PDA

View Full Version : Gamasutra Discussion on Save Scumming (or using too many quicksaves)



Ovno
13-01-2012, 03:09 PM
Just been reading this

http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/EricSchwarz/20120113/9229/The_Save_Scumming_Problem.php

And I am absolutely disgusted that other devs think this a problem, let alone try and do something about it, if a player wants to save, LET THEM, how they play the game is their choice not the game devs and if they choose to use multiple quicksaves to get different out comes or to get through that bit they're stuck on, let them, don't try and work around it or bring in check points or anything else like that, just let people play the single player game they have bought in the way they want to.

Discuss?

Roufuss
13-01-2012, 04:44 PM
Jagged Alliance 2 offered the option to either allow yourself to make as many saves as you want during a fight, or to turn it off and whatever happens, happens. In 1999, I'm glad PC Gamers were offered choices in what they want, instead of letting developers decide for us.

Quick saving was in pretty much every game back then and those games were still a challenge -- if your entire challenge relies on taking away a player's ability to save often, then you need to rethink your game.

I personally hate checkpoint systems, especially when developers place the checkpoint BEFORE an unskippable cutscene or make you complete a large portion of stuff just to get back to that boss fight. Making me replay 20 minutes upon dying is a shitty punishment -- I'm already punished by having to re-do what I was currently trying to do, why add to it?

Plus, I think this is in the wrong forum -- you'd get far more traffic in General Discussion. Maybe it can get moved?

Ovno
13-01-2012, 04:58 PM
Good point, so cross post or ask mods to move?

Kandon Arc
13-01-2012, 05:06 PM
Why do some devs fight so hard to stop players playing the game different than intended? If someone use quick saving to make the game easier why does it matter? No one else is disadvantaged; in vast contrast to checkpoints.

Flint
13-01-2012, 05:09 PM
I'm the sort of person who hits the quicksave button constantly, and I don't find it detrimental to my gaming experience in the slightest. Quite the opposite, it allows me to enjoy the game even more and it doesn't even ruin the atmosphere or tension like it's often argued to do. Limiting my saving only serves to, well, limiting my saving - it doesn't add any magical extra value to the game or make progressing in it feel more significant or heavier.

Quite frankly I've always thought that making such a fuss about what is ultimately a personal preference and completely in control of the player is incredibly bizarre.

Wizardry
13-01-2012, 05:13 PM
This thread should stay here. I don't post in General Discussion.

I believe that all CRPGs should restrict saving in some way. Forcing you to only save at inns or temples makes adventuring much more dangerous and risky. When you can save after each step you end up ignoring risk factors altogether because you have a save to fall back on. In a way it makes half of the RPG mechanics redundant.

Kandon Arc
13-01-2012, 05:17 PM
This thread should stay here. I don't post in General Discussion.

I believe that all CRPGs should restrict saving in some way. Forcing you to only save at inns or temples makes adventuring much more dangerous and risky. When you can save after each step you end up ignoring risk factors altogether because you have a save to fall back on. In a way it makes half of the RPG mechanics redundant.

Why can't you just play the game and make the decision to only save at inns or temples yourself? Why does everyone else need to be subject to your preference?

Roufuss
13-01-2012, 05:22 PM
This thread should stay here. I don't post in General Discussion.


It was originally in the Rock, Paper, Shotgun Discussion subforum which doesn't see a lot of traffic. I meant Gaming Discussion but whoever moved it knew what I meant, haha.

Revisor
13-01-2012, 05:44 PM
1. Let me save whenever and wherever I want. Period. Phones, doorbells, SOs, mother-in-laws, pizza deliveries and pets won't wait.

2. Since I'm a pretty compulsive maximizer, I WILL try various outcomes whether you want me to or not. If you don't allow me to explore various branching paths via saving, I will read walkthroughs during my play.
Which one sounds better to you? Play your game or read about your game?

3. If you want to reduce my maximizing, save scumming or whatever (but seriously, don't, it's my choice), you can
A. Postpone the consequences (see Witcher or Fallout NV for examples)
B. Avoid black-and-white thinking when writing the paths so that none of them is an entirely winning or losing scenario (see Witcher or Alpha Protocol)

You want to give me fun and take my money, I want to have fun on my terms. So please, dear developer, think before talking condescendingly about save-scumming.

Wizardry
13-01-2012, 05:46 PM
Why can't you just play the game and make the decision to only save at inns or temples yourself? Why does everyone else need to be subject to your preference?
Game balance. Rule system design. Lots of reasons.

Unaco
13-01-2012, 05:53 PM
I'm with Wizardry on this one. Some restrictions on saving is good, for certain types of games. I can't imagine Roguelikes being as much fun as they are if we can save where/when-ever, don't lose our saves etc.

Berzee
13-01-2012, 06:05 PM
I'm with Wizardry on this one. Some restrictions on saving is good, for certain types of games. I can't imagine Roguelikes being as much fun as they are if we can save where/when-ever, don't lose our saves etc.

On the other hand, my wife just got wrathful while playing Dredmor on permadeath mode =P but she is having lots of fun with the possibility of reloading (though I don't think she has reloaded very much).

There is no reason not to have a Save Anywhere option unless you are making a game for tiny children to teach them the meaning of commitment. Too many scenarios in people's lives can't be anticipated by the developer, and people who don't want to quote-unquote cheat might still need the option of saving often.

I like it when games also let you choose to play without save-anywhere, and I usually pick that option when it's available. But we have hard drives for a reason. =P

Roufuss
13-01-2012, 06:11 PM
Actually, there is a way around this issue that allows you to quit whenever you want and save and only save in certain locations, as Wizardry suggests.

A lot of console RPGs, especially those on the handhelds, give you the option to make a temporary save file when you quit; when you reload that save, it is deleted from the system, so its primary use is pretty much "I have to stop playing immediately but don't want to lose my progress."

Being a console player before a PC one, I'm very used to the idea of save points (but do prefer to just save whenever I want), and I'm not opposed to them, but man do I hate checkpoints since they are never done right.

Drake Sigar
13-01-2012, 06:13 PM
Have two modes. The hardcore mode which restricts saving but offers bonuses to compensate (Fallout Tactics and I think Mount & Blade did this), and the casual mode, which allows the player to save whenever they want. Problem solved!

LordHuggington
13-01-2012, 06:47 PM
Just have a toggle-able save anywhere mode. People who like doing that are set, and those who don't like the feature can just turn it off. Developers think too much in ones and zeros sometimes. Either it has something or it doesn't. There's nothing wrong with having both.

Tei
13-01-2012, 06:53 PM
Let me play the game!.

We have saves because is a good thing. Stuff like savepoints gets in the way!.

hamster
13-01-2012, 07:10 PM
Personally I think quick-saves can ruin the game by cutting up/disrupting tempo and choreography. I mean the entire idea of creating suspense is a science and it is something done in steps, gradually increasing and increasing until a climax - then the calm, and then to start over again. If you can quick-save/quick-load then you could easily end up admiring the trees and missing the forest, so to speak. And then from a game-balance PoV, games that use percentages could be easily manipulated to the desired outcome. Of course I consider the existence of percentages to be a bigger problem so this is prob. a moot point. However, quick-saves can easily alter the difficulty (or rather, experience) intended. 5 replicas charging down the hallway at once is a drastically different experience from 4 of them (1 of them picked off with an amazing shot you quick-save/load scummed).

I think part of the problem is that checkpoints aren't done well. The end result? You die too often and have to restart a fairly boring interval and even an interesting one soon reduces into the banal due to repetition. Or more specifically in the context of the problems outlined above, the checkpoints are placed in areas that interrupt the flow, or there are areas where checkpoints could be placed without affecting tempo but aren't.

Then there are the sort of open world games where checkpoints are sort of hard to insert because the player's actions cannot be easily determined. In that case, I think a compromise would be acceptable, in the form of a "diminished" quick-save. Quick-saves can be limited in The Capital Wasteland, such that each region gives you N amount of save slots that you may or may not be able to overwrite. Another option is to put saves on a timer i.e. you may only save every N minutes.

Kaira-
13-01-2012, 07:13 PM
I actually prefer autosaves/checkpoints over manual saving. They allow me to immerse much more into the game, rather than making me worry about manually saving every now and then. See Amnesia and Dark Souls for great examples how to do this. Also, Dark Souls would be totally destroyed if the player would be allowed to save anytime and load the game after single mistakes - the whole game is built upon persistence of your actions. And on the plus-side, the autosaves in the game can't even be noticed, everything that there is to tell you about saving happening is a small icon in the upper corner, the game continues as it does normally. Obviously many games have done autosaves/checkpoints completely wrong, but that doesn't mean the system is inheritently flawed.

Also, I agree with Wizardry above. If you can save any time, where does the challenge come in RPGs? You may just keep reloading until the RNG favors you enough, or maybe you just want to see all the consequences of all available choices (a problem which The Witcher solved greatly in my opinion).

Then again, freedom to save is a good thing. Depends on the genre/style of the game though, in open world-games where you can't strictly tell when player goes from checkpoint to checkpoint or area from area free saving is an absolute must. So, to conclude this haphazardly put-together-post, free saving is usually a good thing, but the lack of it can be justified by game mechanics and/or design.

DigitalSignalX
13-01-2012, 07:31 PM
It depends on the title, and game format. I don't mind static checkpoints if the game is smart about the why/how of them, and doesn't punish me for having to stop at any point for whatever reason. Sometimes though, quicksave is the only reasonable option. I'm currently playing Risen and would have quit the game entirely after 30 minutes if not for quick save.

Roufuss
13-01-2012, 07:37 PM
Also, I agree with Wizardry above. If you can save any time, where does the challenge come in RPGs? You may just keep reloading until the RNG favors you enough, or maybe you just want to see all the consequences of all available choices (a problem which The Witcher solved greatly in my opinion).


Jagged Alliance 2 froze the RNG in place after each action. So if you missed a shot and reloaded, you would still miss the shot as it wasn't calculated on the fly. Granted, this could be circumvented by simply moving your character and firing again, but if you were low on action points it would pretty much lock you into a situation and you'd have to just accept the consequences if you were using the quicksave system.

So there are ways for developers to be crafty with it, its just most don't bother.

Danny252
13-01-2012, 07:48 PM
Autosaves/checkpoints in conjunction with normal saving are my preference. I enjoy being able to go and have dinner whenever I want, rather than trusting the game not to crash if my screensaver happens to turn on (the amount of games that throw a complete fit when that happens is rather high, in my experience). However, I was rather pissed off with Bioshock (and haven't picked it up again since, actually) after a CTD during one of the "boss fights" forced me back to the very start of a level - an autosave would've been appreciated.

Wizardry
13-01-2012, 08:04 PM
Also, I agree with Wizardry above. If you can save any time, where does the challenge come in RPGs? You may just keep reloading until the RNG favors you enough, or maybe you just want to see all the consequences of all available choices (a problem which The Witcher solved greatly in my opinion).
Good point. Imagine being able to quick save during battles in a CRPG. If one of your spells fail or one of your characters receives a maximum damage critical hit you can just reload (and perhaps do something to shift a saved random number generator) to get a more favourable result. This would make a lot of combat skills and statistics less meaningful as they could be substituted directly for extra reloading on your part. If you are prepared to reload a lot more during battles you can divert attention to other areas of character development.

So that's why most CRPGs don't let you save during battles. If something goes wrong mid battle you'll be put off from reloading. Combat statistics will become a whole lot more important as a result. You end up with better combat too.

But then you exit battle and find a trapped chest behind the enemies you just killed. You save the game, because it's allowed any time outside of combat, and try to disarm it. If you fail and it damages your party you can reload and either try again or ignore it. Therefore the whole trap mechanic becomes rather meaningless. There's no more risk vs reward because there is no risk.

If you limit saving to "safe" areas such as temples or inns you get around all these issues. The benefits of not being able to save in combat is extended to all other aspects of the game.

orcane
13-01-2012, 08:12 PM
But ultimately whether you do that is up to the player, he "cheats" himself if he's saving after every step or reloads every dice roll until his guy with terrible lockpicking rolls high enough to open that chest with high base difficulty. If players are downright encouraged to play like this it's also a result of truly shitty (sorry, for you probably good/classic/whatever) game mechanics.

