Savepoints in IF

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Arnel Legaspi

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Feb 7, 2006, 9:02:12 AM2/7/06
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Hi,

Not sure if I should have added this to the "Request opinions on IF
idea" thread, but here goes.

Would disallowing Save/Restore actions & creating "savepoints" or
locations in an IF game be acceptable? I haven't exactly encountered
any thread in the R*IF groups when I did a search about it, nor have I
found any recent game that featured this.

(If anyone could direct me to a thread, I'd appreciate it.)

I'm not thinking of implementing something like this in my
still-not-quite-finished WIP, but I thought I'd ask since it might be a
good idea in another IF plot.

Thanks.

--Arnel

Neil Cerutti

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Feb 7, 2006, 9:48:32 AM2/7/06
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On 2006-02-07, Arnel Legaspi <jales...@excite.com> wrote:

> Would disallowing Save/Restore actions & creating "savepoints" or
> locations in an IF game be acceptable? I haven't exactly encountered
> any thread in the R*IF groups when I did a search about it, nor have I
> found any recent game that featured this.

It depends on the game. In a cruel puzzle-fest, it would be
terrible. In a relatively kind, puzzle-light game, it would be merely
annoying.

What advantages over save-anywhere do you see? I can't think of any
that really apply to IF.

--
Neil Cerutti

Michel Nizette

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Feb 7, 2006, 9:37:22 AM2/7/06
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Arnel Legaspi wrote:

>Would disallowing Save/Restore actions & creating "savepoints" or
> locations in an IF game be acceptable?

I don't think I'd like game that doesn't let me save, quite, and switch back
to real-world activities whenever I wish to. In particular, I want to
retain the right to go to sleep exactly when I so decide, and I'd hate a
game that insists on having me solve the next damn brain-twister puzzle late
at night before it finally reaches the next savepoint.

On the other hand, I probably wouldn't mind this too much if your game were
very short, so that starting it all over wouldn't be too much trouble.

> I haven't exactly encountered
> any thread in the R*IF groups when I did a search about it, nor have I
> found any recent game that featured this.

_All Hope Abandon_ creates automatic savepoints, but does *not* disable the
usual save/restore actions. The savepoints are entirely for player's
convenience: they are meant to provide a mechanism for escaping unwinnable
situations even if the player didn't save the game manually at the
appropriate time.

--Michel.


Jan Thorsby

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Feb 7, 2006, 11:50:04 AM2/7/06
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> What advantages over save-anywhere do you see? I can't think of any
> that really apply to IF.

Avoiding "cheating" in random combat perhaps.


Michel Nizette

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Feb 7, 2006, 12:16:32 PM2/7/06
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Jan Thorsby wrote:

A well-designed random combat system wouldn't necessarily be ruined by the
player's ability to save anywhere, though. As a player of the real-time
strategy game _Warcraft III_, I use the save-anywhere feature liberally, but
I never found this to compromise my enjoyment of the game.

--Michel.


NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 7, 2006, 12:29:53 PM2/7/06
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This kind of thing is used a lot in action and horror oriented games as
a means to increase suspense. When you have unlimited access to
save/restore/undo functions there are no truly meaningful in-game
consequences to your actions. Even death is instantly reversible.
That's why survival horror games make so much use of this setup.

There was a discussion on this subject at the Adrift Forum a while back
if anyone is interested:

http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB3/ikonboard.cgi?s=8bc253d115f9d80d4c70bb78b03d2f2a;act=ST;f=1;t=2678;hl=disabling+save+undo

NObodyNOWHERE

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 7, 2006, 3:02:28 PM2/7/06
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Here, NObodyNOWHERE <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
> Jan Thorsby wrote:
> > > What advantages over save-anywhere do you see? I can't think of any
> > > that really apply to IF.
> >
> > Avoiding "cheating" in random combat perhaps.
>
> This kind of thing is used a lot in action and horror oriented games as
> a means to increase suspense. When you have unlimited access to
> save/restore/undo functions there are no truly meaningful in-game
> consequences to your actions.

I don't think that's true in adventure games the way it's true in
action games. In an action game, having to restart from an earlier
save point is a meaningful penalty: you have to play through a part of
the game, which takes effort and skill. It's easier, because you've
practiced, but it's still not quite the same challenge as the first
time: it's still somewhat fun.

In an adventure, restarting from an earlier save point is purely a
*boredom* penalty. You're forcing the player to retype moves. Or,
worse, forcing him to retype moves several times while he waits for
the random events to come out right.

You really, really, really want to think hard before using boredom as
a punishment for your player.

(Contrariwise, a player will still feel the negative consequence of a
bad move, *even if "undo" is available.* A mistake with a do-over is
still a mistake -- if the player is at all engaged with your game.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*
If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a
warrant, it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because of
the Fourth Amendment.

Dan Shiovitz

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Feb 7, 2006, 4:49:34 PM2/7/06
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In article <1139333393.2...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
NObodyNOWHERE <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
[..]

>There was a discussion on this subject at the Adrift Forum a while back
>if anyone is interested:
>
>http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB3/ikonboard.cgi?s=8bc253d115f9d80d4c70bb78b03d2f2a;act=ST;f=1;t=2678;hl=disabling+save+undo

This thread was pretty interesting. I don't have time to do it myself,
but if someone were to post here occasionally with links to good
threads on the ADRIFT forum (or other forums, although I don't know if
there's anything of comparable size) I would be all for it.

>NObodyNOWHERE
--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW

NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 7, 2006, 5:03:11 PM2/7/06
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Andrew Plotkin wrote:

> I don't think that's true in adventure games the way it's true in
> action games. In an action game, having to restart from an earlier
> save point is a meaningful penalty: you have to play through a part of
> the game, which takes effort and skill. It's easier, because you've
> practiced, but it's still not quite the same challenge as the first
> time: it's still somewhat fun.
>
> In an adventure, restarting from an earlier save point is purely a
> *boredom* penalty. You're forcing the player to retype moves. Or,
> worse, forcing him to retype moves several times while he waits for
> the random events to come out right.
>
> You really, really, really want to think hard before using boredom as
> a punishment for your player.
>
> (Contrariwise, a player will still feel the negative consequence of a
> bad move, *even if "undo" is available.* A mistake with a do-over is
> still a mistake -- if the player is at all engaged with your game.)


I don't think "punishment" is the right way to think about this. I'm
not interested in being hostile or in any way corrective towards the
player. The application of the consequence isn't the thing that is
useful, it's the threat. The ideal situation is one in which the player
never (or almost never) has to repeat a stretch of the game at all, but
still will always have in the back of their mind that that possibility
exists. This way, the player might actually care about the outcomes of
their actions.

I agree that boredom and useless repetition are things to avoid, but I
see that as a different design issue. If a game is full of
insta-deaths, timed or random events, or has a severe level of
difficulty then disabling or altering save/restore/undo functions is
clearly going to create trouble, but in a fairly forgiving game the
problem wouldn't come up in the same way. The issue is with tuning of
difficulty, not the lack of player support.


NObodyNOWHERE

David Whyld

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Feb 7, 2006, 5:17:03 PM2/7/06
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NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
> This kind of thing is used a lot in action and horror oriented games as
> a means to increase suspense. When you have unlimited access to
> save/restore/undo functions there are no truly meaningful in-game
> consequences to your actions. Even death is instantly reversible.
> That's why survival horror games make so much use of this setup.
>
> There was a discussion on this subject at the Adrift Forum a while back
> if anyone is interested:
>
> http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB3/ikonboard.cgi?s=8bc253d115f9d80d4c70bb78b03d2f2a;act=ST;f=1;t=2678;hl=disabling+save+undo
>
>
>
> NObodyNOWHERE

I might as well reprint what I said on the Adrift forum because it's
still the way I feel:

"I've never seen the need to make games less user friendly, which is
what disabling save and undo commands would ultimately lead to. People
play text adventures for fun; they play them because they want to.
Stopping the player saving a game is only going to annoy them; stopping
them undoing a wrong move (which might not seem obviously wrong at the
time they do it) is going to annoy them more."

I'm not sure only allowing saves at certain time is a good idea even
out of the IF market. I've recently been playing the Grand Theft Auto
series. Great games. Love playing 'em. But despite my enjoyment of
them, I've recently found myself searching the internet for cheat codes
for them to allow me to solve certain of the missions. Why? Because I
can't save the game during a mission and if I make a mistake - which
happens sooner or later - then I've failed the mission and have to
start all over again. When I've failed the mission twenty times in a
row, I'm ready to put my fist through the screen. Allow me to save
partway through a mission, though...

For me, any IF game that won't allow me to type SAVE any time I want
had better understand QUIT because that'll be the next command I type.

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 7, 2006, 5:23:53 PM2/7/06
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Here, NObodyNOWHERE <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> >
> > In an adventure, restarting from an earlier save point is purely a
> > *boredom* penalty. You're forcing the player to retype moves. Or,
> > worse, forcing him to retype moves several times while he waits for
> > the random events to come out right.
>
> I don't think "punishment" is the right way to think about this. I'm
> not interested in being hostile or in any way corrective towards the
> player. The application of the consequence isn't the thing that is
> useful, it's the threat.

Then threaten to do it, but still leave "undo" available. Shouldn't
that be enough?

> The ideal situation is one in which the player
> never (or almost never) has to repeat a stretch of the game at all, but
> still will always have in the back of their mind that that possibility
> exists. This way, the player might actually care about the outcomes of
> their actions.

You talk as if nobody has ever managed to make the player care about
an IF game.

The thing is, I *don't* care less about the outcome just because I can
"undo" or "restore" out of it. I don't care less because "restart" is
available, and that's *always* available, right? (Because I can always
kill the interpreter and restart it.)

So what's the difference between "restart" and "undo"? The *only*
difference is how tedious it is to recover my lost progress. So, like
it or not, punishment is what you're talking about.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

It's a nice distinction to tell American soldiers (and Iraqis) to die in
Iraq for the sake of democracy (ignoring the question of whether it's
*working*) and then whine that "The Constitution is not a suicide pact."

