Dev Journal: The return of PBEM multiplayer

We are bringing back the PBEM system, a classic turn-based game mode that offers you an option to experience AoW multiplayer in short brackets of time, in your free moments during the day.

PBEM_MplayerMenu

The new Multiplayer menu. The numerical symbol means there is one PBEM sessions turn waiting for you.

As game developers who have grown beyond the uncomplicated days of playing games all days in the garage, we know all too well that nagging partners, unruly kids and life in general can get in the way of prolonged multiplayer sessions.  PBEM games are an excellent solution for this.

However in the old Age of Wonders games the PBEM feature wasn’t always as smooth. The large amount of different email services and email attachment limits caused some trouble, which luckily Dave Sp1ce helped address with his excellent Age of Wonders Email Wrapper.   With Triumph setting up its own multiplayer account server, and bandwidth costs dropping year by year,  we thought we could take the concept of PBEM into the 21st century. We investigated a server relay system, where turns aren’t sent to other players as saved game email attachments, but are instead stored on a central server.

The advantages of Server Based PBEM are:

  • Quick setup and easy management of multiple simultaneous sessions.
  • Better gameflow, you can easily see which player holds the game and you get live updates when games are ready.
  • Turn Timers with an auto end, so people can’t sit on their turn for too long.
  • No email server incompatibilities, bounces on large attachments, etc.
  • You don’t need to share email addresses with strangers.
  • And potential for additional (currently unimplemented) features such as central messaging, user kicking, ladders, first come first serve out of order turn options to speed games up.

Lets take a look at the work in progress gameflow.

PBEM_List

After selecting the PBEM option, you get presented with a list of you PBEM games in progress and their status. Mousing over a game shows which player holds the turn.

 

PBEM_NamePwdHosting a game works the same as in a session based multi-player game. No input of user names + email addresses is necessary.

PBEM_MapSetup_bakMap setup has one big difference: the timer.  If players don’t complete their turn within a set amount of time, the server will automatically send the turn to the next player. 

PBEM_DownloadDownloads and uploads are lighting fast with the Amazon AWS servers.  Had to try a a couple of times to snap this screenshot ;-P

PBEM_ScreenAnd here have a screenshot of a PBEM session in progress, which looks much like regular game. (note to other devs in this game – crumble in fear from the sight of Len’s empire!)

Well that’s it, we’re doing a beta and have to predict operational cost. Then we’ll decide how to distribute the system. Of course its our intention to make this feature free for all players of AoW3.

The following two tabs change content below.

Arno

Latest posts by Arno (see all)

We’ve moved over to the paradox forums. Please come visit us there to discuss:
You can still read the collective wisdom - and lolz - of the community here, but posting is no longer possible.

Home Forums Dev Journal: The Return of PBEM multiplayer

This topic contains 94 replies, has 59 voices, and was last updated by  Taykor 3 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 95 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #152314

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster
    #152321

    vaportrails
    Member

    I sincerely hope this brings in droves of new players to give the game the funding and support it needs to keep evolving.

    Great work!

    #152323

    SikBok
    Keymaster

    Thanks for posting that last screenshot.
    I should be up next right : D>

    I’m coming for you Len.

    #152326

    Moloc32
    Member

    Looks great guys! Thanks for the weekly updates! Keep up the good work.

    #152330

    Mardagg
    Member

    this is huge news for me!
    Thanks Triumph,now I will finally start playing this great game in MP!!
    Keep up the good work,you guys are great!

    #152333

    Chummy
    Member

    This looks great, helpful for games with people in different timezones.

    I haven’t played by email before, so I do have one question – how is tactical battle between players resolved?

    #152334

    Low_K
    Member

    I love you guys!

    Love you even more when an ETA is announced 😉

    Kind regards,

    Low

    #152335

    Jolly Joker
    Member

    Looks like High Elven Necro play.

    Uhh, Lennart, researching a 300 or even 400 (depending on when research started) or even more (knowledge Scroll) tech right at start is a somewhat, err, bold move, which would mean either that the tech will be overpowered when you get it earlier than turn 20, or it’s bad play – or you want to fool your opponents. 😉

    PBEM system sounds nice, though. 🙂

    #152337

    mrXD89
    Member

    Look at the screenshot. Isn’t it a ghouled city?

    #152339

    I haven’t played by email before, so I do have one question – how is tactical battle between players resolved?

    Auto-combat. It’s the opposite of “normal” multiplayer. PvE gets manual’d, PvP gets auto’d.

    #152341

    ShortBear
    Member

    If both of the people are online will we still be able to do tactical combat? thats a feature I’d miss while duking it out with my friends.

    #152348

    Nyanko
    Member

    Thanks for the feature and for the last screenshot showing elvish ghouls.

    #152349

    Ravenholme
    Member

    I sincerely hope this brings in droves of new players to give the game the funding and support it needs to keep evolving.

