A Simple Compromise on Save Points

Ha! :slight_smile: You got me. In my head I meant “the ability to save at will,” not “save points,” which exist in my own game (three chapter checkpoints). If I’m not wrong I was the first COG author to add them, but I think some of the big games since have had them too.

Good points. I clearly shouldn’t be posting to the forum while distracted – I make mistakes and bad arguments. Back in a bit once we’ve COVID tested my son.

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I really like the checkpoint feature. I think I first enountered it in Jolly Good: Cakes and Ale and found it quite reassuring and helpful, even for someone like me who does the manual save thing obsessively.

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“we’re in charge and we do it our way” outweighs any argument there is, unfortunately. This isn’t the first or second or tenth time this has popped up and it’s clear at this point COG has no interest in changing (for better or worse), even after considering the arguments. You’re free to express your arguments but it’s likely a waste of time.

My personal opinion on save points/undo: doesn’t matter, it’s not gonna happen

My best advice would be to participate in WIP threads and (constructively) encourage the writers to individually implement a checkpoint/password system, but it’s not something that’s going to come down from the top.

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I think some people are taking for granted how easy and how hard it is to even attempt to code a checkpoint system found in games like Tin Star or Breach: The Archangel Job.

I would kindly suggest to take a look at this wikia article and see how much more coding is involved for the author… on top of writing a story, editing, coding, debugging, etc.

Deciding to implement a checkpoint system is a luxury, not a requirement. Sometimes authors barely have enough time to other moving parts or maybe sometimes they just don’t have enough experience with Choicescript to feel confident in implementing this system.

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I’m curious if the pressure to implement saves might actually come from trying to retain authors. A bunch of the WIPs I follow have been moving to twine on Itchio, and a big perk for me is being able to retain the save function after the game is released plus the author gets to keep a larger percentage of their sales.

I like how easy it is to code dive with COG and how easy it is to understand, but I feel that some of their practices seem rather inclined to alienate their fanbase. I often find rather than be excited for a new release I’m dreading the WIP being taken down from Dashingdon and losing the save function.

Hell, if they made a dashingdon like save function as a dlc add on for longer games I would absolutely throw a couple of extra bucks their way.

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Doesn’t almost every WIP in DashingDon have a save system? Why not use that?

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Because when a story gets published that save system doesn’t carry into the publishing platform. It’s just for Dashingdon. It’s incompatible.

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Makes me appreciate the authors who include them even more. :+1:

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As a reader who came from the published games and found this forum far later on, I was blown away by the save function and I’m now quite honestly spoiled by it.

I’m a perfectionist who will restart an entire playthrough if I make the wrong decision in a game, and I find that having to start all over again pulls me out of the game more so than being able to save and reload after a poor, or accidental choice. Especially if it’s worded in a way I misunderstand and I boost the wrong stat, or fail a check.

If there was a save function that could be implemented into published games, I agree with others that completing the game at first and then having the option for saving afterward would be nice. Or even having the option to select ‘will you like to play with the save option included’ in the beginning.

The only downside to a save function that I can think of, is that authors won’t be able to rely on repetitive ratings for their games; such as one reader playing a game 10 times and rating it 5 stars each time. (Which is how I assume it works since I’ve done so numerous times with Wayhaven and Breach. Please correct me if I’m wrong). That can effect how new readers select what game to buy because an older title has 13k positive ratings, and a newer title that is just as well written will only gain 1k or so because somebody can playthrough a game once and unlock every choice.

