Jump to content

  • Log In with Google      Sign In   
  • Create Account


Let's take a look at "saved games"


Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.

  • You cannot reply to this topic
27 replies to this topic

#1 felonius   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 09:48 AM

Hi, I would like to bring to life the old topic of "saving games". I know some of you think that this topic is a dead hat and nothing is left to be said, but I would very much like to hear your opinions. A "saved game" is defined as being a snapshot of a game state that can reloaded later to be able to continue. This posting is NOT about pausing of games. That is another discussion. Traditionally there exists a number of ways game saving can be done: 1. Don''t allow it. To make things easier give the player more lives. This was used in old shoot''em ups. 2. Allow the player to save as often as he/she wishes to. We will call this "Doom"-style saving. 3. Only allow saved games at specific "save game points". 4. Only allow the user to save a single "slot" and require saving at character death and game exit. This is done in rogue-like games like ADOM. We pros and cons of the extremes (1. and 2.) are: With "Doom"-style saving players can quit the game at any time and continue later. This is important for most people. On the other hand can saved games be abused by repeating the same game section over and over again. The player can choose to reload every time even the tinyest thing goes wrong. If the game was written to be played without saving then it becomes very easy. If it was written with game saves in mind then it is often very hard if one avoids saving. This is a problem in many first person shooters and CRPGs which often require one to save often. I think that overusing of saved games is bad and should be prevented. I have often seen players approaching something dangerous, stopping, saving, continuing without caution, seeing the result and the reloading. The tension has now completely gone from the game and it is somewhat spoiled. I suggest that we use the following alternative (all of the list elements and the same time): 1. Allow the player to SAVE at "save points". These saves are called FREE. 2. Allow the player to SAVE as often as he/she wants. Call this EXPENSIVE. 3. Require the player to save the game upon exit in a special slot for this purpose. This is a FREE save. 4. Restoring a FREE save can be done at any time without adverse effects. 5. Restoring a EXPENSIVE save should cost something (in game terms) for *ALL* the saved games stored. Opinions, anyone? B.S. Jacob Marner
Graduate Student of Computer Science, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
http://fp.image.dk/fpelisjac/rolemaker/




Sponsor:

#2 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 01:06 PM

I''m in favor of the expensive save. (as often as you like)
There have been many times in a game where I''m stuck on one spot and if I can''t save just before the problem, I quickly become tired of going over the same path to get there and will eventually just stop playing.

If you were able to get to that point once, you''ve proven you have the skill to get there in that state. Making you do it over and over is just repetative and takes away from the fun of the game.

E:cb woof!

#3 Abort Fail Retry   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 01:43 PM

I''m in favour of free saves. They force the player to take responsibilty for their actions and makes them play the game better. Theres nothing worst than watching someone play the same scene over and over again just because it didn''t go the way they wanted. It ruins the flow of the game and their envolvement in it.

A good example of a game using free saves is the Resident Evil series. The player has to play the game carefully because the can''t keep saving all the time, and the chance of death is great. They have to be careful when the fight because the have very limited amounts of ammo and medicine. Knowing that they can''t simply cut loose and mess around without dealing with the concequences of their actions makes the game more real. But this style of saving has to be implemented careful. Space the save point to far apart and make the challenges in between to hard and the player will get angry and annoyed. They will get mad at the game and might just give up. Also the does have a life outside the game, there is nothing worse than having to stop playing to do something else (like having dinner or going to work) and not being able to find a save point. Or if you put them to close together it like having and expensive saving system.

#4 felonius   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 02:32 PM

I think you both misunderstood what I mean with free and expensive saves. The 5 points listed in the end of my mail should be applied *at the same time in the same game*, meaning that if somebody saves at a save game point then it is free but if is anywhere else then it is expensive.

It agree with dog135 that people should be able save as often as they wish as repeating the same path is boring. I see, though, it as being a flaw in the game if it is neccessary to replay some part some many times. The game is too hard at this point at should be made easier. Just like it is boring to replay the same path several times I also think that replaying the hard bit after the saved state is just as boring.

