Deus Ex coop modification to play the singleplayer storyline in multiplayer.

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I feel that actions you take are permanent turned out to be one of HX key strengths, because it removes the reload and retry gameplay of the Deus Ex singleplayer. Any kind of save or resume feature would break that strength. Instead I add features which makes it more pleasant to start the game at a later mission.

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During the last couple of days Jay nudged me about adding a save game feature to HX so I spent some time this morning evaluating how to technically do this. As soon as I came up with a solution I couldn't help the feeling that as soon as i would add this feature i would fall back to Deus Ex singleplayer behaviour and the back of my head would be nudging me about reloading the game if something didn't work out as I wanted it to be. But one of the things I really enjoy in playing HX is that you are freed of that burden. Things are permanent. Period.

As the main reason for a save system was to be able to continue the game at some later point it became apparent that a resume system instead of a save and reload system would be a compromise. First idea was to make it map based so you would resume at the beginning of the current map, but it just felt like this would be some indirect save and reload system again, and my head would still nudging me. One further step back would be to make it mission based, so you would resume at the beginning of the current mission, but that didn't turned out to feel different, but I got a great idea what to do instead. So I made my descission:

HX will not have a save or resume feature. Period.

So without a resume feature it becomes even more important to make the start at a later mission as pleasant as possible. So lets recap what makes up the progress in Deus Ex:

  • Skillpoints and Skills
  • Augmentations and Augmentation Upgrades
  • Inventory
  • Flags (NPCs beeing freed or killed, violent behaviour in first mission, etc.)
  • NanoKeys

The first two points are already accounted for as you can set additional Skillpoints, Augmentations and Augmentation Upgrades when starting a new game. Inventory is secondary, as you are well equiped after the first or second map.

So my idea which ultimatly lead to the descission to not have a save or resume feature was that one can randomize what happened in previous mission. So you would get a random collection of NanoKeys, while the easy to find would be granted with a fairly high chance and the hard to find NanoKeys with a lower. Also descission whether you fled through the window and let Paul be killed or if you killed Anna already would be at random. That sums up to beeing just a minor penalty to start at a later mission and makes it each time you start there a bit different and let you experience gameplay elements in Deus Ex which you might have missed if you do by fall back to the same patterns each time you play Deus Ex.

Comments
Capt.Host
Capt.Host

I actually don't like this idea very much :/
I think it would be more interesting to have something like the system in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory.

You'd start the mission with your coop friend, and you were allowed to have one and only savegame from which you could reload from. I don't mean that you can only save once in the entire mission, but that instead every savegame you do will replace the previous, but you can make as many as you want. However, if you did a bad save, after you've done something that would eventually turn out wrong, you would have to restart the entire mission, even if you were at the very end. This also implies there would be a checkpoint save after each mission completed.

I think that in a game like DX, your progress is your own, because the game gives a lot of importance to what you do/choose as the player. I don't think it should ever be randomized.

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Hanfling Author
Hanfling

As you rarely load a savegame which is not the latest one, the Splinter Cell system in the ends breaks down to being the nearly the same as an unlimited system.

The progress you make would still be your own for the parts you played, but will be random for the parts you didn't play.

But I agree that it would be nice to have the progress one made earlier, but beeing able to reload would break what works great in HX: You have to deal with what happened.

Even right now it works great to start the game at some later missions while the only thing beeing slightly annoying is that you have no NanoKeys at the start.

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Capt.Host
Capt.Host

Well, you're the developer, but I think that ultimately this is the kinda of thing players would love as an option, and not a definitive feature.
Having the option to start from a certain mission with random conditions or saving/reloading our own game.

However, I don't speak for everyone, and I'd actually like to see the other fans' opinions to know what ideas they share with us.

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Hanfling Author
Hanfling

Maybe another idea would be to influence the chance how the outcomes are random generated by what the players did the last times they played it. E.g. if you kept Paul alive, the next time you start a new game at a later mission Paul would have a higher chance to be alive.

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|Totalitarian|
|Totalitarian|

"But I agree that it would be nice to have the progress one made earlier, but beeing able to reload would break what works great in HX: You have to deal with what happened."

GMDX's hardcore mode doesn't completely eliminate reload abuse, but it makes it far less desirable. Even your suggestion of mission-based saves is punishing and permanent enough because it boils down to this: The longer you go without saving the less tempting it is to reload, so just have your saves mission-based.
Few people are going to reload the game at the warehouse level if it sets them all the way back to UNATCO.