    Great work!

    I honestly don’t think it will have that huge an impact on the number of people buying the game – it will have some, sure, but I can guarantee it will be pretty minor.

    Still, its a nice feature to have, looking forward to more exciting Dev Journals in the future.

    More pressingly, in that last screenshot, what exactly is that landscape feature obscured by the army panel? That IS new, if I’m not mistaken – Looks like a plateau style mountain.

    #152353

    Lennart Sas
    Keymaster

    @Jolly Joker Seeding Disinformation is part of any good war strategy 😉 .

    #152367

    Sweet! Now I’ll be able to play every day long epic games. ^_^

    #152369

    LordTheRon
    Member

    Yes, PBEM is coming and 21st century proof too. This is going to be such a blast! Finally time to get my multiplayer games going and be able to participate in as many as I want and play the turns when I have time.

    Time to mail my old PBEM friends from the AoW2 SM days!

    #152377

    Zaskow
    Member

    Thanks for journal! But…
    I still can’t see a sense of PBEM-gaming today. PBEM won’t give a lot of online. Devs could spend their working hours for more important things.

    This was IMAO, of course.

    #152383

    Gilafron
    Member

    So excited for PBEM!! Hooray!

    My only remaining want is an optional way to resolve PvP battles on line. My friends and I could arrange a time to conduct a battle online.

    Thanks Triumph Studios!!

    #152384

    shaman
    Member

    Tactical combats are the great stumbling stone of the mode!
    As they are totally non-interactive, may be it’s possible to include it to PBEM turn pass system at least for 2 player games. So a player may make turn in tactical combat previously downloading opponent’s one and briefly looked at its animation.

    #152387

    Fenraellis
    Member

    Try playing multiple games simultaneously with the exact same people and general map settings. Maybe even the exact same leader setups, although that’s less fun. A sort of 3D Chess kind of deal.

    That being said, I’ll use it to play with some less available people, certainly, but my true love will remain the standard Simultaneous Multiplayer mode.

    #152391

    Ghevd
    Member

    See even the devs like necromancy. Resurrecting long dead features to use for their devious plans to free me of my money. Still looking for that prepay button! If ya find it let me know.

    #152394

    Gamling
    Member

    Great this will make me able to join multiplayer games too. 🙂 I am looking forward to it.

    #152396

    JPoll
    Member

    Good to see how Triumph Studios keep all their promises. 🙂

    #152398

    Can we get any new news to the conversion of AoW3 to different game ports?

    #152401

    Smaug3
    Member

    Wait, if you named the game after Lennart’s Hero, Melenis, why do you have a game titled Inioch’s Game?

    #152402

    tuster
    Member

    Thanks for the update, I’m waiting since day one for PBEM! Hurray it will be available soon!!!

    My main concern is on the availablility of PBEM only. Will it be available still in 10 years? I still play AoW2:SM matches PBEM…

    #152410

    LordTheRon
    Member

    Thanks for journal! But…<br>
    I still can’t see a sense of PBEM-gaming today. PBEM won’t give a lot of online. Devs could spend their working hours for more important things.

    This was IMAO, of course.

    It might not be for everybody, but like Arno says in the journal for old guys with job, kids, spouses and other real time multiplayer killers (like me) this is THE way to play. Try it when it comes out, you might like it better than you think.

    #152434

    Gloweye
    Member

    Well, it’s gonna be MY first PvP experience.

    Anyway, Melenis the Risen is her full name, unless misinformation is part of the Dev Journal’s “unintentional” information too…

    Oh, and that spell he’s researching has not been mentioned in the Dev Journal about the Necro spells.

    And it’s turn 4, so maybe he already Ghouled that city….

    #152440

    Zaskow
    Member

    It might not be for everybody, but like Arno says in the journal for old guys with job, kids, spouses and other real time multiplayer killers (like me) this is THE way to play.

    If you have constant opponents, this isn’t problem even now.

    Try it when it comes out, you might like it better than you think.

    No, thanks. I don’t like, when important part of game (i mean tactical combats vs. humans) are cutting out.

    #152446

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>LordTheRon wrote:</div>
    It might not be for everybody, but like Arno says in the journal for old guys with job, kids, spouses and other real time multiplayer killers (like me) this is THE way to play.

    If you have constant opponents, this isn’t problem even now.

    <div class=”d4p-bbt-quote-title”>LordTheRon wrote:</div>
    Try it when it comes out, you might like it better than you think.

    No, thanks. I don’t like, when important part of game (i mean tactical combats vs. humans) are cutting out.

    Don’t try it then, personally I find it the best gaming experience I have ever had. And back in the days I used to write for a videogames magazine, then I became a tester and a translator for games, so I have seen quite a few. Never had so much fun as in AOWSM in PBEM.

Viewing 30 posts - 1 through 30 (of 95 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.