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To Save Or Not To Save?
found this here:

"In Joust, for instance, you could fly anywhere you wanted to - you had full run of the entire game universe, as small as it was. At the same time, however, players could only interact with ostriches in about seven distinct areas. Thus, the designer could take the time to tweak the game to ensure the interaction would be just as he wanted it to be. Contrast to this is Quake, an otherwise great game that has a few flaws, namely the fact that you can save the game at any spot and constantly, and keep re-loading, and pass the level without any tension of skill involved whatsoever. Purely the result in which, it seems the user has way too much freedom over what happens with given obstacles."

My question is hence: is Quake 1 Sp better when you dont save throughout the level, (or only save maybe once or twice at key points), or can you just save all the time and it makes no difference to your enjoyment?

My personal opinion is whether saving is good or not depends on the game type (genre). But it is interesting to remember all the so called "classics" such as pacman ,space invaders, asteroids, R-type (et al), which of course had no save mechanism at all.

Certainly i think *many* games today *ARE* spoilt by being able to save whenever you want (it reduces the challenge and tension), but i dont think that in Q1SP its a problem.
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distrans: as a reasonably hardcore gamer I would still want to go through all the rooms and see what's what, but then I would get bored because of the lack of challenge. And why do I want a level consisting of a single battle royale? If I wanted that I could have made 60 of those maps in as many minutes.

Gilt: that is totally the system I was describing way up there ^^^. 
Better Idea. 
The better YOU play, the tougher the game gets. Conversely, if YOU suck, the game is easy.

Yes I know Max Payne did this, and it was a terrible idea for a game that had both massive system req's and hordes dead-eye shot enemies with hitscan weapons. I watched my roommate play one single firefight at least 10 times before he figured out how to do it without dying or living with 15 health, all at ~20fps. Not exactly my idea of fun.

I'm not sure how skills would be implemented in a fluid system like this... maybe they wouldn't be. Actually, i think it is more the keyboard mouse combo that is the major restriction here. Has anybody played Devil May Cry or Devil May Cry 2 (PS2). DMC2 sucked, but that's irrelevant. What I wanted to point out was the control system, obviously optimized for the PS2 controller, one that allowed the skilled player to perform combos, backflip, mid-air stunts, etc... quite entrancing to watch. It's like dueling in Quake... you might live by just firing away, but the true master has a massive back of tricks. In other words, skills should be acquired through learning the system of controls, not gaining levels (or a hybrid: at a certain level, you gain the use of a new button, that enables new attacks/combos to be performed).

What I'm getting at is, the gameplay experience might be ultimately far more enjoyable if all the mechanics and configuration (like learning and setting skills in an RPG game) faded into the background, leaving a seamless experience that you could just PLAY, whatever your skill level, and be challenged.

Hmmm, perhaps that's impossible. That's my response to Wazat's post (#70), hopefully more levelheaded than wrath's... I felt that the skill setup we were defining was a bit too complicated.

So back to the original question of this thread, on saving and dying. I like the idea of not dying at all. If you can't die then the necessity of saving vanishes, and saves can pretty much be done whenever. One game mentioned was GTA3, another with a slightly nonstandard system I can think of is Metal Gear Solid/2: when you load a save game, you start at the beginning of the room you saved in, so you can't save your way through a tough room, you have to treat it as a whole. On the reverse side, dying also returns you to the beginning of the room you died in, so by segmenting the game, less is put at stake at one time, relieving save anxiety.

I think the best way to implement some of this stuff would be in a totally nonstandard game environment, with none of the standard clich�s. That way, removing all the standard FPS gameplay conventions wouldnt feel as forced or odd.

I can envision a game taking place in some kind of "realm of light," or hyperspace, or something, where your enemies are superdimensional entities instead of demons and army grunts. Maybe they would glow a given amount, based on their relative health? That way you could implement something like what Aard was talking about, a variable health system. Since this is a higher dimension, maybe the enemies can't kill you, just make you really weak so you have to retreat and recharge. Or you just get sent back your home base (like GTA3 hospitals). Or maybe space has no meaning to beings like you so you can go wherever you want to instantly, so being "sent" somewhere is meaningless. =) I can imagine "weapons" having a similarly nonstandard function, maybe you absorb the enemies and take them back to your home base. It's like single player CTF!

OK, I'm out of ideas. My writer's block should be cleared, now back to doing the paper I'm supposed to be writing. ;) 
Original Question Be Damned 
<quote>The better YOU play, the tougher the game gets.</quote>

That's elastic band AI and no body likes it. There's joy in beating a difficult level, but there's also joy in totally raping a level you once found difficult. And the computer will happily suffer embarassing loss after embarassing loss. 
"you know what? fuck character progression, fuck character driven games and don't stop fucking until they rot."