David Whyld

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Feb 7, 2006, 5:32:50 PM2/7/06
to

Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> >http://www.adrift.org.uk/cgi/iB3/ikonboard.cgi?s=8bc253d115f9d80d4c70bb78b03d2f2a;act=ST;f=1;t=2678;hl=disabling+save+undo
>
> This thread was pretty interesting. I don't have time to do it myself,
> but if someone were to post here occasionally with links to good
> threads on the ADRIFT forum (or other forums, although I don't know if
> there's anything of comparable size) I would be all for it.
>

There was meant to be a Forum Digest or Forum Highlights in the last
issue of the Adrift Newsletter but it never happened for some reason.
Maybe next issue...

NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 7, 2006, 6:26:26 PM2/7/06
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> Then threaten to do it, but still leave "undo" available. Shouldn't
> that be enough?

No. Threats that you can't back up are meaningless and ultimately wreck
your credibility.

> > The ideal situation is one in which the player
> > never (or almost never) has to repeat a stretch of the game at all, but
> > still will always have in the back of their mind that that possibility
> > exists. This way, the player might actually care about the outcomes of
> > their actions.
>
> You talk as if nobody has ever managed to make the player care about
> an IF game.

Not what I'm saying at all. Sorry if that's the impression I was giving
off. I'm only talking about a particular approach that might improve
SOME games. I'm certainly not in the business of mandating what does
and doesn't work in IF in general.

> The thing is, I *don't* care less about the outcome just because I can
> "undo" or "restore" out of it. I don't care less because "restart" is
> available, and that's *always* available, right? (Because I can always
> kill the interpreter and restart it.)

I understand, but I'm not talking about making the player care about
the *ultimate* outcome of the game as a whole. I'm dealing with only
the immediate. Immediacy is what is at issue. It goes without saying
that the player should care about the final outcome of the game, but
that isn't the same thing as caring about what happens to the PC if you
screw up. How many IF games have you played where you really and truly
cared or felt bad when the PC died? I can think of only two, Shrapnel
and Rematch, and both of those have unusual approaches to end-game
situations. There's no reason to care about death or other unwanted
consequences when they can be painlessly and instantly reversed.

> So what's the difference between "restart" and "undo"? The *only*
> difference is how tedious it is to recover my lost progress. So, like
> it or not, punishment is what you're talking about.

This all seems like a strange stance to take when so much IF has been
built around the die-learn-repeat model. Am I to say that Varicella is
needlessly repetitive and an unenjoyable experience because it forces
you to repeat large sections of the game after dying or otherwise
rendering the game unwinnable? Actually, this is *much* less of a
problem with the checkpoint setup I've been discussing. Though the
chance does exist that the player will be forced to replay a segment of
the game, using checkpoints limits forced repetition to bite-sized
chunks rather than massive stretches of game. That doesn't sound that
punishing to me, especially if the difficulty level is set
appropriately.

Really, anything unpleasant can be used as punishment. The intent and
execution change everything, including the definition. People don't
like to have limits placed on them, but they are required for a game to
be a game. My position is that sometimes things that seem annoying can
make a game better, even if it isn't obvious to the person playing.


NObodyNOWHERE

Arnel Legaspi

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Feb 7, 2006, 7:43:39 PM2/7/06
to
Thanks to everyone who replied. I'll file the idea somewhere else then.

I should probably try reloading _All Hope Abandon_, just to see what
Michel was leading on.

Thanks again.

James Mitchelhill

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Feb 7, 2006, 7:52:31 PM2/7/06
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On 7 Feb 2006 15:26:26 -0800, NObodyNOWHERE wrote:

<snip>


>> The thing is, I *don't* care less about the outcome just because I can
>> "undo" or "restore" out of it. I don't care less because "restart" is
>> available, and that's *always* available, right? (Because I can always
>> kill the interpreter and restart it.)
>
> I understand, but I'm not talking about making the player care about
> the *ultimate* outcome of the game as a whole. I'm dealing with only
> the immediate. Immediacy is what is at issue. It goes without saying
> that the player should care about the final outcome of the game, but
> that isn't the same thing as caring about what happens to the PC if you
> screw up.

Disabling undo doesn't make me care about the character - it makes me
annoyed at the hoops the author makes me jump through.

Take a look at reviews of console game to PC conversions (at least from
a few years ago). One of the commonest complaints was the fact that
save-points in the originals were faithfully reproduced on the PC, where
there was no need for them.

> How many IF games have you played where you really and truly
> cared or felt bad when the PC died? I can think of only two, Shrapnel
> and Rematch, and both of those have unusual approaches to end-game
> situations. There's no reason to care about death or other unwanted
> consequences when they can be painlessly and instantly reversed.

The PC's death being a hassle is not a reason to care about the PC.

>> So what's the difference between "restart" and "undo"? The *only*
>> difference is how tedious it is to recover my lost progress. So, like
>> it or not, punishment is what you're talking about.
>
> This all seems like a strange stance to take when so much IF has been
> built around the die-learn-repeat model. Am I to say that Varicella is
> needlessly repetitive and an unenjoyable experience because it forces
> you to repeat large sections of the game after dying or otherwise
> rendering the game unwinnable?

Varicella specifically included commands to make automatically replaying
sections of the game *much* easier, IIRC.

> Actually, this is *much* less of a
> problem with the checkpoint setup I've been discussing. Though the
> chance does exist that the player will be forced to replay a segment of
> the game, using checkpoints limits forced repetition to bite-sized
> chunks rather than massive stretches of game. That doesn't sound that
> punishing to me, especially if the difficulty level is set
> appropriately.

The only situation I'd consider disabling save/undo would be in a game
with *many* branching paths and no one winning solution - and this would
be to dissuade the player from trying to find the "winning" ending.

> Really, anything unpleasant can be used as punishment. The intent and
> execution change everything, including the definition. People don't
> like to have limits placed on them, but they are required for a game to
> be a game. My position is that sometimes things that seem annoying can
> make a game better, even if it isn't obvious to the person playing.

You seem to be trying to acheive a plot-effect (impact of PC's death),
but envisioning this as a game-effect (making the game more fun). In an
action game, making me replay part of a level forces me to use skills I
have learnt as part of that game. In IF, it makes me retype some
commands. There's an important difference.

--
James Mitchelhill
ja...@disorderfeed.net
http://disorderfeed.net

Greg Boettcher

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Feb 7, 2006, 8:35:56 PM2/7/06
to
James Mitchelhill wrote:
> > Really, anything unpleasant can be used as punishment. The intent and
> > execution change everything, including the definition. People don't
> > like to have limits placed on them, but they are required for a game to
> > be a game. My position is that sometimes things that seem annoying can
> > make a game better, even if it isn't obvious to the person playing.
>
> You seem to be trying to acheive a plot-effect (impact of PC's death),
> but envisioning this as a game-effect (making the game more fun). In an
> action game, making me replay part of a level forces me to use skills I
> have learnt as part of that game. In IF, it makes me retype some
> commands. There's an important difference.

Just a question for you and Andrew Plotkin. Are you familiar with
Beyond Zork? It contained randomized combat, and it did not allow undo
or save while in combat. (That is, if you played it as intended, with
the interpreter that came with the game.) Infocom's designers agreed
that permitting the player to save or undo while in a randomized combat
situation defeats the purpose of the combat.

You might say, yeah, but I don't like randomized combat, and I *want*
to defeat the whole purpose of it. That's a fair response. Most people
here seem not to like randomized combat. Personally, I don't have any
special liking of it (although I'm not vehemently against it either).

But argue against randomized combat, then. Don't argue against the game
design methods without which its whole purpose is defeated.

Greg

NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 7, 2006, 9:12:55 PM2/7/06
to
James Mitchelhill wrote:

> Disabling undo doesn't make me care about the character - it makes me
> annoyed at the hoops the author makes me jump through.
>
> Take a look at reviews of console game to PC conversions (at least from
> a few years ago). One of the commonest complaints was the fact that
> save-points in the originals were faithfully reproduced on the PC, where
> there was no need for them.

I wholeheartedly agree. It's an annoying situation. I myself have
complained about it often in the past. I also recognize though that
those save-points also have positively impacted my overall enjoyment of
some games, even though I may have done quite a lot of grumbling about
them at the time.

> > How many IF games have you played where you really and truly
> > cared or felt bad when the PC died? I can think of only two, Shrapnel
> > and Rematch, and both of those have unusual approaches to end-game
> > situations. There's no reason to care about death or other unwanted
> > consequences when they can be painlessly and instantly reversed.
>
> The PC's death being a hassle is not a reason to care about the PC.

No, it's not (and yet sometimes it works anyway). That's something that
quality writing will take care of (hopefully), but that's not what I
said. The point is to give the player an immediate reason to care about
the *consequences* of the decisions they make. IF has a built-in
ability to generate anticipation for what is coming on the next turn,
but under normal circumstances very limited means to generate fear or
apprehension (from a game standpoint, not story-wise). Please remember
that the game I was originally discussing as potentially benefitting
from this setup was a horror/suspense game. I'm pitching this as
something that could work only in special instances. Obviously this
won't be useful at all in the great majority of games.

> > This all seems like a strange stance to take when so much IF has been
> > built around the die-learn-repeat model. Am I to say that Varicella is
> > needlessly repetitive and an unenjoyable experience because it forces
> > you to repeat large sections of the game after dying or otherwise
> > rendering the game unwinnable?
>
> Varicella specifically included commands to make automatically replaying
> sections of the game *much* easier, IIRC.

Easier, yes. That doesn't make it easy or altogether convenient though.
Even if steps were taken to minimize player frustration as much as
possible, you're still going to have to replay parts of the game over
and again. But anyway, that doesn't change the point that this setup is
a common thing in IF. I don't see why it can be acceptable in one form,
but is automatically a dealbreaker in another.

> The only situation I'd consider disabling save/undo would be in a game
> with *many* branching paths and no one winning solution - and this would
> be to dissuade the player from trying to find the "winning" ending.

This is an interesting thought. I've been kicking around plans for a
little non-game that sounds something like this.

