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MMO S.T.A.L.K.E.R.? M.a.y.b.e.

A recent GSC Game World Community Q&A (thanks FiringSquad) answers a question about online play in STALKER and raises the possibility that they might create an MMOG based on the irradiated shooter:

2. Will there be S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Online?

We do not quite understand what you mean by "online". If it is the cooperative mode, then no, there will be none. Even at the time of development of the first part of the game we said that a cooperative mode is impossible, since Life Simulation would be different at each computer. Synchronizing it would be practically not doable. If you mean an MMOG, then we are seriously considering it.

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51 Replies. 3 pages. Viewing page 1.
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51. Re: No subject Dec 19, 2007, 05:42 Some Dude
 
Blah, never mind. It's not worth an aneurysm.

Out.
This comment was edited on Dec 19, 06:56.
 
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50. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 21:22 sponge
 
Whatever modder told you that this is all you need to do to make a game work in coop mode is sadly mistaken.

It's an oversimplification for the purposes of a non-technical forum. Each and every client does not have to do the same, and all of, the processing in order to derive a consistent result across multiple players.

 
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49. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 17:53 Some Dude
 
No apparently you ignored what everyone else has had to say

Which officially makes him a Blue's News poster.

This comment was edited on Dec 18, 17:53.
 
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48. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 17:30 Krovven
 
No apparently you ignored what everyone else has had to say. You gave good examples on how their simulation is random, but ZERO reason as to why they cannot make Coop work from that.

Random events are random events, they happen in games all the time, its nothing special, nor is their Life Simulation.

Two words for you...Dedicated Server. There is zero reason why they cannot have a dedicated server to execute the random events, and that gets fed to the clients and they see the same thing. It's not a new concept and has been around since the first online games.

Trying to do this without a Dedicated Server would theoretically be impossible. Probably doable, but more effort than it's worth. The reason they say it's "impossible" is because they probably haven't coded it in a way that would allow it to function as a Server/Client. This brings us back to what I posted.

It's doable, but they are not willing to spend the time, money and resources to make it happen.

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47. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 17:19 Hpankin
 
As I expected, my post went utterly ignored.

**sigh**

Such is the case in this "sound byte" world we live in.

 
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46. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 17:12 Some Dude
 
they just need to know where the AI is and what it's physically doing.

Whatever modder told you that this is all you need to do to make a game work in coop mode is sadly mistaken.

 
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45. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 16:00 Krovven
 
Indeed, there is little reason that this would be "impossible" . The fact is they don't want to spend the time, money and resources on it to make it happen.

If everytime someone said "impossible" in the technology industry turned out to be true, we'd still be huddled around campfires.

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44. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 15:50 sponge
 
Sponge, the Life AI was the single biggest reason for the games delay (according to GSC). Not for nuthin' but I tend to beleive that had it been as simple as you claim it would've been done for Clear Sky since it was overwhelmingly the most requested feature for the series. As it is they're not even considering it.

I may be wrong, I'm not a programmer but I elect to beleive the devs over a bunch of hostile forum posters who really haven't made many salient technical points on why it would be such a snap to do.

DrEvil, however, IS a programmer, an AI programmer at that, and has coded several excellent bots for a few different games.

What he says is 100% correct. The other clients don't have to give a shit about their buzzword AI. They only need to know the AI's direction, the speed, and what animation to play. This is a little exaggerated, but to the coop clients, it's just like having another client in a multiplayer game.

To parallel it to human players, when you play UT3, or whatever, does your client have to know what the other players see, what their graphics settings are, what their ping is, etc? No, the client does the processing, sends it to the server, and just sends back what the other clients need to know.

With a coop game, does each client need to know what the AI is thinking? No, they just need to know where the AI is and what it's physically doing.

I don't doubt they have reasonable limitations for not including coop, but the above reason is a marketing-droid speak for "LOOK HOW COMPLEX WE ARE" and you're falling for it hook, line, and sinker.

In terms of AI complexity, without seeing the source myself, I would say that deathmatch bots and STALKER's AI are about the same level of complexity, but in two different direcitons. Bots like in UT3, ETQW are simulating a human player, while STALKER's AI is simulating an 'actor' in the STALKER world. Both goals are very tough goals to achieve.

This comment was edited on Dec 18, 15:53.
 
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43. Life Simulation Dec 18, 2007, 14:41 Hpankin
 
Hey guys. I just wanted to supply you with a decent idea of what the "life simulation" aspect in STALKER is really all about.

