Created By: Bisected8December 9, 2013 Last Edited By: Bisected8January 5, 2014
Troped

Player Data Sharing

Intergrating user-generated parts of one player's single player campaign into another's.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Potential Names;

Indexes;

Page Images;

Page Quotes;


Shadow Link data will be exchanged if you encounter other players who also have StreetPass activated for this software on their systems. Other players' data will appear as Shadow Link characters somewhere in your game. Talk to a Shadow Link character and you'll be able to challenge him to a battle!

This trope lies in between a single player and multiplayer game. Rather than allowing players to compete or cooperate directly, the game uses a system where another player's game data is used to influence the game. This can range from trading items and equipment between players (or characters; this is a mainstay of mons series) to outright having a customisable Player Character cameoing as an NPC.

While this was possible on older games (the ability to share saves on a PC game has always been a given), online games (and improvements in technology which allow for easier localised data sharing) have made this much more popular. It's especially attractive to a developer who wants to add online features without ending up with a Misbegotten Multiplayer Mode or needs a means of linking One Game For The Price Of Two.

Games in the Roguelike genre often have a feature called "bones" files, which store the saves of dead characters so their grave (and/or angry ghost) can make an appearance. Another variation is an odd sort of Drop In Drop Out Multiplayer where only the host plays normally, and everyone else simply helps or hinders them indirectly (e.g. by being able to attack them or fight with them with the limitations of an NPC, or simply observing) while keeping their single player campaigns separate.

Compare Previous Player Character Cameo, Meta Multiplayer (where players are still able to compete in a single player game) and Old Save Bonus (when a player can import data from one game to another). Can be a Socialization Bonus.

Examples:

Action/Adventure
  • The Legend Of Zelda A Link Between Worlds has a feature where the streetpassnote  loads other players' profiles. These players can be fought as Shadow Links for an amount of money based on their difficulty (players can customise their Link's equipment and make battles with their shadow as easy or hard as they like).
  • God Eater Burst features "Avatar Cards" which you can exchange with other players, allowing them to use your Player Character as a NPC teammate and vice versa. The character's equipment is dependent on what the character had on his/her person when the card was given. The sequel improves on this by letting you edit the cards' equipment before giving them away.
  • Subverted in Journey: The glowing symbols that can be seen floating above the environments look like previous players' souls/symbols returning to the beginning from the top of the mountain, as happens to your own at the end of the game, especially since other players can actually accompany you if you play online, but careful observation reveals that those symbols are always the same and are essentially static features of the respective levels.

Edutainment
  • Some versions of The Oregon Trail (for example, the Windows 95 version) allow you to encounter the tombstones of player characters that didn't make it to Oregon.

Roguelike
  • Net Hack's bones files allow you to loot the dead character in question's corpse. Just remember that the cause of their death still tends to be around.
  • The roguelike Omega allowed high-scoring player characters to achieve certain positions, such as becoming head of the various guilds, or Duke of Rampart. The relevant nonplayer characters would then be renamed after the ranking players in successive games. On a single-player system this became somewhat confusing, since all the NPCs would end up with your own name.

RPG
  • The Pokemon series was built on the idea of players being able to trade their mons between each other. Each iteration of the game even comes in multiple versions, with exclusive Pokemon, to encourage trading.
  • The online component of Dark Souls (and to a lesser degree, its predecessor Demons Souls) allows players to leave each other notes and also leaves blood stains to show where other players have died. There is also a more direct co-op element, which allows players to join one another's games during boss fights or "invade" their game and kill them.
  • Persona 4: Golden added a feature (to take advantage of the PS Vita's wifi/3G capabilities) where the player could call for help while in dungeons and gets healed based on the number of players who respond. The game also lets players write a short message (from a few specific phrases, presumably so they could be easily translated and avoid griefing), which is stored in anyone they aid's log.
  • In Dragons Dogma, your pawn (a fully customizable follower of your character) can be used by anyone in the pawn community. While with another player, your pawn will gain gifts from the other player, rift crystals, and quest experience from the quests they went on while away. You can also hire other's pawns and have them travel with you on your quests.

Sandbox
  • Watch Dogs allows players to "hack" into other players' single-player campaigns to gain additional resources. In-game, the player being hacked experiences it as Pearce being tracked by hostile surveillance cameras.

