Braid Dev Says Auto-Save Warnings Waste Time and Money

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cursedseishi:
Oh yeah sure, the IOS apps are having no problems with needing to be certified, it definitely helps to get all those joke/scam apps in with all the ripoff apps doesn't it?

The IOS is very different from the Console certification. Its takes several months to certify it on say Xbox because of all the little forms you have to fill out and all the lovely "were going to sit on your game and pick our toes."

IOS doesn't care, it is quicker because of the fact anyone can make them. [anyone can make a video game, but the bar of entry on consoles / PC is higher]

________________________________

I was about to say "In before all the unfounded hate towards Braid, Fez and other indie developers on the basis that they are indie developers" but I am late to the unfounded hate party.

GeneralTwinkle:
Basing it on his attitude everything else he's ever said ever, he probably does think this is going to a big fucking deal and he's going to help the games industry with this one little thing.

Read the article, he is hardly making some big, huge, "pretentious" deal out of this, and infact only mentions his own game once as an example, along side other iOS games. People are reading into the lines where there are none to read into, and instead choose to believe a persona that is probably exaggerated and unnecessary simply because people want to hate on him because he's him.

Key note here is "probably", and even then, yes this is a pretty big fucking deal, especially for smaller, lowly funded developers out there. Why the flying fuck would anyone be against efficiency and cost-effectiveness on the developer and consumer side? Less money spent on archaic methods that could easily be replaced with more efficient methods means more money into the actual game.

Oh, but I can't say anything about that. I need to rage at Blow because he comes off as a little pretentious and thinks his topics are important (which they are) and he made a game that I didn't quite like as much as some people hyped it to be. I'll go ahead and argue against this system by listing reasons why this would suck, except for the fact that those issues would be addressed by his system, but I can't think of that now I need to rage.

""Dur hur! He's a pretentious cock sucker!"? Hell, I find that more immature and pretentious than Blow." That's not what pretentious means, at all.

It is pretentious in the sense that Blow's detractors act all high and mighty when addressing his topics, as if they somehow believe or know that everything he's saying is bullshit just by virtue of him appearing to be knowledgeable. They go up to an experienced game designer, with connections within the industry, a know-how of its inner machinations of not only game design itself but of the industry, and go "Buha! You are bullshit! Everything you say is bullshit because it looks to us as if you think you know your bullshit!"

Does this mean he's not available for criticism? No, of course not. But what most people give him is not criticism, it's biased, knee-jerk bitching and moaning that completely ignores his main points because it's cool to hate on the "cool, hipster, artsy fartsy, 'pretentious'" guy because...he comes off as if he knows what he's doing...which, compared to most of us outside the industry, he probably does.

Everyone, do yourself a favor and actually read the full article linked at the bottom. Read his actual words and concerns on the subject of certification, along with a brief example with save files, and then come back here and discuss that topic without immediately going "He's so pretentious, what an asshole for trying to simplify things! TOOL!". We'd all be better for it.

Unless you have a console game out, please kindly shut up and stop trying to argue with Blow. Console certification is pretty much awful, especially if you're a small team with a deadline. The actual game suffers as a result, and it's NEVER worth it to harm a game in favor of more warnings or returning players to the proper menus.

cidbahamut:
All I'm getting from this is that we should remove features because some Indie developer is crying about having to do the work required to develop a game.

Only in the sense that if a person wanted to make an unbreakable handheld, doing so would remove the feature that is an attached warning sticker that says, "Do not drop."

Hell, with this save system in place, you could still include the, "Do not turn off the system" warning during a save. It would just prevent a person from losing the time since their last save, as opposed to before where instead you lose an entire save file.

I mean seriously people, he is saying that it would be very simple to implement a save system where turning the console off during a save would not corrupt a save. By doing this, you can shave a couple of days off of a development cycle. Hes talking about a simple programming trick to make the development of a game slightly better, a little cheaper, and a little faster. There is literally no downside for anyone. If you don't agree, well then okay, explain why this is a bad idea using your knowledge of the minutia of programming save systems. But that makes it into a very specific debate over the most efficient approach to programming. it is NOT some big indicator that John Blow wants to kill your mom or something.

