Save/Load or Save/Continue ?

I prefer the second

By on April 1, 2009 12:09:28 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

b0rsuk

Join Date 03/2009
+10

Hi

I wonder how is Elemental going to be designed in regards to Save / Load feature ? Current trend in games is Save/Load rather than Save/Continue. To clarify, Save/Continue allows player to save the game at any time (to continue later, to help against power failure etc), but only reload it once.

Roguelike games and Dominions 3 (turn-based strategy) are known for having permanent death. Once something dies, it stays dead. Some players accuse this approach of being unnecessarily harsh, but that's not the full story. Yes, you can lose your best commanders and army in a single Dominions3 battle. Or your prophet. Or pretender. But the game offers many ways to recover. You can appoint new prophets, and the impact of experience on units is fairly small so it's never a truly crippling event like it is in Heroes of Might and Magic games. Dominions 3 is built around permanent death. It has spells which help you recover. Your heroes can be brought back as mummies or wights, for example. Your pretender can be summoned back by priests (Think Spell of Returning in Master of Magic).

"Permanent death" games are unique in many ways. In these games, skills like stealth or scouting actually matter. (For comparison, Scouting - which increases sight range - is widely considered one of worst skills in Homm3). Detect Creatures is a very valuable spell in Crawl. So are various forms of scrying, scounts and spies in Dominions. Sadly, this is not the case in Save/Load games. If there's a dragon around the corner, you can simply reload the game and face no consequences. This is not as beneficial as you might think. Baldur's Gate and many other party-based RPG games have an option to resurrect fallen party members, but who actually uses it ? Why pay a high price in gold (or something else) if you can simply reload ? That's right - Save/Load removes a big chunk of potential gameplay mechanics from the game ! Players could be encouraged to invest in some scouting or spells like invisibility, Farsight, Visions etc.

Lack of proper 'save/load' feature is frustrating in some games - especially in those with campaigns, story, deterministic events (logic games, traditional FPS games etc). But in heavily randomised games it's perfectly ok to have Save/Continue instead ! Dominions 3 players like to write AAR's - After Action Reports, where they relate the tale and fate of their empires, often in a story-like fashion. Turn-by-turn, even in from single player games. This is possible because lack of 'load' makes each match feel quite epic. Heroes rise to fame and fall. Empires grow and crumble. A player in traditional save/load game would have a fairly bland match instead, he would simply be able to min/max every skill and unit, and only fight battles he can win.

------------------

I think I know the answer, but I want to ask netherless. Will Elemental be a traditional Save/Load game ?

How about a separate difficulty setting, like Hardcore in Diablo games, which only offers Save/Continue and no 'load' ? Is this how player-controlled 'bots' are going to work, perhaps ? You mentioned that there will be option to connect to internet and play against AI-controlled opponents using an interface very similar to a typical multiplayer match. ("Are you a human ? Are you SURE ?"

I know the ultimate 'load game prevention mechanism' is multiplayer. And I like multiplayer, too. But multiplayer has some issues, including a very cutthroat environment. Sometimes I'm not in a mood for a cutthroat game and would like to play with some underdog races or units.

----------

To players wanting to say something along the lines "I prefer Save/Load because I have no time to waste on starting over or performing less than perfect and I only ever enjoy winning and never the process of playing a game LOLOLOLOOLOL!!!11" ... I have a question. How many Save/Continue games have you played ? Name some.

Locked Post 33 Replies +1
Search this post
Subscription Options


Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 12:18:36 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What a neat idea. It also makes risky fights more risky. I've been known to make foolish attacks in some games before because if it goes badly I can just reload and try again a few more times, or give up.

 

I like it!

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 1:42:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

if there is to be a save/continue feature, I'd want an auto-save feature similar to fire emblem 7, where if you quit at any time (including crash) the game would load from the last point which it saved (begining of turn or end of last battle, whatever is picked) and if that save is bad, then the one before it.

I really don't think much of save features.  I feel like too much variance would only cause frustration without really helping the game.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 2:02:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I think an iron man mode can be fun, I'm for it.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 2:37:44 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I wouldn't object to save/continue functionality in principle, but for those of us who have little or no competitive interest in the game, reloads are pretty much essential.

p.s. I could swear there was another thread where this general subject got a lot of discussion, but I can't seem to figure out any good keywords to help me find it. Maybe what I'm remembering is actually an extended threadjacking and not obvious in thread titles...

