Save Anytime?

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LongHairStu
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PostSave Anytime?
by LongHairStu » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:48 pm

Hmm. A quick look at this board, and it all looks a bit... gamey. How about a bit of theory?

Should we be able to save anytime? Should we be able to suspend our games at a moment's notice? For an emergency, or perhaps just we're considerate folks who want to not have to spurn talking to our partners when they get home. We can snap our DS's shut, should we be able to do the equivalent with our 360s?

Or... would such a facility be detrimental to game design? Can an ill-fitting save system break the rhythm of a game?

Not that this topic is about any particular game, but let's take an obvious example - Dead Rising. A bitch of a save system. It can be handled if you have appropriate forewarning, but it has caught many out. But then, some would argue that the way the saves are handled is integral to the time-based/character development structure. How would a friendlier save system affect the adventures of Frank West?

And can saving hold us back? Are new gamers befuddled by save slots, profiles, checkpoints and the like? Shouldn't they (and we?) just be able to dive in? Why should we have to make sure we save twice? And what about save points - do they take us out of the world? Would we tolerate Lawrence of Arabia informing us that he will back after a short intermission?

Etc, etc. Over to you.

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Tineash
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Tineash » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:51 pm

Dead Rising's save system is part of what makes the game exciting - but even that game wouldn't be ruined by having a suspend save. All games should have a suspend save. If one of the manufacturers could implement it at the hardware/firmware level, that would be fantastic.

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Madness
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Madness » Sun Aug 17, 2008 6:52 pm

I think it depends on the game. Resident Evil and Dead Rising rely on checkpoints for suspense, but GTA, for example, should have a save anywhere feature. Driving to the safehouses is bloomin annoying.

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TheTurnipKing
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by TheTurnipKing » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:00 pm

Suspend, yes. Save, no. But then, that's what the pause button is for.

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Ario
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Ario » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:04 pm

Madness wrote:I think it depends on the game. Resident Evil and Dead Rising rely on checkpoints for suspense, but GTA, for example, should have a save anywhere feature. Driving to the safehouses is bloomin annoying.


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JiggerJay
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by JiggerJay » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:05 pm

Tineash wrote:Dead Rising's save system is part of what makes the game exciting - but even that game wouldn't be ruined by having a suspend save. All games should have a suspend save. If one of the manufacturers could implement it at the hardware/firmware level, that would be fantastic.


I really strawberry floating hated the dead rising save system, everytime you want to save you are miles away then you run into another boss. /sucks at dead rising!

some games are pretty fair with their save points, i am playing blue dragon atm and there is a save point every 20 or so minutes which is nice especially for an RPG where you can get bumraped at any point. some need more, but to make the system automatically save you if you turn off wouldn't work for most games, imagine doing that in an action game, then restarting right in the middle of a gun fight.

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LongHairStu
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by LongHairStu » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:05 pm

I don't think a pause button is enough. We need a 'long-term' pause, one that puts us back exactly where we left ourselves, but allows us to switch off the console and deal with whatever needs dealing with, without worrying about the power that is being drained by a console (and TV) on standby. We need to be able to free ourselves from our games, without losing our progress. Such a function could work even in Dead Rising, as you would still be faced with fighting your way through hordes of zombies in order to reach a true save point/progress the story.

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TheTurnipKing
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by TheTurnipKing » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:09 pm

LongHairStu wrote:I don't think a pause button is enough. We need a 'long-term' pause, one that puts us back exactly where we left ourselves, but allows us to switch off the console and deal with whatever needs dealing with, without worrying about the power that is being drained by a console (and TV) on standby. We need to be able to free ourselves from our games, without losing our progress. Such a function could work even in Dead Rising, as you would still be faced with fighting your way through hordes of zombies in order to reach a true save point/progress the story.

Eh, essentially the benefit that would bring is mostly in terms of reduced energy usage. Which admittedly isn't a bad goal in and of itself, but I don't know if it would have any kind of effect on the medium. From a game mechanic point of view, at least.

Personally, I've always found power standby modes to be really really clunky, with one exception. The DS manages it with aplomb, and it would be nice to see that level of console suspend in future consoles, handheld and under the TV.

Last edited by TheTurnipKing on Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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OLIN
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by OLIN » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:10 pm

I'm in two minds about this.

On the one hand it'd be right handy in a RPG say, when I'm miles from a save point and Woman is getting impatient (something an understatement on many of these occasions) 'cause I'm meant to be doing household gooseberry fool and it's not my bloody fault that I've unwittingly ended up where I have to spend quite some time arriving at the next save point, though previously to the current predicament I had save oppurtunities coming out my ears.

