Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Zombra » February 18th, 2017, 10:29 pm

Caerdon wrote:This is one way it could work in practise
That ... looks amazing.
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Jozape » February 19th, 2017, 6:24 am

Caerdon: my guess is that most role-playing games don't implement what you stated because most gamers expect to be able to save-scum and don't see it as an issue. If my memory serves me correctly, one of the Civilization games eliminated save-scumming and people reacted very negatively to the change. I'm not sure if Firaxis ever returned to the old system.

Personally, I have no issue with such a change.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by SagaDC » February 19th, 2017, 7:01 am

Jozape wrote:I'm not sure if Firaxis ever returned to the old system.
Firaxis used a seed-saving system in both XCOM:EU and XCOM 2, to disourage save-scumming. You can still save-scum to a certain extent by changing the order of the actions you take (thus applying different numbers to each subsequent action), but if you take the same actions after reloading a previous save then you'll find that the actions will generally play out exactly the same. There are some odd exceptions, such as with the Hacking minigame, but that seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

It definitely seems to frustrate or confuse a number of people, who attempt to reload earlier saves multiple times in an effort to get different results, only to find that the actions play out exactly the same each time. Threads pop up on the various XCOM discussion boards relatively frequently, with folks accusing the game of not using a proper RNG system, because they don't understand that the game saves the randomized seed ahead of time.

XCOM:EW introduced an option to turn off the seed-saving system, but this wasn't included in XCOM 2 (yet).

I'm guessing that Civilization: Beyond Earth was the one that had an anti-save-scumming feature implemented. I haven't played it, but since it was also developed by Firaxis, it would make sense.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 19th, 2017, 7:39 am

Caerdon wrote:The result is that when character A with lockpick skill at level B tries to open container C in area D, the result is always the same. The result is likely to be different for different combination of A, B, C and D. If a specific character can't open a specific container, they can re-try when they increase their skill. Character level could easily be taken into consideration as well.

I don't know why so few games do this. It's a rather simple system, and it works.
That's positively terrible. [IMO] :?

The method is neat, but the static result is awful. People can open a consumer grade lock by fluke; and when a person has all day to pick a lock, they will eventually get it open (unless they jam it). The advantage of higher skill [in this case] is in confidence and brevity at achieving the task, (being able to pick the lock before the guard returns in addition to just being able to open it). Also a failed attempt is not necessarily due to a lack of skill; a person can fail to open the door to their own house ~using their own keys.... It's called dropping your keys. Hopefully they will implement temporary conditions that affect skills, [like concussions, drunkenness, psychoactive drugs], and that those would change the ability for better or worse while in effect.

What's needed is a way for the game to know what the result of the previous attempt was ~despite reloads, and to repeat it indefinitely as the first result of repeated action after a reload*; or to precalculate the attempt rolls for the whole adventure into a stored table.
Either might be hex-edited by a determined save-scummer. :(

*Of course the player could then choose to stagger, or alternate their PC actions to bypass a repeated result after a reload. So another (yet even more involved) option is to associate the result to the PC and the skill they used, and repeat the result for that specific action for a brief set (or random?) amount of time. But at that point it's probably not worth the effort to protect. :(
SagaDC wrote:Firaxis used a seed-saving system in both XCOM:EU and XCOM 2, to disourage save-scumming. You can still save-scum to a certain extent by changing the order of the actions you take (thus applying different numbers to each subsequent action), but if you take the same actions after reloading a previous save then you'll find that the actions will generally play out exactly the same.
I just noticed this bit in your post, and did not intend to virtually repeat it above. That's pretty neat that they did that. 8-)

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Woolfe » February 19th, 2017, 3:26 pm

Oh Dear god.. this argument again... FAAARK.

Allow saving in 90% of situations.

Have an iron man mode that restricts saving further.

Build game assuming people don't save scum.

Problem solved. Those who want to Save scum CAN, those who don't but can't resist can start the game without the ability to save as regularly.

