Save game system...

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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 15th, 2018, 7:01 am

Oh man, woolfe, you respond to objective commentary about what can and cannot be stated or defined with "lie to yourself", or "if you tell yourself it's okay", or if "you believe something doesn't make it true". We are doing nothing of the sort, of any of the above. We're providing an objective definition of cheating that does not rely in the slightest on one's own personal opinion, whereas you are attempting to draw an arbitrary line where you believe it should be that not everyone agrees with.

No sir, "scumming" any game mechanic is not cheating. noblesse listed a few other mechanics that many consider abuse, or an exploit -- but not objectively cheating as they are mechanics provided by the game.

Once again the issue comes down to our different perspective on the nature of the save system:

Is it a "game mechanic" in that it's considered a viable function for use within the game however one sees fit, because the game doesn't care for whatever reason you use it?

- You say that if you're using it to bypass an aspect of the game you don't like which is behind this elusive "gameplay wall", then you're objectively cheating.
- We say that because the game makes no distinction about whether using a save and restore is cheating or not, then you're not cheating the game by its own standards.

Yes, as soon as someone who's save-scummed compares their game playthrough with yours assuming you didn't, you could say they're cheating by your standards (just as they can say they didn't cheat by their standards) - because that's a subjective standard that can't be enforced by any shared authority -- the game doesn't make that distinction.

I really don't care if you think it's cheating by your standards. Whatever. Play how you like. I DO care (for your sake and for those you label) when you attempt to classify anyone who plays differently than you (that's all it is according to the game) - using a game mechanic it does not consider as cheating - as a cheater.

Save Scumming is not cheating - objectively. It's not a belief. It's not an opinion.
Unless the game provides an achievement where save scumming disqualifies you, or the game CALLS save scumming cheating, it's not cheating.
Unless you're playing by 3rd party rules in a contest or competition or general buddy-bragging-rights where one person has 'broken a rule' of fair play, it's not cheating.
Making excessive use of a game-providing mechanism towards a positive outcome is not cheating. It may not be an outcome the creators had forseen, and it may get "fixed" in later patch or update. Until then, it's not cheating.

The game defines what is cheating the game - not you.

I don't know how else this can be explained for you.

---
So once again, I state my suggestion for save system style:

* Since the game was developed with a pseudo-checkpoint style mechanic and a combat system that's all-or-nothing for every single encounter, if inXile were to add an ironman mode that makes save capability even more rare if not disabled entirely, then a RUN mechanic must be provided in combat either universally (though that could drastically alter current game difficulty), or enabled only for this Ironman mode.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by Ricks » October 15th, 2018, 7:59 am

The SaveStones are the biggest shit ever invented. I've mentioned it elsewhere and will repeat it here.
- They do NOT give the game depth.
- They do NOT make you consider "should I attack or not?"

Instead they make you quit the game so the game creates a save spot and then reload it. Even when the reload takes 3 minutes I rather quit/reloaded it than risking to repeat whole sections, battles, puzzles again. Total shit design!

My suggestion for a patch:
- Add "Save Anywhere"
- Convert all SaveStones to 1-time-experience stones or remove them altogether

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Re: Save game system...

Post by Gizmo » October 15th, 2018, 1:29 pm

thebruce wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:01 am
No sir, "scumming" any game mechanic is not cheating. noblesse listed a few other mechanics that many consider abuse, or an exploit -- but not objectively cheating as they are mechanics provided by the game.
I disagree. It is a function to load the past saved game, but once in the game, it is an outside feature that is not usually part of the gameplay.

Exceptions exist, like Prince of Persia:Sands of Time; where if the player fails, they might be able to reload the moment —in-game, and repeat until they succeed, but at some point they have to accept it. Actually exiting the game to reload a past saved state is not part of playing the game; not any game that I know of... and I know of a few that try to discourage that sort of thing; one of these titles would simply refuse reload for half an hour.

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Re: Save game system...

Post by _noblesse_oblige_ » October 15th, 2018, 6:37 pm

Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 13th, 2018, 10:00 pm
I suppose that's one way to look at it, but I still have a desire for longer games which do not allow unlimited save/restore. Various Rogue-likes that I have played are much longer than 10 hours and have only one save slot to restore from. (And for them, "ironman" means something else - it means not being able to go back up dungeon levels, so that you're always forced to go down into deeper, deadlier levels - no level scumming. And, it can also mean not getting any artifacts.) So, at least some Rogue-likes cater to my tastes and the projected length of game play has nothing to do with it.
Yeah and they are the games that work with that sort of gameplay. But that is known from the outset.
Right. And I'm saying it is okay to make some games like that. Not every new game which comes along has to have unlimited save-restore. People who don't like games which only have a single save slot will know it from the outset and can choose to shop elsewhere. Similar to my Dominions series example earlier - gamers can see what they're getting from the outset and most run far, far away. And the reason the games have 90+% ratings on Steam is because the people who decided the games weren't for them mostly avoiding purchasing them or writing reviews of them. It's okay to make games which cater to a specific audience - it actually can work out. You just have to know your audience, something inXile clearly didn't know.
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
I play those games occasionally, and like you I enjoy them.
Cool.
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
But I don't want every game to be that, and most of those games today have a way around the ironman mode, allowing you the choice. The only difference is which it defaults to.
I'm not arguing that every game need to have only a single save slot. I am arguing that some should be without unlimited save/restore though. You and I don't have to play the same games with different options or modes. We can simply have different games to play. Seriously, what's wrong with that?

