Would an internal saving feature work with the 'bookmark' feature

The games are getting longer, so the time to have an internal save-feature might be upon us.
I wonder, though, would it work with the ‘bookmark’ feature (the way the story continues where you left off right now) or would they clash?

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Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The last thread regarding a save feature had the head honcho chime in to say it wasn’t gonna happen, if I recall correctly.

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It would make telling stories a lot easier, and it is (judging by reviews) one of the main things people are missing.

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I had a quick search for a thread in which a CoG stafff member offered a view on saving, this is what I found: Saves in Choice of Games - #128 by Mary_Duffy

The relevant quote from @Mary_Duffy

Because it’s complex. And it has consequences for how the games are written. And there are 300 questions about how to do it buried inside the request. A save system? Ok, sure. Next comes:

-Your save system doesn’t work!
-Your save system doesn’t have enough save points!
-All the older games don’t have save points!
-Your save system …BLAH.

This ship doesn’t turn quickly. We have a lot of priorities to take care of before we make a decision to redesign how the games are written and made. We want you to have a great experience playing our games, but we can’t turn on a dime, unfortunately.

Mostly what I draw from that is that it is considered hard and complex and will spawn additional problems for CoG and so they didn’t want to invest the effort. Bearing in mind that post was 2.5 years ago.

From looking at other posts, I see that the common argument against is that saving allows players to re-do choices and therefore cheapens the experience and means people will just save-reload a lot. @Havenstone has come in a lot on this topic, I wonder if he has a particular insight into the current thinking in CoG?

In any case, if this were my company, my number 1 question would be: What feature could a rival bring out that suddenly causes half my customer base to jump ship? As is pointed out, lots of people want saves, but my understanding is that other IF platforms don’t really offer them either. So right now, the discontent has no where to go.
I have no idea, but I wonder what happens if someone delivers an effective IF platform that does allow saving? Because by then it could be too late to make your own system

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This is what baffles me most. There is an ongoing ‘editing, modding, cheating’ thread, and it’s shrugged off. similar threads and posts also seem to be shrugged off (not all), but ‘people could just reload’ is still used as argument against an internal save feature.

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This is actually something that I dont agree with. A lot of authors and readers are moving to twine and one of the reasons besides being able to have a more complex and nice looking UI is the fact that you can introduce saves very easilly

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Ahh. I haven’t ever looked at any other platforms, so I wouldn’t actually know - I just went off a skim read of some of the comments I saw.

If that is true though, then it would reinforce my main point - that it doesn’t matter what you want to do as a company, if lots of people want saves and another company offes them. Then that is where the customers, and the money, will go.

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Not to mention, a couple of games have implemented saves mid game and they work fine. Mecha Ace and tin star come to mind

the downside of those kinds of saves (I think Jolly Good has it too) is that they go chapter by chapter. So, if you read something wrong/misclick, you have to click through the entire rest of the chapter/die on purpose to reload

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I actually would prefer chapter by chapter saves against the kind of saves twine has because it fits the balance between saving occasionally and creating tension when you make choices so you don’t screw up because going back to the start of the chapter is a headache. That, and it’s easier to implement

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Not at all. I mostly chip in to remind people of the original thinking. They could have changed their minds and I wouldn’t know. :slight_smile:

I don’t think there’s a right answer on this, just different preferences. That’s why I usually find myself defending the reasonableness of the status quo. But I’m not opposed to saves as such. I tried in my own game to give enough of a save system to allow some shortcuts on re-exploration by chapter without removing the consequentiality of choices.

I’ve seen on Reddit that there is now a third party save system for Steam. Anyone who plays there may want to have a look.

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I thiiiiink someone made a thread for that one on here too? Certain I’ve seen something like it.

Personal thought is the fact that games get longer and longer, and while it’s great when the authors put in a chapter-by-chapter savesystem, it’d be more comfortable if there’d be one build in. An author made save system can be faulty. One typo slipping through, one forgotten variable and everything’s down the drain.

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Warning: a little bit of a rant.

With all due respect, but I don’t buy it. CJW’s save plugin has been around for a while and it’s readily available to any game uploaded on DashingDon with minimal setup. It’s not so much the technical difficulty, it is just unwillingness.

There are other features I’d consider more important, that has also been requested, and never even got a reply. How about loops? Or a native function to check the highest stat? Every other day there’s someone asking about how to do that. Considering how stat-heavy ChoiceScript games are, this should have been incorporated a long time ago. By the way you can easily get that with this library that I wrote with CJW and choicehacker.

It is not a matter of implementation, I know for a fact implementing it would take 30 minutes at most. I can literally do that with a single line of JavaScript using the *script command.

CJW implemented native function to help working with arrays and submitted the code to ChoiceScript’s repository. The code has been collecting dust for months without a single reply. And from what I understand they had already agreed to the idea before CJW wrote the first line of code.

Look, far from me to tell CoG how to run their business, but let’s be honest, any success they have is because of the community and the creators, and in spite of CoG’s stances.

Anyway, back to the topic:

I built this tool to help with exactly that.

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Loops as in spotting loops? I think they recently added that.

Thanks for the tools

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As in *looplimit? Not really. In fact if we had loop structures we wouldn’t need *looplimit.

