Multiplayer and exploration

I’ve been thinking about Multiplayer, especially in the light of the recent Desktop Tuesdays on Exploration.

Currently, the primary mode of the game is:

  1. Single player
  2. Pausable
  3. Focused on building a village and villagers
  4. Advancement is largely gated by the capabilities of your crafters.

In an exploration mode of the game, all of 1-4 become optional. You generally don’t need to pause, which means multiplayer is more easily supported. And of course you can discover new items and tools to upgrade your village and crafters.

Meanwhile, a multiplayer mode would be very different than 1-4. I’m not sure how you implement pausable multiplayer, which really strict the ability to plan and build a good town.

Since time will likely pass differently in the single and multiplayer modes, then this means they should be implemented in different areas/zones. The exploration mode can be the bridge between the two, since it works well in both the single-player and multiplayer paradigm. The explorers could use portals/roads/caves/rivers to travel off-map between areas/zones.

Given that preamble, here’s my suggestion:
*Implement one or more ‘explorer classes’. Existing classes, like the trapper, footman, or shepherd could also be adapted to this.
*Implement a sleeping bag or tent item that allows explorers to comfortably rest away from town
*Explorers can automatically wander around, looking for new tools and magic items, and portals off map.

Once an explorer enters a portal, they disappear from the map from some time. After a while, they discover a new zone, and they come back with a report of valuable resources, friendly folk, monsters, and treasures in that zone.

At this point, the player has a couple of options:
*If the zone doesn’t interest you, send the explorer out again to find a different zone
*You can send an expeditionary force of soldiers and explorers to pacify the area
*If the monsters are too difficult for you alone, you can invite one or more friends to send an expeditionary force at the same time as you.

The expedition takes place in real time, and lasts until either the major monster presence is defeated, or when the players are.

If the expedition is successful:
*the players split the treasure
*the initiating player has the ability to colonize the area, by placing an outpost there. Once colonized, the zone reverts to single-player/pausable mode, and the player can send workers to mine, harvest, etc. There should be a limited number of outposts each player can have, but they should be able to remove an outpost once they’ve taken the resources they want.
*It may provoke nearby/related monsters to revenge/attacks on the main village.

If the expedition is unsuccessful:
*some of the force dies
*some of the force is captured (and can be ransomed)
*some make it back. This should depend on the type/difficulty of the monsters.

This model has several advantages:

  • There’s no direct connection between zones, so they can easily have different biomes without worrying about transitions. This should make things easier for modders too.
  • There’s no ‘distance’ that the explorers have to travel once they get to the edge of the map, so there’s an infinite supply of nearby zones to be exploited
  • It allows for time to pass differently in different zones, allowing for mixing of single and multiplayer modes
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I read a post where they suggested a timer for while you party is away from home village that way when you go back to your home village to continue building that timer counts back and is the exact amount of time it takes for you party to come back home. Otherwise, I really like your ideas.

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I am also partial to this instanced multiplayer idea, and it’s likely how it will be implemented from what I’ve gathering in the two exploration DTs