Question for you all…in the Development Round of a game, players took turns sequentially. While this allowed you to see what the other players were doing it did slow the game down. What if everyone took their turn at the same time in such a way that you could see ghosted images of other players taking their turns as you took yours.
Hmmm… biggest change that would make is not being able to see where they find crystite during the turn… That would shave off about 3 – 5 minutes a turn though.For everything other than “tournament” it would be an improvement. You could always “summarize” what happened on a screen or scrolling bar before the start of the auction phase…
I like that summary idea – or maybe mark the Crystite plots until the end of the turn. Like a slow fade…
I hope that game will be as original as possible. You can always skip other players turn if wanted. Maybe ghosts would work at multiplayer but as single player version original would be nice. Maybe there could be option choose original or ghosts.
Options are good…that’s a safe bet too.
I’m a big fan of the genuine MULE on C64, so the less difference we’ll found between the original and MULE Returns, the better it will be. Nevertheless, it could be a good improvment to be allowed to take the turn at the same time. Why not offer the both option to the players ? It could be decided at the very beginning of the game, if you want to use the option or not.
On the one hand the increase in speed sounds appealing though I wonder how often it would lead to a race for the same square with someone losing the spot by a tenth of a second even though it looked like they had it due to server latency etc. Hard to say without really seeing how it plays out though. How would it affect the wampus hunt would there be 1 per player or all 4 hunting one with only one winner?
I completely agree with both of these points.
You could put “animation speed” in the options menu if people really are worried about it being slow. No one really complained in the original game, though.
Good points guys. That animation speed thought could be useful in controlling overall gameplay. That’s a good thought.
I like the idea, but also like the original format, what if there was an option screen that allowed you to toggle this functionality on and off prior to game start? This would allow for players who want the original format, but if you want to play a quicker game due to time constraints could also have a short game.
I’m going to say “worse”. When playing on the Atari 800 against the computer, you were able to stab the fire button during the computer’s turn to skip all the animation and get to your turn.
Did you say “stab”? 🙂
Yes – you are right. Each press of the button would skip to the next key event in the AI players turn.
I’d prefer it to be a toggle-able option, though the default should be the simultaneous ‘ghost’ mode. Important element is to see what all has changed since the last round, so if the changes could be made a different shade of their respective colors, that way the player could kind of get a good feel of what all happened in the last round without actually watching opponents scramble (though I recall watching others ‘starve’ *just* as they made it to the pub being a good part of the game experience as well)
I agree with BigDave, and would not welcome that change which would be a drastic departure from the original gameplay. First, the way land is chosen at the start of each turn needs to stay as it was, because that is just fun. Then, often you will make decisions based on what occurs during other players’ turns. What I suggest is a way to speed up the computer players’ turns, and also a way to skip animations just like the Atari version did.
I am the programmer on this, and I just finished implementing the simultaneous development rounds. I am really curious as to what you will think, once you try it out.
However, I have implemented in such a way, that if most people really still don’t like it after trying it out, it should be very easy to go back to sequential moves, or add it as an extra option.
The more I think about it the more I believe this really is just the best option. I assume that whoever has the most food will eventually get to be ‘watched’ by everyone else in the latter part of his turn, so all the players (for a brief moment at least) still get to watch one person race against the clock – so I don’t think we lose anything.
Further, it’d be nice to have a turn-based selection of property instead of the usual ‘scan across the screen and press when you like’ method. Lowest in money/property gets priority, of course.
It depends on how we move the MULEs around, since there’s no joystick. Please elaborate.
What Matt proposes was the intent that one of the original MULE designers had in order to deliver MULE on a network. I wish I knew more about that and other design changes. However, how network games are handled these days has evolved much since the days of Doom and Starcraft. So, perhaps it’s a mechanic that is no longer necessary. But, it touches on what I’ve said about a personal mobile MULE experience vs. the traditional MULE group experience. The auction screens are not turned based and clearly it was a technological limitation to simultaneously play out each player’s development.
Remember, MULE employed several different “sit back and think” moments for players. It’s like waiting for your turn in a game of Risk–all the while, you are thinking and plotting.
…and I do like the sit back and think moments.
Wait a second. There’s a problem with that.
You can’t have all the players take their turn at once, because of M.U.L.E Shortages. No matter what I personally feel about simultaneous turns, the person who is in the lead needs to be the first person to obtain M.U.L.E.’s, and it is one of the valid stratagems of the game to buy up all the mules and let them loose in the wild, to prevent other players from developing.