People seem to hate Blow because he has ideas that run contrary to the accepted norm, and that makes him a Hipster. Well frankly, Hipster-hating is just the new Hipster, filling up an equally pretentious niche. He made a statement on how to save some time programming, he didn't bash all the games you have ever liked that you apparently have a deep and meaningful attachment to the programming that went into their save system. He has expressed an idea that, if it is as good as he says, will probably filter into the industry and save everyone a little time and money. If it doesn't, then that is the cost of living in a system that is capable of questioning itself and learning to get better.

Yopaz:
Seriously why does anyone even care what this douche has to say anyway? He has made one mediocre games yet it seems like everything he points out as glaring flaws in the industry are petty complaints portrayed as news worthy. I haven't seen one example of this guy actually saying something I agree with. Making games that don't get their save files corrupted work for a lot of iOS games. Well how many iOS games got the same weight as a modern AAA title? I have had save data from games take up almost as much space as some of the lightest iOS games out there. It's like saying that laptops got something to learn from calculators since you "never" need to change the batteries on a calculator while a laptop only lasts a few hours.

You don't need a lot of knowledge to explain why this guy is wrong. You just need a tiny bit of common sense.

Ah, common sense, it's not like that's ever steered anyone wrong before. You make reference to the sometimes ridiculous sizes that save files can get to, however that's not really all that much of an issue. I'm sure it used to be in the days where memory was at a premium but we're dealing with machines that handle gigabytes of information. Writing the save file to a new location as opposed to writing it over the old location is not going to hurt performance too much as you're doing essentially the exact same operation. Only now with a significant reduction to the risk of data loss. This is of course assuming that there aren't any complicated optimisations that rely on overwriting one tiny bit of the save file each time.

One thing I learned from dabbling in programming is not to trust the end user to be smart. Keep the workings of your program as isolated as possible. Why give them a warning about corrupting their save file when you can just take away that risk entirely? Sure, if they interrupt Blow's save process they could lose progress however with frequent autosaves you could limit that loss to at most one level's worth of progress. It's far better than having them lose their entire save file. The lecturer in my computing class was used to dealing with self-taught coders who knew intricate, hacky ways to shave a millisecond off some operation and he made pains to drill into them that simplicity and security should almost always take priority over small optimisations.

Anyway I don't get why people are chewing Blow out over this, it's a sensible proposal for a different save system and above all it's a technical one that should be of little interest to most gamers, especially console gamers many of whom joyfully profess their ignorance to the workings of the magic box that sits under the TV and "just works". This is something a few programmers would quietly discuss while sitting around a table and gesturing at a system diagram or something. I'm glad that the Escapist ran this article and gave us an insight into the technical workings of game development but it's not really news and is certainly not "RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE" type news.

Xanadu84:

cidbahamut:
All I'm getting from this is that we should remove features because some Indie developer is crying about having to do the work required to develop a game.

Only in the sense that if a person wanted to make an unbreakable handheld, doing so would remove the feature that is an attached warning sticker that says, "Do not drop."

Hell, with this save system in place, you could still include the, "Do not turn off the system" warning during a save. It would just prevent a person from losing the time since their last save, as opposed to before where instead you lose an entire save file.

I mean seriously people, he is saying that it would be very simple to implement a save system where turning the console off during a save would not corrupt a save. By doing this, you can shave a couple of days off of a development cycle. Hes talking about a simple programming trick to make the development of a game slightly better, a little cheaper, and a little faster. There is literally no downside for anyone. If you don't agree, well then okay, explain why this is a bad idea using your knowledge of the minutia of programming save systems. But that makes it into a very specific debate over the most efficient approach to programming. it is NOT some big indicator that John Blow wants to kill your mom or something.

