Asymmetric multiplayer, or Do you need democracy in games

    Scream, MunchIt is assumed that the laws of physics act symmetrically. Despite this, it is practically impossible to find examples of symmetry in reality: there are five times more right-handed people than left-handed people, almost all biomolecules are chiral , and matter in the Universe prevails over antimatter. Inexperienced developers, designers and engineers strive to do everything beautifully and symmetrically, while experienced create ADSL, asymmetric encryption and Rotterdam swans. Let's take a look at a couple of examples of asymmetry in video games, more precisely, in their multi-user component, simultaneously defining the advantages of asymmetric multiplayer, and maybe even take a look at the near future. I hope the topic will interest not only ordinary users of game consoles, but also developers, on whom, in fact, the entire video game industry depends. Also note that the main E3 2012 presentations will take place today and tomorrow.

    Multiplayer is ...
    In a multiplayer game, several players take part - from 2 to infinity. Technically, multiplayer can be implemented in different ways: playing on one device (any game for 2-4 people on the console), playing on a local network (Counter Strike) or online (World of Warcraft, Halo, Battlefield). Initially, all players are on the same level of the hierarchy, have approximately the same capabilities, although they can play different roles (head of the clan, cleric, sniper). This gameplay is symmetrical. So in video games, democracy and universal equality are realized.

    What is “asymmetric multiplayer”?

    Imagine: a sultry desert in the Middle East, a detachment of fighters successfully resists an attack of numerically superior enemy forces. Here are two fighters l33t_snipa and Ne0_Nmap defend a strategically important object, another 14 brave with one knife threw themselves at the tank, heavy artillery comes from the east ... And you [D1m0n-ne-medved] sit in the command post and observe what is happening from a bird's-eye view. By your order (just touch your finger over that tower) in the dilapidated city, as if on a chessboard, small figures in camouflage begin to move. At this time, somewhere in Brazil, your opponent is sitting at his command post and in the same way commands dozens of his soldiers.

    What role would you choose for yourself in this theater of war? Helicopter pilot or tank commander? Sniper or grenade launcher? Ordinary soldier or chief of staff? This is the essence of asymmetric gameplay. The same game can be a shooter, RTS, simulator - depending on what you want more today. Cool, right? It is hoped that with the release of Wii Uat the end of this year, such games will appear much more often. The fact is that the Wii U has a controller equipped with a touch screen that streams the picture from the console. This, by the way, means that the graphics on such a “tablet” are many times better than on our iPad. And thanks to the presence of classic controls - buttons, sticks, ciphers - when implementing control schemes in games, you don’t have to compromise. Back to our rams. Probably, a similar concept of asymmetric multiplayer is at the heart of the upcoming Ghost Recon Online (video from E3 2011):

    Another example can be seen in the recently leaked trailer for the game Rayman Legends (an excellent game series, by the way). Three people pass the level, and the fourth, least experienced player, controls some objects on the level. This segment starts at 00:57:

    One can easily imagine asymmetric multiplayer in the currently popular Tower Defense genre (this is the Plants vs. Zombies game genre): one player controls resources, sets up defenses, while others are engaged in actually shooting adversaries. Nintendo itself at last year’s E3 also demonstrated an interesting concept - Chase Mii : one player who sees the entire playing field needs to hide, and four other players with ordinary controllers must find and catch him.

    You can think of a lot more. Take, for example, football: the national teams of Russia and Brazil meet on the field in the World Cup finals, and some Dick Lawyer in our person is watching them. We build all the tactics, draw attack and defense schemes on the controller, give instructions, communicate with the judges, appoint replacements. And after a couple of hours, Russia is winning the title of world football champion. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination of the developers. Hopefully, we will see more at the presentations of Nintendo and other companies at E3 2012. The presentation itself, additional videos, all trailers and materials will be available on a separate Nintendo All Access website . Nintendo Direct 's latest video presentation inspired the article.dedicated to Wii U. The term "asymmetric gameplay" was mentioned in it.

    Wii U GamePad

    Supplement 1. In the comments, demand suggests that the Savage 2 game fits the described gameplay formula. And indeed: in a Wikipedia article several genres are indicated at once - FPS, RTS, Action RPG. Have you played?

    Addition 2. There was another game combining genres - Battlezone II: Combat Commander from the notorious Pandemic studio. It is an alloy of a tank simulator, first-person shooter and real-time strategy. Thanks to JustRoo .

    Addition 3. In Battlefield 2one of the players on the team can play the role of commander. Quote:
    In fact, the commander is the “eyes” and “ears” of the players, since he can view the entire battlefield from above, and also use satellite scanning of the terrain, which highlights all enemy objects (soldiers and equipment) on the map in red, and, if necessary , the commander marks them so that they become visible on the minimaps of the players. In addition to satellite scanning, other functions are also available to the commander. <...> Organized team play provides a tremendous advantage. Even a team of good players has no chance against mediocre but well-organized ones.

    Supplement 4. Sanchous found another game on the page of which it is directly written - Combining FPS with RTS without duliting either side. The game is called Nuclear Dawn .

    I think you can summarize some results.. As you can see, games combining different genres, giving players the opportunity to try different roles, excite the minds of developers for quite some time. The deterrent is the gaming platform. To this day, consoles have not been well suited to implement such ideas, and PC is used rather as a working tool. Although Blizzard still continues to delight with its projects (Diablo III, for example), the console market is hundreds of times larger than the "writing" one. Until now, asymmetric multiplayer could only be implemented over the network (LAN or online). On Wii U (one device), up to 5 people can play simultaneously, not counting players online. Let's wait for the Nintendo E3 presentation tonight (20:00 Moscow time) and see what they have to offer. Since they started this topic, let them puff out.

    A sourcepictures with a rabbit
    Presentation of Nintendo Direct
    I apologize in advance if something is framed incorrectly, I will be glad to any advice. Have a nice week with E3, and Habr - with the past Birthday!

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