Stream 300, feedback on how i would love multiplayer to work :)

So at the very end of stream 300 @Brackhar and @sdee encourage us to tell how we would like to play with the multiplayer system in the future.

It is so great to finally see the multiplayer function in action and not just hear about it existing in the code, so thanks for that devs! But i was hoping for a bigger system than what is currently presented.

Here is what i would love to play:

First fact.
I would hate to play with @ayazar hahaha, he is such a joker and it would mess up any town i had planned (just in the stream he could not behave, ordering 9999999 beds to made, so Stephanie would end up wondering where all the wood was going!)
But if it was a system like i will show here, Angelo would always be welcome in my town! :wink:

What i imagine is a huge world map, kind of that in rimworld, maybe just a cube or that lovely book @Allie have shown us in the past, and on this map, all of the biomes was represented. Then players could choose a spot to build on. Then the map would end up something like this:

If two players wanted to build a co-op town, they could just do that, but those that wanted a more controlled town could still have a conection to them through the world map.

All the technical stuff with servers, online/offline timezones and all that, would have to be answered, but i have a feeling that there are people that are capeable of that!

There could be npc towns on the map aswell (goblins or orcs and so on) that the players could attack, maybe even bigger towns that required more than one player to take down? Could even be a titan at a location that needed ten players to join forces to be defeated?

Trading could be a big focus, if ressources was divided out through the biomes? So if there was a special metalore (Tin?) that could only be found at a certain biome, then those that had the access could use that as a trading ressource to get a hold of sheeps or varanus skins and so on. Even food could be traded? Maybe someone wanted to focus their town on soilders? then they needed to have access to food from elsewhere?

Well, this might even need to be a reason to limit the number of hearthlings that each town can have?

Living by the coast? whales…hmm whales…?

Visiting other players towns.

The tradingsystem in rimworld is simple and only persist of some caravans, that kind of system could be used aswell. (i dont know about the random chance of the caravan being attacked (that might be fun or not) but when the caravan reached the destination, the player could get access to the towns map where the owner might have an area setup for visitors? So the guest cant change anything on the map, they cant dig or harvest trees and certainly not delete or build anything.
But if the owner had the ability to mark some stuff to be allowed to tamper with? might even be a designated zone? the visitor could interact in some way. Then they could chat and trade (maybe even a mail system if the owner was not online?) Or a small tradeshop where the owner placed the resources they wanted to sell and what they wanted to buy, with a potion of gold or something?

In the end, some towns would get fameous for their great trading, some for their asthetics , others for their military power and so on, and the world of stonehearth would consist of all the player from the community working together to defeat what ever titan or orc campaign that is a threat? More could be added along the way. :jubilant:

I dont see pvp in this, but a common npc enemy that the players can focus on and still play the military focused gameplay would be awesome.

I wont put up my hopes for this kind of system, but i would just love to play stonehearth in that context!

Thanks for reading and i hope the feedback can be of some use.
:merry:

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Wow, thank you for this post :slight_smile: I would love to play a global Stonehearth, but it’s way out of scope for what we’re looking at right now. I promise not to build 9999999 beds - it won’t be possible since Morgan is adding all sorts of input validation to the game haha.

We have thought a bit about a world map multiplayer and I think @Brackhar could speak to that a bit more in detail - but we think that a shared map synchronous multiplayer is where we can build the richest interactions between player’s towns.

You can place your banner anywhere on the map when you start, so it will support separate towns as well and shared towns. We do need to think about how we will give access rights and control to remote players, and need to think through things like multiplayer building.

While it’s not exactly the same, it doesn’t exclude most of the gameplay you mention here, trading, fighting goblin encampments together, visiting other players towns. But it does exclude a more MMO like thing, so when visiting a friend’s town you would be ‘joining’ that game. (That’s interesting thought though, maybe a spectator mode should be added.) I think there’s also a benefit here that each game can have it’s own set of mods running without worrying about the compatibility of their game and the larger ecosysem of the big map.

I can imagine a universe where players could coordinate a global ‘meta game’ of Stonehearth via the forum and an agreed upon set of mods. Trading across games would be difficult, the problem being that there are no centralized servers and any player who is a host can arbitrarily ‘cheat’… I guess a motivated ‘game master’ could setup a number of servers and make them available to players. Anyway it will be interesting to see how people play the game :slight_smile:

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Does synchronous multiplayer in Stonehearth’s case mean session-based matchmaking? With up to a couple of hours of playing you can’t progress a lot, currently. And what if the session gets destroyed? you lose everything?

I’m thinking of (asynchronous) games like Settlers Online or Clash of Clans where you just run your own little world, basically how we play right now, except that you could visit or get visited by others. Ultimately you could set permissions for friends/visitors to build etc. I’m not sure if they then have to deploy a set of heartlings or not?
Unfortunately this kind of persistency requires dedicated servers. There are ofcourse pro’s and con’s to this idea, but I think it would fit the game.