> You seem to be trying to acheive a plot-effect (impact of PC's death),
> but envisioning this as a game-effect (making the game more fun). In an
> action game, making me replay part of a level forces me to use skills I
> have learnt as part of that game. In IF, it makes me retype some
> commands. There's an important difference.

Again, this is a total non-issue if the player doesn't die in the first
place. The idea is NOT to have you replay anything. It's enough to know
that the possibility exists. If a scene/puzzle is overly difficult and
the previous save-point poorly placed, then that's a case of poor
design. Just like any other trick of implementation or writing, this
type of save system can be used badly.

I'm not saying this is a sure bet, but just because it's problematic
doesn't mean that under no circumstances would it be effective.


NObodyNOWHERE

Samwyse

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Feb 7, 2006, 10:32:22 PM2/7/06
to
Michel Nizette wrote:

> On the other hand, I probably wouldn't mind this too much if your game were
> very short, so that starting it all over wouldn't be too much trouble.

Which leads me to ask, did anyone save intermediate positions in
Endgame? It usually only took a dozen or so moves to get killed and
have to start over.

Andrew Plotkin

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Feb 8, 2006, 1:28:11 AM2/8/06
to
Here, Greg Boettcher <WRITET...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
> James Mitchelhill wrote:

> > You seem to be trying to acheive a plot-effect (impact of PC's death),
> > but envisioning this as a game-effect (making the game more fun). In an
> > action game, making me replay part of a level forces me to use skills I
> > have learnt as part of that game. In IF, it makes me retype some
> > commands. There's an important difference.
>
> Just a question for you and Andrew Plotkin. Are you familiar with
> Beyond Zork?

Sure.

> It contained randomized combat, and it did not allow undo
> or save while in combat. (That is, if you played it as intended, with
> the interpreter that came with the game.) Infocom's designers agreed
> that permitting the player to save or undo while in a randomized combat
> situation defeats the purpose of the combat.

They thought that, but the game demonstrates that they were being
boneheads.

In fact, permitting save/undo does not *defeat* the purpose of the
combat; it *reveals* the *purposelessness* of (that model of) IF
combat. Blocking the commands, unfortunately, fails to *conceal* that
purposelessness. It just drags out a non-successful part of the
gameplay.

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't subjected you to searches without a warrant,

it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're innocent.

Yaron

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Feb 8, 2006, 5:13:10 AM2/8/06
to
> The only situation I'd consider disabling save/undo would be in a game
> with *many* branching paths and no one winning solution - and this would
> be to dissuade the player from trying to find the "winning" ending.

I noticed this when I was playing Emily Short's Galatea. I didn't save
at all (because each play-through is so short), but I did use undo
quite liberaly. In one sense it was a good thing, because it
encouraged me to experiment. On the other hand, it did slightly
reframe the experience in my mind: a little less of a conversation I'm
engaged in, a little more of a state machine whose states I have to
explore.

I did notice something strange, though: in Galatea, you can never undo
twice in a row. I don't know if this was a deliberate design choice,
or just a side effect of the complexity of the game, but I feel it did
enhance my enjoyment of the work, preventing that 'state machine'
mentality from taking over.

Yaron

Michel Nizette

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Feb 8, 2006, 2:54:56 PM2/8/06
to
Arnel Legaspi wrote:

> I should probably try reloading _All Hope Abandon_, just to see what
> Michel was leading on.

Type "features" at the command prompt, then from the menu choose "All Hope
Abandon Interface Features," then "Retry (recovering from sub-optimal
endings)." There, Eric explains how it works. If you have any interest in
TADS 3, you might also have a look at my Autosave extension (available from
the IF Archive), which Eric used to achieve that.

--Michel.

Samwyse

unread,
Feb 8, 2006, 6:49:08 AM2/8/06
to
Yaron wrote:

> I did notice something strange, though: in Galatea, you can never undo
> twice in a row. I don't know if this was a deliberate design choice,
> or just a side effect of the complexity of the game, but I feel it did
> enhance my enjoyment of the work, preventing that 'state machine'
> mentality from taking over.

Unless I'm missing something by not firing up the game and checking,
that's a feature of the 'terp, reflected in the library. The Z-machine
allows an in-memory save-game feature used to implement UNDO, but
there's only one instance of the saved game; each turn's snapshot
overwrites the previous one. So, there's only one snapshot to UNDO to,
and the effect is something like this:

Game state "A".
> DO THIS
Game state "B".
> DO THAT
Game state "C".
> UNDO
Game state "B".
> UNDO
Game state "B".
> UNDO
Game state "B".

Message has been deleted

Greg Boettcher

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Feb 8, 2006, 12:35:33 PM2/8/06
to
Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> Here, Greg Boettcher <WRITET...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
> > Just a question for you and Andrew Plotkin. Are you familiar with
> > Beyond Zork?
>
> Sure.
>
> > It contained randomized combat, and it did not allow undo
> > or save while in combat. (That is, if you played it as intended, with
> > the interpreter that came with the game.) Infocom's designers agreed
> > that permitting the player to save or undo while in a randomized combat
> > situation defeats the purpose of the combat.
>
> They thought that, but the game demonstrates that they were being
> boneheads.
>
> In fact, permitting save/undo does not *defeat* the purpose of the
> combat; it *reveals* the *purposelessness* of (that model of) IF
> combat. Blocking the commands, unfortunately, fails to *conceal* that
> purposelessness. It just drags out a non-successful part of the
> gameplay.

Some would say that this is a matter of opinion.

Let me put it this way. Suppose there's a new author who's ready to
write a game every bit as good as Fallacy of Dawn. The way the author
sees it, randomized combat is essential to his game. But then this
author reads these newsgroups and gets the impression that, in the
opinion of the IF community, randomized combat is entirely purposeless.
He loses all his enthusiasm and decides maybe he shouldn't write the
next Fallacy of Dawn after all. Is that a good thing?

I'm not big on RPGs, but they're very popular. Would an IF RPG* be bad
ipso facto?

You might say yes, but I'm certain not everyone here will agree with
you.

Greg (who is very nearly ready to abstain from all IF theory
discussions in the future)

* If this is an oxymoron to you, translate it as "RPG text adventure
game."

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Feb 8, 2006, 3:51:02 PM2/8/06
to
On Wed, 8 Feb 2006 11:29:55 -0500 (EST), Poster
<Poster-...@aurora.cotse.net.invalid> wrote:
>Arnel Legaspi wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> Not sure if I should have added this to the "Request opinions on IF
>> idea" thread, but here goes.
>>
>> Would disallowing Save/Restore actions & creating "savepoints" or
>> locations in an IF game be acceptable? I haven't exactly encountered
>> any thread in the R*IF groups when I did a search about it, nor have I
>> found any recent game that featured this.
>
>Hi. Have you ever played any of the Metroid games? I have and generally
>enjoy them, except for one thing -- the savepoints. They are almost
>always set up to make the game frustratingly difficult. How so?

Hm. I was about to disagree with you, but I'm not so sure now.

As Zarf has so often said, one of the reasons we accept savepoints in
action games is that, at least in a nebulous theorhetic way, if you
die, it means you weren't ready to face the thing that killed you.
Forcing you to go back to the savepoint is a way of saying "You're not
ready, go back this far and practice some more." This mechanic
doesn't work as well in a game based on puzzles, because you are not
"training" -- once you've solved a puzzle, solving *the same* again does not
make you better at it. Instead, the savepoint becomes a sort of "You
failed. As punishment, you must mechanically replay the thing you just
did. Fighting my way through the intermediate room-o-minions again really
might make me better able to handle the boss fight at the other end.
But solving that damned slider puzzle again is *not* going to make me
any better equipped to solve the disarm-the-nuclear-bomb puzzle at the
other end.

That said, this kind of setup is *ideal*, and I can definately see how
an action game may fail to realize it. And I can see some definate
signs that the Metroid series sometimes does fail in this respect.

>
>1) The player gets into an "endless loop scenarios". Say that you have
>10 health and you make it to the savepoint. When you restore, you don't
>have enough life to make it to the next savepoint. But you only figure
>this out after having restored and gone forward ten times. You have to
>start from the previous savepoint or from the beginning of the level or
>the game.
>

This bit I generally disagree with. Perhaps I'm playing in a
degenerate paradigm, but when I play one of these games, I go through
two different phases. WHen I find a new savepoint, my inclination is
to stay close to it, building up supplies and resources, and
methodically exploring the area in a sort of geometric pattern around
the savepoint. I start by making only very short forays from the save
point, then go farther, then farther. At some point, I satisfy myself
that I've made a full exploration of the surrounding area, then go on
a mad and risky dash to find the next savepoint. Personally, I think
this is the paradigm the game designers had in mind, because I think
it fits well with the tone of the game.

Also, from a purely mechanical standpoint, in Metroid, the save points
also restore your health (at least, in the Prime series. I think in
Metroid 2, they don't but they're almost always very close to an
recharge station).

>2) The fear that you'll lose all the progress you've made because a
>savepoint is nowhere around. This produces anxiety in at least one
>player (moi).
>

I found this to be true primarily when dealing with the bosses. I
think it was near the bosses that the Metroid save-point system was
weakest. I recall one particular boss where solving the last puzzle
to unlock the boss's room also cut off your access to the save point
until the boss was vanquished. This was a particularly annoying scene
for me, because of the way the metroid bosses worked; each boss had a
"trick", and until you worked out the trisk, the boss was effectively
indestructable. This was not so bad on its own, but even when you
knew *what* to do, the maneuver was still ridiculously difficult to
pull off, and you needed to pull it off five or six times before your
health was exhausted. So this section of the game became a very
mechanical "Solve the puzzle. Slog your way through the trek to the
boss's lair. Try to employ the trick against the boss. Succeed, but
not without taking so much damage in the process that you die before
it does. Repeat."

The paradigm of "go back and practice some more" really broke down
here, precisely because there was a trick to beating the boss; the
thing you had to get good at was a skill that could only be employed
against the boss itself, so the replay did not give you a chance to
improve the skill you needed.