I mean, compare this:

*comment ChoiceScript

*temp counter 0
*label loop_start

*comment Some code here... 

*set counter +1
*if (counter < 5)
	*goto loop_start

With this:

# Python

for counter in range(5):
	# Some code here... 

To compare with other IF languages:

// Ink

- (loop_start)

    // Some code here...

    { - loop_start < 5:
            -> loop_start
    }
/* Twine (Sugarcube) */

<<for $counter to 0; $counter < 5; $counter++>>
	/* Some code here... */
<</for>>

In ChoiceScript, to keep it idiomatic, it could look something like this:

*comment ChoiceScript 

*repeat 5
	*comment Some code here... 

Abstraction makes it easier to read, easier to write, easier to understand, less error-prone, less likely to accidentally creating an infinite loop.

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Yup rereading chapter is so fun! /s

There is no tension in these games. Restarting the game/chapter is just wasting players time and it doesn’t do anything to enhance or help the story.

The whole spiel about tension and not wanting a save system is just petty elitism over objectively bad design decisions.

Edit:Needed to double check the game wasn’t updated.

“Good” example of a recent bad death implementation (it’s a bug on steam, steam files haven’t been updated, and author/dev(?) is working on it) is The Vampire regent. You can die in that game and have to restart the entire thing. I fail to see how system like that is fun to anyone. There is no tension, just a chore to play.

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There can be tension, but that has all to do with atmosphere building and so forth, not with making the reader worry if they can guess the author’s intentions and views well enough.

Now, choices and their wording shouldn’t hold one’s hand through the story, but they should still be clear and atmospheric enough to make it clear what they influence/what’s being tested, and how their tone will be.

Sidenote here: nothing is more obnoxious than badly worded choices that make one think they are playing towards one way when they are either not, or worse there’s no other way to play towards to, but that’s a whole different topic (albeit related)

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I’ve watched people agonize over CoG choices for ages. Not everyone does, and not everyone who does enjoys the experience, but plenty do.

“Objectively bad” is what I end up arguing with when it comes to save systems. The games are designed with a particular user experience in mind. I think it’s fair enough to argue that it’s elitism to favor that experience over others, but it shows lack of self-awareness to then also argue that the different experience you’d personally prefer is objectively, universally better.

We can speculate about the market punishing CoG by losing their audience to another publisher with a save system. That’s certainly possible. I read CoG as betting, based on their early playtesting experience, that they would lose more by implementing saves wrongly – that the games would become less compelling, and turn into an exercise in save-mashing, and ultimately the market would diminish. So far, there doesn’t seem to me to be “objective” evidence that they’re wrong in this bet.

PS: I agree this is not part of creating a good user experience:

but I think it would be bad even with a save system.

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It would certainly have less of a sting in some cases. Like we have some games in the library where the choices/their wording are misleading, ranging from a choice having an impact on the game as a whole without the reader knowing to choices that appear to have an overarching impact while they are all irrelevant, no matter how numerous throughout the game.

I don’t believe CoG has not implemented a save system out of a design decision, even if they might claim so. Except for minor patches, the game engine has not changed since its inception more than 10 years ago. And it’s not because ChoiceScript has a solid base. There’s just no interest in changing what’s working if it’s good enough. But good enough is not necessarily good, and definitely not great. The user experience and the developer experience are both debilitated (for different reasons, such as mentioned in my other post above).

The game industry has already understood that a save system is a must. The tension stems from the cumulative result of choices along the playthrough, which makes “save-mashing” impractical. To change the outcome you would have to restart the game anyway. Besides the official guide is that there shouldn’t be one path that is better than the other, just different experiences. If one path in the game is better than the other or the whole tension is dependant upon a single choice, that’s just bad design. If the story branch as a whole is well balanced but you need some bad things to happen along the way, you can trade it off by making something good happen with the bad or you could make it in a way that the aftermath of a “bad” choice comes only later in the game, so going back becomes less appealing.

The save system is to safeguard against accidental choices (slip of the finger) or misjudgment of the text intention.

This is all true even in a game like Assassin’s Creed, where you could more easily argue that a save system “cheapens” the experience because at failing a mission I can just reload and try again. But they are not even worried about it, because the story is the experience and failing is not desirable. This should be even more so for text-based games where the story is the only experience.

Even extremely hard games such as Bloodborne have a save system, albeit limited to checkpoints. So, no, it’s not a matter of opinion, it’s the industry standard and just part of good practices. The lack of a save system is an objectively bad design choice (the exception to that being rare). Even if a creator decides not to use it in their games, it should at least be available for those who do.

Personally, if I get frustrated with three choices throughout the game, I just drop it. I don’t have the patience to keep starting over or tinkering with game files. If I’m not having fun, I’m gone. And I do leave bad reviews because of that. It is the only thing I can do as a customer. And besides, if the goal is to avoid a “save-mashing”, it has failed miserably and has turned it into button-smashing in a race to get back to the point where I was, making the whole experience less enjoyable. And if a game has a save system but you don’t want to use it because you feel that it cheapens the experience, by all means, just don’t.

That’s true, but it would at least mitigate the bad design.

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