Alpha Protocol eg. works exclusively with checkpoints and in the end it doesn't do the game much good (also thanks to wonky UI and partially buggy design), sure the combination with the fact that you can't really make wrong or bad choices, just different ones, leads to less encouragement. On the other hand what you do as a developer isn't keeping people from exploiting save mechanics, you just force them to replay 10 minutes in order to do so instead of 10 seconds.

I think it's ridiculous that developers have this idea that they need to force players to play "as intended" (unless it's a multiplayer game, obviously), at the end of this road are savegames with DRM and those are already mighty annoying on consoles.

deano2099
13-01-2012, 09:12 PM
Why do some devs fight so hard to stop players playing the game different than intended? If someone use quick saving to make the game easier why does it matter? No one else is disadvantaged; in vast contrast to checkpoints.

It's a question of design: do you design for quick saves or not?

The notion of a 'save system' is hugely outmoded as it's actually three different systems:

1) a system for allowing you to stop and resume the game at certain points so you can sleep, eat, talk to people, etc.

2) a system for controlling game difficulty - it's hard to get away from the "failure means repeating until you succeed" paradigm of games, but how far do you set the clock back? What constitutes a discreet task?

3) a system to let you revisit earlier parts of the game to replay them or make different choices.

Treating these as a single system is a bad idea. 1) should be a gimmee. With technology today, I should just be able to quit a game, have it dump the current state to the hard-drive, then load it back up again when I restart it. I shouldn't even have to think about saving.

Then 2) is a design choice, a decision about pacing, a gameplay issue. This is where quicksave vs checkpoint arguments should live. There's nothing wrong with quicksave, but if abusing it trivializes a game then you have an issue, and games start getting balanced around the expectation that it's being abused, making it impossible to do well if you don't abuse it.

3) should be another system entirely too. I get that designers want me to have a personal experience on my first playthrough, to live with my mistakes and not try out every path until I get the best one. But how about when I'm done, you let me under the hood? At a minimum, let me start playing from whatever checkpoint I want. Ideally, for RPGs and stuff, let me configure the previous choices my character has made. Let me experiment without needing to keep a massive list of save files or replaying 20 times.

deano2099
13-01-2012, 09:15 PM
I think it's ridiculous that developers have this idea that they need to force players to play "as intended"

But on the other hand, I want to have the option to play 'as intended'. Games are balanced primarily at one difficulty with the expectation of the playing have whatever gear and stuff. Increasingly, it's getting more and more difficult to find what that intention is. Was this pre-order gun part of the intended design or not? Was quick save? Which difficulty mode do I choose?

I appreciate people want to tailor the game to better fit them, but to be honest, 99% of the time, I want to play it as designed. Life's too short to play games I don't really get on with but will enjoy a bit if I break them slightly.

arathain
13-01-2012, 09:45 PM
Thanks, 2099th deano. That was a very clear headed analysis of the save thing. It frustrates me that number 1, the ability to just stop where I please and restart with ease is a very frequent casualty of the other parts of the discussion, when it should be the first priority.

Smashbox
13-01-2012, 10:19 PM
I don't know if the issue being discussed here is save scumming so much as save spamming. I think 'scumming' implies a sort of circumvention of the game in an attempt to exploit the save system to cheat (copying your rogue-like saves, for example).

Campaigner
13-01-2012, 11:04 PM
I dislike quicksaving as it ruins the game for me.
Like when I played the Quake campaigns. I quicksaved a little here and there so there was never any real risk or danger. Just reload until you get a good enough outcome. As a result the excitement was lost since there was no real danger anymore.
But once I tried a level without saving I was actually nervous about entering rooms since I knew I could die and would have to restart due to my failure.

And like other say, games like Dark Souls would be ruined if quicksaving was allowed.

So nowadays I usually don't save in the middle of lvls unless the lvl is incredibly long or tricky.



I wonder, do you quicksavers play competetive MP..?




Oh and I'm new here! I've known about this place for many years but always saw it as a small site where people bitched alot (you do plenty of that from what I've read in the comments).

Outright Villainy
13-01-2012, 11:13 PM
Thanks, 2099th deano. That was a very clear headed analysis of the save thing. It frustrates me that number 1, the ability to just stop where I please and restart with ease is a very frequent casualty of the other parts of the discussion, when it should be the first priority.

I really liked Amnesia: The Dark Descent's way of doing it. You could save at any time, but doing so booted you from the game. If you died whilst in game you were sent back to the new area load point. So it balances being able to quit and resume whenever you want, and forcing you act carefully the whole time, since you can't rely on quicksave spamming.

Flint
13-01-2012, 11:14 PM
I wonder, do you quicksavers play competetive MP..?
Personally I don't, but then again I rarely touch multiplayer in general outside a couple of specific co-op games.

Wizardry
13-01-2012, 11:25 PM
Oh and I'm new here!
Welcome to the arena.

Casimir Effect
14-01-2012, 01:25 AM
This is yet another thing that should just be a toggle-able feature. Before starting the game needs a bigass, old box which says "Do you want a). Adibe by our checkpoint system; b). Have a limited number of quicksaves AND our checkpoint system; c). Quicksave whenever the fuck you want. Different people have different amounts of spare time to play games. For my part, if a game is too hard (and has no difficulty setting or Easy is too hard) I drop it like and ugly baby. I odn't have the time to replay the same section over and over. This hobby is for me to have fun, not so I can wave my dick around on a forum while crowing about how I completed a game.

As for making it so you can't abuse quicksaving to get the best outcome, The Witcher games are a fucking masterclass on how to do this for RPGs. Bioware games aren't though, they can be abused to kingdom come. At least until the inevitable happens and they introduce checkpoints or no mid-mission saves. ME3, I'm calling it now.

Moraven
14-01-2012, 01:41 AM
Been tempted on my current XCOM game, but I believe I can enjoy the it more by not reloading a save. Even had a suicide sectoid with a blaster kill himself and 4 people near one another (my fault as is being so tight), escaped with 1 soldier. If I fail this game, time to start over. If I win, I have had a pretty big climb to come back.

JackShandy
14-01-2012, 02:03 AM
Quicksaves are a problem whenever a game lets you lose without an immediate game over.

So, if it's possible for characters to die, or if you can lose a fight but survive with your stuff gone, quicksaves ruin anything like that, because everyone will just quickload every time something bad happens. Instead of an interesting story - "I had three men left, but I saved the day" - everyone ends up with a perfect playthrough, earned by massive amounts of repetition.

I know in System Shock I'd reload every time I even used too much ammo on an enemy. Made the game three times longer and much less tense.

deano2099
14-01-2012, 02:28 AM
This is yet another thing that should just be a toggle-able feature. Before starting the game needs a bigass, old box which says "Do you want a). Adibe by our checkpoint system; b). Have a limited number of quicksaves AND our checkpoint system; c). Quicksave whenever the fuck you want. Different people have different amounts of spare time to play games. For my part, if a game is too hard (and has no difficulty setting or Easy is too hard) I drop it like and ugly baby. I odn't have the time to replay the same section over and over. This hobby is for me to have fun, not so I can wave my dick around on a forum while crowing about how I completed a game.

While I agree in theory, it'd be far better to implement this with properly done difficulty levels, rather than just offering the quick-save as an out.

Ritashi
14-01-2012, 03:25 AM
First, obviously, pretty much every game in existence needs a save on quit feature. There is no reason for any modern PC game not to allow a save on quit, serializing the gamestate so that you can start up exactly where you left off, on the pause screen you were on, just as if you'd never left. That's a no brainer, it's easy to implement, and it solves most of the complaints about not having quicksaves - because it means you can quit anytime you want and lose 0 progress. Modern PC games also need some sort of very frequent autosave feature, be it time or checkpoint based, because crashes happen, power cuts out, etc. and no one should lose more than a few minutes of progress from that. You don't need quicksaves for that, the game should be doing that for you automatically, without requiring you to break immersion by pulling out to a pause and save screen every five minutes.

As to how a game that wished to not allow quicksaves could implement these things. For the first, obviously the game can simply delete the save file when it's loaded. Certainly people could make a copy of the save file before loading it, but at that point there's just not much to be done, and if someone is that determined to do it then let them have at it. As for the second, you can have these autosaves overwrite each other, not be directly loadable from in game, and delete them on a full save and quit. If you implement both of those things then you have solved most of the problems people have with games without quicksaves - meaning you can now consider alternate save techniques.

The remaining reason for needing saves at all is death, or more broadly a "game over" screen. In the majority of games, there is some way for you to straight up lose, at which point, logically, you try again. In some games you have to start over from the very beginning. But for many games, particularly long or narrative-based games, starting over from the beginning isn't an attractive option. And so we have saves. Rather than start over from the beginning, you get to try again from some previous point in the game. For some games, this is completely logical. Notably in games with a linear story where the actual gameplay is it's own separate idea from the story, and could be separated completely from the story and still clearly be the same game (like FPSs, most strategy games, puzzle games, games in the LoZ vein, and others besides). In such games, you are simply attempting to complete challenges. If you fail the challenge, you lose. If you succeed, you move on to the next challenge. It makes perfect sense to just retry the challenge you failed. However, where this idea of "trying again" breaks down is in true, choice-driven RPGs. Including fully open world games and those which simply have real story based choices that go well beyond passing or failing. In these games, the story is always at least partially emergent from your own experiences. You will not do all of the exact same things that someone else does, and so you actually craft the world around you to be absolutely unique. Because in these sorts of games, the story is not really about what your character does, but rather it is about the world around your character and the effects he has on it. Part of the point of such games is to create a world that feels real, that feels like a place that could really exist, that seems to be populated by people that feel real, with real motives, personalities, and emotions. And in the real world, everyone isn't a hero. Sometimes, people mess up. Sometimes, people lose. And at some point, everyone dies. And the world goes on. The world doesn't hinge on the life on one so-called hero; if he dies during some foolish raid on a bandit camp, or he is hung for murder, or he drinks too much and gets stabbed in an alley, the world will go on anyway. So I think that the concept of reloading and trying again simply isn't appropriate to those kinds of games. To find an alternate solution, I turn to the granddaddy of these sorts of RPGs - the Pen and Paper Role-Playing games. In a PnP game, if you screw up and get killed, the GM does not say "oh, well, why don't we just try that one again." Nor does he usually say "oh well that's over and done with, let's everyone just start a new campaign with a new setting." Usually, he just allows the dead character's owner to create a new character and get back into the action, on the same world, with the same cast of characters. I would love to see an RPG that could implement that sort of thing well.

There's an alternative to that, of course - and that is to look at the way MMOs have most commonly operated, with Eve in my opinion doing this better than anyone. They let you come back, not by reloading, but by some sort of resurrection. In Eve it works beautifully because it makes perfect sense within the context of the world - you cannot die, because your consciousness is simply loaded into a new clone whenever you die. Thus you can continue playing, never reloading, reversing nothing that had already occurred, not even your own death. Thus you have no need for a savegame outside of the essential save and quit and autosave features described above. This would be a perfectly acceptable way to handle this as well.


There is no reason why you should ever want to reload to try a different choice or to re-attempt a challenge in the sort of game I describe above. Because there should never be failure, not truly. Things may not have worked out like you'd hoped, but that's life, isn't it? If you're playing a game of this genre that is truly done well, then it makes sense that you would be frustrated when you screw up, when you pick the wrong option, when your actions have consequences you never intended. Because that is exactly how you feel in real life when that sort of thing occurs, and you can bet that's exactly how your character feels. The entire point is to let you play whatever role you choose in the world you are given - I would argue that you are never more in character than when you screw up.

Fumarole
14-01-2012, 03:27 AM
If there's one thing that drives me batshit insane when gaming it is losing progress in a game due to a crash or similar event. Often it is enough to stop me from continuing to play if a large amount of time is lost. I save often to counter this, but in RPGs I have lately been following the CRPGAddict's lead and only loading when my party gets entirely wiped out.

I think it comes down to having the tools available but the discipline to use them wisely.

PeopleLikeFrank
14-01-2012, 03:40 AM
I agree with many others that there are times when it's not appropriate to have an easy quicksave/load feature. The main one being RPGs and other 'choice' based games. I fully feel that any choice in a game like that is written in stone, for the duration of a playthrough. (Of course, I'm perfectly capable of following this rule all by myself, so I'm a little bewildered by the argument that because the feature can be abused, it shouldn't be implemented. So can cheat codes.)