People who want to have an easier way to play the same games that I do remind me a lot like dealing with younger siblings, growing up. "But, Mom, I want to do what he's doing!". Then, you get told to accommodate your younger sibling by watering down whatever you're doing to be inclusive.
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 4:50 pm
BT1 had "heal scumming" by using Badhr Kilnfest during intra-party combat. No random encounters could occur during that time and the party members could just defend each round while the bard song healed them round after round. In this case, it was usually referred to as the "healing exploit". One could also argue that repeatedly grinding the 396 Berserkers in Harkyn's 3 was XP scumming. If you want to call abuse, utilization of exploits, or scumming as "cheating", then where do you draw the line?
An exploit is an exploit, devs screw up. You think they intended the healing exploit to work that way?
No, or it wouldn't be an exploit, pretty much by definition.
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
I don't know the Berserker xp scumming issue, If it was some bug that constantly recreated those berserkers when everyone else got permanently removed, then yeah, but if it was just the most efficient xp gathering, then no cause the game was presumably meant to include a degree of grind.
Life isn't black and white, we accept some things, but there is a reason we keep coming up with different terms for these things? Rather than just accepting that it is the gameplay.
But, would you call it cheating?
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 4:50 pm
Woolfe wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 9:12 pm
or your child decided to break their arm during a real time game and you rushed out leaving it running, and returned to find all your work gone(Yeah that actually happend to me :lol: ).
Ow!
Indeed... he handled it awesomely the crazy little ratbag :-), was super proud of him
:D Sounds brave. Just don't show him an 8-page argument about save games on an Internet forum - that might actually make him cry.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 15th, 2018, 7:20 pm

Gizmo wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 1:29 pm
thebruce wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:01 am
No sir, "scumming" any game mechanic is not cheating. noblesse listed a few other mechanics that many consider abuse, or an exploit -- but not objectively cheating as they are mechanics provided by the game.
I disagree. It is a function to load the past saved game, but once in the game, it is an outside feature that is not usually part of the gameplay.

Exceptions exist, like Prince of Persia:Sands of Time; where if the player fails, they might be able to reload the moment —in-game, and repeat until they succeed, but at some point they have to accept it. Actually exiting the game to reload a past saved state is not part of playing the game; not any game that I know of... and I know of a few that try to discourage that sort of thing; one of these titles would simply refuse reload for half an hour.
You're describing this arbitarary "gameplay wall", and I gave examples of the exact same functionality, just disguised differently - and none of them being labeled or considered cheating in the slightest. So what's the difference? An abirtrary line where someone says "Because you hit the escape button, or Ctrl-S, or F10, you're no longer 'in the game'", as opposed to touching a waypoint, an object, or talking to an NPC, each providing the exact same functionality. It's arbitrary, and if the game doesn't recognize any of it as cheating, then it's not cheating the game. Certainly not to the level of using a 3rd party editor to alter game save data. That's the point I'm making. Can save anywhere be abused or exploited towards a positive result? Sure, just like scumming the berserker fight for XP, and other likely-unintended strategies. But it ain't objectively cheating the game. Savin a past load is not equatable to editing your save file. If it's cheating, it's because someone's deciding to call it cheating by a subjective standard.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by Gizmo » October 15th, 2018, 11:25 pm

The line is where the player realizes that something has happened that they wish had not, and they are willing to forcibly undo the consequences to cheat a more satisfactory outcome. This... in a game genre that prizes consequence. Reloading is NOT a feature of gameplay, unless the game has ended abruptly (with PC death).

Neither should it be encouraged because (as you should well know ;) ) developers listen and learn, and the consequence of this [behavior] being accepted, is to not design any RPGs that offend or in any way inconvenience the player—or they will reload. That means that the stories can never be anything but an unctuous ego-trip of a tale where the PC (of course) did everything right, and where nothing beyond their control ever did them any permanent harm [which would include socially damaged NPC relationships, and fawningly servile game mechanics that only serve as empowerment fantasy].

Do you remember Plancescape had a printer's shop; run by a man named Pen? It had quests, but if the Nameless One was sharp with him, then Pen was sharp right back at him, and permanently kicked him out; this would never happen in a game like that suggested above. Something else that would never happen, is to have a major failure be a setup for another story path after the player [seemingly] ruins the obviously good one.

The Witcher was notable for presenting campaign altering decisions whose effects were not obvious until many hours later in the game. This was done deliberately so that the player would not simply reload their game once they found out about the consequence of their actions.

