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No Online Co-Op For Halo 3 At Launch

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the mark-rein-is-laughing-at-you-guys dept.

XBox (Games) 128

CVG has the disappointing news, originally reported in the pages of EGM, that online co-op play will not be available when Halo 3 launches this September. In the game the second player would play the part of the Arbiter character, but fans will only be able to complete the campaign cooperatively via LAN or split-screen. Bungie stated the possibility still exists online co-op could be patched in at a later date, but significant hurdles stand in the way of the feature: "'We're not dumb,' says Bungie's Frank O'Conner. 'We know that people want it and we're trying to make it happen. I think the biggest problem for us for online co-op is that we have a situation where you can be in a Warthog with five troops, almost a mile away from the other player. That's a significant challenge. And there's lots of design things you could do to prevent that from happening, but they would make it not feel like Halo anymore. If we can make it happen in a way that works well, we will - and if it works badly, we won't.'"

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well... (5, Insightful)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904701)

Well better to not have it at all then it be half assed and read the endless whining that will occur on forums as a result.

Re:well... (2, Funny)

Fozzyuw (950608) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904741)

Well better to not have it at all then it be half assed and read the endless whining that will occur on forums as a result.

But forums are all about whining. You'll be damned if you do or damned if you don't.

Cheers,
Fozzy

Re:well... (4, Funny)

mctk (840035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904965)

Awww man, I soooooo hate it when people whine in forums. Seriously. You'd think I could find just one forum that wasn't filled with whiners, but noooooo.

Dammit (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911659)

I hate all that whining about all that whining in forums. Whining is what forums are for, so stop whining!

Suck Egg Mule! (2)

AppahMan (992506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904709)

when are they going to learn?! that is the single most interesting thing about online HALO play, I was super disapointed when Halo2 didnt have it... good grief! who cares if your are a mile away , it works just fine for Counterstrike, or any other FPS...

Re:Suck Egg Mule! (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906993)

Yes, because the levels in CS are the same size as those in Halo/Halo2 and in CS you have just as many NPC's with complex AI to synch over network.

Re:Suck Egg Mule! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19907235)

Counterstrike is played on the same relatively closed map. That was the point he was trying to make: There are things that work in some games, but not in other games. And especially co-op, especially over network (as opposed to split-screen), is a can of worms.
A lot of the game mechanics work in a bubble around the player. Things outside the bubble get removed from memory as he progresses, and are streaming into memory as he approaches them. Scripts are triggered or enemies are spawned.
In multiplayer this has to work for several players simultaneously. This is relatively well understood for the typical multiplayer scenarios, like Deathmatch, Capture the Flag or King of the Hill, or any variation with another name for the flag or the hill. Additionally each round is comparably short-lived, after a few minutes you can reset everything into a known state and restart.
Compare that to a singleplayer quest: You'll spend half an hour or more on a level, and you may do lots of things. You may decide to go a section on foot, you may use a car, or you may capture a jet to fly around. Levels are normally designed in a way that you have do things somewhat linearly, though, so you can make each player choice an interesting experience and appear consistent to the world the game simulates. In co-op the game has to work however all players approach a level, additionally it has to work in a way that gives no player a chance to cheat or exploit the game to the other players disadvantage.
As he said, this can be achieved, for example by adding checkpoints that both players have to reach before they can progress (airlocks for example), he can force both players to enter the same vehicle at the same time, he can eliminate choice, he can eliminate set-pieces that don't work well with two players. But it is essentially a case of developing a second game in addition to the single-player game. (Or three games: Singleplayer, Multiplayer, CoOp).
So please stop whinging. I'd wait for a game that is specifically designed around CoOp, for example like Army of Two.

Re:Suck Egg Mule! (1)

AppahMan (992506) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907551)

Right well I played HL1 hacked co-op over a network, and that came out in the 90's ... pulheeze!

Re:Suck Egg Mule! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19908615)

RTFA, and maybe get some understanding of network ops, jerkface.

you can still play coop campaign, but only over lan or splitscreen.

just get some real friends and you'll be fine. or not.

Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1, Insightful)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904775)

I enjoyed the Halo SP campaigns because they gave a sense of "one man vs. the universe". Playing it co-op with some whiny kid would not add to my experience.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (2, Funny)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904801)

Then play it with a... er... your.. friend..... Never mind this is slashdot, we don't have any friends.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904869)

I have friends, you just can't see or hear them.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904909)

My friends could beat up your friends!!!!!

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905133)

Never mind this is slashdot, we don't have any friends.

I have a friend. Her name is Cortana. She lives in my helmet.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

Nataku564 (668188) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908455)

Actually ... according to the novels, she lives in a socket at the base of your skull.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904999)

It's always had split-screen co-op and it's immensely fun with a good friend. My brother and I have had some of our best gaming moments in Halo/Halo 2 co-op.

Online co-op could be just as good as long as you play with a friend rather than some whiny kid. Would you invite said whiny kid over for a round of DOA4, after all? ^_^

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (2, Interesting)

Serengeti (48438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905039)

Then don't play it with anyone else. Don't force me to play the way you think the game should be made, when we clearly don't share opinions on the matter.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (2, Insightful)

XenoRyet (824514) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905797)

Ah, but the key factor is that you disagree with the way the developers think the game should be made, and they do have final say.

Personally I like their stance: We know you want it, but we're not going to just cram it in so we can say we tried. We'll do it right, or not at all.

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

hdh (230194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905863)

wait, I thought you were the whiny kid. ;)

Re:Halo shouldn't have Co-op. (1)

jma05 (897351) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909537)

> they gave a sense of "one man vs. the universe"

Isn't that usually the case with nearly EVERY FPS? But Halo is not a pure one-man FPS. It has AI (not including Cortana) fighting along side you. Something I prefer when it works (and it did in Halo).

> Playing it co-op with some whiny kid would not add to my experience.
Most people I know play co-op with people they know well.

This is Halo (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904853)

I'm quite certain that the vast majority of people who purchase this game will play it online against other players in death match or capture the flag games. Although online co-op is a nice feature, it's hardly necessary for the vast majority of the people who purchase it. Hell, this franchise is so about online play that the single player campaign could probably be considered optional.

Re:This is Halo (2, Insightful)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905025)

I completely disagree. I'm sure there are lots of hardcore deathmatch fans out there, but part of what makes Halo great is the storyline and how they carry it out. That being said, I'd also rather have the online co-op rather than deathmatch. I enjoy beating the snot out of my friends in deathmatch at a LAN party or just a get together, but I have no urge to play against random strangers.

Re:This is Halo (1)

icars99 (759048) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905947)

I have to agree, I've played halo2 three times through from start to finish with my brother, But i can't be bothered to play it alone or in deathmatch. I love to coop play, I wish more games would include it.

Re:This is Halo (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905219)

While the people who invest 100+ hours into playing the game are doing most of that online, I wonder if the make up the majority of people who purchase it.

I'd love to see that actual stats on this. But, see how poorly online only games do in the market (e.g. Shadowrun) I wonder.

