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Save Anywhere: Part of a Good Single Player Design or a Copout?
October 4th 2011, 17:32 CEST by Greg

Many games have the ability to save anywhere in the game. Two such games were recently released that are garnering much attention: Jedi Knight 2 and Dungeon Siege. Both are fun games, but I've found I've been relying way too much on saving the game constantly. Even though one is a FPS (or 3rd person if you run around with the saber) and the other is a role playing game, "Save Anywhere" is used by both for exactly the same purpose.

In both cases, the games are filled with encounters that are unknown to the player the first time through. Will there be a sniper on the roof of a tower, or a pack of wild wolves in the bush? "Save Anywhere" protects the user from having to re-traverse large portions of the game, protecting them from frustration. But it also "foreshadows" what is to come, since the encounters are not random.

I am perplexed about this topic. On the one hand, I really am enjoying these games. Conversely, I don't like saving every time I kill a particularly tough Reborn. But I do save because I don't want to fight that battle over again, and I'm not sure of what battle I'll fight next.

How could "Save Anywhere" be effectively removed from these games, without exponentially increasing the amount of frustration? Is a Microsoft Word or Diablo II strategy of regular auto-saves the answer? Both Jedi Knight 2 and Dungeon Siege have auto-saves or checkpoints, but only at key points in the game. Older games, on consoles especially, used checkpoints frequently as a way of holding on to progress made. Perhaps increased frequency would remedy the amount of time spent hitting the Quicksave key?
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#1 by Greg
2011-10-04 17:34:58
After 10 years, the topic makes it through.

#2 by Greg
2011-10-04 17:42:59
Anyway, apparently Rage has saving issues, which is what made me think of this topic. Also, thanks Gabe!

#3 by CheesyPoof
2011-10-04 17:45:00
Good game design and a good checkpoint system makes me forget about saving and not caring about time lost when I need to load a save. Games that do this are few and far between (I think AC2 is a good example). Save anywhere in 2011 is basically a crutch to overcome bad design of either component. That said, it is better to have save anywhere and not need/use it, than to want it and not have it.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#4 by Gabe
2011-10-04 20:00:19
http://www.dartpublishing.com
Rage needs more couches.
#5 by CheesyPoof
2011-10-04 21:19:24
You mean that people should avoid the PC version and play on the console, thereby sitting on their couch? I agree, but really don't think anyone should play it.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#6 by gaggle
2011-10-05 00:38:33
There was a spot in Portal 2 I was replaying over and over due to dying later in the puzzle, until I remembered the game has quicksave

"Roses are red, violets are blue, rubbish is dumped and so are you." : : - FML
#7 by G-Man
2011-10-05 00:50:35
The real solution is to make a game like Minecraft or Nethack where abusing quickloading would basically be pointless. It is only in highly linear and narrative focused games that replaying a section of a game (which leads to quickloading abuse) is even a problem.
#8 by G-Man
2011-10-05 00:51:58
Cheesy: I assume Gabe was referencing Ico to sardonically highlight the contrast between Rage and Ico in terms of design and aesthetic, while indicating his preference for the latter game.
#9 by CheesyPoof
2011-10-05 01:08:10
I know Gabe was referencing Ico. I was trying to twist it to point out that Rage on PC is sucking a fat one while the console releases seem to be fine.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#10 by Matt Perkins
2011-10-05 02:00:13
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Depends on the game.

"programmers talk from a very deep gnome cavern, full of gold mechanics" - wisdom from the ancients
#11 by bago
2011-10-05 08:01:09
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
While the developer owes me nothing, the operating system should give me kinect control over my game save.

REMEMbER DESCENT THE HIGHEST FORM of PATRIOTiC
#12 by Shadarr
2011-10-05 08:28:43
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
I like the new mechanic of eliminating the death penalty, where the stuff you do is counted right up until you die.  It was really highlighted in JC2, because when you died outside of missions everything you destroyed or collected was saved, but if you died in a mission it restarted from the beginning and nothing you did was saved, which sucked.

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#13 by CheesyPoof
2011-10-05 17:36:09
At least JC2 only had 7 missions and there were checkpoints in them. Unless you count the faction missions, but I forgot how they worked since I skipped that on my second play through.

<Hugin_len> Basically, cheesy doesn't have awful taste in music, he's simply very white.
#14 by Shadarr
2011-10-05 21:53:28
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
I do count the faction missions and races in terms of it forcing you to re-do stuff if you died.  And in a lot of ways they were worse than the main missions, because only one of the faction missions had a checkpoint. I think RF:G did it better.

