View Full Version : Multiplayer Campaign Mode?

7th Jul 2004, 04:51
First of all, let me say that being the direct descendant of a French naval officer who served under Napoleon, its magnificent to finally see the era tackled as it should be through computer gaming. I look forward to becoming a member of this growing community and supporting the game in every possible way I can.

The game looks to mimic the famous Total War series in alot of ways, but has plenty of differing features that set it apart in a positive fashion. However, one of the negative aspects of all the Total War games (not sure if Rome: Total War plans to address it), is the lack of the ability to participate in a multiplayer game of the "campaign" mode of the game. After the release of Medieval, there was a show of great public interest for the feature, even though the developers felt that it would be too difficult to organize a multiplayer campaign game. In my opinion ... if gamers are willing to e-mail a game back and forth to play it, I'm confident you'd be able to get a group of dedicated players together occasionally to save/load, etc. over a series of nights.

Either way, I think it'd be interesting to see in Imperial Glory, if not in the original build, if possibly in a later patch, update, or even expansion. Not knowing the slightest regarding computer game development though, I have no clue how difficult it would be to code, let alone coding it into the already existing game structure. Just brainstorming :) .

Keep up the great work!

7th Jul 2004, 16:47
Descendant of a french naval officer, impressive.

Too bad, all they did was stay within blockades, but nevertheless, very cool :-)

Vic Flange
8th Jul 2004, 10:02
Indeed, quite impressive :)

We did consider a multi-player Campaign but decided against it for various reasons:

If you're playing with two or more people, it's fine when you're in the turn-based Management area of the game but as soon as one person starts a battle which is not with another human player, the other player(s) somehow have to 'wait' for a resolution. Watching other people's battles may well get very boring for all but the most dedicated.
One way of getting around this may be to auto-calculate the outcome of battles (and play the whole multi-player Campaign in a Civ-like way), but then you'd miss a big part of the game. So this was another unattractive option for us.
As for playing by e-mail, I'm not sure how popular it would be for a game of this type. I know you can do this in Civ, but it's a different kind of game. With Imperial Glory, you'd also need to resolve real-time player vs player battles at some point and the whole process would become a bit fiddly.

So our conclusion was that we wouldn't be able to offer the same quality of experience you'll get in single player, in a multi-player game. Perhaps some gamers would willing to sacrifice certain things to play against another human, but we'd have look seriously at demand before investing the necessary dev time.

8th Jul 2004, 14:03
On what ways can you connect to a multiplayer game?
In Commandos 3 it's only possible by LAN or GameSpy. The problem is that I can't connect to a GameSpy server somehow.:confused: (I think it has something to with the network I'm on.)
I hope you will include connecting via an IP address. Else I can't play the game online...:(

8th Jul 2004, 21:46
how about something like this:

Instead of playing on a global map, a map is randomly generated, with one player getting one side, and the other getting the other side. This way, when battles come, they are always one player vs another. And each multiplayer campaign is unique.

11th Jul 2004, 15:22
Thanks for the replies!

Yes, Vic, the issues you brought up are basically the same that I've heard M:TW and R:TW developers address on the multiplayer campaign topic. I suppose with this type of gameplay system it really isn't possible for that type of feature to be available. All well, the game will still be great I'm sure.

12th Jul 2004, 19:40
Hi all! I saw this game mentioned in PC Gamer and thought it sounded pretty cool. I have played a few different history RTS games (though I never got into the Total War series) and the era of history this game is based on has always interested me. Enough about me, on to the subject of this topic.

I think that multiplayer campaigns could be fun if they used a notification system. The game would install the notification service on each computer when installing the game. Whenever a multiplayer campaign was started, the notification service would start as well. After a move is submitted to the server (assuming the game will use the conventional server/client system most RTS games use), the players could quit out of the game (as long as they kept the notification service running). The server would decide which battle should be fought first and then notify the players involved. The players would then restart the game and load the battle to be played. This would prevent players from having to do nothing but wait for the players to finish battling.