Re:This is Halo (1)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908225)

"But, see how poorly online only games do in the market (e.g. Shadowrun) I wonder."

Ever heard of World of Warcraft?

I think there's a healthy market for online only games. I'd say that I probably spent 99% of the time I played Halo either onine over Xbox Live or on a LAN. The single player story was alright, but it's largely the plot of some older sci-fi novels mashed together. The story in the second game paled compared to that of the first, which doesn't leave me looking forward to playing the third installment any way but online with my friends agaist other human opponents.

You do make a good point though. I have no real way of knowing if I'm the rule or the exception or if there's some happy medium, but from my own observations I'd say that people play online significantly more than they don't.

Re:This is Halo (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909227)

I should of been more clear. I was talking about FPS (and console FPS at that). Other than both being "games", Halo and WoW have very little in common.

But, since you brought it up, WoW makes money be keeping you around month after month (kind of like a health club...more an "anti-health club" actually. But that's another story. ;)). Halo makes all its money selling new copies (plus a bit on tie-ins (books, movies, toys, etc.), and Halo3 will probably have add-ons). So it doesn't really matter to Microsoft if you play for 4 hours or 4000*.

Now I'm not saying that multi-player isn't important in FPS's. How many modern FPS only have single player? Being able to play online is a must have feature for their audience, even if it sucks. If you are missing online you are missing sales (it will be interesting to see how well Bioshock does without it).

But how many sales are to online players, how many to single players, and how many are both? Neither one of us has that answer (but I sure somebody does).

*This might change with in-game advertising.

Re:This is Halo (2, Interesting)

wallypop86 (1044532) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905995)

Its not just about playing coop with some random stranger online, I know for myself, and many others, it gives an opportunity to play the game WITH someone that isn't close enough to you. For instance, I have a friend in the Marine Corps, and he will probably pick up Halo 3. Because of distance, we couldn't just play split screen or LAN, we will need to play online. Sure, its fun to play with your friends online against other people, but like many others have pointed out, this game has an amazing story, and an amazing campaign. Many games today have adopted this feature, and although it isn't the majority of the players that will play coop, many will, and many will purchase the game JUST for coop/campaign. Just my $.02

Re:This is Halo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19906769)

They should try to bring in the minorities though, more sales, get a little profit going, improve sales over the previous game. Don't just preach to the choir.

Are you kidding me? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19907115)

Are you kidding me? Halo: Combat Evolved for X-Box sold over 5 million copies and it didn't even have online play. Sure, people played it over LAN, but the guy on the street knew it for its sweet co-op.
Halo 2 sold over 6 million copies. When Halo 2 was released, there were less than 2 million subscriptions to X-Box Live... In fact, X-Box Live just reached 6 million subscriptions in March 2007. Obviously more than a few people weren't playing Halo online and I doubt that those who were ignored co-op.

Bungie has been known for doing co-op since Marathon. Co-op is an integral part of the Halo package, and it never would've become Microsoft's "Killer App" without it. Never. Halo is legendary not only for its versus play, but for the fact that it breathed new life into co-op (something that was being put on the back-burner due to developers' boners for online deathmatches). Without co-op, Halo would not be considered a classic game.

So before you lump "vast majority" in with yourself, take a step back and realize how integral co-op has been to Halo's (and the X-Box as a whole's) success.

Not to smart either? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19904893)

Now, I love the HALO series as much as the next person. In fact, thats the only game on XBOX I play, as I grew up on FPS' (Quake series, etc.. I don't play sports on a console. If I wanted to play sports, I'd go outside...)

That said, are they purposely stiffling whats really possible here or are there technical limitations that is keeping them from opening up the fredom of play?

I RTFA, however I did not get the sense that the game limitations they spoke of were due to technical issues.

Informative responses requested!

Re:Not to smart either? (4, Interesting)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905109)

It could be based on how level geometry is loaded, and how enemies and such are loaded. It could be engine limitations.

Really the only game I have ever played where you can be on the other side of the physical game world is crackdown. Then again considering how a game is able to recover from the "host" leaving it seems like 2 players could move apart and load separate areas and trade only data that is relevant to the other client. However something about the way the game could have change.

IN the last 2 you were usually confined along a path with some stuff. Most of the wide open areas were arenas almost with 1 way in and one way out. There was not set distance between both players, but when one hit a check
point, or a load point the player in the previous area was teleported up to the new point. Both things kept it so that only one area was loaded at any given time.

Now if the game is much more open and you have more room to run around it could be that the system of keeping the players together would be less effective, or possibly down right frustrating. Still this might not be as technical as it would be a gameplay related issue.

However the fact that it works over a lan would suggest to me that the issue is bandwidth and latency related. Possibly coordinating the in game AI could cause trouble, possibly the physics, ect ect.

Who knows. Feel free to correct me if I said anything too stupid.

Re:Not to smart either? (1)

Elsapotk421 (1097205) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905777)

I really don't see how it can't be done...I mean we have a massive game say like world of warcraft with thousands of people playing at once and a large group of people playing together able to do this. I mean I'm sure it's not too much of a stretch to see it happen. I mean I'd hate to suggest it but I would pull a valve and push the game back to make sure that nothing is left behind to make it anything other than a stellar game.I mean I had no problem waiting for Half Life 2 because it was simply well worth the wait.

Re:Not to smart either? (4, Informative)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905891)

Apples to oranges

Minimal collision detection
AI is far more simplistic
Time based actions
client side positioning(You can teleport yourself around in the game, till you get caught atleast)
Are there any physics in WoW?

Those are the major differences i can think of off the top of my head.

Re:Not to smart either? (2, Informative)

ZorbaTHut (126196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909873)

You missed the big one - WoW has centralized dedicated game servers, Halo 3 doesn't.

Obviously, though, this reinforces your point :)

Re:Not to smart either? (1)

DeepZenPill (585656) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908807)

It really shouldn't be due to engine limitations when you can play split screen on the same system. I assume they are going to deal with checkpoints the same way they did in 1 and 2 and teleport the player lagging behind to the location of the leading player. Why can't this be done over Live?

Re:Not to smart either? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909869)

Your assuming that its going to have teleportation again.

Teleportation worked because of the linear nature of the games, a lateral movement within the game would never cause a level load, only movement towards or away from the goal would advance you past a point where a new chunk of data would be loaded. If the game is no longer as linear, then the teleport system could be troublesome, if not down right frustrating. Imagine if the brutes have semi fortified a block in a city and you ran into it. You can't find a way in and if you fall back and flank it they will just move and defend against you attack. You and your buddy then split up. he remains at the original point of attack and keeps them occupied while the other player goes possibly with a few marines or elites, with the goal of attacking on a weaker flank, forcing them to split forces. However the fight is taking place near the edge of a map cell. As you make the flank, suddenly your buddy who was attacking is teleported to you.

