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Home Forums Overload Multiplayer Multiplayer Update (March 14th, 2018)

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    Luke Schneider
    Overload Team
    Topics: 10
    Replies: 115

    Hi Everyone,

    It will still be a little while before the MP build is ready for outside testing, but I wanted to give you guys a bit of info about what we’ve been up to and what we’re excited about on the multiplayer side of Overload. In case you missed it, the singleplayer campaign and Challenge Mode are pretty much done, aside from bug fixes and little polish items like final lighting and achievements.

    I switched over to work on multiplayer a few weeks ago (Alan Lawrance from Red Faction/The Long Dark and another programmer have been working on it for much longer), and I’m happy to report that things are going pretty well. We’ve got a lot of the UI/gameplay elements in, and the basic gameplay has really turned a corner in the last few days. Before we get into the recent changes, let’s cover how we expect MP will work:


    Overall, we’re aiming for a Rocket League-quality multiplayer experience, though at a smaller scale in terms of features. I’m sure plenty of you will have opinions about the direction of the MP architecture, but until you can test it in real-world situations, I urge you to reserve judgement.

    The basic architecture for Overload will be client-server, with dedicated servers being required (running your own dedicated servers will be supported on PC/Win/Linux, though possibly not at launch). We’re currently working on the final architecture for multiplayer, which will be client-side prediction and control over movement/firing, but the movement/input is also simulated on the server and will be corrected on the client if it diverges. We feel like this provides the best overall experience, with minimal chance of cheating, and the lowest overall latency and bandwidth requirements.

    Playlist-based matchmaking and private matches (with a password) will be supported on all platforms, with cross-platform play also available (except Xbox One vs. PS4, unfortunately). There will be a maximum of 8 players in a game regardless of platform.


    Like many modern games, we’ll be using pre-made quick-chat macros instead of text chat as the default communication option. This prevent player toxicity from becoming a major problem, and keeps the games more friendly and enjoyable for everyone. Right now there are 20+ sayings you can assign to 8 slots. We’ll probably have to support voice chat on XB1 and PS4, though I’m not sure if it has to be enabled by default or not.


    We’ve been doing preliminary work on weapon balance in multiplayer, but there’s still more to be done. Damage for each weapon is tuned specifically for multiplayer, and is only roughly based on SP damage amounts. Currently, all weapons remain at the Level 1 (or “+”) upgrade level at all times in MP. We’re considering ways to incorporate Level 2 upgrades, but they are currently not used in MP.

    One big feature that’s currently working is letting the player choose their starting weapons and missiles (with some restrictions). Before the game starts, you select from 2 of 8 loadout slots (sets of 2 weapons and 1 missile, or 1 weapon and 2 missiles), with 2 of them being customizable. We’re making sure the primary weapons and 4 available starting missiles (falcons, missile pods, hunters, and creepers) are relatively balanced and the choices between them will come down to preference/play style, not power level.

    Every time you spawn, you choose from 1 of the 2 selected loadouts to spawn with. This system is still a work in progress, so its possible the number of weapons/missiles will change, or the number of available loadouts. We’re also currently using a Challenge Mode-like random powerup spawning system, rather than placing specific items in specific locations. We think this encourages more movement and exploration, but we may make super missile and temporary powerups have different rules for spawning.


    The other gameplay-related customization is something we call Modifiers. These are essentially mini-upgrades that you always have 2 of (1 from each category). The 1st category includes minor adjustments to speed, boost duration, boost speed, or armor. The 2nd category includes max ammo, energy consumption, and a couple others. All these modifiers will be roughly equal in power level, with your preference being the deciding factor. You can change these between matches, but not during one.


    The thing we’re working on most recently is being able to customize your ship visually. We don’t know exactly why, but we’re irrationally excited about being able to make our ships look more distinct. Though everyone will have the same base ship, there are multiple ways of changing the appearance. We should have some ship variations to share the in the next couple weeks…


    Getting back to the most recent work, the big gameplay improvements of the week include weapon firing finally being solid on client machines. Previously, clients couldn’t fire at the same speed as the server, but Alan recently got the weapon firing synced on all machines. The other great change was switching to use a physics collider (instead of trigger) for weapon collisions vs. the player ship, so that weapon-hit explosions appear at the correct location (instead of inside the ship). The scoreboard got some UI love this week and is now available at any time, instead of just at the end of a match.