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my unimportant and personal opinion is that i feel a save feature would actually enhance a players experience if that is how they want to play. I have been here sense choice of dragons, even if i am a silent lurker for the most part due to my social anxiety, and i have a serious problem with the games never having a save point. It’s always made me stressed out, i will have to open multiple tabs when ever there is a choice and even still I will have to restart my playthroughs.
I read these games for their plot and story, not for achivements or ‘beating it’ or what ever. A lot of times I just want to read a story and have it go a specific way. Or i want a specific character to like my MC. Or I didnt realize i’d only be able to do one thing on a list of options. But what ever a players reason for wanting to save is, the fact of the matter is that restarting the game and skipping through all the dialogue you have already read is boring and tedious and pulls you out of the game.
I will tell you right now I would buy way more titles if there was a save option. The last few years I have noticed myself really only playing demos of games before realizing i have no patience to stress out about a choice only to have to restart the game over a million times just so i dont feel like crap when a character i wanna like is disapointed or upset with me.
I play these games to escape my social anxiety not confront them. Going out into the real world is hard enough. I understand why some people will hate that I play this way, but honestly its not any of their business how I play a game I spent my own money on. There are a lot of choices in games I love that tbh, i would strongly disagree with another person choosing. But thats the beauty of interactive fiction, they can have their story and I can have mine. If they want high stakes and hard choices they can have that. If I want a more controlled story where everyone lives at the end and my favorite characters love my MC then I can have that too.
I dont like how people look down on others just for wanting a save function. It feels too much like people claiming video games arnt fun unless its hard and that people who play on easy mode arent playing it right. Its just not true. Playing a game on hard mode or easy mode doesnt matter. They’re both valid. Games are ment to be fun and enjoyed by the person who bought them.

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À bttee example might be Magium, which has a save function. The game is highly branching with different characters builds and RO and I don’t think any of the 55k+ reviews on Google played consider it a “chore” as Cog put it on th faq…

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I 100% understands the wish to have choices matter and the story feel more real and dangerous by not having a save system. I have personally sendom missed one.

However, I will do my best to implement chapter saves in my games going forward because I have realized how much of a difference it makes to many people. I have been working hard on trying to get people to trust the story, and explore different paths to see what happens and trust that they won’t ruin everything because they do. A save system is part of that, and in my opinion it helps people let go of that one true path that they know work. It’s scary daring to try new things and mess up, and some people need assurances to do so. I am happy to provide them with that assurance.

I will still have an achievement for never using it tho…

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I think with a save system I would have played through more of the games I own. For the company it makes no difference because I bought the product but having about 80% of the games I bought not finished and therefore not reviewed in the Omnibus app, is for something that starts to bother me.
I simply don’t have the time to play through a game 20 times before getting a good end, and even the best writing gets boring, after you read it multiple times in a row.
Plus to remember all the choices I have made before missclicking one, is too much, so I would have to write that down or codedive all the time, and I am just too old for that sh*t.
I understand the policy but maybe it is time to think again about it. The games are getting longer, they are not a thing you read through in one or two hours anymore. The games are changing and so the policy might need a review.
Implementing a save system in choicescript May be difficult, but to integrate it in the Javascript core part is a lot easier.

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I agree, completely!

Magium is a great example of how a long, brachy game can be enhanced with a save function.
Reading Magium would have been a lot less fun if the save system didn’t exist. I, only stopped reading it because I wanted to read book 3 in one go.

I hope something like that would be added in HGs and CoGs. The days of shorter games are gone really. Most good games are at least 200,000 words long. (there are exceptions to this)

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Another key part of the design philosophy for CoGs (not HGs) is that every playthrough should have a good end – a satisfying end to the story, even if not one in which all things go perfectly, all possible achievements made, etc. If you feel you’re not getting this, it would be good to write to CoG about it and highlight which games felt like you had to play through them 20 times to get a good ending.

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That’s too much of a hassle for me to justify the cost of the games.

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Should be said that the average complexity of CoG and Hosted games has grown tremendously from what it used to be, and keeping a black and white stance on “every playthrough should be somewhat equally satisfying” is almost impossible for complex games in which the number of “fails” are much higher and at one point you can feel you’ve just completely trashed it

I mean, you know, being the author of one of the best and most complex game around.

