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POLL: Possibility for mappers to create missions where you cannot save manually, but use checkpoints or other systems instead.


Obsttorte

  

72 members have voted

  1. 1. Should mappers be allowed to turn off manual savings?

    • No, I want to save when I want. And no mapper should tell me how to play his or her mission.
      32
    • I personally prefer beeing able to save whenever I want, but it can't harm to give mappers this opportunity.
      23
    • I think it is an interesting possibility and I would like to see missions using this.
      14
    • I don't care at all.
      0
    • Port TDM to the CryEngine. Now!
      3


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As the topic already implies, I was able to implement the possibility to disable manual saves done by the player either by quicksaving or via the menu. In addition, I'm going to create an entity which will save the game under a name secified by the mapper when it gets triggered.

 

The system would allow missions using checkpoint, or a system with limited saving capabilities, like it was done in Hitman for example. It would also allow to add this as something the player could turn on or off in the menu to increase difficulty, if the mission uses this and the mapper allows the player to do so.

 

The question is whether it would be good to have such a feature available for mappers.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

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With the intented setup this would be a mapper decision. Don't know how comfort you are with that, though.

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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I do like this mechanic in stealth games. I have a bad habit of hitting F5 after every piece of loot or successful mad dash, and it can trivialize play but it's hard to quit. I'd really appreciate an FM designed around its checkpoints. On the other hand, it's quite a different kind of FM design. We should go for it only if mappers want to use it.

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I would prefer more a hitman style: "save when you want, but you have restricted amount of saves, based on mission difficulty" -approach.

 

It think it would add to the game experience.

 

Too often, I get ulcers when people play missions with constant save/loading. It doesn't look fun at all and people are missing a lot of interesting gameplay!

 

Of course, the mapper doesn't need to be stupid about it: small/medium sized missions which are completed in ~1h would benefit from this greatly. Large epic missions probably should not use this as the player is very unlikely to complete it in a single go.

 

I would definitely use it if it worked reliably.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Just don't forget new players can be confused by changing game mechanics. They play TDM as one game and such differences need to be pointed clearly numerous times.

And from gameplay point of view, loot count have no real point if you play a single mission. So you could "buy" new saves as a mission proceed (lets say spend them on hidden -but numerous- altars of nameless thiefs god, as offering. Reminds me a hidden Trickster's horned emblem in one of T2 mansion missions. From other side, robbing such altars could take away remaining saves.

Edited by ERH+

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This might also be relevant: http://forums.thedar...d-loading-poll/

 

This issue was also debated (somewhat heatedly) back in the day; starts here: http://forums.thedar...dpost__p__31694

 

Rather than repeat myself I'll quote some of my opinions:

 

I find it difficult to imagine how a FM author can decide how many save games are 'appropriate' for me to use, when they know nothing about me or my game playing schedule. Some people may have hours upon hours to spend playing games. I usually find an hour, tops, before I have to stop and go do something else.

 

I've used this analogy before, but it's like saying the author of a novel should be able to tell you when you can put the book down and stop reading. Sure, you will probably enjoy it more if you read until the end of a chapter, but that should be your decision, not the author's.

 

I remember one area of Farcry took me more than eight tries to get through. After the sixth try (about an hour or so into things), I managed to successfully survive the area, then had to jump four stories into the water where I could get into a boat. I jumped over the edge, fell, hit an underwater rock, and died. Let me tell you, there was no additional sense of challenge, no greater immersion, no extra fun, *nothing* but absolute frustration as I had to go back and try to get through the preceeding fight for the seventh time

 

For me, no quicksaves would mean I would try the easiest route to success. I'm not going to risk trying to climb a stack of crates to the next level if falling off means I have to go back and replay half an hour. I'm not going to try a creative way of ghosting through a barracks if I could more easily bypass it. That might be more like a real thief, but it robs me of a lot of fun.

 

To this I'll just add--TDM isn't perfect. How often do people experience getting stuck? Crashes? Unfair penalties? (for example, I had a guard with a torch bounce up against a closed door, his torch clipped through the door and lit me up and I was caught) While in a perfect world I might enjoy the added tension of no saves, I'm not sure I would in practice.

 

Somewhere in that discussion an alternate discussion was proposed:

 

I don't see why Ishtvan's idea wouldn't solve everyone's problems.

 

You basically pick in the menu from

 

1. Unlimited Save (default)

 

2. Pick Number of Saves (a value from 1-10, or whatever)

 

3. Save only on exit.

 

That should cater to everyone's taste, is easy to code, and doesn't force anything on anyone who doesn't want it.

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Checkpoints in stealth games are a big no-no.