You also have issues with things like precedence, if 2 people run in opposite directions who will get teleported to who? When you have a linear game like the first 2 you teleport the person farthest from the goal to the person whio is going towards the goal, when the game is less linear that doesn't work as well.

With split screen you could trade data between 2 instances because it doesn't leave the system so it can remain rather fast.

On your typical gamer ethernet setup, you have 2 boxes connected directly or in a very small temporary lan, then again even a slightly congested lan will give you more bandwidth and better latency than most internet connections.

Because it works in splitscreen and Lan but not internet, it leads me to believe that this is a bandwidth and latency issue.

The only thing that will really tell if this is true is if tunneling programs allow 2 people to play coop by tricking there boxes into thinking they are on a lan.

Hot off the *cough* newswire... (1)

kkohlbacher (922932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904905)

"This just in: Online Co-op play WILL be available on the PC version released in 2 years. The graphics will be the same, but it'll have, uh, a few new maps!"
Exclusively available on WindowsRG [deanliou.com]

Huge Disappointment (2, Insightful)

loteck (533317) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904937)

They have been promising this since before 2 came out, just one of the many places where they dropped the ball on 2.

I don't understand why they can't just do they same thing they do in LAN Co-op.. when one player reaches a certain spot it "transports" the other player automatically to that point. That "felt like Halo" enough for 1 and 2...

Sounds more like poor excuses to me. Halo is flirting with solidifying itself as a source of undelivered promises. In-game "vaporware", one might speculate.

Re:Huge Disappointment (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905189)

The transporting really only worked in the rather linear and confined halo and halo 2. Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't you have to be on one box for coop on both 1 and 2? Have they confirmed that in halo 3 lan coop you will still have to deal with the teleportation?

Really if it works on lan, but not online, I wonder if its a latency issue or a bandwidth issue. Alas, who knows.

I don't ever remember them promising online coop though, just hoping for it.

Re:Huge Disappointment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19905399)

Why even bother trying to make a good game when you have tens of millions in marketing money pushing your game out to every media outlet in the know universe.

Next gen graphics? Why bother.
Dedicated servers? Why bother.
More than 16 player online games? Why bother.
Online Co-op? Why bother.

Microsoft and Bungie know that 360 owners will buy a new copy of Halo no matter how bad it is.

Re:Huge Disappointment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19906873)

"360 owners will buy a new copy of Halo no matter how bad it is."

I seriously doubt that. I can't see how Halo 3 doesn't turn out to be the worst selling of the three games. The reactions to it so far have been extraordinarily negative, even if they were mostly wrapped in nervous feint praise.

Look at how so many people are latching onto CoD4 and how Halo doesn't dominate discussions like it use to with the Xbox a few years ago.

Re:Huge Disappointment (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908483)

Extraordinarily negative? Amongst who? You're inner circle of friends? Don't you think 'extraordinarily negative' might me exaggerating a bit? I've read dozens of articles across dozens of publications, and I never got that impression. Maybe I don't spend all my time reading the posts of the "Gamer Elitists" here at Slashdot, but I haven't gotten much of an "extraordinarily negative" feeling from any forum I've been to, except for the occasional Nintendo/PS fanboy. In fact, most of the 700,000! people who played the beta who've posted their opinions had a fairly positive outlook on the game, and that was just a beta. It's ignorant, unfounded statements like "extraordinarily negative" that really annoy me. Did you play the beta? I did. And if you're willing to bet that Halo3 isn't going to be the bestselling game on the 360 for this year, and probably the next, then I'd gladly take that bet. Even if it doesn't make as much as halo 2, it's still gonna clean up. Future reference, try to keep your ignorance at bay.

Re:Huge Disappointment (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19908823)

Gears of War was the best selling game last year and it only sold about two to three million. Way less than the previous Halos.

I would say 'extraordinarily' is too strong but Halo 3 three is the major first party 360 franchise coming right at the two year mark where first party games should be absolutely blowing people away. Halo 3 didn't even come close. Halo 3 was the game that was talked about as some sort of devastating weapon with no equal in the console world.

It will turn out to be most likely the biggest selling title for the 360 this year, sell to almost entirely existing Halo fans, and come nowhere near the numbers of Halo 1 or 2.

Well, yeah (2, Insightful)

rob1980 (941751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904967)

That'll be the $30 add-on you buy after the game's been out for a year.

Re:Well, yeah (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905181)

That I wouldn't mind so much. It's the $30 "add-on" that comes out a month after the games been released that bugs me.

Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19904991)

It would seem that I will not be buying Halo 3 on release. Maybe if enough people don't buy it at the beginning, it will spark some interest in Bungie to do it sooner than later. GoW has online co-op and it works really well. Microsoft should get Bungie and Epic to talk and maybe some knowledge will help make this happen sooner.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905385)

Epic has a lot more experience in developing online games. Halo 2 was the first game Bungie developed that incorporated actual online play, and look at how well (or not) they did in relation to other successful online games (e.g., Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament (an Epic game! oh my!), etc.). Maybe their developers are just still sore that they aren't making Mac-only games anymore? ;p

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

Rebelgecko (893016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907905)

Epic has a lot more experience in developing online games. Halo 2 was the first game Bungie developed that incorporated actual online play, and look at how well (or not) they did in relation to other successful online games (e.g., Counter-Strike, Unreal Tournament (an Epic game! oh my!), etc.). Maybe their developers are just still sore that they aren't making Mac-only games anymore? ;p
The Marathon Trilogy has multiplayer and was made by Bungie about 10 years before Halo 2 came out.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908417)

Well, Epic has made more Unreal Tournament online games than Bungie ever has, and Epic makes more than just UT. Off-topic, but Marathon is open source nowadays. :)

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

IKnwThePiecesFt (693955) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910457)

Marathon was appletalk/ipx from what I remember. No online play available.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

Mark Programmer (228585) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905735)

For every copy of Halo you fail to buy, I'm going to buy three.

I think the main reason this feature isn't happening is that it actually isn't a major desire of many, many Halo players. Personally, I'm in it for the story, the shared-box co-op, and the multiplayer competitive. I've seen the online co-op in Splinter Cell, and I was not impressed. Ubisoft has excellent developers, and their online co-op was plagued with trouble. If Bungie says there are technical hurdles, I believe them.

Online co-op would be nice, but it's not a deal-breaker for me.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19906725)

For every copy of Halo you fail to buy, I'm going to buy three.

Well, I'll be failing to buy ALL copies of Halo. So that means you'll have to buy 3 times all copies. Let me know how that works out for ya.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906425)

You are not smarter than the Bungie devs.

What you have to understand is that Halo 3 allows the two players to be in very different parts of the map at the same time. In GoW you get rubber-banded pretty quickly and even when you are on different routes, you are still pretty close together.

Like I said, don't presume you are smarter than Bungie in knowing these things.

Re:Looks like I'm waiting... (1)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910885)

Where did I say I was smarter than Bungie devs? Are you inferring that? You are incorrect.

