Co-Op: Lost Cause?

Personally, I've been saddened by the recent news of Doom III not having Co-op on the PC version of the game (why just X-Box?, stupid ID). When I first played Halo Co-Op on X-Box, I had the best time playing with a partner for a long time. I wouldn't mind seeing more games that had an extra partner or small group possible that offered that little extra (I feel HUGE extra) to the game. I think there is a huge market for this area of gaming (not "Multiplayer", that's been done to death). Doom III Co-Op will be an absolute riot I think. I wish Halo:PC was Co-Op too (*slaps Gearbox's wrist*). I doubt I'll see that soon.

For example: Player A is in room A. Player B in room B. Both players will merge from both rooms into room C. Player B needs to find a switch in Room B that will open a section in Room A for Player A to open both doors in Room A & B to Room C. (Confused yet? [:D])

It promotes teamwork, especially when individual goals are involved. I wish there were more Co-Op games available. [:(]

Any comments? [:p]

unknownuser2's picture

here here to that - not just first person shooters - but rpgs as well... Final Fantasy Chrystal Chronicle on gamecube is the best example of this to date - i really think it rocks , champions of norrath as well - dark alliance had a bit too... but more down that line cant go astrray for sure.

unknownuser1's picture

Halo's co-op rocked. Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance II's co-op was heaps better than the single player game. Neverwinter Nights is even fun running around together going nuts :) System Shock II had good co-op, but it was just too buggy.

It can be a very difficult thing to implement into a FPS game though. The single player AI tends to have a few difficulties handling more than one opponent (Unreal for proof).

I love co-op, and I do think it is sad to see that Doom III is skipping out on it. It isn't the only game though. FarCry would have been interesting with co-op, and HalfLife 2 -from what I understand- wont ship with co-op. It will come out as a mod. At least it will have it though :)

Blitz's picture

FPS AI not handling multiple "enemies" is simply a failing (or predefined limitiation) of the AI, but isn't neccessarily a difficult problem.
The reason Halo offered co-op on console, but not either on PC or on system link was a technical issue with their engine, where it was very difficult to run the entire game over a network link. Whether this was due to network bandwidth etc. or some limitation requiring both players to be kept in lockstep i'm not sure. It is possible that Doom3 has a similar problem with running the game over a network link, therefore, co-op on the console but not over the net. Split-screen fps on the PC isn't really considered feasible these days due to control limitations on your "standard" pc setup. It's not worth the trouble of implementing the split screen for the 0.001% of players who actually have a dual mouse or controller input, and who actually want to use the splitscreen feature.
CYer, Blitz

Maitrek's picture

I'd be surprised if these games have trouble running over a network link...especially in regards to bandwidth. It's not usually bandwidth that's the big issue either, more often that not it's just latency over WANs (like the internet).

Maybe the developers can't be bothered when they know in three months time some mod group will make a co-op mod that everyone will play to the total exclusion of the standard co-op play!

Fluffy CatFood's picture

I'm glad NOLF2 had co-op even though it was limited to a few modified levels, it was still pretty good. I really like Serious sam co-op and serious sam 2 will have it as well. I do beleive stalker will have some sort of co-op as well.

MoonUnit's picture

*raises glass to Co-op* its one of the best features in games, especially FPSs. Playing co-op on timesplitters 2 and Halo has taken up many hours of my time. Its the best thing when you enter a room and have one guy taking out baddies and the other guy covering him and all the other fun things you can do with co-op. Bots dont replicate this because they dont have the intelligence of humans and you cant directly talk to them.

Co-op however often works best on consoles, due to the fact that you have two people over the one box without having to worry about acheiving any sort of networking. Its not to say that theres any real problems with setting it up for comps, but i think their choice has some merit. Also its better when the person is sitting right next to you.

bullet21's picture

I agree with you moonunit. I think that co op on console beats the pants of co op on PC. Cos you can sit their next to your mate and say "ok, you do this and i do this" you can also laugh at each other and put each other down to the brink of self destruction a lot more easily than you do on a Pc.

Blitz's picture

Sounds like you need an introduction to the wonderful world of LAN gaming :P
Also, with voice chat in games you can still get the "you do this.." and put downs etc. happening, you just can't physically whack the person when they screw up :)
CYer, Blitz

MoonUnit's picture

aye LANing is good, it does basicly the same thing. Only downside is the requirement of multiple beige boxes and game copys and so on. Which you wouldnt beleive how hard this can be to come by. Where as i just invite a mate over and tell him the basics and we have some TS2 going down :D. This situation is probably diff for other ppl tho.

