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Re: [gamedesign-l] Save game discussion again...

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  • Wayne Imlach
    It comes down to analysing why saving has a negative impact on the game. In the case of a FPS, it may be that it allows the player a peek of the following
    Message 1 of 20 , May 1, 2001
      It comes down to analysing why saving has a negative impact on the game.

      In the case of a FPS, it may be that it allows the player a peek of the
      following events, reducing the excitement, tension and challenge. One way
      round this is to have some degree of randomness in sections yet to completed
      by the player - this can be simple elements like initial positions of
      enemies, locations of pick-ups etc. On each load of a save, randomise the
      whole lot. Then the player gets the convenience of anytime saves, while
      retaining excitement from not quite knowing what may lie around the next
      corner.


      At it's highest level, you might even allow for subtle (or gross) changes to
      level architecture - I can see this really screwing the walk-through and
      strategy guide writers!




      Wayne Imlach
      http://www.muckyfoot.com
      http://websites.cable.ntl.com/~wayne.imlach/
    • Brandon J. Van Every
      ... I am of the camp that it s a perception issue. There are domains of perception, both of the game designer and of the players. If your ability to
      Message 2 of 20 , May 1, 2001
        > I don't know, this is obviously a religious issue... The subject revives
        > periodically and no one ever convinces anyone. But I guess it's kind of
        > interesting. :)

        I am of the camp that it's a perception issue. There are domains of
        perception, both of the game designer and of the players. If your ability
        to understand the domains of perception is limited, then you will make wrong
        game design decisions. You have to fathom how much certain players will
        hate you for making crappy decisions. At least if you understand all the
        domains, you can shoot your targets in the foot with accuracy.


        Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
        Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

        For plot and pace, writers use words; game designers use numbers.
        Anything understood over time has plot and pace.
      • ryankelln@hotmail.com
        ... have fun ... fun one ... I think that is a viable choice for a designer to make. When it all boils down the designers job is to choose the way the players
        Message 3 of 20 , May 4, 2001
          --- In gamedesign-l@y..., "Jason Kozak" <Sector7@I...> wrote:
          > > It may sound like I am saying that you have to force people to
          have fun
          > > against their will.
          >
          > No, it sounds like you're saying you have to force people to have
          fun one
          > way or not have fun at all.

          I think that is a viable choice for a designer to make. When it all
          boils down the designers job is to choose the way the players may
          have fun. It is the designers decision's to include possible choices
          of action - therein lies the art of game design. What the players are
          *allowed* to do will change the nature of the player.

          Thus the discussion on whether or not to allow saves cannot be
          generalized for all games - "free" saving allows different styles of
          play then "savepoint" saving. Depending on how the designer wants to
          influence the players either option is viable. Some players, of
          course, will dislike the choices presented so much that they will
          just stop playing the game... but others will adapt and be influenced
          by the game.

          Ryan
        • Brandon J. Van Every
          ... Ok, fine. I m now going to create one of those famous Brandon Van Every games for you, like my infamous game of pushing bricks through sand. You ve got a
          Message 4 of 20 , May 4, 2001
            > I think that is a viable choice for a designer to make. When it all
            > boils down the designers job is to choose the way the players may
            > have fun.

            Ok, fine. I'm now going to create one of those famous Brandon Van Every
            games for you, like my infamous game of pushing bricks through sand. You've
            got a big button on the screen that says "OK." Every time you click on this
            button with a mouse, a teeny tiny scorebox increments. When you close the
            application using standard Windows GUI methods, the screen is showered with
            fireworks. The gratuitousness of the fireworks is based upon your score.
            What a great game! I expect you'll have a lot of fun playing this game,
            because I'm the designer and I decided how you will have fun playing this
            game.

            What, you don't like this game? Well SCREW YOU, I'm the designer!

            You can say it's the game designer's job to choose how players will have
            fun. However, it is also the game designer's job to design something that
            doesn't suck. So clearly, there's more to game design than "I'm all
            powerful, what I say goes." I think in some cases this is based upon
            tangibles and measurables. Things we can pronounce with certainty about the
            human condition. I don't know about the Save Game issue specifically, but
            I'd look for such things before deciding this is merely game designer
            perogative.

            Basic question: why do players hate having limitations on when they can save
            their games? That's where one would have to start. I think if nothing
            else, a game designer should ask questions before pronouncing his
            perogative. If you're going to shoot people in the foot, shoot them
            knowingly.