It is possible that the notification service is not feasable to write or for another technical reason. However, the notification service could be as complex as the developers thought necessary, from as simple as a literal notifier (notifying the players to turn the game back on and reconnect to the server to load the battle they need to play) to a file transfer system (to transfer the battle data to and from the server) to a full scale scheduling system (allowing players to see which battles are going to be played and schedule them according to their own schedules). The only real problem is that the server has to be running continuosly while this is going on (for long periods of time), which is unusual for RTS multiplayer.

12th Jul 2004, 21:13
Originally posted by Willmore
Descendant of a french naval officer, impressive.

I'm the direct descendant of Russian huntsman where's my adulation? :D

I played a network game of Civ before, it got boring. I think you'd have to increase the pace of the game for it to work online, many people (including me :rolleyes: ) are not prepared to spend the hours building the empire before the batteling because you might not have the oppertunity to continue with that game at a later time if it doesn't end in the one session, thats asmuing there'd be multi-player saving at all.

Maybe what you could do is have a purely turn-based campiegn mode with auto-resolve battles, and just a straight off army bashing mode.

13th Jul 2004, 00:09
I'm a great-grandson of a WW2 vet ... but hey, who isn't ?

13th Jul 2004, 11:24
Not me.:(:)

Vic Flange
13th Jul 2004, 12:57
Hi all,

Yes sick, you'll be able to connect IP to IP - it won't be just Gamespy.

On the multi-player campaign ideas-
1) Players on each side of the map:
I think I understand what you mean, but we'd still have the problem of one player having to wait, whilst the other were fighting battles against CPU Empires/independent nations. Or did you mean that there would only be two Empires? If so, this wouldn't really reflect the time period.

2) Notification system:
Technically it could work but it still doesn't get around the "enjoyment" issue. By this I mean that you could still be out of the game for long periods while other people resolved their battles. How enjoyable it'd be for people to do something else whilst waiting for others (and how long they'd be prepared to wait) is debatable. If they came out of the game completely and used a schedule to check when their next battle was, we'd run into problems of people not showing up. Games may also drag on for ages and people might lose interest.

13th Jul 2004, 15:04
I'm a grandson of a WW2 vet, but as far as I know, no relations to Napoleonic era soldiers.

As to the notification idea, you're right that for the casual players, there would be no enjoyment in playing a multiplayer campaign. I'm thinking of the hardcore players, the groups of people who really enjoy the game and would be willing to waste a day playing the game. If the scheduling system was used these type of players would (usually) not be late to scheduled games. Obviously if a player was late to a game, he would forfeit the battle. However, I have no idea how many people would be interested in playing this type of game. The group of potential players maybe too small to justify the feature addition.

By the way, I think it is awesome that the developers are this open and willing to discuss the game with their fans.

17th Aug 2004, 03:51
I know that the chances to have a multiplayer campeign(sp?) mode are slim but i am going voice my opinion anyway. im not sure if u are aware of the amount of people who would spend a whole day playing the same game(no offence intended here just trying make an argument. it would be sort of like a really long game of risk with a much added strategy concept. I have happy memories of playing 6+ hour games of AoM and RoN and actually being dissapointed when they were over. im not sure how relevant my examples have been to the argument. all im trying to say is that if u added a multiplayer campeign it may help convince some of the turn-based crowd to buy this game. if this doesnt convince u i can add another argument of equal or less relevancy to the subject :D. Also if you added that feature it would definitely have me camping outside eb games the night before the release and running in once it opens (assuming i dont get mugged or arrested in a street sweeping operation).

17th Aug 2004, 04:49
going against my statement in another thread, but I'll say it anyway:

You don't need to have multiplayer to play for hours straight, I remember playing the first and second Civilization games for a dozen hours straight a in a period of a month ! With no multiplayer.

Multiplayer is a plus, but not to a degree of creating a superb game, there are plenty non-multiplayer games that are great, Gothic, Civilization, the first CM games.