__________

I find the notion that reloading is just another action in the game-play to be—downright bizarre... but is does remind me of a post I read once, where a guy meta-gamed as a mentally disturbed psychotic woman in Fallout 2, who would often fantasize about killing everyone in town, only to wake up from the daydream after [reloading]. :lol:

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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 16th, 2018, 6:38 am

Gizmo wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 11:25 pm
The line is where the player realizes that something has happened that they wish had not, and they are willing to forcibly undo the consequences to cheat a more satisfactory outcome.
How you definitively differentiate having to leave the game to run an errand, and returning from the last save point, and deciding to arbitrarily reload from the last save point to try something again? The game does not care. The game does not know. Only you do. It's subjectively cheating. The game does not define it as cheating. It's not cheating the game.
This... in a game genre that prizes consequence. Reloading is NOT a feature of gameplay, unless the game has ended abruptly (with PC death).
But why? By your definition that's cheating. The game has ended your playthrough, you have to start from the beginning. If you reload your last save point you're "forcibly undoing the consequences to cheat a more satisfactory outcome."
...is to not design any RPGs that offend or in any way inconvenience the player—or they will reload.
I would call that designing the game for least frustration, not trying to deter cheating. Trying to deter cheating would be adding DRM, or encryption to game data. Changing the save game mechnism between a few different styles cannot be about defining what is or isn't cheating if it's not explicitly labeled as such, it's always about minimizing the frustration of a playthrough - a save system that's balanced to the design of the gameplay.
I find the notion that reloading is just another action in the game-play to be—downright bizarre...
I would too if it were as commonplace and frivolous as other gameplay mechanics. But games can include game state jumping in a whole smorgasboard of manners, whether masked as an in-play mechanism or in a form of meta menu. The functionality is exactly the same, and the only difference is which keypress, or the option's visual packaging. And I've never seen saving and restoring referred to in a game expicitly as cheating.

You haven't addressed the difference between reloading a save game and editing a save game's data. I fear for anyone who equates the two!
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Re: Save game system...

Post by Gizmo » October 16th, 2018, 11:28 am

thebruce wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 6:38 am
How you definitively differentiate having to leave the game to run an errand, and returning from the last save point, and deciding to arbitrarily reload from the last save point to try something again? The game does not care. The game does not know. Only you do. It's subjectively cheating. The game does not define it as cheating. It's not cheating the game.
This becomes cheating if it is meant to bypass the decided outcome of the game. RPG engines are designed to evaluate when to say 'no'. The limitations of the character, and the circumstances of the events they are in, indicate failure or or success by the PC, but the player who abuses the reload feature (labeled almost ubiquitously as "save-scumming") intends to circumvent the unfavorable outcome by repeatedly re-doing the situation until it they get their desired outcome. It's like playing a perpetual Groundhog's Day on demand—and while that might be a good RPG premise in itself for a one-off (specialty) RPG title/ or adventure, it is not a good foundation for all RPG games, or games in general.

Because this means that the game cannot deliver (nor enforce) any outcome other than the player's own preferred result—or they will stop the game, and reload it. That is not frustration free design, this is example of "Why we cannot have nice things". A system that allows a margin of character error (ie. always with some element of risk—because that's life), can be abused by the player who resents their PC's ever failing at anything—for any reason, and who will reload until their PC —didn't— fail, or until their own patience does. This applies to skill use, to conversations, to "random" loot drops, even to combat actions—in those games naive enough to allow per action saves in combat.

This is not frustration free design, this is a design frustration caused by the player's own abuse of the system; making the design moot, by refusing to accept the game's evaluated results. This leads to the developers changing future systems to be less vulnerable to player tampering; ie. to use skill thresholds instead of the more versatile, and plausible percentile system... The elimination of PC error or misfortune as outcome options.
But why? By your definition that's cheating. The game has ended your playthrough, you have to start from the beginning. If you reload your last save point you're "forcibly undoing the consequences to cheat a more satisfactory outcome."
That is the ideal truth, but in practice very few will hold to their PC's fate in a 40 hour game. There are ironman options for that; the Witcher 2 IRRC even alters the game's content for those who would play Geralt with permadeath enabled.

To your question, it is not cheating to save the game, and resume it later, the distinction is when this becomes baby-stepping one's every move, intent on utilizing the save game option as a means to direct one's path through the experience. For example, to force the outcome that their PC never loses in a casino; to never fail at pick-pocketing; to never fail to get their perceived best outcome.
...is to not design any RPGs that offend or in any way inconvenience the player—or they will reload.
I would call that designing the game for least frustration, not trying to deter cheating.
It makes one wonder if others give any thought at all to why the fail states exist in the games? ~But of course they open the lock first time—why frustrate the player with having to attempt it twice? ~What insolence to even dare implement jammed locks?—or to have the NPC refuse to buy the player's rusty/ruined equipment—or to take permanent offense at their prior actions. Why should the enemies ever manage to hit them in combat?—or their PC ever miss?
You haven't addressed the difference between reloading a save game and editing a save game's data. I fear for anyone who equates the two!
That needs a distinction? :shock:

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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 16th, 2018, 3:15 pm