    We’ve also got a bunch fully-playable MP levels. These are almost all CM levels with slight modifications, but they work surprisingly well already. Once we decide on the third mode for the launch of MP (Anarchy and Team Anarchy are definitely in), that will influence the final MP level needs and tweaks (level design time is not a big constraint in MP).


    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 10
    Replies: 185

    All sounds great so far, Luke. I’m no expert on server infrastructure pros and cons, but as long as it’s low bandwidth friendly I’ll be happy (my internet is pretty crappy overall, but pings aren’t too bad [60 ms] most of the time). Making it feel like the single player game on the local client is clearly important.

    I can understand why you’d be excited about player ship customisation. It’s definitely more fun if you can express your individuality! Glad you’re spending a bit of time on that. Modifiers sound interesting, similar to the ones we used to use with games like Unreal Tournament where you can force everyone in a game to use that particular modifier? Instagib driller FTW! 😉

    I’ve not played Rocket League so don’t know what to expect, but you guys clearly know how to make fun experiences so I live in hope.

    Topics: 1
    Replies: 11

    I’m excited to get into some MP games, is the plan still to have a backer beta in an April timeframe?

    What about private lobbies in game for PC users? It’d be nice not to have to use 3rd party software to meet up with people you may play together with frequently.

    Will people be able to jump in/out of anarchy games at will? Or will they have to be there when the game starts in order to join?

    Will players have the opportunity to ban certain weapons prior to the start of the game?

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 61
    Replies: 173

    All of this sounds great on its face — I’m sure vets of the MP scene can chime in with 6dof-specific stuff. My perspective is as a player who cut their MP teeth in games like UT, Halo, TF2, etc,. I’m not a fan of RL as a game itself but definitely (massively) appreciate using it as an inspiration — think it’s got one of the best MP experiences of the last few years.

    Again, coming from a Halo background, custom games were *huge* back in the day, and it was great fun to tweak and test out new ways of playing the game. This might be a given already but outside the public playlisting system having a fair number of options for tweaking private matches would be much appreciated. Stuff like locking loadouts, enabling/disabling certain upgrades or modifiers, friendly fire switch, changing spawn times of various things, changing various things that spawn, time/score counters, etc, keeps stuff fresh and can be great practice.

    The basic architecture for Overload will be client-server, with dedicated servers being required (running your own dedicated servers will be supported on PC/Win/Linux, though possibly not at launch).

    I’m not totally clear on if this is networking architecture or if we’re going to be presented with a server browser instead of matchmaking playlists we queue for…or some combination of the two. That being said, and assuming we queue on playlists…

    How will multiplayer ranking be done, if at all? K/D and W/L/match rank probably shouldn’t be the only metrics, but I’m not sure what others could be implemented to keep things fun for people at all skill levels.

    How might cheating/toxicity reporting be handled? Likely won’t need an overly involved system for it like CS/RL/OW/Siege, but some buttons for it would be nice.

    I think in terms of voice chat it’s not particularly useful if you have a robust quick-text system set up (especially alltalk in anarchy, yikes), and can get really toxic really quickly. Most folks I know on consoles wind up in parties with friends they know IRL, or in Discord channels on PC. On the other hand, it’s a great way to meet new people.

    One way to solve it — again assuming it’s playlist queuing and not server browsing — is a rudimentary invite-only party system in the game that is or has its own voice channel. Maybe folks can opt-in to that during a match and be kept together between matches until they opt back out? Runs the risk of 7-mans rolling around on solos…but then I guess once a room hits 4-6 you could count that as a full match and not add new people until folks start leaving. In any case, don’t forget an easily-accessible mute button!

    Here’s a big one — weapons, loadouts, and modifiers sound straight out of some recent calls of duties! Neat way to mix things up, can’t wait to try it out.

