Author Topic: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...  (Read 5026 times)

Waffles

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 387
(Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« on: May 02, 2014, 05:15:07 PM »
Would adapting it to a single-player version be in the realm of possibility?

Even though it would not be the same, CoH was very enjoyable as a single-player game if you chose to play like that, in the event the emulator gets shut down one way or another, is the single-player game in the realm of possibility for what resources Titan Network is currently able to offer, what with all the other hullabaloo going on?

chuckv3

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2014, 11:15:30 PM »
We have only the client piece of a client/server game. It would be about the same effort to recreate the server pieces as it would be to make it a single-player game (which would essentially require recreating all the server pieces, but in the client itself).

The reason why lies in the first rule of good MMORPG design: "Thou shalt keep all brains on the servers". The client is as minimal as possible because you have to put the client code into the wild where it WILL be reverse-engineered. Most of what you consider "the game" (all the logic, stories, combat) is on the server side. The client side contains mouse, keyboard and graphics rendering, and a communication layer hooking client(s) and server(s) together.

In the case of CoH, "movement" bends the rule just a tad for performance reasons. The client makes assumptions about movement, but takes corrections from the server. This is why when the server communication is laggy, you get the infamous rubber-banding. That's the server sending corrections via out-dated or out of order packets. Because of that specific bent rule, folks were able to get titan icon to work so you could fly around the game maps using the client. The client piece makes best-guess movements as usual, but it never receives overrides from the server (since there isn't one). It's also why when you run around in titan icon, you click on NPCs, you click on the tram doors, or you run into the street tunnels, nothing happens. All that logic was coming from the server.

Tacitala

  • Boss
  • ****
  • Posts: 157
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2014, 01:49:58 PM »
From what I understand (which is very little) it should be possible for the average player to set up a "server of one" at home.
"And I, of course, am innocent of all but malice."
- Princess Fiona of Amber

downix

  • Phoenix Project Technical Lead
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,962
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2014, 02:14:41 PM »
From what I understand (which is very little) it should be possible for the average player to set up a "server of one" at home.
very few people have the hardware to. The system specs I was given, anyways.

chuckv3

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 362
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2014, 07:55:01 PM »
A certain amount of processing is necessary to handle "always-on" functions of the game world, even with no players in-game. CoX economizes on this by not spawning mobs in areas when no players were nearby. After that, performance scales based on number of players (and to a lesser degree, what those players are doing, like whether they are currently fighting a mob or just travelling). I played around with the Ryzom server code just after 11/12, and was able to run it on my local LAN (one server, one client) and it never exceeded 10% CPU usage on the server (AMD Athlon II 2600 if I recall correctly, so not even a beefy server). The number of players adds CPU demand on the server, but the typical bottleneck is network bandwidth in and out of the server. On the internet this means the server needs to be located in a data center with fat pipes. If all clients and servers are on the same home LAN, even a mid-level server can handle 20 or more clients (a.k.a. players). Some games pass off instanced maps to a pool of secondary servers, and even handle different zones using different servers, but whoever is managing the servers configures all that. I have no idea how flexible CoX server code is in that regard, because I haven't seen it. But it could certainly be configured to have everything on one server.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2014, 08:01:46 PM by chuckv3 »

The Fifth Horseman

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 961
  • Outside known realities.
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2014, 12:00:01 PM »
From what I understand (which is very little) it should be possible for the average player to set up a "server of one" at home.
Assuming the average player can figure out the technical side of it and all pre-requisite software packages, which is a pretty huge assumption.
We were heroes. We were villains. At the end of the world we all fought as one. It's what we did that defines us.
The end occurred pretty much as we predicted: all servers redlining until midnight... and then no servers to go around.

Somewhere beyond time and space, if you look hard you might find a flash of silver trailing crimson: a lone lost Spartan on his way home.

Nyx Nought Nothing

  • New Efforts # 11,000!
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 794
  • With you or without you it's still happening.
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2014, 08:25:18 PM »
From what I understand (which is very little) it should be possible for the average player to set up a "server of one" at home.
To do that you still need to have a copy of the old server code or a server emulator. Which puts you right back where you started.
One of things i miss most is my whimsically named PB, general incompetence. With his battlecry of "I know what I'm doing!" he only achieved 30 levels of making villains look bad before the shutdown.
NPC: "I heard the Council museum heist was foiled by general incompetence!"