            One answer has been given already: players don't like losing their "work."
            So, I think it would be worthwhile to analyze the question in terms of
            "work." Why do games contain "work?" Why do players willingly perform
            "work?" This is the sort of measureable and tangible that should be
            investigated before judgement is pronounced.


            Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
            Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

            For plot and pace, writers use words; game designers use numbers.
            Anything understood over time has plot and pace.
          • James Margaris
            ... save ... Another interesting question: Why do you *think* that players hate said limitations? The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
            Message 5 of 20 , May 4, 2001
              > Basic question: why do players hate having limitations on when they can
              save
              > their games? That's where one would have to start. I think if nothing
              > else, a game designer should ask questions before pronouncing his
              > perogative. If you're going to shoot people in the foot, shoot them
              > knowingly.

              Another interesting question: Why do you *think* that players hate said
              limitations? The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
              this isn't a problem, and I have never heard any console gamer complain
              about it. Clearly it is a problem for some people, for some genres mostly
              with PC's, so maybe we should ask what those circumstances are exactly.

              One obvious thing: Consoles don't crash. (Well, 99.5% of the time)

              James M
            • Scott Le Grand
              ... No fair, we wrote the game You Win! over 20 years ago and I m suing! Of course, our intention at the time was to get back at the lame teachers in our
              Message 6 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                At 01:35 AM 5/4/2001 -0700, you wrote:
                > > I think that is a viable choice for a designer to make. When it all
                > > boils down the designers job is to choose the way the players may
                > > have fun.
                >
                >Ok, fine. I'm now going to create one of those famous Brandon Van Every
                >games for you, like my infamous game of pushing bricks through sand. You've
                >got a big button on the screen that says "OK." Every time you click on this
                >button with a mouse, a teeny tiny scorebox increments. When you close the
                >application using standard Windows GUI methods, the screen is showered with
                >fireworks. The gratuitousness of the fireworks is based upon your score.
                >What a great game! I expect you'll have a lot of fun playing this game,
                >because I'm the designer and I decided how you will have fun playing this
                >game.

                No fair, we wrote the game "You Win!" over 20 years ago and I'm suing! Of
                course, our intention at the time was to get back at the lame teachers in
                our high school who kept confiscating cassette tapes containing our games,
                rather than video game design edification, but infringement is as
                infringement does.

                Now don't you dare come up with anything resembling its sequel "Sink Mrs.
                Porter!" or I'll own you...

                >You can say it's the game designer's job to choose how players will have
                >fun. However, it is also the game designer's job to design something that
                >doesn't suck. So clearly, there's more to game design than "I'm all
                >powerful, what I say goes." I think in some cases this is based upon
                >tangibles and measurables. Things we can pronounce with certainty about the
                >human condition. I don't know about the Save Game issue specifically, but
                >I'd look for such things before deciding this is merely game designer
                >perogative.
                >
                >Basic question: why do players hate having limitations on when they can save
                >their games? That's where one would have to start. I think if nothing
                >else, a game designer should ask questions before pronouncing his
                >perogative. If you're going to shoot people in the foot, shoot them
                >knowingly.

                Honestly, I simply walk away from games that take more than 15 minutes to
                play without providing a reasonable save game capacity. I don't care if
                it's the greatest thing since "M.U.L.E", I'm not playing if you don't let
                me play on my own terms. And that goes double for all those craptacular
                games that insist on going modal and disabling the windows key...

                >One answer has been given already: players don't like losing their "work."
                >So, I think it would be worthwhile to analyze the question in terms of
                >"work." Why do games contain "work?" Why do players willingly perform
                >"work?" This is the sort of measureable and tangible that should be
                >investigated before judgement is pronounced.

                Thinking is work. How I choose to focus that work is my choice. I choose
                not to put much thought into games that don't let me multitask as I
                please. Game designers are free to ignore this at their peril. After all,
                game design is art, and all artists should suffer, right?

                Scott
              • Scott Le Grand
                ... Then you re not paying attention. This is a regular complaint these days. It wasn t in days of yore when save memory was limited or even nonexistent, but
                Message 7 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                  At 01:13 PM 5/4/2001 -0400, you wrote:
                  > > Basic question: why do players hate having limitations on when they can
                  >save
                  > > their games? That's where one would have to start. I think if nothing
                  > > else, a game designer should ask questions before pronouncing his
                  > > perogative. If you're going to shoot people in the foot, shoot them
                  > > knowingly.
                  >
                  >Another interesting question: Why do you *think* that players hate said
                  >limitations? The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
                  >this isn't a problem, and I have never heard any console gamer complain
                  >about it.