Gizmo wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 11:28 am
thebruce wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 6:38 am
How you definitively differentiate having to leave the game to run an errand, and returning from the last save point, and deciding to arbitrarily reload from the last save point to try something again? The game does not care. The game does not know. Only you do. It's subjectively cheating. The game does not define it as cheating. It's not cheating the game.
This becomes cheating if it is meant to bypass the decided outcome of the game.
Who determines that? The game? Do you tell the game WHY you're saving and quitting? WHY you're reloading a save game? No? Then it's subjective, it's entirely judged by yourself. The game doesn't care. It doesn't tell you you're cheating if you restore from a past save. It's objectively not cheating. You can consider it cheating for your own playthrough if you like, but it's not cheating the game. No one has refuted that yet.

but the player who abuses the reload feature (labeled almost ubiquitously as "save-scumming") intends to circumvent the unfavorable outcome by repeatedly re-doing the situation until it they get their desired outcome. It's like playing a perpetual Groundhog's Day on demand—and while that might be a good RPG premise in itself for a one-off (specialty) RPG title/ or adventure, it is not a good foundation for all RPG games, or games in general.
No one said it couldn't be considered exploiting. Just like grinding the berserker battle for hug XP. Or making use of other unintended/unexpected/missed game 'loopholes' for a dramatically positive outcome.
But it's not cheating. Not until the game makes it not possible (without using external means, like game save editing) or calling it out as cheating (like "cheat codes").

This is not frustration free design, this is a design frustration caused by the player's own abuse of the system; making the design moot, by refusing to accept the game's evaluated results. This leads to the developers changing future systems to be less vulnerable to player tampering; ie. to use skill thresholds instead of the more versatile, and plausible percentile system... The elimination of PC error or misfortune as outcome options.
Sure, developers have adjusted game functions everywhere from save mechanics to who knows what, in order to make a 'more fun' game for more people. See my cited Halo example earlier. There aren't cheat codes. But there are toggleable skulls to make the game harder; there isn't save anywhere but rather checkpoints, and loads of them; there are achievements to deter cheating (hacks, 3rd party editors, network sniffers, etc) for bragging rights; they run competitions where they set additional rules by which everyone must abide - and if found to be cheating (ie, breaking one of the common rules applicable to all participants), there is a common authority that can enforce it and deny a win.
To your question, it is not cheating to save the game, and resume it later, the distinction is when this becomes baby-stepping one's every move
If the game would consider that cheating, then I would agree. I'd see that either played out by a save mechanic that limits saves to some degree, or an achievement that's forfeited if using a the save mechanic in a detectable way.
If the game allows it, it's not cheating the game.
The game cannot sense player intent, it can only detect player actions. So it can only draw the line where actions are concerned, not intent.

It makes one wonder if others give any thought at all to why the fail states exist in the games? ~But of course they open the lock first time—why frustrate the player with having to attempt it twice? ~What insolence to even dare implement jammed locks?—or to have the NPC refuse to buy the player's rusty/ruined equipment—or to take permanent offense at their prior actions. Why should the enemies ever manage to hit them in combat?—or their PC ever miss?
Sure, and that's part of the design decisions the game creators have to make. Save mechanic plays a HUGE role in how frustrating their game will be depending on what sort of content gets perma-locked from player access by their own actions. If an action locks the door on pocket change, not a big deal. If an action locks the door on completing the main plotline - BIG DEAL! Depending, of course, on what sort of save system they've incorporated into the game - whether by meta menus or in-gameplay assets.

How much do you frustrate the player? Where's the line to be drawn that will get them to desire a 3rd party tool to do what you won't let them do? The save mechanic is something the developers have control over - most players will take advantage of that before they resort to external editors and hacks. Developers have to understand that. If it's easier to reload a past checkpoint and continue on, they'll do that because it's less work than going out to find a hack to make the change they want to see to continue on. Every player plays until the frustration grows too much and bumps them into the next realm of desperation. The game defines what it allows the player to do, and whether that requirement is too much to take to resort to external means to accomplish the positive outcome. If you don't want them hacking your game, reduce the frustration. That could be with a smorgasboard of options, difficulty tweaks, or a beneficial save mechanic. Who knows. It's a developer's nightmare trying to provide a game that fits the trendy culture and satisfies the diehards.

But none of it is cheating the game until the game says "you're cheating", or you intentionally deceive the game (ie, use means it does not provide in order to achieve a favourable outcome).
You haven't addressed the difference between reloading a save game and editing a save game's data. I fear for anyone who equates the two!
That needs a distinction? :shock:
Asbolutely, if you want to claim that the former is just as much objectively cheating at the game as the latter.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by Gizmo » October 16th, 2018, 7:19 pm