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 6:11:26 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I agree, this is something I was thinking about a while ago. Games like that are far more challenging. The Fire Emblem series, one of my favorite console SRPG's, has been doing this as well. I think it would add a lot of depth and flavor to the game as I've always enjoyed having death mean something rather than just loading back the previous save state I made right before I attack someone in case it doesn't go my way. And yes, I could just not use the feature at all, I know. But it would be a bit better if it was hard coded in to keep me on my toes throughout. After all, how many games have a "beat game with 100% completion" option at the start while a message saying "Just don't use it if you don't want to."?

I'm also a fan of options though and while I think it'd be best just to have it as save\continue, doing both as an option would be fairest for all.

Lastly, you got me really interested in that Dominions 3 game..surprised I've never heard of it.. *trots off to find info..*

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 6:25:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really don't see a difference in challenge between save/load and save/continue. I like save/load better because I like saving before epic battles or before accomplishing something of major importance to me so I can later go back and load that specific event whenever I feel like it. You can't do that with save/continue which in my opinion only takes away from a game with out adding anything of value. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 7:43:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I really don't see a difference in challenge between save/load and save/continue. I like save/load better because I like saving before epic battles or before accomplishing something of major importance to me so I can later go back and load that specific event whenever I feel like it. You can't do that with save/continue which in my opinion only takes away from a game with out adding anything of value.

I concour. Save-continues are more suited fro FPS/RPGs, not strategy games. In strategy, the ourcome of a single battle is relatively unimportant 99% of the time, and the number-based system for combat is such that it really doesn't matter how many times you play it. Now, for RTS, it's another story, but for Elemental I think save/load is the way to go.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 8:19:17 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

I think options to do both is the best way to go, but that's just me. And I think people misunderstood what he was saying. He is trying to prevent the type of SRPG player that saves every turn. This means if, for example, you screwed up and made a bad call and had one of your units destroyed in a manner you were not skilled enough to see beforehand you couldn't simply reload right before you made that move and fix it.

This creates a situation more akin to reality; you as a commander made a mistake and the enemy commander exploited that. With save/load you instead go "Oopsie! Let me take back that move." As you can tell, that doesn't happen in reality. For a more down to earth comparison, imagine yourself playing with a chess player who took back a move he made last turn (for the 40th time..) when he realized he made a mistake that gave you an advantage..

Hopefully now you can see why a decent amount of us prefer save/continue..the only way to load is at the start of a match or you can leave the game in stasis and play again later to finish your current session (saving boots you to title screen and choosing continue deletes that "temp. save file).

 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 8:40:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree fully that both modes should be implemented, but if I could pick only one, DEFINITELY save/continue.  Pretty much in full agreement with b0rsuk all the way as I am a tremendous fan of Roguelikes and what led me to Dominions III recently, and awakened me in general to Fantasy TBS games, which in turn led me here to Elemental...was seeing some of those fantastic Roguelike elements at play.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 8:52:37 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I agree also that Save/Continue doesn't really add anything to the game. If you don't want to be saving/loading to avoid bad things, don't do it, end of the story And yes, I have played Save/Continue games (FE, AW,...).

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 8:54:56 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

At least for Beta there should be a save/load option (if it's not simply forced) possibly with autosaves to seperate files. This should smooth out testing somewhat. I'm all for the save/continue hardcore system after testing is done or at least mostly done.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 9:11:44 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

If the save/load is implemented doesn't that satisfiy both parties?  The player can set an internal rule not to load anything but the last save.

Isn't the point to have the game be fun for the most number of players?

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 9:33:04 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Zubaz,
If the save/load is implemented doesn't that satisfiy both parties?  The player can set an internal rule not to load anything but the last save.

Isn't the point to have the game be fun for the most number of players?

 

I believe this is what's called "Sage Advice", well done Mr.Zubaz well done indeed. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 10:47:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Zubaz,
If the save/load is implemented doesn't that satisfiy both parties?  The player can set an internal rule not to load anything but the last save.

Isn't the point to have the game be fun for the most number of players?

 

While I can't speak for anybody else, I think it comes down to relating to design choices in the game.  When a game has one system or the other, you tend to develop a different mindset towards playing one system or the other---especially if the gameplay itself "speaks" to the relevant mode at the time.  Most well wrought Roguelikes for instance are designed around the concept of the player becoming a better player moreso than a player's character becoming a better character---consequences and learning experiences.  With save/continue, you learn the sum of your current wisdom and follies upon success or death.  With save/load, you find out well before then and likely dial back to undo your last mistake or series of mistakes.  So in terms of the story each player will have to tell and remember, it will either be like repeatedly rewinding/seeking back and forth on a movie versus something like rewatching a movie from scratch and noticing all the nuances you missed the last time around---to make a horrible analogy.  Several people save/continue in save/load games and vice versa though so really it just depends on the fundamental game designs as it regards skill, random luck, preparation versus improvisation, and so on.