Sorry for the lengthy response but the devil's in the details.

I'm about half-way through the game and I absolutely love it. Not since System Shock 2 or maybe Bioshock have I experienced the kind of immersion showcased here.

Things like encumbrance threshold and having to eat occasionally; yes, they exist in the game. Such micromanagement tasks are not for everyone. But it does serve the immersion rather than take away from it, IMO.

Anyway, the point of this post is to tell you about the LS, so here are a couple examples of real world game play...

Example 1)

I was fighting bandits in the open field behind the train station depot, coming back from the prior "level load" area. Hopefully, those who've played the game know what I'm talking about. I cleared the bandits in the field, around the train cars, up to the gate to the depot itself. Checking my threat count indicator, there were at least 9 more bandits inside the depot, so I saved the game.

I'm about to enter the gate to do my best Rambo impression, and I hear all this commotion behind me. I turn around and spot an entire pack of mutant boars chasing this poor wild dog through the field. Some of the boars started dragging the dead bandit bodies to presumably eat them.

I watched this scene for 30 seconds or so (the boars did finally catch up to and kill the doggie, sorry to say) and when I finally turned my attention to the 9 bandits inside the gate, one of the bandits stepped inside the gate and shot me at point blank range. Game over.

I loaded that game-save and dispatched the 9 bandits. When I looked back at the field, all the dead bodies that had been cleared out previously by the mutant boars were all still there. No dogs, no boars, nothing. It was as though I'd witnessed a one-time, fluke thing. I've never seen any such encounter since.

Example 2)

I was approaching the "Lab" complex for the purpose of freeing a faction prisoner. I'd heard about this prisoner after I helped the faction by ambushing a security detail.

So anyway, I'm at the Lab complex entrance, I save the game as usual and I commence my "here I is, come and get me" strategy of making myself visible and then waiting for the dopey bandits come to me. Sure, three or four of them come straight at me and I peg them off easily but most of them pretty much stay put. So I go in and I get pretty far into the complex and I get killed unexpectedly.

I load the last game-save, and I start again. This time, however, I spot 2 yellow points coming directly for me in my threat indicator. But these yellow points are not inside the complex, they're coming from the road I'd used to get there.

At first, I thought it was the bandit AI coming around to box me in. But I realized it was the pair of friendly faction guys I just helped escape. They were coming to help me out! They spotted bandits on the roof (ones I had not seen) and were shooting at them. So I used these faction boys as a distraction so I could run directly into the complex and find cover, shortly to commence search & destroy.

These friendly faction forces were not there when I tried to enter the complex the first time.

Example 3)

At the "home basecamp" where the underground trader is, where you hear the guitar-playing Russian sitting at the campfire for the first time, I'd gotten used to the idea of there being 14 people at this camp.

Upon my return to this camp from a lengthly adventure, I noticed two dead bodies laying in the main thoroughfare and the count at the camp was now at 12. What happened? Why did they kill 2 of their own guys (I assume this is the case). I do not know the answer and I probably never will.

So what does all this mean?

Could it be that this life simulation is exactly that? There are events that play out on the NPCs based on who and what they are, where they happen to be, what their needs are at the time, what their motivations are, etc...and it all happens simultaneously, whether you see it or not. In short, it's a decent facsimile of real life.

I'm not a programmer so I can't know what kind of code is required to construct such a system. Would it be impossible to transmit all the triggers for such a system from one PC to the next in a coop game, thus keeping all the events in sync? I don't know.

I only know what I've experienced for myself in STALKER: an order of life simulation that I've never seen before.

 
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42. WTG Dec 18, 2007, 11:08 Rhialto
 
Just to be different, I really liked S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (solo) and will look into any of their next offer.

 
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41. Re: Bullshit. Dec 18, 2007, 10:54 Some Dude
 
Hehe, bolt on, well if they are thinking of fundamentally new, why has Coop being ruled out they are the SAME exact principals multiple PCs,

New game. New code. Not same-same.


We were talking applications as in the interview and the fact they are considering a mmog but complain the technical reason they can't do Coop is the AI, then their AI is crap.

If it doesn't support coop it's crap? Ok, but those of us without a tumor depressing the part of the brain that allows us to make sense of things might just think that if it doesn't support coop it just means it doesn't support coop. It doesn't in any way reflect the quality of the code. I mean, your statement makes as much sense as saying that if the AI doesn't support interpreting HTML then it's crap. It's a feature that was not built into the thing. That's all.

