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Why there should be restrictions on quicksaves


marbleman
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3 minutes ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

In terms of “freedom” what about freedom of expression? Doesn’t a mission author have as much right to design their missions in a way that you hate as you then have the right to pan it on the internet?

Absolutely. The worst thing which could happen is that people won't play the mission. Which I will, if there's a general need to use save rooms.

I also don't play missions which disallow KO's in normal or expert difficulty, because I find that kind of restriction ridiculous.

I just find it a bit sad to even limit yourself further by disallowing things which will limit people from playing the way they are used to. If that makes sense to you. I think we will agree that this game is already niche. Why make it even more niche by implementing such pointless restrictions?

Edited by chakkman
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@chakkmanI am not describing my own design philosophy as I have already mentioned I am not arbitrarily for or against certain mechanics in missions as it depends on the overall design. I provided examples of both where it worked and where it didn’t and said I don’t think most scenarios in TDM are a good fit for this design.

This particular design decision currently only exists in one difficulty level of a single TDM mission - so only players which feel like it is additive have to play in that way. The same way not every x-com player has to run iron man mode - though there is clearly an audience for it and you could argue this is an extension of the perfectionist mindset not attempting to undermine it. Sounds like more freedom and more choice, not less. I think this is an example of it working.

Just like how players, including me, did not like this design decision in gloomwood and now they are going to add a mode which allows for quicksaving.

It all seems reasonable to me.

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4 hours ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

In terms of “freedom” what about freedom of expression? Doesn’t a mission author have as much right to design their missions in a way that you hate as you then have the right to pan it on the internet?

Yes, but why would they want to do that in a game which is known to support quicksaves? I mean somebody could turn TDM back into a shooter like Doom 3 if they wanted, but why wouldn't they use Doom 3 instead?

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@wesp5Kind of like when Spoonman - author of beloved TDM missions like Full Moon Fever, made a mission for T1 that looked like a doom level and where you have no blackjack and run around on almost exclusively metal surfaces? https://www.thiefguild.com/fanmissions/10603/tsr-1000

Or then followed that up with a mission literally called D00M?https://www.thiefguild.com/fanmissions/23989/d00m

Maybe creative people don’t want to do the same thing over an over again and not every form of expression is about the viewer or the player having fun, or about them at all?

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10 minutes ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

Maybe creative people don’t want to do the same thing over an over again and not every form of expression is about the viewer or the player having fun, or about them at all?

Maybe, but then these maps probably were not as good or as fun as hundreds of real Doom maps out there. I just mean TDM provides a certain set of features, why should mappers ignore them?

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@wesp5 Quick saving was still an option for players in the only TDM mission which has an optional save restriction mechanic - who is actually ignoring anything?

I apologize if I sound short, as I thought throughout this thread I have made my personal perspective pretty clear and don’t think I have much more to say. I, just like every player has personal preferences and often wish mappers or designers would make different choices in missions/games. This includes poorly designed mechanics around saving the game.

This does not translate into me thinking authors must confine themselves to my preferences such as in this quote:

On 9/22/2022 at 11:58 AM, freyk said:

The mission creator must not define how the mission must be played.

It is the designer, whose time and sweat will birth the thing, who gets to make their choice. I do not think it is an affront to some sense of freedom that these things do or could exist, as we players will still get our opportunity to stand in judgement.

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27 minutes ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

I, just like every player has personal preferences and often wish mappers or designers would make different choices in missions/games.

I agree with that. I appreciate when mappers try something different in maps, even if I end up disliking the end result.

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10 hours ago, thebigh said:

I appreciate when mappers try something different in maps, even if I end up disliking the end result.

Yes, it's refreshing sometimes. I loved Hazard Pay because it was so different to the usual city missions and as you know I am all about new features to keep the game interesting! Still to me there are some things I expect from a TDM mission, like that it is about stealth, I have lockpicks and a blackjack, and I can save whenever I want. Otherwise I could play any battle royal game ;)! But coming back on topic, to me normal saves would be enough, I don't need a one key quick save. This might be a compromise: the player could stop playing whenever real live needs it and they could save before trying critical things without the temptation to save all the time. Not saying that this should be implemented, I'm good with like it is!

Edited by wesp5
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On 9/23/2022 at 1:18 AM, thebigh said:

They're guards. They're supposed to keep an eye out for intruders. From a practical standpoint you have to balance realistic guard behaviour with fairness to the player. It breaks immersion if guards never patrol the entrances to the mansion and never look in obvious thief hiding spots.

