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First Person Shooters (Games)

The Crossing - A New Way to FPS? 184

Posted by Zonk
from the if-it-works dept.
1up has a look at Arkane Studios' extremely ambitious new project. Called The Crossing, the FPS title looks to combine single and multi-player modes in a new way. From the article: "In the simplest sense, story missions are single-player shooting with an exception: Naturally intelligent human opponents take the place of A.I. There are two types of players: Elites and skirmishers. Elites are gamers playing the game in story mode. They're beefed up, heavily armored, and heavily armed. They have to be able to hold their own against a swarm of skirmish players. Skirmishers are gamers who typically play on multiplayer maps: well-trained, rank-and-file soldiers playing primarily to have some quick fun and increase their rank through defeating the occasional Elite. Skirmish players can also invade story maps and 'possess' A.I.s ala Agent Smith in The Matrix." So even if you're playing through the story, you'll still be challenged by the 'NPCs', all of whom will be played by a real-life human. Sounds like it could either be awesome or a total flop. Which side are you leaning on?
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The Crossing - A New Way to FPS?

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  • by le0p (932717) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:44PM (#17712580)
    Mostly because if a player wanted to play against another player, they'd play online. Personally, the last thing I'd want is to be playing the story mode and have TeHUb4R1337GuY show up. Maybe it's just me...
    • by shadowcabbit (466253) * <cxNO@SPAMthefurryone.net> on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:50PM (#17712670) Journal
      I'll disagree here. How many masochists are going to jump at the chance to be in a "one vs. everyone else" setup? The role of the Elite will attract the attention and interest of those who feel they're the best of the best, and can back it up. Sure, people who have no business playing FPS games online (like, oh, I don't know, me) will try it, get frustrated, and give up; but to be honest, for those people who've ever played Counterstrike and thought "screw my teammates, I can plant the bomb/rescue the hostages all by myself", this will probably be their dream game.

      Anyway, didn't Splinter Cell do something similar, with a "one spy versus the rest of the counterterrorists" game mode?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kelbear (870538)
        The skill matching mechanism better be top notch. It will suffice to say that I am good at FPS games. I would have a blast as the Elite. But god save the poor bastard who has me spawn into their story-game. They will be tea-bagged to hell and back for hours. *Ahem* /could be/ I mean. I would never do something so crass, and I certainly wouldn't repeat such an action until the victim becomes fed up and quits the game forever in frustrated anger.

        But it is indeed a valid possibility that these developers may w
    • by Kelbear (870538)
      Also, hearing: "Oh YEAH baby! dese nuts in yo MAYYOOUUUTTHHH!!! UNF! UNF! UNF!" from the enemy ninja-assasins might break the atmosphere of a singleplayer storyline pretty quickly.
    • Flop! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Banner (17158)
      One of the reasons I don't play multiplayer PvP type games anymore is because I don't have the time to play continuously, only now and then. So I don't have the skills that 14 year olds who do nothing but play all day (and who have all the lastest exploits and robot hacks running), who do nothing but trash talk and rnu around blasting everything that moved.

      So to sum it up: I go there for enjoyment, not to listen to crap and get 'powned' by L33T uber hackers without a life. Probably the vast majority of FPS
  • by Remus Shepherd (32833) <remus@panix.com> on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:46PM (#17712608) Homepage
    Step 1: Allow PvP griefing in your game.
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit!

    Sounds like someone is trying to invent step 2, there. Like any other PvP, whether it works will depend on how well the game is balanced. One player -- who probably is not a die-hard PvPer -- against a swarm of PvP-savvy opponents? That sounds very difficult to balance correctly. Best of luck to the designers, they're gonna need it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo (153816)
      One player -- who probably is not a die-hard PvPer -- against a swarm of PvP-savvy opponents?

      But the experienced players are going to be playing the single player's gimpy opponents. Presumably they will be handicapped somehow according to difficulty.

    • by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:57PM (#17712802)
      I'd also have concerns about my son playing a game where live human opponents might jump in and interact with him. We were playing soccer in Garry's Mod and within minutes a griefer jumped on, stole the ball, and wouldn't let go of it. I explained to my son what a griefer was, turned off the server, and turned it on again with a password. Fortunately Sam couldn't read at the time, so he couldn't see the stream of obscenities showing up in the game.

