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.
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.
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.
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.