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gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 10:22 AM)
The major ways of integrating online components this generation include leaderboards for single-player experiences (e.g. Mirror's Edge) and co-op (e.g. Resident Evil 5). I think Demon's Souls for PS3 offers something abit different and unique in its online play and am wondering whether other posters can inform me about other ways that other games use to take advantage of online play.

To sum Demons Souls quickly, it is a third-person action RPG in the veins of King's Field and Oblivion. You traverse across different stages mostly alone with occasional NPC appearances, and the game is shrouded in a very dark, gothic and medieval setup.

So where does the online play come in? First, here are some normal gameplay screenshots:



[IMG]http://i40.************/30woxmp.jpg[/IMG]


So it all seems rather regular right? The interesting thing is that while you can play all these stages offline, you can also opt to play them ONLINE. Now, I'll leave out talking about the PK and Co-op modes because we are rather familiar with them so I'll focus on Phantoms, Bloodstains and Messages; which are relatively minor but unique features.

When you play the game online, you will occasionally be able to see transluscent polygonal meshes of another character, Phantoms, running around you. They fade after a few seconds and appear again in other areas without notice. This is supposed to be someone else playing the same stage as you, in real-time. Apart from the psychological effect that it has ("Oh, there's someone else playing!" etc.), there is a gameplay effect where this sometimes helps to reveal hidden enemies around corners because you see these Phantoms getting attacked ahead of you. A normal Phantom looks like this below, but in white.




Now, when other players get killed in their worlds, they will leave Bloodstains on the floor of your world. By pushing Circle on that Bloodstain, you activate their death sequence, meaning you get to see the last 10-20 seconds of this player's movements and activity before he or she dies (said player appears as a pink translucent polygonal mesh). Not only does this reveal potential hidden enemies or traps, an area with LOTS of Bloodstains indicate that the foe ahead is extremely strong and you better come equipped.

I also enjoy it when I'm gaming the game and killing a strong enemy using a cheese method while the bloodstains around that area just keep growing :lol By the way, Bloodstains fade over some time as well. Here is a classic Bloodstain:



Here is a Bloodstain warning you of a great fuck ahead:




Finally we have Messages, which can be left by all players including yourself. These Messages can be Rated, upon which the person who wrote it will be instantly healed in their world and which will help the Message stay longer on the floor. There are also permanent developer-left messages in parts of the world helping you get through the game. You can write these messages using a pre-set list of characters and words provided by the developer, like "Safe Place here", "Beware of Ambush ahead", "This is Harsh, Evaluate me" (the last one is someone begging for a Rate so they get healed.

Here is what a Message looks like:







I think these are pretty innovative online features to put in a single-player game while mostly preserving a single-player experience. You are aided by the online components and don't feel the lone terror of playing alone in a dark, threatening environment (where you can get killed anytime, at anywhere.. and many of our posters know this :lol). You can obviously opt to play offline without the online components as well but there's nothing quite like the feeling of seeing a "Your Message Has Been Rated!" appearing on the screen and knowing that you've helped someone on their lonely quest :D

In my opinion, developers should look at Demon's Souls and its online integration as a model to learn from or as a platform upon which they can think up of even more innovative online play features. Who knew that a Japanese developer could pull off such a good game? Not even Sony Japan, who published and undershipped the game in JP :lol It has a firstweek-LTD (current) sales ratio of 30%, which means it has very long legs for a hardcore game; a sign of its quality. Now it's time to see what other Japanese developers and Western developers can do.


NeoGAF Demon's Souls Official Thread
Demon's Souls WIKI
KTallguy
(04-20-2009, 10:37 AM)
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I really love the online component of this game, but at the same time, I wish you could do co-op from the beginning with a friend.

I still love this game though. Damn it's so awesome.
And the hint message system, phantoms, and blood are really sweet.
Dead Man Typing
Member
(04-20-2009, 10:42 AM)
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I think we're going to see a lot of games utilise features like this pretty soon. Fable 2's Orb system worked very nicely for inviting fellow questers in for co-op, or just seeing where everyone was hanging around. This game seems like a next step for this style of online with the messaging system.

I'm curious though, can you leave messages for every other player who owns the game? Or is it just other players on your friends list? Or do you enter a server/lobby for a set number of players who all leave messages for each other(as well as appearing as phantoms).
archnemesis
Member
(04-20-2009, 10:47 AM)
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Originally Posted by Dead Man Typing

I'm curious though, can you leave messages for every other player who owns the game? Or is it just other players on your friends list? Or do you enter a server/lobby for a set number of players who all leave messages for each other(as well as appearing as phantoms).

You leave messages for every other player. It's the same for the other features like players invading your game and when you summon other players to help you out.
DCharlie
Always bet on white
(04-20-2009, 10:47 AM)
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picked this up after ignoring it after a truly awful TGS demo and very happy with it.

