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Savegame limitations?

Discussion in 'General RPG Discussion' started by Pentium, Jul 25, 2021.

?

Should there be any savegame limitations in RPG games?

Poll closed Aug 25, 2021.
  1. Yes, I'm a die-hard RPG specky nerd, save scumming is lame

    24.4%
  2. No, wtf I'm a casual crybaby, let me save anytime I want

    49.6%
  3. Who needs saves anyway? I always play games in a trice with a pile of Red Bull cans

    1.5%
  4. RPG games are crap anyway

    23.7%
  1. Harthwain Magister

    Harthwain
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    It literally is the game designer's job to put down the rules by which the player interacts with the game. While it is possible for the players to interact with the game in ways not foreseen by the developer (which isn't always a bad thing) they are always playing within the confines of these rules. Unless they are outright cheating.

    No, it does not - the developer put these builds in there to be used, even if he didn't mean for them to be as strong as they ended up being. It was you who said that players are free not to use them, which is just a bad excuse for developer not doing his job properly. Power builds are the reverse of useless skills (granted, not to that extent, but the idea is similar). The useless skills shouldn't exist, because they are useless. Instead all skills should have their use.

    OK. That's a good point. But it only further reinforces the importance of the game designer's approach to saving. He can either allow it (for various reasons) or decide to come up with some limitations baked into the game in order to preserve the intended experience (unless he is lazy, which results in a bad saving system).

    This thread has maybe 3 pairs of people talking, where each person in each pair take a side. I wouldn't call it much of a direction. It's just a discussion. I am not really expecting to convince anyone myself, only to make sure the record is set straight, because ultimately all of this is down to personal preference.

    Kingdom Come: Deliverance had limits on saving. You needed either to go to bed or drink a potion, which also made you a bit drunk in order to be able to save. Some time after the release they also added save on exit, because for some reason they didn't think of having that in the release version.
     
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  2. Gargaune Magister

    Gargaune
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    Fuck's sake, man - designers make rules and systems, they don't tell you precisely when to use them and save states aren't (typically) part of the game loop.

    Yes, with one major caveat - your personal preference has a bigger impact on my ability to enjoy a game than mine does on yours. I gotta put up with constant frustration and wasted time if I can't mod it out, all you gotta do is play to your preferences. Like I did in reverse with the likes of Bioshock and, funnily enough, Swordflight, games that feature respawn mechanics which I dislike, so I chose not to engage with them.

    Mercifully, KCD also had mods.

    But this is getting overlong, let me ask you this instead - put a pin in my earlier objections to design consequences, if you did have a videogame designed around your preferred rolling save system but the developer also added an "I'm a pussy" difficulty option that offered manual saves, would you be happy with that?
     
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  3. Harthwain Magister

    Harthwain
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    Designers make the whole game, INCLUDING the saving system. So it's up to them to decide whether or not they want save system to be an integral part of the gameplay, rather than just a way of saving your progress. I think this is an important distinction as it answers your final question: I don't really have a problem with developers implementing manual saves. And I don't really care that much if people abuse saves in a singleplayer games. But some developers apparently do and they take save system into consideration when making their games, while others are fine with the classic saves.

    I am afraid it is not that simple. There is a significant difference between a game where you can decide not to reload and a game that's specifically designed around you not being able to save at all times (or straight up dying).
     
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  4. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    saves not being part of the game itself is a reason why it shouldn't be a magical time travel mechanic that has major direct influence on the game

    this is not the win you guys seem to think it is
     
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  5. Gargaune Magister

    Gargaune
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    Okay, so we're good there.

    Which is why I mentioned earlier that the foremost effect of pushing a design based around savegame limitations as an industry default would be a generalised decrease in challenge, so as to keep games accessible to the general public. And we're back to what I said then - you're fine with that particular market segment, your Dark Souls and Darkest Dungeons, but it's best to leave well enough alone with the rest. On my end, I've no interest in roguelites on the one hand, and on the other I'd find KCD unplayable without the savegame mod, PFKM's Last Azlanti tickbox frightens me and I still think Fallout 4's sleep-to-save mode was an April Fools' gone wrong.
     