However, there are two reasons I want quicksave in my games. The first is that I like to play action games on very hard difficulty settings. Settings that are, quite admittedly, beyond my ability to progress through without a ludicrous number of deaths. If I were to rely only on developer-mandated checkpoints, usually decided on based on a more average difficulty, it would get too highly tedious. Because...

The second reason is that developers are awful at checkpointing. This may not be entirely their fault: maybe they don't have the resources to test this stuff at all difficulties. But the fact remains. And the main indicator of this is that checkpoints still exist before cutscenes or other long sections of non-gameplay. It's one of the most grievous sins of game development. It's been pointed out ten million times as something not to do. It's literally 100% impossible to 'miss' during testing. But it still happens. I'll believe the industry can handle not letting me save whenever I want when this stops, and it shows no sign of doing so.

Kevin
14-01-2012, 04:29 AM
Let people play the game how they want to play. If it's a single-player game, then there's no reason why how they play the game should impact your enjoyment of it. That's like a homophobe who gets riled up because he knows there's gay couples out there having ball-slappy sex out there.

There is absolutely nothing stopping you from playing the game how you want to play either. Take Shogun 2 for example: Want no save-scumming? Play it on legendary where the only saves that work are the autosaves.

Kevin
14-01-2012, 04:33 AM
I wonder, do you quicksavers play competetive MP..?






I do. Played a metric fuckton of adversarial CoH and Dawn of War 1 and 2. But single-player games with the ability to quick-save give me some time to unwind, because God knows I've precious little time to in multiplayer games.

deano2099
14-01-2012, 05:27 AM
(Of course, I'm perfectly capable of following this rule all by myself, so I'm a little bewildered by the argument that because the feature can be abused, it shouldn't be implemented. So can cheat codes.)
Cheat codes are clearly defined as cheating though. If it were called "cheatsave" and there was robust checkpointing, then that would be fine. Problem is when games rely on manual and quicksaves as the primary save mechanic. How much quick-saving is cheating and how much is as the developer intended. It's more like having a racing game in which your car can go three times faster than all the cars you're racing against - "What's the problem? Why not let my car go that quickly, maybe I want to play like that, if you want more of a challenge, drive slower."


However, there are two reasons I want quicksave in my games. The first is that I like to play action games on very hard difficulty settings. Settings that are, quite admittedly, beyond my ability to progress through without a ludicrous number of deaths. If I were to rely only on developer-mandated checkpoints, usually decided on based on a more average difficulty, it would get too highly tedious. That's...interesting. I mean that sincerely. Odd, but an interesting mode of play.


Let people play the game how they want to play.
Right, but what if the way I want to play is how the developers, who put a lot of effort into pacing the game, want me to play? Quicksave is a continuity between zero saves (just quicksave at the start of a level) and silly (quicksave every few steps).

It also adds what I find to be a horrible meta-game to the whole play experience called 'when do I save?' - not only do you get to play the game, but every second you're also evaluating if now is a good time to save. When you die your reaction is either "good job I just saved" or "I should have saved after that last fight". And god forbid the game actually engrosses you enough that you stop thinking about saving for half an hour, then die, and suddenly realise you don't have a recent save.

I'm actually somewhat surprised at the huge amount of support for quicksave here given that generally there's a lot of support for immersive experiences, games that draw you in, make you forget you're playing a game, and dislike for games that pop up annoying achievement notifications and so on. Nothing draws me out of a game more than saving, or even thinking about saving. I just want to play, and not be punished much when I fail. I really do think gaming should have grown out of 'saving' by now.

[Of course, there's nothing wrong with creating a robust, sensible system that is designed to auto-save and not have the player worry about it (and making that clear in the documentation), and then stick in quicksave for the PC port as an option for people - it's just when manual saving is the only option that these issues apply].

soldant
14-01-2012, 06:14 AM
Games should incorporate proper, decent checkpoint systems, but these should ALWAYS be supplemented by an additional save option. It's absolutely infuriating to start playing, get interrupted and have to go do something else, only to lose a whole lot of progress because you're bound by the checkpoints.

Anyway on the topic of quicksaves - if you don't like them, don't use them. I can fully understand how some people believe they take out the tension and challenge for games, and I often use that argument for why "OMG intense stockpiling action adds strategic depth!" was a load of nonsense. Take Half Life for example. Come up to a major fight, expend a load of ammo and end up with 25hp. "Wow, I screwed that up. Time to reload and do it again!" It pretty much destroys that factor... but only if you choose to use it. For example I would keep playing and I only really use quicksaves for parts of the game that I find particularly frustrating (like the Xen platformer parts).

I can't understand why people seem to feel they should dictate how everybody else plays the game. I think it's the same with difficulty levels. "Oh my GOD this game is SO HARD the whole thing should be made easier" and "This game is SO EASY on Easy man they should totally remove it and only have Hardcore difficulty settings" are two common arguments that I hate hearing, and they're similar to the "No quicksaves!" argument. 'I don't like how this game plays therefore it should be changed because clearly my idea of how it should be is the only correct one.'

If you don't like quicksaves, don't use them. I don't necessarily think they have a place in every single game (and one with decent checkpoints should ideally reduce your reliance on them) but I also can't see why people would complain that they should be removed just because their own personal idea of how the game should play is at odds with how someone else is playing it. It's not a multiplayer game, the other person's playstyle doesn't affect you. Leave them to have their fun.

Kevin
14-01-2012, 06:15 AM
And who are we to judge Alec for save-scumming?

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-12-28-games-of-2011-deus-ex-human-revolution-article

thegooseking
14-01-2012, 06:17 AM
I wrote back in July (http://littlewolfgames.blogspot.com/2011/07/consequence-free.html) about why quicksave is a good thing for choice-based stuff. Short version: seeing the alternative makes the choice you ultimately choose more meaningful, not less.

Autosaves are a good thing. I'm a big defender of autosaves, because (as deano says) I think a good game should offer me a quicksave (because I'm playing on my terms, and my timetable) but make me forget to use it. Deus Ex was like that - engrossing enough that the last thing on my mind was the state of the game on the hard disk - but the number of times I quit in horror after falling to my death and discovering that the last two hours of play had been wiped out was not good. I would therefore suggest that thinking quicksave is a problem might mean you're not sufficiently engaging the player to make them forget that quicksave exists. (Though that opens a whole can of worms regarding the debate of whether games in fact should be immersive: It's certainly possible for a game to be fun without you ever forgetting that you're playing a game, but it depends on the game, and I think 'game' is too broad a class for which to find a generalised rule on this.)

As for the impact on difficulty, any designer ignoring the fact that difficulty is subjective is a terrible designer and should be fired. What's important is not that everyone experiences the same level of difficulty (which is often kind of impossible), but that everyone experiences the same change in difficulty over time - the curve of delta-difficulty. It's eminently possible to make that curve the same shape whether quicksaves are used or not.

Revisor
14-01-2012, 10:25 AM
To all those who muster arguments against quick-saving - why do you care how OTHER people play the game? If you don't want to use quicksaving because of some idea that the game is better without them, by all means, just don't use them.

But let the others, who like to quicksave and explore the game's timeline and choices on their own, let them do it.
Their use of quicksaving, save-hoarding, save-scumming or whatever doesn't in any way diminish your enjoyment and it increases theirs.

That's as ultimate an argument as it can get.
Save and let save.

orcane
14-01-2012, 11:13 AM
Right, but what if the way I want to play is how the developers, who put a lot of effort into pacing the game, want me to play?

That assumes developers are infallible which they're frequently not. Even if they have a very exact idea of how the game should be played (which in itself is kind of an odd idea in an interactive medium like video games), doesn't mean they succeed in making their own game play like that.

Developers who spent ages working on a game often lose the perspective of a "normal" player, things that make sense to them (story, UI, etc.) may very well be perceived as a confused mess from the outside, and it's easy to misjudge your own game's difficulty if you spent ages with it, unlike the guys who just play it maybe 5-20 hours unless it's a multiplayer/co-op game.

c-Row
14-01-2012, 12:13 PM
But then you exit battle and find a trapped chest behind the enemies you just killed. You save the game, because it's allowed any time outside of combat, and try to disarm it. If you fail and it damages your party you can reload and either try again or ignore it. Therefore the whole trap mechanic becomes rather meaningless. There's no more risk vs reward because there is no risk.

You could get around that by eliminating the random factor from the open lock checks. Either your character is good enough to disable the trap, or he isn't. Reloading after failing the check wouldn't change the outcome, and the chest would stay locked until your skill raised and you go back to said chest, though players might just ignore them if that would mean a lot of backtracking. It's still an option, but probably not as fun as keeping the random factor in, though, nor would it completely eliminate the desire to reload after the party got damaged. Most of the fun comes from being presented a risk or challenge and the reward you get from dealing with it.

Kaira-
14-01-2012, 04:10 PM
You could get around that by eliminating the random factor from the open lock checks. Either your character is good enough to disable the trap, or he isn't. Reloading after failing the check wouldn't change the outcome, and the chest would stay locked until your skill raised and you go back to said chest, though players might just ignore them if that would mean a lot of backtracking. It's still an option, but probably not as fun as keeping the random factor in, though.
This raises an interesting point from RPGs, although a bit offside from the main discussion. To what degree should RNG be able to dictate your character's capabilities? Though we humans usually perform somewhat coherently, sometimes even we overcome all expectations... or fails spectacularily. Depends on the game and ruleset.

I wrote back in July (http://littlewolfgames.blogspot.com/2011/07/consequence-free.html) about why quicksave is a good thing for choice-based stuff. Short version: seeing the alternative makes the choice you ultimately choose more meaningful, not less.

Interesting read, thanks for that. But I disagree. I believe the greatest impact is always, when we don't see what happens - as someone used to have in their signature here, "'What if' are the saddest words ever written". When we don't know what would have happened if we chose otherwise, our mind begins to fill the gaps, as if the other path was a Gestalt. When you are forced to live with what you did, you become attached to your choice, and the effects of it - maybe you (or your character) starts to hate himself for what you/he did, or maybe you/he stand(s) by your/his decision like Geralt - "I did the best I could, now I live with it".

That is not to say that actually seeing the other options and their consequences isn't mighty fascinating, and maybe for some, even preferable to what I think is the best option.

hamster
14-01-2012, 05:05 PM
Jagged Alliance 2 froze the RNG in place after each action. So if you missed a shot and reloaded, you would still miss the shot as it wasn't calculated on the fly.

Excellent, excellent! I think this would do away with all the problems games like Morrowind and older RPGs had with % success rate on spells, for example. Of course you could still feel like you got screwed by failing a 80% roll. Because if you think about it, these % based systems don't break down to save scumming only - they also break down if a particularly tenacious player continues to butt his head on a troublesome bad guy. The result is that he keeps dying but eventually the %s work in his favor and he wins. The effect is similar to playing the %'s via save scumming, but the way the result was reached is far more "organic". Just imagine a 20% chance to cast a summoning spell that completely depletes a player's mana. Successfully cast the spell, and your summon materializes and clobbers the mob. Fail, and you look helplessly at the bad guy that tears you up.

deano2099
14-01-2012, 05:19 PM
To all those who muster arguments against quick-saving - why do you care how OTHER people play the game?

For about the third time in this thread: unless quicksave is just being added as an afterthought to a console conversion because PC gamers expect it, then the quicksave is part of the game.

If at the end of the first level, an FPS gave you a hugely overpowered gun with infinite ammo that wiped out the entire screen in one shot, people would say the game was horribly unbalanced and a failure of design. You wouldn't say "well if you think the silly gun ruins it then don't fire it!". Sure, you can improve your experience that way but unless the developers outright say "this is in the game, but you're not meant to use it" then it's broken.

It's not so bad these days, for console conversions most games have decent checkpointing and you can ignore quicksave if you want. But then some games (and they were a lot more prevalent back in the late 90s) are basically unbeatable without using quicksave or being some sort of gaming god. The problem is, there's no way to differentiate between the two types.

The JG Man
14-01-2012, 05:47 PM
Autosaves are a good thing. I'm a big defender of autosaves, because (as deano says) I think a good game should offer me a quicksave (because I'm playing on my terms, and my timetable) but make me forget to use it.

I'm in entire agreement with that. This is my preferred save system. I personally find there's nothing more frustrating than playing a save-point game and being in between and knowing you need to go but can't save and you'll lose time. It really kills game flow for me. I think Halo (I mention Halo a lot for mechanical things...I really think Bungie do a great job on that side of things) does autosaving/checkpointing well.