From Software awesomeness continues once they are taken away from Armoured Core.

Chromehounds is amazing, this is great too.
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 10:48 AM)

Originally Posted by Dead Man Typing

I think we're going to see a lot of games utilise features like this pretty soon. Fable 2's Orb system worked very nicely for inviting fellow questers in for co-op, or just seeing where everyone was hanging around. This game seems like a next step for this style of online with the messaging system.

I'm curious though, can you leave messages for every other player who owns the game? Or is it just other players on your friends list? Or do you enter a server/lobby for a set number of players who all leave messages for each other(as well as appearing as phantoms).


The difference with Fable though, is that you see the actual physical bodies of Phantoms running around your game. Some of them are equipped with some serious badass gear, while others are noobs, and you can tell quite easily :D

Badass gear:

[IMG]http://i44.************/2jg4g1y.jpg[/IMG]




You leave messages for all players playing the game. There's what most players can perceive as a serious shortcoming of the game's online play -- there's no integration with the friend's list in any way. You can't leave messages specifically for friends, and even when you PK or play co-op you can't make it friend-specific. It is just there out there in the open. You'll have to coordinate with your friend (e.g. Meet at X at Y time) to get going together and even then, only players of similar levels can co-op in each other's worlds.

There's no US/EU version planned, so we can't say we hope it'll be patched for their release or whatever.
Raist
Banned
(04-20-2009, 10:59 AM)
Colour me intrigued. Looks like the game is fully english friendly? I might try to track a copy.
desverger
Member
(04-20-2009, 11:07 AM)
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This reminds me of Nethack's BONES system :lol

Still an interesting idea though. I'd like to see more of this kind of stuff.

Fable 2 had the "bubbles" system where you could hear other players talking around you in your single player game, but since I only have a silver account I never really experienced it myself. Does anyone who did care to tell his opinion about it?
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 11:14 AM)

Originally Posted by Raist

Colour me intrigued. Looks like the game is fully english friendly? I might try to track a copy.

Asian and Korean version have full English (text, voices) support. Japanese version has only English voices.
gofreak
GAF's Bob Woodward
(04-20-2009, 11:19 AM)
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That all looks pretty cool. It works well in this context too of medieval swords and sorcery (having ghosts and magic messages etc.) although I'm not sure how it could fit credibly into some other more realistic single player game universes..
TTP
Have a fun! Enjoy!
(04-20-2009, 11:25 AM)
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Still waiting for my second copy (first one got missed) to arrive from YesAsia. They will ship it early May :/

Can't wait. I loved King's Field. Coming from a graphics whore is says a lot about the game quality.

Edit: have to add "but but but japan doesn't "get" online"
Last edited by TTP; 04-20-2009 at 11:28 AM.
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 11:25 AM)

Originally Posted by gofreak

That all looks pretty cool. It works well in this context too of medieval swords and sorcery (having ghosts and magic messages etc.) although I'm not sure how it could fit credibly into some other more realistic single player game universes..

The same way crappy stories, unbelievable characters, plotholes, incredible lame dialogue all fit in some of the best games this generation (Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid).

In other words, gameplay before airy fairy shit.
Victrix
*beard*
(04-20-2009, 11:28 AM)
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I can't stress enough how awesome this game is. If you like action rpgs and enjoy a challenge, you owe it to yourself to get this game.
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 11:45 AM)

Originally Posted by Victrix

I can't stress enough how awesome this game is. If you like action rpgs and enjoy a challenge, you owe it to yourself to get this game.

Most of the posters at the official thread are rabid fans.

It's sad though, that this game didn't get much exposure. It certainly hasn't gotten any form of mainstream exposure in the West; like previews, reviews and feature interviews or whatever related to Demon's Souls. It's all currently carried by word of mouth and it's going REALLY strong.

I imagine that the game is doing MUCH better than Sony expected considering they undershipped and did not do much in the way of marketing for this game. If you look at any Demon's Souls thread in any forum online, they are usually long and still going strong.. In one of the Asian gaming forums I frequent, it's as long as the Resident Evil 5 thread (2600 replies :lol).

Just look at this awesome disgusting enemy..


Last edited by gantz85; 04-20-2009 at 11:50 AM.
gofreak
GAF's Bob Woodward
(04-20-2009, 11:49 AM)
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Originally Posted by gantz85

The same way crappy stories, unbelievable characters, plotholes, incredible lame dialogue all fit in some of the best games this generation (Gears of War, Metal Gear Solid).

In other words, gameplay before airy fairy shit.