>3) The ability to experiment without much pain disappears entirely. This
>will make players more cautious and paranoid. It also seriously
>decreases the fun in the game if you make a wrong move and have to play
>from 20 rooms ago, or worse, the beginning.
>

I found that the game encouraged experimentation in enough other ways
that this was not an issue. However, the importance of scanning
everything did add a "mechanical" aspect to replaying.

I think that the main reason the savepoint system in Metroid became
sub-optimal was, in fact, because the game added so many adventure
elements. Had it simply been "fight your way through rooms of big
creepy crawlies", none of this would have been an issue.

But here was have it: the savepoint system is not well-suited for
adventure elements in games.

That said, I think that Metroid fused the elements of action and
adventure as well as anything I have ever seen. Infuriating though
they were, those boss battles were true "action puzzles" -- a scenario
where you had to solve the *puzzle* (work out how to hurt the boss),
but you still needed to develop an action-skill to do it (be
physically able to implement the solution). The failing I saw in this
was that each boss's "trick" was a one-off skill, and not something
you could usefully employ elsewhere in the game.

Andrew Plotkin

unread,
Feb 8, 2006, 4:00:16 PM2/8/06
to
Here, Greg Boettcher <WRITET...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
> Andrew Plotkin wrote:
> >
> > In fact, permitting save/undo does not *defeat* the purpose of the
> > combat; it *reveals* the *purposelessness* of (that model of) IF
> > combat. Blocking the commands, unfortunately, fails to *conceal* that
> > purposelessness. It just drags out a non-successful part of the
> > gameplay.
>
> Some would say that this is a matter of opinion.

Others would opine that it is a matter of fact. :)



> Let me put it this way. Suppose there's a new author who's ready to
> write a game every bit as good as Fallacy of Dawn. The way the author
> sees it, randomized combat is essential to his game.

Assuming your conclusion, aren't you? By my lights, the author has a
game-design problem, but he doesn't see it.

Now, if he's come up with a way to make it not *be* a flaw, that's
great. And if I'm wrong in the first place, and it never was a flaw,
that's also great. But in either of those cases, this author should be
able to read this thread and explain what I've overlooked.

> I'm not big on RPGs, but they're very popular. Would an IF RPG* be bad
> ipso facto?

I've enjoyed an RPG now and then. RPGs operate on a very different
principle from adventure games. The things you do are different; the
fun comes from a different experience.

(Note that RPGs consistently use menu-driven interfaces, and nobody
argues that this ruins the gameplay in any way!)

I don't know what an "IF RPG" *is*. (Not "RPG text adventure game"
either.)

(I presume we are not talking about a game that switches back and
forth between RPG-style scenes and adventure-style scenes. If so,
you're probably justified in swapping the whole interface out -- or
else take the more common route, and design an adventure-style
experience that doesn't use a text parser. Nearly all CRPGs that I see
these days have a few graphical-adventure or 3D-environment puzzles.)

--Z

--
"And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these were the borogoves..."
*

If the Bush administration hasn't shipped you to Syria for interrogation,
it's for one reason: they don't feel like it. Not because you're patriotic.

Boluc Papuccuoglu

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Feb 9, 2006, 2:48:17 AM2/9/06
to

Not just random combat. For example, Spellbreaker disabled saves
during the cube weighing puzzle to preven trial and error solutions.

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 3:57:44 AM2/9/06
to

Was there anything to prevent the player saving the game immediately
before the puzzle?

solar penguin

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 4:49:33 AM2/9/06
to

Boluc Papuccuoglu wrote:

> Spellbreaker disabled saves
> during the cube weighing puzzle to preven trial and error solutions.
>

Avon did "spoiled" saves during the casket puzzles to prevent trail and
error solutions. You'd *think* the game had saved successfully, but
when you restored it the caskets would be in an unwinnable state.

--
___ _ ___ _
/ __| ___ | | __ _ _ _ | _ \ ___ _ _ __ _ _ _ (_) _ _
\__ \/ _ \| |/ _` || '_| | _// -_)| ' \ / _` || || || || ' \
|___/\___/|_|\__,_||_| |_| \___||_||_|\__, | \_,_||_||_||_|
|___/
http://www.freewebs.com/solar_penguin/

** I'd rather not have permitted you to marry a 13 year old? That's why
it's a private message for him.

** Cirdan was a demon who moved through the air freshner of order over
the course of history.


Boluc Papuccuoglu

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 7:05:53 AM2/9/06
to

I think the way it was implemented was this: the parser pretended to
interpret the "SAVE" command as a spell, and if you tried to "cast"
"SAVE" in the bank vault, a security fairy popped into existence and
said something like "sorry, that spell does not work here" or
somesuch. I don't know whether it was impossible to leave the vault or
the cubes got scrambled each time you entered, but it worked fine.
Anyway, Spellbreaker was a VERY unforgiving game.

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 7:30:21 AM2/9/06
to

solar penguin wrote:
> Boluc Papuccuoglu wrote:
>
> > Spellbreaker disabled saves
> > during the cube weighing puzzle to preven trial and error solutions.
> >
>
> Avon did "spoiled" saves during the casket puzzles to prevent trail and
> error solutions. You'd *think* the game had saved successfully, but
> when you restored it the caskets would be in an unwinnable state.
>

What a terrible idea. If I came across that kind of thing in a game,
I'd delete it a second later.

NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 9, 2006, 8:25:42 AM2/9/06
to

And yet Spellbreaker is often regarded as a classic, even by modern
standards.

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 8:58:13 AM2/9/06
to

I've never played it actually, but people were a lot more forgiving
back then for the unfairness in games. Ever play The Hobbit? I have. I
died several times through no fault of my own because a vital NPC had
wandered off and got himself killed. I died several other times because
of the game's random combat system killing me off for a single move
which might have left me unscathed any other time. But I loved the game
at the time.

Try that sort of thing these days, though, and people would quit your
game in droves.

Neil Cerutti

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 9:56:17 AM2/9/06
to
On 2006-02-08, L. Ross Raszewski <lrasz...@loyola.edu> wrote:
> On Wed, 8 Feb 2006 11:29:55 -0500 (EST), Poster
><Poster-...@aurora.cotse.net.invalid> wrote:
>>Arnel Legaspi wrote:
>>
>>Hi. Have you ever played any of the Metroid games? I have and
>>generally enjoy them, except for one thing -- the savepoints. They
>>are almost always set up to make the game frustratingly
>>difficult. How so?
>
> Hm. I was about to disagree with you, but I'm not so sure now.
>
> Also, from a purely mechanical standpoint, in Metroid, the save points
> also restore your health (at least, in the Prime series. I think in
> Metroid 2, they don't but they're almost always very close to an
> recharge station).

In the Metroid I remember (I haven't bought a console in a long, long
time), you had to write down a code once you got to a save point. It
was generally a major cause for celebration. There was also some
encouragement to keep playing, since entering codes with the paddle
was a pain.

The save-point system only became truly annoying when placed right
after a particularly difficult jump. Near the beginning there's a
large vertical tunnel you have to jump up, from platform to
platform. After a while, this gets to be extremely easy--except for
this one jump near the save-point that requires completely perfect
timing, unlike the previous section. It did function as a strong
incentive to write down that code and never, ever, ever have to jump
up that tunnel again.

Kid Icarus was exactly the same style of game. If I recall, KI was a
heck of a lot crueler than Metroid.

> The paradigm of "go back and practice some more" really broke down
> here, precisely because there was a trick to beating the boss; the
> thing you had to get good at was a skill that could only be employed
> against the boss itself, so the replay did not give you a chance to
> improve the skill you needed.

Yes! That's just the kind of thing I was thinking of. Later games
realized this problem, and let you save just before the boss battle,
e.g., Sonic the Hedgehog.

> But here was have it: the savepoint system is not well-suited for
> adventure elements in games.

Yep.

--
Neil Cerutti
The doctors X-rayed my head and found nothing. --Dizzy Dean

NObodyNOWHERE

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 10:34:54 AM2/9/06
to

David Whyld wrote:

> > And yet Spellbreaker is often regarded as a classic, even by modern
> > standards.
>
> I've never played it actually, but people were a lot more forgiving
> back then for the unfairness in games. Ever play The Hobbit? I have. I
> died several times through no fault of my own because a vital NPC had
> wandered off and got himself killed. I died several other times because
> of the game's random combat system killing me off for a single move
> which might have left me unscathed any other time. But I loved the game
> at the time.
>
> Try that sort of thing these days, though, and people would quit your
> game in droves.

I don't know anything about The Hobbit so I can't comment on that game
in particular, but generally I disagree. Players have always disliked
unfairness in games, but difficult does not equal unfair. Provided
there's internal consistency and logical application of challenges, in
puzzles or restrictions of game functions or whatever, people are
usually willing to deal with difficulty in (quality) games. There's
nothing in most of what has been discussed so far that could truly be
called unfair, in my estimation at least. It seems more a question of
preference...and certainly players these days seem to prefer easier
games, be they IF or otherwise, but that doesn't mean that a writer has
to only cater to the least common denominator. If we cared only about
mass appeal we wouldn't be writing IF at all.

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 10:45:13 AM2/9/06
to
On 9 Feb 2006 15:56:17 +0100, Neil Cerutti <lead...@email.com> wrote:
>
>In the Metroid I remember (I haven't bought a console in a long, long
>time), you had to write down a code once you got to a save point. It
>was generally a major cause for celebration. There was also some
>encouragement to keep playing, since entering codes with the paddle
>was a pain.

You're sort of combining two half-memories of the mechanics in
different incarnations of the franchise.

In the original (US release) Metroid, you received a code every time
you *died*. The code reflected the exact state of upgrades and
power-ups you'd received and which of the game's four or so major
regions you were in. You'd restart the game with the all the relevant
stately-things still in place (Namely, which weapons and equipment you
had, how many energy tanks and missiles, and which of the bosses you'd
beaten), with 30 health (this was a bit of an annoyance later in the
game), at the entry point to whichever major region you'd last been
in. (The original disc-based release worked, I think, the same way,
but it provided you with a saved game rather than a code).