Arcana

  • Sultaness of Stats
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,672
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2014, 06:14:23 AM »
From what I understand (which is very little) it should be possible for the average player to set up a "server of one" at home.

I would consider any player capable of doing that to be significantly above average.

Aggelakis

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 3,001
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2014, 06:31:21 AM »
I would consider any player capable of doing that to be significantly above average.

Yeah, I would put that player up on the same coding pedestal Codewalker's on. In fact, I'm pretty sure Codewalker's up there on that coding pedestal muttering to himself, and it'd be incomprehensible to the average player...
Bob Dole!! Bob Dole. Bob Dole! Bob Dole. Bob Dole. Bob Dole... Bob Dole... Bob... Dole...... Bob...


ParagonWiki
OuroPortal

Tacitala

  • Boss
  • ****
  • Posts: 157
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2014, 01:08:08 PM »
To do that you still need to have a copy of the old server code or a server emulator. Which puts you right back where you started.

I thought the original question phrased things as if the server code was done, so servers were possible but unavailable for other reasons.
"And I, of course, am innocent of all but malice."
- Princess Fiona of Amber

Waffles

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 387
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2014, 05:33:01 PM »
I thought the original question phrased things as if the server code was done, so servers were possible but unavailable for other reasons.

You are correct.

The question is more-or-less centered on "If it goes live, and gets busted, can we make it go SP?"

JKPhage

  • Lieutenant
  • ***
  • Posts: 90
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2014, 07:01:21 PM »
You are correct.

The question is more-or-less centered on "If it goes live, and gets busted, can we make it go SP?"

I'm sure it could be done by someone with significant coding knowledge (though more realistically by a team of someones unless we want it to take years), in the event that we finally crack the server code and get a private server up and running, or if someone buys out the IP/Game and reopens it, making the process of data gathering and server emulation much easier. It would take a significant amount of time and effort though. The entire game would have to be rebalanced for a single player environment. That means that enemy units would need to have their numbers entirely redone, as well as player characters, mob distribution would have to be reworked (Fewer enemies in some groups, smaller gatherings in some places, Boss level enemies would have to spawn with fewer minions/lieutenants, etc. etc.), existing task forces and trials would have to be almost completely redone to make them managable to a single person (Timed sections would have to be redone to make them doable by one person, or have time limits extended, swarms of enemies such as the final mission of the ITF would have to be significantly reduced or spread out further/debuffed, EBs/AVs would need to be rebalanced to be soloable by the average person...), and to truly preserve the spirit of the city, I'm sure most people would want some form of "team builder" that would allow you to recruit AI team mates that would function like the Allies we already had in game to allow for an epic team sweep, and to give us backup (If you're a Super Strength tank, First Ward/Night Ward is a NIGHTMARE for killing enemies, and in some cases surviving them, meaning having an Emp along, or something with Psionic/Energy powers would be very nice), and something of that caliber would take a ridiculous investment of time, effort and coding.

All in all, yes, it would be entirely possible to do, but it would take someone who was a very devoted fan with access to the server code and knowledge of how to unravel it, plus the mathematical mind to rebalance the entire powers system for fair and fun gameplay, and the ability/patience to go through the ENTIRE game, mission by mission, map by map (of which there are over 2000 at last count if I recall) and completely revamp the world. We surely have people with these talents (even if not all in one single person), but getting them all together, them finding time, and the entire team agreeing on the proper process and how things need to be done would most certainly take a very long time. Even if S.C.O.R.E. were to crack the code today, I wouldn't bank on the game being running on a private server anywhere sooner than this time next year simply because they would have to rebuild the the world from the ground up. It would take just as long, and probably longer to do what you're asking. I'd certainly appreciate it, and would play it every day from now to the end of time, but don't count on it seeing a release until quite some time after we see the original game come back, in official form or otherwise.

Ohioknight

  • Celebrating Columbus Day
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 732
  • 63 years old
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2014, 10:44:31 PM »
The entire game would have to be rebalanced for a single player environment. That means that enemy units would need to have their numbers entirely redone, as well as player characters, mob distribution would have to be reworked (Fewer enemies in some groups, smaller gatherings in some places, Boss level enemies would have to spawn with fewer minions/lieutenants, etc. etc.), existing task forces and trials would have to be almost completely redone to make them managable to a single person (Timed sections would have to be redone to make them doable by one person, or have time limits extended, swarms of enemies such as the final mission of the ITF would have to be significantly reduced or spread out further/debuffed, EBs/AVs would need to be rebalanced to be soloable by the average person...),

Ummm, no. 