                  Then you're not paying attention. This is a regular complaint these
                  days. It wasn't in days of yore when save memory was limited or even
                  nonexistent, but even as early as console vs PC Doom, the debate has
                  raged. it's just not that much work to put in this ability if you design
                  ahead, and the gamers know it.

                  > Clearly it is a problem for some people, for some genres mostly
                  >with PC's, so maybe we should ask what those circumstances are exactly.

                  In my experience, people multitask. Read James Gleick's _Faster_ for a
                  great dissertation on this subject. Interfere with their ability do so at
                  your own peril. And don't expect a return to simpler days... ever...

                  >One obvious thing: Consoles don't crash. (Well, 99.5% of the time)

                  Sadly, as hardware becomes more complex, consoles crash more and more and
                  more. And with the advent of console hard drives, say hello to patches and
                  service packs. It's already happened with _Phantasy Star Online_ I believe.

                  Scott
                • Jason Kozak
                  ... Another is that most players (at least the ones I know) would rather have more space on a memory card than save anywhere. On a PC there s really no excuse
                  Message 8 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                    > > Basic question: why do players hate having limitations on when they can
                    > save
                    > > their games? That's where one would have to start. I think if nothing
                    > > else, a game designer should ask questions before pronouncing his
                    > > prerogative. If you're going to shoot people in the foot, shoot them
                    > > knowingly.
                    >
                    > Another interesting question: Why do you *think* that players hate said
                    > limitations? The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
                    > this isn't a problem, and I have never heard any console gamer complain
                    > about it. Clearly it is a problem for some people, for some genres mostly
                    > with PC's, so maybe we should ask what those circumstances are exactly.
                    >
                    > One obvious thing: Consoles don't crash. (Well, 99.5% of the time)

                    Another is that most players (at least the ones I know) would rather have
                    more space on a memory card than save anywhere. On a PC there's really no
                    excuse not to use a bit more space and allow save anywhere (especially with
                    games taking up > 1gb).

                    Of course this is could also effected by the high quantity of
                    action-oriented games on consoles. When it only takes 5-10 minutes to get to
                    the next save point along a highly linear path, who cares if there's no save
                    anywhere?
                  • Brandon J. Van Every
                    ... I don t think it, I know it as a player myself. ... But if death destroys the work of a player, that s annoying and not a crash. I propose that there is
                    Message 9 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                      > Another interesting question: Why do you *think* that players hate said
                      > limitations?

                      I don't think it, I know it as a player myself.

                      > The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
                      > this isn't a problem, and I have never heard any console gamer complain
                      > about it. Clearly it is a problem for some people, for some genres mostly
                      > with PC's, so maybe we should ask what those circumstances are exactly.
                      >
                      > One obvious thing: Consoles don't crash. (Well, 99.5% of the time)

                      But if death destroys the work of a player, that's annoying and not a crash.
                      I propose that there is something different about console vs. PC games
                      and/or players. For one thing, PC games are often "deeper" and "longer"
                      than console games, which of course are terms that need to be quantified. I
                      propose a working theory: PC games typically have more "work" in them.

                      Another possibility: console gamers may have been brainwashed by their save
                      game conventions for so long, that they no longer complain about them.
                      That's what I call a "bank teller" problem. Force people to do something
                      the same way for 10 years and they'll stop bitching and moaning about it.
                      They're trained.

                      Another possibility: PC gamers are brainwashed by the "Save.." "Save As.."
                      menu conventions in all of their productivity applications. And thus you
                      will *never* overcome their brainwashing. The PC bank teller problem has
                      been decided, and it's you the game designer who is choosing to swim up
                      river.

                      Another possibility: console gamers are stupid morons who like juvenile
                      marketing pap and will level up until the cows come home. They are so brain
                      dead that they expect repetitive game play and really don't mind any
                      permutation of said game play, including beaucoup de lost work. (BTW I'm
                      only stating this as a possibility.) [Of course - John]

                      Another possibility: maybe PC gamers have more adults in their demographics,
                      and thus are more sensitive to "lost work" and having their time wasted.


