Save Spot or Save from Menu?

Discussion in 'Game Mechanics Design' started by Orgaya, Feb 21, 2017.

  1. Pine Towers

    Pine Towers Knight Hospitaller Veteran

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    The tension of losing progress is what make players careful. But real life exists and not being able to save everywhere is awful.

    My approach would be:
    - in towns or any safe havens: save anywhere from menu.
    - in dungeons: save spots like camps, typewriters, with limited supply that is refilled only at towns.
    - suspended save: if in the middle of a dungeon you need to quit quickly, you can suspend save the game. This save is deleted upon load, so cannot be used for save scumming but is perfect when your child calls you mid play.

    My main problem is how to do suspended saves in MV.
     
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  2. The Stranger

    The Stranger The Faceless Friend Veteran

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    @Pine Towers I really like those ideas. I was actually thinking of doing something similar - save anywhere normally, unless inside a dungeon. However, I'm not sure if I want to do it just for the hell of it, or if I want to do it because it will somehow improve gameplay\make sense in the context of my game. I mean, personally, I despise not being able to save whenever I like, so would I want to include such a design choice in my own game? I do like the idea of sanctuary spaces inside dungeons, though; areas with heals, shops, workbenches, maybe a quick way to leave the dungeon, etc.
     
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  3. Dr. Delibird

    Dr. Delibird Veteran Veteran

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    Regardless of what you do I believe autosaves at a few select key points is the bare minimum you should do (like say the entrance and exist of every major dungeon).

    If you are going for save spots I would highly suggest increasing the autosave count.

    If you are going for save anywhere I would leave the autosave count at the bare minimum but you increasing it will not hurt.

    Another problem can be that your game may be poorly balanced/paced (not saying yours specifically is, just in general). If a player doesn't remember to save it is because they do not feel the game is hard enough to save at every point possible and then all of a suddern the difficuilty curve spikes and they just lost at least an hour because they didn't save.
     
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  4. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I think that most of the concerns and ideas stated by the OP are fair and accurate - and I also feel that fully addressing this question would require a deep dive into what defeat in battle and/or the Game Over screen are supposed to represent to the player (is it supposed to be a complete failure, a learning experience, a risk/reward proposition?).

    However, one thing that I don't think anyone brought up yet is the Soft Save - the ability to save anywhere (perhaps only outside of combat) but to a file that is deleted as soon as it is loaded. Soft saving also immediately returns the player to the title screen. Combined with a traditional Save Point system for true (non-soft) saves, this means that a player who gets a Game Over will have to return to the last designated Save Point, while a player who needs to shut down the game to attend to something in real life can do so without penalty.

    Soft Save is great because it is purely a player convenience and doesn't affect the game's tension or strategy (and also cannot make a game unwinnable by itself, unlike a full save-anywhere system). While there is a bit of technical fuss involved (e.g. forcing events back into the exact locations they were in at the time you saved), I believe that every RPG should have a Soft Save feature.
     
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  5. Dr. Delibird

    Dr. Delibird Veteran Veteran

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    @Wavelength I am honestly surprised I did not mention this as that is generally my answer to this type of question on here XD

    Another technical issue with soft saves I have found is that it is really not user friendly in terms of making it possible in RPG Maker programs, I still have yet to figure it out bug free my self but then again I am terrible at codeing :p
     
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  6. rpgdreamer

    rpgdreamer His Royal Highness Veteran

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    I'm acutally more a fan of save points rather than autosave or menu saving, because it keeps me wanting to play the game and I feel more tension when I'm frantically searching for them. I like them, mainly, in horror games, as long as there is a save point when big action is about to happen. If I die elsewhere along the way, I by then already now what I am doing so I can just breeze through it. It's not a big deal to me. I think it adds to horror/suspense games.

    I think in more action-oriented games where battling is frequent, a menu save would be the best option, because there is nothing frustrating than going through a dungeon only to die in some freak accident mini battle that shouldn't have killed you but it did, and you realized you saved many screens over.

    What I think is that whether you decide to use save points or menu saves should probably be determined what kind of game or experience you are giving players. When in the midsts of testing, also try and see if it bothers players then.
     
