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Multiplayer In Mod Making...But Why?
August 26th 2002, 14:48 CEST by Mank

The input from the Mod teams who attended covered everything from CounterStrike, to how multiplayer has been driven to the point of saturation where CTF and Fortress style clones are concerned. Especially when considering that most FPS games ship with some kind of basic CTF or Teamplay variant included as a gametype. So Mod teams maintain the same old approach of doing a rehash of an existing mod on a newer engine/game. Granted, newer engines may offer some things that couldnt be done on a previous engine, but this seems to perpetuate exactly what everyone seems to be complaining about.

It's no secret that any Mod team would love to have the next "CounterStrike", but I feel that the recent push towards realism(in multiplayer), has taken the focus away from being creative where new ideas are concerned, causing gamers to be stuck with "more of the same".

Now we have a game like Doom3 looming on the horizon which is indicating a somewhat limited approach to how the multiplayer experience will be handled, and the feedback offered at this years roundtable was less than enthusiastic based on this information. I fully realize that a single player TC or Mod requires a lot more effort in the area of design/content creation where a game like Doom3 will be concerned, but with the developement times of multiplayer Mods approaching those of full blown retail titles, why can't the focus of the Mod community as a whole(or even in part) be shifted towards generating high quality Single player missions or TC's? Sure, multiplayer Mods help build communities and prestige for thier respective creators, but couldn't a well designed Single Player mission or TC do the same exact same thing? One would think that developers would also like to see Mod teams get involved with making Single Player missions or TC's as a means of keeping thier games on the shelves longer, but it seems that the majority of the exposure is still given to the multiplayer variants instead of anything new and promising where fresh ideas are concerned.

Are we at a point where muliplayer could take a back seat to the Single Player experience? And how much effort from the Mod community would it take to see a possible shift like this occur? If it is at all possible. Is the time right for such a shift? Personally, I think it's long overdue.
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Home » Topic: Multiplayer In Mod Making...But Why?

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#1 by Cliff
2002-08-26 14:55:57
cps46@rcn.com
It's no secret that any Mod team would love to have the next "CounterStrike", but I feel that the recent push towards realism(in multiplayer), has taken the focus away from being creative where new ideas are concerned, causing gamers to be stuck with "more of the same".

Wait, are you saying the repetitious, unoriginal aping of successes is some sort of natural human behaviour?  I thought it was a conspiracy of TEH EVIL OVERLORD PUBLISHERS.

developement
thier
same exact same thing

sigh...

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#2 by Cliff
2002-08-26 14:57:41
cps46@rcn.com
And frost pits, losars!

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#3 by zimbardo_ugly
2002-08-26 14:58:18
zimbardo_ugly@hotmail.com
1. No, we are not.
2. No "mod community" has so far proven itself capable of producing a steady stream of professional quality single-player experiences. Single-player games produce ugly fansites with empty forums, which die even before the game was reviewed on gamespot.
3. Competition built around simple rules and competent graphics is easy to make and always fun to play. Single-player games are short-lived even when they are brilliant (like "Commandos 2" is), compared to multi-player games. No single-player game out there has a community for long. And, of course, single-player is infinitely more warezable than cd-key protected multi-player. I personally feel multiplayer is here to stay.

.i lu doi ringos.star. xu do puku'aroroi dunli dopecaku leni virnu li'u
.i lu go'i co'i le pamoi se morji be mi li'u
#4 by Desiato
2002-08-26 14:59:37
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
Or, you could release something interesting like Tenebrae Quake and have it ridiculed in the IRC channel.

But hopefully others would see the promise in it.

"When you have a job like me, you'll miss every summer" - H.S.
#5 by Leslie Nassar
2002-08-26 15:22:25
http://departmentofinternets.com
Was it ridiculed?  I think we pretty much agreed that it was a really good start and the first non-trivial thing to come from the Quake code release.  That was my thought at any rate and I'm pretty sure the whole world revolves around me and my opinions.

My name is Will Ferrell... and I'm a porn actor.
#6 by Matt Davis
2002-08-26 16:05:39
http://looroll.com
Only on alternate weekends.

Are pants comfy? because I think mine are broken.
#7 by Charles
2002-08-26 16:46:38
www.bluh.org
And don't forget that single player mods take forever to make... I'm still waiting on Red Sun 2020, which is supposed to be a Deus Ex single player mod.  I've been waiting over two years now.

