[Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

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[Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby Darthcaboose » Tue May 01, 2012 8:28 pm

... or rather, two player skirmishes at most.

FTL is a pretty darn exciting concept that really expands the possibility of what you can do with the roguelike genre. At the same time, FTL is shaping up to have a very fun ship upgrade / combat gameplay system! The challenge would be to figure out a way to extend this combat system into something fair, balanced and fun in a multiplayer context.

So, let's talk about multiplayer skirmishes. Here's how I think it could work (all multiplayer programming nightmarish debugging aside, of course!).

1. Fire up your local copy of FTL: The Game, and right there on the Main Menu is a selection called Multiplayer. Click on that to open up your server browser, which uses Steamworks (yay?) to find other players who are looking to Skirmish.

2. Find a game, or create your own by specifying tons of different options that you and your soon-to-be adversary can tweak through. There's always a risk of having people futz exhaustively about the different settings possible (No, I don't want you to set the # of scrap gotten per minute above 60, dammit! Don't turn on random events or I'll quit! Etc.), so perhaps a "Random" setting would help ease the pain.

3. Start it up! You and your opponent get to select the ship you want to start out with (either each picks their own, or there's consensus that the hull type should be the same between the two). I'm not sure what Subset Games plans to do with different ships beyond the interior having a different shape.

4. At this stage, both players are given an equal amount of scrap to use for upgrading their ship. All players start out with the basic systems and powerless-subsystems at level 1, what they choose to upgrade is up to them! Players will also pick out crew members, possibly assigning experience points to them or giving them perks. Who knows what Subset Games'll settle with.

5. All good? Let the games begin! Your objective is to destroy the enemy ship by any means necessary while preventing your enemy from doing the same to yours! You can take out the enemy ship by reducing its hull to zero, killing off all the enemy crew members, or perhaps some other tertiary objective (kill the enemy VIP / captain, or something along those lines).

6. Every minute or some other pre-defined time limit, you receive 60 scrap units to spend on upgrades. You can spend your scrap on upgrades at any time. You can also spend scrap to hire new crewmembers, though this shouldn't be a cheap option (losing a crewmember should be a significant blow, but not be a completely unrecoverable loss).

7. Pausing the game is a pretty important part of FTL, to get your bearings straight and issue commands when you're overwhelmed or need to time something closely. In a multiplayer context, it can be difficult to figure out how best to handle this issue. I'd propose the following schemes:

  • Chess Clock: Every minute of non-paused gameplay, you get 15 seconds of pause time to use up for whatever purposes.

  • Time-outs: Every minute gets you three extra time-outs. You can use a time-out to pause the game for 5 seconds, but when a time-out is used, it is completely used up (can't use half a time-out, for example)

  • Unlimited Pauses: Best used in games with friends or learning the subtleties of FTL. I'd personally prefer to play FTL this way, since I value twitch-APM gameplay less so than strategic play. This scheme wouldn't work very well in random pick-up gameplay since it would encourage griefing!

8. Random events could be an option that crops up during a skirmish. These events, which could affect both players or just one or the other, could work out as if a player visited a node in the single-player FTL game; they're presented with a scenario and given options for how to handle it. How they pick'll could alter their current battle in interesting ways. A random event might also include a visit from a shop vendor, who both players can trade with. Another idea is that the rebel ships catch up to both players and launch a drone to attack each player.

9. For those who don't enjoy chance playing a huge factor in their multiplayer games (how the heck did the guy with just a 10% chance to evade consecutively dodged 20 of my last missiles?), we could come up with an alternative to the benefits provided by Engines. Perhaps an increase in engine power reduces the loading time of enemy weapons (harder to lock on), or it could be used as a tertiary objective where the first player to build up a very long-time charging FTL drive (to reach Alpha Centauri, or something) wins the Skirmish.

Multiplayer in FTL would be fun! What do you guys think?
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby praguepride » Tue May 01, 2012 9:09 pm

-1 from me.

Creating multiplayer means spending tremendous amounts of time and resources getting two computers to communicate with each other.

I'd rather have a kick-ass single player game then a half-assed part single- part multiplayer game.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby Snake Plissken » Tue May 01, 2012 10:35 pm

praguepride wrote:-1 from me.

Creating multiplayer means spending tremendous amounts of time and resources getting two computers to communicate with each other.