 

In the end, people will exercise the gameplay options given to them or somehow make or find a mod to their liking---Elemental seemingly making that a very intuitive process by all indications.  Both modes available from the start would be swell though. 

 

Edit:  Also a tiny bit of it comes down to wanting to be able to definitively "show" people at some point down the line that you definitely went through it all in one go, mistakes and all, depending on how the challenge level is set up in the game.  Like how many people are proud of their Solo Hardcore characters in a game like Diablo II LoD for example---a sense of wanting to rank with the rest and see how you fare.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 1, 2009 11:16:26 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

What doesn't make sense about the save/continue argument is you can do the exact same thing with save/load as pointed out by Zubaz and others. However if you have save/continue only there is no easy way to adapt it to save/load (unless you fool around with game files which is a pain). So by having save/load Stardock would be including an option for save/continue and everything in between. Suggesting that Stardock waste time making two separate save systems when one of the two options (save/load) can perform the function of the other flawlessly just makes no sense from any point of view.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 2, 2009 10:45:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I fully agree with getter77 and won't repeat his points.

 

Quoting Darkodinplus,
What doesn't make sense about the save/continue argument is you can do the exact same thing with save/load as pointed out by Zubaz and others.

This is red herring. Yes, technically it can provide the same functionality. That's not the point. Game design is not 100% technical affair, you have use some psychology too. Choice of save/load or save/continue has further impact on the way the game is designed. I already mentioned that features like resurrecting a party member or various forms of scouting are very rarely used in games which allow player to load the game.

Save/Load games tend to have pretty brutal combat which often ends in player's death. Homm3 is a very unforgiving game. If you initiate a fight you cannot win, you lose all your units, get no experience, and in later stages of the game it's impossible to rebuild your army in time. Dominions3 is somewhat easier overall, not all mistdakes are crippling. Particularly in multiplayer - you can use diplomacy to hold off vultures circling over you. Another player may want to keep you alive because you can do something he can't with his national units or mages (forging certain items, casting spells, research etc). Games like Dominions3 are actually winnable without reloading. In a game like Homm3, you may lose the game without any fault on your side. For example a very very strong enemy comes out of darkness and eats your hero. Or even better - from a one-side portal while your hero is in some remote place. Homm is a quite frustrating game to play with save/continue, because it's balanced for save/load instead. Baldur's Gate deliberately made the fights very hard so that players would have to try many tactics to succeed. One developer said otherwise it would be too easy in a save/load game. BG was designed by people with tabletop RPG background, where save/load is out of question. They felt the need to compensate.

 

However if you have save/continue only there is no easy way to adapt it to save/load (unless you fool around with game files which is a pain). So by having save/load Stardock would be including an option for save/continue and everything in between.

Often there's no "in between" It's an either-or situation. You either balance a game for save/continue and it becomes too easy for save/load, or you balance for save/load and it becomes frustrating for save/continue.

Suggesting that Stardock waste time making two separate save systems when one of the two options (save/load) can perform the function of the other flawlessly just makes no sense from any point of view.

Consider for a moment that not necessarily all you disagree with is a waste of time, people have other views, and may have tried both design schools unlike you.  Just because you don't see sense in something doesn't mean there is no sense in it. You try to portay your opinion as an absolute fact.

Even a relatively cheap solution like a 'hardcore' difficulty level would be helpful. Even without much additional design time investment. As Stardock devs say, the game is going to be highly moddable. So even if 'hardcore' mode is added as an afterthought, players will likely balance it themselves. Save/Continue playstyle is not something you can really mod otherwise. You can put a nice sign saying "please don't load the game" but very few people will get the message. Others are likely to think you're just stupid. And contrary to popular belief, players don't always know what's fun in the long run.

To see what I mean I encourage playing Dominions 3. There's a 40 turn demo so you don't have to pay anything. In your first games you most likely won't last so long.

Another comparison: Song of Ice and Fire* books by George R.R. Martin versus typical fantasy. In a typical fantasy book, a good guy almost never dies except perhaps in prologue. Such books eventually become quite predictable, because you know no good guy can ever die, and everyone will be saved. Song of Ice and Fire, however, not only is morally ambiguous in many cases, but lets many protagonists die. For me, this serries is much more interesting, because the death suddenly feels like a real threat. In this book, people actually die ! There's more tension. By comparison, other books start to look like playing DooM with IDDQD.