Besides, I think that "the AI" is at least partially just a neat bag into which they could lump all their concerns, for the benefit of those who don't know or don't care about the details.

Hehe, well you won't get any disagreement about how badly programmers are treated, actually many positions in gaming development,

I don't know where you're getting that but I didn't say anything even remotely like that. I said "the appeal of this particular profession", which means exactly that.


This comment was edited on Dec 18, 11:37.
 
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40. Re: Bullshit. Dec 18, 2007, 10:42 Acleacius
 
"Because that would be a new and fundamentally different game. You don't just bolt on MMOness to a shooter, either."

Hehe, bolt on, well if they are thinking of fundamentally new, why has Coop being ruled out they are the SAME exact principals multiple PCs, doing quest at different times as different stages? I.e What ever mistakes they have to fix in their broken AI to make work in mmog, would allow Coop to work as well.

"Besides, it's not about whether it's "too hard" as a technical challenge presented in a vacuum. It's about the payoff of retrofitting the game with it now. They think it isn't worth it, you think it is: that's what you call a matter of opinion. "

We were talking applications as in the interview and the fact they are considering a mmog but complain the technical reason they can't do Coop is the AI, then their AI is crap.
As far as payoff they would have made a fortune implementing the Coop they had originally promised and designed the game. As mentioned it's the MOST requested feature.

"Personally, I think coop is the cat's meow. I'm hoping that new Aliens shooter is coop, because if ever there was a game/setting that cried out for it, it's that one."
That would be sweet, indeed.

"I have a counter suggestion: Don't ever talk out of your ass again."

Lol, I will try but I wasn't complaining it was to hard.

"The appeal of this particular profession is that you're required to do six impossible things before lunchtime. That is not, however, the same thing as a predilection for sadomasochism."

Hehe, well you won't get any disagreement about how badly programmers are treated, actually many positions in gaming development,


This comment was edited on Dec 18, 10:43.
 
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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39. Re: Bullshit. Dec 18, 2007, 09:21 Some Dude
 
as I asked long ago in this thread, explain then the point of this thread, how if Coop kills kittens, will they get it in a mmog, which is 99% Coop, well PvE?

Because that would be a new and fundamentally different game. You don't just bolt on MMOness to a shooter, either.

Btw, no one said Coop coded was easy

Yes, actually there were several ignorant statements made to the effect of, "Gee, ALL they have to do is <insert half-assed guess>".

Besides, it's not about whether it's "too hard" as a technical challenge presented in a vacuum. It's about the payoff of retrofitting the game with it now. They think it isn't worth it, you think it is: that's what you call a matter of opinion.

Personally, I think coop is the cat's meow. I'm hoping that new Aliens shooter is coop, because if ever there was a game/setting that cried out for it, it's that one.

If your a coder and want everything easy then you should be working on games like madden where everything is rehashed over and over every year, with no innovation or thought, just a suggestion.

I have a counter suggestion: Don't ever talk out of your ass again. The appeal of this particular profession is that you're required to do six impossible things before lunchtime. That is not, however, the same thing as a predilection for sadomasochism.

To reiterate: It's not hard to do it in the first place but it is fucking stupid to try to put it in after the fact.
This comment was edited on Dec 18, 09:30.
 
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38. Bullshit. Dec 18, 2007, 08:40 Acleacius
 
Fine, all the "Omg their AI is teh, 1337!" people, as I asked long ago in this thread, explain then the point of this thread, how if Coop kills kittens, will they get it in a mmog, which is 99% Coop, well PvE?

Pleez, edumicate us!

If you can't then they are lairs and their AI is shit.

Btw, no one said Coop coded was easy, only promised by the devs and has been fully functioning in other games. Not to mention had the devs worked on Coop instead of this bullshit AI, their game would have been a Huge fucking success, so how smart are they?

If your a coder and want everything easy then you should be working on games like madden where everything is rehashed over and over every year, with no innovation or thought, just a suggestion.


This comment was edited on Dec 18, 08:45.
 
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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37. Re: Worst Comment Thread Ever, Volume 2,459 Dec 18, 2007, 08:17 Some Dude
 
Attention, armchair developers:

Coop isn't something you bolt on like an aftermarket license plate holder. For all of you who seem to think it's just a matter of tossing some data around so that the clients can simulate what the server is up to: Guess what? You're wrong. What you're describing there is basic multiplayer support.