Aren't you working on one? :) 
Exactly. EXACTLY! 
wazat: again, same problem that the crappy players don't get the goodies, which makes them even crappier on the next level (slippery slope). This is even worse when they are "abilities" because you may actually need them at some point. FPS games have a fixed difficulty, apart from the initial difficulty setting, whereas in RPGs not giving someone certain items or skills just means he has to work longer to get them.

wrath: we're not discussing about making an FPS into an RPG. We (atleast I) are just interested in how we can improve the situation that if you have quicksave you don't really care if you die anymore, and if you don't have them it is frustrating. Btw, I hate story driven FPS games as much as you do. And Btw2 a lot of the architecture in Enclave totally rocks, if you did any of it then congrats.

Gilt: I guess the reason I like to play an FPS is two fold:
- the adrenaline rush of intense fights
- on the one side the first person perspective combined with great environments is a wonderful sensation already, the feeling to be in some interesting new place.. until recently, FPS was the strongest genre for this, though recently RPGs have been doing even better in this area.

how to reward the second one is clear... how to reward the first one less so. Variable difficulty as many people are suggesting I don't feel is the answer, it reduces your incestive to play well. One thing one could vary without hurthing the incentive is how aggressively monsters look for you and hunt you down: good players would get more intensity and bad ones more time to catch their breath, even though the amount of monsters and their strength stays the same. Still, that is not a full solution.

And this is not an issue for "hardcode gamers" only... millions of people have played the "final fantasy" games, and I would guess that almost all of them were driven by increasing their stats/items.

You seem to be still very concerned with the word "punishment"... it is just a way to describe negative feedback. Almost every game genre has it, many even very strongly, and it still sells, even to non-SM customers. "mario" games punish you relentlessly if you fail to make a certain jump, time and time again, and still people love these games for it. They wouldn't be as popular without it. 
"And Btw2 a lot of the architecture in Enclave totally rocks, if you did any of it then congrats."

I came in very late in the dev cycle - and I hardly contributed anything on the architecture. I'll, as always, pass the praise along to the people deserving it. 
A Game Where You Don't Die... 
Ever played Riven or Myst? ;)

Regarding player development, it's a tricky one. Yes it is quite hard to make it so that the player doesn't have to spend too much time learning abilities just to get through. Ideally the player could just play off skill and never bother with his abilities (or rarely) if he wished; but then the game would be too easy for those who did use their abilities or bothered to develop a little.

Also, I understand wrath's stance regarding player equality. Sometimes you just want to jump into a game and be on physically equal terms with your opponent - it's all about skill. No spending time developing your character, finding stuff or learning abilities. You just jump in, grab the best weapon you can find and send your opponent to the meat grinder before he does it to you. That's what fps is all about to me.

On the other hand, it doesn't hurt to explore other options. This is how new games and ideas are found: people were willing to step outside of the little circle drawn in the dirt and explore a little. Yea, some fell down cliffs and hurt themselves, and we all have to put up with their endless legacy of failure stinking like a rotting carcas (dead or crippled sequals, bad game designs, and ideas that just plain sucked). But we have a long line of excellent rewards, too.
So let's not be so quick to f*** things we don't like. Hopefully you have a girlfriend that would consent to that, for the computer's sake. 
those are excellent games, with the right approach to it. You don't die, you just don't progress.

Explore all you want, but please, pretty please, explore it early in your development so if it sucks you can throw it out in time. 
Sorta Re: #79 
For me the reward of FPS, other than overcoming challenge, can be summed up as: doing stuff with excellent control and visuals.

Nonstandard saves: one example I can think of is Jaguar AvP. Loading randomly respawned all enemy and normal powerups (it's nonlinear). So you could save anywhere but it wasn't a good idea to save anywhere but the elevator. At least a "safe" save. I left the machine on a lot.

The adaptive skill system was first used on the Atari arcade Red Baron in 1980 or so. Every time it has been used, it has been critisized.

Making "games" without challenge, i.e. that aren't really games, is potentially a good thing. The format of "computer interactive thingie" is adaptive as the big box that accepts quarters I mentioned earlier.

But I found an interesting thing when I made levels with a nonstandard difficulty selector: people would complain about it being too hard, but no one would try easy (or at least admit to it, and since using easy is "duh" when it's too hard, no one would admit to not trying easy either).