Exactly, and if you do not set it up like that, some will complain that the guards behaviour is boring.

 

On 9/23/2022 at 1:18 AM, thebigh said:

I think a lot of missions are built on the assumption that players will observe guard patrol routes and plan accordingly.

Yes, that's exactly how I try to set up the routes, because that's how it's done in other stealth games as well...and this is how I want the missions to be played. :)

16 hours ago, marbleman said:

Well, have you read my initial post, or did you stop at the thread title? I want to understand these reasons and make sure I am not seeing them exclusively through the lens of my own playstyle. Then, I can make better arguments in favor of quicksaving when I need to.


Maybe I'm just misunderstanding that. You have to defend yourself verbosely with arguments when you play stealth games with a quicksave function? Why do you have to look for arguments at all? Shouldn't it be enough that you are happy with the quicksave function?

 

16 hours ago, marbleman said:

I am not arguing for this change. I am not even talking about save rooms in TDM. I am talking about save restrictions in stealth games in general.

Then maybe you have picked the wrong section and this thread should be moved to the off topic forum.

Edited by JackFarmer
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If this thread is in the wrong section, I apologize. If someone can move it, please do. That it would go off-topic and into the discussion of TDM save rooms was somewhat predictable. What I did not expect is an outright hostile reaction. Do I really need to lay it all out? What if I was considering writing an essay on why designers put save restrictions into their games and why some players want to see these restrictions and then try to refute these points? I'm saying "was" because at this point, I don't think that's such a good idea anymore.

Edited by marbleman
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I'm not sure people are being outright hostile; it's just hard to give context for why people would want to forbid quicksave without also talking about why people use it.

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My missions:           Stand-alone                                                      Duncan Lynch series                              

                                      Down and Out on Newford Road              the Factory Heist

                                                                                                  A House Call

                              

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18 minutes ago, marbleman said:

Do I really need to lay it all out? What if I was considering writing an essay on why designers put save restrictions into their games and why some players want to see these restrictions and then try to refute these points?

This is (was) your intention?

The database lists ca. 150 missions. So far, only one mission can optionally be played with save restrictions. According to your own account, you know how the discussions in the other threads with this subject went (if I recall correctly, not exactly many mappers participated in these discussions which is also telling).

No offense, but for the reasons mentioned above I simply do not understand why you think that exactly on this niche forum you would find plenty of arguments pro safe restrictions from both mappers and players.

@nbohr1more: As per the original author's own suggestion, it would be a good idea to move this convo to the OT area.

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I thought of one more:

The placement of restricted saves allows another channel for visual communication and a more reliable safety net between the player and the map maker.

E.g. suppose you run across a well that you could jump down (like in Bafford's Manor) and the map maker has placed a save point right next to it. That will tell the player jumping down the well will commit them to one of three things.
a. A point of no (easy) return. 
b. A skill check. (Like a tricky swim, or labyrinth navigation, or a puzzle, or a big old spiders nest awaits under the well.)
c. An item check. (Like needing a rope arrow to get out at your destination, or a breath potion to survive the swim.)

The save point is a signal to the player that they might want to prioritize finishing up their explorations in the current area before attempting the new location. And it gives them a way to back out if they do go in before they are ready, without negating the narrative weight of having an actual point of no return or difficulty spike.
(Plus, conversely, if you come across a similar situation later with out a save point that communicates something too. Either that it's safe to jump down this well, or setting up the ultimate betrayal.)

And the real beauty is no one can complain that whatever was put after the save point is unfair, because they were diegetically warned in the most emphatic way what was coming, and also explicitly handed the knife to cut the rope they use to hang themselves. None of this is possible if you leave saves states entirely in the hands of the player. (Short of actually breaking immersion and telling them "Hey, dummy! Save before jumping down this well!")

 

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1 hour ago, ChronA said:

E.g. suppose you run across a well that you could jump down (like in Bafford's Manor) and the map maker has placed a save point right next to it.

That sounds to me like an auto-save, which you have in many games and which often is an indicator of such things. Does TDM allow for autosaves?

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@wesp5yes - Hazard Pay also renders an autosave at a specific part of the map and is the only mission I have seen do it, though there may be others:

https://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=Altering_the_savegame_behaviour_of_TDM

Though I think again this is veering off topic from the OP who wants to hear specifically from members regarding why they are not against restricted saving mechanics in games in general.