"'Halo 2' is a lot like 'Halo', only it's 'Halo' on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas," explained Jason Jones, the head of Bungie Studios, "and the ninjas are all on fire, too."
#8 by Caryn
2002-08-26 16:58:36
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
zimbardo_ugly:

2. No "mod community" has so far proven itself capable of producing a steady stream of professional quality single-player experiences. Single-player games produce ugly fansites with empty forums, which die even before the game was reviewed on gamespot.
3. Competition built around simple rules and competent graphics is easy to make and always fun to play. Single-player games are short-lived even when they are brilliant (like "Commandos 2" is), compared to multi-player games. No single-player game out there has a community for long. And, of course, single-player is infinitely more warezable than cd-key protected multi-player. I personally feel multiplayer is here to stay.


IMO, not quite true. The Thief series produced a really, really strong community focused around building new single player missions for downloads. You should see the repositories on the fan sites. Sure, they might not be professional quality, but given that the single player missions are still in demand to this day for that game (I've seen the stats on the downloads), it says that there are fans of the single player experience out there, and there are people making some pretty good single player experiences.

Even the Quake series had a dedicated following of people who made them and people who downloaded them. Even today, people are still making single player levels for Quake 1 and 2.

Again, they might not be on the same level as professionally-made single player games, but at this point the mod community has come a long way in experience. There are teams with incredible talent that's been honed by cutting their teeth for years on the various id engines. By now, I think we could possibly see some terrific single player stuff come out.

There's no reason why a single player game can't have the life of a multiplayer one. I LOVE playing new single player levels, especially if someone packages up a bunch in a clever way that constitutes a brand new mission. Why would a community producing an interesting stream of these kinds of things, essentially fan-made mission packs, not work? THIS is what I'm hoping to see with DOOM (and actually I'm hoping to get in on producing something like this myself).

WWBTD?
#9 by UncleJeet
2002-08-26 17:05:13
What if we had a single player game where you could export your character to a multiplayer component and have him or her battle it out in a life and death GIGAPET STRUGGLE FOR WORLD DOMINATION!

  Yeah, that'd rule.

Face the one you fear, living through Another Year....

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#10 by Cliff
2002-08-26 17:09:48
cps46@rcn.com
Caryn

(and actually I'm hoping to get in on producing something like this myself)

The rest of your post is what we here at Instant Psychological Judgment like to call rationalization.

I'll wait and see on the new Doom, but IMO Thief provides an environment and userbase better suited to this.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#11 by Caryn
2002-08-26 17:14:02
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Cliff:

The rest of your post is what we here at Instant Psychological Judgment like to call rationalization.


Heh, I think it's far more likely that a single player mission community will grow up around DOOM and I'll end up not doing anything in it myself due to lack of time, etc.

I'll wait and see on the new Doom, but IMO Thief provides an environment and userbase better suited to this.


Hmm...why? I'm curious to know why you already think Thief provided a more suitable environment for it.

WWBTD?
#12 by Charles
2002-08-26 17:15:13
www.bluh.org
There were a few Half Life single player mods, but I didn't feel that any of them actually came close to the quality of the original game.

"'Halo 2' is a lot like 'Halo', only it's 'Halo' on fire, going 130 miles per hour through a hospital zone, being chased by helicopters and ninjas," explained Jason Jones, the head of Bungie Studios, "and the ninjas are all on fire, too."
#13 by Max
2002-08-26 17:17:36
http://massivebraincase.org/
I agree that there's been some quality stuff around, and with each passing iteration of Quake engines there are people who get better at it who aren't employed anywhere.  However, it's much harder to create an SP level that's coherent and engaging (at least I would imagine, not having actually done so; I've just read about such things on the intarweb). Also, I think there haven't been as many reasonably good SP mods because there doesn't tend to be as much notoriety attached to them over MP mods among the faithful... an MP mod tends to be talked about by more people so that's what all the bois want to be involved in.

Shhh. Listen. We're going to play a little game, it's called Sim Get Me Some Fucking Coffee, fucker. Fuck you! Fuck, it's early.
#14 by Matt Davis
2002-08-26 17:21:59
http://looroll.com
The 'They Hunger' series was kinda fun, but I did think that the USS darkstar single player mod was excellent and helped me through an christmas with the family.

Are pants comfy? because I think mine are broken.
#15 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-26 17:22:30
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
I remember people making single player maps and such for Quake1 and Quake2.  I did a few myself.  At that time, I sort of frowned on people making DM maps ... it just seemed like a cheap way to inflate your portfolio with a lot of easy to make content.  Since Quake3 and UT, I've changed my position on that though ...

