Topic: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

I just downloaded version 0.1.1 and played through tutorial act 1.  It looks great, plays amazingly similarly to Sonic on the Genesis, and has a tutorial which makes it far easier to learn than Sonic on the Genesis.  Congratulations on writing Open Sonic, and thank you very much for open-sourcing it.

A suggestion:  It'd be nice if you allowed saving -- but only if you don't make the game too easy because the saving feature exists.

Some options include:

No saving.  Genesis Sonic & Knuckles without lock-on, Sonic 1, and Sonic 2 do this.  It's annoying because it forces you to finish the game in a single sitting.

Checkpoints at the beginning of each zone.  Genesis Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 3 do this:  they auto-save your game, and your number of lives and continues, each time you reach a new zone.  I don't remember how losing lives affects your savegame.  If you have a savegame at a difficult zone with no continues and few lives, that savegame becomes useless:  you can no longer beat the game from that savegame, since you're too likely to get Game Over.  I liked this saving system.  It was frustrating at times, but it made Sonic 3 & Knuckles remain fun for me until I beat the game for the first time (with only about seven emeralds).  This was perhaps a hundred hours or more of gameplay.

Checkpoints at the beginning of each act.  I think this would reduce frustration, but it would make the game easier to beat, and once players beat the game, perhaps it won't be fun for them anymore.

Save anytime you like, and reload anytime you like, including in mid-level.  I think this would make the game far too easy.

Save anytime you like, but when when you save, the game exits.  When you load the savegame, the game deletes the save data off the hard drive.  This is what certain roguelike RPG NetHack does, to prevent reloading whenever you make a mistake.  It is sort of similar to Diablo 2's "Hardcore" option, which http://diablo.wikia.com/wiki/Hardcore describes.

I wonder which option is best?

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Chaotix-style choice between auto-save and manual-save, with track of time and stages completed

http://steamcard.com/do/sigcard-tf2/abee.png

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

encrypt the saved game, plain and simple smile

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Hello jasonspiro and welcome to the forums!

The saving feature was already planned, but it's not implemented yet. Here's my idea: once the user selects the 1P GAME option in the menu, a new screen displaying 4 options would appear:

- FILE 1
- FILE 2
- FILE 3
- NO SAVE

The NO SAVE option would be exactly what you've described. The others would save the game automatically every time the user gets through an entire level (act 1, 2 and 3). For example, if the user stops playing at level 5 act 2, then he/she would start playing from level 5 act 1 when he/she starts the game again. I also like the mechanism you've mentioned: "If you have a savegame at a difficult zone with no continues and few lives, that savegame becomes useless:  you can no longer beat the game from that savegame, since you're too likely to get Game Over". We could combine both strategies.

To make sure that users don't lose interest in the game after clearing it one or two times, Open Sonic provides a system that allows one to make his/her own levels and play custom levels made by anybody. I really hope to see people trading levels in this board a few years from now. wink

Oh, and as Neoblast already said, the save-game files would have to be encrypted. However, we would have to decrypt it in order to retrieve data like level, number of lives, etc. Since this game is open source, someone could make a tool to hack the files (cheats). Does someone have an idea to solve this issue? (or maybe we shouldn't care about it and let users cheat if they want to)

jasonspiro wrote:

No saving.  Genesis Sonic & Knuckles without lock-on, Sonic 1, and Sonic 2 do this.  It's annoying because it forces you to finish the game in a single sitting.

Checkpoints at the beginning of each zone.  Genesis Sonic 3 & Knuckles and Sonic 3 do this:  they auto-save your game, and your number of lives and continues, each time you reach a new zone.  I don't remember how losing lives affects your savegame.  If you have a savegame at a difficult zone with no continues and few lives, that savegame becomes useless:  you can no longer beat the game from that savegame, since you're too likely to get Game Over.  I liked this saving system.  It was frustrating at times, but it made Sonic 3 & Knuckles remain fun for me until I beat the game for the first time (with only about seven emeralds).  This was perhaps a hundred hours or more of gameplay.

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

I vote "we shouldn't care about it and let users cheat if they want to". That's not really important, as there's not online ranking or something like this. If users want to cheat, let them do this, but they will broke the gameplay, and it's stupid.
And, no, I don't think there could be any solution. With the source code, we could always find a solution to decrypt it.

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Encrption is the way to prevent scrip kiddies from hacking the saved games.
Also, the saved game menu , it could be cool to makeit ust like in sonic 3, as a homage to the megadrive series...

