Hi I am Andrew from New Zealand. I found this site and I liked the pod cast. I decided to type this stuff weirdly.
Here is about me and later a LAN games list. In 2000 I had 56k internet and no good graphics card and no money. I played Age of Kings via dial up against one friend occasionally and Jedi Knight on msn gaming zone.
I played N64 couch 4 player golden eye with freinds. We would cover one half of the TV with a table or board so that two of us could not see the others screen 2 v 2. The thing I was craving was coop - there was none except Age of Kings.
I skipped gaming in uni (no money for that) and only played some more only BF1942 later in 2010 (thats like 8 years after it came out) (i bought a 2nd hand cd) and experimented with online games in red orchestrea also using team speak.
I learned about:
1) Cheating or greiving : its so annoying. Those people get pleasure from computer games in a really weird way. I wish they didn't exist.
2) Pings. Its not reliable internet yet even with fibre. With households video consumption. etc etc.
3) Severs turning off and games disappearing makes me sad
4) I'd rather go against bots-to get teamwork!. As once you beat a bot or number of bots you can make granularly harder. But with people in many cases once you lose to them you will always lose to them and vice versa. And while you might enjoy beating your friends but i would think eventually they wont be seeking out that experience.
5) Ego players - they want the best PC, the latest games, to get the best score, to beat everyone. Competitiveness is just an important part of most peoples lives I guess - annoyingly.
I started small 4-6 player Laptop LAN'S quite late in 2010 with Age of Kings and Counter Strike 1.6 we always played together against AI/bots. It keeps people coming back for more I found.
Even if you suck you certainly helped us against that bot - get the picture everyone has a place in coop. AS soon as we won we added more bots.
Now I have a basement with 9 ex corporate pc's(gifted to me) and a server and do a LAN night about every two weeks- its all COOP.
I host a LAN coop vpn each thursday which I guess puts my offline set up at risk but ive tried to reduce that with many firewall rules.
The journey in choosing O/S and set up and how to maintain them all was very fun.
This is what I learned:
LAN gaming kinda ended about 2005 with most games requiring online connection to even host a lan lobby. Server code was no longer even released. Games started to actually die like never before ie the server code was never released so the game dies when the servers are turned off....
So there is no point in getting newer and newer hardware- if you do that you will be forced online and will be forced tp use an O/S that is updated constantly and games that get updated and updated and then don't work and you cant go back in some cases.
So it was good to horde old software as the internet isnt static and pre requistite stuff is dissapearing - new versions remove lan support (eg BF2142 removed offline lan in version 1.5 )
Having steam on each PC in my gaming room didn't work I tried - its way too much updating this and that all the time and slow and i needed 9 steam accounts! No steam. Totally offline LAN. (well i allow vpn access)
Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition 64bit is the O/S i settled on. (essentially Win7 without bloat) Not wasting the pc's resources and still being very compatible with the LAN games period of games - 1995 to 2005
Static build means no updates to OS or Games. Totally nothing changes nothing breaks. Once it works it works forever. If the game is really good you might play it forever. I gues when the hardware goes I'll hold onto software as emulation will always be there.
The best twelve LAN games from the past that have truly offline LAN support and with BOTS in the LAN are very few and of them even fewer are fun enough to play again and again: but these are and I say this because I have them working offline:
1)Battlefield 2 version 1.5 with ASM mod to get large 64 player maps hostable with up to 64 bots on the other team. Put bots on 0.1 difficulty and lots of them. Increases bot numbers rather than difficulty as everyone wants to get kills. The ai is very good and the bots use the vehicles well. Amazing moments with out all the cheaters. No steam. 15 seconds seems to be good spawn time. Four people or more is good for this one. This game has a commander role which is almost RTS or at least tactical - and spotting enemies and using vehicles can be truely a coop thing.
2)Age of Kings (user patch 1.5 has the widescreen support with out steam and good AI's available at userpatch.aiscripters dot net - Barbarian is particularly good. Also the AI scripts are very intuitive to change via text files- Infinite difficulty levels possible. We have found that since 1.5 has unlimited pop cap when we beat a couple of Barbarian AI's on 200 pop hardest, all we have to do is increase the pop cap 25 and the pc gets harder to deal with as they are much better at dealing with larger pops. try 1000. Best to have two bots so they can trade , or adjust the AI script so that one AI can get alot of extra resource per game tick.