      An entire game that involves folks like that is going to make me steer clear of it. I suspect other parents may feel the same. Kudos to the company for trying something different, though.
      • by Thorizdin (456032)
        The griefer specter regularly gets raised in these kinds of discussions, but my first question to you is more practical. Do you really let a child that's too young to read play FPS games? While there might be some that aren't rated Teen, I doubt the the under teenage market is really what the the developers are after. ;)
        • by glebfrank (58922)
          Are you also too young to read? The GP stated clearly the kid was playing soccer.
          • by Thorizdin (456032)
            As an example of why this kind of thing might be cause for concern in an FPS, which is what the entire discussion is about. Perhaps you might want to re-read the OP or perhaps try ginkoba, I hear it does wonders for those with wandering mental focus. ;)
        • I figured that playing soccer was a pretty tame thing for a seven year-old to do. Of course, soccer with profane jerks wasn't quite what I was hoping for.

          In general, though, Sam's pretty comfortable with FPS's in general. He doesn't get to play Doom 3 or similar games. He did play HL2, which I felt fine about.

          I don't think I'd like him playing multiplayer games with people outside our family, though. That's a bit outside my comfort level.
          • I figured that playing soccer was a pretty tame thing for a seven year-old to do. Of course, soccer with profane jerks wasn't quite what I was hoping for.
            He's seven and he still doesn't know how to read yet? Get him off the games and buy him some books!
        • Do you really let a child that's too young to read play FPS games?

          Some early first-person shooters were Atari's Battlezone [wikipedia.org] and BPS/Xanth's Faceball [blueplanetsoftware.com] (originally published as MIDI-Maze for Atari ST [wikipedia.org]). These were extremely abstract by modern standards and would probably be rated E if published today. The cartoonish Jumping Flash! [wikipedia.org] first-person platform shooters for PlayStation were also rated K-A (now called E).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by gumpish (682245)
        We were playing soccer in Garry's Mod and within minutes a griefer jumped on, stole the ball, and wouldn't let go of it. I explained to my son what a griefer was, turned off the server, and turned it on again with a password.
        That seems like a reality-altering lesson to learn - that there are people who derive enjoyment from inflicting suffering on others. Griefers are just one notch above serial killers. Sadism should be a punishable thoughtcrime.
      • I have a feeling that if your son can't read yet, he's not ready to play violent first person shooters. I could understand your concern if this was some sort of single player/multiplayer hybrid bumper cars game, where your son might get matched up against of bumper cars jackasses, but this is a gun-heavy FPS that's probably going to be rated M.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by flitty (981864)
      This idea is no different from the PVP quests in WOW (on a PVP server) rather than running in and killing a bunch of "stupid" creatures to capture a point, they leave it up to the other side to defend the point. Sometimes, it's rediculous (30 oppostion camping lower level areas), and sometimes there are no other players defending. I think that if this game is beta tested enough (make sure balance exists, safegaurds against griefing, etc.) it could be a great game. All depends on the publisher.
    • by drsquare (530038)
      One player -- who probably is not a die-hard PvPer -- against a swarm of PvP-savvy opponents?
      How else are you supposed to get better other than playing against tough opponents against the odds?
  • by sinij (911942) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:48PM (#17712646) Journal
    I see problem with this - skill gap between people that typically play single player FPS to enjoy storyline and people that play multiplayer competitively is so huge that no armor, health boosts or anything will help.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thraxen (455388)
      I think it's a safe assumption that the game will be playable offline as well. So I'd have to assume that most people who just want to play through the story will have that option. So you will likely have people purposely taking on the additional challenge of human controlled enemies in the story mode. Thus, it wouldn't surprise me to see a fair number of the skirmishers getting their asses handed to them because, due to opinions like yours, they thought they were going to have some easy prey to take dow
  • Ugh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:49PM (#17712658)
    I'm really looking forward to being spawn-camped in single player.
    • Re:Ugh (Score:5, Funny)

      by Canthros (5769) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:07PM (#17712944)
      Not to mention being repeatedly owned by a half-dozen Korean kids.
      • In any serious FPS, the +150ms actual live on-location Korean kids would have playing on a server in North America would come close to evening out the 'ub4rl33t' no-sleep-just-games advantage.

        Pre-teen Korean-American kids, that's where your real threat is. Of course, I've come to think that the 'net neutrality' debate will end up boiling down to "Gen-X gamers with enough money to buy low pings vs Gen-Y gamers with faster reflexes but no money = fair."

