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The Goldeneye Method of Gaming

By Tex Bigballs in Technology
Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 09:45:53 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

One of the most fulfilling victories I've had beating a shooter was finishing Goldeneye on 00 agent mode. For anyone not familiar with this game, it was the best game for the Nintendo 64, and probably any console system at that time.

I've played dozens of shooters, but why was beating Goldeneye such an accomplishment? Because the game wouldn't let you quicksave and quickload in the middle of a mission.

id software's Doom 2 was unquestionably a groundbreaking title, sparking the entire genre of FPS. The gameplay was fun, and the graphics were like nothing else seen before at that time.

Unfortunately, while id should be given tons of credit for putting FPS and pc gaming on the map, they are also to blame for one of the worst gaming decisions ever: quicksave and quickload.

Doom 2 wasn't really a fair game. In single player, even on the lower difficulty modes, it wasn't really feasible to try to finish a level straight through without getting killed. Unlike the monsters, ammo and health were usually in short supply.

Instead of playtesting the game, and try to achieve some sort of fair but challenging difficulty, id chose to take the easier route, which is to make the game as difficult as possible, but let the player save and reload whenever they feel like it.

For those who have played old roms on console emulators, you know how much easier these games are when you have the save state/restore state feature. Games that were extremely challenging before can be easily beaten when exploiting that feature. Face it, being able to save and reload whenever you want is essentially cheating.

Some games like Soldier of Fortune and Vietcong have tried to restrict the number of saves the player can use, in order to make the game more challenging. Most developers are too lazy or scared to use these restrictions, because spoiled gamers will often complain that it makes the game more difficult.

Other games try to work around letting the player quicksave and quickload, and try to overwhelm the player with monsters in order to still make the game challenging. For example, Serious Sam would throw thousands of monsters at the player, and killing them all and surviving was still a pretty tall order.

Unfortunately, most games fall somewhere in the middle. For example, a game like Max Payne is ridiculously easy to beat if you just abuse the quicksave after killing every enemy. The game could be challenging if it limited the player, but again developers don't want to face criticism from players when they are denied their cheat.

Quicksave and quickload isn't just restricted to shooters. It can also be exploited in games like Civilization, where you send your armies to attack another city. If they're victorious, great. If not, you can just reload and try out a different strategy.

Same thing with a game like Championship Manager. If your team loses a crucial Champions League game, why not just reload before the match, and try out some different players or a different tactic?

So what's the solution? Obviously it is up to the player to try to exercise the proper amount of discipline in not abusing quicksave and quickload. In some games, particularly those with lots of goofy jumping puzzles (for example, the alien stages of Half Life), one would be foolish to try to get all the way through without saving.

However, for easier games, like the very easy Max Payne 2, why not try to beat the game without quicksaving? I did, and I'm not bragging- it was a very easy game.

Hopefully developers will start to clamp down and make games challenging again.

The question becomes, do you really want to spend $40-$50 to get through a game as quickly as possible. Honestly, I think that's stupid.


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The Goldeneye Method of Gaming | 214 comments (180 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
i'll vote this up (2.20 / 5) (#1)
by VoxLobster on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 10:50:52 AM EST

even though i disagree with Doom 2 being difficult on low difficulty levels.  On the easier diffuclty levels you could usually get through the entire game without dying.  But, on the Nightmare level and the one below it, yeah, that was a tough game.

I was raised by a cup of coffee! -- Homsar

Record save/load statistics. (2.71 / 7) (#2)
by antizeus on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 10:58:51 AM EST

I think that if I ever make a game with a save and load feature such as this, then I will keep statistics about their use, and then somehow use those when generating the equivalent of the "top score list".

I think I'd be interested in stuff like (number of saves) and (reloads per save). I might even construct and display some sort of tree structure, in which branching occurs when the player backs up to an earlier saved game (i.e. not the most recent) and proceeds from there.

In any case, reporting some sort of information about the use of save/load might help with the issues that Mr. Bigballs is facing. Or maybe not. Whatever.

Some games number the saves (2.75 / 4) (#6)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:03:53 AM EST

like for example Deus Ex and Serious Sam 1+2 numbers your quicksaves, so at the end of the game you can tell how many you used.

I think it would be cool to have those additional statistics, but I doubt it would add much replayability to the game (to try to better those records)

[ Parent ]

Resident Evil 2 (3.00 / 4) (#32)
by gazbo on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:43:25 PM EST

First time through I used extensively the save points (they sorta limited it, but essentially you had as many saves as you ever needed, and the save points were close enough together that you'd never lose more than a couple of minutes of effort if you died). But then at the end, you got a grade based on how fast you completed it and how many saves you'd made.

Given the carrot of extra challenges once you'd completed the game with grade A, it was incentive enough to play again without saving once. So that's one cool thing you can do with save statistics.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

I don't know (2.50 / 4) (#41)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:44:09 PM EST

to me getting some new endgame stats is not reason enough to replay a game. Especially a resident evil type of game where is more focused on atmosphere and puzzles, and the gameplay is not really anything special.

There are some type of elite gamers that will try to 100% every game, or always finish the best ratings. Honestly, I don't know where anyone gets that much time or determination.

[ Parent ]

Depends on the game and the motivation (none / 1) (#102)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:28:30 AM EST

I played Chrono Trigger religiously, got all the coolest equipment, and saw all the ending sequences because they were really great. Didn't bother levelling everyone up though.

When I beat Metroid Prime, I went back and did it again, on Hard mode, getting 100% of the items (which took a few days), but I used a walkthrough to assist because there are some items that can only be gotten at certain points - once you miss 'em, you can't get 'em again. That was worth it because I unlocked a bunch of spectacularly beautiful image galleries.

I'm playing KotOR right now, and I plan to finish it and then shove it in the back of my games box and never touch it again. There's no motivation for me to find everything - I'm not even really enjoying it right now, to be honest, I just want to get it over with.

I think, for me, when there's a percentage meter of some sort *and* a special thing you get for filling it, then I'll make the effort to complete a game 100%. If there aren't both of those things, I won't bother. Sure, I *could* go and see how few steps I need to beat FF6, but I've got better things to do with my time, like, say, play more games :P

I still need to go back and finish Halo on Legendary.

[ Parent ]

Bastard! (none / 0) (#209)
by TheBatGuy on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:34:35 PM EST

There are starving children in Africa who would love to have your KOTOR game, and yet you sit here and flaunt it to them. All the worse by your saying you are not even enjoying it. You heartless bastard!

[ Parent ]
good points (2.80 / 5) (#5)
by Burning Straw Man on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:03:22 AM EST

There have been a few games of late which allowed quicksave in situations which didn't really matter, and disabled it when you needed to actually defeat some series of opponents, stay alive, etc. Eternal Darkness for GameCube, for example, doesn't let you save when enemies are near, but when you're just wandering around, lets you save as often as you want.
your straw man is on fire...
This is true (2.75 / 4) (#9)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:12:48 AM EST

but Eternal Darkness's strength was definitely not the gameplay, which pretty much ranged from frustrating to confusing. I think this game's big draw was it was a much better Resident Evil, and of course the very cool insanity type effects.

[ Parent ]
Insanity (3.00 / 5) (#44)
by Burning Straw Man on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:50:55 PM EST

My wife and I use the "Sanity Meter" in discussions. Like...

Me: "Honey, do you want to run to Wal-Mart and pick up some of these things?"

Her: "Uh... I don't think my sanity meter can survive a trip to Wal-Mart today."

(The Wal-Mart nearest us has perhaps the most well-designed death-trap of a parking lot ever conceived.)
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

Eternal Darkness (2.75 / 4) (#47)
by baberg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 02:46:09 PM EST

Damn, I gotta go play that game again. At one point I could hear the chanting of runes as I walked around at work, I was so engrossed in it.

I don't mind the gameplay as much as you apparently do. I thought the controls were intuitive, the puzzles were just tough enough, and the bosses were hard enough to give a feeling of satisfaction when they died.

[ Parent ]

I thought the gameplay was okay (2.75 / 4) (#49)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 02:55:08 PM EST

just a little goofy. I remember the fights in the later stages of the game pretty much meant spending most of your time surrounded by that combat barrier type spell and just standing there waiting for your magic to recharge.

It wasn't particularly challenging, and kind of boring since you were just standing idle most of the  time.

[ Parent ]

It did get boring (none / 1) (#122)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:49:38 AM EST

I almost stopped playing very near the end because I really wasn't enjoying it any more. Which is a shame, because the atmosphere, insanity effects and story had me gripped in the earlier stages.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

yeah, (none / 3) (#29)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:30:29 PM EST

The Baldur's Gate line of games have traditionally done this, which means that if you want to save in(/near) battle, you need to run and hide somewhere where it's safe. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Why you can't save around badguys.. (2.75 / 4) (#77)
by SeanReardon on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:35:32 PM EST

Though I can't speak for Eternal Darkness, the reason that some games favor the "only save when not in peril" technique is to avoid the scenario:

1) Jump into pit that will definitely kill you.
2) On the way down hit quicksave.
3) Die.
4) Quickload
5) Goto #3.

Halo, the game my company just ported to the PC, has this same sort of logic, and it has nothing to do with some lofty notion of making the game harder or easier.  The game actually keeps track of when it's safe to make a new save state (considering things like whether or not the player is falling, whether or not there are particles in the air, etc) and only creates new save states when it's reasonably safe to do so.

[ Parent ]

That's a cop-out (none / 2) (#79)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:57:34 PM EST

Games like Serious Sam will keep a certain # of quicksaves active before deleting them. I think they kept at least 5 going at once before automatically deleting the oldest. So if you accidentally saved just before a rocket hit you, you could always reload a prior save.

If the engine can't handle saving the state of particle animations, AI state, etc, well then that's the engine's shortcoming.

[ Parent ]

Overall I think it was a decent decision.. (none / 0) (#160)
by SeanReardon on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 01:06:45 PM EST

Remember, halo was a launch title on the xbox.  The audience for halo was intended to be really massive.  Not just for hard core gamers (like you and I) but for our older brothers as well.

Removing the very idea of savegame slots made gaming a lot more comfortable to first-timers.

Also, it was because the engine did such a good job of saving state that things like projectiles were given special attention.  If a rocket was about to hit you, and a save happened, your next load would bring on an endless death cycle.

Not really defending this system here.  I was just pointing out some reasoning for why saving might not be allowed in certain scenarios.

[ Parent ]

I will admit you do have a point there (none / 0) (#161)
by Tex Bigballs on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 01:12:38 PM EST

although in the case of Halo, I really think the game overdid it and saved a little too often. The autosave rate for the game was about 4x what I would normally quicksave

[ Parent ]
Halo saving (none / 1) (#101)
by ZorbaTHut on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:23:11 AM EST

I remember a few glitches with the Halo saving . . . in cooperative mode, in the level with the big canyon and the bridges, it was possible to slowly hop down the side of the canyon at one point. Player 1 jumped down, nearly died, Player 2 leaped to their death and respawned next to Player 1 with full health, Player 1 commits suicide and respawns next to Player 2 with full health, rinse repeat. It would checkpoint cheerfully at several points along this so if you screwed up you wouldn't have to restart completely.

Once you finally got to the bottom of the chasm, all the triggers were broken and monsters didn't spawn. I was quite disappointed that you couldn't get into the Covenant tank despite the fact that there was no pilot. Unfortunately some doors didn't work, but we ended up grabbing some unoccupied Banshees and flying up past most of the level, and then successfully beat the level.

[ Parent ]

i have anouther idea (1.21 / 14) (#10)
by Please grow up on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:14:02 AM EST

perhaps games writers could not give people what they want, and then they could starve in the gutter and you could walk by and laugh at them and say ha ha, at least i got what i want

i find most games very hard even on easy settings, thats if they have them, and i like having a save option, also, i pay for my games, and i wonder if you pay for yours
(my user name should be "Please be Nice", dont pick your user name when your feeling annoyed!!)

I agree (2.25 / 4) (#68)
by Xcyther on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 05:28:29 PM EST

Some games are overly hard, even on easy setting. Deus Ex was one particular game.

Easy skill should be just that, easy. It shouldnt be too much of a challenge to get through it.

Medium/Normal skill should be how the game is played for experienced genre players.

Hard skill should take quite a few saves and replays to beat it.

"Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

[ Parent ]

but i digress (2.75 / 4) (#73)
by eudas on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:30:06 PM EST

i disagree that deus ex is impossibly hard, even on 'easy'. most of the initial difficulty comes from learning the game engine. after you get a handle on the game engine, things get pretty easy. the only real difference that i could tell from easy to impossible difficulty was that in the upper level difficulties, the computer AI was a crack shot, so you couldn't just sit in a tree taking sniper potshots, because they'd actually hit you when they shot back.

however, i will qualify this: i played thief, thief2, and system shock 2 all the way through (and on their highest difficulty settings) before i played deus ex, so i was already fairly familiar with how the games liked to run the defensive setup. (usually, a set of guards in set placements or rotations, and/or a set of guards in a particular pattern of movement, and your job is to enter/take out key positions to accomplish your mission.)

i rather thought system shock 2 had a reasonably good thing to keep you on your toes, with the random monsters (you could take out the static guards, but there are always random chances for creatures to spawn in somewhere and find you when they start wandering).