And as to Mario, yes, people talk about how they played one bit all night BECAUSE it was so damn frustrating. I "had to" beat a Quake level on Nightmare because the designer said it probably couldn't be done. 
damn, I knew there was something wrong with it when I was typing it up, :p

re: aard, prob with word, punishment:
yeah, I seem to be rehashing old ideas. I guess I keep on getting caught on it because I don't consider something punishment if there is an implied payoff afterwards. 
1 607 M4d $k1LLZ 
spentron: "The adaptive skill system ..[snip].. Every time it has been used, it has been critisized.

people would complain about it being too hard, but no one would try easy"

yeah I'm curious as to how much the dislike for adaptive skill systems is simply due to machoism. It'd be interesting to see what would happen if a game implemented a good adaptive system, except made it seem like it only used the normal way of, easy/normal/hard. 
An adaptive skill system could work if it analyzed the playing in some way and didn't react to health or other scoring factors. To do this really right might require considerably more AI than is currently available though (could you watch a player and estimate their experience independent of actual performance at the moment?). Other possibility is keep it subtle or mainly based on early in the game (automatic more than adaptive).

This is getting away from saving though. One possible complaint about saving is it makes it artificially easy; making things even easier if you die is no solution to that one. 
" a reasonably hardcore gamer I would still want to go through all the rooms and see what's what..."

I never said these "rooms" would be empty =) 
distrans: but my point was that if they were meant for newbies I would get bored in there.

gilt: :P 
Any one remembers resurrection 'rune' from Nehahra - it revives you, unless you were gibbed or felt into the lava/void, and gives about 2 sec protection. Not bad eh ? 
Would an adaptive skill system for Quake be that hard to implement?

Button pushing and key grabbing are well entrenched. So why not start the level on "easy". If the player chews through all the enemy in the first section of a level within a certain time limit and arrives at at button driven door to enter the next section with all the available weapon pickups for the previous section, health above say 75%, ammo within say 75% of the minimum to clear the previous section and has cleared 75% of the bonuses available in the previous section then trigging the door changes the difficulty level of the next section to "normal", and so a short amount of time really good players will be doing it on "nightmare", but the lamers (puts hand up) will still be battling through on "easy".

The reward for the player with m4d ski77z is a tougher game, but only ever as tough as him/her so negative feedback is minimized.

Just a thought. 
If dying is such a problem, how come so many reviews consider an overabundance of health to be a bad thing? 
people who write reviews are hardcore l33t gamerz, not average game buying joes.

Sadly, too many games today cater to the hardcore crowd. 
I'm sure there are many ways to create variable skill settings, but I'm more interested in why it's considered bad conceptually. here is the list I've got so far, and of course the validity of all the points are arguable:

for variable skill settings
- fluid challenge and gameplay

against vss
- no incentive to play well
- can't measure one's skill

speedy: sounds like a console game.

aard: I forgot to reply to this.
millions of people have played the "final fantasy" games, and I would guess that almost all of them were driven by increasing their stats/items.
if you mean that they were driven to keep on progressing through the game, I have to disagree. I think story and great enviroments, play a much larger role in that. A better example might have been pokeman, but then again, kids are probably the most hardcore players out there.

the incentive to play well has to partly be a natural one. If it isn't, one would just cheat. so, I don't think a good variable skill system would reduce one's incentive. in fact it would should help it, as the challenge grows with the players skills. 
But with your timelimit it wouldn't work really well on people that are skilled but like to stay around for a while and look at geometry and textures...

wrath: err really? I thought almost all games weren't caterered to the hardcore gamers since they are only a very small part of the market.

Too few games that really offer a good challange imo (then again I don't play many new games). 
I agree, but on the other side of the coin, even more games today cater to the much larger group of blind llamas who still don't understand this whole "more than 1 button" thing. But they're not worth playing anyway... ;)

I enjoy games as they are mostly difficult. If it gets real hard, I spend some time getting getter. However, if it gets the point of just being annoying and rediculous, like Shinobi on PS2 (had to replay the level from start if you died, which was very often and annoying), then it's ok because I rent most console games and I download demos of most pc games anyway. I just take it back and add the company to my list of people to kill.

Shinobi was annoying because of the timelimit, and the maze-like feeling of the levels, and the iffy-ness of the controls when you're trying to do the simplest of things. This would have been a very effective arcade game to force people to pump quarters, but I doubt people would be patient that long. But I digress.

I'm one of those people who enjoys a good challenge, especially when I find a game I like and get good at it. I want to know I can still enjoy it in the future without having to invite 4 friends over for the rare LAN party.

But if it's too hard, or just gimmicky with the number of times you die, then that's a major turn-off. 
I enjoy games as they are mostly difficult

I enjoy difficult games mostly as they are.

^is what happens when I am mal-nurished 
getting getter = getting better

Where the hell am I today? 
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