* this kind of fantasy books is sometimes called 'dark fantasy'

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 2, 2009 7:57:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,

This is red herring. Yes, technically it can provide the same functionality. That's not the point. Game design is not 100% technical affair, you have use some psychology too. Choice of save/load or save/continue has further impact on the way the game is designed. I already mentioned that features like resurrecting a party member or various forms of scouting are very rarely used in games which allow player to load the game.

The thing is that if you want to play in Save/Continue mode, you can do it in Save/Load, while the opposite is not easily possible. So you are impossing how to play for some players who may not like it. If you really want to use those forms of scouting you are talking about and you need a game limitation to force yourself to do them, them maybe you really didn't want them so much. Save/Load doesn't force you to you anything, while Save/Continue does, that's the problem. It's like saying you want to win with only one city or something like that: a restriction you can put into yourself that doesn't need to be enforced by the game itself.

Also, Save/Continue is an idea that was forged because of technical limitations (like the idea of random combats in some JRPGs). Somehow it seems those ideas have turned into game features when honestly, right now, they don't make any sense if you don't have those technical problems they were trying to solve.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 2, 2009 8:12:23 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,

Consider for a moment that not necessarily all you disagree with is a waste of time, people have other views, and may have tried both design schools unlike you.  Just because you don't see sense in something doesn't mean there is no sense in it. You try to portay your opinion as an absolute fact.

I've played games with save/load and save/continue obviously, you shouldn't make assumptions as to what type of games someone you don't know has or hasn't played. Once again as I said in reply 6 the difference in difficulty is undetectable and I sincerely doubt any game ever made was specifically designed for a save/load or a save/continue system, the math is faulty pure and simple. I typically play games on advanced / hard settings so it might be possible that provides me some level of cushion which is why your argument of balancing for one of the two types makes no sense. 

Also, Vicente makes an excellent point for save/load. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 3, 2009 10:11:12 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Vicente,

The thing is that if you want to play in Save/Continue mode, you can do it in Save/Load, while the opposite is not easily possible. So you are impossing how to play for some players who may not like it.

As I said before (for reasons mentioned) I disagree save/load and save/continue is just a matter of a simple switch. Many games can't be balanced for both.

About imposing - this is perfectly fine. Some Dominions (1,2,3) newbies complain about being unable to save the game, but vast majority get over it and learn to appreciate it. Yes, sometimes you actually need to impose some rules in order for a game to be played differently. There's more to game design than meets the eye, it's not 100% technical stuff. Example: In Quake 2 multiplayer, there are weapons like shotgun, blaster, machinegun, hyperblaster. They're common on all maps. Yet they're so weak people almost never use them. In most matches they're never picked up. Technically speaking they work, but from metagame point of view they're dead code

 

If you really want to use those forms of scouting you are talking about and you need a game limitation to force yourself to do them, them maybe you really didn't want them so much.

I can force myself just fine. The point is to ...yes, exactly, force others to play my way. Even if save/continue is an optional mode like in Diablo, having it as an officially recognized game mode works wonders. I'm pushing this so hard because this kind of thing can't really be modded later. It needs help from developers, even if they have no intention to maintain that additional mode. Additional challenges and rules can be fun. Things like save/load has great impact on, for example, an atmosphere in a horror-themed FPS. If you can save at any time, a lot of suspension is completely gone. If save points are too few, it becomes frustrating because player frequently has to replay portions of the game.

"No death" mode would never be popular in Diablo if there was no support from gameplay mechanic and interface. Some like it, some don't, but as long as it appeals to certain portion of Diablo community, Hardcore mode gets implemented in every single  Diablo game, and will be a part of Diablo III.

Save/Load doesn't force you to you anything, while Save/Continue does, that's the problem. It's like saying you want to win with only one city or something like that: a restriction you can put into yourself that doesn't need to be enforced by the game itself.

You can go to Dominions 3 forum/irc and ask how many players consider 'no load' to be a problem. And how many people actually backup their savegame files. It's not hard - all you have to do is copy files to another dir, then copy them back. Out of many scripts and user-made addons, 'savegame backup' is among least popular. People agree that the game is better without easy save/load. And yes, like I said above it needs to be enforced in the game because of human psychology.

By the way - more and more players play games in multiplayer. For someone playing multiplayer, repeated reloading of the game is the unnatural thing.


Also, Save/Continue is an idea that was forged because of technical limitations (like the idea of random combats in some JRPGs). Somehow it seems those ideas have turned into game features when honestly, right now, they don't make any sense if you don't have those technical problems they were trying to solve.

They make a lot of sense. Some games, particularly horror-themed games, limit how often you can save the game. If you can reload easily, suspension is gone because you can load as soon as something jumps out of shadows. As to the actual usefulness of save/load, I think you're biased because the majority of modern games have static content, linear storyline, etc. 3D graphics (at least in its current implementation) are very resistant to things like random level generation. There are very few 3d games with random level generators. Since 2D graphics went out of fashion, replay value of games went downhill. Turn-based strategy, logic games are now extinct genres. In a game that's very linear and non-replayable, permanent death rarely adds anything. But permanent death (save/continue) flourishes in games with heavily randomized levels like Dominions and roguelikes. Unwillingness of player to start over is likely a sign that a game is not replayable. As I said before, items, spells etc that enhance vision range, resurrect, random events are much rarer in save/load games because they're not worth bothering with for a power-gamer.

Oh, and let's not forget random events. A random event wiped your city ? Reload. Enemy wizard received a gift ? Reload.  An earthquake struck, destroying your temple ? Reload. Fire destroyed your arcane laboratory ? Reload. A vampire count  revealed himself and tried to take control of your province ? Reload. A hurricane struck, devastating the coastline ? Reload. A demon possesed herd of swine and terrorized province for a week ? Reload. Heavy snowfall harms trade ? Reload. Reload...

Save/load games may as well contain no negative random events. It's a waste of developers' effort. The money could be better used to add something else instead.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 3, 2009 1:17:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting b0rsuk,

About imposing - this is perfectly fine. Some Dominions (1,2,3) newbies complain about being unable to save the game, but vast majority get over it and learn to appreciate it. Yes, sometimes you actually need to impose some rules in order for a game to be played differently. There's more to game design than meets the eye, it's not 100% technical stuff. Example: In Quake 2 multiplayer, there are weapons like shotgun, blaster, machinegun, hyperblaster. They're common on all maps. Yet they're so weak people almost never use them. In most matches they're never picked up. Technically speaking they work, but from metagame point of view they're dead code

Of course people complain about not been able to save games, that's logical. Count how many mainstream TBS games allow to save games and how many don't. Btw, I have played Dominions 3 a lot and the game would be equally fun with Save/Load.

Quoting b0rsuk,

I can force myself just fine. The point is to ...yes, exactly, force others to play my way.

If you can force you, why forcing other players who may have different tastes?

Quoting b0rsuk,

Even if save/continue is an optional mode like in Diablo, having it as an officially recognized game mode works wonders. I'm pushing this so hard because this kind of thing can't really be modded later. It needs help from developers, even if they have no intention to maintain that additional mode.

You can make a small program that everytime you save deletes the old saved games, there you go, Save/Continue mode for you.

Quoting b0rsuk,

Additional challenges and rules can be fun. Things like save/load has great impact on, for example, an atmosphere in a horror-themed FPS. If you can save at any time, a lot of suspension is completely gone. If save points are too few, it becomes frustrating because player frequently has to replay portions of the game.

Talk about TBS games. FPS, horror, etc are different genres and follow different design rules.

Quoting b0rsuk,

By the way - more and more players play games in multiplayer. For someone playing multiplayer, repeated reloading of the game is the unnatural thing.

Other people play only in singleplayer and not been able to make as many saves as they want is an unnatural thing.

Quoting b0rsuk,

They make a lot of sense. Some games, particularly horror-themed games, limit how often you can save the game. If you can reload easily, suspension is gone because you can load as soon as something jumps out of shadows. As to the actual usefulness of save/load, I think you're biased because the majority of modern games have static content, linear storyline, etc. 3D graphics (at least in its current implementation) are very resistant to things like random level generation. There are very few 3d games with random level generators. Since 2D graphics went out of fashion, replay value of games went downhill.

Again, I was talking about TBS games like Fire Emblem not other genres. Fire Emblem would be perfectly fine with Save/Load. If a player wants to save a different game after each unit he moves, well, his call. I would continue prefering trying to pass the missions in one go but I don't need any mechanic to force myself and I don't agree the game would be inferior.

Quoting b0rsuk,

Turn-based strategy, logic games are now extinct genres.

Strange sentence in the forums of a TBS game from a developer that seems to have been doing a good profit from that types of games...

Quoting b0rsuk,

In a game that's very linear and non-replayable, permanent death rarely adds anything. But permanent death (save/continue) flourishes in games with heavily randomized levels like Dominions and roguelikes. Unwillingness of player to start over is likely a sign that a game is not replayable. As I said before, items, spells etc that enhance vision range, resurrect, random events are much rarer in save/load games because they're not worth bothering with for a power-gamer.

Yeah, I bet Master of Orion, Master of Magic, Civilization, Age of Wonders,... are not replayable games at all. And of course, you don't have scouts units, or techs/spells that allow you to see the map, or random events,...

Some people after spending 100 hours in a game and getting something very unlucky that destroys their work decide to reload, others take it as a challenge and keep pushing themselves. And both of them have fun. Replayability has nothing to do at all with Save/Load or Save/Continue.

Quoting b0rsuk,


Oh, and let's not forget random events. A random event wiped your city ? Reload. Enemy wizard received a gift ? Reload.  An earthquake struck, destroying your temple ? Reload. Fire destroyed your arcane laboratory ? Reload. A vampire count  revealed himself and tried to take control of your province ? Reload. A hurricane struck, devastating the coastline ? Reload. A demon possesed herd of swine and terrorized province for a week ? Reload. Heavy snowfall harms trade ? Reload. Reload...

And what's the problem with that? If the player has more fun doing that, why not allowing him? Why you have so many problems with the way other people like to play games?

Quoting b0rsuk,

Save/load games may as well contain no negative random events. It's a waste of developers' effort. The money could be better used to add something else instead.

Your main point seems to be equalling Save/Load to reloading every time something bad happens, and that's totally false.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 3, 2009 7:28:21 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Minor point:  Fire Emblem is very much a save/load game...otherwise the glorious art of RNG burning for some enemy actions and level up stat point distros would not exist.

 

Another way to look at this issue:  Ideally, in my mind, would be for Elemental to be designed to where "random" events and happenings, like an Earthquake or some such, are not utterly devastating events.  Rather, wouldn't it be ideal, for all parties, if the event opened as many, or more, doors than it closed in order to spur the player to trudge onward instead of feeling too doomed or horribly inconvenienced so as to be pressured into wanting to dial back the event to a prior save?  I suspect the engine, programmers, and so on are sophisiticated enough to do this.

 

Typical TBS:  Earthquake hit the Temple.  It gone.  "Ah well :enters 2 button F-key combo to roll on:"

Typical Roguelike:  Earthquake hit the Temple.  It gone. "Well that's a new one/should've known better/forgot about that being a feature.  Maybe I need to looking into Levitating stuff..."

Hopeful Elemental:  Earthquake hit the Temple.  It gone.  "What the, there's stuff under it...earthquake must've done this.  Wait a minute...there's a cave, monsters!  What the...there's a tunnel that leads somewhere!  What is going on, how much did this thing trigger?  Sweet!"

 

In something like the above respect, the debate could prove largely moot as the sum result would be compelling continued gameplay, element of surprise, and so on.  Because then the player could come to welcome such random events as opposed to universally fear and loathe them.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 4, 2009 2:47:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting getter77,

Minor point:  Fire Emblem is very much a save/load game...otherwise the glorious art of RNG burning for some enemy actions and level up stat point distros would not exist.

A small number of players from the whole FE user base decide to do that. It only shows that a maximizer will try his best to maximize his options no matter the restrictions the game tries to impose on him.

Quoting getter77,

Another way to look at this issue:  Ideally, in my mind, would be for Elemental to be designed to where "random" events and happenings, like an Earthquake or some such, are not utterly devastating events.  Rather, wouldn't it be ideal, for all parties, if the event opened as many, or more, doors than it closed in order to spur the player to trudge onward instead of feeling too doomed or horribly inconvenienced so as to be pressured into wanting to dial back the event to a prior save?  I suspect the engine, programmers, and so on are sophisiticated enough to do this.

It would be interesting if the random events offered a good and a bad side. EU - Rome for example has something similar and it's pretty interesting that there's not a "right" decision when the game offers you some choices.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 4, 2009 4:20:18 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One point of game-enforced save/continue is psychologic. If you know you cannot save/load, you play differently. I play hardcore Diablo II because I prefer save/continue. If the game didn't provide the option, I would fall to the reload game becaue the option is available. Call me weak-willed if you like, but I am not alone to behave this way: If there's an easy cop-out, I'll play differently from no cop-out.

Which means a save/load game with a save/continue option makes sense, as in Diablo, and can make the game much more interesting for some players.

As for balancing for save/load vs. save/continue, I consider you shouldn't have to reload if you play well and don't like games where you are supposed to reload. Baldur's Gate 2 was fine, but when I reach the point where a failed save makes me lose the game, I don't reload, I quit in disgust because I think it's not fun.