                      Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
                      Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

                      20% of the world is real.
                      80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.
                    • Brandon J. Van Every
                      ... Patents only last 17 years in the USA. And Copyright doesn t protect ideas, only their concrete expression. ... I agree. 4 screw ups on a difficult
                      Message 10 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                        > No fair, we wrote the game "You Win!" over 20 years ago and I'm suing!

                        Patents only last 17 years in the USA. And Copyright doesn't protect ideas,
                        only their concrete expression.

                        > Honestly, I simply walk away from games that take more than 15 minutes to
                        > play without providing a reasonable save game capacity.

                        I agree. 4 screw ups on a difficult problem, and that can easily be 60
                        minutes of wasted time.


                        Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
                        Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

                        20% of the world is real.
                        80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.
                      • Peter Cowderoy
                        ... This is only really true in certain areas. Basically, strategy games and RPGs - consoles don t really do the former, and do the latter in a decidedly
                        Message 11 of 20 , May 4, 2001
                          On Fri, 4 May 2001, Brandon J. Van Every wrote:

                          > > The popularity of console games would seem to indicate that
                          > > this isn't a problem, and I have never heard any console gamer complain
                          > > about it. Clearly it is a problem for some people, for some genres mostly
                          > > with PC's, so maybe we should ask what those circumstances are exactly.
                          > >
                          > > One obvious thing: Consoles don't crash. (Well, 99.5% of the time)
                          >
                          > But if death destroys the work of a player, that's annoying and not a crash.
                          > I propose that there is something different about console vs. PC games
                          > and/or players. For one thing, PC games are often "deeper" and "longer"
                          > than console games, which of course are terms that need to be quantified. I
                          > propose a working theory: PC games typically have more "work" in them.
                          >

                          This is only really true in certain areas. Basically, strategy games and
                          RPGs - consoles don't really do the former, and do the latter in a
                          decidedly different style. A major flaw seen in some console RPGs is
                          having a save point just before a plot point and then no chance to save
                          until after a period of heavy fighting - you have to sit through the plot
                          point again each time you die. The equivalent flaw in PC RPGs is players
                          using saved games to effectively cheat their way through the dungeons,
                          which generally has the side effect of making boss fights and the like
                          more frustrating because the player's underlevelled and hasn't been forced
                          to make multiple expeditions into a dungeon to make progress. In the FF
                          series I've had to do that on several occasions - it's actually fun
                          because the individual battles take some effort to survive instead of the
                          usual "Big Shitty Death +1000 - I win" fights, and thus making your way
                          around the dungeon's actually challenging. People generally powergame in
                          the most obvious manner, not the most fun.

                          > Another possibility: console gamers may have been brainwashed by their save
                          > game conventions for so long, that they no longer complain about them.
                          > That's what I call a "bank teller" problem. Force people to do something
                          > the same way for 10 years and they'll stop bitching and moaning about it.
                          > They're trained.
                          >
                          > Another possibility: PC gamers are brainwashed by the "Save.." "Save As.."
                          > menu conventions in all of their productivity applications. And thus you
                          > will *never* overcome their brainwashing. The PC bank teller problem has
                          > been decided, and it's you the game designer who is choosing to swim up
                          > river.
                          >

                          I think that's at least partially true - there's certainly a distinction
                          between "console-style" games and "PC-style" games. In fact, IMO one of
                          the big causes of the Q3A vs UT arguments is that UT is about as
                          console-style as you can get without ditching the mouselook interface,
                          whereas Q3A is very much a PC-style game.

                          > Another possibility: console gamers are stupid morons who like juvenile
                          > marketing pap and will level up until the cows come home. They are so brain
                          > dead that they expect repetitive game play and really don't mind any
                          > permutation of said game play, including beaucoup de lost work. (BTW I'm
                          > only stating this as a possibility.) [Of course - John]
                          >

                          Another possibility: PC gamers are stupid morons who like juvenile
                          marketing pap and will level up until the cows come home. They are so
                          brain dead that they expect repetitive game play, and thus get themselves
                          into situations where beaucoup de lost work is an issue. Allow me to
                          submit SMAC as an example ;-)

                          > Another possibility: maybe PC gamers have more adults in their demographics,
                          > and thus are more sensitive to "lost work" and having their time wasted.
                          >

                          Nah, it's always been irritating when loads of work goes down the
                          drain. Console games tend to implement the "continue" option better. I
                          played through the whole of Metal Gear Solid without a memory card - damn
                          did it make the torture scene scary :-)

                          --
                          psycho@...

                          I'm supposed to put a quote here?
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