thebruce wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 3:15 pm
Who determines that? The game? Do you tell the game WHY you're saving and quitting? WHY you're reloading a save game? No? Then it's subjective, it's entirely judged by yourself. The game doesn't care. It doesn't tell you you're cheating if you restore from a past save. It's objectively not cheating. You can consider it cheating for your own playthrough if you like, but it's not cheating the game. No one has refuted that yet.
No one has to. :? It's self evident.
No one said it couldn't be considered exploiting. Just like grinding the berserker battle for hug XP. Or making use of other unintended/unexpected/missed game 'loopholes' for a dramatically positive outcome.
But it's not cheating. Not until the game makes it not possible (without using external means, like game save editing) or calling it out as cheating (like "cheat codes").
Yeaaah...right. And no one cheats their diet by eating snacks... after all it's up to them to judge if it can even be called cheating, or if it's just exploiting their access to the pantry. And who cares if they DO? (Not their diet.......but it's still cheating it.)
Sure, developers have adjusted game functions everywhere from save mechanics to who knows what, in order to make a 'more fun' game for more people. See my cited Halo example earlier. There aren't cheat codes. But there are toggleable skulls to make the game harder; there isn't save anywhere but rather checkpoints, and loads of them; there are achievements to deter cheating (hacks, 3rd party editors, network sniffers, etc) for bragging rights; they run competitions where they set additional rules by which everyone must abide - and if found to be cheating (ie, breaking one of the common rules applicable to all participants), there is a common authority that can enforce it and deny a win.
But what's your point?
If the game would consider that cheating, then I would agree. I'd see that either played out by a save mechanic that limits saves to some degree, or an achievement that's forfeited if using a the save mechanic in a detectable way.
If the game allows it, it's not cheating the game.
The game cannot sense player intent, it can only detect player actions. So it can only draw the line where actions are concerned, not intent.
This is where you are wrong. It doesn't matter if the game can or cannot "sense" that the player is bypassing the rules—they are still doing it; and doing it whether or they acknowledge it as such. Players used to take advantage of software's use of removable disk storage to indirectly alter the game's recorded data. They would swap between two (or more) disks as the game was using them (because they could). They did this in order duplicate items; some they shouldn't have two of. They did this to cheat the death of their PCs.

You would have it that if the player found any means to an advantage that the designer did not anticipate, and forbid, that it is not a form of cheating—even when the behavior is done expressly to cheat. That's like giving a blind magician (or street hustler) a set of clear cups to perform the Cups & Balls trick—or not mentioning it if he had picked them himself. He would still be doing his trick with the assumption that the cups were opaque; and you would let him—am I right?

***Incidentally Pen & Teller did a masterful performance with clear cups :) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8osRaFTtgHo
How much do you frustrate the player? Where's the line to be drawn that will get them to desire a 3rd party tool to do what you won't let them do? The save mechanic is something the developers have control over - most players will take advantage of that before they resort to external editors and hacks. Developers have to understand that.
And this is truly a shame; that they either weakly accept it, or pay the expense to design protections into their game—all because a portion of players cannot be trusted to partake of the game without cheating it.

They should not be allowed access to any content they arrived at through cheating; but it shouldn't be a matter of enforcing this, they should police themselves, and of course feel that it was unearned—and undeserved. (But they don't, and that is their own failing.)
___
Aside: This is the main issue against respec options BTW... in that the player passes certain challenges with capable characters, only to continue on past those challenges with respeced PCs that might never have had the skills they used previously to succeed——and there are those who would [but of course] not consider that to be cheating; despite having a party of fighters who won a close and hard fought battle to reach their destination... only to suddenly have never been warriors, and —always— were professional cat burglars, or computer specialists~nerds that wouldn't have stood a chance in the fights along the way to get there; and they have no doubt kept the money and equipment they looted as warriors.
If you don't want them hacking your game, reduce the frustration.
No. You design the game from the outset to not trust the player for anything; to repeatedly sum-total the character stats throughout the game, to count equipment instances—and their origins (if the best armor in the game is somewhere they haven't been yet, then they can't have come by it). You dynamically generate password/solutions rather than use hard coded ones. Use frequent crc checks of sensitive areas in RAM, and on-disk file storage... and enough of these that it would be like separating salt from sugar in a mixed cup of both. (Not worth the trouble to untangle.)
That could be with a smorgasboard of options, difficulty tweaks, or a beneficial save mechanic.
No. That is an absurd compromise that doesn't need to be—it is their game, they can build it they intend it to be; not with option fever. The best choice is to make the game offer one intended (and well polished) experience with a few justified options, not make an attempt to have it be everything to everyone through myriad options. That's nuts, and self demeaning.
Who knows. It's a developer's nightmare trying to provide a game that fits the trendy culture and satisfies the diehards.
They should choose one and forget the others; one cannot please them both—and for the sake of the selected, one shouldn't try. This is not what we got with BT4, WL2, FO3&4.... or if it is, then 'we' the fanbase, were not the selected.
You haven't addressed the difference between reloading a save game and editing a save game's data.
And I don't intend to; there is no argument here... You should instinctively know the difference, it is self evident.

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Re: Save game system...

Post by Woolfe » October 17th, 2018, 11:35 pm

thebruce wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 7:01 am
<SNIP>
Nope, I'm done with this.
I had clearly misread the situation, I thought we were having a serious discussion with a goodly amount of tongue in cheek but apparently you were taking it way more seriously than I realised.

So I am out of the discussion. I do not want to cause offence and apologise to anyone who was offended. I have given ample reasons for people to make up their minds, simply repeating the same stuff in different ways is not only futile, but
A) not something I am interested in, and
B) apparently causing you at least to be concerned that I am trolling.