But, hey, if you want to read into things and make a complete ass of yourself, go ahead.

no online co-op??!?! (5, Funny)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905019)

And I really wanted to play co-op with some kid telling me in his whiney voice how much smaller my anatomy is then his...
Besides, co-op is not as much fun when you can't see your friend falling off the couch laughing after assasinating you in the middle of a firefight =D
-
Stupid friend....

Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1, Insightful)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905045)

Umm... why is the situation so different in Halo 3 as opposed to how things were in Halo 2? You can play co-op via split-screen in Halo 2, and the exact same issue is still there (players moving far distances away from each other), yet they somehow handled it just fine: when one user is getting way further ahead on the map, the game will just teleport the lagging-behind player forward to the other player. Why wouldn't this be possible when playing over the internet? Why will we be able to play over LAN but not Xbox Live? Especially considering one can just set up Hamachi or similar software to create a simple VPN over the net anyways... This really feels to me like we're not getting the full story here.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905585)

when one user is getting way further ahead on the map, the game will just teleport the lagging-behind player forward to the other player.

I know I never really liked this option. It breaks immersion -- which isn't a problem in Halo 1 and 2, because there's only supposed to be one Chief and one Arbiter, and co-op simply ads another of whoever the main character is at the moment. But in Halo 3, when apparently the Chief and the Arbiter will be in the same place at the same time, and Co-Op will support that, it would be really nice if you didn't have the random teleporting.

Besides, it makes the game easier -- one player can draw all the fire and simply stay alive while the other charges ahead to the checkpoint.

Regardless, I guess I just don't see why this is a big deal. If the players get far enough apart that they're out of sight, why not simply split it into two simultaneous games at that point? Re-sync everything when they meet up again?

Why will we be able to play over LAN but not Xbox Live? Especially considering one can just set up Hamachi or similar software to create a simple VPN over the net anyways...

My guess is, it's probably a bandwidth issue.

What pisses me off is, like all other console games, they'd rather prevent you from trying to do something unusual than simply warn you that it might not work. For example, take a university -- all kinds of subnets, but huge amounts of bandwidth between them, especially considering between them and the Internet. If Halo 3 and the Xbox 360's Xbox Live work at all like Halo 2 and the original Xbox Live, it should be possbile to create a game with a specific group of friends, and if all of those friends share a network (if not a subnet), it should be as responsive as a LAN game, right?

I guess the answer, as with many things, is "not necessarily". It's always possible that the LAN game requires on broadcast packets, to reduce bandwidth used. Still, it would only have an effect with three players or more, so the above scenario is still valid for a two-player co-op game (since, as I understand it, three-player co-op isn't available).

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (4, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905685)

The average idiot will then accuse them of releasing a broken feature and the at then all the review sites will dock them points, despite there repeated attempts to tell people that they can't provide any type of Quality of service.

I mean come one, people blame devs for network problems even when its just their shitty connection or their shitty hardware causing the problem. Do you somehow think console gamers will be any less bitchy about it?

My guess? Bandiwth or possibly a side effect of how they load the levels.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906111)

I don't know about you, but I don't write software so my users will stop bitching.

I write software so my users can use it. To do what they want to do. I then write manuals so my users will stop bitching.

Seriously: Throw up a big warning that says "Co-op play over Xbox Live is not recommended."

As for being a "side effect of how they load the levels", that's BS -- unless that is affecting bandwidth.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906763)

Yes, but do you write software for one of the whiniest demographics on the face of the earth? The halo fan base consists of some of the most fucking stupid walking attempts at preserving meat that walk the earth. Do you think they are going to care if the manual says "This might not work"? No they will bitch and so will reviewers who will then claim the game has broken features.

As for it being "BS", what takes more bandwitdh? a server sending only that which is relevant to a client, or 2 servers sending everything back and forth because they don't know what will be relevant to the other in a moment. Not to mention that things like latency will also add to this problem.

If the game retains the linearity already present in the series then I doubt this would be an issue unless they are shitastic programmers. However if they have changed how the game the game and made it more open then this might be a problem. IN the last 2 halo games when you in one area, there were only 2 possible areas that could be loaded. The one infront of you and the one behind you.

If halo has suddenly stopped being linear and has become more open, ex you have a city that is divided in to squares. You are here and your objective is on the otherside. Well if your in one block you can have can have 8 blocks around you. So you preload all of them for quick access or maybe just the 2 closest too you. In single player thats rather simple, its much easier to guess.

Now imagine 2 players. Okay they are in one block, possibly in opposite corners of a block, okay so you now have blocks to preload.. now comes the issue. Do you teleport one player to the other every time a player crosses a boundary and a triggers a new loading point. Well that can get annoying, and it doesn't work they well in the end, especially if your trying to get around a group of enemies while your team mate keeps their attention. Suddenly he is right next to you during the flanking attempt.

Okay to fix that you don't implement the teleporting, so you allow them to venture apart. Okay now they can travel apart. Okay now your loading more blocks then single player, that means you need a bit more ram (Since most of your at is going to be consistent throughout an area and more processing. However theoretically the number of AI's could double, the amount of collision detection needed to be done could double, ect ect ect. But your on the same box and the data isn't having to leave the system so it can be done with good programming, challenging but workable.

Okay now you have 2 people on separate boxes on a lan. Now we notice something about halo since 2. If the host is dropped then, the game can continue because all the clients know whats going on. Game rebuilds and picks a new host, and your back. Now you have 2 people running around in separate areas doing there own collision detection, AI, ect ect, for their own area, however, they have to tell the other box everything that is going on in there area in the off chance it might affect the other players area.

That can be a surprisingly large amount of data. Its also very noticeable when its laggy. ON a lan you can assume that you will have a good chunk of bandwidth and its going to have a fairly low latency.

Same situation on the internet, uh oh. Not nearly as much bandwidth and worse latency. Damn.

Also, if you really are all that bothered, use one of the inevitable tunneling programs that are going to start popping up in the weeks after the release. If your thing about subnets it true then you shouldn't have any trouble using the tunneling program.

NOTE: Before anyone jumps on me and says I got details wrong, I'm a beginner programmer with fairly limited understand of all the inner workings of game engines. Stated here is my simplistic understanding of how the halo engine works. I kept it in simpler terms so i could express myself better and more clearly.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19909065)

The halo fan base consists of some of the most fucking stupid walking attempts at preserving meat that walk the earth.

True enough. So...

No they will bitch and so will reviewers who will then claim the game has broken features.

And those fans and reviewers will continue to buy Halo 3, and Halo Wars, and the Halo books, and the Halo graphic novel, and...

Look, if they're Halo fans, then they can bitch all they want, they're Halo fans. They aren't going to switch over to being, say, Gears of War fans because of one feature that is explicitly of the "probably won't work" variety, and pops up a huge message when they try it saying "This won't work, so don't complain to us if you experience problems."

Or, hell, slap a "beta" tag over it. It seems to be enough for just about every other beta. After all, the MS fanboys found plenty to get excited about with the Vista beta, but mention the flaws of UAC or drivers not working, and they excuse it with "It's a beta!"

