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 Post subject: How would multi-player in a game larger than 2 work?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 6:25 pm 
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I am cooking up a new game directly inspired by Rebellion. For obvious copyright reasons this game will not have any direct connection to Star Wars, however it will be modular (think RebEd) so the game host can load up whatever "theme" he wants from a premade set: Star Wars, Star Trek, LOLCats in Space, etc. Themes include units, planets, characters, etc.

The game will be multiplayer only, and by multiplayer I mean many players. Depending on the size of the galaxy it could be anywhere from 2 - hundreds. Before you all freak out: "OMG a hundred players? That game would take forever", let me assure you this isn't the case - at least not exactly.

The game will be turn-based and asynchronous. By asynchronous I mean that players will submit their moves in their own time. Not every player has to be playing the game at the same time. Players will experience the game in bite-sized chunks at times that suit their schedule. So, players will not have to wait for other players. Turns will be run at regular intervals (defined by the host). For example: turns will be processed every 12hrs, 24hrs, or 1 week. Obviously, these games will take some time. Weeks, though possible many months. It all depends on how the game is configured.

This game won't be for everyone, especially if you want snazzy 3d graphics and real-time interaction. But if you're craving an EPIC, immersive, space-opera empire-building strategy game, and you have patience, then this game is for you.

On to the actual point of this post:

How should multiplayer work? This is where I need the SWRebellion community's input.

Rebellion was 2-player only, which made sense in the theme: Empire vs Rebellion. How can this be expanded to include more than 2 players? Here are some options to get the discussion started:
Idea 1
Players all start out with the same amount of planets, resources, and units, but spread around the Galaxy.
This is an obvious choice, but part of SWRebellion's charm is the Empire's obvious advantage and the Rebellion's guerilla tactics.

I would really like to promote player interaction in this game, asides from the standard "fly your fleets in and assault his planets", so perhaps a Diplomacy or Co-op system as discussed in this thread.

While this sounds good in theory, wouldn't it result in a bunch of infighting as the players vied for control of their faction?

Option 2
Perhaps the same social, inter-player diplomacy features, but between factions, where each player has their own faction? That way players could still do diplomacy missions on neutral systems, but could also form alliances with other factions. While one faction might claim several systems, an alliance could claim entire sectors! The idea being that one faction doesn't have enough power to defend an entire sector, but a group of similiarly minded factions could in fact do so.
Of course other inter-player features will have to be added to encourage cooperation, such as trading items or resources.

Victory Conditions?
This sounds cool in theory, but there is another question: What are the victory conditions? Should they be customizable, i.e., annihilation, race to control 75% of the galaxy, etc?

Annihilation would take forever with a large number of players! I like the racing idea, because alliances could band together to take out opposition, but as the 75% nears they would turn on eachother! Alternatively, they could choose to end the game together and share the win.

Maybe there should be no Victory Conditions? What if it was an open-ended MMO type game. New players could even start up in "newly" discovered portions of the galaxy.

What do you all think?

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