Gametrain Manifesto

Conversation! It’s what the Cluetrain Manifesto pushes to business. And now it is time to push it to game designers. People have done the play-against-each-other to death and now they want to play co-operatively. They want in-game conversations, conversations about how they played together, and conversations about how they will play together. All software needs to take this into consideration at the design phase.

Personally – Oblivion is the one game that would benefit fantastically from co-operative play. I don’t mean in a Massively Multiplayer Online RPG type way. I mean in the way a few local friends could hook into their own host and play out the Oblivion war, or perform the Fighters’ Guild quests, or simply raid a ruin for treasure together. All the elements of a great experience exist and need to be integrated, or shoe-horned, together to create such a thing. I don’t have the coding skills but I do have the design skills in creating a believable and internally consistent world for the user-experience!

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Gametrain Manifesto

2 thoughts on “Gametrain Manifesto

  1. I agree 100% on Oblivion, it’s a shame that the multiplayer mod died so quickly after being started. Perhaps this is something Betseda will look into for their next TES game.

    I think your other point is valid too, although co-op has been a mainstay of games for many years (one only has to think back to the side-scrolling beat-em-ups) it was the explosion of the deathmatch genre post-Doom that has skewed the stats a little. The unprecendented success of Unreal Tournament and Counter Strike has continued the trend, but given the profileration of XBOX live there is now much more scope to online gaming, taking it away from its PC roots where such competitive games are the norm.

    One only has to look at the success of GoW/Halo co-op to see that it really has its place. Although I’m concentratiing mostly on FPS/3PS here, it could be that other genres are affected too. Games which are designed specifically with co-op in mind cannot be too far away, as I’m sure they will be a great hit, particularally with the Wii set. All this could indeed be done locally or over the internet, as you say with 2-8 players. I would personally love a TES game with drop-in/drop-out functionality, where you explore alone whilst periodically logiing in to play alongside friends.

    For now I’m happy to wait for Fallout 3, which I’m sure will be a truly great game.

  2. Fallout 3 would be a perfect setting to illustrate the powerful enjoyment co-op for small groups can achieve. Imagine forming a squad to explore the ruins of New Jersey then trekking into the wilds to confirm the existence of a Brotherhood of Steel camp on the east coast. That would be a powerful gaming experience!

    The world need only be persistent for that session BUT being able to save the world in its current state (on the host machine) for future sessions would be a great bonus.

    After installing some mods for Oblivion I’ve concreted my opinion that persistent worlds that allow the player to suspend disbelief are the best experiences. STALKER with the A-Life enhancements and GFX mod achieves this. Oblivion with TIE mod achieves it, too.

    Thanks for the comment – fishboxen.

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