It would require that the game would run exactly as it did online and that not all the content would be completable.  I've played nearly all the game solo and enjoyed it greatly... I KNOW this is not a rarity.
"Wow, a fat, sarcastic, Star Trek fan, you must be a devil with the ladies"

Waffles

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 387
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2014, 11:42:13 PM »
Ummm, no. 

It would require that the game would run exactly as it did online and that not all the content would be completable.  I've played nearly all the game solo and enjoyed it greatly... I KNOW this is not a rarity.

Especially SS/fire Brutes, Plant/fire doms, Thug/device masterminds, and katana Regen scrappers in the hands of a keybinder.

Goddamn those were godly.

Nyx Nought Nothing

  • New Efforts # 11,000!
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 794
  • With you or without you it's still happening.
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2014, 04:53:23 AM »
I thought the original question phrased things as if the server code was done, so servers were possible but unavailable for other reasons.
Ah yes, i missed that in the first post. My mistake.
Well, it's already been covered more than adequately regarding what would need to be done. Quite possible but not easy. Obviously there'd be no real need for gameplay or balancing changes aside from starting TFs/SFs without a team, but if you're runnning your own server you should have access to the Dev/GM tools, so that should be possible to bypass. Aside from team size gated content there's really almost nothing in game that can't be soloed, and even then someone running their own server would obviously have access to [The_I_Win_Button].
One of things i miss most is my whimsically named PB, general incompetence. With his battlecry of "I know what I'm doing!" he only achieved 30 levels of making villains look bad before the shutdown.
NPC: "I heard the Council museum heist was foiled by general incompetence!"

JKPhage

  • Lieutenant
  • ***
  • Posts: 90
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2014, 06:03:17 PM »
Ummm, no. 

It would require that the game would run exactly as it did online and that not all the content would be completable.  I've played nearly all the game solo and enjoyed it greatly... I KNOW this is not a rarity.

True enough, but a lot of the player base might have trouble with that, and it would be very difficult for certain archetypes/builds (Defenders would be next to useless, and starting controllers would take an ungodly amount of time). I seem to recall a discussion of this going on that if someone undertook the project, it would probably include such a rebalance to make it more of a single player game than an offline mode.

Given, leaving the game as-is would be completely doable if someone released a server emulator program that could be run off of your own computer, but personally I'd be irritated by the lack of a market place to buy enhancements from (unless we're going with something that gives you access to dev tools, in which case I could just zap the wanted enhancements into my inventory), and more strongly so by the fact that GMs/Zone events would spawn that I wouldn't be able to take on. GMs can be solo'd, yes, but it is very difficult and requires a build specifically optimized to do so, and most of the time is only achievable on certain archetypes/power sets (Fire/Devices blaster comes to mind immediately). Honestly, as fun as that could be for certain characters, it would make playing other types rather annoying having to skirt around GM spawns, not being able to solo TF material due to AVs, etc. etc.

If something of this nature was done I'd hope that there were multiple iterations. One that just recreates the live environment, and at least one other that rebalances the game to bring it more in line with a single-player experience. If a live version could be done with a cobbled-together AI team member system then I'd be much more likely to play it, so I could build my character from whatever powers I wanted and bring along team members tailored to fill the gaps in my defenses/offenses.

Nyx Nought Nothing

  • New Efforts # 11,000!
  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 794
  • With you or without you it's still happening.
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2014, 08:49:55 PM »
True enough, but a lot of the player base might have trouble with that, and it would be very difficult for certain archetypes/builds (Defenders would be next to useless, and starting controllers would take an ungodly amount of time). I seem to recall a discussion of this going on that if someone undertook the project, it would probably include such a rebalance to make it more of a single player game than an offline mode.
Personally i'd probably still play primarily Defenders, which i tended to spend about half my time or more soloing depending on my mood. Admittedly i wouldn't be playing Empaths or Force Fielders very much, but Rad Defenders were among the first and easiest characters to solo GMs.