In all the later incarnations of the franchise, you saved the game by
entering save stations, which recorded your exact location and state.
You'd restart from the last save station you'd visited, and codes were
not required. In the Prime series, using a save station also fully
recharged your health. It's been rather a long time, so I'm not sure
if that part also happened in Metroid 2-4. I suspect that Metroid 2
restarted you with however much health you'd had when you saved, but I
think by Metroid 4 you got a full recharge (Also, since Metroid 4 and
Metroid Prime were developed concurrently, and since the Prime series
is a prequel to Metroid 2, it's difficult to draw conclusions about
the evolution of the franchise.)

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 11:21:37 AM2/9/06
to

NObodyNOWHERE wrote:

> I don't know anything about The Hobbit so I can't comment on that game
> in particular, but generally I disagree. Players have always disliked
> unfairness in games, but difficult does not equal unfair. Provided
> there's internal consistency and logical application of challenges, in
> puzzles or restrictions of game functions or whatever, people are
> usually willing to deal with difficulty in (quality) games.

Ah, but The Hobbit wasn't fair. Not by a long shot. You could fail the
game by doing nothing wrong if a vital NPC wandered away from you
(which you had no control over) and got himself killed. And the combat
system was never consistent. You could try a move that worked fine one
time and the next it would leave you dead on the ground. There was
never any way of knowing from one play to the next whether a move would
work until you tried it.

Unfair and inconsistent as hell. But a great game and people loved
playing it.

NObodyNOWHERE

unread,
Feb 9, 2006, 12:28:55 PM2/9/06
to

Like I said, I never played it. I'm speaking in general terms. Great,
the enjoyable elements of The Hobbit outweigh the unfair stuff. That's
the exception and not the rule though (I wouldn't have played the
thing, personally). And anyway, the point was that modifying
save/restore/undo functions *isn't* unfair. Annoying, maybe, but not
unfair.

Message has been deleted

Robb Sherwin

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Feb 10, 2006, 1:41:00 AM2/10/06
to
On Wed, 8 Feb 2006 21:00:16 +0000 (UTC), Andrew Plotkin
><erky...@eblong.com> wrote:
>>Here, Greg Boettcher <WRITET...@gregboettcher.com> wrote:
>> Let me put it this way. Suppose there's a new author who's ready to
>> write a game every bit as good as Fallacy of Dawn. The way the author
>> sees it, randomized combat is essential to his game.
>
>Assuming your conclusion, aren't you? By my lights, the author has a
>game-design problem, but he doesn't see it.
>
>Now, if he's come up with a way to make it not *be* a flaw, that's
>great. And if I'm wrong in the first place, and it never was a flaw,
>that's also great. But in either of those cases, this author should be
>able to read this thread and explain what I've overlooked.

Hey, I can do that! =)

In the aforementioned Fallacy of Dawn I wanted the player to feel like
he or she could start a fight with (almost) any character at any time.
It just lent to the genre and amount of player freedom I wanted to
create for that game. At first the fighting is done with >hit but soon
he or she acquires an electric stun pistol.

Blasting away freely wasn't something that I could really recall
taking place in an IF game before, at least with the player having a
puncher's chance to succeed. I wanted to give the player a small
chance to incapacitate / overcome the NPCs in the game by shooting
them in face, even though it would be rare for the player to succeed
that way. I hoped that the writing would indicate when shooting
someone *was* appropriate and then follow it up with combat being
brief. But otherwise, I was trying to nudge the player into taking a
different, puzzle-based course of action to really progress further.

At any rate, the more puzzles the player solved and the more bad guys
the player brought down, the better his character became at fighting,
The bad guys don't get any more powerful, though, and that goes back
to your earlier point about action games essentially 'telling' you
that you're not quite ready for the fight you're about to partake in
when you get creamed. By quietly "leveling up" the PC throughout the
game, the outcome of a given fight is less in doubt when there's more
gunplay towards the very end, to where it's not very random at all
because the PC is so buffed.

(Hopefully.)

I guess, to sum it all up... it's my take that randomized combat isn't
so bad when it's not all that random.

-- Robb


=-=-=-=-=-
Robb Sherwin, Longmont CO
http://www.joltcountry.com/phpBB2

Yaron

unread,
Feb 10, 2006, 6:16:08 AM2/10/06
to
You may well be right. In that case, Emily did the right thing by
explicitly telling the player further UNDOs are impossible.
As for the impossibility itself, intended or not, it served to enhance
my experience.

ems...@mindspring.com

unread,
Feb 10, 2006, 2:25:38 PM2/10/06
to

While I'm glad this worked out for you, I didn't do anything at all
intentional here: this is the default behavior that arises from a)
Inform's library combined with b) some interpreters. Other interpreters
would allow you multiple turns of UNDO as an extra feature separate
from the z-machine per se.

I'm not even sure whether it is possible for an author to override
interpreter-level UNDO, for that matter.

Richard Bos

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Feb 10, 2006, 5:55:02 PM2/10/06
to
"NObodyNOWHERE" <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:

There's a difference between telling you that you can't save in a
particular section (which is annoying, but in some cases - _not_, I
might add, related to random combat - forgivable) and lying to the
player about something as essential as a succeeded save.
What if you had "saved the game" (but been lied to) during that puzzle;
made a mistake some time _after_ that puzzle; and wanted to restore to
that saved state, only to find that, unbeknownst to you, that save point
was invalid and you don't just have to go back to _that_ puzzle, but to
three puzzles before...

Yes, I rather think I agree with David here.

Richard

NObodyNOWHERE

unread,
Feb 10, 2006, 7:20:40 PM2/10/06
to
Richard Bos wrote:
> There's a difference between telling you that you can't save in a
> particular section (which is annoying, but in some cases - _not_, I
> might add, related to random combat - forgivable) and lying to the
> player about something as essential as a succeeded save.
> What if you had "saved the game" (but been lied to) during that puzzle;
> made a mistake some time _after_ that puzzle; and wanted to restore to
> that saved state, only to find that, unbeknownst to you, that save point
> was invalid and you don't just have to go back to _that_ puzzle, but to
> three puzzles before...
>
> Yes, I rather think I agree with David here.

I certainly won't disagree with you. That isn't something I would have
chosen as an answer to that design problem either. What I was pointing
out was that the game isn't critically flawed and unplayable with that
feature included, but is in fact very highly regarded - even using
today's standards. We have people saying that modification of
save/restore/undo functions is an automatic dealbreaker. I dislike the
proscriptive tone of a lot of this sort of talk. People (not referring
to anyone specifically) talk a good game about wanting growth in the
medium and new ideas, but then say they won't even allow for the
possibility of something being used in a new way that might be
effective. I've said from the beginning that I wouldn't want to see
things like this used the vast majority of the time, for random combat
or whatever, but that doesn't mean it can't ever be done well.

...An idea flies overhead...

<sound of machine gun fire>


--

NObodyNOWHERE

David Whyld

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Feb 10, 2006, 7:36:16 PM2/10/06
to

Richard Bos wrote:

> There's a difference between telling you that you can't save in a
> particular section (which is annoying, but in some cases - _not_, I
> might add, related to random combat - forgivable) and lying to the
> player about something as essential as a succeeded save.
> What if you had "saved the game" (but been lied to) during that puzzle;
> made a mistake some time _after_ that puzzle; and wanted to restore to
> that saved state, only to find that, unbeknownst to you, that save point
> was invalid and you don't just have to go back to _that_ puzzle, but to
> three puzzles before...
>
> Yes, I rather think I agree with David here.
>
> Richard

Or, worse still, you don't even realise your save game has been
rendered unfinishable and just spend the rest of your life trying to
finish a game that *can't* be finished.

David Whyld

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Feb 10, 2006, 7:40:07 PM2/10/06
to

NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
>
> I dislike the
> proscriptive tone of a lot of this sort of talk. People (not referring
> to anyone specifically) talk a good game about wanting growth in the
> medium and new ideas, but then say they won't even allow for the
> possibility of something being used in a new way that might be
> effective. I've said from the beginning that I wouldn't want to see
> things like this used the vast majority of the time, for random combat
> or whatever, but that doesn't mean it can't ever be done well.
>

There's a big difference between using a new idea that might make the
game more enjoyable to play, and disabling saves (or allowing them but
corrupting the game as a result). The first is good; the second isn't.

I'm all in favour of ways to add new and exciting elements into a game
but not at the expense of alienating the very people the game is aimed
at.

Dan Shiovitz

unread,
Feb 10, 2006, 11:07:13 PM2/10/06
to
In article <1139617240.0...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,
NObodyNOWHERE <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:
[..]

>today's standards. We have people saying that modification of
>save/restore/undo functions is an automatic dealbreaker. I dislike the
>proscriptive tone of a lot of this sort of talk. People (not referring
>to anyone specifically) talk a good game about wanting growth in the
>medium and new ideas, but then say they won't even allow for the
>possibility of something being used in a new way that might be
>effective. I've said from the beginning that I wouldn't want to see
>things like this used the vast majority of the time, for random combat
>or whatever, but that doesn't mean it can't ever be done well.

Yeah, sure, there's some justice to this. On the other hand, given
that, except for Spellbreaker, all we've been talking about is
hypotheticals, people are naturally going to be a little more
absolutist in their language. I don't think anyone here would really
never ever play a game that disabled undo, and of course it'll depend
on the rest of the game and why undo is disabled, and maybe the author
has something really clever in mind. But on the other hand, I can't
think of any games I've actually played where not having undo adds
anything, so if you ask me for my opinion on disabling undo, naturally
I'm going to say it's a dumb idea.

In theory-of-craft dicussions like this, it's usually worth assuming
everyone means to add "But if the game is really well done, forget all
my criticism, and if it's really badly done, forget all my
compliments.", and take the discussion on the newsgroup primarily as a
measure of *how much* you're giving up or getting with a particular
feature, and then you can decide if it's worth it.