And this translates into players having much more of a tangible goal they might fail to achieve when playing games, and the feeling of defeat being much more pronounced and, in particular, it can happen in the middle of a playthrough (and is much easier to accept a downer satisfying ending thhan continue playing if you feel you’ve been completely defeated already)

Using your own game for example, while i’m sure there will be a great myriad of states for the rebels that will be exported to your second game, because even a downer ending is satisfying after the build up, the way it happens and how it ties to the second game, my guess is few people didn’t restart the game if they had a terrible winter (I guess is vague enough not to be spoiler?) until getting at least a somewhat decent result.

An analogy would be playing a game, reaching the final boss and losing (and maybe losing party members), vs going halfway the game and realizing “there is no way i can beat the boss now AND half my party is dead”

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Thanks for the kind words, but it’s worth noting that because you can get your rebels thrashed in the final chapter, Choice of Rebels is not the best example of the COG game design philosophy (which is one of the reasons it was the first to have chapter checkpoints). I planned and started writing it before the “every playthrough should be satisfying” guideline had been articulated… although it’s also in a genre where GRR Martin and others have arguably redefined “satisfying” to include “abrupt and heartbreaking failure.”

Though this isn’t clear from Game 1 alone, for non-death endings, there’s no such thing as “completely defeated already” in XoR – certainly not just with a bad winter. It won’t become clear until Game 2 that having your first attempt at revolt smashed in Game 1 opens up new and different opportunities (while beating the army creates new and different problems). A host of helots and yeomen in the Rim is just one asset for your rebellion, not the sine qua non for success.

Tally Ho and Jolly Good are much better examples, where a “fail” consistently has satisfying consequences. Are there other recent CoG games that set you up to fail the final tests if you’re halfway through the game and make the wrong choices?

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Argh. I can’t help myself… :joy:

I think I can create tooling to generate a boilerplate soft save system. For exemple, the tool would read the startup file and generate the necessary code, then the author would copy and paste into their work.

That would be a nice pet project and a good excuse to postpone writing my own game. :joy:

Would something like that help?

Edit:

I realize now that I didn’t word the question properly, and the poll comes off as seeking attention. :sweat_smile: I don’t think anyone would vote “no”. What I really meant to ask is: authors, would you (actually) use such a tool?

I just want to believe the effort is not going to waste, so I’m assessing interest.

  • :+1: YES
  • :-1: NO

0 voters


Edit 2: the tool is available here.

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There is a problem with this stance and the problem is that an ending where the main character suffers a major loss (such as dying) can no longer be written alongside and ending where the main character does not suffer a major loss anymore.

While a lot of people like angst and a good tragedy can be cartharic - the matter of fact is that most people a going to feel that the ending where you lose something major is going is going to be the bad (or maybe tragic) end, if there also exist an end where you don´t lose.

So to make your thing work you end up with alwyas losing or always winning in the end, because if you don´t there is going to be a bad and a good end, no matter how well written the “bad” end is. That might work in a comedy like tally ho - but that just doesn´t work in stories like choice of rebels, where you are fighting for you life.

Fate of the Storm Gods is a recent CoG game which were well written, but where the final battle was so difficult that many complained - and my personal experience is that I put the game away forever, because after getting the “you die” end for the third time, because while the writing is surperb, the difficulty was just frustrating.

Jolly Good would also be a much lesser game if there wasn´t a chapter checkpoint. As @malinryden points out, I´m certainly one of those player who normally don´t explore out of my comfortzone once I´ve found the path which works - except in games like Jolly Good, because I have the safety net of “If I don´t like this, I can restart the chapter.”

Also if there is different endings, sometimes people might want to reach the different endings. Some might even want to reach the bad ending because they like tragedy and can´t because it is too well hidden, because it needs to be, because there is no savesystem and so the author error on making it easy to avoid people walking away in frustration - So it is not always about the “good” ending. The ability to save would have helped a lot.

Anyway your ideal is just that - An ideal. It is near impossible to reach and even if it wasn´t there is still the problem of people having to play the whole game through again - just to reach another ending. I have played a lot of VN`s. Believe me a lot of them have guides a lot of them have guides which a litterarly a step to step guide in which choice of to make so that you can make a save slot - as close as possible to the ending and still get all endings.

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