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

What about checkpoints mid-level so you don't have to start at the beginning when you die?

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

artart78 wrote:

I vote "we shouldn't care about it and let users cheat if they want to". That's not really important, as there's not online ranking or something like this. If users want to cheat, let them do this, but they will broke the gameplay, and it's stupid.
And, no, I don't think there could be any solution. With the source code, we could always find a solution to decrypt it.

I agree.  It's impossible to prevent users from cheating.  Encryption would discourage it, but it goes against an important idea:

You must make it as easy as possible for developers and suggestion-contributors to cheat.  This is so that they can easily get back to specific levels where they quit, crashed the game, or got game-over in order to make suggestions on how those levels can be improved or in order to reproduce the crash.  Anti-cheating measures hurt those users, so they make the game worse for everyone.

I think that the save data should be stored as plain text, and named with a .txt extension, so anyone can easily edit it using Windows Notepad or Mac OS TextEdit.

CharmyBee wrote:

Chaotix-style choice between auto-save and manual-save, with track of time and stages completed

Could you please give us much more detail on what all those things mean?

Alexandre wrote:

Here's my idea: once the user selects the 1P GAME option in the menu, a new screen displaying 4 options would appear:

- FILE 1
- FILE 2
- FILE 3

Please make sure to show current zone, lives, and continues on the save-file-select screen.  Also, it would be nice if you would support more than just three separate save files; at least eight would be better.  :-)

Dan wrote:

What about checkpoints mid-level so you don't have to start at the beginning when you die?

Open Sonic has respawn checkpoints (yellow lampposts); after you die, you respawn at the last respawn checkpoint you passed.  But when it saves your game, Sonic for Genesis never saves info about respawn checkpoints you've passed.  It only saves info about which zones you've passed.

But you've inspired me with an interesting idea.

Alexandre, Open Sonic should make two types of saves, each at different points in time:  summary saves and detail saves.

Summary saves:  These would work like in Sonic 3 for Genesis.  When you complete a zone, the game should make a summary save (it should save your current zone, lives, and continues.  When you get Game Over, or if the game crashes, the game should let you restore from your last summary save.

Detail saves:  When you quit the game, it should make a detail save.  It should save everything about the game.  It should even save track of which rings in the current act you've already taken.  When you load a detail save, the game should resume exactly in the state it was in when you saved.  But right after you load a detail save, the game should delete the detail save from disk, to make it a little harder to cheat.

What do you think?

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Why two save modes? Besides, suppose that I entered some boss zone with 5 lives. Since the boss is too hard, I'm being killed all the time. He kills me four times and now I have only 1 life. "omg, this is so hard!", I say. Right before he kills me again (game over), I quickly press the ESC button and quit the game. wow! If i open that save game again, I'll die (no matter what I do) and it will be all over. sad

hehe big_smile, but in a more practical sense, storing the whole information about the game (position of every enemy, every object in the level, etc) would require a huge amount of data (the .sav files would be huge). While this is not a problem for modern computers, it may be unfeasible in platforms like Dreamcast, and in my opinion this feature doesn't improve the game too much. sad

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Alexandre wrote:

Why two save modes? Besides, suppose that I entered some boss zone with 5 lives. Since the boss is too hard, I'm being killed all the time. He kills me four times and now I have only 1 life. "omg, this is so hard!", I say. Right before he kills me again (game over), I quickly press the ESC button and quit the game. wow! If i open that save game again, I'll die (no matter what I do) and it will be all over. :(

They would not be to help you do better at the game.  They would be so that you can quit the game (to lower your computer's CPU usage and fan speed), then continue exactly where you left off, a week later.  And  so that you can stop the game, hand the PC over to another family member, then continue later.  And so that you can quit the game, shut down or reboot your computer (perhaps you're using Linux and standby or hibernate don't work on your PC), then resume where you left off.

Alexandre wrote:

[...]it may be unfeasible in platforms like Dreamcast, and in my opinion this feature doesn't improve the game too much. :(

You don't have to allow detail saves on Dreamcast.

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Maybe we could use some secret key, encryption keys maybe are not tied to GPL.

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

My vote is to allow saving per act. But it is not a wise idea to implement an encryption scheme. Specially since this game is open source, and the encryption can just as easily be disabled in the code itself and being recompiled.

Re: Suggestion: Allow saving. But how to prevent making game too easy?

Cheats are only cheating themselves smile

done