Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

General discussion for players of Oolite.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Staer9 » Sun Apr 24, 2011 12:55 pm

Ahruman wrote:
Staer9 wrote:seeing as oolite 2 is going to be re-writen from scratch
Whatever gave you that idea?
I just presumed it due to the speach you gave on another thread, but I guess I was wrong...

I have decided to remidy my uselessness as a programmer... I have programed basic flight for a boa in a silly little blender simulation, I havn`t got very far yet though. for people who actually use blender (which I realise are few) the sim can be downloaded here: http://www.4shared.com/file/LGADLw_G/boa.html
it took 10 minutes including modeling the rotating station.

there is programming hope for me yet...
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by tentacle » Sat May 14, 2011 10:39 am

As much as I love the idea of multiplayer, I've just about hated all the MMOGs I've ever played, from the early MUDs to the current crop of WoWabees. The presence of other live players should make the world more alive, but usually it ends up breaking immersion instead. People just don't roleplay, neither in speech nor gameplay style, and I've yet to find any MMO with a world that feels anywhere near as interesting as the best single-player games.

I'm exaggerating, a bit, but it is true that trying to encourage humans to play "properly" is one of the biggest challenges that every online game deals with.

Hence I still find it odd we haven't seen more attempts at a limited or pseudo-online element, that would allow for much greater control but also is infinitely simpler to code. Demon's Souls comes to mind, but also the bones files and high scores in nethack, or the classic door game LORD, for example. The whole aim is to make a single-player computer-generated universe feel more alive and unpredictable with the least possible effort, not to turn it into a multiplayer universe.

So just to toss up some ideas, some probably trivial to code, others less so, but none anywhere near as major as a complete rewrite:
- bones files: when you die, your wreck and a final mayday message or SOS beacon are uploaded to the internet. During play, your game will occasionally/randomly download some of these and add them into your universe for you to stumble upon. Maybe finding said player's corpse and delivering it to a proper funeral home earns some money. It could be a whole new profession :)
- auction/trader: selling items to a special dealer in stations will put it up for sale or auction online. This should be limited and apply perhaps only to rare artifacts, to avoid upsetting balance.
- message/news boards at stations. maybe not a full discussion forum, no point in that imho, but perhaps notable events or major deeds would be logged and advertised to all, perhaps allow the player a one-line comment or something just for flavor.
- when you enter a specific area, "register" that online (like foursquare :lol: ), and if others are there as well, the game could say "Joe is in the area" and spawn a copy of that remote user's ship into the system (just another AI ship, but same name, ship, and equipment). Allow a simple in-game chat or even just simple greet/give/offer/request functions.
- replicate major universe actions to other players. the more we'd implement and define such major actions, the more possibilities it opens. for example destroying a space station would cause it to disappear for others as well(replaced by an apologetic message from the govt and 'under construction' graphic for a period of time), or destroying a mining operation would cause a spike in prices at the local stations with a corresponding news entry, or killing enough pirates/cops would result in an excess of the opposite (and again a corresponding news entry), etc. This could go on and on, e.g. allow a user to set up a pirate base and it would affect that area of the universe (more pirates, economic effect, etc) in every player's game, and correspondingly bring in income to the owner of the pirate base. The more player go out and destroy the base (thus removing it from their game), the more the owner of the base sees it as increased govt presence and decreases in pirate income, until eventually if enough players do it, the base is actually destroyed in the owner's universe as well.
- all sorts of rankings and top scores could be posted at stations.

Basically there are many ways we can create fake links between individual single-player games, without much coding effort. It's all faked and static (none of this has to happen in realtime, but could just be loaded in during startup, or during save/load operations), but in my opinion can add a huge amount of immersion and fun to the game.

But I think it's just me, cause almost no games do anything like this. It's either online or offline, period.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Zireael » Sat May 14, 2011 11:01 am

I think there were some fake links ideas before, and they were dropped because Ahruman? (I think it was him) pointed out that some people might not wish their bones files/save files/whatever uploaded, or might not wish to download anything.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by maik » Sat May 14, 2011 11:20 am

Actually I quite like some of tentacle's ideas. If it is turn-off'able then the sentiment that you just echoed should be taken care of as well.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Disembodied » Sat May 14, 2011 11:29 am

Hi tentacle, welcome to the board! Friendliest place this side of Riedquat, so they say ... :wink:

I agree with your assessment of the problems of MMOGs, personally. I think the only hope there is to make a game where the point is to be a jerk ... but the pseudo-online element is an interesting one. I think Spore did something like this, didn't it? Player-generated creatures would get uploaded and could be discovered by other players when they went off exploring the galaxy? Or was that killed off by all the sporn (a development that managed to be both funny and disheartening at the same time).