I've been playing Serious Sam TFE the last week and a bit. Good lord! I would not be able to play this game without quick saving and a little bit of scumming through fights. At the same time, I don't reset if I miss a shot with a rocket launcher and run out of ammo; I think that's really stupid and completely misses the point of the skill element. At the same time, if I take a crap load of damage that was my fault and I'm clearly not going to survive, I'll just quick load to save inevitable time.

Still, I tend to follow the mantra of 'save often' because I don't know if I'll need to suddenly stop, or if I'm going to get annihilated in a following fight and end up losing a lot of time. At the same time, I think the impact these things have is entirely down to the specific game. I would say genre, but there's too much variety even then. I'm also a keen thinker that in a single player with absolutely no online impact, players should be able to play how they want, even if that includes save scumming. If that's how they have their fun, I don't at all see why that should be an issue.

(Based on what was mentioned previously, I'd also say I'm about 50/50 in SP/MP playing.)

Wizardry
14-01-2012, 07:47 PM
You could get around that by eliminating the random factor from the open lock checks. Either your character is good enough to disable the trap, or he isn't. Reloading after failing the check wouldn't change the outcome, and the chest would stay locked until your skill raised and you go back to said chest, though players might just ignore them if that would mean a lot of backtracking. It's still an option, but probably not as fun as keeping the random factor in, though, nor would it completely eliminate the desire to reload after the party got damaged. Most of the fun comes from being presented a risk or challenge and the reward you get from dealing with it.
Why not eliminate randomness in combat too? If your character's attack is worse than your opponent's defence you'll miss forever. If your character's attack is better than your opponent's defence you'll hit forever.

Stupid system.


Excellent, excellent! I think this would do away with all the problems games like Morrowind and older RPGs had with % success rate on spells, for example. Of course you could still feel like you got screwed by failing a 80% roll. Because if you think about it, these % based systems don't break down to save scumming only - they also break down if a particularly tenacious player continues to butt his head on a troublesome bad guy. The result is that he keeps dying but eventually the %s work in his favor and he wins. The effect is similar to playing the %'s via save scumming, but the way the result was reached is far more "organic". Just imagine a 20% chance to cast a summoning spell that completely depletes a player's mana. Successfully cast the spell, and your summon materializes and clobbers the mob. Fail, and you look helplessly at the bad guy that tears you up.
Absolutely rubbish. What "older RPGs" have you played? During the course of combat there may be 100+ random numbers generated. Why is it a "problem" at all? It looks like you've just been playing crappy games.

Scumbag
14-01-2012, 08:47 PM
Agree with what some people are saying where it depends on the game. To say EVERY game should let you save where you want would either drain the challenge out of a great number of games or just outrightly break the mechanics.
I've just played E.Y.E. Divine Cybermancy (many times at that) and if that game had a save / load when you wanted it would break a few of the systems considering the looping play. The game autosaved every 2 mins or so, and thusly if you decided to be childish and run into a room full of side quest chars and kill them all, or you put all the last level's points in Mental ballance rather then str and agi, then you just screwed up you daft sod! After that you have to live with it.

PeopleLikeFrank
14-01-2012, 09:26 PM
Cheat codes are clearly defined as cheating though. If it were called "cheatsave" and there was robust checkpointing, then that would be fine. Problem is when games rely on manual and quicksaves as the primary save mechanic. How much quick-saving is cheating and how much is as the developer intended. It's more like having a racing game in which your car can go three times faster than all the cars you're racing against - "What's the problem? Why not let my car go that quickly, maybe I want to play like that, if you want more of a challenge, drive slower."


Yeah, I get that it's not entirely the same. I keep hearing about things that are unintentional gamebreakers though, and I'm often left thinking "OK, just don't do it?", especially when the alternative is limitations on everyone else who doesn't. I'm reminded of the ability to break Skyrim by using an enchant-alchemy-smithing loop. It's there, I even considered the possibility before reading about it online, but it's never been a serious temptation. Similarly, I have no problem not abusing saves when making choices, or failing at things, in RPGs, because it just doesn't seem like as much fun. Perhaps it's not that simple for some, but on the other hand, often neither is a developer enforced solution that doesn't break something else.



That's...interesting. I mean that sincerely. Odd, but an interesting mode of play.


The latest is Serious Sam 3. I'm playing it on 'Serious' difficulty, and one hit from the wrong enemy can kill you almost instantly. There's often no autosaves in the middle of the big fights, so I hit quicksave when there's a lull. I should point out that I'm not inching along by hammering it after every kill, I just see no reason why I should repeatedly play through the first four minutes of a fight if it's something in the final one that keeps killing me. (I should also point out that moving your hand off the main keys long enough to hit F6 can be fatal unless you've cleared out enough enemies. So you have to earn those quicksaves!)

This was a bit of an issue when I was at a friend's place playing God of War 3. There was an especially hard boss fight that occurred in multiple stages. It took us ages to beat, and pretty quickly we had the first stage or two down so well that we could often get through those parts flawlessly, and it was getting really boring to have to do so over and over. My solution (barring quicksaves) would have been to set it up so that if you can beat part of the fight without getting touched, you've pretty much mastered it, and next time you die, you start at the beginning of the next phase. But again, for whatever reason this isn't what the developers did, so sucked to be us.

Oh, and for whoever was asking about whether quicksavers play competitive multiplayer: yes. Love it.

deano2099
14-01-2012, 10:37 PM
Yeah, I get that it's not entirely the same. I keep hearing about things that are unintentional gamebreakers though, and I'm often left thinking "OK, just don't do it?", especially when the alternative is limitations on everyone else who doesn't. I'm reminded of the ability to break Skyrim by using an enchant-alchemy-smithing loop. It's there, I even considered the possibility before reading about it online, but it's never been a serious temptation. Similarly, I have no problem not abusing saves when making choices, or failing at things, in RPGs, because it just doesn't seem like as much fun. Perhaps it's not that simple for some, but on the other hand, often neither is a developer enforced solution that doesn't break something else.

Skyrim probably is a good example though. There's so much stuff in there, and part of the fun of RPGs is trying to create a character as powerful as possible. The game invites you to experiment with its systems and find the synergies that are powerful and learn to use them. That is part of the game. Some of these synergies will be intentional, some will be accidental. Some of the latter may well be over-powered to the point of being broken. But as a player, you don't know that. Are you just ahead of the curve and the game will catch up, or have you broken it?

It's the same with quicksave. If a developer puts it in, they generally intend for it to be used. But you don't know how often they expect you to use it. If the answer is 'never' and they say as much and it's just there for experimentation and other modes of play then that's fine. But that's rarely the case.

Part of the fun of gaming, for many people, is mastering how to get the most out of the systems. To push them as far as possible to give you the greatest advantage possible. It's odd to be doing that with your stat distribution, weapon load-out, army design or whatever, and then not for saving.

Ritashi
14-01-2012, 11:54 PM
The idea of playing the game "as intended" is definitely a big deal in all of this. It's why I never use mods on any game, except the very rare one that purely fixes a glaring bug - and even for those it's rare. I play VtM: Bloodlines with only the patch that allows it to run with my higher RAM. I know that there are a lot of mods out there that improve a lot of things and even that just fix some bugs, but I don't use them - because I want the experience the devs created. When I'm playing a game, I typically only hit the save button when I'm quitting out. But then in some games I find that I haven't saved for a few hours and then I die, and I lose a ton of progress. And I sit there and go "wtf". Because at that point I'm being told that I need to keep myself out of the game and continually hit the save button whenever I do something I don't want to have to repeat later. So when I achieve some victory, I don't get to relish it - I run to hit the save button before something bad happens. Any game that does not have a robust death recovery system that you don't have to be constantly aware of needs to get one. Quicksaves are not a good solution to that issue. Quicksaves put decisions into my hands that I don't want. Is this game one whose difficulty comes from consistency and being able to get through a large number of small challenges in one piece? Is it more focused on being able to complete each individual challenge in a series? Is the RNG element such that it can swing wildly on individual challenges but evens out on the long haul? If I got lucky through the first part of a challenge, and I save afterward and continue in my better than average state to the next challenge, isn't that cheating a little bit? Or is the game intended to work that way? When I fail, to the point that I am forced to reload (usually death), what exactly is it that I failed? The last phase of the boss fight? The full boss fight? The whole dungeon leading up to the boss? Obviously the answer depends on the game, and it is an answer that I want the devs to give me. I want to be told what exactly is part of the game and what is cheating - because I want to play the game at the highest difficulty level, usually, and I want to know exactly what that entails. I also hate intentionally handicapping myself. I certainly have the willpower not to abuse a system in a game. But I don't like the feeling that when I do so, *I'm* the one who's not playing the game properly. Aren't I supposed to be maxing out my power? Aren't I supposed to be trying to "win"? I hate the feeling that I may be handicapping myself in ways the developer never intended, while also knowing that otherwise the game would be unenjoyable because either the tasks required to maximize like that are not inherently fun or because the game would be far too easy otherwise. I want a hard rule of "this is how you should play if you don't want to be at risk of cheating, and we'll just turn off all the other settings for you now". I don't care if anyone else wants to turn on god mode, or do anything at all that they want to do (although I honestly think you just don't get as much out of a game if you do things in that vein - but that's your call, not mine). I just want to be told exactly how the devs envision it being played by someone who wants a skill-based challenge, and not to be given any handicap designed to reduce difficulty lower than what the devs imagined. If you want to cheat, abuse systems, or whatever else, have at it - but I don't want to play that way, and I want to know where the line is.

thegooseking
15-01-2012, 08:04 AM
There are two sides to challenge; one is the chance of failure and the other is penalty for failure. All the allowance of quicksaving does is reduce the penalty for failure; not the chance of failure.

Now here's the thing: Increasing the penalty for failure (at least if that penalty is having to replay more of the game if you fail) doesn't increase the challenge in an interesting way - it increases it in a boring way. Since the whole point of having challenge in a game is because it's a way of making the game interesting, supporting a mechanism for increasing challenge for challenge's sake, rather than challenge for interest's sake, is kind of wrong-headed.

c-Row
15-01-2012, 09:09 AM
Why not eliminate randomness in combat too? If your character's attack is worse than your opponent's defence you'll miss forever. If your character's attack is better than your opponent's defence you'll hit forever.

Stupid system.

Being able to reload over and over again from the inn you mentioned to try and unlock a chest that's nearby is just as stupid.

I don't say it's a perfect system, nor should it be applied to every aspect of the game, but you would get around parts of the multiple-reloads problem. For combat, the JA2 system seems quite interesting. Its outcome would still be random, but you couldn't cheat the game by simply reloading after a failed spell or a missed strike.

hamster
15-01-2012, 10:31 AM
Why not eliminate randomness in combat too? If your character's attack is worse than your opponent's defence you'll miss forever. If your character's attack is better than your opponent's defence you'll hit forever.

Stupid system.


Or...you do damage equivalent to the your character's attack reduced by the enemy's defence.


Absolutely rubbish. What "older RPGs" have you played? During the course of combat there may be 100+ random numbers generated. Why is it a "problem" at all? It looks like you've just been playing crappy games.

Like Fallout, your beloved Morrowind, speech/stat checks...i'm glad i didn't play the Might and Magics and other old school blobs. I am okay with Baldurs Gate (2) however, despite the saving throws. Since the game never told you the % rate of success, I just didn't bother casting those sort of spells and went for the direct damage ones.

When you talk about "100+ numbers generated" (of the same thing being rolled) within the same fight then that is indeed okay. The odds even out to their probability over time. But for this to be possible, the effect of the thing being rolled must be small (otherwise the fight will be over immediately upon success), and the roll must be repeatable over a large number of times. Depending on the game, combat may or may not fulfill these conditions. High mana (or level, so less spell book slots) spells with grievous effects and low % success definitely don't.

But whether you disagree with me or not...your precious random-roll RPG system is still intact even if the RNG output is preserved in the save. All it stops are people from save/loading until they win a fight they shouldn't really be winning.

BillButNotBen
15-01-2012, 10:36 AM
I have found VERY FEW games where limited saving worked. That's not to say it can't work at times, but recently (as I've had less free time and more family distractions) I've tended much more to wanting quicksaves.

I thought the lack of unlimited quicksaves worked well for Aliens vs Predator (2000), but I wouldn't want it in every game. It worked for that game because it added to the fear factor, and they randomized the locations of the enemies each time you reloaded.

