What saving system do you prefer?

  • Save from menu

    Votes: 7 58.3%
  • Save from fixed spots

    Votes: 4 33.3%
  • Autosave

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12

BlackRoseMii

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I've recently been thinking on what kind of save system my game should have. Personally, I've never really put much thought into it, but now that I want to make my game more than just "a practice game" I also want to think more about the gameplay. And saving systems are part of it. But I'm not sure what kind of system would be best, so I made a list with their pros and cons.


Saving through the menu:
Pros:
- You can save whenever you want, making you feel much safer

Cons:
- It reduces the feeling of danger(?) and you'll lose the immersion

Saving at fixed spots:
Pros:
- You can attach other mechanics (like healing, sorting party/inventory etc)
- Let's you know that there's something difficult ahead

Cons:
- The frustration when you've passed several cutscenes and die after that, so you'd have to go through the cutscenes again

Autosave:
Pros:
- Saving at certain points (after a big cutscene, battle or change of map) automatically

Cons:
- You can easily forget when the game saves and exit the game at a time when it didn't save


Personally, I've always prefered saving at fixed spots, but what do you think? What saving system do you prefer?
 

Kes

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There are quite a number of threads where this question has been discussed. Apart from personal preference, a lot of the answers boil down to - it depends on the genre of the game. Horror, for example, could well suffer if the player could save anywhere.

I think that the pros and cons of saving from the menu could do with expansion. I pesonally am not convinced that it reduces the sense of danger. What it does do is enable me to respond to RL needs without losing a big chunk of progress. It is a way the dev can respect the time of the player - after all, many players don't have the amount of free time that they used to.

On the fixed save points, I have played an unfortunately large number of games where the save points are perfectly doable if, and only if, you have played the game before and can, therefore, play efficiently. Any dev will have to face the possibility that they have an unrealistic perception of what the average first run-through player will do/need/expect.

Autosave (at least in MZ) can be set to every time the player changes map, so forgetting is far less likely. The problem with the model of autosave which you propose is the same as with save points. Likely to be too infrequent to meet the player's needs and not necessarily in the right place.
 

eomereolsson

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Cons:
- It reduces the feeling of danger(?) and you'll lose the immersion
I don't think your second point is true. I certainly find saving from the menu far less immersion breaking than "save crystals" floating around everywhere.

I argue that if you didn't put much thought into it, then just leave it at the default system (save from menu). That is both very convenient for the player and the least work for you as a developer. If you want to go the extra mile add some autosaving for extra convenience.

This is the model I went with in games where I just need some kind of saving and be done with it. However I also have two projects in the works were I did put more thought into it and therefore use other systems.

One is a roguelike, meaning there is only autosaving to a single slot. Only that slot can be loaded and game variables and switches get carried over from the last save to the next new game.

The other one involves a gameplay loop of:
- preparing for adventure in a save haven
- traveling to a dungeon through dangerous wildlands
- completeing said dangerous dungeon
That gamefeel of being save in town but im danger outside of it gets strengthened by ample opportunities to save in town, but sparse outside of it.
 
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caethyril

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Thoughts:
  1. You could use all 3 of those save systems in the same game: fixed points could serve as a "save now" reminder and, like you say, could also be heal/upgrade spots; the menu allows saving between times; autosave is there for pre-boss checkpoints, or in case you forget to save, or if there's a power outage, etc.

  2. Note that games with only autosave often save on exit, or use some kind of incremental background system to track save data updates as they happen. Alternatively you could do something like quote the most recent save time when confirming if the player wants to exit.

  3. Saving from the menu offers the player more control than the other options, but is best combined with some kind of autosave system and/or on-map save hints. Otherwise you'll get players who forget to save, die unexpectedly, and are faced with having to redo the last hour of gameplay.

  4. For save-anywhere: quicksaves, i.e. a "save game" hotkey, can be a nice addition. It's quicker and easier to press 1 button than navigate to, and through, a save menu. The full save menu can still be used for milestone/chapter saves etc.

  5. Saving only at fixed locations is awkward if your play session gets interrupted and there's no save spot nearby: could be a lot of progress lost there. If the save points are sufficiently far apart, I'll usually only consider playing if/when I'm confident I won't be caught in that kind of situation.

  6. Cons:
    - The frustration when you've passed several cutscenes and die after that, so you'd have to go through the cutscenes again
    This is really its own problem that should be addressed separately, e.g. some way to skip cutscenes. The only reason it would be worse for fixed save points than other setups is if the developer has designed the game that way.
 

