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HOL Questions


TonyE
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Whilst I can provide nothing about the actual HOL itself, I might ask a few questions about potential features that MP (and especially more than 1 v 1 MP) might prove useful, my competitive Multi-player experience is more based around various FPS games rather than hardcore milsims (things like Operation Flashpoint at the realistic end and things like Battlefield at the less realistic end) but still, some points that might be worth bringing up (obviously for the future when MP is more developed):

 

* In-game chat for each team.

* The ability to overlay drawings and text on the map.

* An in-game VOIP system.

* A pre-planning phase to discuss tactics and if required to split up the groups by which player controls them.

* A pre-launch phase to setup formations and patrols.

* A forced locked pause for x seconds in the event of a player drop-out, especially if player specific group controls are used.

* The ability to allow a player to re-join a match in progress if there is a dropout.

* The ability to save an in-progress game in a locked/encrypted format if so desired by both parties.

* Replays.

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Fair enough. How do you think multiple players on one side should be handled in the future?

Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with HOL.

When I look to other games like http://eu1.battlestar-galactica.bigpoint.com/ then I don't think that it will be good when all players on one side could handle all units with no asking. Inside of a good team it would work fine. But often inside of a team is one "selfish" player who jam the operations of his co-players. So from my point of view it shall be rather an option to handle all units than a standard.

This is very good to keep in mind. However, there is only one programmer, me, and I have a full-time job. In addition to that I run my own company after hours and take part in sports and life in general. That means HC can't have every capability we want. The discussion is good though because then hopefully I can invest the time in making data structures that can handle something other than a free-for-all if programming time ever permits the usage of those structures.

 

I was leaning towards a free-for-all where any player on the side could give orders to any and all units/groups. The staff assistant is a problem (which of the 3 Blue players gets the message from group ABa?) in that arrangement.

In every battle there must be at least one "regional" commander who care about low priority bases and familiar to this who care with prio about support, logistic and ferry missions.

 

And why shall a multiplayer game be limited to 3 players on each side? The bigger the team then the bigger the fun effect. If on one side are 30 players and on the other side only 5; then the 5 players shall be supported by 25 smart (Tony like programmed) AI players with units.

But first, let's please see a real through the internet playable multiplayer version with 1 vs. 1.

Hmm, I don't remember off-hand what the current player limit is. We are limited to 8 sides (and obviously only have 3 useable right now). I used three just as an example. The plan is to start with an umpire entering orders for all sides and the players communicating those orders via some chat mechanism and seeing the game in a read-only fashion in an updated remote viewer.

 

I missed the whole HOL experience. <_>

Who is the owner of HOL? And why could we not get a trial period for it?

Kesmai produced HOL and it used a unix-based server product. Nobody has been able to find the source code to the game and it is doubtful anyone would release the server component to us either. Don Gilman has tried to fulfill our request on multiple occasions, even shipped me a damaged CD from which I recovered a bunch of interesting stuff but not the HOL code.

 

It was great fun. The biggest issue really was that the most interesting scenarios took too long to play, people would have to drop out. :(

For this has from my point of view today free multiplayer online game good approaches. On is, that the player define the behavior of the units when he is offline (which and how many a/c shall be ready for intercepting @ which range, ECON for each unit, how to act for ships when they are discovered or attacked (retread, or attack) and so on). By log out the AI finish the current orders of the units and then move the units to the predefined behavior till the player log in again (or all units are destroyed).

 

An other approach is, that all player units retread when the player goes offline. And when the player goes online after a couple hours he start with his units from a safe place (or at least from the safest place) an has to ferry to the battle.

 

An other approach is, that all player units are handed over to an other human player. If this player is overloaded with all units and don't hand the units over to an AI player, then a lot units loiter around or stay at the base till a new player goes online to whom the "surplus" units could handed over. If a new player log in to a running game, he shall be able to capture the role and units of an AI player. (My favorod solution, so a battle could go 3 to 7 real days and there it is then not necessary to stay the whole time online.)