3)Swat 4 Stetchcov Syndicate: Coop levels with one shot kill type situation. Basically pretending you are making those calls on who to shoot and who to just yell hands up to try to handcuff.Slow and intense so not for everyone but for those with imagination its the best police game.
4)Unreal Tournement 2004 This has both invasion mode which is quite coop if you try to help each other survive the waves of AI monsters, or the CTF versus bots which can be great .
5)Counter Strike 1.6 or GO are both good and have good bots (one minus is people eat a lot when they die since they are dead the rest of the round) 1.6 has the better in game console commands for adding and removing bots during a round which is handy when people say its too easy or too hard. GO seems to require reloading the map for changes which is a pain and the bot auto adjust difficulty frustratingly. But the idea is great for team work and communication.
6) 7 Days to Die early beta version. After trying to get to each other without dying from the zombies a frantic shelter and clothes and arms gathering process begins. Its important to make the server nights short, and the hours short, make it easy, and increase the skill points given on leveling up to 5000 to 10000 (each players games files progression.xml file) or its just too long of a game for LAN. With the right settings you still will die plenty enough but hopefully will get something done and survive the first horde on the 7th day.
7) Left 4 Dead (first one is better than 2nd imo) only four player but you hopefully work together as the game is suppose to penalize the individualistic run out in front type players (who piss me off).
8) FlatOut 2 Destruction Derby LAN game with 8 player slots and actual crashing into each other - this one is not coop but its just special for 20-30 minutes there is nothing like it.
9) Quake Wars - Enemy Territory. Very similar to BF2 but short 20 min matches. Bots are quite hard one on one. But good coop ability.
10)Mobile Forces this game looks like Unreal 98 but has vehicles like battlefield - it has crazy bot driving so a lot of collisions, game modes like CTF and the bots are good enough to make it fun.
11)Supreme Commander - RTS because Age of Empires had not enough slots for us to verse bots. Supreme with the Forged Alliance add on has up to 12 player maps from memory and fiddly tech tree. Its intense. and the AI's are good to play against.
12) Midtown Madness 2 - hard to run on modern O/S with stability-but its even still worth that! One game mode makes it so worth it on LAN. Its not coop. Its the cops and robbers mode. On the map is a gold bar - the cops can drive trhough it which picks it up and makes their car heavier - they have to head to bank. the robbers can hit the car hadenoguh and the Gold will fall out and they can pick it up and take to hide out. Makes for many high speed collisions in street environments. min 4 players for it to be fun.
Lesser games worth a mention:
Track Mania Nations (time trail unside down racing)
Hidden and Dangerous - slow stealth coop campaign
Medal of Honor Spearhead, Allied Assault coop campaign (a mod)
Spin Tyres (no saving)
Minecraft - 12.2 has nice world creation options - allow more diamond and coal to speed up the LAN game and skip mindless mining) However there isn't much to foster coop like 7 days to die
Xonotic An Arena
Warsaw An Arena
Red Orchestra ww2 arena
World in Conflict 3rd person view RTS meats tacticall indirect fire control - coop too with 16 player slots.
Vietcong - has coop levels like defend a hill top fort, you can get right into this situation.
Warhammer 40k dawn of war - RTS with that capture points system (like dark reign i guess)
Serious Sam (1 and 2) shooting things constantly doesnt entertain for long but its intense.
Battlefront 1 and 2 (starwars) have Battlefield like maps (is same engine) and vehicles and ok bots.
Terraria, Factorio - creative games dont work that well in LAN everyone eventually goes quiet and does there own thing or messes up the gardening chest.
I actually like Age of Empires 3 but not many people do. The cards mechanic i thought was badly done but the idea of choosing your perks before a game could work for rts.
COD World at War - has LAN coop campaign which is worth a go for 4 players. and zombie waves - they are quite hard but worth a look.