AvP Classic 2000 Gets Multiplayer Via Steam

Oh hai.

Just a quickie to say that AvP Classic on Steam now features multiplayer support. When launched last month it contained the three campaigns and the skirmish mode, but the decade-old game wasn’t sporting online fights. And now, rather splendidly, it is. Using Steam’s overlay doodah combined with the in-game lobby, you can arrange games with friends for olden days style entertainment. There’s no dedicated servers, nor plans for any, but I’d suggest this is one occasion where an angry campaign might not be worth the effort. It currently costs a measly £3.


  1. CMaster says:

    Depends a bit really.
    Dedi servers are always nice to have.
    And do they have some nice setup to get around the need for port fowarding and the like that’s normally required to locally host a game? Otherwise it could be a bit of an exercise in frustration.

  2. Heliocentric says:

    £3 only slightly less than red faction guerilla on d2d.com eh?

  3. AbyssUK says:

    UPnP is your friend and enemy

  4. hoff says:

    Good news, good news.

  5. ShaunCG says:

    Is the RPS Steam group planning any matches? I’ll have to befriend some of them if it’s not possible to just run a game through the group…

  6. Malagate says:

    Man, I got there 2 hours before John did, if only I could post front page articles…grumble grumble losing my RPS thunder…grumble grumble!

  7. Jad says:

    While I agree that this is not the time or place to get all angry, I have to ask a more general question, regarding recent releases lacking dedicated servers: are dedicated servers really that hard to implement?

    Basically every first person shooter after Quake had it — was making them always such a drain on programmer resources? Many games nowadays are based on the Unreal engine, or other off-the-shelf engines, which I imagine would already have the basic code already built-in (UT3 has dedicated servers, after all). Is this just lack of willpower, DLC-selling conspiracy stuff, or are dedicated servers really that much more difficult to add on?

    • Ging says:

      It’s not really about requiring extra resources these days, it’s more about control of the content being used. For MW2, it meant that IW could, in theory control the servers tightly, enforcing the same play experience in terms of balance and maps across all games (though, clearly that hasn’t actually worked out so well).

      If a game supports some form of client-server infrastructure, even peer to peer than the code is present for a server system and all that’s generally required is to unplug it from the renderer (which is essentially, all a dedicated server is). Sure, it will add to QA requirements, as it’s a whole other set of tests to be conducted and there will be some developer time required to make sure that the server application is stable following the detachment of the rendering interface.

      Battlefield 2 offered dedicated servers, but they weren’t something you could (or at least, shouldn’t be able) to run from home like you can with UT3, which again comes down to the dev team (and EA’s) decisions to want to control the ranking system.

  8. MadTinkerer says:

    This is the reason for not having dedicated servers:

    Like fansites, fan fiction, mods, and piracy, dedicated servers are Things Not In Our Control. Piracy is bad. Rule 32 stuff about our characters is bad. Ergo: dedicated servers inevitably lead to pirate porn mods of our games. Less than 100% of our fans can be trusted to do this. Therefore, we must take dedicated servers away from 100% of our fans.

    In short, those executives = STUPID.

    • Collic says:

      I think the main reason we’re starting to see it happen is publishers wanting to retain even more strict control over their game and ip. Dedis are the best thing about pc gaming, hands down, but limiting a game to central online matchmaking pretty much eliminates piracy.

      Of course, we all know that’s patently bollocks. There might be a fair few people playing pirated online copies of games over hamaichi or the like, but really, doing that is shooting yourself in the foot. Typically that means youre playing with no anti-cheat and with people who have nothing invested in the game whatsoever.

      I think it’s a combination of an ill-informed anti-piracy attempt, coupled with console port laziness in most cases (dependant on the engine of course, but I think coding for the xbox 360 first, then over to pc has become pretty much the norm for direct x games. We need opengl to buck its ideas up, really).

    • Collic says:

      Oops, that was supposed to a reply to Jad. Also, I believe it’s rule 34 you’re thinking of Madtinkerer

    • Dan says:

      OR maybe it’s simply just that they didn’t expect sufficient people would host them?

      They probably didn’t budget for running AvP servers themselves. Imagine the number of folks likely to buy this game, probably primarily driven by nostalgia. Now imagine the subsection of those likely to play online at any given moment. We’re talking maybe a few dozen here, and in the three times I’ve played AvP MP since this patch came out it seems that’s about the number.