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#15 by None-1a
2011-10-06 12:24:06
I'm not sure how the races could have been done differently (other then an obvious way to re-start when you time out instead of dieing) and the majority of the faction missions where single objective so it's not like they had you running around one some massive multipart slog all the time.

Don't forget garnishes such as: Fish shaped solid waste.
#16 by Shadarr
2011-10-06 22:47:15
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
Restarting the races and missions is fine, I'm saying that if I collect a couple crates and blow up a gas station and then die, those things should not respawn when the mission restarts.

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#17 by Dethstryk
2011-10-18 05:08:27
jemartin@tcainternet.com
You know what sucks about Rage? Literally everything but the shooting and graphics. id software, as usual.

\"Making love to a woman is like working on an assembly line. No matter how good you are at it, you\'ll eventually be replaced by a foreigner or a machine.\"
#18 by gaggle
2011-10-18 07:13:30
I accidentally ended up watching Children of Men again. It remains incredible, reaches right into my heart it does (though I did not cry for a full 20 minutes)

"Roses are red, violets are blue, rubbish is dumped and so are you." : : - FML
#19 by anaqer
2011-10-18 15:12:09
I didn't particularly enjoy the shootery in Rage. Waaay to much dependent on endless monster generators. It's actually more boring on the first playthrough than knowing where every opponent will be on successive ones. Quite the feat.

"Apple hates everyone now." - BJB
#20 by Jamie
2011-10-18 17:21:57
jamie@jmadigan.net http://www.jmadigan.net
#18 by gaggle

I accidentally ended up watching Children of Men again.

The thing I remember most about that movie was the one REALLY long, unbroken shot near the end. It had been going on for some time when I realized it and I was like "Holy crap!" It really made what was already a tense sequence that much more effective.

blog | Twitter | The Psychology of Gaming

"It was a little hard to tell how bad I was bleeding on account of the salsa" -- Jibble
#21 by LPMiller
2011-10-18 19:14:11
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
after spending a week to get the damn game to work, I actually liked Rage. Except the ending. Fuck the ending.

It did seem a bit like a broken borderlands, though.

"Testiculos habet et bene pendentes" - "He has testicles, and they dangle nicely."

"LP, your big balls are a religion." - Jibble
#22 by Shadarr
2011-10-18 20:24:59
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
That shot was amazing, but the thing I remember most about it was that it was just so good, from beginning to end.  You don't usually get that with sci fi movies, usually they either have a stupid cliche story or annoying cliche characters and bad acting.

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#23 by Matt Perkins
2011-10-18 20:47:55
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Agreed on both the quality of and the awesomeness of that last shot. Children of Men is damn fine from beginning to end.

"programmers talk from a very deep gnome cavern, full of gold mechanics" - wisdom from the ancients
#24 by Jibble
2011-10-18 22:25:17
There are a handful of really long shots in that movie. Apparently there's some CGI trickery they used to seam multiple shots together, but stringing five shots into a seamless 454 second battlefield sequence is still damned impressive. Especially when the average shot length these days seems to rarely cross the ten second threshold.

I want to go to there.

Blog. 183 lbs.  3 to go.
#25 by Trolly McTroll
2011-10-18 22:39:31
Rage is Quake II with a dash of Polygons

#26 by anaqer
2011-10-18 23:06:31
Eh, I wouldn't have minded Quake II with a dash of polygons.

"Apple hates everyone now." - BJB
#27 by gaggle
2011-10-19 01:19:33
I have to remember to breathe during the seamless shots, they are an *incredible* movie storytelling device. Not everyone notices it, some of my friends just missed that completely. Of course the. It's debatable if they subconciously picked up on it, who knows.

I love how the movie just generally takes its time, shots linger on things after characters have exited the screen and hints at events using only sound in other cases. It gives the movie a real solid pace, without the hyperactive Michael Bay camera cutting every .9th second.

"Roses are red, violets are blue, rubbish is dumped and so are you." : : - FML
#28 by G-Man
2011-10-19 01:27:13
Having recently replayed Quake II singleplayer I was surprised to find that it actually had more involved mission design that I remembered. Like it had actual sentences describing complex goals to be achieved, such as get this key and destroy that foozle, with subgoals and stuff, and a semi-functional inventory of sorts.
#29 by deadlock
2011-10-19 14:04:12
http://www.deadlocked.org/
Jibble:
There are a handful of really long shots in that movie. Apparently there's some CGI trickery they used to seam multiple shots together, but stringing five shots into a seamless 454 second battlefield sequence is still damned impressive. Especially when the average shot length these days seems to rarely cross the ten second threshold.