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  7. gub

    gub you're loser. Veteran

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    In my opinion, Save Spots are the preferred option. Dark Souls had me scouring the landscape, peeking in every corner,and investigating every nook and cranny to find bonfires. That exploration led me to find many of the game's hidden secrets, and even that merchant in the Undead Burg praised me for having my wits about me. Also, tiptoeing around with a sliver of health and no flasks is very,very tense. Shield raised, looking around every corner, praying that big arena isn't a boss room.
     
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  8. Omnimental

    Omnimental Veteran Veteran

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    How I handled it in one of my prototype projects is by using both. Save points were inns and campfires, but the player could also by consumable items that would let them save while in a dungeon. This way, I could give them a risk/reward factor. Do you stock up on saving items, or save your money and risk dying and losing your progress? The game had themes of survival, and that was one of the ways I tied the mechanics into the theme.

    Personally, I prefer to use a mix of save systems depending on the style of game. Save points, save anywhere, save & quit, consumable saves... they all have their uses.
     
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  9. Orgaya

    Orgaya Veteran Veteran

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    Consumable saves sounds like an awesome idea.
     
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  10. byronclaude

    byronclaude Master of all things... (except the things I am no Veteran

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    I'm fascinated by how evenly split the community is on this subject. :rolleyes:

    I am in firm agreement with rpgdreamer:
    I do think there are exceptions, sure... but for the style of game play entertainment I seek - save points are the way to go for the exact reason mentioned above.

    Save points = two 'thumbs-up' :smile:
     
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  11. The Working Man

    The Working Man Veteran Veteran

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    I really want save points in my game but I'm unsure on how to make them, I'm quite new to MV but is there a way to have save points using yanflys save core?

    Cheers!
     
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  12. Oddball

    Oddball Veteran Veteran

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    I think it depends on the game

    I would imagine high action games were the player has to react quickly...
    Never mind, iv'e never played those

    In an rpg where the dungeons are a slow attrition and there's not much tension, saving anywhere can create a slow creep were the player might save at a point were the attrition is starting to wear on them, and then before they know it, there in trouble. While save points work better for horror games, or rpgs were every enemy can kill you

    I suppose the games that want save everywhere are the ones were save scumming wont ruin the experience. while you don't want it for games were it will. what kind of game are you creating anyway?

    Edit: @The Working Man
    two steps
    1. disable save anywhere in the systems part
    2. make an event that asks "save and continue" "save and quit" "continue" "quit" in choices and make the save options execute a script command that saves. I forgot what it was because it was SOOOO long ago that i asked and i never used it, but im sure the thread is somewhere around if you search it
     
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  13. Orgaya

    Orgaya Veteran Veteran

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    It's an adventure. It isn't meant to be hard, as the focus is more on story and exploration, but one of the things I've noticed is that my two testers usually forget to save. So when there is a bug or they do die, they have to start chunks over again. Right now I have both options, which seems to be working great.

    The question was also meant for everyone in general, since asking this community a bunch of questions is fun.
     
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  14. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    In my current project, I am handling Saves and Game Overs via item use.

    So long as you have a Save Item in your inventory, and are outside of battle, you can save anywhere and any time. These items are cheap to purchase, readily found, and often rewarded by NPC's.

    In addition, there are Retry Items. In most normal encounters (Some Boss & Event Battles excluded), if you lose in battle and are in possession of a Retry Item, then you will be given the option to use the Retry Item and begin the battle again. Or you can choose to Game Over. These items are a bit more rare to come by, more challenging to craft, and are not available for purchase in shops.

    I love the idea of unlimited saves and saving anywhere.. but I do feel like it creates a false sense of security for the player. It can interfere with the tension of a moment.
    "Why worry about a Game Over? I can save before every single battle anyway (almost all encounters are visible on map)."

    Side note, there are a few Skills that are assigned to the "Saves Used" Variable to determine Damage Output..
    So.. Save wisely, save often, but not excessively. :)

    Hope this is helpful!
    -MIA
     
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  15. Tai_MT

    Tai_MT Veteran Veteran

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    Of all the RPGs that I've ever played... The coveted "save point" has never caused me any tension or anything. They place a save point before most bosses. They place one every so often to make sure you save frequently enough to not lose much progress. They also let you save anywhere on the world map.

