Playing by Yourself Is Fine With Valve

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Playing by Yourself Is Fine With Valve

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Not every game needs the "stress" of multiplayer, says Valve project manager Erik Johnson.

It seems to be an unwritten law these days that every videogame has to have a multiplayer mode, but Johnson, who is currently working on Portal 2, thinks that there will always be room in people's hearts for playing solo.

He said that not everyone wanted to deal with stress of other people intruding into their leisure time, so there would always be an audience for single player games. He also thought that water-cooler moments were a big part of the single player experience. Using the example of the first Half-Life, which he thought was a fairly typical "offline" game, he said that people wanted to be able to talk about the game they were playing, safe in the knowledge that they were experiencing the same thing as those they were talking to.

He didn't think that single player games had to completely eschew online components, however. Giving players who were playing the same section of a game the ability to talk to each other, he said, or to leave each other messages - much in the same way that From Software's Demon's Souls does - would take advantage of a community of players who preferred playing alone, but still wanted to communicate with one another.

Johnson's comments come not long after it came to light that Valve had cut Portal 2's multiplayer mode, after discovering it was far too chaotic to be any fun. Instead, Valve added a co-op mode, which was separate from the single player mode, but much closer to it in terms of gameplay.

Source: Gamasutra

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Well that's always good to hear; single player is nearly always the best part of a game for me. You can't really craft a tale at all in a multiplayer game.

Though Valve have proven multiplayer can be fucking awesome, more so than any developer I know.

I agree, we never had a problem with playing Road Racer in the NES for ourselves before.

a good sp is great, if thats all the game has, it's amazing, but if it also has mp, why buy if only the sp is good? i don't think i'll torrent portal 2, i think i'll just buy it on launch day :D i've got that much faith in it, which, from me, is like a miracle of god :P

I play all games but TF2 and SC2 solo.
I don't like random people, and TF2 lets me join servers with people I know and SC2 matches you up pretty accurately with people from your skill level.
If I play any other game online, it's almost guaranteed to be with someone I know.
Random asshats gives me aneurisms.

It's always fine to play with... Erh... By yourself!

And that is why we all love Valve!

I've always been a solo gamer since RPG tends to be my genre of choice so I'm glad to hear it's still "okay" with the gaming companies.

Didn't Valve create TF2, an exclusively multiplayer game? That's the reason I never bought it - it looked fun, but the lack of a single-player mode ruined the idea for me.

SonicWaffle:
Didn't Valve create TF2, an exclusively multiplayer game?

They said some games don't need multiplayer, not that they don't like multiplayer.
I like TF2, I like Portal.
OT: I agree wholeheartedly with this. There are some games that just won't work for multiplayer, like Portal. There are some times when I want to play a game with an involving story, not having to rely on random people online.

playing with yourself is fine by valve...
oh silly me ^-^

ot: yeah, that guy is right, I dont remember needing any other people to play Jim Power back then, just me...

but still, in my opinion, the best examples are classic Half Life and Bioshock 2, the multiplayer of both games is an awesome add on that just are there, rather than taking over the rest of the game
and the single player of both games is just excellent (yes, I said it, Bioshock 2 SP is excellent)

ThePinkAcidSmurf:
It's always fine to play with... Erh... By yourself!

well screw you buddy, you owe me a big one, anti-ninja floor aint cheap

SonicWaffle:
Didn't Valve create TF2, an exclusively multiplayer game? That's the reason I never bought it - it looked fun, but the lack of a single-player mode ruined the idea for me.

To be fair on Valve, it was intended to be bundled with at least two single player games (Episode 2 and Portal, also known as The Black Box. It was abandoned to prevent confusion with The Orange Box we know and love today). Then the updates started coming and it came into its own. Although, to be fair, Counter Strike Source box is multiplayer only (but, again, with 3 multiplayer games in the retail version).

On topic: *insert Mad Milk joke here* Although seriously, nice to see Valve support single player modes in the long term (even after the primarily multiplayer Left 4 Dead games and before the primarily multiplayer DOTA 2).

While I do agree that every game does not need competetive multiplayer, I do think co-operative game-play should be implemented in more games, and better.

A good Single player is fine, but not for a poker game.
//Looking at you, Poker Night at the Inventory.

lol, I read "playing WITH yourself", I wondered if it was a new game.

TF2 bots are cool, and at least they added them even if it was way after release.

Yes, single player is almost always the most memorable part of any game. I vastly prefer single-player to multiplayer games.

We need more Half-Life/Portal, and less Team Fortress/Left 4 Dead.

I'm always up for a good masturbatory gaming experience. A big double-fisted thumbs up to Valve for ignoring the moaning of others. I'm sure some multiplayer fans would love to tear into Johnson, but I say treat him gently, and you may find the solo experience rewarding.

The thousands of people willing to put up with New Vegas' bug infested engine speak for themselves.

Besides, there's only so much "enter server, shoot players, rinse and repeat" I can put up with before my brain begins to throb painfully and uncontrollably.