I also agree with Abort Fail Retry in that people should be able to take responsibility for their actions, but we should as designers take care not to prevent players from leaving the game.

Review my 5 point scheme. With this scheme it is possible to exit the game and return without game cost. Safety saves could also be bade from time to time in the same slot guard against system crashes.
Only if the player restores a saved game that is expensive then the restore operation will have adverce effects.
If the game ends then the special slot for the safety saved game should be deleted.

How do you like this alternate scheme (it has not been tried on any published games)?


B.S. Jacob Marner
Graduate Student of Computer Science, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
http://fp.image.dk/fpelisjac/rolemaker/




#5 genovov   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 02:56 PM

Personally I favor just giving the player a limited number or saves / level, usable anywhere. In general, I think the saving mechanism should NOT have in-game presence, either in the form of mysterious glowing ''save points'' or in the even more mysterious loss of abilities/equipment that could constitute the EXPENSIVE save cost you detail.

But if you''re willing to accept the loss of immersiveness, or can incorporate the mechanisms into the world, then I think it''s a great balance for both the player and the game designer.

- genovov

#6 Spiff   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 07:32 PM

What type of games are we talking about here? RTS games usually doesn''t have these kind of problems (i.e. they''ve got unlimited saves, mostly) while RPG games usually uses different kinds of save methods.

I like the "save-by-character" method for most RPG games, like Diablo works, where you only can save in one slot per character, therefor not have the possibility to re-play a part of the game just to make it.

One of the funniest game saves types must be in Outcast where you get a SAAVGAM (something like that) item

============================
Daniel Netz, Sentinel Design
"I'm not stupid, I'm from Sweden" - Unknown

#7 Jonathan   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 05 April 2000 - 07:47 PM

I can't recall for sure, but I think the Sega-CD game Lunar 2 had tackled this fairly well. It was an RPG, that allowed the normal save as often as you like in the overworld, and only at certain spots in dungeons method that just about every console rpg I've played does. The catch point was that you had to earn some kind of points to be able to save at all. I don't remember it ever making the game frustrating, but it did offer a good bit more challenge to it.

I'm not entirely sure this was the game, by the way, so take this with a grain or two of salt

Jonathan

P.S. - Another game I'm not too sure on, Outcast was mentioned. I've heard that it's way of handling saving is like the poster child for this topic. You have to find those SAAVGAM crystals, or something like that, and using them freezes an instant in time, at the same time causing a great deal of noise and light, which can be bad if you're trying to hide from someone. Save wherever you like, but it can be very expensive in gameplay terms.

Edited by - Jonathan on 4/6/00 1:51:02 AM

#8 Peddler   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 01:45 AM

Imagine if Rainbow 6/Rogue Spear (I feel one of the most immersive games out there) used in-game saves, so that you could save while you were in the actual level. I think the lack of that option created a situation where the player knew they only had one life and thus played totally different then if they could save at any point. I think R6 is a perfect example of how the lack of saving, used correctly, can "make" a game. Of course, R6''s approach can''t be used for every genre
...but overall I think that if the thought that the player can always save is not in the mind of the player when they are in the game, then the game will be a huge deal more immersive.

-Tim Yarosh
Lucid Games

#9 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 05:38 AM

I guess it depends on the game. If you write a 3D program where the game doesn''t follow a specific path and the levels are large, there''s no real good way to save other then to save whenever you want. If you were to have save areas around there, the player could easily miss it by going down a different path. If you put them in every path, you''ll have to many save areas out there.

Also, sometimes when I''m playing a game, I don''t feel like being immersed. Sometimes I just want to play around for 10-15 minutes while I''m waiting for dinner to cook, or whatever. In those times, I''ll just use up all my high power weapons blasting away all the small characters. If there were consiquences to this, it''d take away from the versitility of the game.

