I’ve decided to start this blog by going through my old work and hitting my readers with a huge wall of text that is my old thesis paper back from 2003. Its a 72 page long PDF called: “Effective Teamwork in online Games”. The thesis of the paper is:
“Effective teamwork in online games can be achieved with the right game mechanics and design choices. It’s not the players fault that no teamwork takes places”.
The first part gives an overview of the multiplayer games that were available in 2003. The second part tries to analyze the teamwork of those games with gathered player data. To the paper belongs a pretty extensive survey regarding teamwork that almost 5’000 people filled out. Being the young and naive aspiring game designer that I was back then most of these questions can’t be used for proper data collection. But they still give some insight into their multiplayer preferences and experiences. The third and last part of the paper tries to provide some ideas and gameplay mechanics that help to provide the player with an environment for effective teamwork. Interestingly some of those ideas were implemented into Battlefield 2. If that was merely a coincidence or because of my paper, I don’t know.
Looking back on the paper I feel a bit embarrassed by my own naivety and style of writing. But I guess we all started somewhere. That being said I still believe the thesis holds true to some extent but I also believe that some players just don’t want to work in teams even though they’re playing a team game. So we can’t blame the game mechanics entirely for bad teamwork.
You can download the paper by clicking on the link above. Take it with a grain of salt should you decide to read it as some of those design ideas are pretty outdated or in a very draft state.