        Makes a lot more sense that way, until you start
  • Hmmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by kitsunewarlock (971818) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:49PM (#17712660) Journal
    I've always wondered about a pokemon game in which you played the "random trainer"... You must stand entirely still, hoping to hell that after 20-40 hours the hero comes around. If he does, without avoiding your watchful gaze, you get a single battle against him. Oh joy. Afterwards, he might be desprete enough to talk with you...maybe even register your phone number... But seriously, this is basically DnD inversed (1 player vs. 90 GMs). Sounds like Splinter-Cell Multiplayer...or objective counterstrike maps on servers that don't kick you for rescuing hostages/pslnting the bomb. Doesn't matter though. In the end it'll go down to "get the most kills".
  • Its been done before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by simm1701 (835424) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:50PM (#17712668)
    Everquest (the original) did an experiment for a while on their PvP servers - you could log in and become one of the low level NPCs randomly in any of the newbie dungeons.

    Its was great fun to do and added another dimension to the game - my only regret was that they didn't take it to higher levels!!
    • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:01PM (#17712858) Homepage
      Its was great fun to do and added another dimension to the game - my only regret was that they didn't take it to higher levels!!

      I imagine that part of the reason was that at higher levels the stakes are higher and thus you'd be more likely to get a friend to throw the match, making it easier. Or it was just a chapter from the Standard MMORPG Designers Manual, where you torture your players in part by designing really cool features that you never expand enough to be anything other than a minor sideshow.
    • The "Minions of Mirth" RPG (http://www.prairiegames.com/) did this too - I remember playing as a skeleton for a while.

      (Not sure why you'd call an RPG "Servants of Laughter", but WTF do I know?)
  • Can you say... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PieSquared (867490) <isosceles2006NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:51PM (#17712678)
    Can you say ambush? As in all the human "bad guys" find a place the "good guy" needs to go that also has lots of "bad" NPC, and all point their strongest weapons at the door...

    That's just one example of a very simple tactic the "bad guys" are sure to develop in time, even if they can't communicate. The first will probably be "herding" where they stick together, all the better to take down a better armed foe.

    Then there's those people who are so bad at FPS that they just won't be able to beat the game if having "real" opponents isn't just an option.

    You'll also have to find a "swarm" of people playing the bad side in this odd multiplayer for every "good" player.
    • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by somersault (912633) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:59PM (#17712840) Homepage Journal
      Just sounds like it'll make the game more realistic to me - why shouldn't the enemy stick together and guard strategic locations? This does sound like a cool concept, having 2 levels to play on in one game (serious / throwaway). You can kind of do that in some online games already (not that I play MMORPGs, though I have mudded a few times, and I like CS with the warcraft mod :p ), but this sounds like a fun experiment. Of course if the gameplay sucks balls then nobody is going to play, and it will be pretty difficult for newbies to play against experienced players (as with most games I guess), no matter which side the n00b is playing.
    • Re:Can you say... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PingSpike (947548) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:19PM (#17713134)
      I'm going to have to assume that the games levels will be designed so that there isn't only one entrance to a vital area...thats been a hallmark of good DM maps for years now, there's no reason to abandone it.

      And why shouldn't the players work together? They want to win and they have a common goal. Its makes a lot more sense then the standard moron AI most games have where they wait to fight you in order so that you don't get overwhelmed.
    • Ain't that good? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Wooky_linuxer (685371)
      People usually complain that NPC sucks, the AI isn't advanced enough... so if they set traps, why bother? A single person rushing into a storm of baddies isn't supposed to be easy. Of course, FPS aren't remotely realistic in that aspect - Gordon Freeman beating a crapload of aliens, Doom Marine disposing of hordes of demons, Masterchief, pick your poison. Even the dummiest and underarmored grunts would eventually overwhelm a lonely player. Jedi Knights would probably make an interesting fight though (Clone
      • by GeckoX (259575) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:58PM (#17713688)
        It'll suck because the fictional heroes aren't realistic.
        But if they based it on this particular fictional hero it'd rock!