DaMunkee's picture

Guys guys guys! What about the best co-op of all :) At least in my opinion. Coop RTS!!! I think C&C Yuri's rocked when they instituded "Quick Coop" were you click it, and the matching bot teams you up with someone and you kick some AI butt. Oh it was a glorious thing, when you got tired of people complaining when they lost, or playing with cheese tactics with "Quick Match" you could go to "Quick COop" and experince what gaming was suppose to be. You, a new friend, working to acheive a common goal. The slander of multiplayer was gone and faith in the human race was restored :)

Of course, Coop in FPS kicks butt too. Ahhh I can remember it now, a few of us playing serious sam, triggering all the monster spawns which forced 2 people to be dropped and me and a friend to be playing at Spf (seconds per frame) Infinite lives and a few rockets eliminated enough monsters to have the game running smoothly again. Oh the joy :)

Heh by the way, if you can't tell, I'm all about the RTSs :)

Blitz's picture

Co-op is about the only way i play RTS's, very occasionally i'll play through the campaign of an RTS, but usually i'll only play the training modes (if needed) so i can go kick some AI with friends.
Co-op FPS also kinda divides into two categories, "single" Co-op vs computer (doom, serious sam etc.) and "team-based" co-op, which may be against computer or human opponents. I enjoy both :)
CYer, Blitz

bullet21's picture

I can't stand co-op RTS, i hate multiplayer RTS full stop. I think its cos im shit at it :). but FPS is the way to go IMO. I like Team Based co-ops the best as well. Definately not a lost cause.

CombatWombat's picture

Each to their own, bullet :) Personally, I think the coop modes in Starcraft and Warcraft III are damn good :) Only hassle with Starcraft is that you can't add enough computer opponents :-( We're down to having 2 humans on 6 CPUs (melee) now ;-)

Now what I _really_ want to see is a coop version of fallout tactics or X-com (In particular UFO defense) [:D]

Hmm, come to think of this, has there ever been any tactical combat games that have supported coop?

Blitz's picture

Define tactical combat games?
CYer, Blitz

CombatWombat's picture

Games where the player controls a squad of characters, and guides them through scenarios/battles with fairly low-level control over their actions (eg a character can sneak, crawl, slither along the ground etc). Often characterised by a large number of items that can be used (eg fallout tactics must have had at least 150 different inventory items) Usually have quite a good career development path for your characters.

Generally TC games are turn-based, you'll have a certain number of action/movement points, various skills that can be used by the characters etc.

The TC games I've played that I'd identify as the main ones for the genre are:

* Wizard's Crown (Apple ][/C64 game) - high fantasy setting, good damage system, non-anthropomorphic monsters (ie monsters drop items that are appropriate for them to be carrying)
* XCOM (Have only played UFO defense from this series, didn't like the demo of the newest game XCOM: Aftermath but it might be good) - You play the part of a group that protects earth from UFOs - one can intercept UFOs, and then choose a squad and go out to investigate UFO crash sites. Lots of fun this one.
* Jagged Alliance 2 - liberate an island nation from a dictator with a bunch of mercenaries and rebels. Has quite a wonderful fairly subtle sense of humour running through the game.
* Fallout Tactics - developed by Oz's own microforte (hey there's probably even some devs from FT reading sumea :) - post-nuclear-holocaust set in the same universe as the Fallout RPGs - great selection of skills and inventory items, good story (well I liked it anyway :), and again, great subtle humour through it all (eg at one point you find the life-preserver ring from Titanic, and at another an artist has graffiti'd "Tiles suck" on one of the wall tiles :)

And also recently played the Silent Storm demo (Commandos meets Diablo II skill trees :) which was quite cute, but I found it excruicatingly slow to process the CPU turns (and this is on a P4 3.0 with bells and whistles!) Hopefully the demo was just a heavily-assert-laden debug version. Anyone played the full version?

Cheers,

Mark

Daemin's picture

I would love to see more coop games made, fps, rpg, whatever. However the main issue with them is what happens when the players are of vastly differing skill levels? Does one player do all the work and the other struggle through? Do you modify the enemies AI like in Max Payne - but then to who's playing ability? I mean coop quake was fun for about the first few levels, but then the good players just kept going ahead heaps easy and the bad ones kept on dying...

shiva's picture

sounds an awful lot like system shock 2 to me...

CombatWombat's picture

Sounds cool Marty, reminds me a bit of the gameplay in Commandos 1.

