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.
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.
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.
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.