        You're not making any sense man!
        • Or, another paraphrase (ala Kevin Smith): There is only one 'Return', and its 'of the Jedi', not 'of the King'!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Harlequin (11000)
      There are ways to mitigate the ambush factor. For example, confine opponents to certain areas (that are smaller than the levels). Allow all the NPCs in each area to congregate (I mean, that's a strategy they should employ). I think some sort of real time balance system would also be helpful. Maybe make the NPCs weaker the higher the percentage of real humans there are. Maybe balance the levels assuming all NPCs will be human controlled and add extra computer bots if there aren't enough humans playing.
      • by PingSpike (947548)
        I actually wanted to play the NPC, mainly because I always played a dedicated defenseman in CTF style games and enjoy working with a teammate. You can't take away the things that make being the NPC enjoyable and then expect that giving the client away for free will get them to play it. Just because a game is free, doesn't mean people are going to want to spend their time playing it when its not any fun.

        They just need to design the levels and balance properly. Make so that if all the characters huddle up in
    • Can you say ambush? As in all the human "bad guys" find a place the "good guy" needs to go that also has lots of "bad" NPC, and all point their strongest weapons at the door...

      How much PvP FPS'ing have you done? Because to me, that plan sounds a lot like, "Ok everybody, what we're going to do is all cluster together in one big clump at a bottleneck. That way, the other team won't have to worry about running low on 'nades, because they'll be able to pick us all off in one go, and they won't have to fear

      • I meant more like spread out over an entire room containing an objective or some such thing, and point your guns at the only entrance. For maximum effect make it the gun with the most powerful single shot. Player enters, dies before he can move.

        Anyway, on further thought I really don't think that there will be enough "bad guy" player characters for it to matter. Still, the differences in skills could become terribly unfair for people just picking up the game if this wasn't just a sort of novelty endgame
  • Duel-Coop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IMarvinTPA (104941) <IMarvinTPA @ I M a r v i n T P A.com> on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:51PM (#17712694) Homepage Journal
    I tried making a mod for Quake that did something like this. I called it Duel-Coop. I'm not sure where my page on it has gotten off to, but I have a broken link on my homepage for it.

  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:51PM (#17712698) Homepage Journal
    My version would be set in a zombie universe ala dead rising or such, but with a mmorpg feel. Single players would start out as normal players aaginst AI controlled zombies, but if they died they could choose to become one of the undead, with infinite respawns (random area respawns).

    The goal would be try to live long enough to escape to a shelter or remote island.

    Ever game would be an instance which would reset if goals are accomplished (everyone zombified, or people escape, etc..) that's the basics but the more I think about it the more possibilities for fun gameplay have seemed apparent..
    • by Lehk228 (705449)
      not entirely the same, but http://www.urbandead.com/ [urbandead.com] allows you to play as a zombie or human, zombies just spend action points to get up, while humans turn into zombies and have to be revivified with a syringe by another human player.

      dedicated zombie players can get the ability "brain rot" to eliminate the chance of being revivified against their will except in certain buildings when a generator is running.
    • The exact game you are looking for exsists as a mod for halflife 2. The maps are prefixed with ZM_ for zombie mod. One person starts off as the zombie and has to knife other people, who then become zombies. The goal is to get to a high unknifeable place and defend it till the time runs out or all the zombies are dead. Alot of the maps are crap, but Ive almost jumped out of my chair a few times when you turn around and theirs a zombie thats been silently following you for who knows how long.

  • Depends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogie (31020) on Monday January 22, 2007 @01:52PM (#17712714) Journal
    Depends if your idea of fun is to have NPC players replaced with 12yr olds that would like nothing better then to ruin your single player game. IF you can can ensure that the NPC players are of a certain quality level and stay in character then yes it could be cool. Pay the NPC players a fair wage and have players rate them and maybe you'd have something.

    I do see that some of this is addressed in the article but overall it appears you'd have to be very rigid in making sure your NPC player strictly follow a story line as opposed to just hoping on and treating this like UT, BF, or any other PvP online game.
    • by JFMulder (59706)
      Given there's already agamer rating system on Xbox Live, this would seem like the perfect solution to your problem.
  • If there are other players, whether controlling what are typically NPC mobs or not, that's multiplayer.