Maitrek's picture

quote:


sounds an awful lot like system shock 2 to me...

Not to me :) SS2s co-op was barely tacked on if you ask me, kind of an after-thought. I think more effort needs to be put in to make the story cohesive for each player-character in the game, most games just tell the same story to both characters as if they are one, and it's pretty lame if you ask me (ala Baldurs Gate in co-op).

Teamwork is always a good thing in games, but it's very hard to put in - especially if the co-op game is played throughout levels that were intended for single player. It means that at no point in the level is co-op play *forced* and, in effect, the players are autonomous from each other.

TyKeiL's picture

hats off to Maitrek for hitting a nail onthe head with the unforcd co-op autonomous behaviour thing,,

which is why i dont care for diablo co-op

rts co-op is ok depending on the situation, esp in regards to the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker in comparison to the strong, which is why i like unlocked teams, and co-op against human co-op opponents.

you forget the classic co-op of platformers like sonic2, double dragon,

i agree with the ppl who are saying that console co-op is much more fun, having two ppl on the same screen makes a huge difference- i think tho that its because you are forces to be always interacting,, whereas of yo were on different screens then there would be moments where its the same as single player

i think the larger the scale of the game is and the larger the number of ppl and goals, goals esp the more fun co-op becomes,,

esp in the realm of rpg,

i cant believe no one has mentioned halflife cs dod and all the other awesome team based cooprative gameplay, nothing beats them for the fun of co-op when playing at a friends place with 12 ppl- esp in dod when your team wins and everyone sings the winning anthem and bags the losers :O) then its right back into the battle,

just an idea,- people love to sing, in all games when a battle is won some sort of sing for victory or cheer could be implemented,, C&C do this with all there rts's from what i know, but to have that option in most multiplayer games would be good

bullet21's picture

The best co-op game IMo was without a doubt the Metal Slug Series :)

Morphine's picture

Has anyone seen or heard of any articles addressing this issue (Co-op)? I wouldn't mind seeing what industry pros think, especially due to the lack of current games that have this choice.

Me109's picture

Serious Sam had a really good simple co-op mode... I remember enjoying co-op more than the single player game...
it was good fun playing it on the hardest settings with a few mates...

Blitz's picture

Definitely agree. At a LAN i played serious sam co-op with 3-4 others (one guy kept dropping out) on the settings with maximum enemies, and i must say it was one of the greatest gaming experiences of my life.
Took us about 7 adrenaline pumping hours to complete it :)
Strangely games like this can still be extremely exciting, even without the *threat* of dying and having to go back to the start of the level.
CYer, Blitz

unknownuser2's picture

Another thumbs up for serious sam here, the most fun co-op game ive played, so frantic on max enemies.
First time Ive ever felt the urge to scream at my monitor [:P]

souri's picture

Is there more to co-op than just having someone fragging enemies in the same game as you? I've never played Serious Sam or Halo, so let me know the gist of it.. Classed based teamplay I'm more knowledgable of (particularly Enemy Territory which I still play more than any other game).

Daemin's picture

Souri: Serious Sam is fun playing coop multiplayer because its you and four toher guys going through a mass of enemies, in a slapstic comedy kind of way, with insane numbers of enemies, weapons, stuff going on all around you, and when you die you respawn with mroe weapons. It's just a heck load of fun late at night when everyone else is going to sleep (weak!) :-)

Pantmonger's picture

I loved Tribes 2 for its team based Co-Op. The fact that some vehicles needed more then one ?pilot? to be used in any useful way. The way that if a team worked together it made a real difference to their chances of being successful. It was the best Co-Op game I?ve played of the fps genre.
I also liked the pseudo Co-Op that came out of games like Masters of Orion 2, where players worked together to survive but would also backstab each other.

Pantmonger

palantir's picture

Hell yeah! Both Tribes and Tribes 2 had awesome team co-op. Any serious game demanded that players work together in a strategic (though sometimes chaotic) way. When it all came together, each team member served a specific purpose, and a well-executed strategy rewarded players with the most thrilling fps game play I?ve ever seen. Personally I think the Tribes games were miles ahead of any other fps simply because of the effectiveness of the team co-op.

I?m totally hanging out for Tribes Vengeance!

Sorceror Bob's picture

I think a co op type like prince of persia could be good..

Each player plays as a different character type, and each character is capable of solving puzzles the others can't.

I think it could be horribly difficult to implement, but it at least gives each player something to do, and isn't completely mindless. (serious sam, I'm looking at you)