Quote
Given, leaving the game as-is would be completely doable if someone released a server emulator program that could be run off of your own computer, but personally I'd be irritated by the lack of a market place to buy enhancements from (unless we're going with something that gives you access to dev tools, in which case I could just zap the wanted enhancements into my inventory), and more strongly so by the fact that GMs/Zone events would spawn that I wouldn't be able to take on. GMs can be solo'd, yes, but it is very difficult and requires a build specifically optimized to do so, and most of the time is only achievable on certain archetypes/power sets (Fire/Devices blaster comes to mind immediately). Honestly, as fun as that could be for certain characters, it would make playing other types rather annoying having to skirt around GM spawns, not being able to solo TF material due to AVs, etc. etc.
That is a point, and hopefully someone would sink in the considerable time to make adjusting harder enemies and the like possible, but it would be a lot of work to add all that. However, in the case of a private server you would obviously have access to dev tools. (On a side note there were a number of Defender and Controller combos that didn't require specialized builds to take down AVs and GMs, just patience.) One fairly easy way to make soloing easier for any character would be to enable the spawning of friendly NPCs that assist player characters a la Warwolf Whistle, Shivan Shards, HVAS Power Core, the Signature Character temp powers, AE missions, assorted regular missions, etc, etc. The more i think about it the easier that sounds, especially since the live game at shutdown effectively allowed you to spawn a personal team of NPCs just using temp powers.

Quote
If something of this nature was done I'd hope that there were multiple iterations. One that just recreates the live environment, and at least one other that rebalances the game to bring it more in line with a single-player experience. If a live version could be done with a cobbled-together AI team member system then I'd be much more likely to play it, so I could build my character from whatever powers I wanted and bring along team members tailored to fill the gaps in my defenses/offenses.
Whoever runs a private server would have the ability to stuff the market or character mail with as many temp summoning powers as needed as well as enhancements. The more i think about it the simpler that would be to handle the issue of soloing difficulty, especially since buffing powers work on friendly NPCs. Really the only required change to the coding would be to remove minimum team sizes. Everything else could be readily handled with temp pet powers* although being able to adjust rank scaling would be useful.


*Assuming an AT that soloes bosses readily, like Defenders or Controllers or Corruptors or VEATs, a Bloody Bay run is a fairly easy way to get temporary help even without access to dev tools or the like, especially without other players to contend with.
One of things i miss most is my whimsically named PB, general incompetence. With his battlecry of "I know what I'm doing!" he only achieved 30 levels of making villains look bad before the shutdown.
NPC: "I heard the Council museum heist was foiled by general incompetence!"

saipaman

  • Elite Boss
  • *****
  • Posts: 917
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #17 on: May 06, 2014, 11:52:52 PM »
Ummm, no. 

It would require that the game would run exactly as it did online and that not all the content would be completable.  I've played nearly all the game solo and enjoyed it greatly... I KNOW this is not a rarity.

That makes two of us.  I was an infrequent team player until the very last year of CoX. 

JKPhage

  • Lieutenant
  • ***
  • Posts: 90
Re: (Hypothetical) Let's assume the emulator fails...
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2014, 02:46:40 PM »
Whoever runs a private server would have the ability to stuff the market or character mail with as many temp summoning powers as needed as well as enhancements. The more i think about it the simpler that would be to handle the issue of soloing difficulty, especially since buffing powers work on friendly NPCs. Really the only required change to the coding would be to remove minimum team sizes. Everything else could be readily handled with temp pet powers* although being able to adjust rank scaling would be useful.

Yeah, temp ally powers are a thing, and I was witness to many a glorious final ITF battle that featured multiple nukes, summoned Shivans, Amy's, warwolves and sometimes even Snowmen, but I was thinking something more along the lines of an AE-like system that would let you select 7 allies that would be treated as actual team members (i.e. they show up in the team window unlike temp allies), design their costumes, select their powers and bring them along to wreak havoc. It would certainly allow for some fun stuff in solo play that could be difficult if not impossible to pull off on live. For instance, I'd love to roll up a character and 7 AI allies all in matching super sentai-esque costumes, or perhaps a whole team of Fire/Rads just for the sheer destructive force they could unleash. Or to make things even MORE entertaining, a team of all Masterminds with different primaries and Storm Summoning secondary. Imagine the CHAOS. Muahahahaha.

Fantasizing aside, I think that would be a great way to plug holes in the solo-ibility of a single-person server. It wouldn't be ideal, and would probably result in a lot of team wipes, but honestly, if I could custom build my team with powers and costumes, I wouldn't mind that all that much.