+1

 

I don't see the need either. People should be free to save as much or as little as they want. If people like to do the mission in one run without saving, they should do that, but i personally get pretty annoyed when i played the mission for half an hour, then make a fatal mistake, and have to do the whole mission again. Like SteveL, i'm more of the guy who quicksaves after every blackjacked guard, or picked loot.

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The mapper would need to set up the checkpoints, so the map would be designed with a checkpoint system in mind and odd without it (which is a different point, I know, but relevant I think).

 

My opinion is free-saves caters to more open exploration & storytelling gameplay and checkpoint more to channeled action gameplay. There's room for both gameplays in TDM generally. But my vote would be to allow mappers the ability to setup a checkpoint system that a player can opt-out, or they can opt-in to the checkpoint system & be locked into it.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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If it is an option for the player, why would someone use it? Like the plot,keyhunts,the tools available, AI placement... It should simply be yet another mapper decision. In an undead mission, the mapper gives the player certain amount of fire arrows. The player should not opt-out from this mapper decision and start console-spawning fire arrows, right? In a save restricted mission, the mapper limits saves. In both cases a resource (saves, firearrows) is limited. Unlimited saves is sort of unlimited fire arrows: you can just spam the reseource and victory is easy. And boring. And unsatisfying.

 

 

I disagree checkpoints would require channeled or linear missions: check points could also tick off when objectives are reached and so forth.

 

As for the save amount Spring mentioned: if the mapper can wisely choose the plot, the AI, the tools, the shop items, the amount of shop money, the objectives, and everything they need to decide when building their mission, why can't the mapper wisely choose the amount of saves or checkpoints? It is just another parameter to change. It can make the mission to sink, but it can also elevate the experience for those who are stuck in the save spam rut.

 

When talking about save count and frustration control(farcry example), that is why there is the betatesting. A save restricted mission should be a bit forgiving and farcry style mistakes should be removed in betatest phase.

 

In the end, it is just about giving the mapper more power over their mission designs, and that is the beautiful thing in TDM. Only the mapper's imagination is the limit.

 

People arguing against this should remember the proposal is not going into every TDM mission. The default is manual save-spam. With this proposal, the mappers who want to experiment with save limiting can do it if they want. Presently it is impossible to explore this dimension and the proposal would enable it.

  • Like 1

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Problem is why this is giving the designer more power it also restricts player freedom, and in a game that promotes freedom and emergent gameplay this is a paradox and ultimately detrimental to the experience. One thing I've learned the hard way over the years is that designers are not always right, no matter what they think. Mark of the Ninja is a fine stealth game but its checkpoint system is rubbish. If you try to, say, ghost the level and you mess up and you cross a checkpoint at that very instant you are entirely screwed and must restart that particular passage. Now if the player has all their saves (quicksaves and manual saves) screwed-up that's their fault entirely, but in the case of checkpoint-based games it isn't and this is an issue.

 

I have the same gripe with games like Hitman on the hardest difficulty mode with its restricted save slots. While it's a thrill to do actions that you know will have consequences if they go awry, this encourages you to either be very lucky or know the levels inside out as you have a very little margin of error. What if I want to play on the toughest difficulty mode and want to be able to save when I want? If a player wants to play Ironmode it's fine by me but restricting their amount of save slots is not a good solution, nor is disabling saving entirely and only allowing checkpoints. In the end a game like TDM should promote every playstyle without restriction and I feel that save restrictions are the biggest of them all, more so than linear level design. I always approach level design as building a dungeon and being a devious game master, but showing some candy and then slapping the hand trying to reach it is not good. What if I suddenly want to blow that guy's face up just for fun and then reload and go back to ghosting? What if I want to try several routes and find the best without losing too much time? What if there's a difficult jump at one point and I keep falling? What if I want to be the most perfect thief ever and reload a lot so I am sure I didn't make a single mistake? What if the mission forces combat and I keep dying?

Edited by skacky
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The player will always be the rodent that willingly scurries in the maze the mapper created for their enjoyment.

 

Every mapper decision is restricting the player's freedom, even when the mapper designs their mission as open as possible. The way the mission is open is mapper design restricting the player's freedom.

 

The only way for the player to be truly free from the mapper imposed challenges is to activate god and noclip mode (and even THEN you really cannot go everywhere you would want to), and that is cheating and takes out the whole point of gaming.

 

By playing the mission you are submitting to the mapper's will, and you are having fun while doing so. You surrender and immerse into the mappers world. Why not give the mapper more tools to enhance the experience? Trust the mapper. The mapper is your friend. They, after all, have worked very hard to create the mission for your enjoyment. It is in the mappers interest that the mission is as enjoyable as possible, and all the decisions they have made are made in the belief that the mission would be better.