>NObodyNOWHERE
--
Dan Shiovitz :: d...@cs.wisc.edu :: http://www.drizzle.com/~dans
"He settled down to dictate a letter to the Consolidated Nailfile and
Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation of Scranton, Pa., which would make them
realize that life is stern and earnest and Nailfile and Eyebrow Tweezer
Corporations are not put in this world for pleasure alone." -PGW

NObodyNOWHERE

unread,
Feb 12, 2006, 2:58:27 AM2/12/06
to
David Whyld wrote:
> NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
> >
> > I dislike the
> > proscriptive tone of a lot of this sort of talk. People (not referring
> > to anyone specifically) talk a good game about wanting growth in the
> > medium and new ideas, but then say they won't even allow for the
> > possibility of something being used in a new way that might be
> > effective. I've said from the beginning that I wouldn't want to see
> > things like this used the vast majority of the time, for random combat
> > or whatever, but that doesn't mean it can't ever be done well.
> >
> There's a big difference between using a new idea that might make the
> game more enjoyable to play, and disabling saves (or allowing them but
> corrupting the game as a result). The first is good; the second isn't.
>
> I'm all in favour of ways to add new and exciting elements into a game
> but not at the expense of alienating the very people the game is aimed
> at.

Thanks for illustrating my point so well there, David. It's very
helpful of you.


Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> Yeah, sure, there's some justice to this. On the other hand, given
> that, except for Spellbreaker, all we've been talking about is
> hypotheticals, people are naturally going to be a little more
> absolutist in their language. I don't think anyone here would really
> never ever play a game that disabled undo, and of course it'll depend
> on the rest of the game and why undo is disabled, and maybe the author
> has something really clever in mind. But on the other hand, I can't
> think of any games I've actually played where not having undo adds
> anything, so if you ask me for my opinion on disabling undo, naturally
> I'm going to say it's a dumb idea.

All the more reason to be open-minded, I'd say. If we had seen a
million attempts at doing this that completely derailed the games in
question, then I'd be able to accept everyone being a little jaded. I
certainly hope that people wouldn't bail out on what might be a worthy
effort just because they see this approach being used, but some have
said outright that they would. Why is it reasonable to automatically
dismiss something that hasn't even been attempted before? The only
complaint that I've heard consistently has been that it would be
annoying. Then when I've asked what it would be like if that (almost)
never became an issue, no one has had any response. It baffles me when
there's willingness to obsess over why something won't work, but when
given a counter-example that might, there's no discussion on how it
could.

I don't think it's a perfect solution, but I do think there's some
potential good that can come out of restricting the way in which a game
can be played. Just because players are accustomed to having certain
abilities available doesn't mean that they are "entitled" to them. Some
conveniences can absolutely run counter to the aims of the writer.

> In theory-of-craft dicussions like this, it's usually worth assuming
> everyone means to add "But if the game is really well done, forget all
> my criticism, and if it's really badly done, forget all my
> compliments.", and take the discussion on the newsgroup primarily as a
> measure of *how much* you're giving up or getting with a particular
> feature, and then you can decide if it's worth it.

See, I'd like to assume that as well, but in this case I'm not willing
to because this hasn't been a random theoretical discussion about an
obscure and unlikely to be applied game-design concept. This thread
began with the post of a writer interested in actually trying this out
asking for thoughts and suggestions from his peers. When the discussion
that comes from that request has the potential to impact someone's
decision to try something new or different, it shouldn't just be
implicit that I'm open to trying his idea out. It should be said out
loud and often. I want people to try new things, even if I don't think
they're good ideas...Maybe even *especially* if I don't think they're
good ideas. I don't want authors to play things safe. Some degree of
risk is absolutely *required* for this medium to grow.

Arnel Legaspi

unread,
Feb 12, 2006, 8:11:09 AM2/12/06
to
Poster wrote:
> Hi. Have you ever played any of the Metroid games? I have and generally
> enjoy them, except for one thing -- the savepoints. They are almost
> always set up to make the game frustratingly difficult. How so?

The Metroid game was exactly the reason I asked about savepoints in
this group. I was not sure if anyone had played any IF game embedded
with them, and I wanted to explore how people would generally react to
such an IF game.

> 2) The fear that you'll lose all the progress you've made because a
> savepoint is nowhere around. This produces anxiety in at least one
> player (moi).

This was also what I thought about, after posting the question. It
seemed like something that will put off even veteran IF players, which
is also the reason I thought to ask first.

Thanks for your reply.

--Arnel

L. Ross Raszewski

unread,
Feb 12, 2006, 5:15:07 PM2/12/06
to
On 10 Feb 2006 11:25:38 -0800, ems...@mindspring.com
Kinda, at least the way Frotz does it. The terp has to know when a
good time to undo to is, and there are (inelegant) ways of tricking
it, in v5 and later.

I'm not going to say how to effectively remove multiturn undo from
frotz, though, because some idiot will go and do it.

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 13, 2006, 11:22:10 AM2/13/06
to
NObodyNOWHERE wrote:

>
> Dan Shiovitz wrote:
> > But on the other hand, I can't
> > think of any games I've actually played where not having undo adds
> > anything, so if you ask me for my opinion on disabling undo, naturally
> > I'm going to say it's a dumb idea.
>
> All the more reason to be open-minded, I'd say. If we had seen a
> million attempts at doing this that completely derailed the games in
> question, then I'd be able to accept everyone being a little jaded. I
> certainly hope that people wouldn't bail out on what might be a worthy
> effort just because they see this approach being used, but some have
> said outright that they would. Why is it reasonable to automatically
> dismiss something that hasn't even been attempted before?

It *has* been attempted before if the rest of this thread is to be
believed, and no one seems to think it's a good idea. As for
automatically dismissing it: if the idea doesn't appeal to people,
and clearly this one doesn't, then obviously it's going to be
dismissed.

Personally, if I was playing a game and I tried to save it and was told
that I couldn't because the writer had decided to disable save to
allow for "a different game playing experience", I'd quit right
there and then. Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but I just can't for
the life of me see what advantage there is to disabling something as
basic as the save command.

>
> I don't think it's a perfect solution, but I do think there's some
> potential good that can come out of restricting the way in which a game
> can be played. Just because players are accustomed to having certain
> abilities available doesn't mean that they are "entitled" to them. Some
> conveniences can absolutely run counter to the aims of the writer.
>

It's completely up to the writer as to whether they allow or disallow
saves, but as the overall response in this thread has been that it's
a terrible idea, you might want to reconsider doing it in any game you
write. Do you want to work on a game for months, or even years, pour
your heart and soul into it, and then have people quit two minutes into
it because you've implemented an idea that a dozen or more people
have already told you is a bad idea?

>
> I want people to try new things, even if I don't think
> they're good ideas...Maybe even *especially* if I don't think they're
> good ideas. I don't want authors to play things safe. Some degree of
> risk is absolutely *required* for this medium to grow.
>

I can agree with that, but I'm not sure implementing an idea that most
people seem to hate is the best way to go about it.

Uli Kusterer

unread,
Feb 13, 2006, 1:01:08 PM2/13/06
to
In article <1139847730.8...@f14g2000cwb.googlegroups.com>,
"David Whyld" <dwh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Personally, if I was playing a game and I tried to save it and was told
> that I couldn't because the writer had decided to disable save to
> allow for "a different game playing experience", I'd quit right
> there and then. Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but I just can't for
> the life of me see what advantage there is to disabling something as
> basic as the save command.

I think one of the main reasons why forcing savepoints is a bad idea is
because actually allowing that the user save anywhere they want is a
feature that they've become used to.

Also, there are different reasons to undo or save a game. E.g. you were
playing in the morning and now have to go away to catch the bus. It'd
royally annoy you if you'd have to choose between being late for work or
having to replay part of a game you already played. Similarly, I may
have to undo because I simply was a little tired and typed in the wrong
command and did something stupid. Or maybe I did something stupid eight
turns ago and didn't save...

Most games that don't allow saving anywhere do so because they had to
make a design tradeoff and decided it'd be easier to implement their
engine without ability to continuously save. Or it didn't make sense for
the game (e.g. saving in the middle of Sonic the Hedgehog would be
pretty pointless, because you'd be in the middle of running through a
looping while saving, and as soon as you restore the game you wouldn't
be running correctly and fall down...).

The engine already allows saving. I'd consider it pretty intrusive if a
game's author thought he knew better when I should pause his game.

Just my $0.02, hope I didn't repeat what was said early in this thread,
because I can't seem to get the earlier posts right now...
-- Uli

NObodyNOWHERE

unread,
Feb 13, 2006, 9:14:05 PM2/13/06
to
David Whyld wrote:
> NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
> > All the more reason to be open-minded, I'd say. If we had seen a
> > million attempts at doing this that completely derailed the games in
> > question, then I'd be able to accept everyone being a little jaded. I
> > certainly hope that people wouldn't bail out on what might be a worthy
> > effort just because they see this approach being used, but some have
> > said outright that they would. Why is it reasonable to automatically
> > dismiss something that hasn't even been attempted before?
>
> It *has* been attempted before if the rest of this thread is to be
> believed, and no one seems to think it's a good idea.

I hesitate to reply further as we seem to be somehow having two
completely different discussions and I don't forsee our lines or
reasoning meeting up anywhere useful. Actually, yours seems to me more
like a circle than a line, but whatever... :)

No, David, this *hasn't* been attempted much in IF. Most of the
examples cited were console video games, not IF. Metroid and Kid Icarus
are Nintendo games. There have been only one or two IF games mentioned
that attempt anything like what we've been discussing. None mentioned
have modified save extensively and none have used save-points. As Dan
Shiovitz mentioned, this has been a largely hypothetical discussion.

> As for automatically dismissing it: if the idea doesn't appeal to people,
> and clearly this one doesn't, then obviously it's going to be
> dismissed.

As for that, it has no bearing on anything. What you're saying has
nothing to do with how well the idea in question would or wouldn't
work. Why should it matter if the idea appeals to you? You're
pre-emptively dismissing something you have *zero* experience with. The
idea of calamari didn't appeal to me before I ate it.