I for one am not a fan of permadeath (especially not in a 25 hour long RPG epic), for me it is even less desirable than degenerate unlimited saving, but options on how you want to play is always good, so go for permadeath (insane mode), mission-based (normal), or GMDX-style (easy in comparison to the latter) all as options.

Anyway, if you want I can just give you GMDX's code which will be easily tweak-able and will save time.

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Hanfling Author
Hanfling

Your major misconception is that singleplayer concepts translates exactly to multiplayer, but Deus Ex plays, like each game, way different in coop. As usual the focus shifts away from story to a more aggressive/offsensive gameplay. It's basically the same happening in Unreal, where you barely used the Translater in coop, while you could spent quite some time using it in singleplayer. Also players tend to play more offensive/aggressive compared to singleplayer.

So it's a noticable different feeling comparted to singleplayer, but it does feel great as it is, so why shouldn't I focus on things which makes it great in coop? Also there is no such thing as a permadeath -- players respawn like it's used to be in multiplayer coop games so no permadeath can ever happen (despite that Deus Ex in coop is probably not even half of the 25 hours as you stated, and there is one only larger mission - Hong Kong). And personally I never felt it as any kind of penalty to start the coop at some mission start. I select my prefered augs and aug ups, setup the server and go ahead. After a few minutes of playing I have again tons of equipment.

Thanks for the offer, but your GMDX singleplayer only code is of little use to me.

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dev221117
dev221117

Diablo 2 style, I see. Neat.

I think one problem you would need to solve is giving low tech focused players good weapons in later levels. The best weapon in the low tech skill class is the Dragon's Tooth, yet it's very rare and pretty hard to get after Hong Kong. There are batons and knifes but they are inefficient at frontal combat even at the highest skill level. I suppose combat strength could help in a pinch but I'm skeptical.

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Hanfling Author
Hanfling

Thanks for bringing up the NanoSword point, I have not thought about that yet. Do you know if it shows up at some later points? I just knew about a WIB in 06_HongKong_MJ12Lab and MaggieChow in 06_HongKong_Storage, so one can assume that for 2 Player both could have a NanoSword at that point. One matching location to put another one in later in the game would be 14_OceanLab_UC. However, after having the NanoSword the game tends to degenerate to smashing everything with the NanoSword, which is not that great in particular. An good idea might be to make later NanoSwords no to easy to get like giving them to MIB/WIB.

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Guest
Guest

Sounds like you're making Deus Ex just to be a bunch of multiplayer frenzied random encounters, instead of a continuous epic story which you mold as your own through the choices you make at every different corner.

I'd rather replay from the beginning at each co-op session rather than having everything be reset back to random each time a session is started.

I'm sorry, but to be blunt I think the idea sounds stupid to have as the only mode of playing co-op. I would suggest having a server option that disallows saving the game and another to activate the randomness. This way you can choose, and choice is good. Heck, why not have savegames disabled from the beginning and randomness on by default. What about a timelimit for how often you can save a game. Besides, if people in co-op choose to paly the game by save-load-save-load-save-load until success, that's their choice to do. A dumb choice. A choice which ruins the experience, but a choice nonetheless.

Choice is the foundation of Deus Ex. Take that away and it'll be no better than some random FPS.

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Hanfling Author
Hanfling

Without the randomisation when you start at a later mission point you would only get the default (e.g. nothing happened before), which is pretty annoying because you have no nanokeys, each time Anna is alive, etc. and doesn't feel particular right.

However as most people seems to be uncomfortable about a lacking save feature -- which is not a feature coop games usually offer -- I'll reconsider adding a resume at mission start and some (unsupported) commands for saving/loading the game. However, keep in mind that saving in mp really sucks. For network reasons you can just do this during at map change, so saving the map would always involve a map change and as player count can vary, etc. you would be put to spawnpoints at map start/where you entered the map each time you save the map.

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spooky-45
spooky-45

That's a bad idea and there should be an open save system or a checkpoint system. Games like this are designed around experimentation. Something like perma death is a self imposed restriction for veteran players. Random loot if you die doesn't make any sense in a game as calculated as this. You are rewarded for exactly as much effort as you put in. Dumbing that down to rng ruins aspects of playstyles and specialization.

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spooky-45
spooky-45

System shock 2 did it right. The game is left entirely in tact but with the ability to play coop. Gimping the game and then ignoring choices the players made in favor of rng is not a good way to go about it.

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