NOT ROCKET SCIENCE!!!!
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Zombra » February 19th, 2017, 4:16 pm

Haha. Welcome back to the forums Woolfe.
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Caerdon » February 19th, 2017, 7:52 pm

Gizmo wrote:That's positively terrible. [IMO] :?

The method is neat, but the static result is awful. People can open a consumer grade lock by fluke; and when a person has all day to pick a lock, they will eventually get it open (unless they jam it). The advantage of higher skill [in this case] is in confidence and brevity at achieving the task, (being able to pick the lock before the guard returns in addition to just being able to open it). Also a failed attempt is not necessarily due to a lack of skill; a person can fail to open the door to their own house ~using their own keys.... It's called dropping your keys. Hopefully they will implement temporary conditions that affect skills, [like concussions, drunkenness, psychoactive drugs], and that those would change the ability for better or worse while in effect.
There are many ways to fix such things.

You could simply get a bonus to a skill check after having tried it multiple times and some in-game time has passed. Or the final seed could be affected by in-game time, real time or both to varying degrees.

And no, even if you have the whole day to try to pick a lock, you won't get it open even by pure luck if it's just beyond your skill and knowledge and you're not utilizing the right techniques and tools. Many locks aren't just easier or harder to pick than others, they're fundamentally different, and you won't get one open unless you figure out how it works.

And the same is true of alarms, safes, machines that need repair and bombs you're trying to disarm.
Gizmo wrote:Either might be hex-edited by a determined save-scummer. :(
I don't think anyone's looking for a cryptographically secure system. Just something that'd require a bit more effort that pressing Quick Load and waiting for a few seconds to circumvent.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 19th, 2017, 8:52 pm

Caerdon wrote:And no, even if you have the whole day to try to pick a lock, you won't get it open even by pure luck if it's just beyond your skill and knowledge and you're not utilizing the right techniques and tools. Many locks aren't just easier or harder to pick than others, they're fundamentally different, and you won't get one open unless you figure out how it works.

And the same is true of alarms, safes, machines that need repair and bombs you're trying to disarm.
How can you make these assumptions when you cannot know the prior condition of the locks or machines in question? (No guarantee they are pristine or maintained. Some locks you can barely open them with the keys; others may have damage; dials on safes might not have been cleared.)

Also... I myself once opened a combination lock by spinning the dial at random; I was six years old, and had to reach well over my head to grab the dial, and could not actually see the lock from where I stood. When I was a teenager, I won a bet by opening a friend's front door with whatever he had in his pocket. The implement was an ink pen (that I took apart). Yes, people can open consumer grade locks on a fluke ~given enough time.

Really cheap locks with very few tumblers can often be wiggled open with bobby pins and virtually no understanding of it... Just by imitating what you see on tv... But if you can spend all day on it, you can take it apart with a drill. Mass-produced locks have only so many keys; I have bought locks years apart, and found that I ALREADY HAD the key to the new lock. Locks with master-keys open from more than one tumbler position ~they can be easier to pick open; without knowing why.

The advantage of a weighted skill system, is that the percentile roll effectively represents all possible present and past circumstance for the situation, and the PC's skill represents their confidence and typical ability to control or influence the situation. It also means that the novice fails a lot, but that the expert can still fail. This highlights what's wrong with Bethesda's skill system, where the PC is an infallible automaton who either cannot fail or cannot make the attempt.

Save-scumming a weighted system is simply repeating the [same] attempt until they succeed; and if the game refused to re-evaluate the [same] action any differently, then they could not simply reload & repeat until they got the better result.

Ideally the player should be able to reload and fail if they they saved the game, failed, reloaded, and tried it again; but they should have a fair chance to succeed on the following attempt... provided the previous failure didn't jam the lock or device, or in conversation annoy the NPC such that they won't talk with them about it again. One-time chances should be just that.

