Multiplayer Options

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Multiplayer Options

Post Apr 1st '19, 17:00

So I was toying around with the multiplayer in Marathon Infinity, testing a couple multiplayer games between my desktop and my laptop, and I'm wondering if it would be possible to implement a couple features.
(I assume this should be posted on this thread, since this is really about using Aleph One for multiplayer and not the original Marathon build.)

There's really two things that are really bothering me, and a couple incidental ones.
First of all, is there any way to set up a "every man for himself" match to end for BOTH a time limit and a score limit, (Or rather, an either-or,) instead of being just one or the other?
And the second thing, is there any way to set up a map cycle? So that after a match, after the score is displayed for a couple seconds, a new match starts up on a new map? As opposed to just returning everyone to the main menu; just have the game play through matches indefinitely.

The real reason I'm looking for this is because in a couple months I'm going to be hosting a classic games LAN party at a local gaming convention, and I'd like to have Marathon on the list of games people can play.
But the way things are set up at this con makes it extremely inconvenient to set up a new match every ten minutes. People are just coming and going, and most of the people are playing these games for the first time. (Probably especially true for Marathon, I'm sad to admit.) I can't always just leave people to themselves to set up games; it works much better if I can set the games up already and people can just sit down at a computer and play.

Marathon would be great for this event because it has maps designed exclusively for multiplayer, so it has some great multiplayer content that people don't need to be already specifically familiar with. (Unlike Doom and Duke where you'll get lost and miss weapons if you don't know the map already.) But having to babysit each individual match is going to kill that advantage. No one is going to want to wait two minutes for a new match to start when they are in a busy con and could have been playing something else instead.
And I know a (Time || Score) limit doesn't sound like a big issue, but with the way people are just sitting down and joining matches in this environment, it really does make an difference in how much fun they are having and how long they play.

So are these possible, and there are settings that I just missed somehow?
And if these options aren't available, is there someone I could try to coerce into adding them?

Beyond that, there are a number of other changes I'd like to see, although they aren't as significant.
For one, I'd like to be able to assign actions to multiple keys. Most notably, if I could have "use" work with either the E key or Spacebar. Some people default to one and some people default to the other, so it would be nice if they just both worked. Especially since players need to hit this key to respawn.
Also pressing "fire" to respawn is something most people try to do at first as well, so that's one worth considering.

For another, it would be nice if players could join a match ad hoc. If more people want to play Marathon, it would be easier if I could have a computer join an existing match, rather than waiting for a match to end or killing the server just to look for a new player. I suspect this would be a change that would be much harder to implement than any of the other ones I'm asking about, so I understand if it doesn't happen. But I wanted to mention it so it could at least be looked in to.

And on the subject of major changes, a dedicated server would be nice too. I didn't notice any major host advantages so this one really doesn't matter to me, but this seems like a natural evolution from adding ad hoc joining. I guess it would require changing the gathering screen logic though; but it seems weird to me that the host picks players to join anyway. (And in case I wasn't clear on this, I am referring to local network games, not online games.)
Plus, it kinda takes a while for players to be gathered into a multiplayer match. It's not a huge issue, but most games don't take so long to find players in a lobby, or rather, for players to find servers. Maybe a manual refresh button? But it's probably the least important issue.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and while not exactly a multiplayer feature, is it possible to completely remove vertical aiming with the mouse? No matter where I slide the sensitivity to, mouse aiming just doesn't *feel* right. And since the game automatically tracks up and down (right?) is seems to be an unnecessary feature.

So that's the list of things I'm curious about. Can any of these be done already? What are the chances of getting an update to add these other features?
User avatar

Marscaleb

Post Apr 1st '19, 17:41

The score limit || time limit can be done with a custom lua gametype script.

The rest of your requests are extremely unlikely to happen, unless you're willing to do it.

"And since the game automatically tracks up and down (right?) is seems to be an unnecessary feature." No. This makes it pretty clear that you've never even played marathon.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 1st '19, 17:47

In 1.3b3, multiple keys are technically allowed by editing the XML preferences file. Unfortunately they will be reset if you enter the Controls preference dialog and click "Accept" there, so nobody can adjust mouse sensitivity, etc. without wiping out the multiple key bindings. Basically the underlying code supports it, but the UI is a challenge (especially with Aleph One's coded-from-scratch UI library).

I believe a Lua script could also implement fire-to-respawn.

For the gather delay, entering the IP address of the gatherer helps in my experience. YMMV.

As W'rk said, Marathon does not do Doom-style vertical auto-aiming. Aiming has always been 3D, that was actually a main selling point back in 1994.