As for it being "BS", what takes more bandwitdh? a server sending only that which is relevant to a client, or 2 servers sending everything back and forth because they don't know what will be relevant to the other in a moment.

Oh, BS. (again!) Two servers can easily find out what's relevant to the other.

It's not really relevant (since it's an entirely different algorithm), but ever hear of rsync?

IN the last 2 halo games when you in one area, there were only 2 possible areas that could be loaded. The one infront of you and the one behind you.

I'll bet it's more complex than that, but sure. What's your point?

If halo has suddenly stopped being linear and has become more open, ex you have a city that is divided in to squares. You are here and your objective is on the otherside. Well if your in one block you can have can have 8 blocks around you. So you preload all of them for quick access or maybe just the 2 closest too you.

Right.

Now imagine 2 players. Okay they are in one block, possibly in opposite corners of a block, okay so you now have blocks to preload.. now comes the issue.

I suggest that you don't have to teleport anyone. So at this point it becomes clear -- each player's xbox preloads the ones they are closest to.

Okay now your loading more blocks then single player, that means you need a bit more ram

Not if you do the above.

Consider -- the farther apart they get, the less likely they are to do anything affecting the other. If they're far enough for RAM to matter, they probably can't even see each other -- they'll be past the "horizon".

The only way you need the two xboxes even communicating at that point is if you're going to allow HUGE open spaces, and you're going to allow one player to, say, take a sniper shot at a target so far away he can't even see it, in order to help the other player out. Or launch a rocket in that direction. Which means that all the Xboxes have to do is tell each other how close the players are to each other, until they get close enough to see each other again -- other than that, each Xbox can only load the parts of the map close to that player.

Okay now you have 2 people on separate boxes on a lan. Now we notice something about halo since 2. If the host is dropped then, the game can continue because all the clients know whats going on.

Except, as you said, we have two people on separate boxes. There's no point in rebuilding, because if one player is dropped, the game may as well be over. (I'm fairly sure that, in Halo 2 co-op, if either of you dies, you BOTH go back to the last checkpoint.)

doing there own collision detection, AI, ect ect, for their own area, however, they have to tell the other box everything that is going on in there area in the off chance it might affect the other players area.

Not really. Get sufficiently far enough away, and there's no way it affects the other player's area. At this point, all the two boxes have to tell each other is which areas are being managed by which box. Once the players start to get closer together, then you pick a server and start telling each other what's going on -- but there's no reason it has to be worse at this point than a normal multiplayer game (which does work over the Internet).

Same situation on the internet, uh oh. Not nearly as much bandwidth and worse latency. Damn.

I believe that, with some intelligent programming, you could make an internet co-op game no worse than current internet deathmatch games. Yes, even if one player is at the very beginning of the game, and the other is at the end.

Also, if you really are all that bothered, use one of the inevitable tunneling programs that are going to start popping up in the weeks after the release. If your thing about subnets it true then you shouldn't have any trouble using the tunneling program.

First: No, it won't "pop up". You would just use one of the many that already exist. If it works over a LAN, it'll work over a VPN just as well.

Second: This requires each xbox to be plugged into a computer, rather than directly to the Internet -- meaning you need a computer with two network cards at each end. Waste of money because Bungie is fucking lazy. Also, it does introduce a small amount of latency, compared with a direct connection. Probably not much, but yet more waste because Bungie is fucking lazy.

NOTE: Before anyone jumps on me and says I got details wrong, I'm a beginner programmer with fairly limited understand of all the inner workings of game engines. Stated here is my simplistic understanding of how the halo engine works. I kept it in simpler terms so i could express myself better and more clearly.

It's irrelevant whether you got the details wrong or not. I think it's more that you've suggested a much less efficient implementation than I did, and you used words like "have to" as if yours was necessarily the most efficient way. You might actually be closer to the way Bungie is doing it, but if so, Bungie has it wrong -- I really see no reason why co-op could not work over the Internet. (It's been done before, with other games.)

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908577)

You write software so your users can use it, and write manuals so your users will stop bitching? That's great! I wish my users were that forgiving. I wish I could write all kinds of broken functionality into my applications, then kiss and make up with a thick, worded manual. My users tend to demand a well written, functional piece of software. What whores.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908959)

I wish I could write all kinds of broken functionality into my applications...

Except it's not broken. It works very well, under certain circumstances.

Here's a question: Should VLC refuse to stream a 1024p h.264 video over the network? Should it refuse to do it over the Internet, but allow it over a network? Or should it assume that, if the user has bothered to access that feature, they know what they're doing?

Here's a hint: An ISP in my small town (~10,000 people) is implementing fiber-to-the-home. That means there will soon be affordable 10 gigabit Internet in this town. So, in the very near future, assumptions that the Internet is always slower than the LAN will be obsolete. And if I find out that I have a friend on the same ISP as I am, I'd very much like it if the software would get the fuck out of the way if we want to play an Internet game with each other, and not insist on "LAN only".

Really, "LAN only" play is... well... reminiscent of Starcraft and IPX LAN games. Leave it behind.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (2, Insightful)

Sibko (1036168) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906761)

Umm... why is the situation so different in Halo 3 as opposed to how things were in Halo 2? You can play co-op via split-screen in Halo 2, and the exact same issue is still there (players moving far distances away from each other), yet they somehow handled it just fine: when one user is getting way further ahead on the map, the game will just teleport the lagging-behind player forward to the other player. Why wouldn't this be possible when playing over the internet?

 

They have been promising this since before 2 came out, just one of the many places where they dropped the ball on 2.

I don't understand why they can't just do they same thing they do in LAN Co-op.. when one player reaches a certain spot it "transports" the other player automatically to that point. That "felt like Halo" enough for 1 and 2...

Sounds more like poor excuses to me. Halo is flirting with solidifying itself as a source of undelivered promises. In-game "vaporware", one might speculate.
Okay, first of all Halo 1 and 2 did not teleport the second player when they got too far from each other - they teleported the other player at checkpoints, when the game saved, so that if you died and had to restart from a checkpoint, both players would be close together. This is not so obvious in Halo 2 due to how railroaded the levels are, you pretty much *have* to travel in a straight line through all the checkpoints. However, if you take a map like Silent Cartographer in Halo 1, which is a giant island, you can have both players go out several hundred meters into the water on opposite sides and not have them teleport to each other.

And I'd like to ask you, Mr. Loteck, just when and where did Bungie promise Halo 3 co-op? Or promise anything else which they haven't delivered? I certainly haven't seen backtracking on any announced features, the closest is our current discussion: online co-op; but Bungie never said they were putting it into the game. Until now, they've never even said to anyone they've wanted to. It's mostly been implicitly expected by the community. But when it comes to crunch time, and you're looking at the immense problem of implementing online co-op, and you've only got another month to figure out the problem before launch, I think the best, most honest way of going about this is announcing beforehand that no, co-op won't be available for launch, but yes, we'll still try and add it in later.

