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Jump in / out during play

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Frank West
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Hey guys and gals,

I'm exploring the idea of supporting "jump in / out" play with my cooperative game, allowing players to continue playing if someone has to leave or to let an extra player join in if they arrive late.

I'm wondering if there is a specific name given to this?

I've not found any games where they specifically support this feature so I'm wondering if "Supports jump in / out play" is the best name or what people would suggest?

Thanks,

- Frank

radioactivemouse
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Frank West wrote:Hey guys and

Frank West wrote:
Hey guys and gals,

I'm exploring the idea of supporting "jump in / out" play with my cooperative game, allowing players to continue playing if someone has to leave or to let an extra player join in if they arrive late.

I'm wondering if there is a specific name given to this?

I've not found any games where they specifically support this feature so I'm wondering if "Supports jump in / out play" is the best name or what people would suggest?

Thanks,

- Frank

Its certainly something that may need to be labeled, however I do know games that feature it.

-Apples to Apples (subsequently any social deduction game that's a spinoff of this...Cards Against Humanity, Dixit, etc.)
-Codenames
-Rhino Hero (to an extent)
-Pie Face

I would think co-op games, but that would vary depending on the game.

This mechanic tends to really favor party games and any game with a setup based on the number of players entering it is certainly out of the picture.

Frank West
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radioactivemouse][quote=Frank

radioactivemouse][quote=Frank West wrote:

This mechanic tends to really favor party games and any game with a setup based on the number of players entering it is certainly out of the picture.

I've been looking into this as I *think* (still testing it) I can provide this feature for my game, which is a bigger, longer game.

When you start you choose either:

A) Scenario (60 - 90 minutes)
B) Story (90 - 180 minutes)

If you complete a story, you are given the option to "extend play" by another hour, allowing for 240 minutes total.

I can see situations where people are choosing to player a longer story and someone turns up late, or someone has to leave. I can also see a situation where some people want to play the "extended" mode whilst others need to leave.

So I've been trying to understand the different points in the game and how you can change the current setup at any point to allow players to join or leave mid game.

I'm happy with the results so far and feel this is a very situational feature but something that could be very beneficial to some players/groups.

Which then leads back to this question, what do I call it?

radioactivemouse
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Your issue

Your issue with your design is that you're trivializing the progression of the game. Regardless of when you come in, you can still finish the game? Instead of encouraging late players, it encourages players to duck out if they feel the game isn't going the way they want.

And a lot of games really come to fruition in the final stages of the game.

It's a challenge, and one that is certainly worth exploring.

But what to call it? I dunno..."rubber player"? "trampoline"? "modular player game"?

let-off studios
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Suggestions

First, a brief observation. From the way you describe the game here, my gut is telling me I ought to caution you against two things:
- lots of player down-time
- lack of player interaction

I don't know ANYTHING about your prototype though. There was a recent podcast describing pointers for designing co-op games, so I suggest you look into that for a seasoned perspective.

Beyond that, I'd like to see the term "pick-up" play to be used to describe the situation you describe. Someone new shows up late to the backyard pick-up ball game, they jump in on whatever team needs a player. Players head out whenever they need to go, and if necessary team members are shuffled in an attempt to keep them "even."

Frank West
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let-off studios wrote:First,

let-off studios wrote:
First, a brief observation. From the way you describe the game here, my gut is telling me I ought to caution you against two things:
- lots of player down-time
- lack of player interaction

Hey, are you referring to the description in this post or other places on the forum? I'm not sure what in this post acted as a description for the game or would imply this?

Either way, this game has very very small amounts of down-time and I'd argue more player interaction than most games. So I'm intrigued what led you to this thinking?

let-off studios wrote:
Beyond that, I'd like to see the term "pick-up" play to be used to describe the situation you describe. Someone new shows up late to the backyard pick-up ball game, they jump in on whatever team needs a player. Players head out whenever they need to go, and if necessary team members are shuffled in an attempt to keep them "even."

Pick-up play is a good term, it gives a positive feel to it.

let-off studios
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Frank West wrote:Hey, are you

Frank West wrote:
Hey, are you referring to the description in this post or other places on the forum? I'm not sure what in this post acted as a description for the game or would imply this?
I hadn't read your other threads, and it seems like there are more details elsewhere. But I gathered my impression from your description here, specifically:
- the game is (up to) four hours long
- the fact that the game allows players to jump in and out at will, without interrupting the flow of the game

When I see that, I often wonder what the game is about, and how you go about making it happen. Does it need to be that long? Can the game continue even without input from other players?

I also qualified this at the outset by stating that I know nothing about your game. So if you feel like you've addressed those concerns, then great! Pay my impression no mind. I'm completely on the outside and I think it's reasonable that I don't have a clue about your design. :)

Frank West
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let-off studios wrote:Frank

let-off studios wrote:
Frank West wrote:
Hey, are you referring to the description in this post or other places on the forum? I'm not sure what in this post acted as a description for the game or would imply this?
I hadn't read your other threads, and it seems like there are more details elsewhere. But I gathered my impression from your description here, specifically:
- the game is (up to) four hours long
- the fact that the game allows players to jump in and out at will, without interrupting the flow of the game

When I see that, I often wonder what the game is about, and how you go about making it happen. Does it need to be that long? Can the game continue even without input from other players?

I also qualified this at the outset by stating that I know nothing about your game. So if you feel like you've addressed those concerns, then great! Pay my impression no mind. I'm completely on the outside and I think it's reasonable that I don't have a clue about your design. :)

Thanks for answering, and don't worry - I wasn't expecting you to have read anything else! I would have been more worried if you had read more and come to that conclusion. Your response answers my question, thanks :)

And to answer your question, no it doesn't need to be 4 hours. You can choose to play the 60 - 90 minute version or 90-180 minute versions and never touch the 4 hour version.