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Wow really? (none / 2) (#80)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:01:16 PM EST

I tried System shock 2 on the next to hardest difficulty setting and the game kicked my ass. How did you manage to do it? Exploiting weak AI or quicksaving/quickloading all the time?

One of the things that really bugged me about System  Shock 2 was that the ammo was always in such short supply.

Incidentally, I thought Deus Ex was mostly pretty fair except for the fight against the one boss. I can't remember his name but you fight him in that underwater complex. Anyway, I remember having to quicksave like at least a dozen times to win that fight.

Maybe I just had the wrong augmentations or something

[ Parent ]

Walton Simons (none / 2) (#92)
by Mindful Box on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 10:26:26 PM EST

Walton Simons is the name of the character and has probably the best video game voice acting I can think of. Other game developers could take a cue from DX in the voice acting department.

The key to beating Mr. Simons is to run away.  When you fight him in the ocean complex, he's equipped with all the augmentations while you're probably not.  More importantly, he has much bigger and more effective guns than you. Running away to the next load point is a better strategy.

Not only do you spare yourself the difficulty, you get a more entertaining and fairer confrontation later. (I won't spoil it any more than that).

[ Parent ]

Never had to run away... (none / 2) (#97)
by SvnLyrBrto on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:12:54 PM EST

It's been a while since I played Deus Ex, but I never had to run from Simons in the Aqualab.  If anything, he was easier than that damn karkian.

I usually played a close-in fighter, eschewing the heavier weapons except in specific instances (La Guardia airport, with all those damn sentry 'bots, for instance.)  With the Dragon's Tooth sword, combat strength and combat speed augs, and maybe the ballistic and chameleon armour, I was always able to close with Simons, maybe shrugging off one shot from his plasma gun, and hack him to death before I took too much damage.  I don't remember if I had the regeneration aug by that point, but, if I did, I didn't even have to use that.

Maybe, next time I get a Deus Ex hankering, I'll go ahead and let him live, and see when he comes back to have another go at me.  (Can't be too many possibilities tho...)

I STILL want to know how those people who claim to have made it through the game without killing anyone delt with Gunther and Anna tho... I'm convinced that they're lieing.


Imagine all the people...
[ Parent ]

Dealing with anna and gunther (spoilers?) (none / 1) (#135)
by SecretFire on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:26:05 PM EST

When you face gunther in paris, it is possible to damage him to to the extent that he will run and hide in a corner, I think. I also belive that it's possible to achieve the mission objective without waking him up. He'll wake up after you accomplish the goal, but you can ru away. I think this is how to do it, not sure. You should remember that in deus ex, you're invisible to NPC's while logged into a terminal, and also that no one will attack you during a cutscene. As for anna, she's prety difficult. If you weren't aware, if you don't kill her before, you'll face her on your way out of unatco HQ. The game requires you to kill her to get the key, which complicates things. One guy got lucky once with a gas grenade (which caused her to unlcok the door and run out, as she had taken some previous damage I think) but mostly people just accept that they have to kill her. Most people, when doing a "no-kill" game, mean killing everyone except anna and gunther.
--- Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is a step beyond logic.
[ Parent ]
umm (none / 1) (#136)
by SecretFire on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:27:37 PM EST

Is there a good reason as to why it ignored my spacing?
--- Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is a step beyond logic.
[ Parent ]
No. :^) (none / 1) (#147)
by ramses0 on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:46:03 PM EST

Well, yes, but it has to do with the default behaviour of format and autoformat.  You'll probably want to set up your preferences to "Auto Format" if they aren't already.


[ rate all comments , for great ju
Parent ]

kill phrases (none / 0) (#169)
by RQuinn on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 07:59:57 AM EST

I thought it was generally accepted that using the phrases doesn't count as a 'kill' in a no-kill game.

[ Parent ]
sounds like a design flaw to me. (2.87 / 8) (#11)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:14:58 AM EST

Some games that don't have this problem by design:
  • Classic action/adventure games -- In Ninja Gaiden and Shinobi and whatnot, you only had so many lives, had to play through by entire stages, and could 'Continue'. That means that no matter what, you had to beat an entire stage with no chance of saving/reloading to get to the next stage. And that's how these games should be.
  • Final Fantasy games -- when the going gets tough, the tough pray that they find another Save Point in time (or get back to the overworld map).
  • Strategy games -- games like Civilization and Masters of Magic can get tough enough that even if you can keep restoring, you still might not be able to win. However, as time goes by, your strategies should improve, regardless. Either that, or you should set the game to an easier difficulty level, or just give up.
  • Classic RPGs -- so what if you can save wherever you want; you still have no idea of WTF you're doing in the first place. And if you can't arbitrarily resave/reload, then you have approximately a snowball's chance in hell of winning (as in Roguelike games).
In conclusion--difficult games can be made easier by allowing the user to arbitrarily resave/reload. Action/adventure games generally shouldn't have this sort of functionality, however, because they depend more on reflexes than on strategy or puzzle solving. You can't really cheat through reloading on puzzle solving or difficult strategy, but you can definitely cheat through reloading when you're just trying to make a jump or a shot.
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
Well I would disagree with you (3.00 / 5) (#14)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:23:57 AM EST

that strategy games cannot be made easier by arbitrarily saving and reloading. To use Master of Orion as an example, I could send my spy to steal enemy tech. If they fail, I keep reloading until they succeed.

Is this a cheat? It's a gray area. Most people would probably say yes, though there are some that would say it's fair play.

[ Parent ]

yeah... (3.00 / 4) (#22)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:08:18 PM EST

I forgot about that, that would be like the Diplomat in Civilization.

Sure, you could play that way, but it seems like it would take forever and not be very rewarding. But I guess all that matters is that you're having fun...
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

roguelike games. (2.75 / 4) (#17)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:35:32 AM EST

it is true that nethack and moria are damn near impossible without cheating, but newer ones like angband are fucking easy even if you don't.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

heh. (2.75 / 4) (#21)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:06:59 PM EST

But angband can be a bit tougher when you're playing it in real-time, over a network. Of course, it can be even tougher when it's unbalanced....
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
i've tried playing that... (2.25 / 4) (#25)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:13:34 PM EST

it has never worked for me. but yes, clearly, playing angband real time would be very challenging.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

really? (2.75 / 4) (#28)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:26:55 PM EST

What didn't work for you? The metaserver can be flaky at times, but other than that, as long as you have a recent version, it should work ok. Not that you're missing that much, but it can be fun diving with a couple of other people.

And as I alluded to earlier, TomeNET added a lot of stuff to the game, much of it interesting but not all of it good. Mangband is much closer to vanilla angband, which is to say, duller and more balanced.

And of course if you aren't the one running the server, it's much tougher to cheat. Savefile cheating is right out. :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]

well, back on my old debian system... (2.50 / 4) (#30)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:34:55 PM EST

it didn't compile, but i think that was because of processor flakiness. i did get it to compile later though, but it did not connect to the server properly, so i was screwed...

if i could get it to work, i'd like to try it. in the past, i have been quite a roguelike fanatic, especially angaband, though not so much anymore.

it has been one of my ambitions since i was a kid to write the Great American Roguelike Game... unfortunately my coding skills and work ethic are such that this has yet to happen...

but yeah... i'll give that another try... sounds like it might be good for a lark.

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

sweet. (none / 2) (#36)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:04:13 PM EST

Looks like mangband's metaserver is up at least; as for tomenet, if the metaserver isn't working, you can try connecting to europe.tomenet.net. Let me know if you have any problems with it, and maybe I'll see you on there sometime. (I haven't been playing lately, but I do start back up every so often :)
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
yeah, i just tried compiling it... (none / 2) (#40)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:31:19 PM EST

it does not compile. the guys behind these roguelike games tend to be total flakes, so that is to be expected. they offer a windows client that seems to work, but wine fucks it up to badly for me to use it...

i'll see if i can find a source package that compiles...

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

:-( /*that sucks*/ (none / 2) (#62)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 04:53:06 PM EST

Check that you're using the right set of CFLAGS, although the defaults usually work. I assume you're doing this on some variety of Linux? Also, what did you download?
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
i got the latest cvs... (none / 2) (#64)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 05:00:32 PM EST

all they offer on their page is nightly cvs. i got one from a month ago that works, though, so that's good. now it's just a matter connecting to their server. the europe one seems to work, but my ping there was like 380ms or so, so i think my milage might vary.

i guess it'll probably work eventually.

so do you just do the europe server or do you usually do the main one?

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

cool (none / 2) (#88)
by pb on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 08:36:13 PM EST

I'll have to login sometime. Seeing as how I couldn't get to the metaserver, I do europe because I know it's there (and apparently I have a L24 character on there); what other servers are up nowadays, any US ones, or CC?
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
Angband easy? (none / 2) (#86)
by Maurkov on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:55:11 PM EST

I must be doing it wrong.

[ Parent ]
hints: (none / 2) (#91)
by rmg on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 09:47:55 PM EST

always carry:

at least 15 phase door scrolls
at least 20 teleportation scrolls
at least 7 word of recall scrolls
at least 20 of the best healing potions you can manage

always make sure you have (for higher levels):

resistance to almost everything
some way to give yourself temporary resistances
free action (this cannot be emphasized enough)

the hard part of the game is running around trying to collect all the stuff you need to get all the resistances and especially speed. if you play zangband, this is fairly easy because you can just set the options to always generated strangely shaped rooms. this way you will get way more vaults. and much harder enemies, which will help you level up faster.


_____ intellectual tiddlywinks
[ Parent ]

You only get one life (none / 0) (#165)
by Maurkov on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 08:05:38 PM EST

Having won with a dwarven priest years ago, I'm trying to battle through with a gnome mage. Free Action is inherent, but the high resistances are hard to come by. Scrolls don't work while you're blind and confused, but staffs are fragile and occasionally fail to activate.

Most recently a nexus hound scrambled my stats, dropping my max mana from ~130 to ~30. After a few attempts to get them rescrambled slightly less hideously, I had to give up on him. There was no way he was going to survive long enough to stat gain.

Late game, Im not sure how mages handle the kind of damage that a drolem, eye druj, or AMHD can inflict, suddenly, from offscreen. You only get one life.

[ Parent ]

Nethack hard? (none / 1) (#186)
by dasunt on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 05:10:19 PM EST

With experience, and the spoilers, some people manage to ascend rather regularly.

A few people have even managed to pull off some amazing combinations, such as foodless atheist or other odd combos.

Try telnet://nethack.alt.org to watch a few good games.

[ Parent ]
Ever abused the huts with save/restore in Civ? (none / 1) (#207)
by Lord of Caustic Soda on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:02:06 AM EST

Keep reloading until you get a tech or a chariot, then proceed to overrun the entire continent with those chariots.

So who is going to start complaining about the prevalence of automaps/quests? Back in the days you always keep a pen and paper ready in any RPG games.

Strategy games like Civ are more broken by the guides to min/maxing than anything else. I remember Master of Orion 2 battles being nothing but twin-shot missle boats until the stage you get the broken-until-patched plasma cannons.

[ Parent ]

Agree (2.63 / 11) (#12)
by skyknight on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:17:37 AM EST

The thing is, most people aren't very sporting when it comes to playing computer games. Myself, I really enjoy finding games that are exceedingly difficult to learn to play well, and honing my ability as best I can. Games like Counter-Strike and StarCraft are my favorites as there is effectively infinite replayability, as well as no real skill ceiling. The average person, however, just wants to play Rambo, preferring some mindless bit of eye candy to something that is really engaging. For them, it's just a way to blow off steam and nothing more.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Average people don't play games (2.60 / 5) (#35)
by TheModerate on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:50:50 PM EST

Because game manufacturers can make a lot more money by developing games that appeals to game addicts who are willing to buy a new game every two months (as well as the expensive add-ons).

"What a man has in himself is, then, the chief element in his happiness." -- Schopenhauer
[ Parent ]

no (2.50 / 6) (#56)
by auraslip on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 04:20:01 PM EST

most game addicts are usally addicted to one game.
Making a good game takes a hell of a lot more money then making some crappy movie tie in.
The gaming industy make most of it's money off of people buying the newest completly average game: matrix, halo.
[ Parent ]
Multiplayer (2.60 / 5) (#60)
by zymurge on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 04:38:23 PM EST

Any multiplayer game has "effectively infinite" replayability. Counter-Strike and Starcraft are competitive, online multiplayer games. That's what the hardcore gamers play, but not the average person. The average person does not have the time, the desire, or in many cases the physical abilities to play these games at a high level.

[ Parent ]
Yeah... (2.40 / 5) (#66)
by skyknight on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 05:16:40 PM EST

they'll just have to console themselves with their social skills.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Enjoyment (none / 1) (#158)
by PrettyBoyTim on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 11:35:33 AM EST

Christ, could you be more patronising?

