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Oluseyi

The Autosave Approach

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Abstract Every game should have seamless autosave, such that the player doesn't even have to think about it. The only justifiable reason not to have autosave is the lack of capacious storage, as in consoles relying on memory cards. Even if you have a branching storyline, all paths should be autosaved, allowing the user to return to various branches in the narrative as desired. Before I go ahead and write an actual paper of Wavinatorian length, what do y'all think? I came to this conclusion comparing my experiences playing NBA Live 2004 and RalliSport Challenge 2. The former, being a multiplatform title, didn't take advantage of the Xbox's hard drive and required me to explicitly save my progress (which is infuriating in a sports title). It didn't work particularly well, either. The latter, on the other hand, transparently autosaved my career progress, updated my stats... It was a joy to play, and I got to focus on playing the game! RalliSport Challenge 2 does a lot of other cool things, too, all of which allow you to get to playing as quickly as possible. Data loads from disc are cached so that if you decide to rerun a race (or if you exit because you didn't make the qualification group you wanted, as I do), you don't have to sit through the entire load again. And so on, and so forth. Essentially, I think it's time that games eliminated as much administrative duty as possible. In fact, I would go as far as to say that every game that doesn't do so is a poor product. Over to you.

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I completely agree. XIII on the gamecube did not feature auto-save, it is annoying to have to save after every mission, or come back to the game and realize you must replay 2 hours of progress because you forgot to save.

I like the idea of a continuous auto-save. The player has no choice but to load up the game where he last left off and has no way to go back before his most recent progress. Of course, this makes it more punishing if the player messes something up (like expends all his ammo shooting walls), but he wouldn't be able to run around like a madman (death, among other things, becomes meaningless then, because the player knows he can easily reload back to a point before his death).

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I don't agree. I prefer save points in levels or lands or whatever. Recently, I've been playing Vice City. In certain missions, I've screwed up and lost so much money because I had to re-purchase all my weapons that I've had to restart my game. If I didn't have that ability, I'd be oh-so-screwed right now, and I think players deserve that ability.

I guess the argument against this would be that, in real life, you wouldn't be able to restart a go back from your last save. Thing is, why sacrifice fun for realism? Doesn't make sense.

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Quote:
Original post by GreenToad
I like the idea of a continuous auto-save. The player has no choice but to load up the game where he last left off and has no way to go back before his most recent progress.
But that wasn't what I suggested. Halo (Xbox) has continuous save, yet it allows you to go back and replay any previously attained checkpoint/sequence at will. Ditto Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, which additionally gives you the overall "stage count" (a total of 49, IIRC). Both of them also indicate the level titles in the resume screen, which is cool because it ensures a consistent vocabulary when talking about it with other players ("I'm stuck in The Library" vs "I'm on level 9, I think... right after those big exploding things...").

Quote:
...(death, among other things, becomes meaningless then, because the player knows he can easily reload back to a point before his death).
Which is, IMO, a Very Good Thing™. It's a video game, Mr. Designer, so there's no reason for you to "punish" me. I paid for it and I'm playing it in my spare time; spare me your ideologies as to how I must play it.

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One of the things that I am putting in my game is applying both these things in the game at the same time.

I mean ... by default the games will be saved automatically ... on several checkpoints ... which are not known to the player only known to the application ... and I am also giving an option in options settings if the player wants to disable this autosave. It will be turned on by default.

Personally ... when ever I played some huge hours consuming game ... and I forgot to save my data or something happened with the machine ... I never bothered to play that game again unless or untill it was very appealingl. I never prefer to go through one thing again and again. HALO is one of the best in this. There are lots of checkpoints in the game ... if I do something wrong or loose my health a lot ... I can reload the game from the nearest checkpoint ;)

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Depends on the game.

Absolutely games with "campaigns" should auto-save after each mission.

Other games like RPGs I prefer to pick and choose my save games, as it's fairly difficult to have auto-saves save at a reasonable point. Auto-saves in awkward points are worse than just burdening the player.

Mainly though, I've seen far too often where auto-save was used as a band-aid for games that commonly crash and lose your progress...

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Quote:
The Lion King
One of the things that I am putting in my game is applying both these things in the game at the same time.
Don't forget the little screenies to go with checkpoint titles. If you have a branching storyline, show the user the branches. RalliSport Challenge 2's Career Mode has a graph-like race selection screen that is very effective, including which races are currently locked, what each race unlocks and which races are prerequisites for other races. To the side you also have career progress and stats.

Iconography is invaluable.

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Quote:
Original post by Telastyn
Other games like RPGs I prefer to pick and choose my save games, as it's fairly difficult to have auto-saves save at a reasonable point. Auto-saves in awkward points are worse than just burdening the player.
A game with autosave can still allow user saves. The point here is that users should have this convenience so that they don't have to think about it if they don't want to. If a game wishes to provide the opportunity to think about it if the user desires to, that's absolutely no problem.

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Although I like the auto-save idea, and agree with most of the arguments, I do like the Vice city approach. Although you can save whenever you want, you actually have to drive/walk somewhere to do it, which discourages people to do it all the time. Especially at the beginning, when you only have one save place in the entire city. I think though not all properties should have been save areas, so that having to save before going and doing something that might result in severe loss of assets or death would have required more time and effort.

which of these two options I prefer depends on the gameplay. In a FPS, most of the time if it autosaves and you've run out of ammo, you can still get further - it just takes a bit of careful playing for a whie to build up your ammo. Plus it's a linear story most of the time.
In Vice-City, i.e. free-roaming, it would be difficult to decide where to put the autosaves.

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Best savegame system ever: Abuse. Save-points are real, in-game objects that occur about once every 1-5 minutes in a map. You have 5 save slots. To save, you just touch a savegame point and click a slot. No muss, no fuss, but you don't have to overwrite old files if you don't want to. You always reload with your old ammo, but 100% health.

Why not "save anywhere?" (the engine was capable of it) - it leads to stupid gameplay. Most "save anywhere" games end up being "save before entering each room" - Serious Sam is terrible for this. Alternately, if save points are too far apart or once per mission, then you endup over-replaying.

The Abuse approach leads the level to be thought out as a series of short "episode/puzzle" areas. Playing the game becomes like eating popcorn "just one more section!". It would work well for co-op - if your teammate dies, he'll respawn when you hit the next savepoint or when you die and reappear at the last one.

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