Simulation
  • Every game in the Creatures series has allowed players to save and share Norns with one another.
  • In Spore, all of the creatures, spaceships and other content a given player generates can be uploaded to "Sporepedia" and downloaded into another player's game. The result being that Sporepedia has well over 100,000 times the amount of content the game had when it shipped.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • December 9, 2013
    Koveras
    • Watch Dogs allows players to "hack" into other players' single-player campaigns to gain additional resources. In-game, it appears like Pearce is tracked by hostile surveillance cameras.
  • December 9, 2013
    henke37
    • Net Hack has bones files, letting you steal the equipment of the less fortunate. Just remember that the cause of the bad fortune still tends to be around.
  • December 9, 2013
    StarSword
    Edutainment Games:
    • Some versions of The Oregon Trail (for example, the Windows 95 version) allow you to encounter the tombstones of player characters that didn't make it to Oregon.
  • December 9, 2013
    Koveras
    • Subverted in Journey: The glowing symbols that can be seen floating above the environments look like previous players' souls returning to the beginning from the top of the mountain, especially since other players can actually accompany you if you play online, but careful observation reveals that those symbols are always the same and are essentially static features of the respective levels.
  • December 9, 2013
    Bisected8
    ^ I'm not sure if that would count as a subversion. Are they meant to be mistaken for other players?
  • December 9, 2013
    robinjohnson
    • The roguelike Omega allowed high-scoring player characters to achieve certain positions, such as becoming head of the various guilds, or Duke of Rampart. The relevant nonplayer characters would then be renamed after the ranking players in successive games. On a single-player system this became somewhat confusing, since all the NPCs would end up with your own name.
  • December 9, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    • God Eater Burst feature Avatar Cards which you can exchange with other players, allowing them to use your Player Character as NPC teammates and vice versa with theirs to yours. the equipment(and thus, stats) of the character will be dependent on what the character had on his/her person when the card was given.
      • God Eater 2 improves on this by letting you edit these cards equipment before giving them away.
  • December 9, 2013
    Someoneman
    In general, many Roguelikes save dead characters as "Bone files" and allow you to encounter their ghosts. Most of the time, they are angry.
  • December 9, 2013
    DAN004
    Often One Game With The Price Of Two would integrate this.
  • December 10, 2013
    Koveras
    @Bisected8: I am pretty sure they are, since the soul of your own traveler in the ending cutscene follows pretty much the same path as the floating symbols you see in the game, and even occasionally encounters (in the cutscene) other travelers still journeying towards the mountain—but they are not actual player models, either. Moreover, each player has a unique symbol in the game, so it wouldn't be hard to tell them apart if it were really this trope.
  • December 10, 2013
    Bisected8
    So, any thoughts on the title?
  • December 11, 2013
    izaakren
    In Dragon's Dogma, your pawn, a fully customizable follower of your character, can be used by anyone in the pawn community. While with another player, your pawn will gain gifts from the other player, rift crystals, and quest experience from the quests they went on while away. You also can hire other's pawns and have them travel with you on your quests.
  • December 13, 2013
    Bisected8
    No thoughts on a trope name at all?
  • December 14, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Current seems fine to me.
  • December 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    it's not actually cameo, but it's close enough to what the trope means so KUBNS.
  • December 14, 2013
    DAN004
    KUBNS?
  • December 15, 2013
    randomsurfer
    I'm guessing "Keep Until Better Name Surfaces."
  • December 15, 2013
    Bisected8
    Well, I suppose that's close enough to three tropers agreeing on a name.

    Any thoughts on the description, quotes, page images, potential indexes, etc?
  • December 16, 2013
    DAN004
    Does this count?
    • In Crash Team Racing, after completing a time trial, you can save your race record as a "ghost" in the memory card so that you (or another player) can compare and improve your results.

    I believe many racing games do that, too.
  • December 16, 2013
    Bisected8
    There already appears to be a trope that covers racing game ghost files (Meta Multiplayer). It's rather ragged and it doesn't seem to have gone through YKTTW, but it seems to cover it never-the-less.
  • December 18, 2013
    Bisected8
    No suggestions for page quotes or images?

    One from a game's explanation of such a mechanic would be ideal.
  • December 18, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ probably get one from Monster Hunter or something. i'm pretty sure you can trade stuff ingame. so check their wiki, maybe they have an article about it.
  • December 19, 2013
    Bisected8
    Hmm, does MH have anything but player-to-player trading? I think something that specifically mentions data being swapped between games would be ideal.
  • December 20, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ dunno, never played it online. that's why i said check the wiki. since it has quite an extensive wiki thanks to it's Serious Business community.
  • December 22, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    just thought of some names: Character Data Sharing? Single Player Mode Data Sharing? (lol too long)
  • December 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    The former makes it sound a bit too much like this is specifically about a customisable PC making an appearance, rather than shared data in general.
  • December 27, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
  • December 29, 2013
    Bisected8
    Sorry about the delay, I only just got back home from Christmas.

    ^ That might work better. Does anyone else have any thoughts?
  • December 30, 2013
    Koveras
    The new title works.
  • December 31, 2013
    arbiter099
  • January 2, 2014
    Bisected8
    Does the quote look OK? It might be a bit long.

    I think the first or last sentence could be removed to make it a bit more concise, but if anyone can think of a shorter one, I'm all ears.
  • January 2, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Quote be decent. nothing special but it works.
  • January 4, 2014
    Bisected8
    Hmm, no need to shorten it then?

    Welp, has anyone anything else to add? Page images? Better titles? Better quotes? Critiques of the description?
  • January 4, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    I added a hat. the description is fine, your paragraph=single idea helps make it readable. besides, any minor mistakes in it can easily be corrected post-launch. this will just rot here if it stays, IMO.
  • January 4, 2014
    Bisected8
    Well it seems to have picked up a fifth hat from somewhere.

    I guess I'll handle this the same way I always do;

    Launching tomorrow. If there are any glaring flaws that need fixing, warn me now!
  • January 5, 2014
    Bisected8
    1 hour 'til launch!

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable