Save points

This is … well, it’s probably gonna come off as something of a rant, but I feel it needs to be said, if only to open up [STRIKE]flame wars[/STRIKE] discussion and expanded ideas. I’m talking about save points. Specifically, there shouldn’t be any: you should have a button or menu, available at any time, which saves your location and all necessary stats and whatnot, able to be loaded from any point in the game from then on until you overwrite it.

Now, I will grudgingly admit that in the olden days, save-memory was too precious to waste on more than “save point 3” as far as location went, but if what you are saving is “map name, xyz coordinates, where you’re facing”, then there really is no excuse not to allow the player to save wherever they damn well please. Players do not WANT to slog through the same ten minutes of dungeon or whatever, only to get killed right before the end or during the boss fight, AND THEN HAVE TO DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN SEVERAL TIMES. I’m looking straight at you, Metroid Prime, and probably a lot of other console FPS’s as well.

I think I will ignore all protests to the effect of either (a) the fact that the player would be able to abuse this, saving and loading wherever they wanted to immediately avoid death, or (b) more generally, adding more difficulty. With (a) you are basically complaining that if players are allowed to save and reload from anywhere, they will use this capability. What’s wrong with it? With (b) it’s just a contrived and artificial way of increasing difficulty; there are countless other, better ways to increase difficulty, and they should be tried first.

So, uh. End of rant. Any thoughts on this? (For the record, no, it wasn’t just because of going through Hell in Cave Story, which has only one save point, and that before you actually enter it. I finally managed to beat it, but that’s not the point.)

The save system would also need to save the state of all enemies, some parts of the environment, etc. This introduces a lot of complexity:
[ul]
[li] More memory is required to store all that state
[/li][li] All the relevant objects need to be identified, stored and restored, increasing the amount of code required
[/li][li] There is more potential for bugs from saves not working correctly, which will require more testing
[/li][/ul]

With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why developers implement save points the way they do.

I’d like to disagree. There’s nothing artificial about said challenge, when used reasonably. Take your example, cave story, a platformer. I save after every jump, every enemy, whatever. A big part of the challenge in the genre isn’t from individual actions, but rather, the combination of them. Having to jump over this thing, avoiding that enemy and hitting this button all within quick succesion is the challenge. Doing it in parts removes said challenge. See any platformer with savestates.

This is only within reason, though. Designing a huge level with no save/continue spots ANYWHERE, throwing people back to a platforming sequence when they died to the boss, etc, is just stupid design, which can and should be fixed by placing savepoints at these places. Just not everywhere.

However, I’d like to raise the temp save feature. See Fire Emblem (and other games). You have to go, and you’re in the middle of a stage. Rather than getting to a save point, you make a temp save. When you load the game again, this save is deleted and allows you to continue from wherever you are. This doesn’t disrupt gameplay and makes for a more convenient playing experience.

Well some games do that…like almost anything on the GBA. Even so the drawback sometimes to this is if you face a hard boss…but can’t leave the area, then you are going to get killed. For example, in Xenogears when you fight against Ramizez and Miang on disc 2, where you have a save point right before fighting Ramizez, but have no way out of the dungeon or building up your levels. Doesn’t help both him and Miang are the hardest fights in the game.

Ramsus, it’s Ramsus.

I’m more on TD’s side with this issue. However, there are some cases: Most RPGs nowadays have save spots on key locations (Beginning, middle, before mid-boss, before boss) that sometimes even heal you, so it’s evident that exhaustion was not a factor when they designed the stage. In cases like these there is no reason for which you shouldn’t be able to save anywhere you want.

And I’d like to add this: Never, NEVER should you be able to save during a fight. Clearing the screen of enemies should be a must before you can save, otherwise it makes for an extremely cheap exploit.