If someone wants to make the game boring and miss use saves, I think that should be up to the player. Just like it''s up to the player wether or not to use cheats.

E:cb woof!

#10 cxi   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 05:52 AM

hmm good question.

I for one am in favour of being able to save as many times as you want for a certain reason. Bugs.

I have recently been playing ultima 9. buggy as hell. before i got the patch that thing qould crash constantly. iimagine if a player had been doing things for 4 hours, and the game crashed, causing the player to go back and repeat everythign he jsut did. even now with teh patch the game still crashes every once in a while.

while its nearly impossible for any game amnufacturer to get all the bugs out of a program < due to the thousands of different hardware / software combos out there> allowing the player to save anywhere jsut for the mere fact that the game could crash at any given point woudl make the customer happier i believe.

But then again you do take away the challenge of certain parts of the game. i think its really a toss up. try it one way, see how many angry tech support calls the company gets, then try it the other way.



The Code is a Living breathing entity, and will move in accordance with you, therefore, be one with the Tao of the Code..

#11 borngamer   Members   -  Reputation: 204

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 06:53 AM

I think all games should allow the player to save anytime they want. After all, playing a game is about having fun. Some people enjoy being extremely challenged, while others just want to win any way they can (a good reason why people like cheat codes).

Anyways, my point is: If you want to appeal to the largest audience of game players, allow saving at anytime. Otherwise, you might see a magazine review stating how great the game is except for the save features.

By allowing players to save as often as they want, you meet the needs of the cautious player and the hard-core players. After all, if a player hit''s save, it''s because that''s what they want to do.

#12 genovov   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 07:01 AM

Another option that I haven''t seen mentioned is have different save-game rules for different levels of difficulty. Easy might allow unlimited saves, whereas an intermidiate difficulty could use the origonal poster''s scheme. Hard might only offer 1 save slot, and only allow saves at save-points.

In fact, depending on the nature of the game, this could serve as the _only_ affect of the various difficulty levels.

- genovov

#13 felonius   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 11:15 AM

Borngamer says that players should be allowed to save whenever they want and compares it with cheatcodes. I disagree. Many games (Fallout, for instance) says in the manual that you should save often. The game then makes it clear that it is not cheating when you save often, and thereby implies that you can only survive the game if you save often (which is the case in many games).

In my opinion, if unlimited saves are allowed, then the game should at least warn the the user if the saving scheme is being misused. In Quake for instance they could have stated that 3 saves per levels was normal and anything more than that is "cheating" - this could be done without actually limiting saves. Alternatively, we could limit saves and just supply cheat codes to remove this limitation.

I like the idea of setting save limits depending on difficulty level.

And to the arguments concerning bugging games. My original scheme (at the top of this posting) takes care of this because a free save game slot always is available. THis is only saved if the game exists orderly. If it crashes then this saved game is preserved - so it is possible to limit saves whiel guarding against crashes, bugs and short gaming intervals.

One of the other replies said that games should allow 10-15 minutes "blast" sessions. I don''t think that such sessions should be played part of a larger game, but rather as smaller "single level" games like supported for multiplayer in many games. In this case a new game is started for each session at saved games are not needed.

B.S. Jacob Marner
Graduate Student of Computer Science, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
http://fp.image.dk/fpelisjac/rolemaker/




#14 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 12:54 PM

I didn''t say they should allow 10-15 minute blast sessions. I restore a saved game and just play around while I''m waiting for something. My point being, you should give the game player more freedome to do what he/she wants. Why force someone to play the game the way you want? If you can save at any point in a game, it can always be misused.

E:cb woof!

#15 Facehat   Members   -  Reputation: 696

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 01:32 PM

I personally advocate the idea of making savegames part of the gameplay. For instance, you could use a mechanism like outcast (in which saving can alert enemies to your presence because of the large flash of light generated). Besides making the game more tense, it can add some interesting new elements. For instance, maybe you have to find an enclosed space before you save the game so as not to alert enemies to your position.