Real time play could still be a thing, but maybe for smaller ‘minigames’. Ideas I have are way out-of-the-box… But an example could be a situation where 2 players ‘race’ each other from A to B. Provided with only a couple of heartlings they have to mine and make way through a series of mountains or other obstacles.
This could also solve the otherwise heavy cpu/network load.

Question; the multiplayer prototype, altough very experimental, worked in a lan.
Is there any chance alpha/beta versions (home network host-client) will be released prior to other, more complex versions?

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What about a “turn-based” type setup? Every “time interval” - hour, few hours, days, or something such - could be a “turn”, passes back and forth between players.

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we’ve tried “pass and play” formats through Discourse before, and they were fairly successful – after a set time, the player uploads their saved game for someone else to have a go with, rinse lather and repeat until the next update hits or the save becomes unplayable.

I think that players will much prefer synchronous multiplayer, but if there’s a way to set up “taking turns” with a minimum of fuss (no extracting, uploading, installing etc. of save games, the game just uploads the latest save to a server and the player with the next turn pulls that save to play) then that could be a cool game mode too. I suppose it comes down to cost vs benefit.

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Synchronous multiplayer for us just means two players playing the game at the same time. It’s not exclusively synchronous though, since it follows a peer to peer Server/Client model. One player hosts a game, and has control over the game’s initial settings, mods that are enabled and when the game is saved/loaded. Other remote clients can connect to the game and during that time it is synchronous multiplayer.

It’s not asynchronous because it requires the host player’s computer to be on and running for you to interact with that town. I want to enable players to host their own dedicated servers, but we’re focusing on steam based ‘join your friends game’ multiplayer first.

So yeah, you won’t lose save data, and we won’t have match making. We’re focusing on co-op with your friends.

The prototype we player on stream does work over LAN, and that tech will eventually ship - but before we do that we’ll certainly ship earlier versions to unstable.

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@Kittyodoom & @YetiChow

I think turn-based could work as a mod, or just as an agreement between players on a dedicated server :slight_smile:

The server will have access to a list of all players, and the ability to kick players, so I could see a mod that automatically kicks people who join when it’s not their turn, and keeps track of other turn state.

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So the base argument against this kind of multiplayer, is that you as the developers dont want to host any servers right? If that is true, i guess i just end up playing the game in singleplayermode, as we are doing now.

I hope that there is alot of players that want to play just with their friends and can get a kick out of that scale.

Thanks for replying @ayazar, i am now better informed and have a better understanding on what you guys vision for stonehearth is :slight_smile:

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for servers, I think it may be worth trying to figure out a way where the AI can be offloaded to a server host so that bigger games can be played for those that have servers and would like to host. no idea if this can even be done, but it seems to me the cpu is the biggest barrier. maybe if things are validated server side it would be simpler to just calculate the whole thing there in the first place? logic is calculate all the AI moves on all the players cpu’s or just do it once server side and send the result to them all over the network. seems obvious to me. this would probably massively simplify sync issues as well

As far as co-op building I think it should be required to invite someone to add input to a design rather than it being a free for all. this will solve mass multiplayer problems as well.

then you can later expand this and create a simple permission system where you can always require an invite, always allow your friends (tied into steam), or always ask.

I also notice a problem with players queuing up jobs to harvest all tree on the map, effectively blocking all other players from ever gathering wood without stealing it.
to me this tells me there should be a claim system of some kind. so each player has the opportunity to claim things on the map and other players are given time to contest it, and if it goes uncontested or they win the dispute then the claim is valid and they gain rights over those claimed things.

how a dispute is resolved? that could be done with duels / jousts so the emphasis is on co-operation but there can still be friendly competition. this way those that want pvp will be satisfied and still have something to look forward to tactically in co-op.

lets be honest I think a lot of players would love to throw down a gauntlet and challenge those that oppose them

really though, this will avoid players always being stuck playing the same roles that they do not necessarily want to play, and requires them to work for the roles they do want. also it could just make for some really fun gameplay as alliances can be made between players, and this would sort of create resource embargos between those that are unfriendly. this one mechanic is all it would take for a really rich multiplayer game

after some more thought perhaps the claim size should also be limited on how many hearthlings you have, up to a set limit. so those that are fast do have an advantage, but it can be made so its not a completely overwhelming ratio. I imagine max claimed area would be around 400x400 blocks, starting at about 100x100 so you could have actual districts in a joint town belonging to different people, that can be disputed, demolished and rebuilt. :smiley:

oh and lastly to go full circle, add permissions to districts as well ranging from, access rights, building rights, trading rights etc

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For the servers thing, that’s actually how the game works right now - the simulation runs on the host’s computer and the clients send commands and get updates. So if playing with a friend, get the friend with the stronger computer to host. That also means that if someone did run a beefy dedicated server, connected clients town sizes would limited by the power of that server.

