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I have been digging in my old ‘Sierra archives’ and found a letter from you Ken, dated september 13, 1993.
I Quote (part of the letter):
“Thank you for assisting me in trying to figure out what a multiplayer adventure game could look like. I have received hundreds of letters which the design team and I will be reading over the next few weeks. Detailed design will start in August with the goal of producing a game by next summer”
What happened with the development of this game? Was it technically not possible, or were there other problems that the design team couldn’t solve?
A multiplayer adventure game in 1994, Sierra was sure looking forward, in a time without broadband internet 🙂
(re: Letter from the past) Sierra gave a LOT of time and effort to thinking about multiplayer adventure games, but never really came up with an idea that worked. We had all the technology and servers, but weren’t sure how to design a game that would be fun.
One effort was a game called “The Realm” for our online games network, INN. It was a HUGE success, but the game was more of a RPG than an adventure game.
We added multiplayer capability to some of the adventure games that shipped towards the end – I think Shivers. It was not much more than just a chat room that connected you with others playing the game at the same time. Almost no one used this feature — although, remember, this was in the pre-broadband days.
I tried to add some multiplayer capability to every product — even Bass Fishing and The Incredible Machine had multiplayer capability. From all this, I was hoping I would grow to understand better what might make a good multiplayer adventure game, but nothing ever emerged.
But, we did try…Hopefully someday someone will solve this riddle – how to do a great multiplayer adventure game, that doesn’t turn into an RPG game. Actually, there was a lot more to do in The Realm than just fight. Perhaps it WAS the first multiplayer adventure game. I’m sure that we have former Realm players on this site. Maybe one or more of them will comment on this.
(re: Letter from the past – multiplayer adventure game)
i have been trying to figure out this for a long time. i came up with the idea of having the adventure game being just 2 player. the players would have different but equal roles in the adventure. they could do things like explore different parts of the same location and pick up items. then they could meet with each other and manipulate and share each others inventory. being a huge bond fan, i wanted to make it a spy adventure. this way they could be 2 secret agents that can work together to solve a problem. this would give lots of cool posibilities like if one gets caught, the other get them out, or distact a gaurd and the other sneak up behind the gaurd and knock him out. they could also be in constant contact with each other with their walkie talkies, or spy watches like bond, which can now be done thanks to broadband. i havent really thought about it in a while though, but i am a programmer and have a couple of servers and would be willing to make something like this if some others would help, like artists. the only thing i didnt really come up with was what to do about not having another player. like, is there a stupid bot? we all know how they work. or do you only allow multiplayer? can you support any second player, or only the original one that started the story with you? i thought there could be checkpoints where anyone could be swithed with anyone else that was to that checkpoint. i would like everyones thoughts please. i think its a good solid idea. i know everyone was probably thinking about a massive multiplayer, but i dont really see that happening. but 2 or even 3 players is probably possible. i would love to get something going with this idea. please tell me what you all think.
(re: re: Letter from the past – multiplayer adventure game)
Ken – Have you been following the release of URU? The standalone version was released a few months ago, and I think the online component is now public. I am not a big Myst fan and don’t have broadband — two reasons I’ll probably never try it. But, it’s the first real attempt at a multi-player adventure game. Seems some people are really enjoying it.
(re: re: re: Letter from the past – multiplayer adventure game)
Here is the link for the live version.
(re: Letter from the past)
Thanks for your answer, Ken!
Has anyone ever heard of Capcom’s upcoming Resident Evil: Outbreak (for Playstation 2)?
I was able to play it on several occasions, and my first impressions are really positive. In my opinion, it has several really cool elements that would be perfect to use in a multiplayer adventure game. First a quick intro: you play online with four people, each player has its own specific character. You’re in a bar when zombies start invading the place. The police officer has a gun, so he can shoot the zombies, while another person searches for a key to get out of the place. Ofcourse, he could just get the key and leave the others to be eaten by the zombies …
Now, that would be possible, but not a smart move (this is the brilliant twist): When a player gets bitten often by a zombie, he turns into one himself. So an infected player can begin haunting the other ‘real’ characters … Not only would the egoïstic player be confronted with more intelligent zombies, he would also have more problems solving the puzzles ahead. He can’t run into a dead end, but some puzzles would take a lot more time without the proper person present. So, every player would act wise to ‘keep the team together’.
All scenario’s are also playable offline. The other 3 persons are computercontrolled in this mode … It’s looking to be quite brilliantly designed, if you ask me …
(re: Letter from the past – multiplayer adventure game)
I just read that URU Live is being taken down, and the content that was developed for it will be released as expansion packs instead. Apparently they couldn’t support the number of online users they would have needed to to be profitable.
So, I guess there is still no successful model of a multiplayer adventure game…