    Sticking with lighthearted fun, what might be worth exploring is a post-match award screen where all players get an accolade. That might except the match winner/winning team MVP (because, obviously, they won and that’s enough fun for one day). Stuff like ‘did most nova damage’, ‘furthest thunderbolt snipe’, ‘most environmental/lava damage’, ‘used the most ammo’, ‘longest single life’, ‘furthest distance flown’, ‘most time with enemies on-screen’, etc,. Fun numbers and stats to see that aren’t tremendously obvious. Come to think of it, maybe the match’s MVP should get a silly one like ‘shortest life’, ‘only X kills without any help’, ‘shot friends X times / did X damage to self’, ‘X weapon damaged them the most’, ‘killed the most by X’, ‘wasted X missiles’, etc,.

    One more thing, if we’re able to host our own password protected servers, let us kick people, votekick, change passwords, balance teams, and shuffle teams! Missing basics like that are pretty annoying.

    We’re also currently using a Challenge Mode-like random powerup spawning system, rather than placing specific items in specific locations. We think this encourages more movement and exploration, but we may make super missile and temporary powerups have different rules for spawning.

    I like this BUT would hazard a guess there will definitely be a contingent of folks out there looking for things like consistent weapon spawn points, timers, and even persistent weapon drops for that old-school arena vibe.

    Anyway, great read — looking forward to more soon!

    Nice Shot!
    Nice Shot!
    Nice Shot!
    *chat has been disabled for 5 seconds*

    Topics: 1
    Replies: 11

    Also, will players be dropping the weapons they were using after a death? Or are the weapon spawns going to be completely random.

    I’m curious how spawning with a chosen set of weapons is going to work out. For FFAs its probably fine, but if people ever want to get into 1v1s controlling weapon availability is a big part of the overall strategy that’ll be totally lost.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 6
    Replies: 69

    Sounds good so far! I’m not too sure about the limitations on communication. I don’t ever recall a Descent game turning toxic, everyone is too focused on playing. Sure, there was always a few trolls but rarely was it a problem ingame. Seems like a sledge hammer approach to me. I’m not sure if this community can be compared with angst-teen shooter games.

    How will the level editor tie into multiplayer? Will custom built levels be playable in multi and how will they be integrated into the menu?

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 9
    Replies: 406

    Sounds like an interesting approach to loadouts (though the random powerup spawning will be a popular option still). Will wait and see on the architecture, it is at least focusing on all the essentials. Might need some WAN testing to see how it plays out in the wild though.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 3
    Replies: 59

    Thanks for the update. Stoked to see how MP feels, and to fly with everyone.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 1
    Replies: 23

    How resource intensive is the dedicated server? A docker image would be nice.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 5
    Replies: 16

    Really looking forward to MP thank you
    For the update Luke 🙂

    Topics: 6
    Replies: 115

    Good news, the Rocket League MP model is a good move. Keep it simple, fast involving MP gameplay and less verbal interaction.

    Crossplay between Consoles/PC? At least with Xbox Live please ? Playstation seems to be isolating themselves from EVERYTHING, so forget about them!

    I still think this would be a perfect Xbox PlayAnywhere title when MP is done.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 15
    Replies: 243

    I like it all except the chat. Why not do like D3 where you can “silence” someone using in game menu?

    It would suck playing a good MP game and wanting to chat with the person afterwards but not know their name in real life or their online name if it’s different from their in game name.

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 29
    Replies: 134

    Sounds cool! Will the visual customization be just colors or swappable parts?

    Haunted ParraspHaunted Parrasp
    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 31
    Replies: 428

    Hmmm… if none of the chat options have any particularly feline perspective I might be a rather quiet player this time around.
    But if I were able to give my ship genet-like spots and stripes and rings maaaybe that could make up for it. 😀

    Ship’s cat, MPSV Iberia
    Check out his original music @

    Kickstarter Backer
    Topics: 12
    Replies: 19

    Not feelin the chat macros. Just having the ability to mute someone should suffice.

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