17th Aug 2004, 14:19
thats a good point willmore. The games still going to be awsome and im still going to buy even without the multiplyer campaign. i also dont know how much work would have to go into a multiplayer campaign as i dont pretend to know anything about how to make a PC game... but maybe we could get a multiplayer camaign on the expansion... maybe

22nd Aug 2004, 19:24
Why not a multiplayer game for only two humans players ? The others palyers will be played by IA.

22nd Aug 2004, 23:06
Are you french ?

In english, it's AI.

2nd Sep 2004, 18:25
Why just tweak a Napoleonic clone of ‘Total War’ when you could really improve on the idea?

"If you're playing with two or more people, it's fine when you're in the turn-based Management area of the game but as soon as one person starts a battle which is not with another human player, the other player(s) somehow have to 'wait' for a resolution. Watching other people's battles may well get very boring for all but the most dedicated."

Not if you let them be commanders too. I.E. let more than one player give orders to the troops of a side as in AOE when two players choose the same color. The teamwork adds tremendous interest, depth and play balance.

I don’t know how popular a strategic multiplayer game would be either but I can tell you I and at least a dozen other gamers I know who would have bought this game won’t now. Battles without a strategic context grow boring in short order and AI is useless except for a tutorial so you can play against real people.

3rd Sep 2004, 07:38
In the Totalwar comunity we tried in several occasion to play Online Campaign created by ourself, but they never ended!! Normally they were stopped by Clan/Group leaving, or upset lately with rules, or just bored.
One of the main problem is to find people that can match a date to play, normally Campaign takes time, and like in some Tourney, you must arrange a date/time to meet to continue playing......That is the most difficult things to do, people is playing from all the world and have lot of different personal interests.

By the way, I'd like to know ho many players could be involved in the Online Multy Battles. This is one of the keys to have succes with this game.

It's nice to see finally someone has realized how much is good the Totalwar way and working on it. Welcome Eidos, I really enjoyed Commandos, I plaied lot of Strat Games, but I'm stick with all TW series from almost 5-6 years now.


3rd Sep 2004, 20:26
We have a LAN and meet once a week so length of game and people showing is not a problem.

Another way to speed things up would be to automatically resolve battles with overwhelming advantage to one side or only allow each player to fight a certain number of battles per month in tactical mode, perhaps you could vary this by commander rating.

The great fault of the ‘Total War’ series which IG seems to resemble, is the tactical battles are too even, too obvious and thus too much the same thing over and over. If there were more of a scenario to the battles, with uneven sides and each player pursuing potentially different objectives unknown to the enemy perhaps you could begin to simulate the interest of a battle which is part of a campaign.

We played the first ‘Total War’ for a few weeks, never bought the others.

4th Sep 2004, 22:15
That's why you talk like that,

Tactical battles too even? Too obvious? Too much the same?
Did you tried playing online with other Humans or just tried with AI of the computer?
There is so much to try and to change:
You can choose an army with Strong Cavarly and weak Infantry, or do the opposite, or choose an army with mainly archers units.
All of theese armies must be played in a different way accordingly to the way they are......
You can build a offensive or defensive army, you can choose different formations, choosing to be more strong on one flank, you can simulate a rout to let enemy think you are loosing, and so on........
This in the first Totalwar.
In the second (Medieval) you can play with several different factions, each of them with some special units. Only English have Longbows and Billmen, only Russians have the Boyars and the Druzinha Cavalry and so on........
After 6 months playing, you will still learn from someone else, just 'cause he did something new.
If you plaied just for few weeks, then I believe you missed something.
Also several storic scenarios have been built, better several people created mods, to use the same engine in Napoleon, Romans,Hellenics,MiddleEarth and other historic or fantasy times.
Still too obvious, too even, too much the same?
Do you know other games where your armies are affected by Morale, Tireness, Highground, Terrain, Weather, position and number of enemies?
Where archers can fire from behind a hill and cannot be hitten by Arbalesters?
Where units can hidden and have a "surprise" effect bonus in a forest?
Where heavy armoured units get tired in sandy desert or snow much faster?
Too much to say....................