      There’s no way the community is going to host a distribution of dedicated servers for that number of folks in an arrangement that works best for all involved. Instead, having Host Migration and a decent (or even naive) host selection algorithm means we can play with a host that’s equidistant, ping-wise, from all current players. Or, if you’re not satisfied with that, you can host yourself and not have to worry about who’s crappy cable modem you’re playing on.

    • Wulf says:

      This is something of a tangent, but I promise I’ll tie it in to the topic at hand at the end.

      In my opinion, the best thing about gaming on computers–a computer being a PC running Linux or Windows, or a Mac running Mac OS X–is developer empowerment, and something that I hope will become more and more respected over time. There are tools that can be freely used by anyone on a PC to throw a game together, this pool of tools, libraries, and so on is growing by the hour, it being updated every minute, and all this is completely accessible to anyone who wants to put together a game.

      You’d never see a game like VVVVVV, Machinarium, or Windosill on the PS3 or the 360, and even if you did it’d take about a year of vetting, checking, more checks, checks, money, more money, checks, restrictions, more restrictions, more checks, and so on. The same is true of the iPhone too, unfortunately, which is why I’m more excited by Google’s platform, but I digress, I don’t want a tangent in a tangent. The thing is is that some developers, some big name developers, are beginning to realise this.

      This is why we have the Unreal Engine being offered in the way it currently is, same is true for Unity, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Id and Source went this way soon enough, too. And they know that they have to offer a fairly open system to be competitive on the PC, because there’s no monopoly, there’s no one big name saying that this is the system you have to use, things swing that way on a console, but not on a PC.

      So where am I going with this? Natural Selection 2 is a fine example, because I can bet you that NS2 will have dedicated servers.

      The future of the PC is bright indeed because of this, and it’s filled with modding groups who’re getting serious, we’re seeing the start of that now, as there are so many projects being worked on, creating a full game out of a prototype, a sequel, or something new entirely, all using these tools, tools which are getting better all the time. When it comes to online shooters, the future of the PC very likely lies with modders who’ve gotten series and formed independent development houses. It’s a bright future indeed, and yes, there will be dedicated servers.

      Meanwhile, the console gamers will be stuck in a quagmire of peer-to-peer servers for their online shooty needs. I actually feel kind of sorry for them, because currently, the winds of change are a-blowin’, and things are going to get fairly interesting when it comes to online games, soon enough, as all these young modders come of age.

    • Collic says:

      @ Dan I’m not suggesting that these are the reasons AvP doesn’t have dedis. I was responding to general pondering on the subject were modern, currently supported games are concerned.

      Of course I wouldn’t expect a network of dedicated community servers for a game ten years old. That would be ridiculous. It is however a great system for many pc multi-player titles, and has been for some time.

      If you weren’t responding to me, feel free to ignore this, best to clarify though.

  9. MadTinkerer says:

    “Less than 100% of our fans can be trusted to do this.”

    Whoops. slight typo. I meant “less than 100% of our fans can be trusted to NOT make pirate porn mods.”

  10. scundoo says:

    “Don’t do what Donny Don’t does”

  11. Colthor says:

    The original AvP doesn’t seem to support dedicated servers anyway. Expecting them to be added to a ten year old game seems rather unreasonable.

  12. Rebel_Boi_1992 says:

    hell no, valve owes us dedicated servers because no episode 3 and l4d2 (rip off!!!) lets not forget the horrible drm that steam comes with, i bet valve is going to virus my computer because i said this xD

  13. JonFitt says:

    It’s been a fun couple of evenings playing MP AvP again. I really don’t remember it playing so damn fast, but it could just be my advancing years.
    I’ve played a few games set on 80% or 70%, but then it feels more like so-mo (which it is) than just slower movement.

    I’d also kill for a reload button. Having a half full pulse rifle in my hands in the moments of silence grates against my reloading tendencies.

    Next I’d like AvP2 re-released and polished. In many ways AvP was superior, but AvP2 has more modern niceties.

    • JonFitt says:

      Also: “TO THE BUNKER!”

    • EthZee says:

      AvP2 had one of the best lines in the game; something that manages to be both scary and funny at the same time. Scene: you’re part of a team exploring a facility on LV-426. You can hear the chatter over the comms of your team-members searching for missing staff. One of them finds something…

      “No way. Somebody tell me that’s just a boot! It’d better be a boot…”


      “Hey, it’s a boot!

  14. Dan says:

    Not having dedicated servers makes perfect sense for this game.