I love what they're doing with the Co-op in portal 2 though
A puzzle game of that kind could be great with teamwork.

I rarely ever find a multiplayer game I actually enjoy... Yet, now days, it is hard to find one that is more than 5 hours long and doesn't crash a million times (BioShock 2, New Vegas, etc.)

Not long after?

In valve time perhaps, we heard that news months ago.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. No game should half-ass the single player experience just because they plan on multiplayer being the key draw. If you're going to do that, use the Valve model and just make a damned multiplayer game.

Thank God someone hasn't fallen to the "MULTIPLAYER IS SOCIAL" trap.

Play L4D2 on a public server sometime and you'll see what wankers are out there.

Moriarty70:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. No game should half-ass the single player experience just because they plan on multiplayer being the key draw. If you're going to do that, use the Valve model and just make a damned multiplayer game.

And no SP game that includes a MP portion should allow that to be half arsed just becasue its a little added extra.

Works both ways, pleanty of shiocking shoe horned in MP segemants. Hell if you remove tutorials and practice arenas more games put in a crap MP extention than the other way round. THe UT games made the mistake of trying to pretend that its more than it really is, a practice for MP.

Games reviwers need to start giving ratings for the SP and MP seperately.

Petromir:

Moriarty70:
I've said it before and I'll say it again. No game should half-ass the single player experience just because they plan on multiplayer being the key draw. If you're going to do that, use the Valve model and just make a damned multiplayer game.

And no SP game that includes a MP portion should allow that to be half arsed just becasue its a little added extra.

Works both ways, pleanty of shiocking shoe horned in MP segemants. Hell if you remove tutorials and practice arenas more games put in a crap MP extention than the other way round. THe UT games made the mistake of trying to pretend that its more than it really is, a practice for MP.

Games reviwers need to start giving ratings for the SP and MP seperately.

I agree. I think the point I was trying to make was developers should choose what type of game they want, if multiplayer wouldn't work, don't add it, and vice versa.

See, I read that as 'playing with yourself is fine with Valve' the first time, all I could think of is 'does Steam track that or something?'

He's absolutely right though, sometimes I just want to game alone, dealing with other people proves difficult at times.

I always like playing [games] with myself. I guess that's because I have 2 older sisters and no neighbourhood kids to play with growing up. Sure multiplayer is fun but I was mostly stuck playing by myself.

I agree. Which brings me to the next point: you know what game I'd love to play by myself? Episode 3!

The Hairminator:
While I do agree that every game does not need competetive multiplayer, I do think co-operative game-play should be implemented in more games, and better.

Yes, please! My husband and I have sunk more hours than I care to admit into Borderlands because we like playing co-op shooters together and there just aren't that many options. We're still slogging our way through Left 4 Dead 2, but the AI makes it a bit of a frustrating duo experience.

Psydney:

The Hairminator:
While I do agree that every game does not need competetive multiplayer, I do think co-operative game-play should be implemented in more games, and better.

Yes, please! My husband and I have sunk more hours than I care to admit into Borderlands because we like playing co-op shooters together and there just aren't that many options. We're still slogging our way through Left 4 Dead 2, but the AI makes it a bit of a frustrating duo experience.

You could try inviting other people and have voice communications over the internet. I too have found myself being sucked into the depths of co-operative gaming, mostly because of new online friends, and this is something we do quite often.

Also, Killing Floor is a splendid co-operative zombie shooter game, and great fun if I ever had it. It's available on steam.

If Valve says it's OK to play with myself, then I will do so. There's no shame in it, when getting other people involved could add more complexity or stress than is necessary. It's true, I don't always appreciate others intruding on my leisure time... maybe close friends, that way you could have a lot of fun together that you might not have had alone.

Although it is a little funny that Erik Johnson speaks on the value of alone time when Valve have been the leaders of actually fun, rewarding multi-person experiences where you appreciate rather than hate the other participants.

I personally prefer Single Player. Hearing Valve say this makes me all gooey inside.

Well huzzah for a salute to what originally made games fun. Though Combat I credit as the first really fun multiplayer game. Pong kind of counts but oy vey it can get old quick.

teh_gunslinger:
I agree. Which brings me to the next point: you know what game I'd love to play by myself? Episode 3!

They are waiting until our minds are ready for all that will be revealed.
Are you ready?
Do you really think so?
Have you stared at the time vortex and survived unscathed?
Can you enter the Total Perspective Vortex and not lose your mind?
Can you, punk?

I kid.

I agree. Generally I play games to escape from the douchebags I encounter in real life, not to encounter them again on a computer.

I agree with this.
But by god you made me go temporaryily crazy, i read it as valve cutting multiplayer from portal 2.

As in all forms.

Took me a bit to realise it was on about a multiplayer component they had in mind that I never knew about.

Cannot wait for portal 2, long as theirs local LAN support it should be fun here at uni.

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