There's a scene earlier in the movie where they're driving along in Clive Owen's car, talking (and singing, I think) that has a really long shot as well. It's not as epic in scale as the shot near the end but it's just as impressive because it takes place entirely within the car.

#30 by Jibble
2011-10-19 17:58:12
That one was also several shots seamed together. The other long one is the birth scene, which may have been one take.

I want to go to there.

Blog. 183 lbs.  3 to go.
#31 by m0nty
2011-10-19 19:19:58
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
The birth scene was not one take, there was a making-of thing on the DVD which showed where the seams were.
#32 by Matt Perkins
2011-10-19 20:56:51
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
I wish more movies put so much into seamless shots.

"programmers talk from a very deep gnome cavern, full of gold mechanics" - wisdom from the ancients
#33 by Shadarr
2011-10-20 00:02:45
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
#31 by m0nty

The birth scene was not one take, there was a making-of thing on the DVD which showed where the seams were.

I should rent the DVD to watch that.

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#34 by jafd
2011-12-22 08:53:03
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
Surrender to The Emperor, by respecting the call for piece.

"You've just defined what's rude for everyone, not just you. Thanks, I needed help with that." - Matt P
#35 by Matt Perkins
2011-12-27 03:58:01
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
piece!

"programmers talk from a very deep gnome cavern, full of gold mechanics" - wisdom from the ancients
#36 by Gunp01nt
2011-12-27 15:39:24
supersimon33@hotmail.com
I guess talking to himself on his facebook made him feel lonely.

She's probably had sex with like 4 different guys by now and has no idea who he is anymore, his face lost in a memory sea of dicks.
#37 by m0nty
2011-12-27 17:17:04
http://tinfinger.blogspot.com
Huh, who knew, he's just another pudgy white dude.
#38 by yotsuya
2011-12-27 19:01:42
That Facebook page is a cry for help.

#39 by Greg
2011-12-27 19:44:12
I see that G-M... Gunpoint is on the case.

#40 by G-Man
2011-12-27 21:49:49
I was on vacation.
#41 by jafd
2011-12-29 02:56:25
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
HOW MANY GAIA PRIMEz ARE THERE? I HAVE LOST COUNT OF ALL THE NISSAN OPTIMAS ON THE ROAD HERE

"You've just defined what's rude for everyone, not just you. Thanks, I needed help with that." - Matt P
#42 by jafd
2011-12-29 02:58:37
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
mAKE WAY FOR THE EMPEROR. mAKE WAY FOR THE OTD.
GAIA0 IS INTACT. ECHO TO JOHN.

"You've just defined what's rude for everyone, not just you. Thanks, I needed help with that." - Matt P
#43 by jafd
2011-12-29 02:59:31
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
No, they aren't that good at all, actually. However, the U.S. Marines are just fucking spectacular.
Pretty much... out standing in their fields, really.

"You've just defined what's rude for everyone, not just you. Thanks, I needed help with that." - Matt P
#44 by Jack_Transistor
2012-01-04 13:35:42
http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10000331806
This was fun too. What colour are the crows on your plane? Over here, they're my crowes, I am calling them anything I choose.
#45 by Dumdeedum
2012-01-14 05:10:25
http://www.dumdeedum.com
No, they aren't that good at all, actually. However, the U.S. Marines are just fucking spectacular.
Pretty much... out standing in their fields, really.

Hey, that's one of my favourite jokes!  Did you hear about the farmer that won an award?  He was out standing in his field.

MP3 Of The Week: is this thing on?
#46 by jafd
2012-01-14 15:52:20
https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1000033180
Did you hear the one about urmo? Tell you what... she's not standing in my field, that's what what.

"You've just defined what's rude for everyone, not just you. Thanks, I needed help with that." - Matt P
#47 by Greg
2012-01-14 18:19:56
I did hear about those boots. I hope they fit.

#48 by jjohnsen
2012-01-16 03:33:28
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Shame to ruin your reputation over boots.

#49 by Shadarr
2012-01-16 10:37:59
shadarr@gmail.com http://digital-luddite.com
Especially boots that don't fit.  If they were super sexy boots that made your ass look fantastic, then sure, but boots you can't even wear?

"I hope you one day decide to smarten the fuck up so I can stand to look at your posts." - gaggle
#50 by bago
2012-05-13 12:50:38
manga_Rando@hotmail.com
I'm a fan of the mass effect / halo save system, where you are forced to replay encounters, not per enemy.

REMEMbER DESCENT THE HIGHEST FORM of PATRIOTiC
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