Part of the problem with any kind of multiplayer, pseudo- or otherwise, in Oolite is that we've all got different universes, with different ship sets, different moods and even different ideas about what's possible. There's a lot of appeal to the idea of a pseudo-multiplayer game, but I think it would require the creation of a kind of "official" (or at least "official-pseudo-multiplayer") version, with a limited number of OXPs, and some sort of editorial committee who would make decisions on anything new that gets added in. People would opt in to a controlled version of the game, which would get over any objection about uploading bones files etc., and might get round some of the issues about security.

The alternative would be some kind of text-only cross-referencing: maybe based around newsflashes. If other players' actions (or a pre-determine and non-OXP-specific type) could generate in-game "news", then maybe these reports could filter through as bulletins. This could get round time differences, and other differences, between different players' versions of the game.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Smivs » Sat May 14, 2011 11:58 am

Hi tentacle, and welcome. Some nice ideas there.
A bit of what you've suggested is already sort of in existence.
News and tales of dering-do can be found in the Tales from the spacelanes and Screenshots threads, and RIPs are often reported in The Oolite Darwin Awards.
Also many of the regulars here stay in touch via The Oolite Chatroom, where we natter throughout the day, often even while trading/hunting/pirating etc.
There are also OXPs for news bulletins etc which are more 'in-game'. Have a look at the OXP Table on the Wiki.
Cheers,
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by tentacle » Sat May 14, 2011 2:50 pm

Hi all and thanks for the warm welcome.
Smivs wrote:A bit of what you've suggested is already sort of in existence.
I see what you mean, but imho if it's out of game it's not helping my in-game immersion much, even if it does indirectly add quite a lot to a game (community is very important). I'll take a look at the OXPs you mention. Maybe OXPs could be used to provide some level of what I was talking about. I'm not much of a coder but I'll try poking around.
Disembodied wrote:Part of the problem with any kind of multiplayer, pseudo- or otherwise, in Oolite is that we've all got different universes, with different ship sets,
Point taken. Some things could be made generic and high-level enough not to be in any way dependent on the specifics of your particular game. But I can see how some (e.g. deeply affecting economy) might require a more controlled game build. I guess it depends very heavily on the specific case, but in some cases it might also be possible to scale it. E.g. new mining operation constructed increases supply by 50% as opposed to by a specific amount. But it wouldn't always be that easy of course.
Disembodied wrote:The alternative would be some kind of text-only cross-referencing: maybe based around newsflashes.
That sounds pretty easy to do (famous last words). In fact it reminds me of one of the very first times I thought of this whole pseudo-online thing, which was playing FOFT, an early Elite clone. In it you'd get galactic news in your ship's cockpit while travelling and I thought it would've been awesome if those newsflashes were actually really things happening in other people's games.
You just have to make sure it's not just a boring log..."Joe destroys station Boo", "Jack destroys station Foo", "Jack destroys Joe", zzzzzzz. So you'd have to try and have variety, have the news threshold quite high, and maybe also throw in the "comment" idea mentioned earlier, e.g. "Jack destroys station Foo and when asked to comment, said: 'foobar!!'".

Another one for my fantasy pot:
- allow players to purchase planetary bodies (or build settlements/colonies?) which would then allow them to customize its name/description and maybe some other minor stuff. Randomly download some of these into the game world occasionally. They wouldn't do anything, it's just pee on fire hydrants, but being able to run into "player-generated content" (to use a wholly inadequate buzzword) like this on occasion might add some flavor. Throw in the player's ship flying around randomly for you to kill for extra fun :)

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Selezen » Mon May 16, 2011 11:32 am

http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=9186

My take on a similar concept and the comments in response.

I think the end opinion was that if it could be written up into a detailed specification for what would be required in the Oolite codebase and how it would interface with the OXP then it would be considered (if there was enough demand).

Love your ideas though...

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by tentacle » Mon May 16, 2011 4:41 pm

Thanks for the pointer to the thread, that was interesting.

If we dumb this whole thing down for simplicity's sake:
- one function for sending an ASCII string to a remote SFTP server (or twitter ;) )
- another to fetch the last X strings which would be stored in a local cache (or just in memory?) that would be run (for example) on game load.
- OXPs would need some way to interface to the sending function, and a way to query the cache.
- The rest is up to the OXP.

It's been a long day so probably I'm way underestimating the complexity. I guess I'll have to download the code and poke around, if I find the time.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Switeck » Sat Jun 11, 2011 7:02 pm

Just to reiterate, as a result of CommonSenseOTB's post here:
http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=142587#p142587

A Massively Multiplayer version of Oolite is effectively impossible because of:
1.The requirements of a fixed, persistent universe based on a preset list of OXPs. The OXPs used are extremely varied.
2.central server requirements -- for bandwidth, location (so people over the oceans aren't at horrid pingtimes), and staffing.
3."Policing" the player's behaviors -- this board needs Spam Assassins, a MMO for Oolite would need far more.
4.Increases the likelihood of being sued by MMO-based gaming companies for violation of their patents and copyrights for how MMOs work.