:lol Well, that's all true. I'm sure stuff like messages could be done in more realistic settings without appearing as magical stuff anyway..like maybe grafitti or something.
Wollan
The reason why I will never ever be banned.
(04-20-2009, 11:52 AM)
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A post of mine from the main thread:

I didn't know a lot about this game before January of this year. I had heard the name in passing but I hadn't seen it nor did I know what genre it was set in. Thankfully, NeoGAF educated me. Today the number of people playing MMO-rpg's probably outnumber the amount of people enjoying singleplayer rpg's. I enjoy both categories but the market today is very much black and white in this regard, there aren't many games that lay somewhere in between. I think Demon's Souls demonstrate the potential here greatly, actually I would say it hits a home run. A relatively hardcore rpg on the PS3 by From Software. Upon bootup, you are connected to the online server (you can only play totally offline if you force it). Let me lay it out for you.

Noteworthy features:

Multiverse gaming. As you are exploring, you will notice phantoms in your proximity from time to time. These are other human players in their alternate dimension. These are figments that only last for a few seconds before they disappear into the air again.

The game divides between soul form and being alive. If you die in this game, all enemies respawn in the level and you are brought back to the start and you are now in soul form which means you can only have 50-75% of max health. This may sound harsh but it's actually a very well balanced system that makes adventuring interesting. There's three ways to resurrect to full potential again: Co-op quest completions, PVP victories and the use of rare (and expensive) items.

In soul form you gain the option to invade another players dimension. You can only invade living players. When you arrive, they will receive a huge message that says 'Black Phantom 'username' has entered'. You are now both in PVP mode. Receiving that message as a living player is ultra-frightening since the above mentioned penalty for dying applies. What's also cool is that the black phantom player can walk among all the monsters and enemy creatures throughout the level as you're on their side. If you manage to kill the living player you regain your soul and resurrect to full strength.

Co-op is also an option in this game. If you're in soul form you may place a marker on the ground that you're available. Living players will then in their dimension see these and they may call upon these blue phantom players to aid them. If you manage to kill a boss, the blue phantom player resurrects and returns to their dimension. What's cool about co-op markers on the ground is that they're always relative since they are location based. You will often find co-op markers in areas leading up to a boss for example.

Location based Messages. This is another really interesting feature in this game. You may at all times choose to post a message on the ground, anywhere. These messages will show up in other players dimensions. 'Watch out, enemy surprise attack ahead', 'look up for clue', 'secret road ahead'..etc. Messages can be rated, also beware of false ones... It's like you painted a forum over the game. The thing is, you can only combine keywords so while they are very useful (it's a hard game), they don't describe the situation to the nth degree, you're still on your own. Like co-op marks, the messages are location based so they're always relevant. It's a really elegant system.

Death replays. Whenever someone dies, they will leave a pool of blood (or soul aura) a few steps before it happened. If you click on this you may see how this player met his/her demise. You will see a transparent figment of that player for example walking along an edge and then fall off. You may also reveal enemy surprise attacks by looking at these sequences.

World events. The game is divided into five different worlds with different themes (torture prison to coastal island to plague caverns..etc). Your black phantom activity (PVP), Co-op questing and general adventuring determine if the different worlds are aligned to white aura or black. Different events might come from this. There are certain wandering a.i characters in the game and determining on the world aura you may join them in raids or maybe face them in combat (they are super hard).

There's so much more to talk about in regards to this game. 10 classes to choose from. Item system is 95% forging vs 5% looting. Integrated leaderboards in the game in the form of player statues. The almost complete lack of music and focus on ambient sounds. The combat is really well done and fighting is very satisfying. The atmosphere is top notch and the game is really eerie for a rpg, there are full-on horror sections actually. The art is very consistent and realistic. The game is totally open ended and takes 50-100 hours to finish (you can skip two thirds of the content if you wish) but you can continue each time with a newgame+ option (it becomes harder and harder, you keep equipment and character). The voice acting is surprisingly good.

Demon's Souls is the best 'western' rpg I've played in years and it was developed in Japan.
Hopefully some western publisher will bring it over but right now you can import the Asian version (not Japanese) which offers a 100% English option.
Demon's Souls not only demonstrates how you can make a rpg in the grey area between mmo and singleplayer, it's a total home run on this concept. Can't recommend it enough.

TTP
Have a fun! Enjoy!
(04-20-2009, 11:54 AM)
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*hates YesAsia*
GrayFoxPL
Member
(04-20-2009, 11:55 AM)
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Originally Posted by gantz85

Asian and Korean version have full English (text, voices) support. Japanese version has only English voices.

Importing. FROM SOFTWARE for the mother fucking win!
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 11:56 AM)

Originally Posted by GrayFoxPL

Importing. FROM SOFTWARE for the mother fucking win!