The average person does not always want to play Rambo, they simply want to enjoy themselves. A game does not need to be really hard to be engaging - in fact a game that is too hard will become less engaging - the player will get stuck at a certain position and will be prevented from enjoying the rest of the game by its difficulty.

[ Parent ]

Yes, I could be more patronizing. (none / 2) (#164)
by skyknight on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 04:36:19 PM EST

Break out the Candy Land board!

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Alternatives (2.83 / 6) (#13)
by RyoCokey on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:20:41 AM EST

Additionally, if the enemies are prepositioned, quicksave/loading can be used to avoid ambushes and other suprises, thus making them functionally useless in the game design (I.e the snipers in Half-Life.) Simple rotating placement spots (chosen at load time, not at the entrance to the level, if quicksave is enabled) would help this greatly.

That being said, I'd say allow Quicksave/load for easy to medium difficulties, and turn it off for harder on up. That seems to be the ideal solution, allowing people to finish the game who wouldn't make it without the feature, yet allowing for a greater challenge.

farmers don't break into our houses at night, steal our DVDs and piss on the floor. No
Funny you should mention this (2.75 / 4) (#19)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:41:12 AM EST

because that's exactly what Goldeneye did. When you started a level, the enemies were placed in different patterns. (I think there were usually three different sets of places they could be)

Unfortunately, in modern shooters this is much trickier because how much scripting there is. Three different enemy locations would mean three different sets of scripts, and I'm sure this would make development time longer.

[ Parent ]

From my experience in Goldeneye: (2.25 / 4) (#54)
by zymurge on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 04:07:18 PM EST

A lot of the enemies walk around. Their routes are fixed and always the same, but they will start at different positions on those routes. Some but not all of the stationary enemies have different positions. I should play that game again...

[ Parent ]
Interesting points (2.90 / 10) (#20)
by Michael Moore on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:57:32 AM EST

I agree that Goldeneye was a really great game, and the lack of quicksave did contribute to how challenging it was, but at the same time it was a game designed such that it could work that way. Take a game like Doom or Jedi Academy at the higher difficulties, they're games that just wouldn't work without a way to save between levels, just because of the randomness factor involved. In many ways Goldeneye wasn't a game that surprised you much, you usually knew where your enemies were and had them at an advantage. Beating a Goldeneye level was about mastering the positions of enemies, objectives, and all pulling it all off smoothly. It's a cool game style that works well without quicksave, but it just doesn't translate well to a lot of games. Compare Halo as a game that tried to do without quicksave, but just ended up autosaving constantly at the stupidest moments. If the gameplay isn't structured with obvious objectives, autosave systems don't work very well.

I find that in games with a quicksave, how often it's used is a direct reflection of how easily you can fuck up your game with one mistake. Take something like Civilization, I probably only find myself saving the game every hour or so (and sometimes regretting it), because it's impossible for me to just lose the game at any moment. Something relatively easy like Neverwinter Nights, I'd probably save more frequently, but still enough that I wouldn't have to replay the the longer, stupider moments over and over again. Then, in a lot of FPS type games, I'd probably be saving much more often, simply because failure to spot an enemy can kill you almost instantly. It really depends how much time you want to waste doing something again, especially if there is an element of randomness involved in the 'failure' that can set you back however many minutes.

Also, I think you're forgetting to address another important use of quicksave, and that's the ability to replay really cool moments of the game. In Jedi Academy I'd often save just before a hard battle against 2 or 3 Dark Jedi, just so I could play it over and over again, doing things differently, trying new tactics, etc. I got a lot more out of this game because I could use quicksave to replay battles I often won, rather than lost.

"My life was more improved by a single use of [ecstasy] than someone's life is made worse by becoming a heroin addict." -- aphrael

I haven't played Jedi Academy (2.75 / 3) (#43)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:47:13 PM EST

but Jedi Outcast was a pretty fair game on the default difficulty, and I managed to beat it without quicksaving (even beating Dasaan and his apprentice.. I forget her name)

To me I'd rather play on default difficulty and beat the game without quicksaving, then play on the hardest difficulty and use unlimited quicksave/quickload.

My point is that it is the developers responsibility to gauge the difficulties correctly via playtesting, so that the players shouldn't have to make those adjustments.

[ Parent ]

lazy (2.75 / 4) (#125)
by Wah on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:25:01 PM EST

My point is that it is the developers responsibility to gauge the difficulties correctly via playtesting, so that the players shouldn't have to make those adjustments.

All you have to do is not quicksave, and then you are fine.  The game is hard, and those of us who just want to play and have fun, can do so without having to do the same stupid thing 40 times.

It is your own lack of restraint that is the problem, not the developers.  You can make the game as hard on yourself as you like.

Also, 'so that the players shouldn't have to make those adjustment' is about the laziest notion I've read all week.  Players come in all shapes and sizes, who exactly are they supposed to 'tune' it to?  The 15 year old who wants it to be as hard as possible (for braggin rights) or the 30 year old who wants to play a game for fun?  Someone in between?

It is far superior, IMHO, to leave these options open to the player, rather than forced on them by a gaming idealist.
[ Parent ]

Amen (none / 0) (#210)
by TheBatGuy on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 03:46:04 PM EST

me too!

[ Parent ]
You approve of Resident Evil style saves? (2.80 / 5) (#23)
by xC0000005 on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:09:35 PM EST

You could find Typewriter ribbons, which allowed you to save (at various typerwriter points scattered through the mansion.  Not only was where you could save limited, but also how often you could do it.

When you are first running through that mansion, not knowing where you could save (other than the dining room), it added a lot of suspense to a game with great atmosphere.

On the topic of game puzzles ruined by saves - Splinter Cell's door codes.  Why couldn't these be random every time you load?

Voice of the Hive - Beekeeping and Bees for those who don't

Resident Evil and randomness (3.00 / 4) (#34)
by gazbo on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:47:01 PM EST

Quite. When playing through for the nth time, why bother going to the trouble of finding the safe combination when you can just remember it? It would be even cooler (if more difficult to code) if the various implements were in random locations too.

Also, I suspect that even a plumber specialising in opening and closing valves would not find a valve-handle as useful as one does in RE2.

Topless, revealing, nude pics and vids of Zora Suleman! Upskirt and down blouse! Cleavage!
Hardcore ZORA SULEMAN pics!

[ Parent ]

re: more difficult to code (none / 0) (#159)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 12:51:03 PM EST

Not measurably. More difficult to test, more like. In my experience it's the publishers that are pushing the random out of gaming.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
Randomness isn't always useful (none / 0) (#175)
by pin0cchio on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:12:10 AM EST

If the steps for "The legend of MAX" in Dance Dance Revolution Extreme were randomly generated, do you think anybody would be able to pass it? The higher levels of DDR are all about memorization and muscle memory.

[ Parent ]
Yeah I don't mind that method at all (2.75 / 4) (#38)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:28:46 PM EST

same thing with the Soldier of Fortune limited save system. Anything that limits saves are okay with me.

The only problem with that is, unless you already played the game all the way through, sometimes it's tough to tell when you're supposed to save or when you're going to be getting more ribbons.

[ Parent ]

Bah. (2.62 / 8) (#26)
by Grand Fromage on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:22:28 PM EST

If someone wants to play without quicksave/quickload, more power to them.  However, I prefer to not lose my progress when their buggy game crashes on me, so I pound the quicksave key constantly.  Leave in all the options, let the player decide.

Or, go the TOEE/FOT route and include an "ironman" mode where quicksave/load is disabled.  It's best to have a game that satisfies all audiences.  When it comes to something like an RPG, difficulty just gets in the way of enjoying the story for me.

I assume you mean Fallout Tactics (2.50 / 4) (#39)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:30:26 PM EST

I didn't play ToEE but the missions in FOT were so long and drawn out that I just couldn't imagine anyone could really sit there and finish one without saving, unless you had absolutely TONS of free time.

[ Parent ]
Quicksave/load.... (1.85 / 14) (#33)
by FuriousXGeorge on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 12:45:11 PM EST

is the best thing that ever happened to video games.  If you don't like it, don't use it.


Balance? (2.75 / 8) (#42)
by BadDoggie on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:46:16 PM EST

So did Rockstar get it right in GTA and Vice City, allowing you to save anywhere except during the missions?

Overall, I find it pretty fair, except that there are times I really want to save (middle of doing 15 police or fire missions, for example) but can't. I'd really like to be able to save during the long or especially difficult missions because, frankly, almost every game has a couple of those annoying exact-touch-and-timing missions that really piss me off, and that's been endemic since before Miner 2049er.


"E pur se muove." -- Galileo Galilei
"Nevertheless, it moves."

Yeah the difficulty in (2.75 / 4) (#45)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 01:52:45 PM EST

GTA3 and Vice City was pretty well tuned, and you could always make your character better by doing side quests.

For example, I was getting my ass kicked on one mission in Vice City because I was totally outgunned. So I decided to take time off from the mission and find hidden packages.

30 hidden packages later (not too tough to find in Vice City) and you get the Colt Python and I beat the same mission on the first try.

Also, keep in mind that a lot of GTA is racing, and how stupid would it be to have a racing/driving sim where you can save and reload right in the middle of it?

[ Parent ]

A Simple Issue of Game Design (2.50 / 8) (#46)
by _Quinn on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 02:11:49 PM EST

If the game is constructed so that's it's possible for a (cautious, moderately lucky) first-time-through player to beat, then a system with limited saves (preferrably related to the structure of the game) makes perfect sense: it's mostly there so you don't have to sit down and play through it all in one go.  I happen to like games that are constructed this way (less so if they don't provide appropriate tutorial levels): it feels less like you need to be superhumanly good in order to make progress and enjoy yourself.  (A good feature for games designed like this is bonus levels or missions for people who are better at the game.  Also note that this doesn't apply to strategy games, or at least as much, since the whole point of those games is to learn and execute strategy.)  However, this means the game will not be as challenging as it could be, for instance, if the game designers assumed you started with the skills you had when you beat it the first time through and went up from there.  This is where difficulty levels come in.  However, in a game where luck is supremely important (e.g., Max Payne), the inability to save wherever one wants just becomes a frustration (even if it can be abused).

In general, then, I think it's a good idea to provide a save-anywhere/when ability, and trust (or suggest to) the user not to abuse it.  As other people pointed out, sometimes you just want to be Rambo. :-)

- _Quinn
Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.

meta-gaming (3.00 / 6) (#70)
by eudas on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:10:06 PM EST

this is the crux of the matter; while the article, and many comments, address the save/load ability, the real issue at hand is how the save/load ability makes or breaks the real question: how do you want to play the game to have fun? one person will, at different times, give different answers. sometimes you just want to go into wolf3d god mode and destroy everything, and sometimes you want to Master the game and beat it, 100% legit, on the highest difficulty setting. (Sometimes you want to go beyond that, and beat it using only the knife, or something.) Other times you want to talk to every person, complete every quest, collect every item, ...

Computer games, in general, try to emulate one primary mode of enjoyment, and sometimes they are successful in allowing multiple secondary modes of enjoyment without hurting the primary mode. but there is a very delicate line between "how was this game intended to be enjoyed?" and "how do i want to enjoy this game today?", and having a quicksave/quickload feature can sometimes cause shift the default behaviour of the players from one mode of play to another.

at the end of the day, there are fifty thousand cheats out there, but i'd rather not use them, because i already know i'm going to win the game; that's not in question. the only question is how, and i'm going to answer that by myself.

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]

Types of difficulty (2.92 / 13) (#51)
by jmzero on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 03:34:34 PM EST

Annoying ways to make your game hard?  

-In a race game, let the computer opponents cheat to keep up (making the last 10 seconds the only thing that matters)
-Make your player die to 2 hits (eg. Max Payne)
-Require lucky/insanely-over-practiced maneuver (Super Monkey Ball 2)
-In an RTS, make the game more challenging by starting off the map full of comp units.  This ensures that the first 5 minutes are harrowing, and the rest is boring demolition of idiot AI.
-Make an easy game.  Add a restrictive time limit.  Instant hard game!

Quicksave is a way to patch over some of the above flaws.  Another annoying way is "slowly regenerating health" or "run back to town for health".  I hate games that punish me by wasting my time.

Balancing a hard game is hard - but can be very satisfying.  I think I did a good job with Jumpman Zero.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

I absolutely agree with you (3.00 / 4) (#52)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 03:44:13 PM EST

regarding racing games where the computer's time is artificially adjusted to make sure that they're close to you. EA's Need for Speed Hot Pursuit 2 had this "feature" and it made the game extremely frustrating.

I think Midway's NFL Blitz/NBA Jam made this popular, by the way. In any event, this trend fortunately seems to be dying off.

I absolutely agree with you re SMB2 also, but I suppose japanese enjoy those sort of repetitive trial and error type games. But if that's not enough to frustrate you, then the music to that game sure as hell will.

Agree with you about the RTS's too. Weak AI? Sure sounds like you've played Command and Conquer Generals recently. Oh well, that's what happens when EA's marketing and pretty graphics wins the day over sound gameplay.