6th Sep 2004, 13:32
Yes, it is still too obvious, I tied to give a short explanation, here goes with a bit longer one.

My group is only interested in multi-player strategy games because we have never seen AI that was worth a hoot in hades. When we spot a game with potential some of us will test it then recommend it to the group if it looks good.

I played the first total war campaign against the computer, as did two other members of the group, then I played about 20 hours of battles against the other players who were familiar with it. Then we played about 20 hours with the whole group, not because we thought the game was any good, we knew it wasn’t by then but it looked so cool and had such technical potential we thought the others ought to see it.

It beats me how people who have so much programming prowess can have so little understanding of games.

When ‘Medieval Total War’ came out one of us bought it and reported that it wasn’t significantly different, nevertheless I played about eight hours of muli-player battles with him to be sure.

So much for credentials.

All the stuff about morale, hiding in woods et. is what I call ‘fluff’, for the most part it makes little difference in the play of a strategy game. Strategy games are about making decisions, better decisions than your opponent, ideally the decision should call for difficult or unusual mental function. Making a game pretty or immersively ‘realistic’ is really more for adventure games where the imaginative identification of the story is the most important thing. Once you are familiar with the various capabilities of the units and their behavior under the range of situations there is little strategy in a TW battle. By that I mean the ‘decisions’ are guesses (what is my opponent going to do) or rote (this troop type is best for this). There is an element of timing which could be interesting but even after the improvements in MTW the multi-player battles are just too even and ‘fair’ to be interesting. There is no scenario, no discovery except to determine exactly what your opponent bought and how he deployed it.

It sounds to me as though you are very enthusiastic about the immersive elements in TW and rightly so, it’s a beautiful game experience, it’s just not what we want, which is brain exercise.

6th Sep 2004, 15:52
The brain is exercised during the battle,

It's not just choosing army and formation.
When the battle starts both players (or both team if a team battle) start moving according the enemy, and you must take decision in very short time. It's like a chess game. Any time you loose, it's cause you did something wrong, specially on completely flat maps, where terrain and nature is not giving any advantage to the defender.
You win or loose a battle with your decisions, and timing is absolutely relevant. Arriving too late with a cavalry on the enemy flank will result in a lost battle that potentially you could have won.
When someone want to join our team, must play at least for 2 weeks just to be considered, at leat for 2 months just to have authorization for play official tournament in name of the team.
Other teams ask for months of playes just to consider you.
With this I mean that this is not a game you can appreciate in 20 or 40 hours, those are not enough even to start compete with other peoples. If you just try online after so small test, you will probably loose 10 battles over 11, even having some advantaged maps. And those loss wil be just 'cause your decisions were wrong.
Anyway it seems to me that is not what your team is looking for.


7th Sep 2004, 13:01
I did say that timing was the only interesting part.

It’s not the number of decisions, or the speed with which they are made, these things can indeed make a game hard to play but not in the way chess is hard to play, more like the way tennis is hard to play.

It’s the quality of decisions that makes a strategy game and in TW the quality is just OK. Actually it’s probably good by computer game standards but that’s only because the standard is appallingly bad.

What we want from a game is first, that it be multi-player because AI is a joke.
Second, that it allow for as wide a skill level as possible to play together with enjoyment.
Third, that it make use of as wide a variety of brain functions as possible.
Fourth that is be satisfying to play for as wide a range of reasons as possible.

Chess, for example does well on the first, very poorly on the second and poorly on the third and fourth.
TW battles do well on the first poorly on the second and third and OK on the fourth.

Perhaps what bothers me about TW is how it could have so easily been a great game and instead it slipped to mediocrity because the designers just didn’t seem to understand game design.

BTW you are quite right about it taking many hours of play to become very good at TW battles, we could see that straight off, the reason it didn’t interest us was because it was like becoming good at a sport, where you train your reactions and become supreme by familiarizing yourself with all possible combinations. As you say, not what we were looking for.