Combine this, and the Timer Issue (Which would force you to take a turn, and then wait while everyone else played the game, instead of having everyone take turns watching the active player), and I don’t think this is a good solution at all.
Good catch, Kensan! That is an issue indeed. I do recall one of the strategies (in the event of a Smithore shortage) was for the first play to buy up the rest of the MULEs and set them free. 🙂
I too feel it’s important to use the time other characters take their turns to think and strategize. It’s also enjoyable watching others play, catching or not catching the wampus, accidentally losing mules etc. I feel a large component of the mule experience would be lost from reformatting it to have all players taking turns at once, while the only benefit would be to “save time.” I just don’t see the point in rushing through the game to get it over with as fast as possible.
OK OK… I think your ‘sit back and think’ moment is still there with ghost mode (and I love it too, just think it should be a toggle-able option). You can either catch the last moments of the player who had the most food, watch whatever event unfolds after the round, or even watch production. I know it’ll be different from the original, but I think it’ll be an improvement – remember, this is a different game and should strive to take advantage of certain aspects that had previously been limited by technology of the time (ie- turn based development). I think everyone rushing for the mules is way more fair than the wealthiest members ‘burning’ mules to drive up smithore without giving the poorer players a chance to get at least one…
I welcome the new dynamic… only beta testing will tell if it’s better or not.
Wow, thanks for the amazing feedback.
Kensan, for the time running out, you are right, the way it is implemented now in the new multi player mode is that the time will run out for some players, before it does for others.
For the same reason as Andrew mentioned above, we have updated the multi-player to be simultaneous because multiplayer is essentially a networked mode. There is a different social dynamic in the old hot-seat based multi-player mode, where all players are sitting in the same room taking turns. In a networked multi-player, a lot of players, especially those that don’t know the original, might not have the patience to wait around for someone they don’t know to take their turn.
But of course, we do listen, so if enough people request it, we will reintroduce the old mode or make it an extra option. The code is already structured in such a way that it should be relatively easy.
As much as my friends and enjoyed this game back in the day, the game was kind of long. I like the basic idea. The only questions I have with using ghosts in the backround over watching everyone’s turn is will I be able to see when people assay. In the original that was always everyone’s knowledge. All together it’s a great idea.
When developing Planet M.U.L.E. we first tried several variations of simultaneous development, but in the end decided against it, simply because you lose track of what the other players are doing.
It turns out that seeing the other players develop is a big part of the fun in this game. After switching back to the original sequential development it just clicked. It works!
For our next game we’ve gone in a middle direction to save time. We let half of the players develop simultaneously and then the other half.
Good luck on M.U.L.E. Returns. We in the PM dev team are really looking forward to it!
Not sure if these points were mentioned already, since i didnt read the comments to the end, but:
1. Have you considered a hybrid approach that combined the two?
Step 1 – have all players complete their turns at the same time.
Step 2 – show opponent turns sequentially (fast forwarded) in the order they arrived once you’ve submitted your turn.
That way you get the best of both worlds: turns only last as long as the slowest player takes to complete his own turn and watch the others’.
2. Having all players do their turns at the same time can introduce an issue for a strategy, which consists in buying/producing smithore until the shop has no more, and subsequently buying all the mules in the shop and losing them. The price of minerals then skyrockets, and you stand to make huge bucks.
3. On a related note, it removes the first-mover’s advantage, which on occasion may opt to deny subsequent players from buying mules regardless of whether he’s in smithore or not.
4. If it’s all simultaneous, what happens when two players go for the wompas at the same time?
5. As a programmer myself, I dare additionally suggest that buying mules or catching the wompas should be atomic processes, and that handling them in a simultaneous way, complete with the potential for network lags and so forth, is probably a recipe for hair loss.
Anyway, upon reading your post I found the idea interesting enough to suggest a hybrid approach in case it slipped through your mind. However, I suspect it’ll change the dynamics of the game in subtle but non-trivial ways.
Looking forward for Mule Returns regardless of your final decision. 😛 Any release date in sight?
MULE is obviously a ‘real time’ board game, and is absolutely perfect as is, but has there been any discussion about an option for a Words With Friends-style turn structure? That way you could have several games going at once and you take your turn when you get the notification. Obviously you lose the simultaneous land selection and auction functionality, but I’d have to think that there’s SOME way of representing that in a more turn-based gameplay mode.