Another idea: what if you allow free saves, but have the program monitor how the player is using them. For instance, if a player is constantly reloading even though they haven't died, perhaps you could take away their save privelidge temporarily.

--TheGoop

Edited by - TheGoop on 4/6/00 7:34:28 PM

#16 felonius   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 06 April 2000 - 02:29 PM

To dog135, ok I misunderstood you, but if saved games always can be misused (if saves always aore allowed thay is) then maybe we should consider saving often as a cheat and implement it with cheat codes - in that way really signalling the user that this is cheating. Player wanting to do so (like you) can then use - or misuse - the saved games to play around.

Inspired by the suggestion my TheGoop, an alternative solution altogether is to allow saved games all the time but grade the player from time to time. In Doom like games for instance, such a grade could be listed together with Kill ratio, secret ratio and the end of the level including same "par" value (like in golf). This would give total freedom while giving something to strive for.
In a CRPG this grade could have some immediate effect of game values such as the XP bonus found in AD&D.

B.S. Jacob Marner
Graduate Student of Computer Science, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
http://fp.image.dk/fpelisjac/rolemaker/




#17 Facehat   Members   -  Reputation: 696

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 07 April 2000 - 12:54 PM

I like the idea about it being a cheat code . I doubt the gaming press would pan you then, since you can still have free saves -- but at the same time it would signal to the player that the "right" way to play is without free saves.

--TheGoop

#18 felonius   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 08 April 2000 - 09:13 AM

To avoid the wrath of the press (which can be terrible considering the amount of work you put into a project that you love) I think implementing free saving as cheat codes is not enough to satisfy them, because I do not think (I am guessing here) that the press tries out cheat codes before writing the review. I think that the cheats has to more vissible for that.

If the main menu is accessible during the game we could let one of screens (under options) allow the player to toggle various cheats on and off. Turning cheats on should present the player with a warning message. But is this kind of menu to tempting for players to use? Afterall, most players think that typing in some obscure code is almost like hacking (although the codes were put in there on purpose).

I think a better idea is (as mentioned earlier) let the difficulty level determine the saving scheme.

By the way, one saving scheme that has not be discussed here yet is the one in which some in game condition is required to allow saving. In Planescape: Torment, for instance, you cannot save while hostile creatures are within a certain radius of all party members. This method might even be combined with some of the other scemes mentioned in this posting.

B.S. Jacob Marner
Graduate Student of Computer Science, The University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
http://fp.image.dk/fpelisjac/rolemaker/




#19 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

Likes

Posted 09 April 2000 - 04:56 PM

I think, that at the end of a game/mission, a ''score'' should be tallied up, although this may take a long time if there are a lot of ways to collect some extra score... then, calculate the number times saved (With the Expensive method and no immediate penalty for saving) but penalize the player for 0.01% per time saved (or maybe more, depending on the length of the game and the absolute least number of saves one can make and still finish the game.

Alternately, use a Free save scheme, but set up ''checkpoints'' like dungeon entrances and stairs, and everytime there is a map change (entering a town, cave, whatnot) This method, IMHO is best applied to RPG''s with or without portal-tech worlds, possibly to FPS (entering the boundary of the cave ''level'') Or a FPSRPG (that would be interesting, but it''s been done...)

#20 dog135   Members   -  Reputation: 122

Like
Likes
Like

Posted 10 April 2000 - 05:49 AM

Well, I'm still against anything other then "save anytime". I rarely play a game for more then 30-45 minutes at a time and I just hate having to try to rush to get to the next save in that time so I don't lose all the work I just did. If the game is written well, it should be challanging even with free, anytime saves.

E:cb woof!

Edited by - dog135 on 4/10/00 11:49:58 AM




Old topic!
Guest, the last post of this topic is over 60 days old and at this point you may not reply in this topic. If you wish to continue this conversation start a new topic.



PARTNERS