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I wasn't going to post as I think my views on this issue are well known, but sod it

One argument I particularly remember was restricting saves will "force" players to change their playstyle, sorry but no one forces me to do a f*cking thing I don't want to, I play for fun, if I don't have fun I don't play, end of argument

If a player wishes to iron man a mission they can, any mission, whether saves are restricted or not, it's their choice, they can do this

If they lack the willpower to not hit the quicksave button then really that's their problem & no one else's, but even then there's an easy solution, just unbind the quicksave key & let other people play how they like

I see no benefit in artificially restricting saves, "oh the doorbell just went, hello amazon delivery, oh hell I just lost 3 hours of game play that I now have to repeat because I couldn't save the game", maybe we should restrict doorbells as well as saves

Some people won't play missions with spiders or undead in, I'm not seeing huge interest in spiders or undead being added to every mission to force them to change their playstyle

As usual my view for level creators is that they should make the mission they want with whatever save mechanic or other wild innovation they choose, some of those innovations are amazing

My view for players is that it's up to them whether they want to play a game or not, if they enjoy it great, if not then why are they playing ?

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24 minutes ago, esme said:

Some people won't play missions with spiders or undead in, I'm not seeing huge interest in spiders or undead being added to every mission to force them to change their playstyle

In a weird coincidence not seeing “huge interest” in adding save restrictions to every mission either.

Apologies @marblemanI think you’re thread took a wrong turn at some point and I have probably contributed to that. Hopefully you got at least something you were after.

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7 hours ago, JackFarmer said:

This is (was) your intention?

The database lists ca. 150 missions. So far, only one mission can optionally be played with save restrictions. According to your own account, you know how the discussions in the other threads with this subject went (if I recall correctly, not exactly many mappers participated in these discussions which is also telling).

No offense, but for the reasons mentioned above I simply do not understand why you think that exactly on this niche forum you would find plenty of arguments pro safe restrictions from both mappers and players.

I'd say the TDM forum is a very good place to ask such questions, because TDM can be a great game for testing out stealth game mechanics. It's open source and anyone who puts in the effort can make a mission.

Like you, @marbleman makes missions. One of his missions (along with Random Taffer) won the Thief II 20th Anniversary Contest. He is both a creator (missions and walkthrough videos) and a player, which makes him one of the best people to research this, in my opinion. He has a game designer's mindset. As a player, I am very interested in what @marbleman discovers.

One thing that makes his question interesting is that it is so easy to get off topic and talk about the pros of unrestricted saving instead of the pros of restricted saving. So far, the stated pros of restricted saving can be self-imposed by the player without removing the save function. Why remove the save function, then? What are we missing? Intriguing!

@JackFarmer We don't want to read negative, unhelpful comments towards or about @marbleman. We want to read helpful comments instead, which will lead us towards answers. Can you help? Do you know of anyone who might have an answer? Is there something you have read in another thread that might be helpful here?

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If the main incentive of restricted saving is to increase tension by forcing the player to adapt to being discovered, I think the game is no longer purely a stealth game, such as Thief or TDM. Once the player is discovered, there is no more stealth involved. It's like an insta-death in a shooter. If we include power fantasies here, the stealth power fantasy is gone. Therefore, it's either a mix of genres or a new yet to be named genre.

The new genre could be a "chase game," perhaps? The stealth part is a time to collect resources and put the player in a better position for the inevitable chase. The player is rewarded during the chase instead of during the stealth part.

So, my question is: Are game designers actually wanting a different genre than stealth when they restrict saving?

Edited by Daft Mugi
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I don't have all day to play games anymore, not being able to quicksave when I want/need means I basically stop playing a game that makes me lose progress like that.

If I spend 20-30 minutes on a section, meticulously clearing out guards and loot, only to lose all of that, the will to do it all again vanishes.

Now for some people who are powering through a level quickly, it's only going to be a few minutes of gameplay lost, they might not mind.

 

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I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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5 hours ago, esme said:

I see no benefit in artificially restricting saves, "oh the doorbell just went, hello amazon delivery, oh hell I just lost 3 hours of game play that I now have to repeat because I couldn't save the game", maybe we should restrict doorbells as well as saves

 

This has happened to me so many times in SoulsRingBorne games lol.

I always assumed I'd taste like boot leather.

 

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55 minutes ago, Daft Mugi said:

Once the player is discovered, there is no more stealth involved.

But isn't stealth gone only temporarily? They calm down again with just their weapon readied from now on. 

You don't consider it to be stealth after first detection at all? 

I don't feel like it's "insta-death" when I get detected. Stealth is hard, so it doesn't really bum me out when I get made at rare instances. I even enjoy the sudden change of pace that the chase forces on me, and in some cases it makes it easier to reach my objectives. 