> Personally, if I was playing a game and I tried to save it and was told
> that I couldn't because the writer had decided to disable save to
> allow for "a different game playing experience", I'd quit right
> there and then. Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but I just can't for
> the life of me see what advantage there is to disabling something as
> basic as the save command.

You don't have to, because it isn't your job as a player to figure out
any advantage to disabling save. It's your job to play and judge the
game on its own merits. What do you have to lose by giving it a shot?
If you don't enjoy it, all you have to do is stop playing. Why do you
assume that you have the market cornered on innovative ideas? Do you
really want to say that you aren't willing to try something new just
because you don't understand it at the outset?

You know what though, at the end of the day I really don't care if you
don't want to play this as yet hypothetical game. As a matter of fact,
please don't. If you've already decided you won't like it then likely
nothing will change your mind. Not everything has to be for everybody,
but don't try to generalize and say that because it doesn't make sense
to you, it holds no potential for everyone else.

> > I don't think it's a perfect solution, but I do think there's some
> > potential good that can come out of restricting the way in which a game
> > can be played. Just because players are accustomed to having certain
> > abilities available doesn't mean that they are "entitled" to them. Some
> > conveniences can absolutely run counter to the aims of the writer.
> >
> It's completely up to the writer as to whether they allow or disallow
> saves, but as the overall response in this thread has been that it's
> a terrible idea, you might want to reconsider doing it in any game you
> write. Do you want to work on a game for months, or even years, pour
> your heart and soul into it, and then have people quit two minutes into
> it because you've implemented an idea that a dozen or more people
> have already told you is a bad idea?

Frankly, this couldn't possibly mean any less to me. Again, if you're
worried about appealing to the largest possible audience then maybe you
should consider adding 3-D graphics and sound to your games, using a
control pad to collect player input, and throwing a Playstation logo up
at the load screen, because clearly IF ain't the way to find the mass
audience that you're seeking. I don't really care if I lose you at the
two minute mark. If that's your choice then obviously you aren't the
person I'm writing for. Go play Zork or something you're more
comfortable with. I'll do what I can to make a game as playable and
enjoyable as possible, but I won't compromise the creative integrity of
a project just because an untested central gameplay idea is unpopular.


Uli Kusterer wrote:
> I think one of the main reasons why forcing savepoints is a bad idea is
> because actually allowing that the user save anywhere they want is a
> feature that they've become used to.

I totally agree with this. However, what is standard does not
necessarily equal what is an entitlement or what is best. Convenience
isn't the end-all-be-all of gaming.

> Also, there are different reasons to undo or save a game. E.g. you were
> playing in the morning and now have to go away to catch the bus. It'd
> royally annoy you if you'd have to choose between being late for work or
> having to replay part of a game you already played.

I agree with this too, but I think that more it reflects a poor choice
of game for that player given the constraints they are under at that
moment. If I only have 10 minutes to play a board game, I'm not going
to fault the design of Monopoly or Risk because they take so long to
play. I'm going back to my closet to get Pente.

> Similarly, I may
> have to undo because I simply was a little tired and typed in the wrong
> command and did something stupid. Or maybe I did something stupid eight
> turns ago and didn't save...

What if the point of the game was to require the player to not do
anything stupid? What if you wanted the player to fear doing something
stupid?

And anyway, why is the player's ability to conveniently reverse a
stupid move more important than the author's ability to do what might
be right for the game? Is it the author's job to make sure you or I
don't do anything stupid?

> Most games that don't allow saving anywhere do so because they had to
> make a design tradeoff and decided it'd be easier to implement their
> engine without ability to continuously save.

This isn't true anymore. Some maybe, but not most. Most games don't
allow saving at will because it forces you to approach and react to the
game differently. It's a game design decision, not a technical
limitation. Some games work better when played in predefined chunks or
if you can't instantly reverse whatever bad happens.

> The engine already allows saving. I'd consider it pretty intrusive if a
> game's author thought he knew better when I should pause his game.

Why? I'd think the author would be the authority on the subject, beings
how he wrote the thing.


--

NObodyNOWHERE

David Whyld

unread,
Feb 14, 2006, 4:32:19 AM2/14/06
to
NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
>
> > As for automatically dismissing it: if the idea doesn't appeal to people,
> > and clearly this one doesn't, then obviously it's going to be
> > dismissed.
>
> As for that, it has no bearing on anything. What you're saying has
> nothing to do with how well the idea in question would or wouldn't
> work. Why should it matter if the idea appeals to you? You're
> pre-emptively dismissing something you have *zero* experience with. The
> idea of calamari didn't appeal to me before I ate it.
>

By the look of things, the idea doesn't seem to appeal to anybody but
*you*. At least, if anyone else thinks it's an amazing idea, they're
sure keeping their opinions to themselves.

>
> > Personally, if I was playing a game and I tried to save it and was told
> > that I couldn't because the writer had decided to disable save to
> > allow for "a different game playing experience", I'd quit right
> > there and then. Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but I just can't for
> > the life of me see what advantage there is to disabling something as
> > basic as the save command.
>
> You don't have to, because it isn't your job as a player to figure out
> any advantage to disabling save. It's your job to play and judge the
> game on its own merits. What do you have to lose by giving it a shot?
> If you don't enjoy it, all you have to do is stop playing. Why do you
> assume that you have the market cornered on innovative ideas?
>

I'm not quite sure I follow your reasoning. I simply mentioned that if
I played a game that had save disabled, I'd quit the moment it
annoyed me. What does that have to do with having the market cornered
on innovative ideas?

>
> Do you
> really want to say that you aren't willing to try something new just
> because you don't understand it at the outset?
>

What's not to understand about disabling saves? It's easily
understandable. (You type SAVE, the game won't let you because the
writer feels he knows better than the player when the player should and
shouldn't be able to save. A bit like if I'm watching BBC1 and decide
to change the channel to BBC2 only to find that I can't because the
company that made my TV would prefer it if I watched BBC1 instead.)
It's also, IMHO, a terrible idea. Would I be willing to try it? Sure.
Would I quit the game the first time it annoyed me? Definitely.

>
> You know what though, at the end of the day I really don't care if you
> don't want to play this as yet hypothetical game. As a matter of fact,
> please don't. If you've already decided you won't like it then likely
> nothing will change your mind. Not everything has to be for everybody,
> but don't try to generalize and say that because it doesn't make sense
> to you, it holds no potential for everyone else.
>

Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
great idea:

Er... you.

Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
terrible idea:

Er... everyone else.

>
> > The engine already allows saving. I'd consider it pretty intrusive if a
> > game's author thought he knew better when I should pause his game.
>
> Why? I'd think the author would be the authority on the subject, beings
> how he wrote the thing.
>

Is the author writing the game for his own amusement and, thus, the
opinions of anyone else don't matter a damn? If so, go for it.
Disable save, disable undo. In fact, don't even release the game at
all because clearly the opinions of any who plays it don't matter.
It's not written for them after all so why they even have the option
of playing it?

If, however, the author is writing the game for the benefit of other
people, he might want to take into account the fact that other people
don't necessarily share his viewpoint that disabling save and undo is
a good idea.


To be honest, I'm not quite sure why you're getting so het up over
this. You gave your opinion on a subject, other people gave theirs. Now
you seem to be bandying around allegations and practically throwing a
tantrum because most people don't agree with you.

Why don't you just go and write your game the way you want and stop
trying to alienate the very people you're expecting to play it in the
end?

rgrassi

unread,
Feb 14, 2006, 5:01:24 AM2/14/06
to
Hi,

> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a great idea:
> Er... you.
> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a terrible idea:
> Er... everyone else.

Do not make the mistake of taking discussions in the NG as a
thermometer to take a decision about what "the community" thinks is
good or bad. "The community" does not exist. Individual opinions and
mindset exist and they're not "the law".
In my opinion, "Research" and "Experiments" are always welcome in our
lucky community, and, from a theorical point of view, every discussion
is welcome. I personally dislike the "implement what you're thinking
and demonstrate us (US?) that your idea is good" argument.
That said, about savegames, my opinion is that, as for other arguments,
their good use depends on the type of game (and narration within). In a
puzzlefest, with the possibility to die, saving the game is really
good. In a puzzlelight or a game oriented to the narration "save
points" could be used and they could be location-based or
knowledge-based, i.e. the game is automatically (or manually) saved
when something relevant is discovered or the PC becomes aware of.
Rob

Uli Kusterer

unread,
Feb 14, 2006, 5:41:36 AM2/14/06
to
In article <1139883245.9...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"NObodyNOWHERE" <TheSecr...@hotmail.com> wrote:

> > Also, there are different reasons to undo or save a game. E.g. you were
> > playing in the morning and now have to go away to catch the bus. It'd
> > royally annoy you if you'd have to choose between being late for work or
> > having to replay part of a game you already played.
>
> I agree with this too, but I think that more it reflects a poor choice
> of game for that player given the constraints they are under at that
> moment. If I only have 10 minutes to play a board game, I'm not going
> to fault the design of Monopoly or Risk because they take so long to
> play. I'm going back to my closet to get Pente.

Not really. There are many people playing chess in their off-hours.
Board games can easily be halted in mid-game and continued at a later
time. As long as you don't have an investigative cat in the house, that
is... ;-)

Anyway, my point here is that it's not your players that dismiss your
game because it doesn't save, but rather that you are shutting out
players that have a life beyond your game and need to play it in little
bits to be able to play it at all. After all, it's not that you're not
implementing save. You're actively turning off something that's already
there.

> > Similarly, I may
> > have to undo because I simply was a little tired and typed in the wrong
> > command and did something stupid. Or maybe I did something stupid eight
> > turns ago and didn't save...
>
> What if the point of the game was to require the player to not do
> anything stupid? What if you wanted the player to fear doing something
> stupid?

They'll fear that anyway. It's a minority of players who like to just
undo and thus defeat the game. Most people like to immerse themselves in
games, and doing an undo usually throws people straight out of immersion
back into the interpreter.

> And anyway, why is the player's ability to conveniently reverse a
> stupid move more important than the author's ability to do what might
> be right for the game? Is it the author's job to make sure you or I
> don't do anything stupid?