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Sorry, but I don't think restricting saves is even remotely enjoyable. I know I just won't play the mission at all if I get limited saves and I'm not alone in that case. I find that incredibly tedious and a way to make the level artificially more difficult and longer. Also your last sentence is interesting because this is exactly what I say when I write that designers are not always right. You may find something cool and enjoyable as a designer, but this can be a real issue for some players. Like for example I love Death Knights in Quake and I love fighting them with the SSG so I tend to put a fair amount of them in my maps, but I've seen some people who hate that. The level designer must find a balance.

 

I don't agree with your noclip/godmode comment at all and I also don't agree with you when you say that every mapper decision restricts player freedom, especially in games like Thief or TDM. Sure, the objectives restrictions on higher difficulties do, and funneled progression sometimes does, but the gameplay is so rich you can do things in a way the level designer didn't think about. We still find new things in Thief which is, what, 16 years old?

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People will have strong opinions about this. If someone feels a particular way, it would be a surprise to me if anyone changed their opinions and beliefs about this. With infinite debate and only excellent and thoughtful arguments people would just entrench into their positions and stick to their beliefs. That is completely normal.

 

In my opinion this deserves a chance. Is it so that in your opinion it doesn't? Would you just hope it was just buried without even trying to see if it worked? Aren't you at all curious to see how it would work out? Wouldn't you want to test, just once, to see if your prejudice towards it was flawed and you could even like it? Would you hate it regardless, even if you did like it, only to save your face? How can you be sure you don't like if you never tested it in TDM? This demands a test. An experiment. Let there be one.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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The player will always be the rodent that willingly scurries in the maze the mapper created for their enjoyment.

That is a piece of common wisdom in modern FPS design. It is a valveism, like directing the player's gaze with visual clues, funneling them through the action with finely engineered level design, controlling pacing, and avoiding any hint of the troublesome, counter-intuitive vertical axis. Valve is deathly afraid of forcing the player into a choice where they can either go left or go right. It terrifies people. It makes them confused and frustrated. So Valve never really does that. And it sure never, ever lets the players do anything Valve engineers didn't test a hundred times and fine-tune to perfection. It is supported by results in psychology and behavioural science and it sells tons of games, so it is hard to argue against. But it is also the reason I don't play new games anymore, because it has lead to the decline of exploration-oriented, open-ended gameplay.

 

While the physical boundaries of a mission will always constrain the player's freedom of movement, and the challenges you set there will influence their reactions, the most enjoyable levels in Thief-style games are those that allow the player to set their pace, approach problems from multiple angles, and get off course to find the odd detour and hidden locale. There is a reason Life of the Party is considered a masterpiece, and it is because you are let loose in an open cityscape with many possible ways to reach your goals. At any time, you may or may not be wounded, you may or may not have a specific selection of equipment, you may or may not know where you are, and you may or may not know the tricks that bring you beyond the level's imagined boundaries. There are important bottlenecks and high tension zones, but for the most part, the game lets you actually observe your environment and make reasonably varied decisions. Unintended consequences and high emergence are the rewards of this accommodating design philosophy, and the more barriers we place before that, the more of this freedom and playful attitude we strip away from our levels.

 

Professional level designers say the players ''never notice'' and ''don't care''. Many don't. Most people probably want their interactive stories to be stories first and interactive a distant second. But some of us do notice, and some of us do care. And that's why I am playing Thief and TDM, and not the AAA popamole stuff.

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Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

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I voted for it because personally I do enjoy the mechanic, as explained above. But I'm still a bit uneasy about it, because it needs a quite different design. And even if I like it myself, I remember it being complained about a lot. I'm not sure how the difference could be communicated to players without adding some category to the downloader. Do we want 2 brands of mission? And how many will there be, to justify the second category?

I don't see how the experiment can be done either. It'd need some people to make whole maps designed around the new format if it's to get a proper trial, with no guarantee they'll go ahead. And we'd have trouble gauging their popularity given that we have no tracking mechanism to count players or downloads.

It's quite a departure for TDM, so it should only be done if it gets a consensus of support imo. A poll isn't enough to gauge that. Right now the consensus seems to be, "if you must, but the player has to make the choice not the mapper", which is another interesting idea but not a poll choice.

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Also, it worked in Hitman even on purist difficulty because the game was perfectly predictable. You learned the perfect route through, and the AI would turn left or look right exactly same time every playthrough. TDM isn't that game.

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I get that being able to save and reload whenever you want negates the challenge of living with your mistakes but it's also the path of least resistance. The player can't reliably fight or outrun AI and there are a load of penalties associated with being spotted. Reloading a save is a more effective means of recovering than anything else in the player's arsenal.