ATT_Turan

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Saving through the menu:
- It reduces the feeling of danger(?) and you'll lose the immersion
If your game has any menu at all, then I don't see how any given action inside of that menu can break immersion any further.

That's presuming there is any significant degree of immersion to begin with, if you're playing a game with cartoony/pixel graphics. I play tons of them, I'm designing one, but I would never think to call one immersive :wink:

I also don't see how it really affects any...you say "feeling" of danger, but I'm going to interpret that as "difficulty" since, as above, I haven't really played any game in this genre and felt tense. Even if you have the ability to reload from failure without losing a lot of progress, that doesn't change the fact that you could simply fail again.

Saving at fixed spots:
Pros:
- You can attach other mechanics (like healing, sorting party/inventory etc)
I think the whole healing-at-the-save-point, popularized by Final Fantasy X as best I can think, does much more to reduce difficulty or "feeling of danger" than anything else. At least with the older tent system it was tied to a resource, so if you were running around grinding in a dungeon you would eventually run out and have to return to town then fight your way back through.

The save point method seems to combine the worst of several things, where having it heal will make the game easier (you can infinitely grind as you wish), that reduces your difficulty, and depending on how exactly you implement it I'd definitely say it reduces any...I'm going to say realism rather than immersion. (Resident Evil-style less so than Final Fantasy-style, for example)
 

ShadowDragon

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I like zelda games, so you have a fixed point for saving.
so you need to place them carefully (not to many, not to low either).

SummonNight Sword Story is a nice game, and you can get an item to
save anytime, which is, when you use the item, the ticket is lost and the
game is saved.

as I use fixed spot with that item, to be found, the price for game to buy
it for safety cost alot, I think between 5000-10000 coins I believe.

however your game works is entirely up to you.

you can also let the person choose upon starting the game by a switch
for example.

if fixed points, disable menu saving.
if menu saving, disable fixed points (but use it for healings and other stuff?)

so you can go some ways, so you can challenge the player in 2 ways.
 

Pasteleptic

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If I'm playing an RPG, I prefer being able to control my manual saves from a menu. I don't mind autosave (sometimes they can be very helpful if I forget to save). I think Ni no Kuni does a great job of fixed saving well; you can save anywhere you want outside of a dungeon, but when you're in certain areas, there's limited save access.
 

Aerosys

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Just avoid that the player is stuck before a hard boss while not being able to prepare him/herself anymore because the point of no return is before a save.
 
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Milennin

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My perfect saving system for just a regular RPG would be:
  • Be able to save anywhere you want.
  • Have save spots that grant healing when saving at them that also act as save reminders, or soft checkpoints.
  • Have options to enable auto-saving, either when reaching a checkpoint, when entering a map, and/or after each battle.
I'm honestly also a fan of single file save games, at least for RPG Maker games. I don't recall ever using more than 1 save slot for normal gameplay in an RPG Maker game. Reducing the number of clicks for loading and saving the game is nice.
 

Aoi Ninami

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I'm honestly also a fan of single file save games, at least for RPG Maker games. I don't recall ever using more than 1 save slot for normal gameplay in an RPG Maker game. Reducing the number of clicks for loading and saving the game is nice.

For me, the biggest reasons for having more than one save file are:

* Let's Plays. We try our best to set things up correctly, but every now and then, something is wrong with the recording software or the microphone or one of all the other little bits and pieces -- or real life interrupts -- and a video has to be done over. It would be horrible if you had to start the entire game over when there is a technical failure.

* Challenges, such as low level games. Especially for RPG Maker games where there isn't a pre-existing community to get information from, this often requires exploratory playing ahead to find out what is possible, while keeping saves at major decision points that can be restored if necessary.

* Just being able to keep a save before making irrevocable major decisions, whether in the gameplay or the story.
 

LordOfPotatos

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If your game has any menu at all, then I don't see how any given action inside of that menu can break immersion any further.

That's presuming there is any significant degree of immersion to begin with, if you're playing a game with cartoony/pixel graphics. I play tons of them, I'm designing one, but I would never think to call one immersive :wink:

I also don't see how it really affects any...you say "feeling" of danger, but I'm going to interpret that as "difficulty" since, as above, I haven't really played any game in this genre and felt tense. Even if you have the ability to reload from failure without losing a lot of progress, that doesn't change the fact that you could simply fail again.
oh, dungeon crawling with and without save anywhere are completely different things.
with save anywhere there is no such thing as tension, if something seems dangerous you can just save and touch it. danger is fake and you can see it in plain view.
it's like playing dark souls with save states or shmups with infinite credits.

also immersion is entirely detatched from graphics, it's more of an atmospheric and ludonarrative thing.
 