I would say that the player should be allowed to save, fail a skill check, reload, and possibly succeed ~if they at least quit the game between reloads, and/or a set amount of time has passed since quitting the game.
Last edited by Gizmo on February 19th, 2017, 9:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by undecaf » February 19th, 2017, 9:20 pm

If there absolutely needed to be a "fix" for savescumming (which I don't really think there does), I think the best way would be - going with the "seed" idea - something along the lines of:

- allow the pc to try multiple times
- add in "fatigue" for the attempts that gradually lower the chances (and increase crit. fail chance) after a couple of "freebies" (representing the pc "feeling" the difficulty)
- lock the attempt results so that reloading won't help, but
- add a timer after which the pc's "fatigue" resets and he can try again with fresh mind

No savescumming possible and the RNG is not being restricted to static results. Players who insist on waiting the timer... well, let them, nobody cares and it's not cheating or exploiting the system.
Last edited by undecaf on February 19th, 2017, 10:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 19th, 2017, 9:22 pm

undecaf wrote:- add in "fatigue" for the attempts that gradually lower the chances (and increase crit. fail chance) after a couple of "freebies" (representing the pc "feeling" the difficulty)
That's a nice idea. It's true to life as well. 8-)

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Drool » February 19th, 2017, 10:17 pm

Gizmo wrote:The method is neat, but the static result is awful. People can open a consumer grade lock by fluke; and when a person has all day to pick a lock, they will eventually get it open (unless they jam it).
I had a long post on this somewhere, possibly even in this monster thread, but it boiled down to: address the critical failure mechanics, not the actual picking mechanics. If there were no critical failures, or if critical failures only locked you out until your skill improved, there would be far less attraction for scumming; you could always come back later.

And I really gotta say, there's something seriously wrong with all the safes in the area what with their dials just falling off all the time.
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by paultakeda » February 21st, 2017, 3:49 pm

The problem with a predetermined seed like in XCOM was that it felt like a halfway measure. Some games, like chess, have tactics built in such that the same set of moves always results in the same outcome. Other games, like RPGs, rely on weighted chance. Some may want to replay a fight that went south because they know the possibility of a different outcome can happen. Others just let it happen. Either way, it fits the nature of the game. Tactics can be applied but all tactics do is increase the chance of success -- it's still a chance.

When a game that purportedly operates under this mechanic turns out to have all outcomes determined as if it were chess, a la XCOM, it can definitely chap someone's hide. It certainly ticked me off when I realized it.

I admit my habit of saving is more about story branches and IRL requirements, so I cannot empathize with those who feel save-anywhere is detrimental to their enjoyment of the game. But this doesn't change my position: Investment in resources on developing routines concerning seeds or other solutions to discourage "save scumming" is better spent on enhancing the RPG mechanics, the quests and a whole laundry list of other things.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 21st, 2017, 9:41 pm

paultakeda wrote:Investment in resources on developing routines concerning seeds or other solutions to discourage "save scumming" is better spent on enhancing the RPG mechanics, the quests and a whole laundry list of other things.
I'm in this camp.

But I do think that the a pre-rolled seed could be used effectively; if anti-save-scumming measures were desired. It could be used for far less than the entire game. Random rolls could be generated ten at a time (or two at a time). The purpose isn't to predetermine the future, it's intended to learn from the past; in this case specifically after reloads.

It doesn't have to be seeds either, it could be an XP penalty. Flat amount for each reload ~not done in a secure/stable location. The amount could be trivial, but intended to add up, with 10, 20, or 30+ reloads ~trying to game the system.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Zombra » February 21st, 2017, 10:49 pm

As loathe as I am to suggest "just an option" solutions, I could really see "Save Scumming Fix" being a menu checkbox. Love it or hate it, this is a pretty big issue with strong opinions and many people affected from either perspective. Might be time to paint a line down the middle of the apartment and let each roommate stay on their own side.

Caerdon's "master seed" system looks like a straightforward, effective, and dev resource-inexpensive way to keep % skill challenges exactly like they were in W2, minus the direct encouragement for the game to ruin itself for a significant fraction of players.