    Asymetric multiplayer has been done before, AvP for example, and can be very fun though it is also very hard to work right. It's really not that different than Assault modes in UT, except the two sides are playing drastically different characters. In general, the idea of having one group of "players" who are trying to accomplish a mission, and another group of "monsters" with help from NPCs trying to sto
    • Does anybody remember the old NES Civil War-themed game North vs. South? It had a bunch of mini-games, one of which was essentially a basic side-scroller with one player trying to run to the end of the level (a fort, I think) controlling your usual videogame character: can take quite a few hits more than the common bad-guy, has longer-range attack, etc.), while the other player had a twenty weak (one-hit and you die) characters who he could throw at his opponent one at a time (essentially having twenty res
  • The flip side (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sefert (723060) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:03PM (#17712886)
    I play a ton of single player FPS - but after I whip it on hard, then I drop the game. Mostly, I stick to the multiplayer. However, I would probably quite enjoy doing the FPS thing as the hero against a ton of other people - my big worry is that it would be the 12 year old's playing the weak nerfed out opposition. I chew through them with all things being equal now - I can't imagine how easy it would be if they were nerfed. This is a cool concept - but I honestly don't think they'll get the balance right. Too hard to acheive. This is a game where if the hero is exceptionally good or except crappy, it's gonna suck. What if all the opposition are competent guys who want to have a good game, but the hero is some 12 year old that just turns in circles, stuck in the next room cause he can't figure out the controls? It'll feel pretty weak pretty quickly.
    • by jandrese (485)
      Everybody is worried that the opposition is going to be filled with elite PvP players just looking to gank n00bs, but I suspect the opposite will happen a lot. There will be plenty of players with no idea what they're going playing the grunts and you'll see the grunts shooting their buddies and falling off of cliffs a lot.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)
      It would require some sort of real-time metric of the pleyers' quality; if the hero is being butchered, throw in the lesser human enemies and vice versa. It may be hard to get the metrics just right, but it should be possible to get it sufficiently balanced to be enjoyable.
  • by nahdude812 (88157) * on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:12PM (#17713024) Homepage
    EQ tried this briefly on their test server maybe 5 years ago. On the character selection screen you were given a "Monster" option. It didn't work, and they took the option off there.

    It's got several problems. None of them are insurmountable, but I would be surprised if any game company could successfully overcome all of them without several significant attempts.

    1) Players will not fill the role they were designed for. Or more accurately they will deliberately choose to disengage from their intended role since that's tedious. You'll end up with all the monsters from a given level grouping up together for a single assault, or camping and taking pot shots. In EQ they had monsters from the level 10 area wander down to the level 1 area and grief the level 1's until someone bigger came along and wiped them out (only to start the cycle again 10 minutes later). You can design a game which prevents the monster from straying too far from their intended purpose, but then how fun is that?

    2) Monster balance and player balance are very different things. Monsters are buffed in certain ways to make up for their lack of real AI. These same buffs are unbalanced when those abilities can be used intelligently. These different levels of buffing will make it challenging to make player controlled monsters balanced for all players. Also as a monster your intended role ultimately is to be defeated by the player. Why do you want to go into a situation you know is likely to defeat you as your primary purpose?

    3) What do you do as a monster until the player arrives? Maybe you're switching around a lot between monsters so you are always near the player, but what if the player skips you (or you don't find the player)?

    4) Especially in games that are approached as single player games, you really need to have a nice challenge gradient. It needs to be doable and the player needs to succeed more than they fail, but not have success be overly easy. Otherwise the player will get bored or frustrated.

    5) If you successfully overcome all of these obstacles, how are you really any different from any other pvp game that has classes? Zomg my rogue can take out a priest before they even knew what hit them, or my hunter can two-shot a mage. What is the real distinction here other than one player vs many (and how do you make the many aspect interesting enough that it's not just a standard pve game all around, and how do you keep it from being so interesting that noone wants to be the single player?)

    The only thing that's different about this from MMO PVP is that one side is the good guy (maybe) and the other side is evil (maybe).
    • by LoudMusic (199347) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:31PM (#17713296)

      Or more accurately they will deliberately choose to disengage from their intended role since that's tedious. You'll end up with all the monsters from a given level grouping up together for a single assault, or camping and taking pot shots.
      Sounds like improvement to me, and exactly what they're looking for. They want the traditional AI characters to be more realistic, do things out of the ordinary.

      The best AI I've played against (the list is short) were the levels in Half-Life where the Marines in the warehouses. They would alert each other and lock down the target, hailing the player with grenades and machine gun fire. If the same units were human controlled and locked into only playing that one particular room, or building, while main character players were streaming through there one after another, it could be lots of fun. The game for the marine players would be to see how many main characters you can kill off. It'd be like goal tending in soccer.

    • by bill_kress (99356)
      Sorry, but your post didn't sound very imaginative--more likely is that EQ's attempt wasn't very imaginative. They probably just stuck players in the parts of existing monsters which, as you pointed out, won't work (Especially in a RPG like EQ--a FPS would be a better target)

      You would, of course, have to restrict monsters to a certain area, and you'd have to remove the AI "Buffs".

      You'd have to change the rules quite a bit for monsters...

      Perhaps you could only move to a harder area by defeating a set number
    • re; your #1, auto-nerf the monster player. Constantly monitor the former NPC role abilities and powers based on location.

      If they wander down to the level one area/levels, reduce the monster level to level 3, if there are 40 of them within a certain space (on-screen together) , make them level one or even negative levels of ability.... or make them cross-attackable if they are too densely in an area..

      If the monsters abilities are tied to the region, the motivation to go grief a bunch of beginners fails.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Artaxs (1002024)
      You can already play an overmatched pitched FPS battle in America's Army. One of the Special Forces maps -- "Assault". Side A has 24 players armed with only a smoke grenade and an M4 with no scope, while side B is just 6 players, but they are given AR-249 "saw" machineguns and 6 boxes of ammo. Side A has to parachute into the battlefield, and side B gets a bunker to hide out in. Of course, AA is a more "realistic" FPS game where one shot to the noggin or two/three bullets anywhere kills you (or you can
      • Actually, I saw a special on this (on either MoJo or INHD) about a month ago. Enlists are encouraged to play the game, quite a bit. The idea is to have current enlists interacting with the general population, promoting the benefits of Army life [don't read politics into that statement, I am representing the Army's desires...]. According to the show, it has been quite effective for them.
      • by PyroMosh (287149)
        That depends on your definition of "effective".

        I'd say that if it's a tool just to "trick" (for lack of a better term) people into thinking Army life is better / more glamorous / less risky than it realy is, then no, it's not a very good recruiting tool at all.

        However if the game is as delibritly realistic as it is so that potential recruits are given a more realistic view of the risks, etc - therefore generating more recruits with a more realistic expectation going into the recruiter, then I'd say it's a
    • by greysky (136732)
      Players will not fill the role they were designed for

      If you were to put together a ranking system or some long-term reward for people that play NPC characters and give them specific tasks to perform, then I would imagine that it could increase the chance people would stick to those tasks.

      Bleed Orange - ride KTM [ktmcyclesport.com].
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      You can design a game which prevents the monster from straying too far from their intended purpose, but then how fun is that?

      It's plenty fun if their natural enemies come after them when they stray. You CAN do this sort of thing in-character. Besides, you think that dragon the wizard set to guard his treasure stays there because it's a party atmosphere? (I'm speaking in fantasy-genre generalities here, I don't pay-monthly-to-play anything.)

      Monster balance and player balance are very different things. Mons

  • This seems similar to the ractives in "The Diamond Age", where actors would bid for contracts with publishers to appear as the NPCs in other people's stories.

    The bit that's missing is the bit about being paid to be an NPC.
  • I think it's an interesting idea, of course it's really just making a multiplayer RPG with different goals. You could easily have multiple different possibly conflicting missions.

    I can easily see Rainbow6/SWAT living in a Simcity world. It could be like the real world only different, maybe some sort of Second Life or something.
  • This sounds like one of those great on paper ideas. How much bandwidth is this going to require of the person playing story mode? This is essentially going to require them to be a listen server so that's something that raises a red flag immediately in my mind. No one is going to want to drop in on someone's game which is being played on a standard DSL or Cable line and have 5 other people playing as well.

    The idea sounds good to some degree. It sounds like they're trying to implement something like a DM
  • by Squiggle (8721) on Monday January 22, 2007 @02:27PM (#17713240)
    I've been waiting for a game to do this for ages. In theory it makes great sense, players enjoy different aspects of a game but usually have identical game experiences. For example, some players enjoy having every advantage over their opponents (and become known as "griefers" who prey upon those that are unlikely to beat them). It seems better to create a game mechanic that turns that style of play into something enjoyable for both sides rather than artificial rules that prevent player interaction.