[ Parent ]

SMB2 music (none / 2) (#120)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:31:53 AM EST

Sega House is the sound of the future, when the world is one big shopping mall and the need for any kind of feeling, emotion or thought has gone. Embrace it.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Mario Kart (none / 1) (#174)
by pin0cchio on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:08:28 AM EST

I think Midway's NFL Blitz/NBA Jam made this popular

CPU player catch-up has been around much longer than that: see Super Mario Kart. Heck, the CPU even got a few items that the player could never get, such as Peach's shrinking mushroom.

[ Parent ]
Another: (2.85 / 7) (#63)
by zymurge on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 04:53:36 PM EST

-Add a completely unpredictable scripted event that will certainly kill the player unless he knows it's coming.

I can just see the game designers laughing when they put these things in.

[ Parent ]

well then... (none / 2) (#85)
by majik on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:48:46 PM EST

I hate games that punish me by wasting my time.

I highly suggest you stay away from star wars galaxies then...
Funky fried chickens - they're what's for dinner
[ Parent ]

#2 isn't annoying (none / 2) (#126)
by roystgnr on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:57:43 PM EST

Make your player die to 2 hits (eg. Max Payne)

The first time I played Deus Ex on the "realistic" difficulty, I died near the beginning of the first level, as I rounded a corner to find myself face to face with a terrorist.  I remember thinking to myself, "What was that?  All he did was get me at point blank with one pistol shot to the face!  That shouldn't kill me!"

Then I sucked up my pride and realized I'd just been playing Quake too long.

[ Parent ]

Agree.. (none / 3) (#129)
by jmzero on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:40:57 PM EST

I guess having low hits-to-kill isn't always annoying, but it doesn't fit in some kind of games.  

In scrolling 2d shooters, for example, I much prefer 1-hit-kill games.  While they may be more difficult to "buy through" (in an arcade), they're usually much more satisfying.  The developers usually have to ensure things are survivable via skill, and this makes for a good game.

The problem comes with Quickload-equipped games based on continuous shootouts.  What is intended as a large game factor (large amounts of damage) becomes meaningless if 2-second-ago restore is available.  It's especially bad if these hits are distributed randomly.  It turns the game into a sequence of 5 second mini-games.  

If the damage was smaller, I'd be more tempted as a gamer to play through, to let my skill (and newfound caution) overcome the disadvantage I had from having taken damage.  But if they're going to take half my health for one mistake/misluck, I'm hitting F9.

"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Made in Wario (none / 0) (#173)
by pin0cchio on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:06:33 AM EST

It turns the game into a sequence of 5 second mini-games.

Is this a bad thing?

[ Parent ]
Try DDR (none / 0) (#171)
by pin0cchio on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:05:30 AM EST

Require lucky/insanely-over-practiced maneuver (Super Monkey Ball 2)

Try playing DDRMAX: Dance Dance Revolution 6th Mix on heavy. Then you'll see what insanely-over-practiced is once you're stomping seven arrows per second for over a minute straight when you get to the boss. Here is the boss's step chart; each blue or white stripe represents 1/5 of a second.

And DDRMAX doesn't even have quicksave.

[ Parent ]
Doom 2 (2.60 / 5) (#65)
by Fon2d2 on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 05:07:41 PM EST

Some of the Doom 2 levels seemed to me like they were made to be stand alone levels. One of my favorite ways to play was to start a new game on skill level 3 or 4 and then warp to a specific board and try to beat it without dying or saving. Levels 9 and 10 were especially good for this if I recall correctly. It usually didn't happen, but every once in a great while, it did. Levels 9 and 10 are designed so that if you play them properly and carefully, and you have a fair amount of skill and luck, you can at least get pretty far. A fair number of the weapons can be found in both levels. There are soul spheres and blue armors in both levels. And there's just about enough ammo that with very judicious use you'll scrape by. Incidentally, this is also how I remember GoldenEye. Each level, especially on the harder skill levels, just barely gave you what you needed. Most of the time you're not going to beat the level, but every once in a great while, you will. I remember earning the cheat code from the Caverns level as being especially challenging.

+1 FP (1.33 / 6) (#69)
by tofubar on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 05:52:14 PM EST

Why do people buy games if they're gonna cheat, it gets boring without a challenge.

Hang on... (none / 2) (#96)
by wji on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:09:54 PM EST

Cheating is one thing. But design choices can basically force people to "cheat" in this way. Yeah, saving every round in the Civ-type games is cheating, but who the hell wants to shoot through the same chaff enemies in Max Payne dozens of times just to get to the place they die? The article is spot on -- one of the reasons Goldeneye was so compelling was that it split the action into just the right sized chunks.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
N64 Multiplayer (1.71 / 7) (#75)
by llimllib on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 06:32:16 PM EST

Goldeneye wasn't the best multiplayer game on N64, that title goes to Perfect Dark, IMHO. Never played much of the one-player version of either game though, so I can't comment on their relative strengths. I like the weapons and the levels much more in Perfect Dark than I do in Goldeneye.

Subjective... (none / 3) (#89)
by Danse on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 08:49:23 PM EST

Goldeneye was better than Perfect Dark, IMO.

An honest debate between Bush and Kerry
[ Parent ]
+1 section--interesting insight? (2.25 / 4) (#81)
by idontgno on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:14:25 PM EST

Another example of a game which has selectable difficulty is Diablo II. Hardcore character==no resurrection. And saves are restricted to exiting the game, and resets all monsters in the level.

Particularly on Battlenet realms, which are (somewhat) hack-resistant, you can have a very challenging game if you really want one. Or, don't play HC and just get resurrected when you die.

By the way, I did enjoy Goldeneye on N64, and the lack of quicksave was both annoying while I played and a source of pride after I finished a scenario.

--- We are here to protect you from the terrible secret of space. - Pusher Robot

On the other hand (2.77 / 9) (#82)
by Mister Pmosh on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:26:23 PM EST

I've been pissed off by games that don't allow me to save at any point I want. Diablo II is a bad game for this, because there are not enough teleport places, and using the scroll of town portal doesn't stick around if you save the game. There was one level that took me about four hours to find a portal thing to allow me to not have to spend an hour walking back to the town or the nearest portal.

To me, real life is more important than games. I want to be able to take a break from the game to go eat or use the bathroom. I can pause a DVD any time I like, or just turn it off and go back to where I was with ease. Why shouldn't games be like that? Taking away the ability to save the game whenever you want is an artificial means of making it more difficult. I don't really like throwing more monsters to make it more difficult, but there are better means than taking away saving at any point you want.
"I don't need no instructions to know how to rock!" -- Carl

I hate games that dont have quicksave (2.00 / 4) (#87)
by cam on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 08:35:22 PM EST

I dont have the time to play a game properly or all the way through. If I do play it is on quicksave so I dont lose position. I play most first person shooters in god mode so death doesnt get in the way of me running around blowing a few things up.

I would also like it in games like Age of Empires, Civilisation etc where you could turn off the other team attacking you. I like the building part but get pissed off at the industrio-military complex you have to build to defend yourself all the time.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

well (none / 1) (#163)
by MMcP on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 03:42:03 PM EST

if you don't have the time to play video games, then don't play them...

[ Parent ]
AlphaC (none / 1) (#204)
by Mitheral on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 04:17:02 PM EST

This is one of the reasons I like Alpha Centari. I can customise a huge map with lots of water. And then merrily build away while the computer players are stuck in their own little gettos. By the time they can mount an invasion fleet I don't have to worry about being overwelmed.

[ Parent ]
I Agree (none / 0) (#212)
by chuhwi on Sat Nov 01, 2003 at 10:00:22 PM EST

Quick-saving may be cheating, but allowing cheating (in single player games) is not a bad thing. Many games are still fun, but in a different way when cheating. Disabling these abilities just means that players are forced to play the game the way the makers intended. No doubt not being able to save is supposed to make the game more challanging and and addicting, but then it's hard to find time to play it.

I also agree about the building. In a similar vein, I was always irritated by the fact that Civilization forces you to try to conquer the world; there were times I was having more fun establishing alliances. It would be cool if you could win by creating world peace instead.

[ Parent ]

Pause? (none / 2) (#100)
by Koutetsu on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:34:31 PM EST

You may have some legitimate complains about D2's portals in relation to the casual gamer, but then you sum it up by saying that games don't pause.  What?  Try pressing ESC in Diablo II - it should stop the game and you can go eat or use the bathroom.  Although real gamers learn to take bites between hacking and slashing...!

You can't start a game wherever you want because it's not a linear experience.  Unlike a DVD player's Seek feature, there is challenge to what you are doing.  Just because you did it the first time doesn't mean you'll be able to do it again, or under different circumstances like missing that secret weapon a bit before.  Of course you can say that you deserve to skip any challenge you passed already, but have you really beaten the game if you can't beat it again?

. . .
"the same thing will happen with every other effort. it will somehow be undermined because the trolls are more clever and more motivated than you
[ Parent ]

I suggest softice.. (none / 0) (#211)
by mikael_j on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 10:59:21 AM EST

Just don't expect to stay connected to the internet och your mp3s to continue playing..

We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

sorry tex (2.00 / 7) (#83)
by circletimessquare on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:44:30 PM EST

but a great memory of mine from the early '90's was coming home very drunk, not tired yet, and playing doom 2 with iddqd idkfa  (you know what those do, doncha? ;-) and then going to some insane level like idclev25 and slowly and nonchalantly walking around with the rocket launcher liquifying everything you encounter at point blank range ;-P

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

heh heh (2.75 / 4) (#95)
by Tex Bigballs on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 11:00:39 PM EST

the last shooter I tried to play totally smashed was actually Heretic and lets suffice it to say I will never, ever try that again.

[ Parent ]
Video game craziness.... (2.50 / 4) (#132)
by ckaminski on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:19:15 PM EST

Nah, my favorite bit of gaming lore was when I was playing Quake, using Ministry as a musical background, and I walked onto the boss level of the first world.  

When the daemon came arising out of fire to Ministry's Psalm 69 (perfect F'ing timing) I nearly shit my pants.

Then I started dodging fireballs.  ;-)

Oh, those were the days...

As an aside, anyone get Duke Nukem 3D working under DOSBox yet?  Networked even?  I'm DYING to play that again... but I don't want to crack out Windows95.

[ Parent ]

Max Payne (2.57 / 7) (#84)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 07:45:05 PM EST

On the harder difficulty levels, Max Payne only gave you a certain number of quick saves per level.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
Games are meant to be fun (2.44 / 9) (#94)
by ZanThrax on Wed Oct 22, 2003 at 10:55:29 PM EST

Different people have fun in different ways

Different people have different skill sets

Different people have different amounts of recreation time.

An overly hard game that prevents saving except when the designer feels the player has "earned" it deserves to fail, no matter how much the hardcore players worship it.

There is no spoon, there never was a spoon, and there never will be a spoon.

Fly Now (none / 0) (#180)
by cam on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 09:37:46 PM EST

One of the cool things about Flight Simulators, I think Red Baron was the first to add it, was the "Fly Now", "Instant Action" button. When I want to fly around and cause some damage that is a great piece of game play.

Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

An interesting topic I can't decide on (2.50 / 6) (#103)
by X3nocide on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:11:04 AM EST

I've been a console gamer for a long, long time. But around 1997 or 1998, I discovered emulation, (and the translation of) console games. Emulators have introduced a series of tools I've found really really cool:
  • save and restore state - the first one, and really useful for twitch based games, or cheating out random factors
  • fast forward - came significantly later, though not a very difficult concept in terms of efficiency
  • rewind - somewhere after fast forward, someone decided that a buffer of previous states was feasible, and added it to ZSNES. its far simpler for the user, but there's a tradeoff between performance and the amount of time you can rewind back to
As you can see, this makes playing through all those games I'd missed out on from either obscurity or not being released stateside less painful. It also makes it easier to beat those impossible games (I actually had trouble beating MMX on the real deal, but savestates/rewind made it possible).

During the same time I was playing these games, I also owned an n64. Rogue Squadron was another game that offered a similar kind of mechanic, between beating the game and completing it. Difficulty is nothing new; what many games of the 64 era introduced was a tangible reward for meeting the harder challenges. Getting medals would unlock secret levels, secret ships, etc. Beating missions in goldeneye under certain conditions earned you those cheats (which couldn't be used to earn new cheats - a small difference between Rogue and 007). I admit, I've earned a large number of novelty cheats for 007, the hard way, and I've unlocked more than my fair share of dorky Star Wars craft.

My brother, on the other hand, didn't like to play games without cheats. Maybe it's because he never got the kind of game time and practice cuz I was always hogging it. There was one game he really did like: Turok. There were so many silly cheats, and that was the only enjoyment he derived from it. Exploding dinosaur after dinosaur, it was hardly a game when even if he missed, he was assured saftey by the invulnerability cheat.

This posting is getting longer than I had wanted, but I can't decide if I'm really any better than my brother. Maybe the fact that I judge him for not liking games means I'm worse.