But yeah, there IS an audience for single player content.  I made a DM map and a single player map for Doom2 ... I've never received a single piece of email about the DM map, but I still get the occasional email about the SP WAD.

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#16 by Gabe
2002-08-26 17:22:35
http://www.dartpublishing.com
Desiato seems to be confusing ridicule and critique.
#17 by Caryn
2002-08-26 17:23:23
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Max:

However, it's much harder to create an SP level that's coherent and engaging (at least I would imagine, not having actually done so; I've just read about such things on the intarweb).


So why do you think this is? This is an interesting subject in itself: is it harder to create a good single player experience than a multiplayer experience when it comes to modding a game? Why is it harder to create a coherent and engaging experience with SP levels? I haven't made any SP levels myself, so I can't really agree or disagree with your statement. Maybe the resident devs have some insight into this.

WWBTD?
#18 by Caryn
2002-08-26 17:25:29
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Nova Z:

There were a few Half Life single player mods, but I didn't feel that any of them actually came close to the quality of the original game.


Well, of course not. :) They had quite a game to live up to, AND the community at that time had a lot less experience modding.

WWBTD?
#19 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-26 17:27:08
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Caryn

The simple answer is : AI.  To make a single player level/mod engaging takes a lot more work because it's entirely on your head.  You don't get the interaction with human opponents, and that's where most of the fun of multiplayer lies.  AI can be fun, but it takes a lot of work and attention to detail.  A multiplayer level/mod is more about getting people together and letting the wacky happen.

Plus, in a single player level/mod people are going to be moving slower and paying a lot more attention to the environment and "the little things".  Making single player levels is a more meticulous process than multiplayer levels.

Hell, you could forget to align a single texture, say, on the back of a crate and every reviewer on the internet will see it and make mention of it in the review.  Not that this has ever happened to me ...

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
#20 by Max
2002-08-26 17:29:11
http://massivebraincase.org/
Actually thinking about it this time instead of the PNOOMA method by which my original statement was formed, I believe it's quite a bit harder to make good SP content.  Warren touched on it a bit, but here's my take: with an SP mod/level, the creator has a lot more to worry about.  In 99% of MP mods, the public provides the gameplay, the competition.  All the designer is doing is providing the playing field.  In an SP mod, the designer also has to provide the gameplay, and as I think we'd all agree, the gameplay is the key to an enjoyable experience.

Shhh. Listen. We're going to play a little game, it's called Sim Get Me Some Fucking Coffee, fucker. Fuck you! Fuck, it's early.
#21 by Caryn
2002-08-26 17:29:39
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Warren:

AI can be fun, but it takes a lot of work and attention to detail.  A multiplayer level/mod is more about getting people together and letting the wacky happen.


Ahh, yeah, true. There's my lack of experience showing.

Plus, in a single player level/mod people are going to be moving slower and paying a lot more attention to the environment and "the little things".  Making single player levels is a more meticulous process than multiplayer levels.


This will be even more true with DOOM, where the gameplay has been slowed down specifically (among other reasons) so that the player will be able to pay attention to the environment more.

WWBTD?
#22 by Max
2002-08-26 17:30:07
http://massivebraincase.org/
Right. What Warren said. Just, you know, in my words.

Shhh. Listen. We're going to play a little game, it's called Sim Get Me Some Fucking Coffee, fucker. Fuck you! Fuck, it's early.
#23 by Matt Davis
2002-08-26 17:35:57
http://looroll.com
The single player Quake level I made took me about twice as long as any of the Quake multiplayer levels, solely because of the checking and re-checking to make sure that all the scripting worked and there was no way to break it.

Multiplayer levels are far harder to break because theres a lot less scripting elements to have to work on, theres no monsters to have to deal with and make sure they see someone in time. Player testing is also easier, as you can get 6+ people to test the level all at the same time and iron out any bugs a lot more quickly.

However I did get a lot more feedback from people about that one level than I did all of the other levels I made put together, theres a definite demand for single player stuff; lets look at Max Payne and GTA3 sales and theres some great mods coming out for these games and a community that while not as big as a multiplayer one, is still very strong.

Are pants comfy? because I think mine are broken.
#24 by Caryn
2002-08-26 17:36:40
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Max:

In 99% of MP mods, the public provides the gameplay, the competition.  All the designer is doing is providing the playing field.  In an SP mod, the designer also has to provide the gameplay, and as I think we'd all agree, the gameplay is the key to an enjoyable experience.