What did you want them to do? Wave a magic fairy wand and finish the development with their large supply of pixie dust? Or perhaps you'd have preferred they kept this nugget of information to themselves until game launch? So no, Halo is not 'solidifying itself as a source of undelivered promises', this is just one instance of one thing that you won't get in Halo 3 at launch, and you cry bloody mary over it.

Re:Teleport users together? LAN but not XBL??? (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907183)

haha, I know the later paragraphs were in response to someone else in the thread, but....

"What did you want them to do? Wave a magic fairy wand and finish the development with their large supply of pixie dust?"

Yeah, when you substitute "pixie dust" for "money and talented developers".... ;)

well... (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905049)

really it isn't that big of a deal. I mean, come on, much like the 7th harry potter book being leaked onto the net, I don't think this is going to impact the success of the game very much...would it be nice to have co-op over live? Hell yes, if done right it would be awesome.

would it be a travesty to do it improperly? Yes it would be. I would MUCH rather they spent time on polishing and tweaking the game rather than continually pounding away at a stone with a toothpick.

Re:well... (1)

obergfellja (947995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905233)

problem is that people want alot of the same. They don't care about new and different. These new and different things scare people. Frankly, I agree with you. A game that has been polished and tweaked is much better than a rushed game.

Right (1)

Jaqenn (996058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905141)

Since Halo 1 was released on the PC, I've been reading interviews with the Halo dev team guys saying that network Co-Op is going to have to wait a while because their networking code can't handle it. As I recall the explanation was that you get a lot of functionality very easily when you are assured that both players are on the same system.

Each of those articles also had intense speculation that network Co-Op is 'right around the corner'. First for Halo 1, then for Halo 2. I'm probably willing to say that this is the journalist putting words in their mouth, but after 4+ years of hearing the same thing I won't believe it until it ships.

Re:Right (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907095)

Bungie has been trying to implement this feature since Halo 2. It was actually in development, but they simply couldn't get it working at an acceptable level. I remember one of the major hurdles was enemy AI getting out of sync between the two players.

Re:Right (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911807)

It seems to me that it doesn't matter if Enemy AI is out of sync when the two characters are far away from each other. All that matters is that the two character's stats are synchronized, right?

Re:Right (1)

C0rinthian (770164) | more than 7 years ago | (#19913197)

Yeah, but what about when the characters are both engaged in the same firefight with a couple dozen Covenant? Or how about with a swarm of Flood? That is a LOT of enemy data to sync up, and a Xbox has to host it all.

Rememberm in a multiplayer game, one Xbox has to send data on 4 players AT MOST. The Host Xbox has to relay info on 16 players, at most. If you've ever played any BTB games, you know that latency can throw those games off significantly.

This is Bungie. If it were easy to impliment, it would be in the game. You can count on that.

String of online mishaps lately...? (1)

AgentPaper (968688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905143)

It seems like a disturbing number of new releases have had their online play options severely curtailed or omitted entirely. Witness Tony Hawk (PS3), Metroid Prime 3 (Wii), and now Halo 3 (360) - and I'm sure there are a bunch I'm forgetting. Surely all these companies can't be having trouble putting together workable online play for their latest titles?

Re:String of online mishaps lately...? (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905885)

"Surely all these companies can't be having trouble putting together workable online play for their latest titles?"

No kidding eh, I mean it's not like Bungie hasn't been making multiplayer games since 1994 [wikipedia.org] , or even 1990 [wikipedia.org] if you want to stretch things a bit. Seriously though, the developers of the absolute biggest Xbox franchise can't fulfill the basic expectation of playing campaign with a friend over the net, after the third game in? Not to mention that the Myth [wikipedia.org] games had multiplayer co-op over the net, so it's not like Bungie hasn't tackled these kind of obstacles before.

Re:String of online mishaps lately...? (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905913)

Halo 3 will still have online multiplayer "Battle mode", which is halo's bread and butter - just no co-op, which many (or most) gamers aren't too concerned about. I'm not really sure what you're getting at.

Are you kidding me? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19906963)

Are you kidding me? Halo: Combat Evolved for X-Box sold over 5 million copies and it didn't even have online play. Sure, people played it over LAN, but the guy on the street knew it for its sweet co-op.
Halo 2 sold over 6 million copies. When Halo 2 was released, there were less than 2 million subscriptions to X-Box Live... In fact, X-Box Live just reached 6 million subscriptions in March 2007. Obviously more than a few people weren't playing Halo online and I doubt that those who were ignored co-op.

Bungie has been known for doing co-op since Marathon. Co-op is an integral part of the Halo package, and it never would've become Microsoft's "Killer App" without it. Never. Halo is legendary not only for its versus play, but for the fact that it breathed new life into co-op (something that was being put on the back-burner due to developers' boners for online deathmatches). Without co-op. Halo would not be considered a classic game.

So before you lump "most gamers" in with yourself, take a step back and realize how integral co-op has been to Halo's (and the X-Box as a whole's) success.

It's mostly because of large maps (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907403)

I can't say it's the case for Tony Hawks or Metroid as I don't know enough about them, but the problems with it in Halo 3 and various other games that have had to take chunks out their multiplayer plans is to do with the massive maps you get in multiplayer games nowadays.

Many people in response to this story are asking why you can't just teleport the player like in the local coop modes, well, that's actually the problem not the solution. A system can only hold a limited amount of a games assets (terrain, textures, player models and so forth) ready in memory at any one time, on a local coop match the system has the assetts for both players locations in memory and that's just fine for teleporting, because when player B teleports to player A, player B's section of the screen can just use the same assets in memory as player A's, across a relatively slow network like the internet however this option to share memory isn't feasible.

It's not an impossible problem to solve by any means, if player A is telling player B where they are and/or vice versa then player B's system can keep track better, but this takes a lot longer to implement and test, hence why Bungie probably can't get it ready for launch. There are other solutions of course, you could say have a setup where player B is shown a teleportation animation whilst the system loads the required data, but that tends to be tacky and ruins the gameplay a fair bit.

Some might ask why it works okay in other games, well, even in games like Gears you're not allowed to stray far from your team mate at all, so it's the case there that both players are forced to progress at such a similar speed through the game, that should player A need to load new world data, player B will need to also, so by simply keeping the players close you're basically forcing each system to have the same data in memory, so that when the players do need to warp together, player B doesn't have to fetch hardly any, if any data at all that it didn't already have loaded. Of course, this option is available to Bungie too, but is it really worth completely changing their storyline, likely for the worse just to do this right now when they could keep a much better storyline and just do coop another way later?

