine.

Graw1 and 2: for single player they used a UBI soft engine called YETI or something like that

but for multiplayer guess what??? they used a RSE heavily modifed [GR] engine.

That why co-op is so good in the console version of the game

The grandfather of all these engines is the one used in Rogue Spear

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As released GR seemed to support just one 9 person squad.

In practice. they forgot to mention that you could in fact have THREE 9 person blue squads and one empty red squad insert in what was apparently a "funny" TvT game that includes AI and mission objectives etc. the end result was up to 27 people playing a coop mission together. No "mod" required, it just needed missions that were properly designed to support more than one 9 person squad, and would offer some appropriate challenge to the larger group of players -- and in general including just a bit of a stealth related objective, or suitably difficult visibility and spotting distance combinations worked well to discourage people from treating every mission as a firefight (even if they had overwhelming firepower).

And as 4X already mentioned it was only when you got to ~15 players and ~100 tangos plus 1/2 dozen tanks that his dialup connection would no longer keep up.

15 players 100 tg dial now they were the days, then you could really moan about the lag.

I remember games where you could load a full mag at a guy in the US reload, he would shoot and that was you dead. LOL.

Guys we can talk about this until we are blue in the face.

The fact is that coop with more than a couple players has died off.

This website is proof that this one area led the way as far as Team creation/server creation/Team speak/ web sites creation/Torunament creation/Mod creation had a major impact on the whole game, and the people that played it.

Those days have gone, because of modern game design.

We desperatley need those days back, at the moment we are just moveing from game to game that last 4 months or less, just waiting for that type of game to come back.

I would like you to read this thread, it has a couple of replies in from a senior game developer.

http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/ind...p?showtopic=108

The post number 199 is the key one but please read all of the thread its a great read from some great coop players.

Just read his comments and see what you think.

If they can do this?????? Why cant others.???

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Is there some special credit for having made post #198 in the thread Colin is pointing us at ;)

A bit of background... I have played quit a few SP games over the years, but few/none of them were "shooters" -- I just never really saw much appeal in that. I also spent about 15 years playing what I still think to be one of the best (and free) TvT games there is, Netrek -- see this Wired article from 1993 for a decent overview. Netrek has trivial physics and very simple game mechanics, but the basic design is really great, the game self balances well, success depends on teamwork and mutual support, there a huge number of strategic and tactical variations available to players and teams, there are many "roles" to play in a team and many useful playing styles, the list of "pluses" for the game is very long. I saw many gaming colleagues get sucked into Doom and its progeny, but many would come back to Netrek to satisfy their need for playing with teammates. I had one friend that would play Netrek while waiting for the next update of whatever Empire game he was in at the time. Of course Netrek started back when the Internet was "small" and mostly populated by people that new how to get along with one another (much like the GR.net community) and it suffered through some difficult growing pains as it became more accessible to the "masses". but the core game survived and is still played today, 20 years after its introduction.

I was drawn to GR by two things. First I was somewhat frustrated by the difficulties of pickup TvT play that Netrek offered -- too much time spent trying to help people learn the basics while they screamed at you that they knew what they were doing despite the fact that their team was getting crushed -- and was looking for cooperative game play opportunities. Second, GR offered the opportunity for play in significantly more complex and varied environments. I was very happy to have made the switch. It has been great fun to develop relationships in this community and to have become involved in scripting some very interesting/different missions within this framework.

More recently, my attention has shifted toward Armed Assault. It certainly has many limitations, but in terms of providing the types of features that drew me to GR I have been very satisfied. The potential for squad tactics are all there, and the mission building options are huge. But there are places where it does not compare well to GR -- specifically in terms of CQC and some stealth aspects. But it sure does not get hung up on this "you can only have 2" in coop stuff, and my friend 4X has had no trouble playing with us over his dialup connection.

With all that said, I am certainly watching the development of Ground Branch with anticipation. So far things look good, but only time will tell if it will manage to fill this niche for those of us that are attached to this particular type of gameplay.

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What I'm asking is, why don't I see ANY games like GR1? *1 Why are every MMOFPS looking to Battlefield 2 for inspiration rather than America's Army? *2 And while we're at it. Why haven't anyone designed a game like Battlefield 2 or Americas Army with an actual single player/co-op campaign? *3 I mean, something with the fairly big and open maps of those games and the non-linearity where you can go almost everywhere, only with actual objectives rather than just capturing flags and shooting as many enemies as possible?

1- Generally, it's unlikely that lightning will strike twice like that. It takes a unique combination of the right developers and the right publishers to make a game like that. Games like GRAW PC are targeted for more 'tactical' play and don't quit deliver, teams like GR1's are tasked with developing (incredibly good) tactical 'lite' shooters like GRAW1/2 360's mp, etc. Really, we're just waiting on the planets aligning right. Maybe ground branch, maybe [OFP: DR], maybe nothing announced yet.