Yeah, but isn't there still a fair amount of gameplay crafting required for multiplayer mods? I mean, you can't just make a few new levels and new weapons and call it good (well, some do, but that's not what we're talking about here). Good mods, like good games, have had a lot of thought put into their gameplay design by their creators.

Not arguing with the statement as Warren's post made a good argument that SP is harder, but I'm not sure I quite agree with you, Max, on this particular reason why.

WWBTD?
#25 by Sgt Hulka
2002-08-26 17:41:52
I just woke up. I had a dream last night.  I've heard that if you write a dream down when you first wake up, you'll remember it, so here goes.

I was eating dinner with John Carmack and KAK at their house.  KAK showed me some custom built musical clock John had made in his spare time.  IT was huge.  It was probably five feet wide, and about a foot thick, but the interesting thing about it was it played music like an old player piano.  KAK fed a sheet of paper into the front of it, and it started playing it.  The entire time the clock played this song, it started to move back and forth, growing and shrinking like a xylophone or something.  It also hung from the ceiling on a system of rails which is move about as well.  

I told her the clock was pretty neat.  John then proceeded to tell me how he built it and started showing me diagrams and the history of the clock.  

I don't remember what we had for dinner, nor do I remember anything else from the dream except for that weird clock.

#26 by jafd
2002-08-26 17:44:07
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
They had probably sliced open your skull and were frying up slices of your cerebral cortex. The story about the clock was just TO DISTRACT YOU.

#27 by "Desiato"
2002-08-26 17:52:59
desiato_hotblack@hotmail.com http://www.spew2.com/
#16 - Gabe

Desiato seems to be confusing ridicule and critique.


A critique shouldn't contain issues addressed by the FAQ.
#28 by Max
2002-08-26 18:01:59
http://massivebraincase.org/
Caryn - #24

Yeah, but isn't there still a fair amount of gameplay crafting required for multiplayer mods? I mean, you can't just make a few new levels and new weapons and call it good (well, some do, but that's not what we're talking about here). Good mods, like good games, have had a lot of thought put into their gameplay design by their creators.

Absolutely, there's a lot of work to do to make a multiplayer mod actually fun; item placement, the actual logistics of movement and combat, lighting and sound... all that stuff is important.  However, I think for an SP mod, the designer has to think about AI (as Warren said), enemy/monster design, story, and other more minor things as well.

Shhh. Listen. We're going to play a little game, it's called Sim Get Me Some Fucking Coffee, fucker. Fuck you! Fuck, it's early.
#29 by Russ
2002-08-26 18:03:44
There will always be a market for single player mods as long as there are those who, like me, hate people. Thank you.

Will "ragdoll" for food.
#30 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:09:07
cps46@rcn.com
Caryn
I'll wait and see on the new Doom, but IMO Thief provides an environment and userbase better suited to this.

Hmm...why? I'm curious to know why you already think Thief provided a more suitable environment for it.

Thief's setting is more steam-punkish, has these weird religious aspects, and is IMO generally more imaginative and less clichéd than Doom.  

Which also makes it more inspiring -- my imagination, at least, is more fired up by, say, The Fifth Element than Star Wars.  The former just has a lot more new technology and culture per minute of screen time (the yellow circles and associated police procedure, the cop uniforms, Ruby Rhod as a future type of talkshow personality) than the latter.  In written sci-fi, Cyteen or Neuromancer or Chung Kuo (before it devolved into a $/word crapfest) over Snow Crash.  

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying any of these are better than the others -- I love them all.  I'm comparing, I guess, some sort of Novelty Index, their New Concept Density.  Sometimes I want a Brazil, sometimes I want a Total Recall.

I don't know anything about Doom III.  Perhaps it will offer a truly compelling and surprising story.  But will it attract players expecting that?  I think that's what's key, and I think most people who bought Thief did.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#31 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:12:27
cps46@rcn.com
Caryn, 24
Not arguing with the statement as Warren's post made a good argument that SP is harder, but I'm not sure I quite agree with you, Max, on this particular reason why.

Actually I think Max's argument is better.