Anyways, the other thing I wanted to point out was that part of what made Goldeneye great was that the challenge was relevant. The multiplayer aspect and earning stuff for beating difficult challenges motivates players not only to unlock cool stuff for their friends, but to practice so they'll trounce them as well. My roommate has mentioned that he's never heard about the single player part before, and assumed it wasn't any good. I can assure any readers who haven't played the game, thats not the case. The multiplayer game was just overshadowed by the fact that for every one person who enjoyed the challenges of the the single player, there were four content to only enjoy the non-commital 4 player aspect.


I know people like your brother (2.75 / 4) (#121)
by zymurge on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:35:26 AM EST

And some other commenters to this story. People who, as soon as they get a new game, immediately turn on the cheat codes. They never play without being in god mode.

I have a hard time understanding that mentality. I want a game to be hard (but fair of course). I'm disappointed in a game if I don't fail at least a few times before learning the skill to beat it. So naturally I tend to look down on the cheaters, and their lack of skill.

What they always say though, and I must admit it could be true, is that they're having fun cheating. Ultimately games are about having fun, so maybe they're not as wrong after all. All I know for sure is I'll never join the ranks of the cheaters.

[ Parent ]

I sort of get it (2.75 / 4) (#124)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:03:21 PM EST

Because the thing I usually enjoy most about a game is exploring and seeing what kind of environment the designers have come up with. The quickest way to do this is by cheating.

But I also want to get my money's worth and be challenged - I might be dying to see what the next level looks like, but it's going to be all the sweeter seeing it if I've had to work hard to get there.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee
[ Parent ]

Heh (none / 2) (#131)
by Politburo on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:59:05 PM EST

Similar to your brother, I have watched my brother play Goldeneye for hours, with several cheats on, just blowing the special forces down the stairs as they run into the severnaya bunker. OTOH, this was after he had beat the game on 00 Agent level and unlocked the cheats.

[ Parent ]
Middle ground saving (2.88 / 9) (#104)
by X3nocide on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:28:25 AM EST

Save states are pretty cheap, although effective if the player doesn't care about mastering timing mechanics or probabilities. But for those that do, there's another problem-- what if I need to stop suddenly? I'm sure several readers have gone with leaving Zelda or whatnot on overnight simply because they couldn't reach a save point before exhaustion set in. Save states solve the problem, but from a design standpoint, they can be too strong (although if you're pushing learning through repetition onto your audience, then expect to lose some of that appeal).

A happy medium is what I call a pause-save, although I'm sure its been called many things before. The idea is that the game itself writes out a save state to storage, and when a player picks up the game later, they can resume from the instant they pause-saved. The catch is that when the game is restored, the save state is deleted, so consequence is still in effect. Die after pause saving and you're still screwed.

Another technique dealing with the needing save-state play is to examine the gameplay. Save-states effectively defeat repitition based learning, wherein a player repeats an atomic sequence (usually on the order of a level) without any total failure. If your game relies on that learning so much that its definately cheating, then it might be turn out to bore most players outside of a cheat-enabled setting. Pokemon is a popular game that uses a save anywhere outside of battle and restore philosophy, and does it well. This technique is to reduce the length of the atomic sequence, the time between saves. Whether the game design itself influenced its broad audience appeal, or if the cartoon sold all the merchandise alone is a puzzle I can't solve.


Save-scumming (none / 2) (#106)
by Cameleon on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 04:21:37 AM EST

A happy medium is what I call a pause-save, although I'm sure its been called many things before. The idea is that the game itself writes out a save state to storage, and when a player picks up the game later, they can resume from the instant they pause-saved. The catch is that when the game is restored, the save state is deleted, so consequence is still in effect. Die after pause saving and you're still screwed.

There is a problem with this if it used on a platform where the player has read/write access to the save file directory. In that case, they can just copy the save state, and if they die, they can copy it back. For example, in nethack, you automatically quit when you save, and you restore on starting the program by typing in the name of your character. So the intent is that you can only 'pause' the game, not save it. But some players copy the save file, and put it back if they die. This is knows as 'save-scumming' and is frowned upon by the community, but there's no easy way to prevent it.

[ Parent ]

Same thing in Diablo 2 (none / 2) (#119)
by zymurge on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:17:14 AM EST

Diablo 2 saves your character (although not position) automatically when you quit. Unfortunately copying character files is trivially easy, so if you want another copy of that magic ring or whatever just move a couple files and you got it. Worried about your hardcore character dying? Just backup the character files. Or if you're more evil, just find one of many hacks for the character file and do whatever you want.

The only solution is to play online on the battle.net realms, where the character files are stored on the server, not your local computer.

[ Parent ]

Sure, that trick has been around forever (none / 2) (#143)
by Merc on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 04:22:37 PM EST

If 95% of people can finish the game without having to do that, and while enjoying it, then who cares. That's fine. If the game is designed so doing that is either required, or worthwhile for a good fraction of the people playing it, then you have a problem.

[ Parent ]
Pause-save (none / 2) (#140)
by aiyokudorei on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 04:09:40 PM EST

Shenmue (anyone remember the Dreamcast?) had this feature in addition to the regular save point, which was Ryo's bed at home. You could save as many times in a game "day" as you wanted, only you had to walk home to do it...or you could use the "resume" feature to save your current location and allow you to shut off the game. When you resumed from that save file, it was deleted.

[ Parent ]
Difficulty levels (2.66 / 6) (#110)
by nebbish on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 05:34:00 AM EST

id chose to take the easier route, which is to make the game as difficult as possible, but let the player save and reload whenever they feel like it.

The problem with this is that you can be stuck for ages in one spot overwhelmed by enemies, quicksaving every time you manage to move on even a little. This is actually quite a dull experience and makes for a crap game - neither challenging or fun.

The difficulty level is one of the most important aspects of a game. Just ignoring that becuase of the amount of play testing it needs (and it will be costly in man hours to get it right) is very lazy.

Kicking someone in the head is like punching them in the foot - Bruce Lee

It really depends on what you want out of a game.. (2.37 / 8) (#111)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 07:06:16 AM EST

When I play an FPS I like to just play it rambo style, I cheat and I quicksave and I blow shit up and have fun.  

For me, single player games are not matters of skill or accomplishment,just fun.

When I feel like displaying skill in a game, I play multi-player.  What exactly does beating a single player game with retarded AI have to do with skill?


Go Tex! (1.38 / 13) (#112)
by daragh on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 07:19:45 AM EST

I have been trying to finish this kuro5hin game for years but I can't get to the front page even when I do save.

No work.

You sell fewer units that way. (2.88 / 9) (#113)
by ghjm on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 08:58:45 AM EST

For every hard-core gamer who wants the most challenging assignment possible, there are hundreds of tired, overworked people who want a relaxing distraction. If you create a game that demands top performance from the player, you exclude these people from your market.

I'm not saying FPS games should or shouldn't have instant save and reload features. What I'm saying is that your article presupposes that games should be tough. Most people would disagree.

Also, if you want a tough game and you feel save and reload makes it too easy, just don't use the feature.


Word (none / 2) (#149)
by bowdie on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 02:52:50 AM EST

I could not aggree more. I've given up on several games simply because I don't have the time to play them through, or hit an impasse and can't/won't devote the time required to solve it.

That being said, I loved Zelda on the cube like a son.

[ Parent ]

Agreed, but... (2.75 / 4) (#114)
by bradasch on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 09:04:33 AM EST

Disagreed on strategy games like civilization: quicksaving, attacking a city, failing and loading again is a good strategy, and makes you learn how the games works better (it's more realistic on Civ3, since it is less random on battle results). In my experience, I did the save/load routine when I was learning the game, and now I don't need it anymore, since I can plan strategies better.

On the shooters genre, it's like cheating. But then again I find single player games boring. I played RTCW and found it boring (in particular, when the zombies show), but found ET great (the team cooperation aspect is great).

Well I think in the strictest sense (3.00 / 4) (#115)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 09:09:00 AM EST

it's cheating. When you send your armies to attack another city, it's almost like getting free scouting out of the deal so you know exactly what to do, i.e. send more armies to attack, don't attack, attack a less defended city. That's a big advantage for the player to have.

I agree w/ you completely about RTCW, frankly I thought it was a crap game. But enemy territory is pretty nice, although it gets too boring since you get so sick of seeing the same 6 maps a billion times over and over again.

[ Parent ]

w/r/t Civ (none / 2) (#130)
by Battle Troll on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:43:03 PM EST

One of the most annoying things about Civ1 was losing tanks to phalanxes. Still, using quicksave for free scouting is teh sux0r.
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
Agreed again (none / 2) (#142)
by bradasch on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 04:19:56 PM EST

But, you see, cheating in a strategy game is, well, a pretty lame way of playing it. That's why I said it could be useful to learn how the AI sets its units. If you use it as a strategy for conquering cities every time you play the game, it's cheating. I don't use it anymore, since I know more or less well how the AI distributes its units.

ET has only 6 maps (excellent ones I think, maybe with the exception of radar), but you can play in two different teams, and, when you play with different people, the game changes (sometimes you have to play different roles too). Plus, it's free! ;-)

[ Parent ]
I don't get it. (2.50 / 6) (#116)
by LukeyBoy on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 10:27:09 AM EST

Quick load and save are just features of the game; if you find it makes it easier, then don't use them.  I don't get this attitude that a game should provide the same difficulty for all the people playing it.

A great example of features like this provided is Final Fantasy X's "Sphere Grid".  The grid is used to level up characters and give you new abilities.  Lots of people play through the entire game without using the sphere grid.  It's just a feature, you can take it or leave it.

Quicksave (3.00 / 9) (#117)
by jmzero on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 10:40:22 AM EST

I don't really hate quicksave, I hate games that are designed around the premise of most players abusing it.  

A perfect example is Max Payne.  Many of the challenges in the game are really too hard (and the entire game far too unforgiving) to expect to regularly pass certain rooms (or a level pass without reloading).  

Instead, the developers seemed to have balanced the game to be reasonably difficult for a constantly quicksaving player.  And sure enough, it was.  But the experience of playing the game was less enjoyable because it was balanced this way - because it pretty much forced the quicksave/load routine that breaks game flow and really makes a lot of game mechanics irrelevant.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Thank you (2.25 / 4) (#118)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 10:44:44 AM EST

that's exactly the point that I was trying to get across with the article.

[ Parent ]
Recently (2.00 / 4) (#123)
by iasius on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 11:54:17 AM EST

I've started playing System Shock 1 again. Nice thing is, reloading ingame crashes the game. It didn't do that back in '95 of course, but it does now on my WinXP PC.
In any case, if you can't resist the quicksave features, you are pretty likely to use other cheats/trainers. It's not like save and reload is required for games. At least I haven't come across any that are so difficult you couldn't beat it without or with minimal reloading.
Game is too easy for you? Challenge yourself, don't rely on programmers to do it for you. For example if you find Civilization too easy, try a one city challenge. Oh and Doom was certainly beatable on the easiest difficulty without reloading.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
Ooh SS1 (none / 2) (#152)
by bugmaster on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 07:38:21 AM EST

How did you get it to work ? Did you get sound and music to play, too ? Inquiring minds really, really want to know. Really.
[ Parent ]
You can find (none / 0) (#157)
by iasius on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 10:21:31 AM EST

a FAQ here: http://www.ttlg.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=60930 And yes, I got it to run with music and sound. When I start the game it will say it can't find com1 (and com2), but you can click on ignore and continue anyway.

the internet troll is the pinnacle of human evolution - circletimessquare
[ Parent ]
quicksave vs random (3.00 / 7) (#127)
by dark ally on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 12:58:56 PM EST

Quicksave simply reduces the amount of time you have to play to get back to where you died.  What is more important is how random the events are in the game.  With GoldenEye64 (and many other FPSs) as you replay the level you learn where items & enemies are because there is very little randomness.  So once you are killed a given enemy, you learn so you are not killed the next time you play that same level.

Part of what made GoldenEye64 better than many FPSs was the changes between skill levels.  Not only didn't you do as much damage (and the enemies do more), but items, enemies and objectives changed.  There were also cheats (which you could not use to advance skill levels) which awarded for finishing certain levels in record time.  Some were easy, but many were devilishly difficult.

The lack of a quick-save in console games has more to do with limitted storage than anything else.  Quick-save implies saving almost the entire game state, which may be a significant chunk of working memory.

However, quick-save can sometimes be a two-edged sword.  I have played some games, merrily quick-saving along, only to discover that I really need to restore from a point earlier than my last quick-save.  Maybe it's simply that I've let my health get too low, or I've wasted ammo that I now need, or I missed a side path or item that I now have to trek back to.  Often this means I have to restore from the beginning of the level; assuming, of course, that I have a previous save to go back to...

About the only time I've absued quick-save is playing Blackjack in Leisure Suit Larry.  But it's the only way to fill your wallet.

Save early, save often.