It seems to be a combination of the storyline requiring the players to be well apart and the massive size of maps in games nowadays compared to the relatively small amount of memory available to consoles. Memory is less important for consoles of course, because they're much more streamlined for transferring game-like data between subsystems than PCs which have to be rather more generic but it's still a bottleneck at the end of the day, one which would cause a noticeable pause to the player if suddenly they had to dump the current few hundred megabytes of assets and load some more instead, as opposed to streaming it as in say games like Saints Row. You might ask why Crackdown doesn't have this problem, it's basically again a game design issue, there's no situation where player B would ever be warped to player A other than say, when you die and so forth and have to move to a spawn point, but it's okay for the pause in the game to load new assets in this situation because the player is busy respawning! Outside that, players just run to each other so the game only needs to stream data slowly, which is like say, loading a few hundred mb of assets over the period of maybe 5minutes that it takes to reach each other vs. trying to load a few hundred mb instantly when a player teleports half way round the world.

I don't understand (1)

tbannist (230135) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905467)

I don't understand how online co-op play has significantly different challenges from splitscreen and lan play. I mean in theory can't you have 1 player in a warthog and another player a mile away in both of those modes? If not, then just apply the same restriction that prevents it from happening in those modes to the online co-op.

Re:I don't understand (2, Insightful)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905723)

Um trading data between 2 instances is harder than running 2 things within one?

Re:I don't understand (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905951)

Well, the thing that boggles the mind is that independent developers have managed to put pretty decently-featured TCP/IP multiplayer into Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City [mtavc.com] . Honestly, if enthusiasts can hack a single player game to allow multiplayer over the net, I can see NO excuse for an original developer not including these kind of features to start (especially when such a feature is in super high demand). We're talking about some guys adding this stuff with NO source code available to them, and then the original developer with probably $millions of funding saying that they can't do it. I don't feel the slighest bit of understanding about this.

Re:I don't understand (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906091)

Correct me if Im wrong, its been a while since I messed with MTA for either VC or SA, but didn't they remove things like pedestrians and the randomly generated cars driving down the road? So really once you get rid of all those things, how much data do you think is actually being moved? Correct me again, but isn't the collision detection in GTA fairly simplified to make it playable in single player? Not to mention that making MTA playable requires a rather good computer.

The level of complexity and the amount of data that must be transmitted are very different.

Re:I don't understand (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906349)

Oh, I don't know - when I played it had pedestrians and cars for sure, although I don't believe that info was synchronized. However you could get in a vehicle and drive around and the vehicle would also be in the other player's game properly synced up and whatnot. Either way, that's a pretty insane feat for some non-professional developers to basically hack into a non-multiplayer game ! heh

Re:I don't understand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19908773)

When I tried MTA a few months back, it had no pedestrians or random cars driving around. Man, that's just not GTA any more. I need the random pedestrians and cars to play with, I need more than just a single friend in the entire map.

Online Co-op Possible (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#19905917)

Seriously, where have the computer nerds gone?

It's stated explicitly that LAN Co-op will be in the game. Given programs such as Warp Pipe for the Gamecube, how hard is it really going to be to simulate a LAN over the internet and enjoy online co-op in all of it's potentially bugged out glory?

I guarantee you someone's going to program and finish such an application, possibly before the game even comes out. It's just a matter of convincing two Xbox 360s that they're on a LAN together, and praying you don't lag like crazy.

Re:Online Co-op Possible (2, Informative)

TruePoindexter (975295) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906041)

That's the problem though, lagging like crazy and moreover packet loss. In Co-op not only do you have to synchronize both players but also every single monster, vehicle, and scripted event on the entire map. Even the slightest difference throws the players out of synch destroying the experience and leading to some interesting situations, like being shot by an Elite five feet away that on your screen is a mile away. It only takes one dropped packet to throw a wrench in the works. I've written code before to synchronize mancala games across the internet while also allowing for observers. That was no small project mind you; and that was with Mancala, a game many orders of magnitude easier than Halo. Many developers with even more clout than Bungie have made claims that they would include online Co-op and then failed to deliver. It's a lesson on why you should take any features list published by a developer with a grain of salt.

Re:Online Co-op Possible (1)

justinlindh (1016121) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907063)

I completely agree with you on the emulated LAN. Of course it's possible; I don't see why 360 users couldn't use the same tools that are already available for Xbox for it (XLink Kai, etc). However, as you point out, the lag is insufferable on most games as their netcode is LAN optimized (low latency, enormous bandwidth compared to your standard Internet pipe).

Regarding your second point, however, I don't buy it. Of course synchronizing two environments is a difficult chore, but it's something that has been done many times. In my eyes, Bungie is basically admitting that Epic is better at developing netcode. Gears of War plays flawlessly in co-op, and they face the same challenges as Halo (multiple enemies/scripted events/etc).

I also write plenty of network code and understand the challenges; scalable network code combined with near real-time response and adapting the client UI to deal with it is an extremely difficult task. I concede that it's a difficult problem, but not that it's impossible.

I'll agree with Bungie once they just admit that they're incapable of producing a co-op mode because their coders aren't up to snuff. I don't buy the "it's just not possible!" cop out.

Re:Online Co-op Possible (1)

MeanderingMind (884641) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907227)

Having programmed a rudimentary, networkable Space War clone as my senior project for college, I'm not unfamiliar with the challenges presented by networking things even over an actual LAN.

I am NOT in any way, shape or form suggesting that simulating a LAN over the internet is going to allow for easy, bug/lag-free play of Halo 3 co-op. I semi-sarcastically (an internet mistake I know) alluded to the probable bug and lag issues within the concept in my post. Hence, "bugged out glory" and "pray you don't lag like crazy".

What I am is surprised that there wasn't a more technical discussion of any of this before I posted, some 40 comments in.

Re:Online Co-op Possible (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907265)

Of course that's totally possible, but here's the issue: why should the consumers have to come up with a solution for what the developer didn't finish? A lot of us can load up Hamachi or the like with little issue, but the point remains that we shouldn't even have to...

Also, it hasn't been stated explicitly by Bungie that there will be co-op over LAN. It was written by the writer of that article, who may or may not have accurate information about that.

Plenty of reasons (1)

ravyne (858869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906133)

First, let me say that I'm a huge Halo fan; $130 special Legendary Edition Halo 3 pre-order huge. Co-op in Halo 1 & 2 is one of my favorite features, right behind multiplayer versus matches, but I can honestly say that online co-op is not a must-have for me, its just a nice extra.

There are plenty of technical why this could be a problem, the primary reason is one of scale. In online multiplayer, games are limited to 16 players max -- some of the larger Halo battles in campaign mode have included many times that number (think of the flood) -- creating network code that can support that number of entities in a small space in a fast-paced FPS is no easy task. The fact that it *is* supported over LAN is a huge clue that this is the primary difficulty -- obviously the networking system supports it, but the WAN latency is probably probably killing it. When the play becomes lagged its no longer accurate and not worth doing, IMHO.

As alluded to in the article, you can do some design things to avoid those situations, but then you start to damage the things that Make the game what it is in the first place.

Re:Plenty of reasons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911083)

Indeed, at it's core, this is an issue of technical limitations impeding quality. If it's not going to be a quality feature, they won't put it in the game, as was clearly stated by Bungie. If they did, they'd get less sales etc etc etc. These are common issues in game development as anyone that's actually done any will tell you. It sucks ass that it won't have 2-4 player Live co-op, but if they can't make the experience polished, top notch quality, then it's better to leave it out.

