Hello everyone,

This is a Game Design post and not ORK related so I post it in General section.

I was thinking about some mechanics and for example, I'm implementing an enchanting system, so you have a scroll and you have a chance to enchant your weapon but if it fails you lose your weapon, this is pretty easy to exploit, you just save your game before the enchant, and if it fails you just load back.

I thought some solutions but not yet had a chance to succeed. One is to have an auto-save everytime someone uses this mechanic, but this is a no-go because you need to have only 1 save slot and that's a problem because someone could just have a brother that plays on the same pc and each one has it save.

Then I thought about each character have 1 slot, but I don't know if and how that could be possible.

Any thoughts?
  • edited January 1
    Post edited by Scyra on
  • edited December 2017
    Come up with better mechanics. :-)

    Seriously though; that's the only real solution to savescumming. CRPGs have generally been "save anywhere, anytime" (except maybe during combat) for many years. PC gamers would not be forgiving if you place major restrictions on saving. Single save files are a terrible idea, unless you have a relatively simple set of saved data structures AND a large QA team to ensure that the single save can never get into an unwinnable state.

    You need to design the game mechanics around the knowledge that the player can just reload. So a simple pass/fail check with strong negative consequences for failure is not ideal, as that's exactly the sort of thing that encourages savescumming.

    (Disclaimer: I can and do savescum with the best of them)

    "Failing forward" is an interesting approach to look at. In tabletop RPG terms, it means that a failed die roll (skill check, etc) introduces complications rather than stopping progress. So instead of destroying the weapon when the enchanting fails (absolutely no reason not to reload unless you forgot to save for the last half hour), maybe the weapon gets the enchantment -- but also some sort of negative side effect. Or maybe the enchantment is of variable strength such that it has a different bonus every time you use it (can occasionally be better than the base enchantment).

    That's just off the top of my head; with some dedicated thought you can probably come up with better. The key point is to make failure interesting enough (but never easier) that the player doesn't feel like a chump if he chooses not to reload.

    EDIT: Also, you could make the chances of success deterministic and dispense with the random element.
    Post edited by Keldryn on
  • Like both inputs! Thanks.

    @Scyra I thought about the 1 slot per Player, but is it possible to do that in ORK?

    @Keldryn Thats a good idea, but I would really like to have a crafting system that is not hard to get a new weapon, to get the player to gather mats etc.
  • I don't think one slot per player/character is doable in ORK, but I could be mistaken.

    One save slot can work for more straightforward action RPGs like Diablo or Dark Souls. The player doesn't generally have the freedom to put the game in an unwinnable state.

    Mostly, however, I find single slot save systems don't make me feel more immersed; they just make me feel like the designers don't respect my time. (Unless we're talking about a game like Super Mario Odyssey, in which case multiple slots would be a time waster)

    For games like Gothic, Baldur's Gate, Fallout, Skyrim, etc a one slot system simply would not work. Too many ways to get in an unrecoverable situation and having to start over shows utter disdain for the player's time.
  • edited January 1
    Post edited by Scyra on
  • edited January 1
    Post edited by Scyra on
  • @Scyra - is that question directed at me or @dlevel?
  • edited January 1
    Post edited by Scyra on
  • Scyra said: Have you by chance played Darkest Dungeon? It's not a full RPG, but attempts and succeeds at its aim of giving you "the dungeon crawl" experience. That is, (and there's no saving, by the way) you assemble your party, purchase what supplies you think you will need, and then you are IN IT. And things can go badly
    Wow, that sounds as far from a game that I would want to play as you can get. ;-)

    I might have played it and enjoyed it as a teenager or during my university years... but being in my 40s, married, working full-time, and a father of two (ages 5 and 7) this sort of thing is incredibly unappealing to me. Time for gaming can be pretty scarce, so I don't want to spend it replaying the same segments over and over again (Dark Souls). Nor am I willing to put up with a lack of expected conveniences, such as pausing or a fairly liberal save system. Not having those features doesn't make the game more challenging for me, it makes it completely unplayable. It's rare that I can find even 2 hours of uninterrupted gaming time. Most of my gaming time these days is actually during my 45-minute train rides to and from work -- which is why the Nintendo Switch is the perfect game console for me (I'd say I use it as a portable aabout 3/4 of the time). I'm actually just playing Skyrimnow for the first time; I did buy it on Steam during a sale quite some time ago, but only got about 2-3 hours in. On the Switch, I can finally play it.

    Anyway, steering this back to the actual topic of this thread... Making save game systems more restrictive in order to reduce the potential for exploits (or to make the game more challenging) tends to have the side effect of making the game less accessible and more inconvenient to play. And you also need to be much more rigorous in ensuring that the game cannot get into an invalid or unwinnable state.

    If you're specifically targeting a hardcore audience that thrives on overcoming difficult challenges, then you can be less concerned with accessibility or convenience. But this is also a target audience that is extremely critical and difficult to please. If the rest of your game isn't impeccably designed and well polished, they'll tear it apart. So be aware of that.

    In the end, I suppose you have to ask if the restrictions on saving make the game more enjoyable for players or if they are just a band-aid over easily exploitable game designs.

    Game mechanics that are highly random and unpredictable naturally lead to abuse of a flexible save/load system. Mechanics that are more deterministic or where the outcome can be more easily predicted don't encourage that behaviour the same way. And mechanics where failure yields a more complicated/difficult but not impossible path can actively discourage players from reloading (or at least make the decision a meaningful one).
  • after your posts and thinking about it, I found the middle ground, to have a normal mode, with save slots etc. and a hardcore mode with 1 auto-save slot :)
  • Regarding save states and unwinnable/invalid accidents, I recall getting one of those late 90s CD grab bags of games as Wal-Mart and other big box stores were trimming their software aisles. It was a big collection of SSI's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons games to date and among them was Dark Sun.

    I got to the very end quest of the game and if I recall it only had one save slot (along with an autosave function if you moved between scenes.) There was a crucial NPC who would trigger an event but his whole village got wiped out somehow and that brought the entire game to a screeching halt. I wasn't aware of this and saved AFTER he was killed.

    So, there was no fixing it at the time and the save data wasn't editable like some of the later AD&D Baldur's Gate games were.

    To this day, that game sticks in my head as "how not to do things" in the way of saves and variables.
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