We definitely need to look at how to easily setup join game permissions, so friends on steam cant join if you dont want them to. Also need to figure out property rights stuff you were speaking about, I personally think a trading system would be fun. The harvest command blocking thing might not be a problem if we let two players issue the same order, then whichever team harvests a given resource first wins. I think that would take away the advantage of marking the whole map.

I super agree with the players playing only the roles they want to play point, for example I like the idea of one player getting specializing in the blacksmith track and then trading high level weapons/armor for food and clothes from another player.

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the specialization think remembers me on my stronghold multiplayer games - i have produce knights on mass and my friend archers xDDD

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In regards to pvp I’d like to see an arena mode where you can risk a party of hearthlings against other people putting parties in the ring. The two parties can fight autonomously while the players look on, and to the victor go the spoils.

Ofc this would require a lot of balance between the classes, otherwise there’ll be a LOT of complaining about cheesy party comps

hmmm i think for this would be generic equipment needed - because 5 vs 5 with the same equipment would be boring xD soo perhaps in some loot chest are weapons and amor with different stats.

or better every equipment has generic stats - and the lvl of the blacksmith gives chances to higher stats

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I definitely think there should be actual rare things to fight mobs for that may give you an advantage, but at the same time you should be able to craft something of a rough equivalent. so an adventurer would not necessarily need a blacksmith and a town-builder would not necessarily have to go out on adventures.

anyway with the claim idea I had, most pvp would be at player decided intervals so rare equipment may mean you do not contest a dispute at all and just allow it until you can craft something that can compete.
the adventurer would have to know their equipment really well and how to use it and made claims to monster farming lands, while the crafter would have had to made claims to a mountainside. what is interesting is when these happen to be the same area. so the competition between the two players actually benefits them both and still progresses similarly to a single player game in a way.

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Extending my pvp idea it could actually work with pve as well. In addition to trading with and seeing other people’s towns, multiplayer in stonehearth could have procedural campaigns that require cooprative play to complete.

Say while exploring you come across a large cave network with a huge end boss. the cave has a warning saying that it’s going to take quite a few well rounded hearthlings to clear this cave out. You could flag yourself as “looking for help here” and set up an expedition with some other players. you’d get what was essentially a raid with a few players controlling a few hearthlings each.

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I really like that idea too, an external threat to set aside your differences. essentially the result is the same in both scenarios. whats cool is how many different ways this can happen.

I guess my point is I don’t want pvp only and I don’t want to be restricted to co-op only. each game should be unique in the way you interact with other players and npcs and I like both these ideas that give you the option to come together for a common goal

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I definitely think any PvP in the game has to be agreed upon by all players involved ahead of time. Anyone not wanting to participate in PvP could play coop mode under their kingdoms banner of truce, unless they decided to waive that right. I personally detest games that want you to spend a lot of time and resources to build your area just so a higher level player can raid you at will. Sadly most of the online games with this style of play these days require you to spend a ridiculous amount of RL money to stay out of combat. I don’t live by the coast…no whales here.

I like the idea of being able to mark off areas where other players could interact. I would even suggest taking it so far as allowing us to gift/sell plots of land on our maps to other players so they could build an outpost there. Once the outpost is built an NPC Trade Ambassador for the other player moves in allowing further interaction like the ability to play on coop world event maps. This could be used as a sort of mail system where players can request a particular type of resource or coordinate plans to take on titans/monsters. We’ll just need to be able to customize our ambassadors which would be a good excuse to start designing a tabard/flag type of system where we can choose our town colors and sigil…just sayin’.

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To be totally honest, i have lost alot of my excitement for the game after the announcement of multiplayer, or at least the way it is going to be at this point.

I was going to clarify deeper with a long text, but i wont, i will just focus on other things than stonehearth.

I hope you all have a great day…

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Yeah i’m not crazy about the direction they’re going anymore either. When I backed this nearly 4 years ago, I never imagined it would turn into a cute SMALL “city building” game. I had hoped it would take itself much more seriously and would provide an opportunity for players to build massive cities or even empires rather than large towns.

Instead, 4 years later - we have turnip turrets, a broken building system that could have easily been worked around (I don’t care how my hearthlings build my buildings, I just care that they build them), no way to expand your settlement really past the size of a large town without the game breaking, and a seemingly constant decrease in transparency with the dev team on progress (we’re seeing less desktop tuesdays and the content of each desktop tuesday is becoming more and more vague).

I maintain hope that the development team will turn things around, but after 4 years my hope is starting to fade.

Alas, such is the risk we run when we kickstart a project.

I don’t know how I feel about Stonehearth’s direction, but I’m not shocked - the game’s been turning to a smaller scale for years. And now, we’re at the awkward point where development feels stuck.I think we’ve seen this silence to some extent at the end of every year, as the team take more vacations for Thanksgiving and the holidays. This year, it just happens to fall when big decisions are being made and there are a lot of behind-the-scenes projects going on at once.

I’m hoping that when the new building editor is done, and with multiplayer already shown off, we see more visible progress again in the future.

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