The chances of the other features you list are extremely slim, due to lack of developer time. Aleph One currently has four frequent contributors, who often can only spend a few hours a month on development. Most of the time, bug fixing and keeping up with OS changes prevent us from making any progress on new features. Some of your suggestions are on my own wishlist, but speaking for myself, no amount of coercion can give me more hours in the day to improve Aleph One and still keep up with my other responsibilities and interests.
User avatar

Hopper

Post Apr 1st '19, 18:26

Wrkncacnter wrote:The score limit || time limit can be done with a custom lua gametype script.

Okay; that's cool. Where would I find information about how to create and use lua scripts with Aleph One?

Wrkncacnter wrote:"And since the game automatically tracks up and down (right?) is seems to be an unnecessary feature." No. This makes it pretty clear that you've never even played marathon.

That's... a little rude. I played this back in 1996; my memory is a little hazy after over 20 years. And none of these games seem to really showcase an opportunity to need vertical aiming in the first level.

Hopper wrote:In 1.3b3, multiple keys are technically allowed by editing the XML preferences file. Unfortunately they will be reset if you enter the Controls preference dialog and click "Accept" there, so nobody can adjust mouse sensitivity, etc. without wiping out the multiple key bindings. Basically the underlying code supports it, but the UI is a challenge (especially with Aleph One's coded-from-scratch UI library).

I believe a Lua script could also implement fire-to-respawn.

Hmm, dang. Well if a Lua script could enable fire-to-respawn that would probably be enough.

Hopper wrote:The chances of the other features you list are extremely slim, due to lack of developer time. Aleph One currently has four frequent contributors, who often can only spend a few hours a month on development. Most of the time, bug fixing and keeping up with OS changes prevent us from making any progress on new features. Some of your suggestions are on my own wishlist, but speaking for myself, no amount of coercion can give me more hours in the day to improve Aleph One and still keep up with my other responsibilities and interests.


No I totally get that; honestly that's about the best I expected.
But it's good to know that most of these features are in development, so even if I can't get them this year, maybe they will be ready in time for next year. It's nice to see that there are at least multiple developers still keeping it up-to-date; there are plenty of projects for old games that don't have that luxury.

Thanks for the info!
User avatar

Marscaleb

Post Apr 1st '19, 18:38

To give you an idea on the marathon timeframe, people have been wanting dedicated servers for over a decade. 2015 was the last stable release of Aleph One (although a new version seems to be coming soon).
User avatar

Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 1st '19, 18:48

Wrkncacnter wrote:To give you an idea on the marathon timeframe, people have been wanting dedicated servers for over a decade. 2015 was the last stable release of Aleph One (although a new version seems to be coming soon).


Well, map cycling is more important to me than dedicated servers. Theoretically it's easier to implement as well, so maybe I'll live to see it in a future version. But if it doesn't happen, oh well. It just means that Marathon is on the list of games that people need to specifically request if they want to play, just like Jedi Knight and Daikatana.
User avatar

Marscaleb

Post Apr 1st '19, 18:52

If you don't care about the "end" screen report, and people are coming and going constantly, you could host a really long game that just teleports you to a new map every X minutes. Someone has already made that script.

I don't quite understand the difficulty in gathering new games though.
User avatar

Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 1st '19, 20:42

I don't get automatic map cycling or games. If there's a human playing, the human can select the next map / host the next game. If there's no human playing, then what's the point of cycling?

Likewise, dedicated servers--most internet connections are fast enough to host games now. Firewall configuration is still an issue, but it doesn't require dedicated servers to fix.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Apr 1st '19, 22:45

Marscaleb wrote:That's... a little rude. I played this back in 1996; my memory is a little hazy after over 20 years. And none of these games seem to really showcase an opportunity to need vertical aiming in the first level.


They most certainly do! Just off the top of my head, I can think of three or four on Arrival, two or three on Waterloo (not counting waterborne drone fights in M2 95), and three on Ne Cede Malis. Sure, you can squeeze by without, but it makes things harder. In multiplayer, it makes you dead.
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 2nd '19, 23:40

treellama wrote:I don't get automatic map cycling or games. If there's a human playing, the human can select the next map / host the next game. If there's no human playing, then what's the point of cycling?


Well as I said I'm setting this up for a convention. People are going to be there who may have never played the game before, or possibly just never played the multiplayer.
For one, they won't know what maps would be good for the given number of players. And it makes many people feel uncomfortable, like if a match doesn't go well its their fault for picking a bad map.
For another, the people playing would have to coordinate who is going to host the game, and with random strangers just sitting down at a machine, trust me when I say that will go awry pretty frequently.
Plus that means navigating menus. I know it isn't hard to navigate a menu, but it's just an added level of inconvenience and down-time that feels out-of-place if a person might just be playing one match, especially since Marathon isn't using the same terms and design that everyone has gotten used to for the last 23 years. (Which is longer than half the people playing have been alive.)
In this environment people are expecting this kind of stuff to be set up already, and they'll be sitting right next to another set of computers already doing things automatically with a different game. It's easier for people to just move over and play one of the other games than to set up the next match.