    Having popped online a few times I saw barely a page-full of active games; imagine if that few number of users had to rely on community supported dedicated servers to host? At least with solid host-migration the user with the lowest relative ping can host. At least in this way the few users playing can get the best possible experience, rather than relying on a server that may be wholly sub-optimum for everyone engaged.

    I seriously doubt they ever had any intention of hosting official dedicated servers.

  15. Matzerath says:

    Complaining about the lack of dedicated servers takes away from the unprecedented polishing up and updating of a rather old game for rerelease at a bargain price. They’ve been actively updating since its return, as opposed to the LucasArts style of just dumping old games on Steam and letting people fend for themselves. I’m curious how long they’ll do this – the forum is still full of people listing their latest wishes and woes, which of course could last ad infinitum, world without end, until it’s finally a whole new game – but they anticipated and already made a sequel!
    (Actually I keep forgetting Tales of Monkey Island when I keep slamming LucasArts – stupid me! I was thinking more of the old Jedi Knight games, which have a lot of unfixed problems.)

  16. Will Tomas says:

    I agree with Matzerath. I think it’s fantastic that Rebellion have updated not only the game to work on modern PCs, but also completely Steam-ified the multiplayer. Nice work, Rebellion, lovely fan service, and exactly the way developers should treat re-releasing old games. Three cheers!

  17. DMJ says:

    Well, that little addition just elevated this game to “mandatory purchase”.

    Time to get back into the armoured carapace of the Alien. And once again prove the truth of the words “If you can’t see the Alien, it’s behind you about to bite your head off”.

  18. Malagate says:

    terry said:
    And it was patched in on Saturday. Jeez, where’ve you all been?!?

    ….playing AvP 2000 multiplayer >_>
    It was only when I got to work and I couldn’t play it that I thought “ohh, post it on RPS!” I’d clearly be useless as any kind of Journalist, but I’d be slightly ahead of John!

  19. beistet says:

    There were dedicated servers modded in. Nobody used them, since this mod came too late and had no internet lobby whatsoever. You needed to go to a webpage to check for the IP.

    It was possible to add bots in LAN. I do not remember if that required a dev-code to launch the game right, or a special launch program. If it was a custom launch program, then it was the most common one. To run around as a marine, creating a “base” of fellow bot-controlled marines and then dropping xenoborgs into the sewers.

    There was also a user-made map editor, named after the predator. It never took off. No real support for this sort of thing. Almost every computer game has a map editor that made it, but the original editor for this game was never released.

    AVP could easily have been L4D, with a human dungeon master. “Hey guys! Who wants to survive a run through my atmospheric processor?” Instead we had Mplayer, who thought flash commercials was brilliant in the age of 64k… Yes, I am bitter.

    • beistet says:

      Urm.. Never mind about “bots in LAN”. That was my bad. Though you could launch a solo game on just about any map and bring along some bots.

      link to leinensoft.com

      This might not work that well with the Steam package…

    • freepower says:

      Can I just say I’ve been playing this since it came out and have never known this existed, despite being familiar with the co-op mod, etc etc? Brilliant work sir!

  20. Matzerath says:

    By the way, how many games HAVE been properly updated by their original developer? I can only think of this one, Monkey Island, and Riddick. Fallout has been fan and Gog patched admirably, but that doesn’t quite count – Morrowind as well. Anything else?

  21. SomeCallMeDave says:

    Can you say buggy as f$&k?!

    4 out of every 5 servers i log into seems to have characters (including humans and preds) running in the air and yes they take hit damage when you aim up at them. Needing a fix methinks

  22. Bret says:

    Matzerath said:
    By the way, how many games HAVE been properly updated by their original developer? I can only think of this one, Monkey Island, and Riddick. Fallout has been fan and Gog patched admirably, but that doesn’t quite count – Morrowind as well. Anything else?

    Metroid Prime Trilogy adds new controls, rebalanced some fights, all that.

    Good deal, but it was a full priced release.

  23. Shadowcat says:

    By the way, how many games HAVE been properly updated by their original developer? I can only think of this one, Monkey Island, and Riddick.

    Serious Sam is saddened by your lack of awareness. Pirates and Trackmania also spring to mind.

    AvP is different to all of these other examples, mind, as it is literally a port of the original game to make it run on modern PCs. Everything else mentioned has had game content updates as well.

    If we’re just talking about keeping an old game running on new hardware, the list gets much bigger.

  24. Joey says:

    bwahahaha, and purchased

  25. James says:

    I bought this the second I saw it listed! The multiplayer was a pleasant surprise