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Ability to observe a multiplayer game


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#1 Luketski

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 11:03 AM

It would be nice to have a feature that allows other users to observe an ongoing game, as neutral invisible players. Observers could join or leave anytime.

Of course this maybe raises an issue with cheating. If observers can see the entire map, and all units, they can maybe share this information with one of the players in real time, for example they can give away the other player's units' position, etc.

#2 meodai

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Posted 04 March 2011 - 03:14 PM

It would be nice to have a feature that allows other users to observe an ongoing game, as neutral invisible players. Observers could join or leave anytime.

Of course this maybe raises an issue with cheating. If observers can see the entire map, and all units, they can maybe share this information with one of the players in real time, for example they can give away the other player's units' position, etc.


Or just play in a windows and observe in a browser what the other player does :) It would be nice to save the replay to youtube. Like in http://www.frozensynapse.com/ . (also a great turnbased tactical game)

It would make the game more popular. Gamers would have more chance to discover the game.

Edited by meodai, 04 March 2011 - 03:18 PM.


#3 Luketski

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Posted 11 March 2011 - 05:35 AM

Yes, display in browser is a very good idea, because anyone could see the games live, without even downloading UFO2000. The youtube replay is probably possible too. Maybe I'll create a tool that can convert replay files to youtube format...

I think the cheating problem can be solved if the public view of the game would show the game state a few turns behind the current state, for example it could show the game as it was 5 or 10 turns earlier...

#4 meodai

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Posted 12 March 2011 - 06:44 AM

Yes, display in browser is a very good idea, because anyone could see the games live, without even downloading UFO2000. The youtube replay is probably possible too. Maybe I'll create a tool that can convert replay files to youtube format...

I think the cheating problem can be solved if the public view of the game would show the game state a few turns behind the current state, for example it could show the game as it was 5 or 10 turns earlier...


i would not do anything that allows to see anything during the game.

#5 Luketski

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Posted 13 March 2011 - 12:12 PM

Maybe it could be turnable on and off for every game.

Something like a " [ x ] Enable public view of this game " checkbox.

The number of turns for the public view to lag behind the game could be settable too...

#6 Fomka

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 12:01 PM

It is hard to implement this feature. There are 2 points.

1. Joining and leaving the ongoing game as observer.
UFO2000 was developed from as one versus one game. The server is used mainly as a two-end bridge between players.

2. Viewing in browser without UFO2000 installed requires downloading.
An observer must download all the data (pictures, sounds) that players are using. It's about 5-10 megabytes (file ufo2000.tmp, I think).

#7 meodai

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 09:41 AM

It is hard to implement this feature. There are 2 points.

1. Joining and leaving the ongoing game as observer.
UFO2000 was developed from as one versus one game. The server is used mainly as a two-end bridge between players.

2. Viewing in browser without UFO2000 installed requires downloading.
An observer must download all the data (pictures, sounds) that players are using. It's about 5-10 megabytes (file ufo2000.tmp, I think).


what about the ability to export the replay as video? (or post it directly to youtoube)
I think it would help to make the game more popular in a short peroid of time

#8 Fomka

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Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:55 PM

Replay as video? Not good. Even Starcraft 2 does not offer such feature.
Video is not interactive and replay inside UFO2000 is interactive to some extent: you can move the point of view, change levels, change speed of the play and make a pause.
Do you think that non-interactive video will attract new players?

#9 Fomka

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Posted 16 March 2011 - 12:51 PM

I've found old yet similar discussion in the bugtracker: http://ufo2000.net/m...view.php?id=213

In case you do not know: UFO2000 can save and view replays. One can manually make a video of a saved replay.
To get a replay of a match played on a server you can connect to that server and write command in the lobby chat: getreplay14837 for the match number 14837. If the replay was not deleted from the server, the game will start to fetch data and show players' actions in rapid succession. If your game has all data that the players used (maps, weaponsets that they were choosing in mission planner), the battle will start. If the match was finished you will be prompted to save the replay in local file -- popup message "Save replay?". That local replay can be viewed in more comfort way than it looks while fetching -- "load a replay" from the main UFO2000 menu.

That popup message "Save replay?" also appears when any match you participate in is ended. If you answer "Yes", the resulting replay will be similar to the fetched one. One difference: replay that was fetched from a server preserves chat of both players, replay that was saved after your match will show only your chat.

Update
I think that replay feature is enough to have the ability to observe a multiplayer game. Not in real time, but at any moment after the match.
Some replay-related issues in the bugtracker: 600, 597, 580, 324

Edited by Fomka, 16 March 2011 - 01:35 PM.


#10 Luketski

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Posted 18 March 2011 - 03:37 AM

2. Viewing in browser without UFO2000 installed requires downloading.
An observer must download all the data (pictures, sounds) that players are using. It's about 5-10 megabytes (file ufo2000.tmp, I think).


At first maybe replays without sound would be enough, so only the pictures would need to be downloaded.

Yes probably the replay system can be used for the spectator mode.

Maybe a javascript based replay viewer can be created for viewing in browser. Some of the battle-view display code could be ported to javascript... But this sounds like a hard task.

The javascript based replay playback would be better than just converting the replays into AVI files, because the size of the replay itself is very small, so only the graphics would need to be downloaded, and only once. A JS based replay could be interactive, for example, rotating the map, or changing the view height, etc. would be possible.

Whereas, an AVI is not interactive, and it's much larger in size. But, converting to AVI using the current game code is probably very easy to do.




Update: I seem to remember that it was possible to rotate the view in UFO2000 by 90 degrees... but maybe it's not possible currently. I'll have to check this.
Update 2: I have checked, but it seems to be impossible to rotate the map in the battlescape currently. Oh well, maybe someday. :)

Edited by Luketski, 18 March 2011 - 07:44 AM.