And altogether, whether at a convention or not, it just slows everything down. Even when someone is in charge who knows what they are doing, it takes an extra minute for that person to pick and set up the next next match. And all for what? To hand-pick a map when there are a dozen others that would have been just as much fun? That's everyone else sitting around doing nothing when they could be playing already, over and over again. It's just as well to have a list of games already set up in advance and we just move from one to the next. And if ever anyone wants to play something specific, just break the cycle and choose it manually; the few times that might happen would take no longer than selecting everything manually to begin with.
We could get in an extra game or two on Halo night if there was just a map cycle we could set up.
User avatar

Marscaleb

Post Apr 3rd '19, 00:05

It kinda sounds like people at this convention aren't already familiar with Marathon. Therefore, I'd suggest just not even including it at all, since they will never like it.

Marathon doesn't have a source port with a goal of making it accessible to the masses, and people that don't have the attention span to take 30 seconds to select a map are not the type of people that will enjoy playing it. Aleph One is for people that actually like Marathon for what it is.

You already pointed out the issues with mouse aiming, and that will instantly prevent anyone at your convention from playing the game for more than a minute, regardless of anything else.
User avatar

Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 3rd '19, 01:21

Wrkncacnter wrote:It kinda sounds like people at this convention aren't already familiar with Marathon. Therefore, I'd suggest just not even including it at all, since they will never like it.


That sounds a bit overly pessimistic. For a
Marscaleb wrote:classic games LAN party
Marathon certainly fits the bill, even if it was never popular, which is because it was mainly for the Mac.

Of course, the chances of any of his ideas, good or bad, being implemented anytime soon are basically zero unless he makes his own fork and does it himself. Out of all of them, I would like to see being able to join a game in progress the most, as it would be a great benefit to co-op games, but it's not exactly a priority. Per-frame 3D models and extending Lua for more fine-grained control of things like monsters, shots, and effects are on the top of my wishlist :-)
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ravenshining
Hawai'i

Post Apr 3rd '19, 01:31

ravenshining wrote:That sounds a bit overly pessimistic.

Oh, sure. Marscaleb, if you do end up including marathon, please let us know how many people that had never played it before ended up liking it.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Apr 4th '19, 21:25

I've shown plenty of people the game over the years. Not one liked it. XD
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herecomethej2000
Ledyard, CT

Post Apr 4th '19, 21:46

a neighbor who was a school teacher once asked me to show eternal to her classroom. i don't remember if she had a rationale, but she was a nice old lady so i came along. told the kids it was a mod to a game from the makers of halo, since that's probably their best reference point. it was awkward and embarrassing and nobody was impressed. if she wanted some kind of role model for her class, she shouldn't have picked the guy who lives next to her in the trailer park.
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Pfhorrest
California

Post Apr 5th '19, 00:01

how could they not have been impressed by the Mjolnir Mark IV Cyborg? You must have shown it wrong...
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Bobwithkeycard
AMS-Tower

Post Apr 5th '19, 00:44

many years ago i opened mararthon 2 and the intro music played over the speakers. one of my hot sisters entered the room; she started laughing. seeing an opening for experimentation i closed it and opened infinity. she laughed harder. it was obvious she was not laughing with power of seven—the joke was on them.

we played unreal tournament instead.
patrick
末法

Post Apr 6th '19, 22:31

Pfhorrest wrote:a neighbor who was a school teacher once asked me to show eternal to her classroom. i don't remember if she had a rationale, but she was a nice old lady so i came along. told the kids it was a mod to a game from the makers of halo, since that's probably their best reference point. it was awkward and embarrassing and nobody was impressed. if she wanted some kind of role model for her class, she shouldn't have picked the guy who lives next to her in the trailer park.


Awww. Modern brats just don't understand anything without a hyper-casual touch interface and pay-to-win mind control. Don't sweat it! And hey, in a world where teachers live in trailer parks what more can anyone expect? :P
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Ku-rin
Not Invented Here

Post Jul 2nd '19, 16:24

Wrkncacnter wrote:Marscaleb, if you do end up including marathon, please let us know how many people that had never played it before ended up liking it.


Well since you did ask...
We had one group of two people that specifically asked to play Marathon. They played two rounds on two maps. That puts it ahead of people who asked to play Daikatana, which had one group of two people who played one round of multiplayer.
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Marscaleb


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