I like quicksave... (2.16 / 6) (#128)
by pheta on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 01:01:59 PM EST

Quicksave is awsome. Say you are on playing through some level, and you just passed a pretty difficult area and are moving on to the next.. Maybe it took 10 minutes of work and you made it through with minimal health loss. You come into the next tough area and die. Without quicksave you must start again at the last checkpoint and potentially play through the same area all over again just so you can get another chance at the area you just died in.

I consider playing through areas I have already played through a waste of time. My time is important to me. When I sit down to play a game I want to enjoy it, not be frustrated by having to do the same damn thing 3 times just because I keep dying 10 minutes into a level.

Keep in mind I am very good at FPS type games. I am the guy that is leading each round by a good margin (and talking shit while doing it). When I am playing single player I dont want to be given a hard time, I want to enjoy it. Quicksave allows me to do so.

I do agree that a game can be designed so that quicksave isnt neccesary for a majority of people to enjoy the game, however it is very difficult. I had a great time playing through a lot of the recent FPS games despite quicksave. Personal preference I suppose.

No quicksave is not the problem (none / 2) (#153)
by codemonkey_uk on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 08:38:08 AM EST

The 'problem' you describe is poor save point or check point location placement; in other words, poor level design. Quicksaves just let the player choose their own check-points or save-points, a well designed game *just works*. They player shouldn't have to either think about saving/loading or get pissed of about having to redo something easy because they failed to do something hard. As Tex says, quicksave is a dirty little work around for poor level design.
"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way." - Bertrand Russell
[ Parent ]
The problem is not everyone plays the same (none / 0) (#213)
by Greepoman on Sun Nov 02, 2003 at 02:49:31 PM EST

What do you define as good level design? How do you go about designing a game for all different types of players? The majority of people who play any given game are probably not that good, so if you design for them, the best players get pissed off and vice versa. Trying to please both can mean neither are happy. As you said, a well designed game "just works", so why not have the option of quicksaving? It really shouldn't change anything unless the problem is that you don't have enough restraint not to quicksave.

[ Parent ]
More realism = better game... (2.80 / 5) (#133)
by Merc on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:27:24 PM EST

But! More realism is much harder to deal with for developers.

I'm not saying "realism" in the sense that your character goes to work every day in an office, gets caught in traffic jams, etc. I mean realism in the sense of consistent rules.

This can come up in a lot of different ways. For one, the game AI should have to deal with the same rules as the player. In a "resource gathering" game, this should mean that the AI also has to gather resources to be able to build units and structures. Too often designers cheat on the computer AI by having it collect resources, and having it pump out units, but having those two operations disconnected. This means if you destroy the computer's resource gathering abilities it somehow still manages to pump out units. This inconsistency is really frustrating because it prevents the player from finding clever solutions to the problems.

Another one that annoys me is shooter games where the player can carry a bazooka, a heavy machine gun, a shotgun, a minigun, a missile and a few handguns, yet still manage to run. When there's no tradeoff to getting a weapon, it means everyone tends to rush to acquire as many weapons as possible. When people are forced to carry only one weapon, it makes things much more interesting, as well as realistic.

Savegames are the other huge thing that makes games unrealistic. They allow players to do something risky and dumb, knowing that if it fails they can just reload. This is bad. What makes it worse is when designers take this into account and rely on this ability. This allows them to force players to try something risky or overly difficult, knowing they can reload if things go badly. Sure, there's some pleasure in completing something challenging, but what about when it is too hard? I've played too many games where something is not fun because it's too hard, and you just need to be able to get by that one part so you can play the rest of the game.

I, for one, would love to play a game where you had no control over saves and reloads, so long as it was done right. In this ideal game, the only "reload" would be when you started the game up again. It would also be one where you could quit at any point, and when you started up again you'd contine near where you left off. Unfortunately, to do this right you'd have to make sure the game was good. I've played bad games like this that ended up having me turning off the computer instead of quitting the game just so it wouldn't save things. The main difficulty with doing things this way would be to avoid any situation where there would be a motivation to go back. This would mean getting rid of any bad outcome. If it was a sports game, losing an important match wouldn't make you want to do it again. If it was a shooter game, you wouldn't die and have to do something over again.

The best way to avoid making people want to reload when something "bad" happens is to have it trigger something good. For example, in a sports game, if your franchise loses a big game, somehow it makes a superstar player become available. If it's a shooter type game, getting "killed" might have you continue the game on a different, secret level. In a RTS type game, failing the mission on one level might open up an alternative way to win the whole game.

How's this as an example of a good way of dealing with a player failing a few missions in a RTS type game. Because the player has failed a few missions, the opposing computer player is much stronger. However, as a result, the top general of the computer team tries to overthrow 'el presidente'. He fails, but lives, and the computer's army is split in two. All of a sudden, instead of one enemy, you now have two, but they're each fighting eachother. Now, the odds are no longer stacked against you, and you don't have to reload the game. Conversely, if you win every game, the same kind of thing could happen to you -- one of your generals could attempt to kill you, and instead of being in a dominant position, you'd have a new enemy to fight.

Needless to say, this sort of thing would add vastly to the replayability of games. The first time through, you'd lose a lot of missions and see one plot line. The second time through, you'd win more, but still lose some, and a different plot would result. The third time you'd have honed your skills and see yet another plot.

Goldeneye was a good game, but they could have taken some cues from Bond movies. Although he's a great spy, sometimes Bond does get caught. But is that the end of the movie? Does he "reload" and try again? No, he's normally trapped in a difficult-to-escape situation (like a laser slowly creeping towards his crotch) and he has to escape. Wouldn't the game be cool if whenever you "died", instead you were captured and had to escape from some nefarious slow death?

Maybe I'm asking a bit much, but I'd sure like to play a game like that.

I don't think realism makes games better (2.50 / 4) (#134)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 02:54:41 PM EST

in fact, most of the time they make things worse.

The best example I like to use is EA Sports NHL Hockey. They tuned down checking, so it's harder to knock people over, and they made it harder to score goals (to an almost absurd degree) because 15 goals in a game is unrealistic.

Well, unfortunately it ends up making the games a lot more boring.

I agree with you about resource gathering games cheating, although I don't see how that has anything to do with realism. Obviously it's not like in Iraq, USA got there, started mining oil, and then built all the tanks and airplanes onsite.

The new trend in gaming seems to be only being able to carry two weapons at a time, because of Halo. I happen to think that decision was brought about by having to deal with a controller instead of the keyboard.

In Halo, it really sucked because suppose you took the plasma rifle. If you had the sniper rifle or bazooka as the alternate weapon, as soon as the plasma rifle started to overheat, you were without a weapon for like 5 seconds since you couldn't switch. I thought that was a little too restrictive. At least let the player carry 3 weapons ffs

I like some of your ideas regarding adjusting to the player's "failures" although, should the game adjust itself to the skill level of the player? Or is it up to the player to rise to the occasion and get themselves up to the challenge? I'm not so sure I want the computer to assist me in beating q game.

But it's an interesting idea, and I wouldn't mind at least trying out a game that had those sort of features. Keep in mind, though, that putting in those sorts of branched-out possibilities for different player skill levels would amount to tons of extra work for the developers.

[ Parent ]

Realism in sports games (none / 2) (#138)
by Merc on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:49:18 PM EST

I haven't played an EA hockey game in a long time, but I know what you're talking about. The trouble with sports games is that getting any degree of realism is difficult. Trying to translate fluid body movements into button mashes is a nearly impossible task.

Having said that, I don't think that the realism goal in sports games should be "make the statistics reflect the real game", but more just make the feel of the game reflect the feel of the sport.

The highlight reel of a hockey game is filled with powerful checks and players scoring. It isn't filled with great passes or good formation play. To me, that means you should emphasize scoring and checking, even if the scores are higher than would be really realistic.

I think realism would be a factor if there were things that happened in the hockey game that just couldn't happen in real life. If, for example, they threw in a "powerup unblockable shot", that would get frustrating because it just doesn't feel like real hockey anymore. Or, if when someone was checked by a powerful move, they were stunned for 20 seconds. That doesn't happen in real hockey, and shouldn't happen in the game.

Having said that, sometimes it's fun to ignore realism. NFL Blitz is a great game, even though it's completley unrealistic. But it's fun, and it's more manageable. It is hard to make realistic football fun because there's just so much going on. There's no way a human player can control 11 cpu players. In Blitz, you only have 5 players, so you have a better shot at having some control. In real football, passing is hard. In Madden football, passing is also hard, but in Blitz it's easy, but they make you go 20 yards for a first down.

I guess what I'm saying is that realism is important, and when you have a choice you could go the realistic path, but that rule is trumped by the rule of making things fun. Too often something is unrealistic but it doesn't make the game more fun -- it is just easier for the designers to do things that way. One prime example is racing games where it is impossible to stray from the course. That makes the game much easier to write, but it's unrealistic, and it doesn't make the game more fun. I've played racing games where the course was just a "suggested best path" and they're much more fun. When you get bored with a certain course, you can start taking off, exploring the countryside. Or sometimes you can find a sneaky way to bypass part of the course. That's so much more interesting than the "invisible wall" that most games seem to have at the edge of the course. Even if it is too hard to make the world completely open in a racing game, designers should avoid the invisible wall. For example, if you're racing down a city street you should be able to hit a building. Maybe the side streets are off limits, blocked off by concrete barriers or something, but as much of the world should be there as is possible.

As for the game adjusting to your failures, I can see your point. I don't think I'd like it if there was no difference between doing well and doing badly in a game. That's not what I'm after either. What I'd like to see is some way of making it so that if you're doing badly, you don't feel like you have to restart, or do something over. You should be able to finish the game in some kind of semi-successful way even if you make a few mistakes. But I think the "ending" of the game should reflect how well you did. In an RTS, if you finish it but lose a lot of missions, it should be a partial victory. "The human race survived, but the planet was badly damaged. Years of hard work were in store for the population, but they were happy they made it". Compare that to the case where you win every mission: "The human race survived, not only beating off the alien invaders, but taking the fight to them. Overcoming this challenge was the key to opening up interstellar exploration to the human race..."

With that kind of a system, you'd have an incentive to do well, and a reason to re-play the game, but if you just weren't very good, you'd still be able to finish the game, and have some kind of a "win".

[ Parent ]
Well exacfly what you said (none / 1) (#141)
by Tex Bigballs on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 04:09:59 PM EST

I don't mind realism, just as long as it doesn't make the gameplay less fun. Unfortunately, I can't remember playing a very realistic game that I've actually enjoyed.

The japanese seem to understand this principle the best. Has there ever been a japanese game based on realism?

Football sims are another good example of that. Does anyone want to play a game of Madden where you eek out 4 and 5 yard runs all the time.

Sure, in real football this is considered a successful play, but how many gamers would rather have a successful play for small yardage then just to bomb the football 30 yards downfield and hope for the best?

Again, I like your idea about the game adjusting to different levels of success a lot. I could definitely see it adding some replayability to the game, but I don't think I'd play an entire game over again just to see a different ending. It would have to be something affecting actual gameplay, not just a tacked on superficial storyline adjustment, which most gamers probably skip over/ignore anyway.

[ Parent ]

Actually... (none / 2) (#145)
by Merc on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 06:27:14 PM EST

That's how I play madden. I like the running game and with new versions you are typically going to only get 5 yards or less, though occasionally you can break a 20 or even 80 yard run.

As for the game adjusting to levels of success, I really think it should do more than just affect the ending.

A long, long time ago, I used to read "choose your own adventure" books. At the bottom of each page of these books they said something like "if you want to tackle the robber, go to page 6, if you want to run away, go to page 43". There were lots of ways to die in these books, but also a few different paths to victory. Even when you found a few different ways to win, it was sometimes fun to go back and find out some of the different ways to die.

I'd like that kind of thing in a game too. Different ways of winning, different degrees of success, and a reason to go back and try again, even when you do win.

[ Parent ]
Two weapons in Halo (none / 0) (#177)
by ParadisePete on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:29:10 AM EST

In Halo, it really sucked because suppose you took the plasma rifle. If you had the sniper rifle or bazooka as the alternate weapon, as soon as the plasma rifle started to overheat, you were without a weapon for like 5 seconds since you couldn't switch.

Wouldn't you say that's a flaw in the player's tactics, not a flaw in the game? I thought it was interesting to need a plan, and to give some thought to what I was doing, rather than just run in with guns blazing.

[ Parent ]

QuickLOAD, not Quicksave. (3.00 / 9) (#137)
by sludge on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:42:17 PM EST

Games do unfair things, like crash and kill your character through physics anomalies.  Real life intervenes all too often.  The best route to take is to allow for quick saving, but inconvenience the load method.

The original Civilization from 1990 let you save at any point you wanted, but you needed to restart the game in order to load your saved game.  This resulted in safety saves, but it didn't affect the gameplay in any major way.  At least, it wasn't tempting to.