TheoAllen

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The ultimate answer:
unknown.png

Anyway, here is my personal tier list for the save system
Anywhere at any time > Autosave > Single (auto) save, live with your choice, no turn back > Checkpoint.

I can't think of a single game where I enjoy the checkpoint system, ever.
The last game I played that used a checkpoint system, I was playing like, every progress I made such as leveled up I immediately rushed back to the checkpoint. Was it fun? no.

The only game design that fits with the "checkpoint system" I could think of is a game where the game content (exploration, battle, etc) is a relatively short session. So, during that session, you are just unable to save. However, you are going to spend your time somewhere else.

For example, a game with a hub system and mission board you can take. During the mission, the save is disabled. Essentially, make the hub as the "checkpoint". The mission shouldn't last long. But a fully explorable RPG Map with checkpoints is just not for me.
 

Popoto_milk

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I have no idea how often this happens for RPG Maker games, but in general saves can and will get corrupted or otherwise unusable(like a game breaking bug occurring, bad point of no return, etc).For this reason it's a great idea to use multiple save slots when playing games with them.

Saving at fixed spots:
Something to consider is how easy it is to get to those fixed spots.
I once played a game called Dark Cloud 2 with fixed spots. Dungeons had no fixed spots, but could be exited once you found a key (dropped randomly off a monster). I thought it was pretty enjoyable since
a) it preserved the sense of danger
b) you had a decent chance of finding the key quickly enough incase you were in trouble, need to quit the game or didn't want to do extra stuff exclusive to dungeons.
c) wasn't linear, meaning I had more flexibility in when I called it quits and which enemies I fought to get the key(or at least until I started to run out of enemies). Very, very helpful if you're in trouble or lost access to a character.

Anyways, I suppose menu saves are my favourite. Having the flexibility of when and where to save is really great. But many games tend to use save systems which fit. I've played games which make excellent use of each type.
 
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kirbwarrior

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- It reduces the feeling of danger(?) and you'll lose the immersion
If anything, I find it helps immersion. When I can save easily, the breaks between situations are much smaller. If I have to go back a long ways because I died, that takes me out of the game and leads to frustration. But if I die and get back to where I was quickly, then I'm back to where I was without losing mental state.

However, what's extremely important when it comes to saving is; What happens when I die? Dragon Quest works with very few saves because I don't game over when I lose, instead I just go back to the church. And I can teleport to a save point quite easily. So save points being far and few between doesn't cause full lost progress (I still have any rewards I've gotten that far in the dungeon, such as exp and treasure). While in most RPG Maker games, you full on lose everything since your last save and thus save anywhere is basically necessary to not have wasted an hour of your life doing nothing.

Also, the type of saving really matters. My favorite system of saving is the GBA Fire Emblems; You can only save so often (say, every half hour) due to how far apart the saves are. But there is a Bookmark system that lets you right now save and stop playing, but you can't go back to this save other than by turning the game back on. Further, the bookmarks in the GBA games are automatic; If the batteries fall out, you can put them back in and you lost like maybe ten seconds of progress.

I argue that if you didn't put much thought into it, then just leave it at the default system (save from menu). That is both very convenient for the player and the least work for you as a developer.
Really, this. Unless you want to put a lot of effort into figuring out the most optimal way to have saving work, the default is great. You have multiple save files in case something goes wrong (you missed something crucial and want to go back, save file gets corrupted, etc). You can stop playing immediately, which so many people know is necessary. And as the developer you can put effort into the parts of the game that you want to make, the parts that you are in RPG Maker for.


- The frustration when you've passed several cutscenes and die after that, so you'd have to go through the cutscenes again
I love what Dragon Quest 3 did (others in the series probably also did it, but I died so many times in that game so it's burned into my mind); Cutscenes are vastly shorter once you've seen them once. In face, that game even had a neat boss set up; You go through a tough dungeon, find the boss in a building, die to it. Turns out, that building is in town and now you can head over and immediately refight.

Just avoid that the player is stuck before a hard boss while not being able to prepare him/herself anymore because the point of no return is after a save.
Definitely this. Make it clear when there's a point of no return. Make it especially clear when a save menu pops up that says "Hey, you should do a second save, you can't go back from this save". Or... don't have points of no return.

it's like playing dark souls with save states or shmups with infinite credits.
Unrelated, my favorite shmup has infinite credits XD
 

BlackRoseMii

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Thanks for all your feedback, it really gave me a good look on other peoples perspective. I'll review how the saving mechanic will work and I hope I'll manage to come up with something that will be satisfying for everyone (or at least most people)
 

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