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  6. Shitty Kitty Self-Ejected

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    If you need the game itself to restrain you the problem isn't the existence of saving/loading as a feature
     
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  7. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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  8. WhiteShark Learned

    WhiteShark
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    Cheats aren't usually built into the game by the developers complete with hotkeys on the F row to activate them, unlike quicksave/quickload. Activating cheats usually requires the player to go out of their way to edit files or use third party software and is quite obviously outside the framework of the game. It requires no houserules or shunning of game mechanics to ignore them.

    If the developer designs the game in such a way that things like skillchecks are easily circumvented by their chosen save system, it's poor design. If the developer intended for the player to suffer the consequences of their failures, they should have designed the game in a way to enforce that, including the save system.

    The argument was never about what would appeal to the masses or what retarded industry devs would do. It's about save systems as part of game design. Besides, plenty of people consider Dark Souls challenging, and that game is a poster child for the limited save system argument. Dark Souls has enjoyed a lot of mainstream success, in contradiction to your point. Likewise, I don't see any devs going out of their way to make their RPGs more challenging because they chose a quicksave system.
     
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  9. Shitty Kitty Self-Ejected

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    That's cool bro but you're making Pokemon players who Nuzlocke run look pretty hardcore by comparison right now.
     
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  10. Pentium Learned

    Pentium
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    Yeah, you would think twice before running in the middle of the orc horde in the Valley with Firerain scroll trying to level up.
     
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  11. Gargaune Magister

    Gargaune
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    No, the developer is not responsible to enforce your adherence to the experience. You know what you're doing when you scum that failed Charisma check just like you know what you're doing when you hammer IDDQD into your keyboard. It's on you.


    Correct, most devs make their games with standard manual saves and don't concern themselves with balancing for savescumming, and that's just the way I like it. But if you were to hypothetically roll out Save & Quit as the industry standard instead of a niche implementation, they'd have to consider it once all those players who aren't into Dark Souls started struggling. More generally, you guys need to bear in mind that manual save states didn't supplant checkpoints and lives because programmers love more work.
     
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  12. Pentium Learned

    Pentium
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    Okay, I see no debate is really done without trash comparsions from start to finish. Cheats are specifically designed to operate outside the game's ruleset and as such are inherently illegitimate in the game context unlike save system which is there as an integral part to support the player within the ruleset. The character of the two could hardly be any more different. You can't base identity on their mere presence in the "interface" omg. So obviously the "effort" to not use cheats and (mis)use the save system to your advantage is not similar at all becasue the latter is considered inherently legitimate feature and expected to be used. I can't believe we've got to the point where such an obvious fact has to be argued about. (This seems be a problem for both sides of the barricade - rusty is just hilariously overzealous putting savescumming and cheating on the same level.)

    Otherwise it's just the same shallow argument over and over - demanding the player to restrain themselves from using included, legitimate features (i.e. not cheats) that seems to originate from the notion that there is a firm wall between the game "interface" (including save system) and design which I don't quite share. Arguments against and existing examples have been provided in this thread so I'm not going to repeat myself or quote others. Of course the player is responsible for their actions but their "responsibility" to not mess with the interface is not a part the game design. There's always an implicit "meant to be played" factor, i.e. comply with the rudimentary game mechanics. Locked chest might actually be a good example. If it takes a skill check and/or resources to unlock, then obviously to boost the skill and/or obtain (and waste) resources is the intended way. Unlimited save system provides the possibility to get around it and as such is in conflict with the intended way, no matter whether the player decides to abuse it or not - that question is utterly irrelevant in this regard.

    I get the points but they're completely irrelevant with regard to the principle being discussed in this thread - relation between save systems and gaming design/experience. Arguing about realistic consequences the implementation might have is off topic in this context.