It's ok for games broken into short sections like Portal as well.

At the time, i had no problem with it in Tie Fighter, though I suspect that if i tried that game now I'd go crazy.

My personal preference for many games would be to make it an option in the menu when you start a game.

Note to developers: If you want me to keep replaying a section of your game, you'd better have a pretty darn good game!

BillButNotBen
15-01-2012, 10:41 AM
PS/ On reading the article (yes! after i posted! ;-) )
I think the important part is the last section - there need to be interesting and valid negative story outcomes if you fail something.
Most games REQUIRE you to succeed at every point and get most of the best outcomes, so gamers are conditioned to do that.
If games didn't punish failure (or lack of max-out success) then maybe we wouldn't care if we couldn't quicksave every second.

c-Row
15-01-2012, 11:10 AM
PS/ On reading the article (yes! after i posted! ;-) )
I think the important part is the last section - there need to be interesting and valid negative story outcomes if you fail something.
Most games REQUIRE you to succeed at every point and get most of the best outcomes, so gamers are conditioned to do that.
If games didn't punish failure (or lack of max-out success) then maybe we wouldn't care if we couldn't quicksave every second.

Failure can even open alternate routes or stories. If you kept losing in Wing Commander, the story would push you back all the way to defending Earth from the Kilrathi, from where you could still turn the tables and kick their feline behinds again. Being the best pilot ever actually took away parts of the game (missions, cut scenes etc.) so failure can still hold some kind of reward.

Dominic Tarason
15-01-2012, 01:49 PM
I play VtM: Bloodlines with only the patch that allows it to run with my higher RAM. I know that there are a lot of mods out there that improve a lot of things and even that just fix some bugs, but I don't use them - because I want the experience the devs created.

You might like to know that the unofficial patch has some of the original development team on board, and their full blessing on most of the fixes. Also, you're a masochist.

Lukasz
15-01-2012, 02:09 PM
Alpha protocol did a great thing to avoid save scumming every choice was a correct one. you get xp, story progresses no matter what choice you take. there is no wrong options but different one.

anyhow

i love to save scumm. and i love rpgs.
many of you say that in rpgs it breaks the game by reloading when spell misfires, a bullet misses a target.
and i would like to ask a question:

SO?

so what that I abuse the save/load system to get what i want. I paid for the game I should be able to play it like I want, to have a challenge when I want it not to be forced by devs to play like they want to, to enjoy the game their way instead of mine.
The most annoying thing for me is to have to walk and redo the same thing because i made simple mistake. it would be avoided with quick save but not with checkpoint. That is awful and prevents me from enjoying the game.

if you want to abuse the system you should be able
if you don't like that nobody is forcing you to do so!
so save only in inns, HQ, between mission. Let me save before every shot, every skill check.

Wizardry
15-01-2012, 03:49 PM
I don't say it's a perfect system, nor should it be applied to every aspect of the game, but you would get around parts of the multiple-reloads problem. For combat, the JA2 system seems quite interesting. Its outcome would still be random, but you couldn't cheat the game by simply reloading after a failed spell or a missed strike.
Yes you can.


Or...you do damage equivalent to the your character's attack reduced by the enemy's defence.
That's awful. How do you make a dexterous character if you can't dodge? What you seem to be proposing is like an inverse shallow D&D system. Instead of combining dodging and heavy armour protection into the armour class statistic that affects the chance of being hit, you want to combine dodging and heavy armour protection into a statistic that gives a flat reduction in damage taken.

Chance of success is a great measure of skill. It models some things really well. If I were to do a crossbar challenge against a professional football player with over 1000 kicks then he'd have a greater success rate for sure. He wouldn't hit the crossbar all the time and I'm sure I'd hit the crossbar at least once. In an abstract game like an RPG a chance to succeed is adequate to model that.

On the other hand, if I were taking part in the 100 metres against a professional sprinter, I'd lose every time. That is, unless they made a freak mistake like falling over and hurting themselves. My maximum speed and acceleration is just significantly less than theirs. This is where percentages are rubbish.

Both have their place.


Like Fallout, your beloved Morrowind, speech/stat checks...i'm glad i didn't play the Might and Magics and other old school blobs. I am okay with Baldurs Gate (2) however, despite the saving throws. Since the game never told you the % rate of success, I just didn't bother casting those sort of spells and went for the direct damage ones.
My beloved Morrowind?


But whether you disagree with me or not...your precious random-roll RPG system is still intact even if the RNG output is preserved in the save. All it stops are people from save/loading until they win a fight they shouldn't really be winning.
It doesn't work, though. You can just load the game, take a step to the right, and start the fight again to shift the random numbers.

Ritashi
15-01-2012, 04:15 PM
Alpha protocol did a great thing to avoid save scumming every choice was a correct one. you get xp, story progresses no matter what choice you take. there is no wrong options but different one.

anyhow

i love to save scumm. and i love rpgs.
many of you say that in rpgs it breaks the game by reloading when spell misfires, a bullet misses a target.
and i would like to ask a question:

SO?

so what that I abuse the save/load system to get what i want. I paid for the game I should be able to play it like I want, to have a challenge when I want it not to be forced by devs to play like they want to, to enjoy the game their way instead of mine.
The most annoying thing for me is to have to walk and redo the same thing because i made simple mistake. it would be avoided with quick save but not with checkpoint. That is awful and prevents me from enjoying the game.

if you want to abuse the system you should be able
if you don't like that nobody is forcing you to do so!
so save only in inns, HQ, between mission. Let me save before every shot, every skill check.

Sure, no one is trying to tell you how to play - some of us think you aren't getting as good of an experience, but that's still not our call. What we want is to be allowed to play like we want - which is to play by a much more structured ruleset with regards to saving. But we don't want to have to decide what the rules are on our own - we aren't trying to develop a game, we're trying to play one. Does it make sense to only save at inns? What if this game often has us adventuring for hours away from inns and towns? We couldn't know that without having already played the game. We can't know what the best rules to follow for saving are to avoid save scumming while also not losing hours of progress, and being able to have fun without constantly worrying about saving everything, unless we had already played through the game - and the whole point is that we need to know before we play. The devs are the only ones who have the ability to tell us what makes sense for when and where we should save - and in my opinion, that sort of thing ought to be handled automatically and not force me to do anything about it. I shouldn't ever be worrying about when to save, do I have a recent save, I need to be sure I have a good save here before this fight, etc. I want the devs to figure out what will make the game experience the most enjoyable for me, and let me play like that - don't force me to figure out how to work within a save system I don't like to keep the game "fair". Anyone is welcome to cheat or scum on their own game - there are endless mods that do just that, and I have no problem if other people want to install them, other than that I honestly feel like there's a slippery slope of losing out on the real game experience along that route. But, as always, their call not mine. All I ask is that I be given a mode of play where the rules are clearly defined, and where there are no systems to abuse. Take everything that is broken or abusable out, and let me play with only what actually works. Because I want to be able to make my companions carry things without feeling like I'm abusing their infinite inventory. Because I want to be able to train my professions and maximize them every way I can think of, without having to be careful that I don't abuse a broken combination. Because I don't like abusing systems, and I don't like being constantly reminded that there are systems to abuse. I don't like having to be consciously aware of everything I'm doing to make sure it's reasonable - that's the game's job, not mine. I just want to play and have fun, my own way - which doesn't mean I want everything to be an option. I don't care what you do in your game. But I do care what happens in mine. I'm never going to forget I'm playing a game, but I don't want to be actively aware of that fact.

Lukasz
15-01-2012, 04:26 PM
@Ritashi
Please use paragraphs as it is a pain in the ass to read everything like that :)

Then simply do not abuse the system. do not save scumm if you are given an option. A game which relies on that is of course a badly design game but that is different issue altogether.
Half Life 2 has quick saves and checkpoints. it is not that hard to implement both systems for players to choose. I can scum because it enjoy it that way. People who like a bit more of a challenge or what to sense the danger more by risking a progress can play it their way too.

"
I want the devs to figure out what will make the game experience the most enjoyable for me, and let me play like that"
I disagree with that. That kinda of reasoning leads to onrail shooters, games which lead players by hand. few games are fine like that but most now follow this trend greatly which is worrying.
Furthermore regards the save system like i said before, simple checkpoint save will do the trick. does with valve games.

I've been playing games for 20 years now, save scumming where I could, being irritated when I could not. It is my way of playing, no less valid than people who never save unless either prompted to by game or on quit. Removal of quick save just leads to irritation.
Of course I would be pissed if a game relied on it. that's just a bad game.

c-Row
15-01-2012, 04:50 PM
Yes you can.

But you would have to be extremely desperate.

How would you handle the "Save at inn, go to chest, get damaged by trap, reload and try again" circle then? A cumulative XP drain for every time to reload a game? Keeping track of how many times a slot has been loaded could easily be stored with the save game.

deano2099
15-01-2012, 04:56 PM
Then simply do not abuse the system. do not save scumm if you are given an option. A game which relies on that is of course a badly design game but that is different issue altogether.

Could you give me a figure, in terms of SpH (saves per hour) where using the quicksave function goes from intended use to 'abuse' and 'scumming'?

Thanks.

Ritashi
15-01-2012, 05:21 PM
It's not as easy as simply not abusing the system. There is some line, somewhere, that marks the crossover from legitimate saving to save scumming. When I load up a game, without having looked at more than early reviews of it, I have absolutely no clue where that line is. Until I've played the game enough to understand the level design of those areas I've already explored, I won't be able to make an informed decision about good times to save and bad times. And if I know the game that well, I probably don't want to play it that much anymore - or at least I don't want to play those parts of it I'm so familiar with. A well designed checkpoint/autosave system is fine by me, if it exists. If the devs have defined rules for good places to save by making me automatically save there, then great! I'm happy. I'll never touch the quicksave button, except when I'm quitting out of the game. I'll pretend the game doesn't have it. I'd rather the devs have a game mode that actually turns quicksave off (call it what you will, I like acknowledgement that I played it that way - not so I can shove it in people's faces, but just because it's an affirmation that the rules I'm following aren't just something I blindly came up with). All I ask is that the game be designed to work great without quicksave first. If they choose to add quicksaving on top of that, fine by me.

"
"I want the devs to figure out what will make the game experience the most enjoyable for me, and let me play like that"
I disagree with that. That kinda of reasoning leads to onrail shooters, games which lead players by hand. few games are fine like that but most now follow this trend greatly which is worrying.
Furthermore regards the save system like i said before, simple checkpoint save will do the trick. does with valve games."

I disagree with your conclusions from that. What I mean is that I believe it is the developer's responsibility to make a game fun for me, not mine to figure out how to have fun within their game. This doesn't mean I want a linear, on-rails experience; I tend to dislike those personally. It just means that I want to pick up a game, choose the options at start-up that sound like fun to me, and play. I don't want to have to make my own rules within a game. I will, but I don't want to. (I'm not referring to in character choices there, I love those. I'll happily figure out the code of morality my character will choose to live by, and follow it strictly, because I think that kind of roleplaying can be great fun. Especially when the code of morality I choose is a bit twisted.) As an example, I play Minecraft on and off with some regularity. I spend a lot of time playing with Redstone in Creative (a great addition to the game, I love Creative!) But I also spend a fair bit of time playing Survival single-player. I've found, having played the game for a while, that I didn't like respawning in a world where I had died. So I made my own rule that I would delete all saves in which I died, and that I would leave the difficulty setting on Hard at all times. I liked playing the game this way, and I was perfectly capable of continuing to do so. And then Notch added Hardcore mode. And I loved it. It changed nothing about the way I was playing the game. But now I wasn't making my own rules, easy as those ones were to follow. I was merely playing the game, and it was enforcing the rules, not me. And that makes all the difference in the world.

Again, I don't care how you play. If you ask my opinion on the matter, or ask why I play the way I do, I'd be more than happy to explain why I think my way is more fun. And no doubt you just as easily explain why you think your way is more fun. That can be a fun discussion, but it's a long shot removed from a debate, because neither of us could ever be more correct than the other in any meaningful way. I don't care that other people play Minecraft with respawns and mods and all sorts of weird stuff that I don't want in my game. But I do care that I am given the option not to have any part in all of that. And actively ignoring something means that it is still a part of the game I'm playing, when what I really want is to not have any of it at all. Quick saves are admittedly a bit different in that regard- I can live with having the option to quick save and simply never using it, since that's not even a part of the game itself anyway, so long as I'm not clearly being forced through a lot of pointless repetition and lost progress by not actively saving. I just want saves to be something that happen, but don't form any part of my gaming experience. I don't want to think back on a game and have any recollection of how saves worked, because I don't really care to know anything about them to begin with.

hamster
15-01-2012, 06:07 PM
Yes you can.