If anything, blame your Congressman/woman for colluding with business to deny your area proper Internet connections, like the rest of the world has.

Dont share the entities : share the random seeds (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911623)

Disclaimer: IANAGamesProgrammer but i do know a thing or two about randomness in games (see: doom demo format, every "random" event is based on the actions of the player). MY first play-throughs of the first two halos were coop, as were doom2, duke3d, quake1, quake2. (imagine my horror when half life DIDNT have a coop mode!).

Halo is a player-driven game, non-scripted events react to the player. If they lob a grenade at a bunch of enemies they may return fire or scatter. These reactions are probably decided upon by a random number generator somewhere. So. on both systems the initial setup of the game is the same. the monster positions and default movements around the map are the same. so why transmit the details of all that across the network? so long as the player's timestamps are synced the game will be in sync.

firstly, non critical actions dont need to be synced. if player A fires a shotgun at a wall the exact down-to-the-last-pellet blast pattern does not need to be replicated on player B's machine. sure the DAMAGE done by the shotgun blast needs to be synced but dont waste bandwidth making it LOOK identical as the only downside would be the odd occasion where player A says "ooh it made a smiley face" and player B says "you're either blind or full of shit". This also can apply to physical objects, if you blow up a bookshelf and paper goes flying does every single fluttering sheet need to follow the exact same path on each client? i expect not, so long as they're non-blocking and essentially just a visual effect. Half life did this to a certain extent with functions like "create a bunch of splintering wood chunks here" rather than creating and syncing every shard.

so, back to the grenade scenario, instead of sending the grenade and all the resulting movements why not tag a timestamp and random seed to the grenade "throw" event. the player on system 1 throws the grenade, the player on system 2 recieves the events and because their maps are (up until that moment) "naturally" in sync, so long as the responses of the monsters, ai and physics to the grenade event fire according to it's random seed the outcome will be the same.

Now obviously if there's latency and both players lob grenades at the same time at the same enemy hoarde there will be conflict issues. So you need some kind of range based system which knows if the players actions and effects are overlapping to a degree where a subset of local entities NEED to be kept in sync. This might be as simple as checking JUST the xyz origin coords of all the effected entities and any discrepancy results in a forced sync (like how in some networked racing games someone's car will magically jump a few feet over).

just my 2 cents, and probably a little naive when it comes down to keeping things in sync when there's a zillion flood coming at you and fourteen plasma grenades go off at once.

Re:Dont share the entities : share the random seed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19911723)

I actually *am* a game programmer (and have done some network game coding), and relying on a random seed simply won't work, not even for simple games. It can be made to work for awhile, but once there is any single, small diversion it just snow-balls until the game states are entirely different. Some problems can even be entirely beyond your control -- On the PC a poorly written graphics driver might change the precision flags on the FPU and not set them back, but a different driver on a different machine might behave itself. This can lead to discrepancies in the position of an entity and affect how the AI responds, desynchronizing the game... Don't take that example to be something that a networked game must unavoidably do (because the process I describe is naive at best) but merely as an example of the crazy things that *can* happen that are utterly beyond your control.

You really *need* to have an authoritative server scheme, any time more than one machine is allowed to determine the game-state for itself unchecked, you're inviting the inevitability of desynchronizing the game (and cheating in competitive play).

Not conclusive (1)

DreadPiratePizz (803402) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906309)

This is from a leaked EGM issue written over a month ago. Online co-op has been in and out of Halo 3 for a while, and it just so happens that at the time of the issue (a month ago), it was out. Maybe there's hope.

Gee, I wonder if it's because of... (1)

My name is Bucket (1020933) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906561)

...The 360's super awesome shared memory feature. Sure, let's pack this baby full of hi-res textures-- hey waitaminit, why don't we have room anymore for these important game mechanics?

Let's face it: Halo 3 HAD to look pretty, no matter what. If it didn't look like pure eye candy, Microsoft would never hear the end of it. Something's gotta give.

Re:Gee, I wonder if it's because of... (1)

kurokaze (221063) | more than 7 years ago | (#19907335)

Wow.. just wow... and what about the PS3's architecture? where you get 256MB of ram tops?

The developers can choose within the 360 how much of the 512MB GDDR3 ram they want to allocate between game code and graphics. It stands to reason that most of the time they'll probably got a 50/50 split.. meaning that it ends up being roughly equivalent to the memory available in a PS3 (256MB XDR/256MB GDDR3).

What the hell does this have to do with Online Co-Op again?

Re:Gee, I wonder if it's because of... (1)

My name is Bucket (1020933) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910839)

Halo's textures look as good as anything you'll see on PS3, maybe better. This is because they can allocate MORE than 256Mb to textures. But see, that space has to come from somewhere-- and RAM being used to store textures is RAM not being used on player prediction, scripting events, network communication and so on. You can have co-op, you can have online, but getting both is quite a task.

Well, then I won't be buying it. (1)

Janthkin (32289) | more than 7 years ago | (#19906617)

I had one requirement for Halo 3 (and XBox360 purchase): I had to be able to play with my buddy, with whom I started the series. He now lives an untenable distance away. So, I don't need the game, nor their console, nor their pay-to-play Live service, I guess.

Re:Well, then I won't be buying it. (2, Insightful)

enderjsv (1128541) | more than 7 years ago | (#19908745)

You were gonna buy the console, buy the game, and pay for the online service JUST to be able to play the game co-op single player with your friend?... You sure you're just friends?

Wonder what else they skimped on? (0)

Song for the Deaf (608030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910281)

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the video games version of a filler filled album. [allmusic.com] Whereby an established artist gives us an average/sub-par release due to complacency, degree of difficulty, cocaine addiction, whatever...

Ok guys, you're "not stupid", you know people want the feature, yet, you decide not to give it to us anyway. WTF are you guys, our first girlfriends?? The "if it's too difficult, we won't do it" response REEKS of complacency.

It would not be out of the realm of possibilty to say that the success of a subpar Halo 2 (i.e. no matter what we put out there, those f-ing meatheads will buy it) would fuel a supbar Halo 3. Hope you enjoyed your stay, Bungie [epicgames.com]

If you can play LAN... You can play online.. (1)

ihaveamo (989662) | more than 7 years ago | (#19910851)

What's the problem.....

Something doesn't gell here. Create a VPN between you and your buddy via the internet...

How would the 360 know it's not a LAN???

Anyone??

I do it all the time with "Lan" based PC games.....

They should borrow a technique from MMORPGs (1)

rubberbando (784342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19911125)

They should have the online Co-op mode borrow the technique that MMORPGs use and have a server keep track of the players and send the appropriate info to each of them as they progress. Since cost could be an issue, perhaps they could offer that feature to Gold members only (another can of worms I suppose). Or they could have one player's machine act as the server/host but that could cause quite a performance hit.
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