    I just wonder how many players will be interested being an expendable minion. The article/company claims that the PKs will be drawn to this role, but the griefer PKs will likely prefer the "elite" role that is closer to a PvE experience (griefing has always been closer to a PvE experience, but with realistic suffering/domination). The real PvP people usually prefer "fair" fights which might not make them that interested in fights against "elites". I suppose it depends on how it is balanced. If the fight is fair, but just asymmetric so that one side has few troops with great power and the other has many troops with little power, most PvPers shouldn't have an issue with that. I suspect though that the "elite" experience is supposed to be more like a PvE experience, i.e. you almost always win. In that case the minions can only strive for stats: to be the best of the chumps which may have limited appeal.

    Regardless of the success of the mechanic, it is a great experiment. I can't wait to play.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kelbear (870538)
      You may or may not(probably not) have heard of Natural Selection. A HL1 mod. This pitted teams of Marines against teams of Aliens. The marines begin with rifles, while Aliens begin with teeth and the ability to walk on walls and ceilings. When playing in the RTS/FPS hybrid mode where a commander builds a base and commands players like units in an RTS, the players received all upgrades, armor, ammo, and weaponry from the commander, or would otherwise begin equipped with just the basic equipment. Aliens have
      • And who gets the credit? The one who killed the marine. That's not very satisfying for the other 7 or so aliens who helped you bring the super-powered marine down.

        I think Pokémon, a role-playing game for Game Boy published by Nintendo, solved that issue rawther well: each of your own gamecocks [wikipedia.org] who has attacked the opponent creature receives a share of the experience when the opponent faints.

        • by Kelbear (870538)
          ...I'm afraid to click that link. Even if it is Wikipedia. My cursor just doesn't want to go near it.

          That is the solution that was eventually introduced into Natural Selection. All aliens in the area are awarded a share of experience(Often a teammate acted as bait as an important contribution to the kill, but that doesn't always involve damage.) however, the kill count problem persisted though the experience side was alleviated somewhat.

          However, the experience was divided between players. So what if a leech
    • I just wonder how many players will be interested being an expendable minion. The article/company claims that the PKs will be drawn to this role, but the griefer PKs will likely prefer the "elite" role that is closer to a PvE experience (griefing has always been closer to a PvE experience, but with realistic suffering/domination).

      I don't think you quite understand the mentality of your average griefer. It's not that they like having more power, or enjoy beating up on people. Rather, they get joy out of caus

      • by tepples (727027)

        Well, a couple things the griefer would do to spoil that: run around constantly to avoid being killed, camp in weird locations, exploit bad map geometry (etc), or better yet, get a bunch of griefer friends together and find a way to constantly kill the Elite, so that they can't get to the next part of the campaign.

        I've had AI opponents dodge, camp, and team up on me when playing as the hero in various single-player games. What's the issue here?

        • by jchenx (267053)

          I've had AI opponents dodge, camp, and team up on me when playing as the hero in various single-player games. What's the issue here?

          Normally, you can adjust the difficulty level if you're having a hard time in a shooter. AI being too cheap? Or you're just not that good? Simple enough, tweak the settings down, and you should be able to get by.

          I can't really see that working in this system. Sure, it will try to quick-match your rating, pitting you against people that it thinks are at your skill level. But tha

          • by tepples (727027)

            For example, let's say that as the Elite, you're supposed to kill every last mercenary. So, as an asshole thing to do, I can just backtrack the entire level and make it very difficult for you to even find me, let alone kill me. That's not what an AI will do.

            Yes it does. Yoshi, a block-stacking game for NES and Game Boy [wikipedia.org], has a "B-type" mode where the player is supposed to remove all blocks from the field. The random piece generator likes to asshole me by repeatedly not giving me the exact set of blocks I need to finish the level. In fact it is a roughly 1 out of 36 chance that the next pair of blocks is going to be appropriate.

            Yeah, the designers can get around this by not having those type of objectives, but you can see where there's a challenge in designing objectives around NOT being griefable.

            It's called play testing.

            • by jchenx (267053)

              Yes it does. Yoshi, a block-stacking game for NES and Game Boy, has a "B-type" mode where the player is supposed to remove all blocks from the field. The random piece generator likes to asshole me by repeatedly not giving me the exact set of blocks I need to finish the level. In fact it is a roughly 1 out of 36 chance that the next pair of blocks is going to be appropriate.

              So, the conversation is about an FPS game and how the AI typically reacts in them, and now you throw in a puzzle game example?