That's awful. How do you make a dexterous character if you can't dodge? What you seem to be proposing is like an inverse shallow D&D system. Instead of combining dodging and heavy armour protection into the armour class statistic that affects the chance of being hit, you want to combine dodging and heavy armour protection into a statistic that gives a flat reduction in damage taken.

Isn't it just the same thing? Since dex adds to AC (from what i recall) in cRPGs, dex can also add to the defense stat in the proposed system.


Chance of success is a great measure of skill. It models some things really well. If I were to do a crossbar challenge against a professional football player with over 1000 kicks then he'd have a greater success rate for sure. He wouldn't hit the crossbar all the time and I'm sure I'd hit the crossbar at least once. In an abstract game like an RPG a chance to succeed is adequate to model that.

On the other hand, if I were taking part in the 100 metres against a professional sprinter, I'd lose every time. That is, unless they made a freak mistake like falling over and hurting themselves. My maximum speed and acceleration is just significantly less than theirs. This is where percentages are rubbish.

So what, you mean the dice rolls make things more realistic? I don't think it really matters since the system is already very abstract as it is, being turn-based or quasi turn based as the case may be. Also, when missing an easy shot in real life you don't feel cheated by the system in any way but you sort of do in a game (and of course you can save/load). But authenticity is such a minor point IMO compared to the disadvantages of the classical system, which manifest itself in gameplay terms.


It doesn't work, though. You can just load the game, take a step to the right, and start the fight again to shift the random numbers.

Well now you have less AP but perhaps for calculations that haven't had any of their parameters changed, the saved random outcome should still be used. So for example, you would obviously have a new number generated if you end up firing arrows further away from the target because the numbers are different. But if melee attacks aren't affected by AP and you move a step to restart the fight, the stored number should still be used.

Lukasz
15-01-2012, 07:00 PM
Could you give me a figure, in terms of SpH (saves per hour) where using the quicksave function goes from intended use to 'abuse' and 'scumming'?

Thanks.
Fallout. save before every single trap to ensure maximized xp, or in max payne where it is possible to go through whole game without getting shot even once so you reload after every single hit.
that's what i would call save scumming. If you have different idea then please do say.

snip

game forcing one to use quick save is a bad game design. i don't like that either.
having quick saves do not mean that the game will force you to do so tough. It is or should be an option for a player. If one does not like it then one should not be forced to use it then.
Removing the option does not fix anything

Flint
15-01-2012, 07:16 PM
I don't think I've ever played, or know of, a game with quicksave that actively balances the game for that feature and makes it something that needs to be used in order to continue. It's just a quick, convenient way of saving the game.

deano2099
15-01-2012, 08:36 PM
Fallout. save before every single trap to ensure maximized xp, or in max payne where it is possible to go through whole game without getting shot even once so you reload after every single hit.
that's what i would call save scumming. If you have different idea then please do say.

Right, that's obviously save-scumming right? Because it's at the far end of the spectrum. But what about if I save every two traps? Or every second hit in Max Payne? Or every three hits? Every 10 hits?

The point is, if you want to play and save after every single event, that's fine, quick saves work for you.

If you want to never save for an entire level and play totally hardcore, that's fine too as quick saves work for you too - you just don't use them.

But there's a whole spread of people in the middle. In fact, the majority of people are there, at different points along that line. People who don't want either extreme, but something in between.

The thing is, for the two groups of people at the extremes, it's easy: The save scummer saves as often as humanly possible. The hardcore player never saves. They know where their ideal line is as if they try and go any further they hit a brick wall - you can't save more often than 'after every event' and you can't save less often than 'never'.

But if you're in the middle, you need some guidance as to where the designers think the sweet spot for that game might be. It might turn out that they're wrong (hence you end up getting annoyed at being shoved back before a cut-scene or losing an hour's play) but that's a fault of the checkpoint design and not a fault called 'not having quicksave'. Yes, quicksave is good for making broken games tolerable, but it shouldn't be used as a crutch.


I don't think I've ever played, or know of, a game with quicksave that actively balances the game for that feature and makes it something that needs to be used in order to continue. It's just a quick, convenient way of saving the game.

Wow, pretty much any game from the 90s before checkpoints even really existed. I should note that for the sake of this argument, I'm equating 'quick save' with 'press escape, choose save from the menu, pick a slot, name the game save'. They both let you save anywhere, just one is quicker.

Flint
15-01-2012, 08:49 PM
Wow, pretty much any game from the 90s before checkpoints even really existed. I should note that for the sake of this argument, I'm equating 'quick save' with 'press escape, choose save from the menu, pick a slot, name the game save'. They both let you save anywhere, just one is quicker.
I don't think simply the ability to save anywhere means that the game expects you to hit F6 every 30 seconds (or go to the menu to save manually). Sure, if you died in 90s games you could suffer the risk of losing a lot of progress if you never saved, but I really wouldn't say that means that the developers intended you to whore the hell out of quicksave throughout the game.

apricotsoup
15-01-2012, 09:01 PM
Many games with checkpoints don't offer alternate paths and forcing players to play the same sequence over and over again has in my experience been one of the greatest contributers to players putting games down and never picking them up again.

I'd also add that save scumming is an entirely negative term for something that I don't really see as much of a problem.

I'm another in the camp that if people want to make things more challenging and meaningful to them then either an alternate saving system or self imposed save restrictions are a much better path than enforced checkpoints. I personally made myself live with various choices in new vegas and other games and enjoyed it where I knew others wouldn't have done had the saving scheme been enforced for all versions of the game.

It comes down to this for me, it shouldn't matter how other people play a single player game for you to get enjoyment out of it. Live free with self imposed challenges and don't actively try to affect games in a way that's detrimental to others enjoyment.

Wizardry
15-01-2012, 09:34 PM
Isn't it just the same thing? Since dex adds to AC (from what i recall) in cRPGs, dex can also add to the defense stat in the proposed system.
It is the same, and as the merging of dexterity and armour quality into a single measure is one of the worst things about D&D, your solution makes it even harder to separate them.


So what, you mean the dice rolls make things more realistic? I don't think it really matters since the system is already very abstract as it is, being turn-based or quasi turn based as the case may be. Also, when missing an easy shot in real life you don't feel cheated by the system in any way but you sort of do in a game (and of course you can save/load). But authenticity is such a minor point IMO compared to the disadvantages of the classical system, which manifest itself in gameplay terms.
What does that have to do with anything? Removing randomness means no more critical hits, no more damage ranges, no more getting lucky, no more unpredictability. No unpredictability means no need to react to anything, which leads to the player adopting boring routines that are guaranteed to do their job. You end up with Dragon Age: Origins.

There's a reason why dice have been used in games for thousands of years.


Well now you have less AP but perhaps for calculations that haven't had any of their parameters changed, the saved random outcome should still be used. So for example, you would obviously have a new number generated if you end up firing arrows further away from the target because the numbers are different. But if melee attacks aren't affected by AP and you move a step to restart the fight, the stored number should still be used.
What saved random outcome? What AP? We're talking about before combat takes place. All you need to do to get a fresh random number to pop up in the fight is to use up increasingly more of them before the fight takes place.

SirKicksalot
15-01-2012, 09:40 PM
I'm replaying Quake for the first time in years. Until now I never noticed it has only 10 manual save slots. I guess I never paid attention to stuff like this before the Internet started using save limits as proof of dumbing down and consolisation.

Lukasz
15-01-2012, 10:00 PM
Right, that's obviously save-scumming right? Because it's at the far end of the spectrum. But what about if I save every two traps? Or every second hit in Max Payne? Or every three hits? Every 10 hits?

The point is, if you want to play and save after every single event, that's fine, quick saves work for you.

If you want to never save for an entire level and play totally hardcore, that's fine too as quick saves work for you too - you just don't use them.

But there's a whole spread of people in the middle. In fact, the majority of people are there, at different points along that line. People who don't want either extreme, but something in between.

The thing is, for the two groups of people at the extremes, it's easy: The save scummer saves as often as humanly possible. The hardcore player never saves. They know where their ideal line is as if they try and go any further they hit a brick wall - you can't save more often than 'after every event' and you can't save less often than 'never'.

But if you're in the middle, you need some guidance as to where the designers think the sweet spot for that game might be. It might turn out that they're wrong (hence you end up getting annoyed at being shoved back before a cut-scene or losing an hour's play) but that's a fault of the checkpoint design and not a fault called 'not having quicksave'. Yes, quicksave is good for making broken games tolerable, but it shouldn't be used as a crutch.

so why not have checkpoint system AND quick saves? If you need so called guidance then autosaves will do that for you but if you want you can quicksave too.
so you get something in between. you save whenever you feel like to and game saves for you too before big moments?

c-Row
16-01-2012, 09:01 AM
Why not introduce a cool-down timer for quicksaving? You can't reload your way through a fight if you can't save every two seconds, but you wouldn't have to replay large chunks of the game if you are beaten back to the lowest plane of the Abyss. That, plus the proposed penalty for repeated reloading of a single save game, should be sufficient enough to prevent people from save scumming their way all through the game.

Lukasz
16-01-2012, 10:14 AM
Why not introduce a cool-down timer for quicksaving? You can't reload your way through a fight if you can't save every two seconds, but you wouldn't have to replay large chunks of the game if you are beaten back to the lowest plane of the Abyss. That, plus the proposed penalty for repeated reloading of a single save game, should be sufficient enough to prevent people from save scumming their way all through the game.
but why prevent it?
do not design your game based on assumption people will save all the time but do not ban it if people want to do that

kyrieee
16-01-2012, 10:29 AM
Why do some devs fight so hard to stop players playing the game different than intended? If someone use quick saving to make the game easier why does it matter? No one else is disadvantaged; in vast contrast to checkpoints.

I think that's a natural thing to do. When you design a game you're trying to create a specific experience and you probably think of there being a right way to play. Embracing the fact that people will want to play it differently means letting go of creative control, which is scary.

FuriKuri!
16-01-2012, 10:52 AM
At worst, make it optional. Less freedom is never better than more freedom, IMO.

I generally play with saves, because of the abstraction between games and reality players make mistakes which they wouldn't in the real world. Like when you're in a firefight and strafe to the side a bit and suddenly you're climbing a ladder because you brushed against that point on the wall (and in the game!). Leading from that I also feel games often misunderstand (or worse, misrepresent) intent.

As long as these issues exist (and they will, forever) saves need to remain for me.

soldant
16-01-2012, 11:00 AM
I think the other important point is that we play games for enjoyment. If someone wants to quicksave every 5 steps, I don't see why it should be such a big deal. Again it's just an option, one you don't have to use, so I can't see why we can't just allow for quicksaves.

Yes, the developer wants it to be played like blah blah etc. So what? That doesn't change the fact that I'm going to get incredibly pissed off if I fail the last jump on an incredibly long jumping puzzle, and get warped back to the start just because they intended you to have to restart the entire segment again.

Grizzly
16-01-2012, 11:26 AM
To all those who muster arguments against quick-saving - why do you care how OTHER people play the game? If you don't want to use quicksaving because of some idea that the game is better without them, by all means, just don't use them.


My antithesis: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Quicksaves would completely annihilate that game.

deano2099
16-01-2012, 12:04 PM
so why not have checkpoint system AND quick saves? If you need so called guidance then autosaves will do that for you but if you want you can quicksave too.
so you get something in between. you save whenever you feel like to and game saves for you too before big moments?

That's definitely the best way to do it yes, as someone else said - give me quicksaves and then make me forget to use them.



Yes, the developer wants it to be played like blah blah etc. So what? That doesn't change the fact that I'm going to get incredibly pissed off if I fail the last jump on an incredibly long jumping puzzle, and get warped back to the start just because they intended you to have to restart the entire segment again.

This is my point. If you get pissed off because of something like that, it's bad game design. It's a fuck up. It shouldn't happen. But the answer isn't quick save. That's just a band-aid. It's like someone bringing out a car with awful fuel economy for the type of car it has, and then people going "it's fine, just make sure it has a bigger fuel tank".