I feel like in this universe it is common for those who hold valuables, to have frequent unwanted visitors, and when normally it feels wrong in stealth games for AI to "go back to normal", the setting of TDM really makes it much more immersive. They have no alarms to sound the whole town with, nor do they have effective tools to lure you out of hiding. Their best bet is just to keep their eyes open and ready themselves. You proceed further from them, and will soon encounter AI who knows nothing about the nearby alert. Depending on map of course.

Also, I might even go as far as to say that successful evasion during chase still is a practice of your stealth skill. The manner by which you return to becoming invisible.

Edited by Loginnerer
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@Daft MugiI don't think so, but I don't really think "stealth" is much of a genre of games. Thief is part of a legacy of games which have grown beyond being describable as "stealth" games. Most modern "stealth" or simulation focused games simply make alternative playstyles more viable and games well outside what you might consider the normal reach of such things have started to appropriate stealth and simulation mechanics.

Deus Ex, Breath of the Wild, The Last of Us 1 & 2, Metal Gear Solid 5, Dishonored 1 &2, Prey, Hitman, Modern Wolfenstein, The Evil Within 2, Elden Ring - all are or can played as "stealth" games. In none of these does detection feel like an irreversible fail state because the player actually has the kind of options that allow them to keep playing. This has to hold up if you want to consider save restrictions, and most of these games don't go that far anyway.

Thief is actually better at this than TDM - a quick flash bomb can end an issue with being detected really quickly. In TDM the game does not hold up very well. Try the same thing and you will likely just blind yourself. Good luck knocking out the ai you manage to hit with the bomb as they go through a single cycle animation and then stand like statues for a few brief seconds before they resume hunting you down or you manage slink into the darkness and then into an incredibly long cool down period for the simulation to reset. Try to fight back and whatever blows you manage will land with the impact of a sponge. It's rare that players engage with this part of the game, so the design is not as "robust" so to speak. In this context reloading the game makes an awful lot of sense to me, and taking that ability away makes very little unless you contend with that in designing your mission.

You can see maybe how this informs the design of Deathloop (which is not entirely successful imo) - Dishonored is game which holds up very well when the player is detected, but rarely did players who quickly found a comfortable and repeatable method to play engage with and see more than a sliver of the game. Whether players wanted to see more or not I don't know, but the designers were obviously interested in seeing if they could get players out of this mold. So Deathloop makes the player contend with the consequences and then theoretically leverage more aspects of the game, but in return it attempts to make the risk very low and the opportunity to experiment and try the same scenario with a different approach very high. The game is designed for you to play scenarios over and over again - so there isn't much risk in starting over when you're going to be doing this anyway and if you're going through the same content you're likely to want to change things up every once in a while. 

Did it entirely work? No. Was it interesting to play? On aggregate it more or less worked for me, though I would have preferred Dishonored 3.

Am I happy they tried something a little new even if it didn't work entirely? Yes.

So why should there be save restrictions? Because we should be open as players and creators to trying new things. We don't have to like them and they don't have to work the first time, but it's how we grow. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Loginnerer said:

But isn't stealth gone only temporarily? They calm down again with just their weapon readied from now on. 

You don't consider it to be stealth after first detection at all?

I hear you. I don't disagree with this. A successfully completed mission can have moments of stealth, being discovered, and returning to stealth. And, that has its own sense of rewards and immersion. That can be quite fun.

My comment was about pure stealth, the power fantasy of stealth, and ghosting, since Marbleman's preferred playstyle is ghosting and was part of the original question. If the player is discovered, that power fantasy is broken. Sure, for a ghoster, they might be able to recover, regain stealth, and successfully complete the mission, but their desired experience is broken. There's an objective in their mind of "don't alert anyone" and possibly "don't leave a single trace behind." Do they start the entire mission over or load a save? With save restrictions, they must restart the entire mission over or load from a checkpoint. That's not fun. So, why would a game designer put save restrictions on the player when the player, who wants to be forced to recover from their mistakes, can just not save (or unbind the quicksave key)? Players who iron mode do this.

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4 hours ago, Wellingtoncrab said:

So why should there be save restrictions? Because we should be open as players and creators to trying new things. We don't have to like them and they don't have to work the first time, but it's how we grow. 

For sure. I don't think there is any anti-creator sentiment here.

It's about learning why a game designer made the decision to restrict saving. And, it's about learning — from the game designer's perspective — how restricted saving improves the player's experience. (stealth games only)

Edited by Daft Mugi
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