2- Honestly, outside of it's limited fanbase, not that many people like AA. BF is more of a proven formula, so it's the simpler choice to clone. Plus, AA is free -- it may actually be difficult to directly compete with it.

3- Actually, this is a kinda' funny point to bring up. This forum in general is known for it's strong PC elitism, and honestly, Co-op is largely considered a console feature. Yeah, doom and quake had co-op -- but deathmatch was the thing that really caught on. Rainbow six and GR1 impressed a niche market with their tactical cooperative play, but then BF1942 came out and used PC hardware to do something no console ever could. 64 man team vs team.

Aggressive clan play, a focus on pc-centric technology (such as the aforementioned high playercounts) and an elitist, competitive culture has lead to the PC market focusing more on skirmish teamplay and deathmatch games. Co-op has been shoehorned as a console feature ever since a wave of Xbox titles, starting with Halo, brought it back into mainstream popularity.

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I haven't been on a dev team for a few years now.... well 9 years since dynamix went under but. but it cant be that hard to do coop if ghost recon was able to do it years ago. I personnally look for coop in a game before i buy it, if there is none i wait for the price to come down and play it well after everyone has moved on to the next thing. I know alot of my gaming friends do the same. Game developers are missing alot of revinue from gamers that look for coop support in a game.

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I'm surprised that the article from C&VG didn't mention ArmA.

There are games out there provide a great coop experience.

EDIT: Coop never died. Many are talking about "bringing the good old days back." :hmm:

Fans follow it's best implementation at any given time.

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  • 3 weeks later...

If that is the case with the newer GR games, then I will not be purchasing any and will not tell my other co-op friends to do so either. I have 6 other friends right now, hoping to go to 7 shortly who have got GR1, Desert Siege and Island Thunder installed on their computers along with a bunch of co-op modes. That is how we are play, it more exciting and for the newbies, it is easier for them to learn instead of getting frustrated with all of the things they need to learn to do in single player mode. There is times that we play every night of the week for a couple of hours. I had hoped that as everyone's computers got bigger and faster that we could upgrade to the newer GR's but I guess that is not the case.

The new games even the city maps should allow at least 6 players in co-op mode. I am sure the Armys of the world take more than two or three people into these situations. Give the users more ways to play the game, that is how you sell games as well. Not just on a single player aspect but on numerous players playing the same boards.

Hoping for a better co-op future !!

Dean

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A couple of us here have mentioned Ground Branch being produced By Blackfoot Studio.

I believe this game will be the game that so many of us have waited for since GR1.

This Developer is doing COOP and the other game types we all love.

Some links to post that make me believe this.

This thread has 228 replies.

http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/ind...108&hl=coop

SP in COOP

http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/ind...782&hl=coop

This thread must needed features.

81 replies

http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/ind...=66&hl=coop

In game comms and coop team play.

http://www.blackfootstudios.com/forums/ind...107&hl=coop

78 replies.

One thing that strikes me straight away is the ammount of COOP players posting there, but not only that TVT and SP players as well, we have seen how Grin came to this site 2 years ago and made contact with us, we would ask to see if something in coop was possible and and we did get [GR] coop which was not coop but a ff with youir mates.

It was as if we were not understood. Hence this original post from Rocky.

You will see a on the Blackfoot site a saying, Dont Build a coummunity around a game.

BUILD A GAME AROUND A COMMUNITY

Well that is exactley what is happening, take a look see for yourself.

Yes COOP is too dificult for some Developers but not all.

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Can you list Blackfoot's previous AAA releases?

Any reviews of their prior games?

It's a new studio, colin, this stuff is always hit or miss. As much as I respect Jstonedecker, much more experienced developers working on much less ambitious games with much higher budgets have come out with poor results despite all of the best intentions. Ground branch looks promising, and I really hope it's good, but it's a good six-eight months early to say it's going to be good or bad.

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  • 1 month later...

Don't flame me, cuz it's late and I didn't want to read this whole thread, but for a loooong time now I've felt that game developers have taken a colossal step sideways.

I won't say backwards, because the games are still somewhat enjoyable... to a degree...

But they most definitely didn't take a step forward, or even stand on the shoulders of what [GR] was all about.

I vividly remember when GRAW was in dev.... all the talk, sniping, flaming, hoping and praying... and the general consensus was that all we really wanted was what we already had with more modern graphics.

Sure some new functionality like using vehicles, etc. would have been nice, but certainly not at the cost of losing the close-knit tactical team-based play we'd gotten used to (and admit it... completely hooked on).

So, here we are, 3 years later, and still playing [GR]... In a rational, logical universe, you'd think that it'd count for something... that somewhere a developer would think "Hey... maybe they really were serious... they really did want just what they had, only more up to date..."

But I guess I'm just a dreamer.

But if I ever get rich, I'm gonna start me a game company, and I'm gonna build what we all wanted (0r at least what I wanted, anyway).....

And if I'm wrong, then I'll be broke, but with one helluva game....

;O)

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