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Your preferred method of saving? [roundtable]
 
I got to thinking about this earlier. There really isn't a universally accepted way to save progress in games- you'd think that would be the first thing that developers nowadays could get right. Is it even necessary to have a ton of different ways to save?

My personal favorite is the Ocarina of Time way. Three files, select a file, save your game before you want to quit, done. The only way it could be improved is if you'd start right back where you saved instead of at the beginning of the dungeon. Portal 2's save system works because you barely notice it. There was only one part in that whole game where I manually saved. Otherwise, autosave would kick in every time I accomplished anything worthwhile, and there was never any threat of losing progress.

Game & Watch Gallery 4 also has amazing autosave. You turn the game off, and it saves. No need to even pause it. Quit, play some more, quit, play some more. Why don't more games do this? I suppose there could be an issue where you literally can't advance unless you use an older save. That problem seems exclusive to FPSes though.

What's your favorite way to save your game?

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Posted: 06/05/11, 00:24:59  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 00:25:27
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The quick save method. Save anywhere, anytime. Reloading it deletes the old save so no abusing! A more standard method of creating a permanent save file should be included too of course but I enjoy it when games let me quit whenever I want too.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:30:22
I've started a similar roundtable before and to me it is really hard to nail down a true answer. Some games are near ruined by their save method, I really hate having multiple save files available in certain games especially games with a not clear cut moral choice dilemma. I hate the fact that you can save a separate file pick an option and then revert back to it if you don't like the outcome.

Phoenix Wright has the worst save system for a handheld game, it make you play through hours just to be able to save when really you should be able to save at whatever point you left off. I hate having to revert back to the start of a section just because my battery died or I got things wrong when its just a matter of skipping through copious amounts of text you have already read in order to get back to where you left off.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:38:02
Autosave, with optional manual save at any time.

That way, you know, if there's a blackout or something then at least most of my progress was saved. Plus, I like the ability to Save As in a separate file, so if I just want to have a save file where I'm just about to do something cool, I can have that as a separate file from my main one.

Overall, I think saving has gotten more fluid, but also somehow simpler. Back when I played games like Kings Quest and FFVII, I always intentionally had like a dozen different save files that I kept in order so I could go back and play at certain points in a game when I wanted to. Nowadays, it's like I do something once and the character moves on with their life. I might be able to go back to the place again, but I'll have to do that manually and the circumstances might have changed in the area, so what I want to do isn't possible anymore.

Most of all, though: No Save Points. Even in Ye Holy Metroid. I never again want to play a game for an extra 30 minutes just because I can't find a glowy orb somewhere that'll allow me to save my progress.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:38:24
@kriswright

Naming save game files in adventure games was half the fun.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:45:40  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 00:49:04
@Jargon
Amen to that. I think I got more comedy out of Leisure Suit Larry on the save screen than anywhere else in the game.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:46:45
I like Suspend options in games. Thats not a true "save" but rather a bookmark when you restart. I guess you're SOL though should the power go out when you've resumed, haha. But the odds?

I like most save methods available to us. I haven't really thought about it. Overworld saving is fine in most games for me.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:46:54
@kriswright

In Gabriel Knight, I had an elaborate saving system where I'd save once at the beginning of each day, but each day in a different language. And I'd try to make the language match something about the day, so the first day in Germany was in German, the day where you go to the Africa was in Swahili.

Then, for saves during the middle of the days I would call it Mittag, based on when you read the German dictionary and you read "Mittag means midday, noon". Of course I would need more than one save so I started naming them Mittag 2: Son of Mittag, Mittag 3: The Revenge, etc. etc. Fun stuff.
Posted: 06/05/11, 00:49:23
It depends on the kind of game. Sometimes I wish auto-save kicked in more, like in Mass Effect (I can't recall how many times I lost a significant amount of progress because I died and didn't think to save my own progress within the last thirty minutes/hour or more), while in other games I think saving your own progress is fine. And with games like the older Resident Evil games, I like their limited saves feature.
Posted: 06/05/11, 01:05:51
@warerare

....uh...You *can* save anywhere in Phoenix Wright. Sure it gives you a option to save after each segment but you CAN save in between segments. I'm pretty sure you just have to push start to bring up the option.
Posted: 06/05/11, 01:37:49
Yeah, warerare, you just hit start and continue from anywhere, including right before presenting evidence. Which is a godsend because sometimes the evidence you present makes no logical fucking sense!

Anyway... Really depends on the genre. Most of the time, though, quicksaves.

If you don't want to have it easy... don't load up your save when you screw something up.

If you find yourself doing it anyway, then maybe you're better off like that? Because clearly you were unhappy about a decision that would've bothered or frustrated you.

