I am working on converting a single player game to multiplayer, but I am concerned that if I simply do a 1-1 conversion, even in modes with "multiple players" there won't be any incentive for team work. And since I have more experience with single player mechanics than multiplayer ones, I could use some advice on this. Here is what I have implemented so far:

  • points that reward team based achievements higher than single player achievements eg. single kill vs team kill
  • a "spotting" mechanic which allows players to show their team the enemy's position on the minimap
  • health & ammo items which can be shared to resupply the team
  • team based game modes such as capture the flag, TDM etc

My main concern with the above, is that there is a heavy reliance on individual players to want to play in a team based way. If they don't want to, they can still lone wolf it in most cases which can have a negative effect on the rest of the team who is trying to play collaboratively. It only takes one person in a team to spoil the fun!

For example, the COD series has had a number of perks, achievements and streaks designed to encourage team collaboration; but I have rarely seen these used in multiplayer since a lone wolf strategy seems to be more common. Another example, the Battlefield series has had an entire class devoted to supporting team members with health packs, repairs, ammo resupplies etc and in multiplayer it is common to see this being used to fully effect. So why do such features/mechanics work in one game of the same genre but not in another? I assume the type of player is relevant here, but there must be more to it than that.

What are some tried and true ways to encourage team-based play or collaboration? This does not necessarily mean players talking to each other, but rather working together to achieve the same goal or different parts of the same goal.


I am assuming that you are talking in terms of a first-person shooter game.

In this case, I have a suggestion that may be a little bold: Show the player's teammates his/her location and orientation.

In a first person-shooter game, when someone encounters an enemy, they try to move into places that are covered from that enemy, an most certainly will be looking in the direction of the discovered enemy. This means that they are also vulnerable to attack from other direction.

A two person team can easily ambush on lone players by having one person distract the target and the other sneak from behind the target. This is partially demonstrated in Counter Strike. Counter Strike in particular is a game whose objective depends on success as a team, this may not work well in all games and should not be forced onto a game that excels in some other way. By showing teamed people the position and orientation of their allies, players can easily execute ambush or attack by circling their enemy, and if damage or action of the teammates is displayed, players can also acquire more information about the battle.

If your game do not feature multiple opposing parties, (for example, your game is about fighting a bunch of AI-controlled enemies), then one way to encourage team play as said above is to make your AI resemble human player in that they get distracted or knows how to take cover from one direction. Otherwise, you can set in time-based objectives such as set-pieces that must be triggered in quick successions in order to obtain a reward. This mean single player needs to run from one location to the next while multiple players can just split-up for a while.

Also, you can feature a limited inventory space that can be expended by having multiple players.


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