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Sparsely Placed Save Points Are the Death of Modern Games

Via Ripten: Save points are truly a spear in the side of any modern gamer. It's 2007, we have the latest in bump mapping, anisotropic filtering, and the best of mipmaps. We've got the graphics, so now it's time to look beyond superficial beauty. We need to fix problems that have plagued our media for far too long, namely, sparsely placed save points.

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Prismo_Fillusion3429d ago

"Let the golden age of difficult games die with the arcades that bore them."
Wow...just wow. So according to this writer, the ideal game allows the player to respawn in the same position immediately before the death occurred.

That takes away any sort of penalty for dying, which is absurd. I don't even think I have to go into more detail with this, it should be obvious to everyone.

ravinash3429d ago

It all depends on where the save point was.
What I hate most was when I was playing mass effect and I'm running along with the story line and I don't want to stop and break the feel of the game by stopping and saving. However when I get to a hard part and then die, I go to reload and find I have to redo everything I had just done in the last hour. All the conversations again...it was all easy and no challenge, but I'd rather not sit through it again.
I don't see a lot of games where they got it right...the only one I've seen recently where they got it dead on was uncharted...the right balance between challenge and having to redo it again if you die.

The way I see it is if you keep dying 5 minutes into a point of a game, there that drives you to keep working at it. but if it keep relying on you breaking the fell for the game by saving all the time and you have to go through the last 5 fights all over again...then its no fun any more...I've stopped playing mass effect now because of that.
I'll pick it up again one day, but some times it just pisses you off so much that you have to take a break.

PS360WII3429d ago

Yea that's a bit rediculous. Games are getting easier and now this guy wants them even easier. Having to struggle for a save point offers you a very real challange to the game itself. I know if I'm allow I take way to much liberty on saves. Mass Effect I almost started saving everyother min. Granted I'm playing on Hardcore mode and it's a lot tougher but what happened to the days of old rpgs where only one guy in one town could help you save the game. Any dunegon or your next random encounter could mean you die and have to start over way back when. Real consequenses when you die. Makes you want to be better in the game then just running thru it. Prey and Bioshock are perfect examples of how it is a great game but lacks on the ability to envoke hardtimes. You don't die in those games! You can attack a Big Daddy with a wrench and die 6-7 times and he'll keep the damage you slowly give him until finally he falls down.

Checkpoints are one thing but being able to save whenever where ever takes away a big chunk of difficulty.

Noodlecup3429d ago

Low-skilled idiots and console FPS games are killing modern gaming, why make the games easier?

Jdoki3429d ago

I'm not sure how console FPS' are killing modern gaming. Considering how long PC FPS' (and other PC genres) have had a 'Quick Save' and 'Quick Load' feature I don't think the problem lies with any one genre or format.

Surely it comes down to how devs impliment saves. I've often wondered why they don't change the save method based on the difficulty level selected - very few games do this.

In an FPS for example, if a player chooses Easy, they respawn near to where they died, with all current objectives done.

Normal difficulty will have a another method, and Hard difficulty different again.

Those 'Low-skilled idiots' you refer to are in many cases the lifeblood of the new era in gaming. They are the casual gamer with a broad interest which so many publishers are desperate to capture a slice of. Hardcore gamers who want to be tested to the limit are a smaller percentage, so we can expect to get a rough ride for the next few years (at least until some of that casual segment drift to the hardcore side)

Developers need to get smarter, and as I mention in my post below (#5) there's no easy way to solve this. Devs need to cater to the widest audience to make money (to keep making these games we love). Games don't need to necessarily be made easier to solve this issue just saves/respawns need to be more seamlessly integrated.

And honestly, just because a gamer may consider themself 'hardcore' doesn't mean a game must make them redo an hours worth of gaming just for one small mistake.

Cutter203429d ago

The Mulligan, the Easy, The Ba$tard... that's a good way to look at it. The ideal game has lots of auto-saves, but still offers a challenge throughout and is not afraid to kill you in a fair, even way.

-_-_-_-_-_-_-3429d ago

If you want games to be easier, just don't play them, watch movies instead.

Jdoki3429d ago

There's 3 extremes of bad save type and respawn and I hate them all...

Mass Effect... 'The Mulligan'
Any game with a big focus on story needs to have a save/respawn system that compliments the world the devs have created. Mass Effect should be an immersive game, but I found that every time I died to have the area 'reset' broke that immersion. It was pretty obvious they had no idea how to handle save points in the game. Why would I save part way through a level, only to have to redo it when I die regardless of where I saved.

BioShock... 'The Big Easy'
This is the other extreme to 'The Mulligan'. I could take one point of damage off a Big Daddy, die, respawn, and do it all over again a thousand times until I win. It may have been realistic in terms of the game world, and even explained by the storyline but it just didn't feel right. I can understand that it makes the game slightly more casual friendly, but different save/respawn strategies should have been implemented depending on difficulty level.

And finally... 'The You Ba$tard'.
Any game which makes the player re-watch a non-skippable cutscene every time they die makes me think the developer is some sick ba$stard with no QA process. Save points should come after the huge chunk of (boring) exposition. I'm fine with being forced to watch a cut-scene once... but to be forced to watch it every time I die is just horrible and has no place in modern gaming.

There's no easy solution. Saving and respawning in games has to be appropriate to the type of game and seamlessly implemented. A lot of what developers are doing is following cliche's and established principles set out in the movie business. The difference is the hero in a film always prevails, whereas in games the hero (through players lack of skill) do not.

Either developers have to build in 'excuses' for players to respawn... for example in Mass Effect there could be a generic cut-scene showing Shepherd waking up in the infirmary on the Normandy, having been dragged to safety by a party member followed by some excuse to have the level reset, such as Pirates called in reinforcements. Or developers need to find their own direction for making sure the player achieves their goals, feel the risk/reward on which most games hinge, but not lose that immersion if a player fouls up.

It really shows how young and imature the industry really is, that we are only now addressing these issues..

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