Creating a Fake Multiplayer Experience in Paper.IO 2

Hey folks, today I just wanted to write up some thoughts of mine regarding the design of paper.io 2.

Paper.io2 (paper mahrio dos) is one of those games that toxic youtubers scream their heads off and overreact to the most minute stuff ever.

Well okay not really, if you’ve never player “io” games before, they’re generally very simple in design and usually involve players versing other players online. I mean you can literally just search for them and boom a whole bunch will show up (agar.io, diep.io (my fav), slither.io).

Paperio is very simple, its really a battle royale esq. game and you spontaneously spawn into a game and you want to take over the entire map.

Your goal is to create lines outside your territory and take over the entire map. If you run into someone else’s line you take them out of the (ol’ ball) game

But my point isn’t to advertise you to play this, the point is to talk specifically about how they simulate the feeling of being in a multiplayer game with other “real” players. Of course when you play the game on your phone or pc, you’ll eventually realize that if you unplug your internet or go into airplane mode, that the opposing players are just bots doing their thing. They’re not real, they’re a lie, a fraud, it’s just bots pretending to be people.

To keep it short, the A.I. in general does not seem to have it’s own “behavior” though I could be totally wrong and that they give them parameters to change how cautious they are or how aggressive they are etc.

Whipping out the ol’ classics

in Counter Strike, you can actually go into a bot config file and each bot name has it’s own parameters for things like “skill”, “cooperation”, “bravery” etc.

The point of having a parameter like this is to make it so you can simulate the uniqueness of each human player in a game. (I don’t think Paperio does this but it certainly is one way to add to the feeling of fake multiplayer.)

Paperio does seem to store up to date player usernames into a database online (and offline they just have a giant file full of offline names to pull from). The advantage of storing the usernames is that you always are up-to-date with the latest meme names and in a way makes the game feel “relevant” as if real people are still playing it.

In this example, the player stared at this bot that was standing still, and then they taunted.

Team Fortress 2 AI does a thing where when they kill you there’s a random chance they’ll taunt. But what really sells it is that there’s a slight delay for the AI to realize they killed you. Actually just like real players if you stare at a friendly bot before the match starts they’ll taunt. (though other behaviors they could also have added might also just be stare back, run back and forth, or sometimes shoot you, duck spam)

I’ve seen some other clever attempts at this too where the “players” will actually text things like “owned” in the chat.

In some ways this sort of thing really takes me back to when I was but a wee lil’ lad playing counter strike and telling the bot teammates to “follow me”.

Really the trick to simulating real players in an offline multiplayer game is to emulate human behavior. These were just a couple of examples of how games pull it off.

What sort of offline multiplayer games have you played that try to emulate real player behaviors?

-Brandon

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