I'm not against quicksaving because I want my games to be a huge challenge because I'm super-hardcore. In fact, I suck at games. I'm rubbish, especially at reaction based stuff. To the point that, if quicksaves are available, I'll over-use them as I hate having to repeat stuff. But I don't want to play like that, it's no fun, but the alternative is what you've just suggested - you get sent back half an hour for missing a jump.

Quicksave makes developers lazy. It's basically saying "y'know what, we can't be bothered to balance this game and put in sensible checkpoints, you do it instead".

I don't want to save-scum but I don't want to get sent back to repeat tons of content when I screw up (which is often) either. Saving shouldn't be something I as a player have to worry about anymore. Nearly everyone who is in favour of quicksave here would be perfectly happy if the automated games saving systems just worked better. But if you let developers include things like quicksave, it means they never really have to worry about fixing the underlying systems.

soldant
16-01-2012, 01:28 PM
My antithesis: Amnesia: The Dark Descent

Quicksaves would completely annihilate that game.
It would for you, maybe. But what if someone else wanted to play that way? What if they just turn the gamma up to eye-burning levels so that there is no darkness? Does any of that impact upon you?


Quicksave makes developers lazy. It's basically saying "y'know what, we can't be bothered to balance this game and put in sensible checkpoints, you do it instead".
That follows on the same argument as "X makes developers lazy, don't allow X" where "X" frequently means "consoles". Quicksaves and consoles don't make developers lazy. Developers being lazy or doing a crap job is entirely their own fault (overbearing publishers notwithstanding). If a developer can't effectively place checkpoints or pace their game appropriately, then they clearly didn't have it playtested properly or didn't bother to do so outside of their own little circle. Quicksaves do not change that at all; if the quicksave mechanic wasn't there, they'd still have the crappy checkpoints, it'd just be infinitely worse.

Case in point: there are tons of games that have no manual saving at all with abysmal checkpoint systems. Evidently, it's not specific to quicksave games.

Ovno
16-01-2012, 03:58 PM
Interesting views, I'd say the arguments so far come down to...

1) It's a single player game I should be able to play how I want.

2) Real life gets in the way.

3) I want to play as the developer intended.

4) I will use quicksaves if they are there and I don't want to.

5) Loss of tension/consequences.

6) Quick saves get used as balance.


Let me know if I missed any...

1) It's a single player game I should be able to play how I want.

This conforms with my personal view and in my opinion is the most important...

I bought it/I'm the player, its my choice and if you don't add the option I'll stop playing your game the first time I have to watch the same boss emergence cut scene 50 times at the same time as getting really pissed off cus I'm too crap to beat this damn boss.

In my opinion a very valid view and one only catered for by free saving.

2) Real life gets in the way

Another important point, phones ring, doors get knocked on, beer gets dropped on keyboards and the significant other in your life takes shouting "Give me a minute I'm playing computer games!!!" very badly...

This can be catered for by either free saving, or through a save on exit option.

Though by offering a save on exit option some people will use it as a save by exiting, copying the save file and then reloading the game, just so they can play the game the way they want to, I certainly did with minecraft for a while, but that was only before the start of each play session.

3) I want to play as the developer intended.

A perfectly valid point, they are the artist and they have designed the experience you want to enjoy it as is.

This can be catered for by the use of checkpoints or limited saves.

4) I will use quicksaves if they are there and I don't want to.

Personally I don't consider this to be valid, its the same school of thought that wants censorship and control from the state because they don't trust themselves...

Grow a pair and live with your own actions, remove relevant F key from your keyboard while playing if you can't control yourself, but don't screw the rest of us.

This option of cause needs some sort of checkpoints or limited save system.

5) Loss of tension/consequences.

In some ways a valid point, but again personally I think if you want the consequences then don't use the quick saves to get round them and if you can't trust yourself, remove the quick save button.

I found this exact issue (lack of quick save) was why I never went back to amnesia (and many other games), played for ages got killed cus hands shaking too much, do I want to try again, god no, enjoyment of game, destroyed...

Catered for by checkpoints/limited saves.

6) Quick saves get used as balance.

If dev's are lazy enough to do this, they're lazy enough to make the rest of the game crap too...

So taking all valid points into consideration, I think most of us agree that the best system would be well placed checkpoints, with an optional quick save button, disabled/enabled in the menu.

It caters for all desired ways of playing, allows they player to choose and allows the devs to create an 'as intended' version if they so desire.

It does still allow people to cheat their way through your game, but that is their choice as the end user of a single player game I could do it anyway, either through your system or mods or in a few years by dumping the memory much as you can today with the console emulators, so developers stop being so prissy about people playing the game their way...

Does anyone think that that is not the best option?

Nalano
16-01-2012, 04:06 PM
A developer that tries to dictate to its consumers exactly how the product should be used is a developer that does not understand its market.

deano2099
16-01-2012, 04:42 PM
A developer that tries to dictate to its consumers exactly how the product should be used is a developer that does not understand its market.

But a developer that makes it clear how the product should ideally be used is one that thoroughly understands its art.

FuriKuri!
16-01-2012, 05:04 PM
So games should limit the player as much as possible to ensure the Glorious Message is delivered as intended, when intended?

Part of what makes games art, IMO, is doing shit outside the scope of the design document.

hamster
16-01-2012, 06:37 PM
It is the same, and as the merging of dexterity and armour quality into a single measure is one of the worst things about D&D, your solution makes it even harder to separate them.

You're criticizing D&D? What's going on?


What does that have to do with anything? Removing randomness means no more critical hits, no more damage ranges, no more getting lucky, no more unpredictability. No unpredictability means no need to react to anything, which leads to the player adopting boring routines that are guaranteed to do their job. You end up with Dragon Age: Origins.

Unpredictability which allows you to react to is great but surely a better way of achieving it is giving mobs different abilities, attack patterns and the like. Moreover I really don't think there's too much you can do if the dice go against you beyond suffering the consequences.


What saved random outcome? What AP? We're talking about before combat takes place. All you need to do to get a fresh random number to pop up in the fight is to use up increasingly more of them before the fight takes place.

Perhaps each spell (if applicable) should have its own RNG, maybe make the saved number generated "reset" every X minutes or something so you don't end up with a known sequence you can exploit 5 minutes later. I don't know, i don't really like randomness in the first place.

Wizardry
16-01-2012, 07:22 PM
You're criticizing D&D? What's going on?
It was and still is a great basis for CRPGs. It's still way too simple, and understandably so as it's not meant to be played with the help of a computer. Having said that, CRPGs now are simpler than D&D.


Unpredictability which allows you to react to is great but surely a better way of achieving it is giving mobs different abilities, attack patterns and the like. Moreover I really don't think there's too much you can do if the dice go against you beyond suffering the consequences.
Unpredictability and attack patterns don't really go together. Even if the patterns are complicated, memorising patterns shouldn't be the main difficulty of the game. Understanding what your characters are good and bad at, and understanding what your enemies are good and bad at is key to playing appropriately. In that respect, percentages do no wrong.


Perhaps each spell (if applicable) should have its own RNG, maybe make the saved number generated "reset" every X minutes or something so you don't end up with a known sequence you can exploit 5 minutes later. I don't know, i don't really like randomness in the first place.
Perhaps. And perhaps each enemy in the game can have a random number associated with them to stop you from casting the spell on someone else in another battle. But then each enemy will need a random number for each spell, and each attack type. It's possible to assign numbers to every single thing at the very start of the game, but I don't know how feasible that would be. And you know one problem that would surely arise from this? Well, each encounter would effectively be static. If you fail spell A against monster X, you could reload the game and try spell A against monster Y. If that doesn't work, try monster Z. Alternatively you could try spell B against monsters X, Y and Z to see if they work. You could then, through a bunch of reloads, formulate the best possible plan. Effectively you could min-max predictable encounters.

Drinking with Skeletons
16-01-2012, 07:50 PM
You want to know how to avoid save scumming? Don't make the outcomes of the player's choice so disparate or unpredictable that the player feels like the outcome was completely contrary to what they could reasonably have expected. This problem comes up all the time in dialogue-heavy games, with L.A. Noire being the most recent perpetrator.

Frankly, sometimes I wish they'd go back to the old-school option of dialogue options being listed in full, even with voice acting, so at least you know how the conversation is going to start.

c-Row
16-01-2012, 10:40 PM
It was and still is a great basis for CRPGs. It's still way too simple, and understandably so as it's not meant to be played with the help of a computer. Having said that, CRPGs now are simpler than D&D.

Is there a certain ruleset you favour over others? I doubt 4th Edition ranks that high in your book, though I have yet to meet an old-school gamer who didn't cringe at the changes they introduced.



And you know one problem that would surely arise from this? Well, each encounter would effectively be static. If you fail spell A against monster X, you could reload the game and try spell A against monster Y. If that doesn't work, try monster Z. Alternatively you could try spell B against monsters X, Y and Z to see if they work. You could then, through a bunch of reloads, formulate the best possible plan. Effectively you could min-max predictable encounters.

Again, one would have to be pretty desperate to do this, but it's true nonetheless. Come to think of it, a complete set of pre-calculated numbers could effectively render a battle unwinnable before the first turn is over. Back to the drawning board...

Nalano
16-01-2012, 11:52 PM
But a developer that makes it clear how the product should ideally be used is one that thoroughly understands its art.

A developer that must tell its customer how the product should ideally be used is bad at product design.

Malawi Frontier Guard
17-01-2012, 12:36 AM
A developer that must tell its customer how the product should ideally be used is bad at product design.

You have simply rephrased your previous statement in a slightly different way. Surely a developer cannot dictate the way the product is used, but the words "must tell how it should be ideally used" seem quite unreasonable. This would exclude all user manuals from good design by default. Cars even need entire courses before they can be used in an ideal way. Not to speak of airplanes.

Are you of the opinion that only products that afford their ideal use naturally and without foreknowledge are well-designed? Are products that are too novel or too complex to be readily understood by their nature badly designed?

I could imagine someone having this position, even if it's a bit extremist, but it seems unusual to drop a much stranger one-liner after a fairly sensible one.

Wulf
17-01-2012, 12:45 AM
I stand by quicksaves and autosaves. Now, I'm a pro-console guy, but I'm not stupid, so I recognise the differences between the machines. In the PC world, anything can happen. Here is a fact: Computers aren't as stable as consoles and they never will be. Anything can happen. You can have a random graphics driver crash that could bring down the game, the game could go tinkering with areas of memory it isn't supposed to and crash itself by doing so, and finally, there are game-breaking bugs.

With a game-breaking bug, you have a problem which arises at a certain point that you can't fix, and your only solution is to go back to an older save. Now, if you don't have a library of older autosaves and quick-saves to go back to, then you're screwed. You absolutely must remember the legendary Fallout 3 bug that Bethesda took over a month figuring out a fix for. The one where if you stepped into the South-Eastern area of the map (about 20-25% of the overall map area), the game would hard-lock and be unrecoverable.

A PC isn't a console, and any amount of things can happen, so the most sensible thing to do is to simply have autosaves, and to let people quick-save when they want. Discussions about game design semantics be damned, really, because if a game crashes and I have to replay a large portion of it due to a checkpoint which saved ages ago, then that is terrible game design and there's no excuse. It impacts my fun and QoL in a very negative way.

This is 2012, by this point we should be able to rely on quick-saves and autosaves being present. It's just lazy not to include them. Some developers have made claims about console limitations, and yes, that was true back when they were developing for the Playstation2. But there are modern console games which do have autosaves and allow you to manually save at any point. So it's no longer a valid excuse. Today, a lack of quick-saves and autosaves is bad game design and nothing more.

deano2099
17-01-2012, 02:10 AM
A developer that must tell its customer how the product should ideally be used is bad at product design.

But if they try and imply it by say, not having quicksaves in the first place, people get upset.

And I like nothing more than when a game starts with a screen to get me to set up my brightness and sound for the optimal experience...

Nalano
17-01-2012, 02:13 AM
You have simply rephrased your previous statement in a slightly different way.

I made a slightly different point than my previous statement. And the rest of your dross is chock full of horrible analogies to products that might kill the customer.


But if they try and imply it by say, not having quicksaves in the first place, people get upset.

As well they should, because it's their fucking money.

