I finished Fallout 1 a couple of days ago (like a coward, sold out all my friends and whatever family I had and let them die. oops) and all in all, it was a pretty good experience. I especially like how it handled normal travel/action and combat with the Action Point system: the game really only uses turn-based mechanics during fights. The player has a certain number of points to spend on moving, attacking, accessing inventory, reloading, etc. per turn.
Fallout 1 (and IIRC, all the other Fallout games) is single-player only. If I had to guess why, it boils down to two things:
1) the game world (how relationships and allegiances work, number of people and places, etc) is really only built for one player to finish quests and make friends/enemies
2) if two human players inhabit the same world but aren't necessarily near each other, what happens if only one of them enters combat?
The second question really interests me more, since I think the first is really a creative decision and depends on the type of story. Single player fits the narrative of Fallout really well, and multiplayer may not fit the same way. But that second question...what to do?
Let's say Player X starts fighting something and Player Y is off in another section of the map. You don't want Player Y to automatically be pulled into combat mode, since that would get tedious after a while. X and Y won't always be doing the same thing or be in the same place.
At the same time, you don't want Y to not go into combat mode at all. Otherwise, X could engage the enemy, who would remain frozen during X's turn and thus allow Y to walk by unscathed. It's also "unfair" to the enemy to give Y infinite time to buy weapons, choose a good tactical position, and then enter combat to help out X.
Some possible solutions:
- don't let time freeze during play, but limit what the X can do by giving him/her a limited number of action points for a given time frame. Their action points reset after x seconds.
- in conjunction with the above point, automatically draw Y into combat when (s)he is within a certain radius of X
- do freeze or slow down time in the area where X is in combat, and prevent outside entities from entering. However, this limits combat to 1 on 1 engagements.
What do you think about this problem? Are there other viable approaches to multiplayer turn-based games that allow for deep tactics-based combat? What other considerations are there in creating a multiplayer turn-based game? Would multiplayer Fallout be fun?