So technically, save/Continue may not be useful in a save/load game, but both gameplay-wise (balance) and psychologically, this option makes a lot of sense.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 4, 2009 8:55:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The only option in Diablo II was save/continue. Hardcore mode only meant if you died you were dead permanently and would have to make a new character. Diablo did use a save/load system however. The psychological argument has little to no validity in a game unless it is suppose to be a psychological thriller and definitely no connection to the type of save system implemented. None of you have offered a tangible example of any difference created by save/continue that would increase the value or fun of the game. Your whole argument seems to boil down to "even though I can do the same thing with Save/Load I wouldn't do it unless something forces me to" which just makes no sense to me. The differences in save systems is largely an illusion which I believe your standard gamer doesn't care and can't tell the difference but is aware of the fact when they want to save their progress they should be able to. 

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
April 4, 2009 5:27:51 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Here's a thread "Save/load mania", concerning the free TBS Wesnoth. It supports my argument that adding save/load option has many downsides. Last time I played an early version of Wesnoth, I think it didn't have an option to save mid-game and I had to finish scenarios in one go.

http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6321&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

People talk about reloading whenever a veteran unit dies etc, how playing without load affects their behaviour by making them more cautious and prepared players... It's pretty clear save/continue has a strong psychological and gameplay effect. People disagreeing with this are either not perceptive enough, or in denial. Especially that the thread starts with a poll, with predictable results. It's funny, because many of them reach a conclusion not using save/load made the game more enjoyable, and taught them to play better.

Quoting Vicente,

Of course people complain about not been able to save games, that's logical. Count how many mainstream TBS games allow to save games and how many don't. Btw, I have played Dominions 3 a lot and the game would be equally fun with Save/Load.

Bandwagon fallacy, a.k.a Appeal to popularity. By your own logic, Elemental should be a FPS game because it would sell more copies that way. Do you have any argumentation behind your 'would be equally fun', or is it just 'because I say so' ? I can certainly see a lot of players reloading when a spell effect gives underwhelming result, whenever any truly bad random event happens, when you run into a strong enemy, when you lose your prophet or pretender in battle (lots of battle effects are chance-based so reloading would help against stray arrows etc).

It's perfectly possible to make a game that follows a path less traveled with good results. Sometimes it's called innovation and many people like that. Fantasy General has no town or city building. Master of Magic has unit upkeep. HOMM doesn't have unit upkeep and it's one of reasons army sizes tend to be measured in weeks. Games use different approaches to many aspects, and often they're so different they're not comparable. It's impossible to say one is strictly better or worse.

Save/load is the right thing to do in many strictly linear and deterministic games, because otherwise it forces replay and that's boring. Save/continue is a different approach. Neither is strictly better than the other, although I prefer save/continue for the reasons I listed. What's important is that they're both viable, and they're generally mutually exclusive - if you want a well designed game. Calling save/continue a subset of save/load is, for certain types of games, incorrect.

Elemental could as well be a save/continue game and remain successful, however at this stage of development it's probably already decided and the devs prefer traditional approach.



You can make a small program that everytime you save deletes the old saved games, there you go, Save/Continue mode for you.

Speaking as a CS graduate, I can't say I'm surprised or impressed that you can copy files. Fortunately, for most people writing or even downloading such scripts is not worth the effort and they learn to play with save/continue, which has many beneficial gameplay effects.


Talk about TBS games. FPS, horror, etc are different genres and follow different design rules.

No, I won't, because it's irrelevant to the point I'm making. It's not surprising you fail to get the message if you take my words out of context. I used an example of Quake 2, because it shows that a non-technical but psychological issue strongly affects the way the game is played. Extra options only matter if they're all viable. Woefully weak weapons in q2 could as well be removed from the game and no one would notice.

Another example is no-brainers. In Diablo2, skill trees turned out to be very problematic because - by design - some skills are much better than. Because of Diablo's unimaginative design, many skills (spells etc) are strictly better than others(for an example of similar game which keeps things interesting and gives every offensive spell a purpose, pros and cons - try Nox). It soon became apparent people prefer to put their skill points into some best skills, and put at most 1 in others, just to satisfy requirements. Why would anyone ever use Ice Bolt or the bigger version, whatever it's called, if there's Glacial Spike nad Frozen Orb ? Introduction of skill synergies hasn't solved this - it merely shuffled exisiting optimal builds. Again, it turned out that people use only a couple of skills. Again, for a psychological and not technical reason, part of the game is effectively removed. Dead code, never used spells.