In your first few hours of playing you will probably be changing that to FUCK YOU FROM D:

Before going back to your original line after you curve up to teh awesomz :lol
fanboi
Proud Empress of Backstabbing, ruler of Oopsy Daisy
(04-20-2009, 11:57 AM)
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This game seems to be all about atmosphere And getting killed over and over and over and over... again
eXistor
Member
(04-20-2009, 12:02 PM)
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Originally Posted by fanboi

This game seems to be all about atmosphere And getting killed over and over and over and over... again

Don't forget the awesome gameplay. And getting killed is all part of it, it's really not as frustrating as you might expect.

So far it's easily my goty. Dragon Age, Alan Wake and a few others are gonna have a hard time topping this.
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 12:03 PM)

Originally Posted by fanboi

This game seems to be all about atmosphere And getting killed over and over and over and over... again

There are fodder enemies in games, just like there are fodder gamers...

Some like






And then there's





:D
fanboi
Proud Empress of Backstabbing, ruler of Oopsy Daisy
(04-20-2009, 12:06 PM)
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Originally Posted by gantz85

There are fodder enemies in games, just like there are fodder gamers...

Some like


:D


:lol

Post of the year.
GrayFoxPL
Member
(04-20-2009, 12:13 PM)
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Originally Posted by gantz85

In your first few hours of playing you will probably be changing that to FUCK YOU FROM D:

Before going back to your original line after you curve up to teh awesomz :lol

Nah, I know and love FS games.

They're real man's food! Like raw steak with bone and blood! :lol
Joseph Merrick
#2 Tingle Fan
(right after Beezy)
(04-20-2009, 12:17 PM)
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yeah, it's a nice game. don't make me hate it.


"I also enjoy it when I'm gaming the game and killing a strong enemy.."

really, you enjoy that shit?
BeeDog
Member
(04-20-2009, 12:24 PM)
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This nice topic made me think; why are there so few direct-feed captures of this game? Pretty much every single screen looks like shit. The clear pics in the OP look so promising, but they're so damn low-res. Anyone can share some full-sized direct captures that look good?
Shurs
Member
(04-20-2009, 01:27 PM)
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Originally Posted by gantz85

Now, I'll leave out talking about the PK and Co-op modes because we are rather familiar with them

First of all, great thread. The online components of the game are the reason why I'm importing it.

Secondly, I think that the PK and Co-op modes are actually quite unique and worth mentioning. I've never had a primarily single player experience interrupted by an invading player before. I also think that the co-op element iis quite unique within the context of the game.

I'm very excited to get this game. Hurry up ncsx.
Llyranor
Member
(04-20-2009, 01:36 PM)
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This is just a thinly veiled Demon's Souls promotion thread, isn't it? :P

I've accepted that it's a primarily singleplayer game and that 2p co-op with a buddy doesn't seem like it'll be likely. Now I'm just sold on the game (just an eventuality now) based on its own merits. That being said, the online elements do sound pretty cool/unique.

Shiren DS has a cool 'online' mode. It's a roguelike. If you die, you start over at the initial town and lose all xp/gp/items you carried with you. However, you get the option of giving out a code to a friend, who can then try in his/her singleplayer game to come and rescue you (or die in the process - since the game spawns a room full of monsters where you died). It's a neat little way to allow friends to help each other out in what's otherwise a purely singleplayer experience.
gantz85
Banned
(04-20-2009, 01:55 PM)

Originally Posted by Shurs

Secondly, I think that the PK and Co-op modes are actually quite unique and worth mentioning. I've never had a primarily single player experience interrupted by an invading player before. I also think that the co-op element iis quite unique within the context of the game.

I'm very excited to get this game. Hurry up ncsx.

I've chosen to leave them out primarily to highlight some of the more interesting and subtle online components. Co-op and PK are quite traditional elements and I'm pretty sure any interested player can find out more about them pretty easily.



Originally Posted by Llyranor

This is just a thinly veiled Demon's Souls promotion thread, isn't it? :P

I've accepted that it's a primarily singleplayer game and that 2p co-op with a buddy doesn't seem like it'll be likely. Now I'm just sold on the game (just an eventuality now) based on its own merits. That being said, the online elements do sound pretty cool/unique.

DS is like any other cult hit, it has a bunch of really avid followers and it's the same for DS. The result is that any thread attracts a disproportionate amount of avid fans because the fans of the game are generally, avid. I assure you it's not a promotion thread in the sense that I'm employed to astroturf by Sony. The bunch of us who play the game really love it and becaue of its limited sales performance (100K units in JP, 20+K units in Asia?) we aren't sure whether a sequel or spiritual sequel will be guaranteed. The more sales the better.

Plus, the subtle online components are really, in my opinion, unique.
rollingstart
Member
(04-20-2009, 01:57 PM)
It's funny how just yesterday I started looking into Demon's Soul as a potential import, then today someone makes this thread making me even more interested in the game. It all falls into place to make me spend more money.

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