I'd have said the same: The author isn't responsible for preventing the
user from doing something stupid. So if they want to spoil the game by
undoing or saving and going back to a savegame, just let them. Don't
make your game un-playable for the working public just to stop some
morons who just want to hurry through your game, and don't make it
impossible for someone who plays your game perfectly fine and then wants
to go back to an important decision and re-play it from there to read
the other prose you wrote.

> > Most games that don't allow saving anywhere do so because they had to
> > make a design tradeoff and decided it'd be easier to implement their
> > engine without ability to continuously save.
>
> This isn't true anymore. Some maybe, but not most. Most games don't
> allow saving at will because it forces you to approach and react to the
> game differently. It's a game design decision, not a technical
> limitation. Some games work better when played in predefined chunks or
> if you can't instantly reverse whatever bad happens.

I've heard of one or two games where this was the case, and in most of
them those were again technical limitations that played into the
gameplay decision. So, my experiences here are the opposite. Guess we
agree to disagree.

> > The engine already allows saving. I'd consider it pretty intrusive if a
> > game's author thought he knew better when I should pause his game.
>
> Why? I'd think the author would be the authority on the subject, beings
> how he wrote the thing.

There's no such thing as full authorial control in IF. That's something
I had to learn the hard way throughout various attempts at games. In IF,
the whole point is that it is /interactive/, and that the player can
influence the game, as opposed to a novel, where the reader follows a
fixed storyline. Of course, since IF usually only needs to provide the
illusion of influence, you can get away with many authorial decisions,
but still, like with software and other things not under your full
control, you eventually need to go and test it on users and adapt it to
work for them.

It'll be your game, and it's your decision what you eventually do. All
we can do is sit on the fence and give good advice. But personally, I'd
suggest you finish your game first. Once you have that, you can always
disable all the engine features you have. But due to the nature of IF,
where many users spend hours on a single game, it's only natural for
them to want to save to get back to their lives in between. I personally
rarely use undo, so I couldn't care less whether you left it on, but as
a programmer I wouldn't bother. It doesn't add to the game experience
enough to merit the bugs you may introduce by fighting the
interpreter... Better spend that hour on the game itself.

Cheers,
-- Uli

Uli Kusterer

unread,
Feb 14, 2006, 5:46:58 AM2/14/06
to
In article <1139909539.3...@g43g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
"David Whyld" <dwh...@gmail.com> wrote:

> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
> great idea:
>
> Er... you.
>
> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
> terrible idea:
>
> Er... everyone else.

While I'm also in camp 2, let me just mention that a majority vote
doesn't always work. E.g. "4 out of 5 doctors agree that 1 out of 5
doctors is an idiot.", or in maths class, where a majority vote rarely
reflects the actual result.

> If, however, the author is writing the game for the benefit of other
> people, he might want to take into account the fact that other people
> don't necessarily share his viewpoint that disabling save and undo is
> a good idea.

Kind of like in economics class: Know your target audience. If you want
others to play your game, you'll obviously have to think of their tastes
... at least to some extent. It's perfectly OK to write a Firefly
instead of a Baywatch, even if you know that'll lower your target
audience.

Cheers,
-- Uli

Jessica Knoch

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Feb 14, 2006, 11:16:51 AM2/14/06
to
David Whyld wrote:
>
[snip; the "idea" below being restricting saves]

>
> By the look of things, the idea doesn't seem to appeal to anybody but
> *you*. At least, if anyone else thinks it's an amazing idea, they're
> sure keeping their opinions to themselves.

I think it's a neat idea and might, just might, lead to an interesting game.
I'd test it. I'd play it. I'd review it (though I cannot promise that I'd
finish it).

--
Jess K., but I wouldn't write it :)


NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 14, 2006, 7:29:54 PM2/14/06
to
I think I'll start at the end before returning to the beginning.

David Whyld wrote:

> To be honest, I'm not quite sure why you're getting so het up over
> this. You gave your opinion on a subject, other people gave theirs. Now
> you seem to be bandying around allegations and practically throwing a
> tantrum because most people don't agree with you.
>
> Why don't you just go and write your game the way you want and stop
> trying to alienate the very people you're expecting to play it in the
> end?

Whoa there, kemosabe! Again, it seems that we are having two different
discussions here. I don't know why you would be under this impression
at all. I'm not the least bit emotionally invested in this
thing...Actually, I've been quite enjoying the experience up to now.
Bouncing ideas back and forth with people is fun. Just because I
disagree with someone doesn't mean that I'm mad at them. As a matter of
fact, it's more fun to converse on a subject when not everyone agrees.

Bandying around allegations? Trying to alienate people? Getting het up?
I would encourage you to look back at what you wrote above and maybe
examine your own post(s) with that in mind. :)

Alright, back to the top...

> NObodyNOWHERE wrote:
> >
> > > As for automatically dismissing it: if the idea doesn't appeal to people,
> > > and clearly this one doesn't, then obviously it's going to be
> > > dismissed.
> >
> > As for that, it has no bearing on anything. What you're saying has
> > nothing to do with how well the idea in question would or wouldn't
> > work. Why should it matter if the idea appeals to you? You're
> > pre-emptively dismissing something you have *zero* experience with. The
> > idea of calamari didn't appeal to me before I ate it.
> >
> By the look of things, the idea doesn't seem to appeal to anybody but
> *you*. At least, if anyone else thinks it's an amazing idea, they're
> sure keeping their opinions to themselves.

You're effectively repeating yourself here. Also, that still isn't a
response to what I said. Plus, you're assuming that I think this is an
amazing idea. I find it interesting and worthy of discussion, but I'm
not crazy about it and I certainly have no plans at all to make a game
that uses save checkpoints.

> > > Personally, if I was playing a game and I tried to save it and was told
> > > that I couldn't because the writer had decided to disable save to
> > > allow for "a different game playing experience", I'd quit right
> > > there and then. Sorry if that seems a bit harsh, but I just can't for
> > > the life of me see what advantage there is to disabling something as
> > > basic as the save command.
> >
> > You don't have to, because it isn't your job as a player to figure out
> > any advantage to disabling save. It's your job to play and judge the
> > game on its own merits. What do you have to lose by giving it a shot?
> > If you don't enjoy it, all you have to do is stop playing. Why do you
> > assume that you have the market cornered on innovative ideas?
> >
> I'm not quite sure I follow your reasoning. I simply mentioned that if
> I played a game that had save disabled, I'd quit the moment it
> annoyed me. What does that have to do with having the market cornered
> on innovative ideas?

Actually, you said you'd quit as soon as you saw that save was blocked.
Then, for an explaination as to why, you said, "sorry if that seems a


bit harsh, but I just can't for the life of me see what advantage there

is to disabling something as basic as the save command." This implies
that if you can't think of any reason to try disabling save, one must
not exist. And so, I ask again, why do you assume that you have the


market cornered on innovative ideas?

> > Do you


> > really want to say that you aren't willing to try something new just
> > because you don't understand it at the outset?
> >
> What's not to understand about disabling saves? It's easily
> understandable. (You type SAVE, the game won't let you because the
> writer feels he knows better than the player when the player should and
> shouldn't be able to save. A bit like if I'm watching BBC1 and decide
> to change the channel to BBC2 only to find that I can't because the
> company that made my TV would prefer it if I watched BBC1 instead.)

This was a direct continuation of the thought I was having above
(innovative ideas). So, I'm not talking about understanding what
disabling saves is...It's about understanding the reasons *why* it is
being done.

> It's also, IMHO, a terrible idea. Would I be willing to try it? Sure.
> Would I quit the game the first time it annoyed me? Definitely.

You've made yourself abundantly clear on this point....er...and often.
:) I'd enjoy hearing more theory and reasonings to back it up though.

> > You know what though, at the end of the day I really don't care if you
> > don't want to play this as yet hypothetical game. As a matter of fact,
> > please don't. If you've already decided you won't like it then likely
> > nothing will change your mind. Not everything has to be for everybody,
> > but don't try to generalize and say that because it doesn't make sense
> > to you, it holds no potential for everyone else.
> >
> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
> great idea:
>
> Er... you.
>
> Let's do a head count of the people in this thread who think it's a
> terrible idea:
>
> Er... everyone else.

I was agreeing to disagree in the above text, in case you hadn't
noticed, but if you insist that this little exercise is necessary...
Even if what you're saying is totally true, it means nothing. Even if
it were not trying to over-generalize beyond this thread, it means
nothing. I'm taking part in a discussion, not a vote. This isn't
Survivor. All I was saying is that I respectfully accept your position,
but please don't try to disrupt or end an interesting dialectic process
just because you don't happen to think it's worth talking about. You
think it's stupid? Absolutely cool beans with me. Noted. There's no
need to belabor that point if you don't want to have a discussion about
it.

> > > The engine already allows saving. I'd consider it pretty intrusive if a
> > > game's author thought he knew better when I should pause his game.
> >
> > Why? I'd think the author would be the authority on the subject, beings
> > how he wrote the thing.
> >
> Is the author writing the game for his own amusement and, thus, the
> opinions of anyone else don't matter a damn? If so, go for it.
> Disable save, disable undo. In fact, don't even release the game at
> all because clearly the opinions of any who plays it don't matter.
> It's not written for them after all so why they even have the option
> of playing it?
>
> If, however, the author is writing the game for the benefit of other
> people, he might want to take into account the fact that other people
> don't necessarily share his viewpoint that disabling save and undo is
> a good idea.

You've conveniently overlooking something I said earlier in the same
post:

"I'll do what I can to make a game as playable and enjoyable as
possible, but I won't compromise the creative integrity of a project
just because an untested central gameplay idea is unpopular."

Sharing your work with an audience completes the act of writing, but it
is not the entire point of it. If the wants of a mass audience were
most important, then you'd have focus groups working out all the
details of your game for you. The point is to communicate an idea as
effectively as possible. I'll completely bend over backward to make the
player happy, but ONLY to the extent that I can do so without impairing
my ability to communicate that idea.

NObodyNOWHERE

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Feb 14, 2006, 8:45:34 PM2/14/06