C y b e r s p a c e
 is  the  "place"  [...]
 between the phones.
 Bruce  Sterling  (1992)
The outlawed ex-undercover-cop Max Payne fights his way through a depressingly dark New York City (NYC). Not only the menacingly designed nighttime adds to the atmosphere, but although the 'fact' that NYC is haunted by the most powerful snowstorm it ever saw. Snow-flakes are driven around by sharp winds and we can see the condensated breath of our avatar whenever we find a minute of rest and hiding. All this adds to the game's capability of im-mersing us into its story and into the world it sketches. But there's more to discover in this respect.
When the game came out in 2001, many people didn't foresee a future for it as a cult-game, because Max Payne lacks the decisive ability which made Doom, Quake and Counter Strike (itself a mod) so immensely popular. Max Payne is a genuine single-player game and has no multiplayer options at all. Not even the modding-community could cook up a multi-player-version; the MaxFX-engine simply doesn't allow it and the unique bullettime feature makes a multiplayer-option senseless. There were countless discussions on the possibility of a multiplayer-mod in the community (Meanwhile the core of the community is totally fed up with the topic - if you dare to bring it up you'll quite likely get flamed or completely ignored, and gain the immortal status of a complete n00b). The best argument against multiplayer-MP reads like that: Imagine for example five or six players in a MP-map. Now one of them hits his right mousebutton (RMB) and goes into bullettime. Ingame experienced time slows down for every player. Even if you have only six players in the same map, every moment time will slow down and make gameplay absolutely annoying - no one will accept this. Against this the argument came up, that the engine should slow down time only for those players who are visible to each other. But this would force the game-server to accomplish an impossible feat: As the flow of time would be different for different players, the server would have to look into the future, to be able to correctly align the actions of the players again, when bullettime stops. And this clearly is beyond the possibilities, even of computers :o)
So there's no possibility to enhance MP's immersion-capabilities by exploiting 'realistically' reacting enemies, steered by other human players. Instead of those, 'bots' are used - enemy-entitities controlled by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
Artificial Intelligence (AI), Edward Gordon Craig and the perfect actor. Weizenbaum and Eliza, the Turing Test. The education of a robot. Lord of the Rings (LOTR) and Orlocks leaving the battle-scene.

-- WORK IN PROGRESS, to be continued --

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online since: 01 December 2004
last update: 20 February 2005