My stance is the same and nothing you have said has been able to change my mind. Thank you for the time you devoted to it.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 6:37 pm
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
But I don't want every game to be that, and most of those games today have a way around the ironman mode, allowing you the choice. The only difference is which it defaults to.
I'm not arguing that every game need to have only a single save slot. I am arguing that some should be without unlimited save/restore though. You and I don't have to play the same games with different options or modes. We can simply have different games to play. Seriously, what's wrong with that?
Well in this case, because I backed it and want to play the game I backed.

Nothing, except why should I miss out, or you miss out? When you could so easily accomodate both. There are options that I have pointed out several times. But you refuse to countenance them. Not much else I can say.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 4:50 pm
<Snip Heal scuming/Cheating/exploit discussion>
Sorry see above, but I am done on this topic.
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 11th, 2018, 4:50 pm
:D Sounds brave. Just don't show him an 8-page argument about save games on an Internet forum - that might actually make him cry.
:lol: :lol:
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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 18th, 2018, 9:34 am

Gizmo wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 7:19 pm
thebruce wrote:
October 16th, 2018, 3:15 pm
Who determines that? The game? Do you tell the game WHY you're saving and quitting? WHY you're reloading a save game? No? Then it's subjective, it's entirely judged by yourself. The game doesn't care. It doesn't tell you you're cheating if you restore from a past save. It's objectively not cheating. You can consider it cheating for your own playthrough if you like, but it's not cheating the game. No one has refuted that yet.
No one has to. :? It's self evident.
:? Clearly not, because there is no universal agreement, and no shared authority that explicitly defines it as cheating. You know, like "cheat codes".
Yeaaah...right. And no one cheats their diet by eating snacks...
If THEY defined their diet, then THEY are cheating THEMSELVES. If they are given a diet by someone else who enforces the rules, then yes, they are then cheating the agreed-upon diet.
It doesn't matter if the game can or cannot "sense" that the player is bypassing the rules—they are still doing it; and doing it whether or they acknowledge it as such.
What makes you, who says someone is cheating by using a mechanic that is not objectively defined as such, right while someone who uses it believing it's not cheating, wrong?
If the game doesn't say it's cheating, only YOU are. By your own authority. That's textbook subjectivity.
Players used to take advantage of software's use of removable disk storage to indirectly alter the game's recorded data. They would swap between two (or more) disks as the game was using them (because they could). They did this in order duplicate items; some they shouldn't have two of. They did this to cheat the death of their PCs.
Sure, they cheated because they were using an external process to alter game data which the game itself did not provide.
But perhaps you might say it wasn't cheating because the game's manner of reading data allowed for that to occur. Okay, then it falls back into exploit territory - taking advantage of an intentended loophole for positive outcome. Perhaps devs could either find a way to thwart that exploit in a future update, or just call it out as cheating. There, cheating the game.

You would have it that if the player found any means to an advantage that the designer did not anticipate, and forbid, that it is not a form of cheating—even when the behavior is done expressly to cheat.
Exploit, abuse, happens all the time. And typically if an exploit is patched, or at the very least called out, it's retroactively considered cheating. Many exploits are not blocked. So is it cheating? Depends who you talk to - meaning, it's cheating to people who consider it cheating - not objectively by the game.

And this is truly a shame; that they either weakly accept it, or pay the expense to design protections into their game—all because a portion of players cannot be trusted to partake of the game without cheating it.
Some would classify that as developer oversight, error, ignorance, mistake... Which means sure, the creators can denounce it as cheating; there, defined. Which is another reason I think the trend is towards achievements - much easier to positively reward actions towards a reward rather than thwart game-progressing actions and pre-emptively define "cheating" by classifying all unpredicted exploits.

Is someone who runs above the top row of blocks in Super Mario cheating? Nope. They found an exploit and are taking advantage of it. The game doesn't care. Of course people competing will care - because now there's a shared context and a rule would be set to define certain actions as cheating. But it's not cheating the game. Editing a save game in Super Mario to put the player in the last world and level would be objectively cheating because it's deceiving the game itself.
They should not be allowed access to any content they arrived at through cheating; but it shouldn't be a matter of enforcing this, they should police themselves, and of course feel that it was unearned—and undeserved. (But they don't, and that is their own failing.)
Who makes them feel guilty about it? Another player? Psssh, who cares about other players. They may be fine "cheating" by another player's standards. If the game defines their action as cheating, then they are cheating the game. Cheat codes. Breaking game mechanics with external, 3rd party methods; intentional deception of the game.

Aside: This is the main issue against respec options BTW... in that the player passes certain challenges with capable characters, only to continue on past those challenges with respeced PCs that might never have had the skills they used previously to succeed——and there are those who would [but of course] not consider that to be cheating
And it's not cheating if the game allows the player to do it without calling it out as cheating. Some players won't because they impose their own standards on the gameplay which for them would consider respeccing cheating. But if the game doesn't, then it's not.