Actually, horror, tension and TBS is not mutually exclusive. Do you remember UFO: Terror From The Deep ? (known as X-COM in US) UFO had a pretty creepy atmosphere, especially night missions and screams of dying civilians, FOV (a mechanic practically absent in 'modern' strategy games). UFO didn't allow saving during a mission and I think it was for the better. Not only it enhanced the creepy atmosphere, but it made 'acceptable losses' a fact of life. Many times you'd agree to lose one or two soldiers just to pass a particularly hard mission, or defend a valuable base. And because of FOV (field of view) it was actually important to move in such way as to not end turn without cover etc. Move a couple of steps at a time, search methodically. With save/load, it would be possible to reload the game, "a-ha the alien is THERE!", fire a torpedo into a supposedly "unexplored" area, and hit the unseen alien exactly (You can customize the path of torpedo in TFTD). And the soldier used for scouting could do something else instead, and wouldn't be in blast radius as a bonus.

Another tactical, turn-based game by the designer of UFO serries - Laser Squad nemesis. I'm pretty sure they left out the option to save game in campaign on purpose, to promote good tactics and caution (and dealing with consequences of your action) rather than save/load mania. The game is from 2003 so I really doubt it was a technical limitation.



Again, I was talking about TBS games like Fire Emblem not other genres. Fire Emblem would be perfectly fine with Save/Load. If a player wants to save a different game after each unit he moves, well, his call. I would continue prefering trying to pass the missions in one go but I don't need any mechanic to force myself and I don't agree the game would be inferior.

If you can think outside the box, you realize that save/continue is not any worse than save/load. Objecting to a  game being designed with this approach would be like objecting to not having construction options in Fantasy General, or not having upkeep costs in HOMM games. It's a premise, it's the point of entry. Fundamental part of game design. You either like it, or don't like it and pick another game. Things like this shouldn't be viewed in a technical 'feature checkbox' way - unless someone does something horribly wrong, like forcing players to pass 10 missions without saving, or having lives' limit in a logic game.


Quoting b0rsuk, reply 19
Turn-based strategy, logic games are now extinct genres.

Strange sentence in the forums of a TBS game from a developer that seems to have been doing a good profit from that types of games...

Not strange at all. TBS are a tiny fraction of the mainstream games. Take a look around. TBS are practically nonexistant in mainstream. Stardock is a team of skilled necromancers reviving extinct genre.


Yeah, I bet Master of Orion, Master of Magic, Civilization, Age of Wonders,... are not replayable games at all. And of course, you don't have scouts units, or techs/spells that allow you to see the map, or random events,...

Finally we agree on something. Yes, Master of Magic is a very un-replayable game (in the first turns)! Seriously, first few dozen of turns are terribly boring and schematic. Most of the time it's "Set taxes to 1.5, explore with your starting units for a while, scout with magic spirit. Build +population buildings (granary, farmers' market) and then +production buildings like sawmill and foresters' guild. Bulding miners' guild next will probably be the best choice. Only then Master of Magic leaves it's terribly boring stage and things start getting colorful. Until then, it's "next turn, next turn, next turn, next turn". For me it was the most boring part of each game, and it heavily discouraged me from starting a new game.  Having the same queue for units and buildings didn't help. As opposed to Dominions3, in which a combination of save/continue with immediate action meant things are colorful from the word 'go'.

MOM was the only civ-like game I enjoyed, so I won't comment on Civ. I have no idea about MOO. I have only played Shadow Magic out of AoW games, and it suffers from the same design choices as MOM - initial construction phase is quite long and repetitive, discouraging from starting a new game. Having lenghty and schematic opening seriously harms replayability especially in a save/continue game, that's why making the beginning fun is even more important.

Random events: rare and marginal in MOM (especially with Conjuctions, which would change NOTHING if you had 1 sorc, 1 nature, 1 chaos. If you controlled varied nodes, it was meaningless). Also rare and marginal in AoW:SM (you had to build a shrine). Oh, there was another kind of random events in MOM: randomly generated rampaging monsters. These were the devastating random events and would reduce your town to ashes, giving you a huge setback. Once in a while they would eliminate you from the game. (chimeras etc). It's safe to say most people just reloaded in case of rampaging monsters.


Your main point seems to be equalling Save/Load to reloading every time something bad happens, and that's totally false.

If anything, it's an understantement. Many players reload when something less than optimal happens (such as only getting X from event Y). They may think they're having fun, but many discover they're boring themselves.

 

Darkodinplus:

If you see no differences (rather than not admitting them), then my opinion is you're not perceptive enough and wouldn't make a good game developer. I don't think it's worthwile responding to you, as you tend to ignore points I make.

Reason for Karma (Optional)
Successfully updated karma reason!
Stardock Forums v1.0.0.0    #108433  walnut3   Server Load Time: 00:00:00.0000906   Page Render Time: