Loading and Saving

Category: Monsters' Den: Godfall Comments: 15 comments

Traditionally in Monsters’ Den the game saves automatically in the background. There’s no need to explicitly save the game, and there’s also no rolling back to an earlier state. What happened, happened.

While I do like this aspect I don’t think it’s core to the experience. Despite some vague similarities, the game isn’t a roguelike. So for Godfall I’m strongly considering moving to a more conventional load/save scheme. Unlike the “slots” in Book of Dread, you’ll be able to have many saves per campaign. The game will still create autosaves occasionally, but you can also manually save as well as load an earlier game.

There are some strong reasons to do this, not the least of them technical. With Chronicles, especially, there were all sorts of issues with saved games failing or becoming corrupted. It was (and still is) kind of a nightmare. Manual saves are less likely to break, and it’s more likely that I can communicate to the user that it’s happened. (Often with Chronicles it seems like Flash wouldn’t save properly as the game exited, and in that case it’s too late). It’s also a somewhat more natural way to do it in terms of player expectations. Most games work like this. Lastly, it accommodates a wider range of playstyles– if some people want to keep loading games until they get every fight absolutely perfect, why not let them? I could still add an Ironman mode.

The downsides are that it loses a little bit of Monsters’ Den feel, and that it creates the possibility that some progress could be lost if the game closes unexpectedly or the user forgets to save.

But really, I want to hear what you think. Is this something you care about?

 

15 comments to Loading and Saving

  • waterzxc  says:

    Well, the auto saves never failed on me so I had no problem with that. If someone really wants a manual save/load function, why not just have both types of save/load system in the game? A lot games have both systems. If there’s problem with the workload, I guess a manual save/load would be better because of the freedom it gives you.

  • WondoBondo  says:

    I don’t have a problem with a save/reload experience. On hard games, I sometimes have to save and reload a lot while I am learning to play. Once I master the game I usually just save after I finish certain tasks incase the game crashes or the power goes out or whatever.

    Save/reload would not affect my gaming experience one way or another as far as I am concerned.

    The only thing that I would say about it is that if you have random events or treasure or whatever, please make sure to populate the map at the beginning so that you can’t reload to get some treasure that is better. Because there is a huge temptation to reload if you get some bunk item and you know that there is a chance to drop the uber item that would make the game real easy. If it is a 10% chance to drop and I could win the game with it, then it is hard to resist the temptation to reload until I get the thing I want. Or if the encounter changes because it is random then set all that at the beginning of the map or game.

    Also, some things should be re-randomized on reload. For instance, I played Gothic and you could pick locks and you had to choose left or right and if you were wrong your pick lock would break, but if you did not have enough pick locks you could find out the combination to anything by trial and error, then reload and pick the 12 digit combo without loosing any pick lock tools. I couldn’t help myself, I had to cheat.

    Hope this helps,
    Be well

    • garin  says:

      Yeah, I already use seeds to generate the entire dungeon including treasure. I’m aware of how that temptation can warp the experience. I used to do the same thing in Gothic.

  • German  says:

    From all my playing experience I learnt that saving IS a big issue, as a part of general “scumming” group of issues. Here’s the problem with saving:

    A) Some people, really enjoy manual save-loading, without it the game might be too hard and unrewarding for them. I also suspect that most casual players fall into this category. That’s why they are an important group to consider for a developer.

    B) Other people enjoy the challenge, and they always have a disagreement between temptation of save-loading to get stronger and realization that it makes the game too easy, repetitive, and kills all the challenge. From my personal experience, I tell you that this is dreadful, and not fun at all. I used to make a list of things I will NEVER do before starting a game, like saving before a level up and reloading if my health roll is bad in Baldur’s Gate, but it’s still a temptation. Playing a game should not be a test of willpower, should it? I’ve quit a few games after finding an exploit which made the game all too boring.

    I have a solution though, I’m not just whinging 🙂 The solution is very simple, at least conceptually (I’m not a programmer). Make a tick box before the start of a campaign / character creation, and if a player ticks “no manual saving”, there will be no way for the player to change this option later. The benefit is huge, people from group B should make a decision only once, right at the beginning, and there’s no conflict for the rest of the game. People from group A can still play as they like without this option. Everyone’s happy. Many developers forget about A guys or B guys, and it can make them very annoyed.

    • garin  says:

      I think you’re right about the different kinds of players, and about the solution. I mentioned an optional Ironman mode in the post, and that’s my preferred way to handle this.

      • raziel11  says:

        what you could do, is have auto saves and manaul saves.

    • KH82  says:

      I strongly vote for making it an option to choose at start of game. Just like how Diablo has HARDCORE mode.

      German suggestion is good, make it a tick and perhaps having 2 hall of fame for both type of player.

  • Vunar  says:

    I think that save/load options could be linked to game difficulty. You either play casual with manual save/load or normal/hard with autosave only +bonus xp or loot. Whenever a game allows me to abuse save/load for best results I do so, but I prefer when I cant and I have to deal with consequences. My 2nd favorite roguelike after monsters den is Tales of Maj’Eyal. I never used manual save/load there. There are perks that make me not need to. Limited lives and skill points that I can change but only few levels back.

    • raziel11  says:

      the seeds he uses auto generates the loot at the start of the dungeon, so no save load cheating like reckoning or baldurs gate

  • rocsage  says:

    always nice to have such a feature.
    having such saves allows you experiment and retrace your steps with impunity. While such a scenario does lend to possibilities of save/load speculation, the highly strategic and multi-faceted nature of monster’s den series combat means any chance event and its immediate impact will be evened out as the battle drags on.
    By the way, I played (and bought the expansion for) another RPG, Epic Battle Fantasy IV. Game length aside, is there any reason you are only charging half as much for the premium version?

  • Kira  says:

    I hate Ironman modes in general. I think just disable manual save option when starting a game for those who want the classic feel.

    Problem Solved.

  • Fathem  says:

    I vote for saves. One reason why I stopped playing chronicles was I had some issues with losing progress. It was really discouraging.

  • Alan Zhou  says:

    HOW MUCH LONGER UNTIL THE GAME COMES OUT!!!

    • raziel11  says:

      he estimates a year

  • Eric  says:

    One negative thing about being able to go back to an older state of the game was with opening the reward bags from the endless combat in Monsters’ den Chronicles. I played it till i got 5 reward bags, saved the game, and opened them until i got atleast 3 upgrades to turn items legendary.

    For the sake of my self control i would leave it out. 🙂

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