If you don't want them hacking your game, reduce the frustration.
No. You design the game from the outset to not trust the player for anything; to repeatedly sum-total the character stats throughout the game, to count equipment instances—and their origins (if the best armor in the game is somewhere they haven't been yet, then they can't have come by it). You dynamically generate password/solutions rather than use hard coded ones. Use frequent crc checks of sensitive areas in RAM, and on-disk file storage... and enough of these that it would be like separating salt from sugar in a mixed cup of both. (Not worth the trouble to untangle.)
That's a whole lot of work, and current gaming trends very much seem to disagree. DRM felt the pressure. Gaming feels the pressure too. Encryption feels the pressure. People will always find a way around roadblocks. The only way is to make finding the way around much more work than moving forward as intended.
You can put so much work into cutting off hacks, but it'll never succeed. You'd find much more success in making hacking not worth the time (and naturally that means it's better for everyone all around - players find more value in playing the way you intend them to, and you find more value as a dev not trying to pre-emptively thwart any and every way around your intended design)

That could be with a smorgasboard of options, difficulty tweaks, or a beneficial save mechanic.
No. That is an absurd compromise that doesn't need to be—it is their game, they can build it they intend it to be; not with option fever.
It's not one or the other. It's a balance. I'm not a fan of "option fever". There's a limit. Obviously there's a limit. A game with ZERO options is ludicrous. Options are all about balancing player satisfaction with creator vision.
The best choice is to make the game offer one intended (and well polished) experience with a few justified options, not make an attempt to have it be everything to everyone through myriad options. That's nuts, and self demeaning.
I implied nothing of the sort.
They should choose one and forget the others; one cannot please them both—and for the sake of the selected, one shouldn't try. This is not what we got with BT4, WL2, FO3&4.... or if it is, then 'we' the fanbase, were not the selected.
I don't disagree. But their target demographic is up to them to choose. If they choose a wider demographic, then the harder it'll be to find a balance for player satisfaction. The thinner the demographic, the tighter the expectations, and the less significant that balance smorgasboard will be.
You haven't addressed the difference between reloading a save game and editing a save game's data.
And I don't intend to; there is no argument here... You should instinctively know the difference, it is self evident.
"Self evident" is not objective. One person's self-evident is another person's "free country".
Cheating is not, and cannot, be arbitrary and subjective.
There is a very objective and clear difference between the act of loading a game as saved by said game, and the act of externally editing a saved game's data before loading it. And I'm flabbergasted if anyone can't understand that.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 18th, 2018, 9:53 am

Woolfe wrote:
October 17th, 2018, 11:35 pm
My stance is the same and nothing you have said has been able to change my mind. Thank you for the time you devoted to it.
Okay, then I'm not sure what point you were trying to prove, since really my main point in our exchanges was the objective definition of "cheating".
I'd too love if that topic would end! But it appears gizmo has taken over, so you're safely out... =P
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 6:37 pm
Woolfe wrote:
October 14th, 2018, 6:22 am
But I don't want every game to be that, and most of those games today have a way around the ironman mode, allowing you the choice. The only difference is which it defaults to.
I'm not arguing that every game need to have only a single save slot. I am arguing that some should be without unlimited save/restore though. You and I don't have to play the same games with different options or modes. We can simply have different games to play. Seriously, what's wrong with that?
Nothing, except why should I miss out, or you miss out? When you could so easily accomodate both. There are options that I have pointed out several times. But you refuse to countenance them. Not much else I can say.
To be clear, since you and noblesse focused in a slightly different direction, I am for having save options, as you. My only input to that issue was my suggestion for altering not only the save mechanic by choice (ie, save anywhere vs ironman) but adjusting another core gameplay element so that such an "ironman/hardcore" more would be reasonable. I wouldn't think a developer would create a hardcore-only style game! At least without considering its difficulty (or providing difficulty options) I think multiple save mechanics can indeed exist in a single game, but the selected style can dramatically alter the game's feel depending on how it's implemented.
So maybe I fall somewhere between you two. :P
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Re: Save game system...

Post by Woolfe » October 18th, 2018, 6:44 pm

thebruce wrote:
October 18th, 2018, 9:53 am
_noblesse_oblige_ wrote:
October 15th, 2018, 6:37 pm

I'm not arguing that every game need to have only a single save slot. I am arguing that some should be without unlimited save/restore though. You and I don't have to play the same games with different options or modes. We can simply have different games to play. Seriously, what's wrong with that?
Nothing, except why should I miss out, or you miss out? When you could so easily accomodate both. There are options that I have pointed out several times. But you refuse to countenance them. Not much else I can say.
To be clear, since you and noblesse focused in a slightly different direction, I am for having save options, as you. My only input to that issue was my suggestion for altering not only the save mechanic by choice (ie, save anywhere vs ironman) but adjusting another core gameplay element so that such an "ironman/hardcore" more would be reasonable. I wouldn't think a developer would create a hardcore-only style game! At least without considering its difficulty (or providing difficulty options) I think multiple save mechanics can indeed exist in a single game, but the selected style can dramatically alter the game's feel depending on how it's implemented.
So maybe I fall somewhere between you two. :P
I was just starting to become aware that you were mixing that in to the previous conversation, when I cut it. IMO it probably helped confuse the discussion more than anything else.

I was discussing Save mode, and only save mode, and how the choice of save mode should not impact on the Gameplay difficulty when the Devs are designing the game. Ie they build the game to the difficulty they believe it should be if they were playing from start to scratch with no interuptions

In regards to saving, Ironman generally refers to a lack of ability to make multiple saves. IE You cannot reload within the game. Of course there are always variations(key checkpoints that sort of thing), but the general theme of "can't avoid game failures by reloading" is the goal.

That said, an Ironman mode could well include other difficulty elements as well. For example the removal of a function, more strict adherence to rulesets etc. All of these things are possible, but that is a discussion outside the Ironman save functionality, and as such I was not addressing it.

Difficulty options (including Ironman) exist in many different forms.
Battletech for example has a good implementation of difficulty options.
Battletech Difficulty Settigns wrote:Campaign Options - Can only be set at the start of a new game, and cannot be changed.
Ironman Mode. Your campaign is limited to a single save game slot that automatically updates as you progress. Run out of funds or fail a Priority Mission and it’s game over!
Unequipped ‘Mechs – enable this to make ‘Mechs completed out of ‘Mech parts start empty instead of with a stock loadout.
Parts for ‘Mech Assembly – increase the number of ‘Mech parts that must be salvaged to assemble a new ‘Mech. This setting is intended for veterans and those seeking a significant challenge.

In game difficulty - Can be set at anytime.
Lethality – when enabled, MechWarriors that are disabled in combat will always be killed.
‘Mech Destruction – when enabled, ‘Mechs disabled from Center Torso destruction are permanently lost. This setting is intended for veterans and those seeking a significant challenge.
No Rare Salvage – when enabled, + and ++ items are no longer generated as salvage results (but remain purchasable in stores).
MechWarrior Progression – adjust the amount of experience that MechWarriors gain after each mission.
Advanced MechWarriors – increase or decrease the frequency of more powerful MechWarriors appearing in Hiring Halls in later parts of the game.
Enemy Force Strength – increase or decrease the baseline strength of the enemy forces you’ll face in procedural contracts.
Contract Payment – increase or decrease the amount of C-Bills paid by procedural contracts across the game.
Salvage – increase or decrease the amount of salvage you may obtain from negotiation on procedural contracts.
As you can see, Ironman in Battletech covers the saving function primarily but also makes it so that a priority mission fail is a loss, as well as running out of funds, because you can no longer reload to make a different choice.

But in addition there are other options that can have differing affects on the gameplay. Mech Destruction for example, changes how you fight significantly as you not only potentially lose your own mechs, but it decreases the potential for new mechs if you core their centre torso(a very common way of killing a mech).
Lethality as well. Suddenly those head hits become a lot more concerning.
Parts for Mech assembly, is also a big change, as it takes a lot longer to "acquire" a mech from salvage alone. Which slows your mech growth.

This is an example of a well done set of difficulty options. But these are seperate to the base game. The base game was built at X difficulty. Everyone played the same difficulty whether they were good or bad. Many of us found the base game relatively easy, so these options ramped the difficulty for us.

The new Xcom did something similar(Its been a while since I played it as I found it boring after the first campaign). They had an "Ironman" option, which again was primarily associated with the save function, whilst also having a number of other difficulty options that allowed more granular difficulty.

The point I am trying to make, is that generally the term "Ironman" in regards to gaming, tends to refer primarily to the "Save" function, though some variation exists.
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Re: Save game system...

Post by thebruce » October 19th, 2018, 7:58 am

The point I am trying to make, is that generally the term "Ironman" in regards to gaming, tends to refer primarily to the "Save" function, though some variation exists.
Okay, then we're agreed on that. Because my point was that yes, while developers build a game the way they'd like it to be played (keeping in mind the base save system they're intending - especially for the case of BT4 which has no selectible alternatives only in-game decisions), the save system being designed does impact design decisions for other core - non-dynamic - gameplay elements. Choosing a difficulty is basically batch-altering in-game mechanics (in most games this particular option doesn't change the save mechanic) like enemy strength, speed, PC attributes, chances, resources, etc. I agree, having an explicit "ironman mode" (even if it's placed as the most extreme difficulty) typically means restricting the save mechanic to some more 'extreme' degree.

In the context of BT4, I firmly believe that an Ironman mode option wouldn't work because the lack of ability to run from an encounter without losing the game makes the game virtually unplayable. With the save points, if you die you don't start the game over, you start from your last save point. If there are no savepoints, I believe the combat design to be FAR too "ironman" for reason. But hey, maybe someone would love that level of do-or-die for a lengthy RPG. Maybe there should be an Ironman-Extreme :P

At the very least, that level of ironman would absolutely not be in more in line with the "AG-only save" style 'ironman' mode akin to BT1 that initially raised this theoretical gameplay concept for BT4. In BT1 you could run from encounters. The difficulty was in resource management - which BT4 greatly lacks in regards to combat. Bigly lacks. Bigly.

If BT4 gets ironman mode without save stones, it must enable Run. To be in line with BT1, and to be reasonably extreme in difficulty. ;P
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