Look at it this way: in MP, the stories are created mainly by the interaction of the players.  And then I snuck up on him and took him out or whatever.  In SP, it's created by the interaction of the player with his environment.  Of course it takes skill to design a good MP environment, but from there on out the stories write themselves.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#32 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:14:56
cps46@rcn.com
Meanwhile, I'll be working on my Spy Cow mod.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#33 by Gabe
2002-08-26 18:23:16
http://www.dartpublishing.com
Desiato

That addresses the water issue. Nice of you to mention it last night. Still doesn't address my other points of criticism. Just because I found flaws doesn't mean I didn't think it was cool. Like I said, you are confusing ridicule and critique.
#34 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:27:56
cps46@rcn.com
I thought Bailey's whole premise was combining ridicule and critique.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#35 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:28:16
cps46@rcn.com
That, and the slow painful death of humanity.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#36 by jafd
2002-08-26 18:29:40
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
It's not really "critique" if it isn't shared with the author, right?

I wasn't present for the discussion, so, just blabbering out my ass now. Meanwhile, this helped me a great deal, maybe it will help someone else... http://www.svideotorca.com/

#37 by jafd
2002-08-26 18:29:41
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
It's not really "critique" if it isn't shared with the author, right?

I wasn't present for the discussion, so, just blabbering out my ass now. Meanwhile, this helped me a great deal, maybe it will help someone else... http://www.svideotorca.com/

#38 by jafd
2002-08-26 18:29:51
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
What the fuck?

#39 by Caryn
2002-08-26 18:31:55
carynlaw@pacbell.net http://www.hellchick.net
Cliff:

Meanwhile, I'll be working on my Spy Cow mod.


Any mod or game that contains the use of farm animals is instantly better than any other mod or game ever.

Just sayin'.

WWBTD?
#40 by Gabe
2002-08-26 18:31:56
http://www.dartpublishing.com
jafd

It's not really "critique" if it isn't shared with the author, right?

No.
#41 by jjohnsen
2002-08-26 18:46:38
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Sometimes I want a Brazil, sometimes I want a Total Recall.


oooh, a Brazil game.  I'd definately be an idea man for that.  Only movie I've ever spent more than $30.00 to acquire.

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#42 by jjohnsen
2002-08-26 18:47:24
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Whats with all the email addresses at the bottom of the 'crap?

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#43 by UncleJeet
2002-08-26 18:53:30
I think the biggest difficulty in creating a single player doohah vs. a multiplayer wheehoo is Programmer.  With very little creativity nanites swimming around in their vitamin-D deprived bloodstreams, it's best to just let them throw out their "useless Idea Men" and write little weapons scripts and such.

  Try and get them to produce something with any kind of story or narrative or purpose beyond just blowing something up with prettier graphics, and you'll short out their neural networks faster than you can say, "Ewww!"

I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine....

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#44 by jjohnsen
2002-08-26 18:55:34
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Wow, I haven't heard One Night in Bankok for a long time.

No longer must I sweep for you, for I am not your broom.
#45 by Leslie Nassar
2002-08-26 18:56:02
http://departmentofinternets.com
You really need a night in Bangkok.  Work out some of that programmer-hate.

My name is Will Ferrell... and I'm a porn actor.
#46 by Cliff
2002-08-26 18:57:44
cps46@rcn.com
I'm Too Shy to Wang Chung Tonight in Bangkok.

Another chimp with a cheap language mod chip.
#47 by Max
2002-08-26 18:59:22
http://massivebraincase.org/
Didn't I say "story"?  I thought I said "story".  In fact, I'm positive.

Jeet, take your highfalutin' "nanites" and "neural networks" and go rope a cow or something.

Shhh. Listen. We're going to play a little game, it's called Sim Get Me Some Fucking Coffee, fucker. Fuck you! Fuck, it's early.
#48 by Ergo
2002-08-26 19:11:07
Off-topic, but like that really matters:

Check out this cool little game. Kind of a Robotron/Smash TV kind of shooter with interesting power-ups. Nice little waste of time.

Cell phone users are a lot like cocaine addicts, except that they don't know when to shut up.

My DVD collection
#49 by Matthew Gallant
2002-08-26 19:12:04
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
And don't forget that single player mods take forever to make... I'm still waiting on Red Sun 2020, which is supposed to be a Deus Ex single player mod.  I've been waiting over two years now.


DEVELOPERS OWE YOU NOTHING.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#50 by Warren Marshall
2002-08-26 19:16:01
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
And Matthew digs deep into the cliche bowl ...

"It's pretty common for pussies, dumbasses, and their families to blame their problems on vague influences like the media and society. The truth is, fuck you."
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