Thanks again! I'm still liking your "Pick-up play" concept.

Stormyknight1976
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In my game

I will be using Drop In / Drop Out Term. Similar to co-op / multiplayer video games.

Stormy

Frank West
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Stormyknight1976 wrote:I will

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
I will be using Drop In / Drop Out Term. Similar to co-op / multiplayer video games.

Stormy

Thank you Stormy!

'Drop-in/Drop-out' is a style of co-op gameplay where extra players can join the 1st player seamlessly without having to quit the game or navigate any menus. Most games do allow them to leave the game in a similar manner.

Sounds like a well defined video game term, so unless anyone shows me something typically used for board games then I think this will be a winner.

Stormyknight1976
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Your welcome

Your welcome Frank.

Bows respectively.

Stormy

questccg
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Some additional thoughts

If the overall game is getting "progressively" harder to play well then the player who "Drops In" needs to have the "proper" skills to match. This is based on the assumption that players gain more skills as they gain experience.

Perhaps the easiest way to do this is have a "value" for everything. And you keep track of this "value". It could be the total score for the current leader. And what you would do is take that value LESS maybe 'X' points.

Then on your first turn, you get to SPEND your points to buy up the stuff that you need. And then once done, you should be in a position with all of your "acquisitions" to be able to continue the game as a normal player.

This could work for BOTH "coop" and competitive play.

FrankM
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Similar problem in a very different context

questccg wrote:
If the overall game is getting "progressively" harder to play well then the player who "Drops In" needs to have the "proper" skills to match. This is based on the assumption that players gain more skills as they gain experience.

Perhaps the easiest way to do this is have a "value" for everything. And you keep track of this "value". It could be the total score for the current leader. And what you would do is take that value LESS maybe 'X' points.

Then on your first turn, you get to SPEND your points to buy up the stuff that you need. And then once done, you should be in a position with all of your "acquisitions" to be able to continue the game as a normal player.

This could work for BOTH "coop" and competitive play.

This is similar to what might happen with XP in an RPG where the gamemaster expects some players to be unavailable some of the time. Back when I had time to run such a game, I'd set up what I called a "drag rate" which set the minimum XP for any character in the party. A new player joining the group (it happens) would get to build a character with XP at this "drag rate." For established players, a character was still present even if the player was absent, though the character received no XP. This would ensure that any Plot Coupons would be available when needed. If someone dropped out for enough sessions in a row to get caught up by the "drag rate" (which didn't happen), the explanation was that character had been learning something from all that relatively passive participation. I figured that "rewarding" absence would be less disruptive than crippling the party with an underpowered member.

Frank West
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FrankM wrote:questccg

FrankM wrote:
questccg wrote:
If the overall game is getting "progressively" harder to play well then the player who "Drops In" needs to have the "proper" skills to match. This is based on the assumption that players gain more skills as they gain experience.

Perhaps the easiest way to do this is have a "value" for everything. And you keep track of this "value". It could be the total score for the current leader. And what you would do is take that value LESS maybe 'X' points.

Then on your first turn, you get to SPEND your points to buy up the stuff that you need. And then once done, you should be in a position with all of your "acquisitions" to be able to continue the game as a normal player.

This could work for BOTH "coop" and competitive play.

This is similar to what might happen with XP in an RPG where the gamemaster expects some players to be unavailable some of the time. Back when I had time to run such a game, I'd set up what I called a "drag rate" which set the minimum XP for any character in the party. A new player joining the group (it happens) would get to build a character with XP at this "drag rate." For established players, a character was still present even if the player was absent, though the character received no XP. This would ensure that any Plot Coupons would be available when needed. If someone dropped out for enough sessions in a row to get caught up by the "drag rate" (which didn't happen), the explanation was that character had been learning something from all that relatively passive participation. I figured that "rewarding" absence would be less disruptive than crippling the party with an underpowered member.

This is pretty much what I've been designing for the game. As it is an RPG with XP gain, players coming late will be able to gain stat points based on the current party XP but wont be able to get free items/upgrades and so fourth.

FrankM
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Impress your friends at parties by NOT BEING THERE!

Frank West wrote:
This is pretty much what I've been designing for the game. As it is an RPG with XP gain, players coming late will be able to gain stat points based on the current party XP but wont be able to get free items/upgrades and so fourth.

The tricky part of this is what to do with the playerless character during encounters. An established group of RPG players will gloss over the insignificant presence of the character during that time, but things may not be so simple in a more directly goal-driven game. Should the character sit out (and cause encounters to scale down) or continue on autopilot?

If the enemies have a similar scope of abilities as the characters, an "AI" might already exist in the game to use as a respectable autopilot. Sadly, the AI might outperform some players.

Frank West
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FrankM wrote:The tricky part

FrankM wrote:
The tricky part of this is what to do with the playerless character during encounters. An established group of RPG players will gloss over the insignificant presence of the character during that time, but things may not be so simple in a more directly goal-driven game. Should the character sit out (and cause encounters to scale down) or continue on autopilot?

If the enemies have a similar scope of abilities as the characters, an "AI" might already exist in the game to use as a respectable autopilot. Sadly, the AI might outperform some players.

In my instance, each session resets so I'm only concerned about the singular instance of someone arriving late or leaving early in a single session. So the problem isn't a "misses out on one session" but "misses out of part of a session".

This is somewhat solved by the previous points covering XP and the way creatures are generated through a set of rules. One of the modifiers is player count so when the player count switches, the generation can easily be modified to re-balance.

This is what led me to thinking about accommodating the Drop in/out concept as it felt the core elements were already in place.

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