Having said that, a synchronized multiplayer game might be possible where everyone agrees to have the same OXPs...but even that is of limited value unless everyone is in the same system and launches from the station at the same time. Docking/relaunching from stations will have to be handled differently than the 10 minute game time "loss" currently given. Reloading/buying ship equipment likewise adds immensely to game time.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by SandJ » Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:04 pm

Switeck wrote:Having said that, a synchronized multiplayer game might be possible where everyone agrees to have the same OXPs...but even that is of limited value unless everyone is in the same system and launches from the station at the same time. Docking/relaunching from stations will have to be handled differently than the 10 minute game time "loss" currently given.
Indeed. An online Elite would need a completely different engine (with a different set of physical laws too to handle the time constraints).

A First Encounters rewrite would work much better then Oolite rewrite. It has the missions, message boards, entire system scanners and inter-ship comms that a multi-player game would need.

Oolite is open source; that means I can tailor it to be the game I want today. Yesterday I wanted to be an explorer and completed a downloaded mission. Today I want to be a trader and scooped up downloaded cargo, tonight I was planning some mining of custom downloaded asteroids and tomorrow I may undertake downloaded Galactic Navy tasks.

It is MY game and I can play it how I want.

An online game needs common rules to make it fair but this Oolite implementation is like Solitaire: I can cheat to my heart's content and nobody else knows or cares. That is not acceptable for an multi-user game.
Switeck wrote:Reloading/buying ship equipment likewise adds immensely to game time.
It also upsets the balance; someone who has been playing for a couple of hours is indestructible to someone joining anew. With the existing game engine, newbies would be killed on sight and there would he just a handful (or even just one) of smug gits whizzing round in flying fortresses.

A multi-user Oolite would need a ground-up redesign.

(Says he who has spent the past 20-odd years working in multi-user systems design and development.)
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Switeck » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:40 am

SandJ wrote:
Switeck wrote:Reloading/buying ship equipment likewise adds immensely to game time.
It also upsets the balance; someone who has been playing for a couple of hours is indestructible to someone joining anew. With the existing game engine, newbies would be killed on sight and there would he just a handful (or even just one) of smug gits whizzing round in flying fortresses.
That would not be as big a problem as it might seem at first glance. Linking up to a multiplayer game would not be a MMO, instead it would be far more like a LAN game. You would have to agree with others to run with the same OXPs installed -- or those who have already bought the extra OXP equipment would just lose it. The players "coming to the table" would/could/should already have decided ground rules for the game: cooperation, competition, or "neither"...hoping for chance encounters at most. You run into griefers (those who cause only grief) that way, reload from savegame from before the start. :mrgreen:

Unless told where other players are, in Oolite's vast universe you probably wouldn't find them.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by commanderxairon » Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:38 am

Switeck wrote:Just to reiterate, as a result of CommonSenseOTB's post here:
http://aegidian.org/bb/viewtopic.php?p=142587#p142587

A Massively Multiplayer version of Oolite is effectively impossible because of:
1.The requirements of a fixed, persistent universe based on a preset list of OXPs. The OXPs used are extremely varied.
2.central server requirements -- for bandwidth, location (so people over the oceans aren't at horrid pingtimes), and staffing.
3."Policing" the player's behaviors -- this board needs Spam Assassins, a MMO for Oolite would need far more.
4.Increases the likelihood of being sued by MMO-based gaming companies for violation of their patents and copyrights for how MMOs work.

Having said that, a synchronized multiplayer game might be possible where everyone agrees to have the same OXPs...but even that is of limited value unless everyone is in the same system and launches from the station at the same time. Docking/relaunching from stations will have to be handled differently than the 10 minute game time "loss" currently given. Reloading/buying ship equipment likewise adds immensely to game time.
i think that the sollution is to make a private server side oxp app that host that specifical server oxp's and players who wants to connect must download them in order to play like the update servers in doom connect that downloads the waads to your pc or the update servers on ragnarok online private servers that download their patches to the base skaray clients so the server's anatomy would be

Update server

game server

Login server

i think is doable in apache and mysql with a java basis like lineage private servers i dont think that oolite shares more data that a UDK based game!
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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by Switeck » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:40 pm

A system can have 100's of objects, many of which are full computer-controlled NPC ships.
Laser fire can be seen sometimes from much further away than the firing ships can...but only lasts for a second.
Keeping all that synchronized for all players gets exponentially harder as you add players.

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Re: Oolite Multiplayer? Please read

Post by DaddyHoggy » Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:54 pm

Look at the Portico HLA RTI or Open DIS, two simulation standards that are designed to allow interoperability between networked computer systems but reprogramming Oolite to incorporate these types of efficient bandwidth users will be a mighty task!
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