On the other hand I have, in the past, become victim to saving in an ill advised place (Tomb Raider Chronicles springs to mind) where it's caused me to have to ditch the game due to instant death when resuming play.

Maybe if they could programme some kind of 'idiot free' default into the 'save anytime' system...

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Tineash
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Tineash » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:14 pm

JiggerJay wrote: some need more, but to make the system automatically save you if you turn off wouldn't work for most games, imagine doing that in an action game, then restarting right in the middle of a gun fight.


Imagine this: you pause the game, bring up the guide. Choose "suspend game" from the guide, and the 360 dumps everything that was in the memory to a special save on the HDD. You can then turn it off, play another game, or come back later. When you want to reload, you start the game up again and activate the suspend save from the HDD. I have no technical expertise, but I imagine it working like a savestate in an emulator.

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Wiggy G32
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Wiggy G32 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:18 pm

checkpoints are the best on consoles but they need to be evenly spaced out. On the PC I find that when they allow you to quick save a lot you end up doing it every 5 mins because you can which can ruin playing the game

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Pred
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Pred » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:24 pm

I think it really depends on the game. In Dead Rising, I think the save system works well. As for GTA IV, if you know when the Auto Save works, it can be useful, but I usually save in a safehouse before finishing my session anyway.

If you're playing a linear game, saving anywhere seems a bit pointless, but if it's non-linear it can be useful. However, if you get lost, surely having a checkpoint system will implicity tell you you're on the right track (obviously this won't always be the case)?

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Mr Thropwimp
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Mr Thropwimp » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:24 pm

I've found myself preferring steady checkpoint saves rather than the 'save anywhere' thing, just so long as I know saving the game would land me back at the last checkpoint and not reset the level. The whole F5+F6 bashing in PC games can get a bit much, but it does work better for open world games. RPGs should use it, because I hate RPGs that have stupid save points (like Lost Odyssey).

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jiggles
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by jiggles » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:33 pm

I'd like to see a kind of "emergency" save that you can produce at any time, in addition to the traditional save point system most games have. The emergency save would quit the game automatically after it's been saved, and can only be loaded once, after which it's automatically deleted.

So, for example, you're not at a save point, but you have to quit playing. You hit the emergency save, and can continue right where you left off next time you boot up. The point in it quitting the game automatically and deleting the save when it's been loaded is that you can't exploit it to cheat your way around a boss.

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Cal
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Cal » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:42 pm

Most of my favourite games, including RPGs, FPSs and Driving games all have a 'Save Anywhere' option. I just don't see why developers don't include this feature as an available option for those who prefer to play that way. The so-called 'hardcore' can switch it off and use checkpoints.

I did read, years ago, that it takes a lot more effort to design a game with 'Save Anywhere' functionality. I don't know if that was true then or, if so, it still is.

But games that force me to endure progress, on pain of death, to the next distant fuggin' checkpoint really get right on my t*ts.

The one *ahem* 'saving' grace of even a bad game, can be having access to an instant Save. It just makes the whole miserable experience slightly more bearable... :lol:

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smurphy
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by smurphy » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:49 pm

Depends on the game. Love it in Oblivion, love the lack of it in Metroid Prime, love it in Stalker, love the lack of it in Halo 3. Hate the lack of it in GTA4 though.

And I'm meaning Quick Save here, as in F6-ing.

It's particularly good in Crysis, where you can play a certain part over and over and over.

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Super Dragon 64
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Super Dragon 64 » Sun Aug 17, 2008 7:55 pm

Oh god yes! Not being able to do this in some games is really annoying. It's why I haven't finished Crystal Chronicals on the GameCube as I'd need to beat each level in one sitting. And why I haven't made much progress on the same game on the DS, I don't want to start playing on the train and leave my DS on all day until I get the chance to get to a save point.

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Dandy Kong
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by Dandy Kong » Mon Aug 18, 2008 1:59 pm

I find that I have been 'conditioned' by only being able to save at certain locations - recently I have been playing the remake of Final Fantasy (I) on the PSP. You can save at any location at any given time (except during battles) - which is ideal - but I still found that I wanted to make my way to one of the villages,or just inside a cave before I actually saved.

Viewtiful Joe is ruined by having way too little save points. IMO.

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KK
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by KK » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:05 pm

I thought the type writers in Resi were ingenious.

The crystals in Tomb Raider? Absolutely not. Drove me mental.

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captain red dog
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PostRe: Save Anytime?
by captain red dog » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:07 pm

I prefer to be able to save anywhere as then you can save as much or as little as you want. I can't say I have the time or patience these days to keep replaying the same bits over and over.

Checkpoint systems are fine so long as you don't notice them. Halo 3, for example, got it spot on but some games have been terrible.


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