              There are

  • Perfect Dark... year : 2000.

    • by steveo777 (183629)
      That's exactly what I was thinking. We played that game a lot. Eventually I got so good at it that my roommates would no long play with me. So we started doing multiplayer vs. main. This mode was a lot of fun because we could put it on any difficulty and my roommates wouldn't get so angry when they could kill me quicker and join up against me. They got lots of respawns, I got none.
  • by Samurai Cat! (15315) on Monday January 22, 2007 @03:28PM (#17714080) Homepage
    ...back when I was tinkering with an MMOG design (yeah, like half the world out there, I know).

    The idea was, whenever a player reached a certain repeatable milestone - X hours played or whatever - they would get a chance to "jump into" a boss-level mob out in the world somewhere. So when a party of players encountered that boss mob, it would be another player controlling it and not just an AI. The critter-playing player wouldn't be given any indications as to who the players were - depending on the intelligence level of the mob in question, the critter player would just see X number of pieces of meat walking around, or perhaps basic shapes (say a mob can pick out a magic using enemy vs. a melee-oriented enemy), that sort of thing, to help prevent griefing of certain other players.

    The critter-playing mob would have a certain amount of time they could control boss mobs - say a few hours, total - and could use their time as they saw fit, piecemeal or all at once. I figure I would have also built in some sort of alert system - i.e. when a player had some critter time available, they could turn these alerts on - so that when normal players were getting close to a boss mob encounter, alerts would go out to the players with critter time letting them know, so if one wanted to hop in, it wouldn't be too much of a wait until the party arrived and the fun began, and they would get the most out of their critter time.
  • You have the option to play any game of your singe-player "franchise" schedule against a real player. He will simply assume the exact team/roster you are playing that week.

    Not many people did it, but it worked fairly well since online Madden is almost always 1 on 1. I don't see a decent number of people volunteering to take the place of NPC's.

  • I would call this innovative, but ultimately isn't this what Counter-Strike started in a sense?

    There is an actual mission where you play against fellow players? This seems to be a larger extension of what Counter-Strike already does. While not wholly innovative, I think this is a very good idea. Too bad my FPS skills are so weak. I enjoy a FPS with good ambiance and story, but I'm a poor FPS player since I rarely play them.
  • RTS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MindStalker (22827) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <reklatsdnim>> on Monday January 22, 2007 @04:21PM (#17714762) Journal
    I think this would be a lot better if the simple players were controlled from just a few humans view overhead map controls like an RTS. Let the AI take care of the small details and let a human take care of the strategy. Would be a lot better than the CONSTANTLY dying that would occur in FPS mode.
  • The only reason I can see someone who usually plays a lot of multiplayer games (e.g. CS or variants, FEAR Combat, etc.) wanting to be a Skirmisher is, basically, because these people are obsessed with "skill." Skill usually involves taking the most numerically powerful/useful/"best" weapon in the game and perfecting aiming with it to the point of stupidity (e.g. the AK-47 in CS or the RL in Quake). These folks, if they end up filling the Skirmisher role, will probably find the "best" Skirmisher weapon and d
  • ...are two examples of where something like this was implemented. In AvP, there was a multiplayer mode where the human or the predator had to fight off a bunch of aliens. The aliens died easy, but they re-spawned continuously and could jump onto / off of the walls and stuff. Each class had different vision modes which influenced how you played as well. Good times.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aliens_versus_Predato r_(computer_game)#Screenshots [wikipedia.org]

    Tribes2 also had the idea of radically different armor classes
  • More fun would be if the "Elite" players were playing FPS and the players playing the "enemy" had some freedom to see what's going on and could maneuver the NPCs. I thought of this when I fist started playing RTS games and FPS games. (Wolfenstien 3D and Command HQ, still one of the most fun RTS games, no building mobs and rushing.)
  • I have read a Russian cult novel a few years back, that at it's core, had a full virtual-reality game, and in the sequel, the game was upgraded to have humans playing the monsters as well, except they made the entire game team-based. The novels were written by Sergei Lukjanenko.
  • it could be a nice diversion...but it would be extremely difficult. On the other hand, one that wins in such a game could be extremely proud.

    The maps would have to be made in such a way that the player can not easily be trapped though. Think about pacman: what would have happened if ghosts were controlled by humans? not many players would get past the first screen...

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