    I don't think I've ever had the experience of, "Oh man, I really need to hit a save point right now, I've done so much and I've come so far, and I don't want to redo all of that because this area is tough and I might die!". Usually, the only reason I've ever made a search for a save point is when I need to quit the game because of something in real life (or I got bored and need to quit for a while). To that end, being able to save anywhere is something I greatly prefer to standard save points.

    Since save points have never provided me any tension in... 20+ years of gaming, I think? I much prefer to just be able to save whenever I like and pick the game back up much later.

    I don't even think save points caused or removed any tension for me in the Metroid games. Other than sometimes having to travel fairly long distances in order to save my game when I was done playing.
     
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  16. M.I.A.

    M.I.A. Goofball Extraordinaire Veteran

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    @Tai_MT What i meant by breaking the tension was more about the story telling aspect. Imagine you're trying to create a feeling of anxiousness for the player before a boss fight.. and then after a cut scene, the player has to go seek out a save point. That, to me, would break the tension of the moment a little. This is where saving anywhere/anytime would be great. Cutscene over? SAVE, proceed to boss.

    For me, personally though, I would prefer to even one step better as the dev..
    If I create a cutscene and the goal is to illicit a feeling of a pending boss battle, after the cutscene, I would automatically ask the player "Would you like to save your progress" and give them a freebie then and there. That way the player wouldnt have to leave that map or even open the menu. Both those options are still available, but to me, it would be less intrusive to just give them the option then and there.

    Honestly, saving only at save crystals.. or only inn's.. or on the world map, etc., all of these are perfectly valid so long as they are consistent and fair enough for the player. If a dev creates a world where saving is ONLY possible at Save Crystals.. and then spreads them so few and far between.. that just wouldn't seem very enjoyable as a player if you did happen to game over and lose all that progress simply because Save Crystals were so sparse. I believe that Final Fantasy handles saving quite perfectly. At Save points in dungeons? Check. Usually before a boss or cutscene? Check. Anywhere on the world map? Check. Offers to save after a long cutscene/end of Chapter? Check! All good things. :)
     
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  17. RHachicho

    RHachicho Veteran Veteran

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    I think both approaches have their upsides and downsides. I chose to opt for save points. But I have to admit the whole save anywhere thing is what I prefer in games I play. When you use save points you are almost obligated to put them just before bosses or certain key developments in dungeons or dangerous areas. Which signposts them. A lot of people say ooh tension .. ahh tension. But a savepoint in the middle of a dungeon might as well have BOSS FIGHT HERE!! in great big neon letters on top of it. Ultimately though I think that when and where and how you are allowed to save is a mechanic that is given more credit than it's worth. Sure some people might prefer save points and some people might not. But anything works. It's more about how well you implement it rather than what kind of system exactly you use. A game with brutal unforgiving save points that frustrate most players into giving up or with save points so close they are meaningless really might as well have had save anywhere enabled. It would have been better.
     
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  18. Wavelength

    Wavelength Pre-Merge Boot Moderator

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    I mostly agree with Tai here. In most RPGs, the search for a Save Point is because I need to put the game down for something in real life (use Soft Saves, people!), and rarely contributes any tension from a gameplay point of view. I can name a few exceptions - mostly in RPGs with genuinely challenging battles (rare nowadays, more common in the past) where the Save Points also doubled as a full heal or as an exit point to a dungeon. It's a really cool feeling, because you actually feel like you need to find this Save Point, or you're going to be taken down, and if you manage to find it you feel so thankful for it.
     
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  19. zeello

    zeello newbie to RPG making Member

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    Save-from-menu forces the player to remember to save. Ergo, save points are better. Better still are save points that save automatically when touched.
     
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  20. Kes

    Kes Global Moderators Global Mod

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    @zeello Maybe I'm over-reacting, but I do feel like your suggestion amounts to a total hand-holding. Player has to remember to do something? Yep, like they have to remember to equip new items, buy healing items etc. As for save automatically - I hope that you don't mean that literally. I want to decide if I am going to save at this point, and which save slot to use. I may very well not want my existing save to be over-written. Games made with 2k or 2k3 typically used sparkly things on the floor that you stood on to save, so player touch, but they only brought up the save menu, they didn't do it automatically.
     
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