Cooperative play opens a whole other can of worms. Beaming data around is just the simple part. It has nothing to do with "what they had in 1999". That's an ignorant statement; not in an insulting way, just a true one. Getting the game to function correctly in that setting would be a nightmare if you hadn't constructed certain systems with coop in mind to begin with.

Is it impossible? No, nothing is impossible. But I've worked with at least two engines where if I was given a choice between making them work coop or slitting my own wrists, I'd be one dead sonofabitch right now. I'm guessing their programmers said something along the same lines, which was then translated to PR Happyspeak.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled broadcast of second-guessing people who do this shit for a living.

This comment was edited on Dec 18, 08:20.
 
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36. Re: Worst Comment Thread Ever, Volume 2,459 Dec 18, 2007, 06:43 vermin
 
Haha. Seriously this comment as everything on blue's recently is a complete trainwreck.

I'm pretty sure they've been trying to put co-op into the game for the longest time, wasn't it one of the features they originally wanted to have in the game?

The 'life simulation' system they're talking about is not just a fancy name for one on one enemy encounter ai or whatever, but it's the name of the whole system they're running in the background for all the different ai groups and their encounters with each other and whatever. All the random shit you run into in the game that isn't strictly scripted events are results of this system working and constantly creating ai events around you. From what I understand you won't get much of an idea of what this system does if you don't stray much from the main missions or simply don't explore a lot. Honestly, when I've read about it--it's sounded like just a huge headache and not something they got that much back from developing into the game. I imagine they're optimizing and updating it like crazy for the Clear Sky release.

..Having said that I have no idea if this would be easy/hard/feasable to turn into a co-op experience, I just wanted to point out the retarded term they use for this system is supposed to actually be way more than just fancy lingo for something you get in every other game.

I love the idea of a STALKER MMO. They could almost have it as stalker appears right now, where human players could take the role of almost any of the different factions or creatures. I'd want the vehicles in for an eventual mmo version though.

 
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35. Worst Comment Thread Ever, Volume 2,459 Dec 18, 2007, 05:40 ibm
 
Random ignorant bullshit, with maybe one or two posters actually attempting to think.

Taking into account this is a comment thread on Blue's News this is quite a significant occasion.

 
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34. Re: No subject Dec 18, 2007, 04:56 Duc
 
I don't think GSC are liars or fools but possibly they are foolhardy, they spent an awful lot of time developing hugely complicated models and interactions between AI entities but ultimately didn't actually have much to show for their work - behind the scenes the game might be doing some very clever mathematics and modelling thousands of creatures to create the player experience but ultimately the end result was often inferior to the AI that was scripted and 'cheated' like in Half-life or FEAR.

Additionally if the AI life simulation system was never designed to be networked and given they took out co-op because they couldn't figure out how to make it work this isn't that unlikely then chances are that converting it to a networked model now would be not only extremely complicated but something they already failed at once.


 
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33. No subject Dec 18, 2007, 04:33 Hump
 
Sponge, the Life AI was the single biggest reason for the games delay (according to GSC). Not for nuthin' but I tend to beleive that had it been as simple as you claim it would've been done for Clear Sky since it was overwhelmingly the most requested feature for the series. As it is they're not even considering it.

I may be wrong, I'm not a programmer but I elect to beleive the devs over a bunch of hostile forum posters who really haven't made many salient technical points on why it would be such a snap to do.


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This comment was edited on Dec 18, 04:34.
 
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32. Re: What? Dec 18, 2007, 02:45 sponge
 
I believe it can be impossible to do Co-op in stalker, simply because of lag. you have input and outputs the game needs to update between clients, and dependent upon the number of actors and factors that can easily be an amount of data that exceeds what you can do with Ethernet. We are talking about syncing a system that reasonably responsive in ram thats has response times in nanoseconds to something that has response times in miliseconds is a major slowdown.

So STALKER needs fast RAM and low latency, where other games don't? Are you trying to tell me that STALKER is so poorly coded it can not manage something that every realtime network multiplayer game ever created has done?

And what "factors" are there exactly that can't be broken down to heading, velocity, and animation? Be specific if you're trying to deem something as impossible. I don't think you realize just how much bandwidth 100megabits, or 1 gigabit on many home networks truly is.

 
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