I personally cannot EVER stand having to redo ANYTHING in a game due to having to load from a save. It drives me fucking batshit insane. It's basically the game telling me "Hahaha you just spent that amount of time doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! What was the first time around pleasurable is now insufferable!" and I don't play video games to be irritated.

Some games rely on the fear of death, though, and I think a limited quicksave system would work there. Maybe instead of save stations you have "charge" stations where you can recharge your limited quicksave amount! Maybe you start with 3 and as you work your way through the dungeon of doom your quicksaves slowly dwindle down, and you always save that last one in case your dad walks in and catches you playing in the nude!

In any case, I didn't finish half of the JRPGs I've ever started due to some lame ass death (FFX: Marlboros in that temple place or whatever, bad breath petrifies my whole party, instant game over.) or something that loses me literally hours of progress. You could argue that a game should be fun no matter how many times we play it, but that's not the case even for the games I love most. Doing the same thing over and over again loses the magic and becomes a chore, especially so when we're not having our progress tallied up.

More JRPGs could really benefit from a "Continue" option after you've lost a fight, a limited sort of system that costs you money or a special item or something. The "Game Over, go back to the title, BITCH" screen is one of the most rage-inducing things I can think of in terms of video games.

But abusing quick saves is a personal choice. I told myself for The Witcher 2; "Whatever I choose, I stick with, I make my choices and live with them" and it has been tons of fun because of that! Sometimes you just gotta set yourself a simple ground rule and stick with it.
Posted: 06/05/11, 01:45:50  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 01:46:56
Shadowlink said:
@warerare

....uh...You *can* save anywhere in Phoenix Wright. Sure it gives you a option to save after each segment but you CAN save in between segments. I'm pretty sure you just have to push start to bring up the option.

This. You can definitely save whenever you want.

I don't have a clear answer, but one thing I hate is when you can just pick whatever save slot you want. My brother and I used to accidentally overwrite each other's saves all the time. This was especially an issue in PS2 games as they never had a profile or anything connected to them, you just had to look at the various saves and try to guess which ones were yours. Every time you start a new instance of a game that instance's saves should only be able to be overwritten by someone playing that instance. KnowwhatImean?

@Xbob42 I don't like any sort of auto-save in games that have items/etc. that you can use up. I like to decide whether I want to save or not based on whatever I have used/etc.
Posted: 06/05/11, 04:55:55  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 04:57:44
Resident Evil used save points in an amazingly effective way IMO. They really had an impact on the tension you felt in that game.

Most games though, I prefer a save anywhere method.
Posted: 06/05/11, 06:10:19
Being able to save anywhere is cool with me. I've gotten used to suspended game "saves" this past generation, thanks mostly to the PSP's and DS's Sleep Mode functions. I don't even have to save or quit the game, just turn off the system (or close the lid, as the situation calls) and boom. Saved until next time I wanna play.
Posted: 06/05/11, 06:27:24
Shadowlink said:
@warerare

....uh...You *can* save anywhere in Phoenix Wright. Sure it gives you a option to save after each segment but you CAN save in between segments. I'm pretty sure you just have to push start to bring up the option.

Well thats a big ole bucket of fail right there.
Posted: 06/05/11, 09:30:01
Don't worry, ware. I'm carrying that bucket right with you.

Really wish I'd known that. Probably would have finished the game, even!
Posted: 06/05/11, 09:40:43
@kriswright

I'm near the end of the third game lol
Posted: 06/05/11, 09:50:48
Really? It never occurred to you guys to press *start*?

Ever?!
Posted: 06/05/11, 10:19:52  - Edited by 
 on: 06/05/11, 10:20:05
Zero said:

@Xbob42 I don't like any sort of auto-save in games that have items/etc. that you can use up. I like to decide whether I want to save or not based on whatever I have used/etc.

Nor do I, sir. Choosing when and where I save is my preferred method! Although optional checkpoints work fairly well, too, for certain game types. I don't think any game should be designed around the fact that you have a quicksave option, though. Take the ever-present "Redo room" in every Call of Duty game. You know the one, where it's like impossible for the first 300 attempts and is there solely to prolong the length of the game artificially by making you redo something until you've memorized EVERYTHING or found a way to glitch the enemies. A game should be fair from beginning to end in my book. Extreme difficulty, fine. But don't make it impossible for me to win the first time. That's the absolute worst.
Posted: 06/05/11, 12:08:12
I'm not sure how I feel about auto-save, and being able to save anywhere. To me it takes away the consequences of dying in a game. It can be a chore to redo so of the things you already did, but I think that makes you more determined to get past the point you died at before. In that was I see saving as part of the gameplay function, not just a system for keeping track of your progress.
Posted: 06/05/11, 13:28:07
@Shadowlink
What's a start? We don't have such things in my country.
Posted: 06/05/11, 19:55:25
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