I'm currently planing a game idea, a coop crew based space shooter, where the focus is set heavily on the coop part. Depending what role you have, complexity varies: Gunners and Pilots are pretty easy, while engineers and doctors are way more complex. Crews may contain two to maybe 8 people.

This is only an example for a coop game, while there are many others out there.

But my thinking was, what about the people that want to play alone? Or in less big crews on bigger ships.

As I said, there are many other games out there that try to solve that problem. Lovers in a difficult space time has an A.I. that is basically a commendable token, Guns of Icarus has simple A.I. dudes, while Endless Dungeon let's you play all of your characters RTS style.

In my case, writing an A.I. that does everything is problematic. Gunner and Pilot would be possible, but Engineer is to complex. And making the A.I. simply perfect could and would break the gameplay. Making them less reliable would force me to implement some sort of crew management just for Single-player. Doable but not the focus.

My question is: What other options for a coop game are there to make it playable and enjoyable for Single-player?

I'm looking for answers not just fitting for my game, but coop games in general.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe online co-op? \$\endgroup\$ – Bálint Aug 2 '17 at 12:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Bálint you mean like a game lobby, not directly connecting? \$\endgroup\$ – PSquall Aug 2 '17 at 12:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm speaking about a system similar to Portal 2's. You can connect to random people online and play coop with them \$\endgroup\$ – Bálint Aug 2 '17 at 12:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Make an AI companion instead of the second player. \$\endgroup\$ – S. Tarık Çetin Aug 2 '17 at 14:17

Have a linear single player campaign which is heavily scripted.

During the course of the campaign, put the player into each of the multiplayer coop-roles once. Do that by putting them through a series of scenario with each scenario being completely focused on fulfilling that one role.

Due to the linearity and scripting, any AI actors which appear don't need much autonomous intelligence. They just need to perform actions when the script tells them to. A linear campaign also allows you to cheat a lot. For Example: You can have a battle where the player is assisted by an AI ship. During that battle, the AI ship is actually indestructible. When the battle is over, simply claim that the AI ship got damaged badly and needs to be repaired.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Sounds like a tutorial, pretty short but useful. And you could add more scenarios later on. Maybe even for coop. I like the idea! \$\endgroup\$ – PSquall Aug 2 '17 at 13:17

My answer would be not to do a single player mode.

coop crew based space shooter, where the focus is set heavily on the coop part

As you said you are making your game with the idea that it is a coop game, then my opinion would be to really focus on this aspect of the game. There are plenty of awesome solo space shooters and providing an average experience for solo players isn't your goal. That being said, I think it's very important that you make the game playable in local with 3 other friends or more if you find a way.

You could really bring something new to the table by focusing on the multiplayer. I'll take for instance Rocket League that is a really good multiplayer game and has encountered a good success : the game provides a good AI but nobody plays the game with only bots. The game really worked on the multiplayer aspect by adding a lot of modes, personnalization etc.

If you really want the game to be played alone you could provide a basic AI to fill up the slots if there aren't enough players but my advice would be not to spend too much time on this. Some kind of solo training or challenges would be another solution, like surviving for the longest time possible or defeating pre-defined waves of enemis as seen in Geometry Wars.

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