I'd rather have a kick-ass single player game then a half-assed part single- part multiplayer game.

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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby Gorlom » Tue May 01, 2012 11:10 pm

I have to admitt this game is more appealing as a single player game then a multiplayer one. If I want to play multiplayer I'd go find something else.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby dicesquirrel » Wed May 02, 2012 6:27 pm


Singleplayer roguelikes are already innately multiplayer in that you want to share your crazy unique story with others online. If anything it would be nice to have a char dump so someone can go and replay their misadventures or send them to friends.

But multiplayer? Not for this game. Maybe next time. It's too huge a feature, and there's not enough time and money to polish it to the diamond-like hardness of the rest of this amazing game.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby Matthew » Thu May 03, 2012 4:03 pm

As everyone above said, it's just way too big of a system to try to implement, and the focus of the game is single player. A friend of ours suggested a Demon's Souls style multiplayer, where during the single player game you might randomly encounter another player also playing their game and have to fight. On the surface level that always sounded like it'd be sweet. But it's unrealistic, and how it'd actually work is beyond me. Your suggestions for how to work pausing into a multiplayer match are clever though.

Fun to think about, but not going to happen :(

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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby salbris » Fri May 04, 2012 3:29 am

I'll have to humbly disagree with everyone else.

As we've seen they already have a great single player in the works. If they have the time to add multiplayer, that absolutely should. My first impression of the game had me thinking it's perfect for this exact kind of multiplayer.

No one is asking this to be done in time for launch, imagine a patch with it later, or maybe an expansion.
I'd love to play the multiplayer version of the battles.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby Abery07 » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:14 pm

Another much more simpler way to do a fun multiplayer, could be as follows.

In the menu, there is a Multiplayer button, where you can choose the multplayer zone to be any sector from sector 5 to sector 8.

The game starts as normal....and you keep playing as normal. The only difference is that you will be trying to equip your ship to fight the opponent rather than the Rebel Flagship.

Lets say the multiplayer zone was set at sector 5. The multiplayer zone will be a special zone where the only thing that is done is you fight the other player. There will be no way to get to the next sector from this zone. (No exit) One player will inevitably reach the multiplayer zone before the other. When that happens, the other players next jump (wherever he is) will take him automatically to the multiplayer zone. Then the battle commences! And one player destroys the other to win!

This would have many competitive aspects. One important thing to note here is that the player that reaches the multiplayer zone (be it sector 5,6,7, or 8) first will cut short the other players journey. So it is a race to get to the multiplayer zone first but also get enough upgrades to defeat the opponent on the way. This adds a level of difficulty as players would be discouraged from using pause time too much, and involves much more on-the-spot seat-on-pants thinking.

If both players are killed before they reach the multiplayer zone, the player that has made the most jumps wins. This is great because if a player is too hasty to get to the MP zone first and dosent upgrade enough, there is a risk he could be killed before he reaches the mp zone, and so the other player would win because of making more jumps. So there is a reason to be quick to pass through sectors, but not too quick..

just my thoughts.

That said.......even if they never make a multiplayer version of this game for sale.......the single player version as it is soooooooooooooooo much fun.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby ruler » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:38 pm

A simple duel system would be fine.

You select a ship and a scrap value mode, starting at about 300 and going up in steps of 150. You are matched with another player that has selected the same scrap value mode, and you have a battle. Ship configuration would be done before finding an opponent, and all items and crew should be available to purchase.

This wouldn't be overly complex to code, since encounters and sector maps won't be included, just a synchronised game state.

Leaderboards could be done by using player ranking, which changes based on your performance (win/loss) and the difference in ranking between you and your opponent.

Bragging rights and PvP shipbuilding would, in my opinion, add enough value to the game to justify the resources spent on it.
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Re: [Suggestion] Multiplayer Skirmishes!

Postby BKT » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:41 pm

I sometime debating with myself what tactics would be superior in a hypothetical PvP situation; mental masturbation with FTL! :lol:

From that, one question came up in my mind:— Assume a near maxed-out ship, standard systems/items (no dupes/unique), no augment, and 6 crew (1 for each race, no Crystal, all lv.0 skill) ... Won't we just ended up bombing each other to death in that case...?   :?
Last edited by BKT on Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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