ALDI Nord
17-01-2012, 08:08 AM
Wow the "Play as the Developer Intended" argument really annoys me. I tend to use Quicksaves to help me past parts that i dislike or that frustrate me. And if I am immersed in a Game I do not think about Quicksaves. It is not like the developers vision is always perfect. Unless you guys find it Fun to rewatch the same cutscene over and over and over.

It is also funny that the Gamasutra article mentions Fallout 3 and New Vegas as victims for this socalled Save-Scumming, both games that are so broken that if you do not often quicksave and save, you will get boned by some software failure.

Again who is hurt by quicksaves? If you want to abuse them - more power to you, if you want to use them as an occasional insurance - more power to you - If you do not want to use them - more power to you.

Malawi Frontier Guard
17-01-2012, 09:53 AM
I made a slightly different point than my previous statement. And the rest of your dross is chock full of horrible analogies to products that might kill the customer.

So much for trying to have an argument.

Nalano
17-01-2012, 04:15 PM
So much for trying to have an argument.

http://i42.photobucket.com/albums/e342/jonmphy/ch890318.gif

deano2099
17-01-2012, 06:10 PM
Unless you guys find it Fun to rewatch the same cutscene over and over and over.


You do realise the reason that happens is because all the testers are using quicksaves right?

victory
27-01-2012, 09:15 AM
I thought the lack of unlimited quicksaves worked well for Aliens vs Predator (2000), but I wouldn't want it in every game. It worked for that game because it added to the fear factor, and they randomized the locations of the enemies each time you reloaded.When I beat Aliens vs Predator back in the day, it did not have a save at all - that was added as an extra feature in a patch. It's designed to be played without saving and is a wonderfully exciting experience because of that.

It's ok for games broken into short sections like Portal as well.That exactly describes AvP - the longest levels take about ten minutes, some take just five.

deano2099 has said about all that needs to be said, but I'll sum things up...
- The game should always save while quitting, and reload once when you return to it, because this is convenient and completely orthogonal to game design. It may also make hidden saves in the background to guard against the possibility of game crash, and only if the game has crashed, load once from the hidden save; this is also orthogonal to game design.
- It's also OK to have unlimited saving in the same sense as it's OK to have cheats and modding; those things should be clearly separated from "the game as intended".
- The actual save system (if any) is a design decision and should be chosen carefully. Free saving is very rarely the right choice exactly like letting a car game player freely decide their car's top speed is a bad idea.

victory
27-01-2012, 09:39 AM
Again who is hurt by quicksaves? If you want to abuse them - more power to you, if you want to use them as an occasional insurance - more power to you - If you do not want to use them - more power to you.I am hurt by them because designers almost always fuck up the game's balancing and game testers miss significant issues when quicksaves are present. The game is thus a bad experience when I try to play it without quicksaves.

When quicksaves are present and I am presented with a section of the game that feels extremely difficult/random/unfair, I'm forced to guess: is this just legitimately hard, and I should try harder to figure out the situation, mechanics, effective tactics - or is the game broken like most games with quicksave are, and I should be quicksaving to make it through the broken part?

If I read a positive review of the game, is the game actually good or did the reviewer habitually, reflexively skip over all the shit parts by save scumming (because both the game developers and the reviewer have grown blind to bad balancing and no longer expect any better)?

If I read a review calling the game way too easy, is it because the game is actually easy, or is it because the designer balanced the game around no saving, attrition, prolonged concentration, careful observation as challenge - and the reviewer used saves and missed the whole point of the game? (see: most reviews of arcade games; reviewers routinely fail to understand that the games are designed and very carefully balanced to be beat on one credit, and end up calling the games "short", "easy" or something equally ridiculous)

Clearly marking the quicksave as a cheat would solve this problem. It doesn't have to be removed, for all I care everyone who wants to quicksave can do it as much as they want.

orcane
27-01-2012, 05:08 PM
Really? If quicksaves are supposedly on the same level as cheats you need to get your head checked. Same for trusting in the same developers you claim can't implement quicksaving properly to implement well balanced checkpointing.

Just because you seem to share gaming preferences with the guy who wrote the stuff you agree with doesn't make it "all that needs to be said", far from it.

vecordae
27-01-2012, 05:58 PM
Quicksaves are fine. Put them in everything. If someone abuses them, that's their problem, not mine.

The arguments against it honestly don't make any sense to me. Firstly, what does it matter how someone else plays a single player game? Really? How does that impact you at all? Secondly, if you don't find the quicksave feature palatable, why can't you simply not use it? You have to reach up and hit that button, afterall. It's not a magical processes that occurred against your will. Thirdly, why do you think that quicksave features lead to bad game design? Despite all the high-sounding talk of game balance, pacing, and the like, the truth is that what people envision as "good" pacing, balance, and the like is highly individualized. Why take away a player's ability to reasonably and quickly modify those things to better suit their individualized tastes?

I get that designers sometimes want to go for a more intense and confining game experience. When done correctly that can really add to the enjoyment of the game. In those cases whey not simply put in a "recommended" mode where you use checkpoints or what have you and a "casual" mode where you can use quicksaves? Giving players additional choice in how they can experience your game is never a bad thing

b0rsuk
27-01-2012, 06:30 PM
You could get around that by eliminating the random factor from the open lock checks. Either your character is good enough to disable the trap, or he isn't. Reloading after failing the check wouldn't change the outcome, and

Then there's a different kind of savescumming. Instead of risk vs reward you have cost vs benefit. If the trap is "destined" to hit you, you examine what's inside (a potion of minor healing). Is it worth being hit by the trap ? Doesn't sound like it. Reload and forget about the chest.

With save/load system, you simply get an ability to not accept any event you don't like. That's why there are no information spells and tools in Baldur's Gate except for the Clairvoyance spell nobody uses. The game (especially battles) was designed around save/load, and there's no denying battles are frustratingly hard at times. This is in a sharp contrast with games which use save&quit/continue:

- in Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup, Divination school which only supplied information like Detect Creatures or Detect Items was eventually removed. The school was a no-brainer for anyone who was learning magic, and Crawl design steers away from that. Detection spells were moved to a god, and you have only 1 god slot. Escape tools like Teleport and Blink scrolls are highly valuable. This is unthinkable in vast majority of RPG-like games.
- in Dominions 3, there's a long list of negative events that can happen to you. A demon can possess a herd of swine and terrorize your province for a week. Monsters can attack, vampire count reveals himself, a band of adventurers attacks your dungeon and liberates virgins meant to be used for sacrifice in Blood Magic spells. A plague, a meteorite, brigands creating a permanent hideout causing unrest, tsunami, earthquake destroys your temple, your troops messed with a witch and she cursed some, heavy snowfall blocks roads and trade is impacted... There are many, many afflictions individual soldiers and commanders can get in combat. Battle fright, lost arm, limp, never healing wound, etc. After a long campaign your battered veterans have great morale and skills, but few of them are without an injury. And like in the above game, information spells are sought after. You pay gold for scouts and spies, too.
- in Realm of the Mad God, a free browser MMO Shooter with elements of RPG, there's permanent death with no buts. In open areas, watching your minimap is vital to survival, especially in dangerous areas like mountains or godlands. I'm enjoying the game very much.

In all but the simplest games with random element, save/load and save/continue are mutually exclusive. If a game has both, you either balance for save/load and it's a nightmare for save&quit/continue players. Or you balance for save/continue and it's trivial for save/load. Escape tools, information gathering tools are rare or nonexistant in "traditional" games because the ability to load game robs them out of their value. There are hopelessly strong monsters around the corner ? Reload. Blunder into everything without caution, and reload. When was the last time you paid for resurrection (900) in Baldur's Gate ? Why even have the option to pay for resurrection in the game ?
------------------

Power failures are solved with autosave. Urgent calls, doorbell, emergencies, hunger, all are solved with save&quit/continue. Don't pretend you need quicksave/quickload for that.

Wizardry
27-01-2012, 06:54 PM
I agree with what you are saying but this...


That's why there are no information spells and tools in Baldur's Gate except for the Clairvoyance spell nobody uses.

... is wrong. There are loads of information spells in Baldur's Gate. Yes they are useless as you said. Yes divination is the worst school of spells for that very reason. But there are more spells than just clairvoyance. Lots more.

deano2099
27-01-2012, 08:59 PM
I'll give this one last go.

A quicksave system with decent checkpoints too is fine, if it's made clear that quicksave is just there for convenience or for people that want to play that way.

When I say "made clear" I mean to the player, but more importantly to those testing the game. The game should not be balanced around the quicksaving mechanic. But it's so handy and convenient that unless you make it very clear that it's basically a 'cheat' and not part of the design, people will use it. I don't care how other players play, that's fine, but when those people are testing and feeding back on the game, it becomes an issue.

I'm bemused that quicksave is the only thing people demand in this way. Why not give FPS players an infinite number of smart-bombs that destory everything on the screen in one shot, and RPG players a spell that instantly ends any combat in victory? Using them would break the game for most people, but maybe I want to play the game that way, so why can't I? Why are any such items hidden behind cheat codes if they're there at all? Just put them in, other people can just not use them.

vecordae
27-01-2012, 10:19 PM
I'm bemused that quicksave is the only thing people demand in this way. Why not give FPS players an infinite number of smart-bombs that destory everything on the screen in one shot, and RPG players a spell that instantly ends any combat in victory? Using them would break the game for most people, but maybe I want to play the game that way, so why can't I? Why are any such items hidden behind cheat codes if they're there at all? Just put them in, other people can just not use them.

You are equating in-game weaponry and abilities the character has access to with design-level choices about what the player can do to modify their experience with the game. There are many reasons why a developer might not feel inclined to grant the character in a game access to instant-victory weaponry or abilities. Usually, because it undermines the reason for the game's conflict. You will often find, however, that such things are still available to the player via cheat codes, console commands, or easily exploitable in-game mechanics. If someone wishes to play their single player game in this manner, the only thing that's stopping them is the need for 30 seconds of research on the internet. That said, I don't see any particular reason why things like that shouldn't be included as part of the "super-easy casual mode" for the game.

The game design should be balanced according to what the devs are aiming for. If the game wasn't designed with quicksaving and uberweapons in mind, then say so whenever you start a new game. Slot in the recommended settings by default, but don't remove a very widely used convenience feature because a few purists feel that it even existing ruins the experience for them. That's silly. That's like saying "doors can only have round knobs" or "all shirts must be size Super Tiny." I mean, I can easily mod in super weapons, but I can't rewrite your game code to allow for quicksaving.

victory
30-01-2012, 11:03 AM
In all but the simplest games with random element, save/load and save/continue are mutually exclusive. If a game has both, you either balance for save/loadMost games with save/load are not actually "balanced for save/load" because they become easier the more you use save/load, and totally devoid of challenge if you take full advantage of it; this is not "balanced". I'd go as far as to say that "balanced for save/load" is impossible. The only way save/load doesn't shift the burden of balancing from the designer to the player is when it gives no advantage, like in The Secret of Monkey Island, but in that case there is no "balancing" to be done.

and it's a nightmare for save&quit/continue players. Or you balance for save/continue and it's trivial for save/load. Escape tools, information gathering tools are rare or nonexistant in "traditional" games because the ability to load game robs them out of their value. There are hopelessly strong monsters around the corner ? Reload. Blunder into everything without caution, and reload.It's not just save/load - new games across the board tend to make consequences of failure trivial, and then do not bother to give the player tools to avoid the failure. The game becomes an amorphous grind instead of a string of successes and failures. See World of Warcraft, for instance; you run into much stronger enemy player characters in the game world at random, and then you pretty much just die. Even if the designers were to add evasion abilities which they do not care to do, death would still be so cheap, you'd probably come out of the situation faster if you just presented your neck for the chop!

deano2099
30-01-2012, 12:12 PM
Alternative:

If I want to save after every fight, why not just make that an option in the difficulty settings? Surely even people that want to play the game quicksaving wherever possible would rather it just be done behind the scenes? You die, it drops you back right before the fight you died on? And balance around that.

Flint
30-01-2012, 01:33 PM
Alternative:

If I want to save after every fight, why not just make that an option in the difficulty settings? Surely even people that want to play the game quicksaving wherever possible would rather it just be done behind the scenes? You die, it drops you back right before the fight you died on? And balance around that.
The point of quicksaving is that I can manually make a quick save whenever I want. Having an autosave, even after every fight (which is a vague concept anyway), would remove both the freedom and the save-at-will aspect. If it's a long, tough fight I want to be able to save even in the middle of it rather than always start from the beginning.