I believe even XCOM let you turn it off in options if you found it annoying.
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 21st, 2017, 11:21 pm

Zombra wrote:As loathe as I am to suggest "just an option" solutions, I could really see "Save Scumming Fix" being a menu checkbox.
A check box that you could turn off, but not on again; not without reloading a prior save. This would mark the game as played with or without the feature being enabled.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by paultakeda » February 22nd, 2017, 11:12 am

Gizmo wrote:
Zombra wrote:As loathe as I am to suggest "just an option" solutions, I could really see "Save Scumming Fix" being a menu checkbox.
A check box that you could turn off, but not on again; not without reloading a prior save. This would mark the game as played with or without the feature being enabled.
It would be interesting to see the laundry list of things the devs could work on and have us vote our top 3. In a list of say a dozen things, would one of those three be this option?

That list would have to be pretty crappy for me to have this fix as a top 3. But then again, it also means a lot of features got implemented so if there's money left for this then sure, top 3.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Gizmo » February 22nd, 2017, 12:40 pm

paultakeda wrote:That list would have to be pretty crappy for me to have this fix as a top 3. But then again, it also means a lot of features got implemented so if there's money left for this then sure, top 3.
I'm fine without any savescum protection; but what I don't want is quest, skill, and encounter designs that assume reload scumming, and offering nothing in the way of twists & consequences ~for the assumption that players would just reload to avoid them; that would affect everyone.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Zombra » February 22nd, 2017, 12:45 pm

paultakeda wrote:It would be interesting to see the laundry list of things the devs could work on and have us vote our top 3. In a list of say a dozen things, would one of those three be this option? That list would have to be pretty crappy for me to have this fix as a top 3. But then again, it also means a lot of features got implemented so if there's money left for this then sure, top 3.
Well, obviously you've been very vocal about how this is something you don't care about, but it comes up time and again in "what to improve on from Wasteland 2" posts, not just from me. I think there are certainly plenty of people who care about it as well as those who don't. For some people it wouldn't make their "Top 3", but for me and others it would be our #1. I don't expect inXile to run a poll on this subject or anything else so simplistic* ... but I hope they've taken this glut of feedback on board and choose to do the right thing to elevate the Wasteland experience beyond the Skinner box :)

*If they do, expect to see me campaign for votes across the length and breadth of the Internet. I already have my slogan: "Out of the Skinner box, into the ballot box!"
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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by paultakeda » February 22nd, 2017, 3:19 pm

Gizmo wrote:I'm fine without any savescum protection; but what I don't want is quest, skill, and encounter designs that assume reload scumming, and offering nothing in the way of twists & consequences ~for the assumption that players would just reload to avoid them; that would affect everyone.
Around the topic of saves I am strongly against its use as part of the game mechanic (difficulty, quest, skill, whatever). It is a convenience feature.
Zombra wrote: Well, obviously you've been very vocal about how this is something you don't care about, but it comes up time and again in "what to improve on from Wasteland 2" posts, not just from me. I think there are certainly plenty of people who care about it as well as those who don't. For some people it wouldn't make their "Top 3", but for me and others it would be our #1. I don't expect inXile to run a poll on this subject or anything else so simplistic* ... but I hope they've taken this glut of feedback on board and choose to do the right thing to elevate the Wasteland experience beyond the Skinner box :)

*If they do, expect to see me campaign for votes across the length and breadth of the Internet. I already have my slogan: "Out of the Skinner box, into the ballot box!"
But I do care: when it is used as an aspect of game difficulty. That's pretty much when I get excitable about this topic. If it were an option, I couldn't care less as it gives me the choice; but I just don't see it as a priority.

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Re: Save-Scumming and Wasteland 3

Post by Zombra » February 22nd, 2017, 4:16 pm

paultakeda wrote:Around the topic of saves I am strongly against its use as part of the game mechanic (difficulty, quest, skill, whatever). It is a convenience feature.

I do care when it is used as an aspect of game difficulty. That's pretty much when I get excitable about this topic. If it were an option, I couldn't care less as it gives me the choice; but I just don't see it as a priority.
Yeah, we've been over this before (and before that, and before that :)). I don't care whether it's a "game feature" or a "system feature" or a "convenience feature". The difference is semantic and frankly meaningless. What matters is its impact on the user experience.
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