 

There's room for experimentation sure but I'm confident that the better solution here is to find ways to encourage players to save less rather than force them.

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I replied no because of personal preference and also because saving has a 25% risk of corrupting itself and crashing the game so I have to use an earlier 2nd save if I have one and load the map all over, which is why I always iron man every single mission (and get horrible stealth scores). I think that no map should automatically save for you.

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People are always comlaining that the bad thing about a savegame system differing from the current one is that you may have to replay a very long amount of time, or that you have to do so because of a problem that is not the players fault (see the FarCry example). However, these are not problems with the system, these are problems with the level design. A completely different matter. Checkpoints could also mean that the game gets saved every three minutes, depending on your playstyle.

 

There seem to be some sort of fear here, if I read the responses of those who are against it. If a lot of people don't like this feature, then this will also be so for mappers. And of those few who like it, only a couple will actually go and implement it. So we are talking about the possibility that a few missions of those who will get released in the future may use this feature. Why is this such a problem? You wil still get loads of missions using the default system. And all missions released thus far will not be affected.

 

But mappers get another tool to experiment with. One thing that was always said about TDM being good is that it is open source, and that it gives the mapper a lot of possibilities to let their imagination become true. Stim and Response, scripting, custom materials, particle effects, entities and even weapons and inventory items.

 

And regarding the player restriction: I don't understand this argument about player freedom at all. In no game you have absolute freedom, neither do you have so in TDM. Not restricting the player in any way is just a lame excuse, because a mapper may could do something by that that does not please everyone.

 

With the new thief everybody complaints that the designers made decisions to reach a broader audience, that they have included action passages with explosions, advanced possibilities for takedowns, the focus system giving you overhelming power. This is a commercial game, and they have to earn money with it.

 

TDM is in the nice position that mappers don't earn their living with that, so in theory they don't have to please everyone. But if the mapper can make a decision that does not please everyone, all people start crying about that.

 

Personally I don't even care what other people think about my missions. As said, I don't earn my living with that. I do it for me, and I want to do something I like. If other peoples like it to, that's great, but not my main intend. I consider myself as an artist in that respective, and I don't want to create the same stuff over and over again just because people are used to it and fear everything different, and members are declining it because they may fear the snivelling in the forum.

 

In the past players complained about blackjacking being too difficult, so we have increased the kobox on the ai's head, which affects all missions.

 

The player has the possibility to adjust lockpicking difficulty, ai hearing and seeing apart from the main difficulty setting, which affects all missions.

 

Now myself (who is the guy answering most of the questions in the editor's guild) and Sotha (who is the guy that has released the most missions by now) would like to get a new tool to play around with, something that will only affect a few missions, and everybody is going nuts.

 

TDM is open source and the license allows me to release my own version. If I want to I can use that feature, and players who would like to test that would have to exchange two files in their darkmod folder to get it working. But is this really desireable? Or can't we just commit to the fact that not all missions released must please all players? I don't like all the FM's either, but did I ever complain? Isn't it better to motivate the few mappers we have by giving them the tools they require instead of talking them to the ground?

 

It's up to you folks.

  • Like 2

FM's: Builder Roads, Old Habits, Old Habits Rebuild

Mapping and Scripting: Apples and Peaches

Sculptris Models and Tutorials: Obsttortes Models

My wiki articles: Obstipedia

Texture Blending in DR: DR ASE Blend Exporter

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Why not both? Let the players manually save, but also have checkpoints for things like objectives. Got 1500/1500 loot for the objective? Save. Shot Lord Toorichforhisowngooderton in the face with an arrow, which is why you're here in the first place? Save. Beyond that, the player should be free to save when they like. Done well, this can help guard against those situations where people forget to save while meaning to, without robbing them of the ability to save when they want to. It could also be able to be turned off, for whatever reason a person may not wish to have it on (like failing an ironman right at the end, and in the back of their mind is "well, it DID save about 10 minutes ago when I stole that cup...")

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Unlimited saves is sort of unlimited fire arrows: you can just spam the reseource and victory is easy. And boring. And unsatisfying.

 

The default is manual save-spam.

 

members are declining it because they may fear the snivelling in the forum.

 

While I think there are some genuinely interesting gameplay possibilities that could arise under such a system, it's attitudes like this which make me vote against it.

 

"You're playing the game WRONG! You're a lamer and a cheat! You're spamming saves! You're a snivelling coward who can't handle my artistry! You're boring and your gameplay experience is unsatisfying!"

 

Sorry, but last time I checked it is up to ME to decide what gameplay experience I find exciting and satisfying. Adding mapper control over saves will just encourage the endless race towards ever-more-challenging maps which already make this mod largely inaccessible to casual or less-skilled gamers.

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