    Just what I say.

    I'm not sure if anyone in this thread has actually proposed mandatory limited save systems but I know I said otherwise:

    I don't think so. More like it IS an integral part of the gameplay no matter the devs' intents. Whatever the system may be, thare are always going to be corresponding consequences gameplay-wise. I mean to do nothing in fact means to do something indirectly, it's just harder to tell what it is at the moment. The real question is if the devs make a use of it to regulate the gameplay.
     
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  13. rusty_shackleford Arcane

    rusty_shackleford
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    either savescumming isn't cheating but is an inherent part of the game and designers should consider it when making their game by limiting the ability to reload spam
    OR
    savescumming is cheating and designers should limit the ability to reload spam in the same way they don't put cheats front and center/design the game around using cheats

    I've yet to see a good argument to this that isn't just "but I want to cheat without being called a cheater!!!"
     
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  14. Harthwain Magister

    Harthwain
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    That is not correct. The developer/designer effectively takes on the role of the Game Master. While the developer may not be willing to enforce a limitation on save system, it is within his purview to do so. And the same goes for how the game is meant to be played.

    You can argue with the GM that you should be able to reroll a particular roll (or any roll), but I doubt most GMs are going to comply with your request. It would have to be backed up by a pretty damn good argument. Personally, I wouldn't want to play with someone who "rerolls" everything just because he thinks he should be able to do so. It's boring. Part of the fun in an RPG is trying to find creative solutions to problems. Sometimes the ones you make by failing something.

    Yes, saving is going to have an impact on how the game is played. What I meant to say is that for some developers save games are not part of the equation, even though people use save games to bypass the consequences of their actions.

    By the way, here is an interesting quote from Rap (the programmer from Overhype Studios, the team responsible for Battle Brothers):

    And another statement from their FAQ (Dev Blog #22):

     
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  15. gurugeorge Arcane Patron

    gurugeorge
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    Strap Yourselves In
    The only values to not savescumming are 1) deeper immersion and 2) deeper immersion leading to you learning the system better. If you're in it for combat or even for C&C, there's no point in not saving. (If you can't restrain yourself from changing C&C decisions, then you must not have a very clear idea of your character.)

    The best system is rolling autosaves with rolling quicksaves (as in PF:K of games out now), that way your mind isn't too distracted by "saving" and you'll usually have something far back enough if you make a huge mistake. Normal named saving is really only useful if you're curious about C&C alternatives.
     
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  16. HansDampf Arcane

    HansDampf
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    Wouldn't it be nice if it worked that way? Just like games should be designed around the highest difficulty, and lower difficulties should be added later. But we all know that most games - especially those that target a large audience - aren't made that way which leads to generally crap game design.

    This entire debate sounds like people who value challenge and mastering systems arguing with people who like to screw around in games just to have fun (as if challenge and mastery weren't fun). It's difficult for one game to please both.

    Also, wtf:
    :what:
    Savestates trivialize everything. All games. This is how tool-assisted speedruns are made.
     
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  17. Nifft Batuff Liturgist

    Nifft Batuff
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    What this dev is saying is interesting, and it basically confirms what Gargaune et al. were trying to say (I think).

    1) It is true that a flexible save system could affect the gameplay, but this is also a QoL feature that is reasonable to have. You can say that is something that affect both the gameplay and the real life. You can't remove the possibility to save only to pander compulsive savescummers à la Rusty. There is a limit: beyond a certain pathologic point, it is not a problem that should be addressed and solved by developers, in particular if the solution is the removal of a QoL feature that affects everyone.

    2) Another point is the claim, that I have seen in this thread, that savescumming is the cause of the decline in gaming, with the corollary that if the developers are allowed to limit the possibility to save, the game design will improve, in particular in better and significative C&C. We see instead from the observations of this developer that it could be exactly the opposite. In order to implement the ironman mode he had to tone down the C&C, in particular the consequences that lead to a game over, basically reducing the difficulty of the game. You can realize that also games like Darksouls (the epitome of "hard" game) have a toned down C&C: you cannot lose the game or deadlock yourself, if you lose a battle, you just respawn and the world reset (and IMO this is just a boring mechanics, but this is another topic).

