Making multiplayer work

Posted by Toumaz on February 25, 2009
Development

Fluffy thingsAt first, implementing a multiplayer system beyond the network code itself seemed a rather trivial task – I had been given a game concept already proved to work quite well. But the further this project progressed, the more complex did the actual implementation of multiplayer turn out to be, and I’d like to mention a few of the difficulties that I faced (and still am facing) related to this.

Excessive co-operation

Imagining a bunch of players standing at the far end of the ice, each covering a portion of the screen in minigun fire, made me rather aware of this relatively big problem at an early point, and sadly I haven’t been able to test this very extensively as of yet. The current plan is to allow a maximum of four active players at once, so as to not crowd the icy field too much.

Difficulty scaling

In the original game, the difficulty in co-op mode was ramped up by increasing the rate at which seals appeared. This is currently the same method I am using as well, but finding the exact formulae for this is not an easy task, and would also require thorough testing. The problem with having many enemies is that splash weapons such as the M79 or the grenades may easily become overpowered and possibly greatly impede the money income of a merry grenadier’s companions. Since the actual field of play in Seal Hunter is bigger than that in the original, modifying the height of the field dynamically based on the number of players is also an idea that I’ve been meaning to look into – for example, keep the field the original size with 1-2 players but increasing it to its maximum as the player count increases further.

Round structure

Before a round can start, all players ingame must signal that they are ready, and only then will the actual game start. But what happens if a player joins while a round is still in progress? What happens if a player leaves? The current solutions to those issues are to force a joining player to spectate until the round is over, and if a player leaves mid-game the enemy spawn timers will dynamically adjust to suit the number of players still there. And any money the leaver earned, or any weapons that he bought, will be lost forever. I’m not entirely happy with this second solution, but it’s simple. Again, further testing will prove just how good this concept might be.

If any readers would have any alternative ideas to the problems listed above, feel free to give me your input below. Thanks!

20 Comments to Making multiplayer work

Smitaah
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

You could always try to make the leavers money shared along the players still in the game!

Can´t wait for beta!! awsome!

Tomas Olander
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The problem with the approach of money being shared is that if the player had been ‘farming’ for a rather pricey weapon, the two others will suddenly end up with a fair number of thousand dollars each, which might in the end make things too easy. This would be especially fatal in matches where there only are two players; one player could rather easily buy, say the Minigun, way too early for it to prove the earlier levels any major challenge.

Smitaah
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

yes, If the money is shared the difficult can´t decrease. They have to be 1 player with the difficult of 2 and so on.

rashban
Thursday, February 26, 2009

Well, this could just as well be said in #sealhunter but whatever :)

The original does increase the game area (y-size, that is) in 2-player mode compared to single player. Also, there are certain subtle differences to weapons (the direct hits of the grenade launcher does more damage to polar bears in single player, for example).

In the original, single player spawns 55% as many enemies as 2 player, and bosses are generally 50-66% as difficult (depending on which boss), the logic behind that being that in 2 player you have to coordinate with another person and therefore single player equal to 50% of 2player would be too easy.

In retrospect, it is pretty obvious that seal hunter is much easier in 2 player than single player, not least because you can do “assymetric” build orders, i.e. let one player get more kills than the other to be able to get better weapons earlier than possible in single player (for example, the grandfather’s shotgun can be bought before the polar bears in 1 player if you go grenades -> shotgun and have near-enough perfect grenade accuracy, but in 2 player it is quite easy for one player to have minigun at that point with proper teamplay.

My main point is that most likely you will need to ramp up other aspects than enemy spawn rate, and that each mode will probably need lots of testing :)

Аркус
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Побыстрей бы она вышла ждать уже нет сил.Вы не смотрите что я русский в России в эту игру тоже играют))))))

Tomas Olander
Saturday, February 28, 2009

For the record, please try to keep all comments in English.

Аркус
Saturday, February 28, 2009

sorry

Anton Pro sweden Sealhunter
Saturday, February 28, 2009

GO SWEDEN!

Anton Pro sweden Sealhunter
Saturday, February 28, 2009

This game will be played online now?

Tomas Olander
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yes, the only form of multiplayer that will be supported is over the Internet or via a LAN.

Anton Pro sweden Sealhunter
Saturday, February 28, 2009

Okay that it what i wanted to hear thanks!
I Thought to that the site is a “.se” Site that means you are swe to?

Jonathan klz Seals USA
Monday, March 2, 2009

I’m not too great at creating games and I don’t have the best computer skills. However, my brothers and i have been dominating Seal Hunter over here in the States. We are excited to hear about the new beta version. Also we have got about 100 people hooked on the game…from kids on our basketball team to college graduates!

Keep on truckin’ and best of luck! We look forward to multiplayer and hopefully T-shirts soon! The online version will bring me and my friends together around the world!

An1x
Monday, March 2, 2009

please create russian version

sebastian
Monday, March 2, 2009

ohh great !! i can’t wait, when do you fing the beta version is done. ?

Karlit0
Monday, March 2, 2009

well, very good game, i realy like it!! and i want to say thanks to all developers. when multiplayer will be done?

Соглашусь с An1x, сделайте в игре русский язык, в россии эта игра очень популярная :)

Please make possibility of a choice of language in game, and it is desirable that there was a Russian..

Thanks for game dudes !!
Karlit0 from Ukraine,Crimea,Kerch.

Carl Arvhult
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Haha sweet!

Fett skoj!

Carl Arvhult
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oh sorry didnt see the “english comments” comment until now.
:D

sebastian
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

it will be great if you make a mobil version of the game, so big fans like me, will be abel to play all time.

Vukiz
Saturday, November 28, 2009

поскорей бы уже …

ben
Thursday, March 14, 2013

SUP GUYS? :) i love this game but is it some chance that i can play it online with my friends?

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