GTA3 is the same way... (none / 0) (#187)
by Jed Smith on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 05:21:22 PM EST

...and I liked it. You have to restart GTA3 to load your game (at least on the PC, I forgot the semantics on the Playstation 2). QuickSAVING isn't cheating, quickloading is.
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
[ Parent ]
dude (1.00 / 8) (#139)
by d s oliver h on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 03:53:05 PM EST

i completed level 2 of goldeneye (the chemical facility) on 00 agent mode in 2 minutes 2 seconds. i bet nobody here can beat that. that was to get the invisibility cheat, i think.

No (2.25 / 3) (#144)
by alexei on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 05:35:22 PM EST

The invulnerability cheat--the only cheat I failed to unlock in Goldeneye. I had everything but that and I failed every time I tried... I've gotten close at around 3minutes, but never actually finished it in order to get the code.

As far as the article goes, I completely agree. I think the middle ground is probably the best way, to strike a happy balance (I can get through most levels without a save, but I always like to save my progress when I'm just about to do the more crucial bits, so I don't have to go through 20 minutes of nonsense which can be repeated ad nauseum without much skill or thought (for example, most Hitman 2 levels on the XBox). Though, I tend to do those levels multiple times, anyway, so even if I do beat it, I feel that I do it without enough stealth and I want to try again. :)
Yeah, I'm kinda rambling, but I enjoy being able to quicksave a limited amount of times. I rarely use the save games up, anyway, as I always get scared that I'm gonna need them later, so I just stick with them under my belt and end up not using them most of the time. :)

[ Parent ]

I obviously wasted a chunk of my youth..... (2.00 / 3) (#156)
by charl8tan on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 10:06:25 AM EST

....on completing Goldeneye. Had everything unlocked, even got kicked out of the house I was sharing because of the way I played MP :-(. Depressingly, I can't actually remember the game very well even though I wasted so much time on it. Did play it the other week here at the office though, haven't really lost the touch either ;).

[ Parent ]
minor nit (2.60 / 5) (#146)
by ajaxx on Thu Oct 23, 2003 at 10:01:14 PM EST

Doom II sparked the FPS genre? not Wolfenstein (all six episodes baby), not Duke Nukem 3D, not even Doom I? it's a little odd to say that the sequel to an FPS was responsible for the genre. other than that, i agree with the poster that said quicksave is important but that loading should be difficult. real life intervenes sometimes.

Goldeneye (2.25 / 4) (#148)
by YouthEnrage on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 12:07:52 AM EST

Was probably one of the best games ever made. I can honestly say that. The missions were all unique, and original. The weapons were awesome, the enemies were (reasonably) intelligent. The story was pretty good, and there were tons of things to explore. This was one of the only games I continued to play after beating it. I beat it on every difficulty level until it became routine for me to beat it on 007 mode in a single sitting, without dying more then a couple of times. I got every cheat, except for the what I consider impossible, 2nd level (Invisibility? Invincibility? I can't remember, it was the level with the gas at the end. Impossible!) Man, that game ruled. I downloaded a n64 emulator last year, and found the goldeneye rom. Unfortunately the emulator sucked, and couldn't use the mouse for input, so I gave up after a couple of levels. Man, that game was so good...

For Everyone who has ever played Goldeneye (none / 0) (#183)
by speedR on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 05:05:03 AM EST

Here are the world records: http://www.the-elite.net/GE/WR/
I myself did the invincibility cheat but not with that time

[ Parent ]
xcom 1 vs xcom 2 (2.83 / 6) (#150)
by Highlander on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 03:27:18 AM EST

xcom is a turn based strategy/combat game of humans vs. aliens.

In the beginning, I played with saving and reloading. Saving was only two clicks, but reloading cost time to do. So I learned to play better, and finished a game of xcom 1 without reloading, without hiring more than 12 recruits, and only loosing two troopers, except for the last level, where I goofed up and lost all but a few.

However, this style of play didn't work for xcom 2. Especially attacking alien bases can be extremely deadly because initially you are unable to do anything against psi powers, and so playing without reloading usually would mean almost your entire team is eradicated on an attack. And, a single steadfast crab can spoil your day.

I still consider xcom 1 the better game.

This shows that the same game can be designed in a way that makes it cool to play without reloading, or impossible.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

No Quicksave == No Play (2.28 / 7) (#151)
by bugmaster on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 07:29:31 AM EST

The lack of quicksave (or the ability to save anywhere, even if it's slow) is the reason I don't play many console games. I hate being under constant pressure and stress, when there's no need for them. What if the power goes out ? What if my cat trips over the power cord again ? What if someone calls me on the phone ? Will I lose the three hours I spent passing this extra-difficult spot ? The answer for console games is an unequivocal "yes". This is especially bad if you consider the fact that some of us have day jobs; I simply don't have time to sit there for half a day, trying to get from one save point to the next.

I understand that limited saves are an artifact of the console architecture (slow CPU, limited storage, etc)., but that's no excuse in today's world of USB-enabled consoles with hard drives inside.

Furthermore, any game that relies primarily on lack of saving to be interesting is probably not worth playing anyway. The kind of games I like are intrinsically hard, because some sort of strategy, tactics, puzzle-solving etc. is required to get to the next level. You can save all you want, if you don't know what to do, it won't help you.

I was going to respond (none / 0) (#166)
by it certainly is on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 04:32:40 AM EST

but I read enough of the comment (specifically "limited saves are an artifact of the console architecture"), to realise that this is a troll. Congratulations, you got me to hit the reply button, which is more than most people do. You sound so much like an FPS addicted console hating friend of mine, it's uncanny.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Eh ? (none / 0) (#192)
by bugmaster on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 09:39:10 AM EST

I am not sure how pointing out that consoles have limited CPU power and storage makes me a troll. Now, if I said "consoles sux0r j00 114m4, ph33r my PC", then I'd be a troll -- but I didn't say that, did I ? Consoles make a tradeoff between cost/portability and storage; this tradeoff is less relevant now, but in the days of the original Nintendo it was of paramount importance. Without it, consoles might not exist at all.

You sound so much like an FPS addicted console hating friend of mine, it's uncanny.
I enjoy an occasional FPS, but I prefer RTS, really. Still, FPS is another good example of the sacrifices that needed to be made for consoles to work -- the hand-held controller is simply no substitute for mouse/WASD in terms of aiming.
[ Parent ]
Not all console games are poorly designed (none / 0) (#170)
by pin0cchio on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 10:40:26 AM EST

What if the power goes out ? What if my cat trips over the power cord again ?

Loss of power means loss of about three minutes of progress on the games I play (Wario Ware, Dance Dance Revolution, etc). Don't discount all console games because a couple bad apples don't have enough save points.

What if someone calls me on the phone ?

Press Start to pause the game and bring up the stats. Press Start when you're done to resume game play.

some of us have day jobs; I simply don't have time to sit there for half a day

You should try Wario Ware. Four seconds per screen, each screen has different game play, 10 to 25 screens per level, a far cry from hours between save points.

but that's no excuse in today's world of USB-enabled consoles with hard drives inside.

You incorrectly use plurals, assuming that all consoles are just like the Microsoft Xbox.

[ Parent ]
Console Design (none / 0) (#191)
by bugmaster on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 09:34:33 AM EST

So, it sounds like Wario Ware is one of those rare console games that has save points sprinkled liberally through it. This is very good, and I have nothing against it, but I think the original author might -- since these frequent save points basically approximate the functionality of quicksave.

You incorrectly use plurals, assuming that all consoles are just like the Microsoft Xbox.
I think both Gamecube and PS2 have USB ports, right ? Plugging in an external drive shouldn't be too hard.
[ Parent ]
It's all about choice... (none / 2) (#155)
by mooZENDog on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 09:35:50 AM EST

Isn't it always?

I have a friend who likes to play FPS games, but will put it on it's easiest difficulty rating, go online, find all the cheats, then run through the game in a maniacal frenzy, laughing as he tries to murder as many enemies as quickly as possible.

When I play, I avoid using cheats like the plague, but if a game is too difficult for me then I will use the quicksave/quickload options to get me through those tricky levels (y'know - when you've got 3% health and just accidentally over-wrote your only save). I'd like to think that I self-regulate my gameplay so that it remains enjoyable, but that I can feel that I've actually completed it properly, when all's said and done. People who use cheats or quickloads are only spoiling their experience, in my opinion (although they may like the lack of a challenge).

It's good that gamers have the option to do quicksave/quickload, and even cheat. Different people will enjoy different bits of the games, but personally I see your point. However, some console save methods are frustrating.

Maybe it'd be good to have limited-save versions on the harder difficulty settings, with bonuses that you earn (like the goldeneye invunerability thing mentionned elsewhere in this thread). Whatever way you cut it you have to cater for all types of gamer (even the cheaty ones), though.

I'd just suggest extra, rewarding methods for keeping advanced players happy rather than limiting options for the duffers who don't have the skill or can be bothered to make the effort. Use the carrot, rather than the stick I say...

OT: How long 'til Doom 3 BTW? Now there's a series worth upgrading for :)

"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind"
- Gandhi

A wise man once told me... (2.92 / 13) (#162)
by A synx on Fri Oct 24, 2003 at 01:59:39 PM EST

You can't cheat at Solitaire. You can't. If you change the rules, it's just another kind of Solitaire. Cheating is giving yourself an unfair advantage over others, and last I checked we didn't count our computer as a person. If you're playing online and somehow enable God mode for only yourself, then yeah that's cheating. But if you say "Anyone who quick-saves is cheating" I'm afraid that's not right: they are playing a different game than you, but they are not cheating. No reason to deprive ourselves of fun, if our idea of fun is quick-saving after every monster is killed in an easy game. And go ahead and abstain from saving for the entire game of Doom 2, if you find that fun. If not, don't get so worked up over it: you can't cheat yourself except by not having fun.

What constitutes a challenge? (2.50 / 4) (#167)
by it certainly is on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 04:49:35 AM EST

This is a real problem in gaming development. Sure, introduce the gameplay concepts to the gamer, but then what? What are you going to do until the game-over screen?

One of the best games ever, IMHO, is chess. Each piece is different, but yet, each piece is limited, each piece has advantages. No one piece has too much power, is too difficult to capture, or is too vital to a winning strategy. There is no camping. There is no 'super ultra piece that only spawns once a month'. This is why chess has been around for so long. Also, AI in chess is done by academics, not the academic rejects.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

So what about.... (none / 2) (#168)
by kreyg on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 07:12:12 AM EST

1) When life interferes and you have to quit the game Right Now?
2) Those [of us] who suck at a particular game, or part of a particular game, but still want to actually be able to finish it?
3) Those [of us] who value being given the freedom to do whatever we like with our software and computers?

As for laziness in development/design, it is rather difficult and requires many up-front design decisions to be able to save anywhere in a game.  Specific save points (particularly end-of-level save points) are trivial in comparison.

Bad games are bad games, good games are good games... the save game method has little to do with that.  Balancing the gameplay is exceptionally difficult given the wide range of people who might play a game.  The difficulty of a game in general will probably skew easier if it is targeting a wider audience - most of the "mass market" is not hardcore gamers, and they just want some fun, not the Iron Man of gaming.

There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler's mind. - Douglas Adams

Answers (none / 2) (#178)
by it certainly is on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 03:51:46 PM EST

1) Most games have a pause button. If you're playing on a games console, there's no need to "quit", unless you really need that plug socket.

2) Get better at the game. That is the point of playing, yes? For example, I can now complete Time Crisis 2 in the arcades on a single life. I have come far from the time when I couldn't get past the first level.

3) You still have that freedom. Don't bitch because you're held responsible for your actions. There are too many people who play a game to the end without ever seeing the game over screen. Why do they have such a fear of it? It's just pixels.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

save anywhere (none / 0) (#181)
by emmons on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 12:44:12 AM EST

As for laziness in development/design, it is rather difficult and requires many up-front design decisions to be able to save anywhere in a game.  Specific save points (particularly end-of-level save points) are trivial in comparison.

Saving gamestate to a file is FAR less time-consuming (hence cheaper and 'easier') to implement in any game (especially if you're using an off-the-shelf game engine that supports it- most do) than it is to design and test every level to be sure that it's feasable to play without needing to save.

In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

What about Perfect Dark? (none / 2) (#172)
by Psycho Dave on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:05:48 AM EST

I too was a Goldeneye fanatic. It was the reason I bought an N64 in the first place, and what has spawned my addiction to first person shooters.

I want to know what people thought of Perfect Dark. In many ways, I thought it was superior to Goldeneye. Better graphics, better AI, more gameplay modes etc. But, I never finished it on every difficulty level because of the bloody framerate. Especially in the later levels when you gotta fight those alien beasties with those crappy guns.

Oh well, thoughts?

I liked perfect dark (none / 1) (#176)
by Tex Bigballs on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 11:15:20 AM EST

but wasn't as good at it. I got stuck on the one mission where you have to move the exploding crate to blow up a hole in the wall. Then I just ended up moving on to different games.