After playing games like FFX* and SO3, I miss the days of the original Lufia. Where dying meant you lost half your money, and only the hero was revived (and with a single hit point). But you could continue with your levels and treasures intact (and of course, if you didn’t lose much since the last save, except the money, you could reset. But no, those games automatically decide you would rather lose whatever tedium skill building/monster catching, etc. than lose half your money.
Though Fire Emblem’s quick-save system was kinda exploitable, in that it would send you back to the start of the current player phase, and was reloadable.
Then again, in my experience, FE7’s design seemed to be such that redoing one move wasn’t going to save someone’s dead arse.
Though I do kinda wonder why Nintendo seems to like conserving power over a quick save.
Currently playing Mother (yeah, JP GBA cart) on my DS, and loving it. But when it comes time to stop it (like waiting for the bus, for example), I’d like to turn the system off than just pause it.
Granted, I’m sure exactly how much battery power is still being sucked away while the game is paused and the screen is turned off, but it annoys me.

*okay, so actually all the FFs did that, except MQ. But that’s because it was designed for beginners.
And though FF6 lets you keep your EXP and levels, it doesn’t let you keep your learned spells, items, progress, etc.
And since it doesn’t let you keep your Esper bonuses, it’s actually a curse disguised as a favor.

However frustrating it is to die in situations like in Metroid Prime, it adds to the challenge and the thrill. The point of a good game is to not the game stupid hard.

I don’t really care about the exact mechanics of saving in a game (except for BoF:DQ) - I just want a way available for me to save my progress pretty much whenever I like. I don’t have the time to play for extended periods, and if I did I’d end up interrupted by something. Having to put an extra hour in so that I can get to a point where I can stop and actually do what I need to do is just a pain. I think this is partially why I’ve been gravitating more toward GBA games lately.

I think we can all agree that there is no conceivable reason NOT to use a “quick-delete save” or “temp save” in today’s day and age (i.e. a save which is always available which automatically deletes itself as soon as it’s loaded). It’s just a way to stop and start again later. Yes, it’d mean a bit more state must be saved, but since you could only fit a single one of those saves per game per memory card, I don’t think it’s asking too much. I agree that saving inside a fight might be overkill, but anywhere else should be fair game.

I don’t think that “save anywhere” is necessarily good design, but I think a “Continue” function can’t be anything but nice - see Kingdom Hearts 1 and 2 or Wild ARMs 3/ACF. Sure, there’s challenge, but half the challenge of RPG fights is discerning an enemy’s pattern and then using it against him; continuing just allows you to use that pattern against him from the start of the fight, like you will when you replay the game. :sunglasses:

Not really, it wrote the outcome of your action to save as soon as you selected it, if you’d shut down and restart immediately your action would just go through automatically. It’s only exploitable on an emulator, in which case you can already exploit with savestates.

save points don’t really bother me as long as they are reasonably placed. Like others I can’t play for extended periods of time. The save points generally give me something short to accomplish. I just tell myself I will play until the next save point and when I get there I feel like I accomplished something. Dumb I know, but it’s how I work. Being able to save myself at anytime wouldn’t give me the same sense. I’d have to play until I reached/beat the next boss.

What are you talking about Yar? All games should have save points set up like Dragon Warrior/Quest 1: One in existance at the very, very beginning of the game that you have to slog back to any time you want to take a break.

You know what I’d like, a game that has save points before the boss fight, but after the cut-scene/cinematic/dialouge leading up to the fight. I got so sick of fighting Seymour on Mt Gagazette.

demigod: Scene skip. Pretty much every game nowadays has it (or if it doesn’t, it should be burned horribly).

I noticed Fire Emblem mentioned a couple times.

One thing I really like about the FE games on GBA is that it autosaves after every action. So you can literally turn the GBA off at any point while you are playing and when you turn it back on, you will be exactly where you left off.

I would like to see that feature in more games.

Hm … okay, I guess I was a little over the top there. That, or thinking excessively of FPS’s like Half-Life, where “jumping puzzles” are infuriating rather than the whole point. I also must say that the no-save-point-except-at-the-beginning in Cave Story’s Hell (and in the “hard mode” Last Dungeon) was only one of the ways it was sadistic, and there were … well, one or two balancing factors here and there, so I suppose I shouldn’t complain as loudly.

Sin: could you, um, rephrase that sensically?