1. Hey there Guest,

    The game servers have moved to semi-dedicated hardware and IPs have changed. Please see front page server widget for up-to-date game server information.

Another crazy game design idea

Discussion in 'Games Talk' started by Pocket, Aug 31, 2017.

  1. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

    Messages:
    4,489
    Positive Ratings:
    2,377
    OK, you know how autosave doesn't work so well for games that have nonlinear level layouts? Games like Half-Life or Call of Duty know exactly when to autosave because they're linear and players have to do things in a specific order. So if the player has walked into a certain trigger brush, the game can be reasonably certain they don't have any unfinished business in the area behind them, such as enemies from that area that are still pursuing them. But the BioShock games, for example, have no autosaves except the start of a level. Bethesda RPGs only save when entering or exiting a building. And games that aren't mindful of this sometimes autosave after the player has already gotten into trouble.

    I think I may have figured out a solution.

    Some engines (Source being one of them) have a "demo" feature that lets the game record, in real time, everything that is happening server-side. All the movements of the players and NPCs. Imagine if a game were doing this automatically, all the time. The last few minutes of gameplay are always cached in memory. I believe this is how games with a "rewind" feature, like the Prince of Persia trilogy or Braid, work. But instead of letting the player rewind, imagine if the game then watches for specific emergent triggers. Things like walking into an enemy's detection zone after spending several minutes wandering through an empty environment. Then, it can go back maybe 30 seconds and retroactively save the game from that point, ensuring that every significant thing that happens, the player can easily jump back to before it started if they die.

    Another thing that could be done with this idea: In a game that either has a relatively low memory footprint (say, a retro game like Undertale) or is on the Nintendo Switch (where everything is on a cartridge, eliminating loading times), the game could actually save a "highlight reel" of significant moments in the story, exactly as they happened in your particular playthrough. Then, when you load up your save after not playing for a while, it could run back through this as a "previously on" sort of thing to get you all caught up. Again, this would only work where it's possible to jump instantly from one level to another. Or maybe if the game is afforded enough processor downtime to render the highlight reel as a video file. (The built-in recording feature on the Xbox One might be able to handle this.)
     
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Moonrat

    aa Moonrat The end of an era

    Messages:
    898
    Positive Ratings:
    533
    So basically like some of the newer Pokemon games?
     
  3. Idolon

    aa Idolon the worst admin

    Messages:
    1,591
    Positive Ratings:
    4,706
    Source autosaves have a few safeguard features. They'll trigger automatically but won't actually become the "active" autosave until a certain timer (configured per autosave) passes without the player dying. There are also some safeguards related to health where an autosave won't become active unless the player has over a certain amount of health, though I don't know exactly how this works.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

    Messages:
    4,489
    Positive Ratings:
    2,377
    Huh. That's really neat. Explains why I've never had a problem with getting stuck. Of course, it also hold onto like three autosave points at a time, or something, which is also a good idea no matter how your game is designed.
     
  5. theatreTECHIE

    aa theatreTECHIE Yet another Techie for the net...

    Messages:
    397
    Positive Ratings:
    419
    The thing with this sort of auto save is that it doesn't really punish the player for dying. Players then become reliant on the game to help them out because if they die, all they have to do is fight the enemy that they died to.
    I find having longer distances between checkpoints, or having some other way of punishing death (losing items, money or something else) is better than the alternative, since it forces players to think about what they are doing.
    I certainly am one of those people that if I can, I save every time I don't die to an enemy, however I find games that force me to not die more entertaining, as I spend more time actually playing rather than in save game menus.
    For an open world game, I'd prefer if a person had to explicitly save in a save town or something. Of course it could become annoying if you had to always walk back to where you died, but if the hubs were constructed well, it wouldn't be much of a drag.

    I do like the idea of being able to play back a highlight reel though. That would be really cool.