Yeah, and like you said, the framerate was a pain in the ass too. Which is strange because I never thought the graphics were that much better than goldeneye

[ Parent ]

Exploding crate level. (none / 2) (#198)
by Psycho Dave on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 04:18:46 PM EST

To finish it, don't even worry about the crate. I use it to blow up a few guards stragiht away. The game will tell you the mission can't be completed. It's full of shit. Pick up a Dragon with a built in proxy mine. Throw it next to the crack in the wall and shoot it to blow open a hole. Suddenly the comp. says mission can be completed.

And I forgot the rest, but that mission is definetely a nailbiter with the amount of things you must do to complete it and no quick saves.

[ Parent ]

Re: What about Perfect Dark? (none / 2) (#184)
by henry on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 09:45:41 AM EST

Perfect Dark was truly a great game (hampered only by the lousy framerate). The number of hours I spent in my first year at uni playing deathmatches against my mates doesn't bear thinking about. The laptop gun - now there was a weapon! And the Magsec pistols, and the tranq pistol, and that neutron bomb grenade thingy and ...

Anyway, I was (and still am) a big fan. A friend of mine has an N64 emulator on his laptop, and a N64-pad-to-USB converter. His laptop is obviously much faster than an N64, to the extent that even though he's emulating the whole system, the framerate problems are now gone and the game plays better than it ever did on the N64 console.

[ Parent ]

Perfect Dark (none / 1) (#194)
by gruk on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 09:59:40 AM EST

Perfect Dark is definitely up on my "top list of N64 games" (together with F-Zero X), for sheer replayability. Me and one of my friends tend to sit down and play it in co-operative mode when he's over. Good fun.

[ Parent ]
Deus Ex (2.75 / 4) (#179)
by bblaze on Sat Oct 25, 2003 at 08:50:31 PM EST

I like how it is in Deus Ex. There's quickload and quicksave and such, but it doesn't result in the easiness mentioned here. At least, not on the most difficult difficulty, Realistic. It acknowledges the huge disparity that usually exists between the player and the enemy and largely eliminates. Disparities in damage and instant killage are gone. The player has roughly the same health as the evildudes, and can get shot in the head just as easy as they can. Oh, and the sequel will be cool.

Tollis lintea neglegentiorum. Hoc salsum esse putas? Fugit te inepte: quamvis sordida res et invenusta est est. - Catullus
An alternative example (none / 1) (#185)
by bigbigbison on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 11:01:19 AM EST

No one seems to have mentioned it yet, but Aliens Vs. Predator (1 not 2) did not have quick saves or quick loads when it was originally relased.  It didn't have any in level saves at all.  People freaked out and complaned to holy hell and a patch was released that allowed you to save a quicksave like most other FPS games.

VCR buttons (none / 2) (#188)
by QuantumG on Sun Oct 26, 2003 at 11:02:41 PM EST

Then you would serious hate my (and many other's) suggestion that games should have rewind buttons. No quicksave, quickload, I should be able to just pull up my VCR controls at any time and rewind through the state, fast forward a little, pause, ponder, rewind again, hit play, and keep playing. I absolutely hate games that make me do a particular part of the action in a subperfect way. I want to do it *my* way because the game is entertaining *me*. So I need that ability to review what I've done and redo it until I'm satisfied with it. As such, the ability to use VCR style controls and even be able to save my entire progress to disk as a very long movie would be great. I'd love to be able to sit back and watch the game I've played for 2 or 3 months over and over again and should I think "damn, I didn't do that bit very well" I can just jump right back in and fix that part up.

Gun fire is the sound of freedom.
Good idea but... (none / 0) (#193)
by bugmaster on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 09:42:20 AM EST

... How practical is this ? I think it would take a lot of work to make the game engine a) powerful enough to record every move in real-time, and b) fast enough to still work. In fact, I am not sure I've heard of any games that pulled this off successfully, even on the PC.
[ Parent ]
demorecording (none / 0) (#208)
by twi on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 06:32:18 PM EST

FPS-games can record demos of a game for quite some time now. It would not be that hard (on the machine) to allow rewinding to take up the game again at any point. And that's actualy a very interesting idea, to play a demo and then interrupt it to continue. All the best, rob

[ Parent ]
Pure Elitist Bull. (none / 2) (#189)
by myrspace on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 12:24:49 AM EST

i didn't want to be rude but the article comes off as pure elitist bull to me. i hate it when people write about how gaming should suit 'their vision' or 'their standards'. Pure Elitist Bull.


leave people to play their games how they want to.

the statement above is valid when the player(s) have come to a level agreement on how the game will be played.

in the case of singleplayer games, there is only one player and thus whether he plays like a complete jackass or not is his problem. not mine, or yours or the people who run the country.

autosave/autoload was never a bad gaming decision. it was an option.


the issue that should be adressed is how games can be challenging, not how unchallenging the autosave/autoload features cause a game to be.

the article claimed that the autosave/autoload features killed the 'challenge' because players could simply 'undo' or 'recover' quickly from a wrong decision.

true. a player is 'punished' for his/her wrong decisions but let me ask this. So what, if the player had to start the game from the beginning again, or perhaps had to load from a save point some distance back?

the result would be the same, the player would still return to the point before he/she had made the wrong decision. players would have to repeat their actions to reach the point and i would not call that a challenge. more like a hinderance.

such 'punishments' do not improve the game nor will they make the player a better person. they merely cause irritation.

if i had not known any better, game developers who(and force players to repeat most of the action) on players mainly do it to increase the duration of their game.

deeper issue (none / 1) (#190)
by dimaq on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 07:17:55 AM EST

I agree with you that certain game aspects (e.g. chaetcodes, quicksaves, difficulty levels) seriousely degrade any game.

I would like to point out though that those are usually considered 'features' for a reason.

I personally wish there were no cheats in the games when they are on sale - only in demos and previews. I also wish qs/ql thing was not there, I'd prefer some sort of "pause save". I would wish for random locations and smart behaviour for my opponents and goodies in the game. I would wish there was more to the game than bashing people - that there would be something interesting to learn. I would wish the character you play the game was not so dumb either. Oh well :-)

Points for consideration:
* if qs/ql is like cheating, would you also call different difficulty levels cheating?
* another issue with difficulty levels is that sometimes you wanna play on lower level even though you know you could make it on nightmare (e.g. in tomb raider - to walk around and explore the world)
* even if you don't qs/ql, but try to get through a level multiple times, therefore learning the ambushes, etc, beforehands, is that cheating?
* quicksave/load changed gaming considerabely, and if developers didn't give it enough thought they surely fsckd up :)
* some games (e.g. Driver and somewhat HL) require you to learn some skills before you begin the actual game - that way you don't particularily need difficulty leves
* some games (e.g. last two gta's) are made in such a way that you don't loose much when you die - you can buy all the basic weaponry and pick up all the advanced kind again, you keep most of your money, etc; and incidently tend to loose a little if you reload - e.g. hidden packages you forget to pick up again

Metroid Prime.. (2.75 / 4) (#195)
by reflective recursion on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 10:02:35 AM EST

Metroid for GameCube had it right I believe.  You have multiple saving spots scattered across the map (world, actually).  If you want to save it is possible, but it will take a little work to do so.  It's not incredibly hard to  fight your way to a save spot, but it's tedious enough that you only do it when you accomplish something major.  On the other hand, if the phone rings or something you just hit start or whatever to pause the game.

It makes it that much more fun because you know that going out on a "mission" you have to keep in mind that you will need enough health and ammo to not only accomplish what you set out to do, but also to work your way back to the nearest save spot.  It truly does suck when you defeat a major boss only to end up getting killed right by your save station.. but that is life.

I agree with the idea of save points (none / 1) (#197)
by Tex Bigballs on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 02:19:35 PM EST

in metroid prime, or grand theft auto, or what have you. Metroid Prime, at least on the first go-round, was a pretty easy for the most part, and the only time you would really want a quicksave was probably for the boss fights.

[ Parent ]
Setting aside the fact that... (none / 1) (#196)
by SPYvSPY on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 11:59:03 AM EST

...quicksave is a non-issue, since you can choose to ignore it if you wish.

I have a real problem with Goldeneye, which is that it was the first (or one of the first) FPS games that allowed the crosshairs of your weapon to wander around in the four corners of the screen before the background would pan. I *fucking* hate that shit. Fuck Goldeneye and Timesplitters and any other shit for brains game that does that. I didn't spend countless hours on Doom, Quake and SOFII just to have to relearn a control scheme for some no-texture-map-having James Bond game. Fooie on Goldeneye, sayest I.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.

Return to the dark ages. Brilliant. (1.66 / 3) (#199)
by eSolutions on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 06:00:53 PM EST

I know of a glorious game where you can't save or reload. It's called "Pac-Man."

Fact. Your theories on gameplay would spray us back into yellowing porcelain of the Reagan Administration. I often hear theories like yours, in my travels. People say, why can't things be like they were and aren't? Yet they never see beyond, into how things would be if they were.

Fact. Every action, even inaction, has a reaction. Have you thought out this reaction? My god, you're like a child who's discovered his father's pipe, and thinks he's the first to explore flavor country, Adam awaiting his ribby Eve. Your game-saving plan is shit. If these things are restricted they would destroy all that you hold genuine in gameplay of all kinds. The disc would spiral out of your game-cube, metaphorically, slipping up, floating up, as you laugh at first and then cry, cry in terror, crying at how wrong you are and how right I am.

Anyway, that's what I think.

Yours in Christ,

eSolutions is Right. [n/t] (1.00 / 3) (#202)
by eSolutions on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 08:20:22 PM EST

[ Parent ]
What you say is very true. (1.00 / 3) (#203)
by eSolutions on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 08:37:23 PM EST

Why didn't someone point this argument out before? Truly this is the word spoken by the voice, from mind that controls the hand, that has felt the faraway rumblings of truth in the ground, digestive and ominous. Tx. Bgbls. would be wise to heed your warning of justice and horror.

[ Parent ]
eSolutions is the sound of one hand clapping. (nt) (3.00 / 2) (#206)
by Kaki Nix Sain on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 01:42:01 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Meh (none / 1) (#200)
by skim123 on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 06:43:33 PM EST

I am not a serious gamer. Exploring the levels in a FPS is what's fun for me, and that is hampered by my overall suckiness at the genre. So why not allow quicksave/quickload? I like it, it makes the game more fun for me. If not having quicksave/quickload is what makes the game more fun for you, then by all means, don't use the feature. But you don't need it stricken from the game altogether.

I got an XBOX like 6 months ago, and have since then gotten two FPS games: Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Medal of Honor: Frontline. Caste Wolfenstein let's you quicksave/quickload to your heart's content, which I greatly enjoyed. MOH, on the other hand, does not. And some of those levels, even on easy, can take 20 or more minutes to beat (for me, at least). So.......... you can imagine there's nothing more frustrating than playing well for 25 minutes, only to die right at the end, and then the only recourse being to have to play the whole damned level over again. The one level where you go to a house dressed up as a butler and have to save this prisoner... well, it must have taken me a month to beat that level. Not that I continuously played, but because I'd try, get right near the end, and die. Two or three episodes of that and I'd swear off the game for a week or more.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum

Another Solution? (2.75 / 4) (#201)
by ziminjidah on Mon Oct 27, 2003 at 07:22:17 PM EST

The coolest thing about some games is that once you cheat the game knows and you can't get the high score and pretend you did it fairly. How about a warning message coming up saying using quickload and quicksave will effect the saved game. I think this would persuade at least a few people to try and beat the level without it.

Saves tedium (none / 2) (#205)
by Belgand on Tue Oct 28, 2003 at 09:16:16 PM EST

I'm certain everyone here has played a game without in-level saves where you reached a point, but had trouble progressing from there. If you don't allow in-game saves it quickly becomes tedious and irritating to keep going through the same area (or player interactions or whatever) again and again and again just to get back to the part that's giving you trouble.

Likewise not having enough save spots is a problem as well. I don't want to have to replay 30 minutes just because I slipped a little.

Oni was particularly bad for it's lack of in-level saves (along with forcing saves so that if I made it to an area with low health or such I'd always have it and it would be very hard to come from behind). I recall one area where I could easily get through 2/3 of the section, but the last part gave me trouble. I played it for 2-3 hours trying to get past it and in the end I just gave up for a day or two as it was far too frustrating.

It must be left up to the player when to save. (none / 0) (#214)
by Morimoto Masaharu on Sun Jan 18, 2004 at 07:43:58 PM EST

In-game saves are absolutely necessary. When one does something that involves solving a problem, and one finds one's self unable to continue at any particular point, because of some kind of error in which one doesn't have enough information, does one look up the information and then re-do the entire thing, or does one stop, get the needed info, and start again right there?

I think it's stupid to have special "Save points" in a game, because then the player cannot stop at any point, and that means that the player has to properly allocate time to the game, rather than just playing it in every extra bit of free time, which is what the average player does.

In short, while the quicksave idea admittedly does cheapen gameplay to a degree, the alternative seems unbelievably more frustrating.
«This is Mr. Yoshida on your favorite vegetables.»
The Goldeneye Method of Gaming | 214 comments (180 topical, 34 editorial, 1 hidden)
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