 

I expect the way this will happen is that other players will take over the groups the offline player was commanding. I don't see the ferrying to a safe place working for many reasons: writing code to decide where a safe area is sounds very challenging, teleporting ships sounds like a pretty big cheat, what about the opponent that was just about to strike those ships.

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Whilst I can provide nothing about the actual HOL itself, I might ask a few questions about potential features that MP (and especially more than 1 v 1 MP) might prove useful, my competitive Multi-player experience is more based around various FPS games rather than hardcore milsims (things like Operation Flashpoint at the realistic end and things like Battlefield at the less realistic end) but still, some points that might be worth bringing up (obviously for the future when MP is more developed):

 

1. In-game chat for each team.

2. The ability to overlay drawings and text on the map.

3. An in-game VOIP system.

4. A pre-planning phase to discuss tactics and if required to split up the groups by which player controls them.

5. A pre-launch phase to setup formations and patrols.

6. A forced locked pause for x seconds in the event of a player drop-out, especially if player specific group controls are used.

7. The ability to allow a player to re-join a match in progress if there is a dropout.

8. The ability to save an in-progress game in a locked/encrypted format if so desired by both parties.

9. Replays.

 

1, 3. What is the value of in-game versus third-party? I happen to prefer in-game as well but that does eat programming time.

2. I assume you mean this as well in a shared fashion (my overlay 1..n, shared overlay 1..n), each named.

4. I hadn't thought of this, good idea, and good idea to have a timer on it, can't spend all day planning and then never play (saw that happen at Origins!).

5. I like this too, again limited in duration. By the time you are through 4 and 5 it should be apparent who has the stable connections and who doesn't ;).

6. What is the justification here? To give the player a fair chance to rejoin without missing any action?

7. Amen to this one! imho it is a real pain in ANW MP to save the game, have everyone disconnect, meet back up in the lobby, have every join the saved session, then start playing again.

8. Saves are indeed key. Programmer time and patience will dictate how secure a mechanism is used (I lean towards the honor system).

9. Thankfully multiplayer in general forces a model the game was originally built upon, that of handling most everything through a queued Harpoon event system. So if you queued all of the events you had them in a format that could be replayed if they were saved instead of discarded as processed. There is the whole matter of creating the viewer or mechanism to make the GE replay the saved events but overall this is easier than it would be in other games.

 

Thanks Mack!

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Whilst I can provide nothing about the actual HOL itself, I might ask a few questions about potential features that MP (and especially more than 1 v 1 MP) might prove useful, my competitive Multi-player experience is more based around various FPS games rather than hardcore milsims (things like Operation Flashpoint at the realistic end and things like Battlefield at the less realistic end) but still, some points that might be worth bringing up (obviously for the future when MP is more developed):

 

1. In-game chat for each team.

2. The ability to overlay drawings and text on the map.

3. An in-game VOIP system.

4. A pre-planning phase to discuss tactics and if required to split up the groups by which player controls them.

5. A pre-launch phase to setup formations and patrols.

6. A forced locked pause for x seconds in the event of a player drop-out, especially if player specific group controls are used.

7. The ability to allow a player to re-join a match in progress if there is a dropout.

8. The ability to save an in-progress game in a locked/encrypted format if so desired by both parties.

9. Replays.

 

1, 3. What is the value of in-game versus third-party? I happen to prefer in-game as well but that does eat programming time.

2. I assume you mean this as well in a shared fashion (my overlay 1..n, shared overlay 1..n), each named.

4. I hadn't thought of this, good idea, and good idea to have a timer on it, can't spend all day planning and then never play (saw that happen at Origins!).

5. I like this too, again limited in duration. By the time you are through 4 and 5 it should be apparent who has the stable connections and who doesn't ;).

6. What is the justification here? To give the player a fair chance to rejoin without missing any action?

7. Amen to this one! imho it is a real pain in ANW MP to save the game, have everyone disconnect, meet back up in the lobby, have every join the saved session, then start playing again.

8. Saves are indeed key. Programmer time and patience will dictate how secure a mechanism is used (I lean towards the honor system).

9. Thankfully multiplayer in general forces a model the game was originally built upon, that of handling most everything through a queued Harpoon event system. So if you queued all of the events you had them in a format that could be replayed if they were saved instead of discarded as processed. There is the whole matter of creating the viewer or mechanism to make the GE replay the saved events but overall this is easier than it would be in other games.

 

Thanks Mack!

 

1) In game is more convenient, and you don't have to worry about something important being hidden behind the chat window. HOL had in game chat, with separate channels for each team and a public channel both sides could see.

4) HOL had a pregame chat area to deal with this, I think they called it the ready room. Players could ask for specific assets, but it was up to the side leader to assign the assets to each player at the beginning of the game.

5) It would have been nice to have this, especially since 10:1 was the minimum time compression, and with no pause, but it was not really necessary as the sides weren't usually in direct contact at game start.

6) IIRC, in HOL if someone dropped out everyone got dropped back to the ready room. Assets could be redistributed, or you could wait for the victim to rejoin, and the game could be continued from the dropout point. IMO there needs to be some way to pause and deal with these issues.

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Whilst I can provide nothing about the actual HOL itself, I might ask a few questions about potential features that MP (and especially more than 1 v 1 MP) might prove useful, my competitive Multi-player experience is more based around various FPS games rather than hardcore milsims (things like Operation Flashpoint at the realistic end and things like Battlefield at the less realistic end) but still, some points that might be worth bringing up (obviously for the future when MP is more developed):

 

1. In-game chat for each team.

2. The ability to overlay drawings and text on the map.

3. An in-game VOIP system.

4. A pre-planning phase to discuss tactics and if required to split up the groups by which player controls them.

5. A pre-launch phase to setup formations and patrols.

6. A forced locked pause for x seconds in the event of a player drop-out, especially if player specific group controls are used.

7. The ability to allow a player to re-join a match in progress if there is a dropout.

8. The ability to save an in-progress game in a locked/encrypted format if so desired by both parties.

9. Replays.

 

1, 3. What is the value of in-game versus third-party? I happen to prefer in-game as well but that does eat programming time.

2. I assume you mean this as well in a shared fashion (my overlay 1..n, shared overlay 1..n), each named.

4. I hadn't thought of this, good idea, and good idea to have a timer on it, can't spend all day planning and then never play (saw that happen at Origins!).

5. I like this too, again limited in duration. By the time you are through 4 and 5 it should be apparent who has the stable connections and who doesn't ;).

6. What is the justification here? To give the player a fair chance to rejoin without missing any action?

7. Amen to this one! imho it is a real pain in ANW MP to save the game, have everyone disconnect, meet back up in the lobby, have every join the saved session, then start playing again.

8. Saves are indeed key. Programmer time and patience will dictate how secure a mechanism is used (I lean towards the honor system).

9. Thankfully multiplayer in general forces a model the game was originally built upon, that of handling most everything through a queued Harpoon event system. So if you queued all of the events you had them in a format that could be replayed if they were saved instead of discarded as processed. There is the whole matter of creating the viewer or mechanism to make the GE replay the saved events but overall this is easier than it would be in other games.

 

Thanks Mack!

 

1 + 3 - Ingame Chat/VOIP helps streamline game start as well as ensures interoperability between players out of the box. If you don't have to each find a compatible IM program and/or setup a VOIP system such as ventrillo or teamspeak, it can make games easier to start, and reduce setup time.

2. Yeah, you'd have almost like a little paint box you could use to paint into the battlefield, a square, circle, line, free draw, text box and an eraser. Maybe each player has a specific colour they could pick.

6. Yes, to give them a chance to rejoin, as well as allow the remaining places to decide how to proceed as they will now have to deal with whatever units the dropped out player was using.

 

Thank you. B)

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