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TonyE
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We (Brad, Brains, and TonyE) had a discussion on IRC last night (irc.freenode.net #harpgamer, https://webchat.freenode.net/) about the preferred style of multiplayer.

 

Type considered (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time-keeping_systems_in_games):

  • Turn-based
    • IGOUGO (I-Go-You-Go)
    • WEGO (We-Go)
  • Realtime
Realtime quickly exited the running, much to my sadness. Realtime is easiest to program and requires the least AI capability. Our experience with multiplayer Harpoon has unfortunately shown that players do not find enough blocks of time when they are available to regularly complete any scenario larger than "tiny".

 

That leaves the turn-based approaches. IGOUGO is the easiest but it also means more time waiting for others to submit orders. That leaves WEGO as the first victor. All players have a period of time to submit their orders for a period of game time. If they get their orders in on time those orders are applied and interpreted by the AI for the duration of the turn. If a player doesn't get their orders in on time, the previously entered guidance shall be used. One would assume the timeout could be set to any value, including no timeout (i.e. wait forever for orders).

 

Another thing I like about WEGO is the opportunity to approach something like realtime. Run a game session where players have a 30 second order entry phase followed by the resolution of 30 seconds of game time, rinse and repeat. Another session might run 24-hour time limits for order entry that result in 30 minutes of game time elapsed. By adjusting the order timeout and game time to simulate on each turn, very different feels can be achieved.

 

Thoughts?

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I liked the original Combat Mission WEGO system for PBEM quite a bit, which I think was like this:

 

  1. First player enters orders,
  2. second player enters orders,
  3. first player calculates outcome on his rig, records playback, enters orders for next turn,
  4. second player enters orders,
  5. jump to 3

Due to the tactical nature, each turn was 60 seconds and playback was in real time by default. Since then the CM engine was tuned for real time, not sure if the original PBEM sequence is still possible with it.

 

Not entirely sure if this method can be applied directly to your approach. What I liked about it is that one could replay the last turn several times from different viewpoints and get a better understanding of what's going on before entering the next set of orders.

 

As finding players for a scenario is at times a bit tough via forums or chat or email, the slitherine guys have setup a very good system for their multiplayer games: Any player can setup a 'challenge' which will be published through an in game browser. Any player can accept the challenge and a multiplayer game starts were the turns are exchanged via a server by slitherine (I guess). For settting up private matches, a password can be tied to the challenge, so only the player knowing the password can accept that challenge.

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How does one handle cooperative multiplayer in the WEGO situation?

 

About the only thing I can figure is that the coop players would each have to control a different "side" or block of units. They just happen to have friendly relations with other side(s) with players.

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Yes, that would be a possibility. For PBEM the other informal way would be to share the session password (if any) and any but the last player saves the turn and send it fwd. The last player would then process the orders.

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