I may be in the minority here, but I and the friends I played with back in the day (not so much my kids now) reveled in the “sit back, watch and make evil plans” that was, we felt, an essential part of game play.
And not just in our friendly grudge matches, (grudgingly friendly matches?) but also when we played co-op. That’s when we cooperated from start to finish in an attempt to reach the best possible colony score, as opposed to cutting each others’ throats at every opportunity.
I guess I fall in the “make individual vs. simultaneous game play an option” camp, because I would play it using the classic method 90% or more of the time.
[Sorry for the late comment. I just found out about M.U.L.E. Returns.]
I agree with Kensan_Oni. Whatever advantages or disadvantages simultaneous development brings, it basically breaks part of the smithore gambit — hoarding smithore and dumping mules to create a smithore shortage; thus peaking smithore’s price. Whoever’s turn occurs after the store is void of mules can be stifled tremendously. This smithore shortage tactic is an excellent way to earn lots of money and to create a lot of colony wealth since more than one player usually benefits.
On the idea of creating core game play options… Options break the online player pool into smaller groups. If the player pool is large, this shouldn’t really matter. However, if the player pool is small (especially during times like the middle of the night), the choice of options can become meaningless. Players will be forced to change their options to the most popular choice to play any game. AI players are always available to sidestep this problem. Except, AI players are notoriously bad and horribly predictable. AI players were created out of necessity. A home didn’t always have 4 players. But, a good online pool of players should always have enough human players. M.U.L.E. was always meant to be played with people. With the internet, this can be a reality.
The difference between gamers today and the old days is patience. I think back to the hours of gameplay on various games and how much patience some of them required. Today, most games are non-stop.
I think it makes more since for the game to be done simultaneously. It makes the gameplay move along and keeps you engaged. And the fact that you don’t know what the other players are doing also makes strategy very important.
+1 for a summary. I loved this game when I was a kid, glad to see it coming back.
Yes the first mover advantage must be maintained, so simultaneous turns break the game.
Note that usually the person in the lead goes first. But there’s an exception. If there’s a mule shortage (less than 7 mules), the last place player goes first. other wise, the last player goes last, to see what everyone else does.
Hm, maybe just for beginner and perhaps standard, but not tournament. Seems fair enough.
While being a big supporter of sticking to the original properties, I also try to imagine a typical group of M.U.L.E. players today: most likely they are adults and do not have as much time as they used to at teenage. At least my last online games were overshadowed by remarks like “Hurry up, my wife wants me” or “Go! My kids won’t sleep much longer”. Even worse on a mobile device which most people use in a hurry anyway. Therefore, I would really like any speedup of the game. Maybe, you could make it optional.
Must keep the original format even though the game took more time that way – I’ve read the thread and agree with the original game format.
However, it is 30 years later and people have the attention span of a gnat with ADHD. I like the simultaneous play but it should be up to each player – so maintain the orders as in the original game. But, if you go first and then choose to let the 2nd person begin their turn early you get some sort of bonus – like 10 seconds. If you are second, then and you choose to let the 3rd place person go you get 7 seconds, and if you’re 3rd and let the last person go then you get 5 seconds. I would make the place to allow the person to choose to let the next person go the same place as the pub and only allow the option to be exercised in the first 10 seconds of any turn (so you could dump 2 or 3 MULE’s and then let the next guy begin so you get your time bonus as well.
As far as the Tournament and the Crystite assay issue – love the ghosting idea and the quick summary idea but you could just change the color of the plots during the cycle (all 4 turns whether simultaneous or not) when they are assayed – like darken the plot if it contains Crystite, a lighter grey if medium and a light light grey if low but leave it white background if no Crystite. That way during the ghosted simultaneous turn-play you could see visually the assay process and catch a quick recap at the summary.
But you would have to do a strictly Original version, first, then update it with the 2013 version containing some fancier and faster gameplay and open up new strategies for the Return game!
Also, versions for Xbox, PS, Wii and any other system with ‘joysticks’ still in use. These downloadable versions (for $$, of course) can be another income stream for the developers.
i dont know if it has been mentioned for multiplayer mode. but have user toggle all at once or turn. and there is always the multiscreen split screen type of multiplayer … click one another players part to enlarge but you are foregoing your own playing to,do so.