    3) Another interesting aspect is related to the roguelikes game mechanics. I said previously that the roguelikes have a kind of paradoxical game loop. On one hand they have some degree of randomness in order to not became boring since you have to restart from scratch continuously when you die. On the other hand this randomness is completely at odd with the other game mechanics: the permadeath. This is exactly what the developer was saying: i.e. that the randomness should be toned down in order to have a viable implementation of the ironman mode. For this reason I see the roguelikes as short pastimes (like card game solitaries, where luck is part of the charm) but fail to see them as long winded RPGs.
     
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  18. Max Damage Learned

    Max Damage
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    I only save often in RPGs because these are long ass games prone to crashing and losing many hours of your progress. For more stable games, like most of roguelikes, save on exit works pretty well, same for dungeon crawlers like Wiz 1-5 or Grimrock. Unless it's something like instant death puzzles in KoTOR or critical hits in Fallout, most RPGs would possibly be better with saves on exiting only (+optional autosave for safety reasons). Playing Baldur's Gate or Neverwinter Nights w/o manual saves would suck the most, but whoever thought that stuffing so many traps into rooms is good design should have been fired in first place.
     
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  19. Gargaune Magister

    Gargaune
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    No, this is a fundamentally flawed perspective - game developers are not DMs. All jokes aside, the DM is also playing at the table, the tabletop session is meant to be entertaining for them as well, albeit in a very different manner from the other players, and that's the reason it's important for players to respect their rulings and effort. That is not the case for the videogame itself or the videogame designer, who is an analogue for a tabletop module's author instead of its operator, which are two different roles even if they can overlap. The latter is actively encouraged to house-rule in or out whatever systems make the experience more palatable for everyone involved, both the players and themselves. Pillars of Balance, however, doesn't care if you cheat or savescum, it's not getting pleasure out of being played, and Josh Sawyer isn't actually sitting in the room while Roguey plays Pillars of Balance, even though the reverse might be secretly true.
     
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  20. Kaivokz Arcane

    Kaivokz
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    You’re comparing difficulty in the wrong way. “Easier to die randomly” =/= easier. Get someone who beat a really hard game that allowed for saving before every battle to play an e/e/l ironman game of Battle Brothers and complete two crises. Which one will require more mastery of the gameplay systems? Almost certainly Battle Brothers.

    C&C is losing a bro but going on anyway instead of reloading and trying the fight again. It’s having a random event and not being able to immediately undo a bad outcome. C&C =/= being one shot by a random critical (which also happens in BB, but can be mitigated within the systems and needs to be mitigated if playing on the hardest difficulty in ironman).
     
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  21. The second one.
     
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  22. Nifft Batuff Liturgist

    Nifft Batuff
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    When I was speaking about difficulty I was speaking about the removal or toning down of the "bad" consequences. As the developer was saying, in X-Com the loss of one man in the party is basicaly a deadlock where the player spirals down to the game-over. In Battle Brothers there are meaning to recover from losses and defeats, and to retreat from single battles if needed.
     
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  23. Harthwain Magister

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    We will have to agree to disagree on this, because while game developers are not DMs, they fulfill similar enough roles of rule keepers. Just because DM "is also playing at the table" doesn't really change all that. The advantage being the DM has lies having the luxury of reacting dynamically to the players' actions (and, ideally, having a functional brain), while the game made by developer as such is in a fairly fixed state, but that's about it.
     
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  24. mondblut Arcane

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    Restarting the game is cheating period. Once you lost, you lost. Go try another game.
     
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  25. Shitty Kitty Self-Ejected

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    How does "you're a fag with no willpower" work for you?
     
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