People seem to hate Blow because he has ideas that run contrary to the accepted norm, and that makes him a Hipster. Well frankly, Hipster-hating is just the new Hipster, filling up an equally pretentious niche. He made a statement on how to save some time programming, he didn't bash all the games you have ever liked that you apparently have a deep and meaningful attachment to the programming that went into their save system. He has expressed an idea that, if it is as good as he says, will probably filter into the industry and save everyone a little time and money. If it doesn't, then that is the cost of living in a system that is capable of questioning itself and learning to get better.

Also consider that this isn't even his main point, the main point (if anyone actually read the full article, which I'm assuming most people in this thread didn't bother or know they could click a link to get them to the full article) is that the certification process for consoles is hamstringed by a bunch of unnecessary, bureaucratic processes, much like the requirement to have this "Please do not turn off your console while saving" indicators when the solution could easily be made on the hardware side of the problem, that increase developer time and cost more money than necessary.

It's really baffling to see people hating on the idea of making games cheaper and more efficient to make, especially considering the bloated budgets we're seeing nowadays.

This is exactly right! It's part of the needless certifications for consoles. That's why I saw my very first autosave message on a PC....Oh.

Fasckira:

On the subject of Mr Blow however, and I mean this in a neutral manner as much as possible, is he actually doing any new games that we know of? I guess I don't understand why people focus on his opinions so much, they rarely tend to be particularly profound or insightful.

You know the saying, "It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt?"

While Blow is not thought a fool, as long as he does not release a new game that is unable to reach the levels of hype the internet (and Blow's own hyperinflated ego) will attach to it, he can still be regarded as a gaming genius.

So it's exactly because he hasn't done anything new that he is regarded so highly.

Jumplion:

It's really baffling to see people hating on the idea of making games cheaper and more efficient to make, especially considering the bloated budgets we're seeing nowadays.

Especially since I'm sure that is a huge contribution to the bloat, as opposed to more prominent and obvious things we could be cutting.

Someone earlier in this post mentioned that Blow's views are respected because he likes to think of games from an artist's perspective. That's absolutely correct, and he has many Youtube interviews that will let you know what he thinks of games. Along with a couple of other games the same year, Jon Blow essentially started indie gaming without knowing he would, and a lot of developers followed suit because he broke the ice. He was one of the few to pave the way for the indie scene.

His opinions come down to an artist's responsibility to the gamer. He sees many flaws in AAA games philosophy, and expresses his views on them, though he still enjoys some AAA games himself. It's safe to say his experience is not as an indie game powerhouse, but as an industry insider turned indie game developer. This is why he has only made one indie game, because he helped found the concept of the indie game, and took some time off afterwards.

Also, Braid came out in in August of 2008, almost exactly 4 years ago. To compare development cycles of games, here is an example of a best case scenario: Super Meat Boy developer Team Meat had a considerable headstart, Tommy with years of dev work under his belt, and the game engine experience of porting the Unreal Engine to xBox, and Edmund, with a successful indie game (Gish), and lifetime of flash animation and game design experience. They started development in January 2009, and you can read all over the internet about the hell they went through getting the game out the door, with no guarantee or success of success, and finally without the promised support of Microsoft, in October of 2010.

I'm guessing not many teams are as driven, experienced, or productive as Tommy and Edmund, so it's safe to assume a 2-5 year development cycle for any indie game, depending of course on many variables, such as whether the dev wants to get started on another intensive independent project right away, how successful their last game was, and the size of the team they want, or whether they want a team at all. In Blow's case, he settled on the Witness only after he took time off from serious development and messed around with various prototypes - it's this creative germination and rumination that makes companies like Blizzard and Valve so successful, because this is the time required to produce a fully realized original experience, from tabletop discussion, to development, to last minute spit-shining.

Maybe the biggest problem in this thread was general misinformation about Jon Blow's position in making this statement, which is understandable, and I hope my post helps flesh out who he is. Besides, his main complaint is with the console certification process in general, and the many hoops AAA and indie developers alike are expected to jump through, of which the save warning screen is just one example.

Alexnader:

Yopaz:
Seriously why does anyone even care what this douche has to say anyway? He has made one mediocre games yet it seems like everything he points out as glaring flaws in the industry are petty complaints portrayed as news worthy. I haven't seen one example of this guy actually saying something I agree with. Making games that don't get their save files corrupted work for a lot of iOS games. Well how many iOS games got the same weight as a modern AAA title? I have had save data from games take up almost as much space as some of the lightest iOS games out there. It's like saying that laptops got something to learn from calculators since you "never" need to change the batteries on a calculator while a laptop only lasts a few hours.

You don't need a lot of knowledge to explain why this guy is wrong. You just need a tiny bit of common sense.

Ah, common sense, it's not like that's ever steered anyone wrong before. You make reference to the sometimes ridiculous sizes that save files can get to, however that's not really all that much of an issue. I'm sure it used to be in the days where memory was at a premium but we're dealing with machines that handle gigabytes of information. Writing the save file to a new location as opposed to writing it over the old location is not going to hurt performance too much as you're doing essentially the exact same operation. Only now with a significant reduction to the risk of data loss. This is of course assuming that there aren't any complicated optimisations that rely on overwriting one tiny bit of the save file each time.

One thing I learned from dabbling in programming is not to trust the end user to be smart. Keep the workings of your program as isolated as possible. Why give them a warning about corrupting their save file when you can just take away that risk entirely? Sure, if they interrupt Blow's save process they could lose progress however with frequent autosaves you could limit that loss to at most one level's worth of progress. It's far better than having them lose their entire save file. The lecturer in my computing class was used to dealing with self-taught coders who knew intricate, hacky ways to shave a millisecond off some operation and he made pains to drill into them that simplicity and security should almost always take priority over small optimisations.

Anyway I don't get why people are chewing Blow out over this, it's a sensible proposal for a different save system and above all it's a technical one that should be of little interest to most gamers, especially console gamers many of whom joyfully profess their ignorance to the workings of the magic box that sits under the TV and "just works". This is something a few programmers would quietly discuss while sitting around a table and gesturing at a system diagram or something. I'm glad that the Escapist ran this article and gave us an insight into the technical workings of game development but it's not really news and is certainly not "RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE" type news.

I'm not saying common sense is never wrong. I am saying it's common sense that if a space shuttle got problems a person with extreme knowledge on cars (chosen as a less advanced vehicle) is probably unable to walk in and scoff and fix the problem for the rocket scientists. If there is a massive problem in something advanced there have probably been attempts at fixing them once.

Yes, the world should be like Pokemon Trading Card Game where your GameBoy could run out of batteries and when you replaced the batteries you would continue at the exact same spot as where you left off. a game made by Nintendo, one of the biggest video game companies have made a foolproof save system once. This is not something just seen in iOS games. If a company that has already done this once haven't done it again despite how they managed to do so perfectly why haven't they done it with any recent games? Either too hard, too expensive or borderline impossible seems to be the best reasons. Blow said they should remove the warning to save money and work. I am guessing he does not know how much effort it takes to make a system that does not corrupt save files for an AAA title based on the fact that he's only made one game. I am willing to guess you have never made one either. Rule of the thumb though, if something is a problem now and has been a problem for a long time, there probably isn't a quick easy fix.

Zachary Amaranth:
This is exactly right! It's part of the needless certifications for consoles. That's why I saw my very first autosave message on a PC....Oh.

Fasckira:

On the subject of Mr Blow however, and I mean this in a neutral manner as much as possible, is he actually doing any new games that we know of? I guess I don't understand why people focus on his opinions so much, they rarely tend to be particularly profound or insightful.

You know the saying, "It's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt?"

While Blow is not thought a fool, as long as he does not release a new game that is unable to reach the levels of hype the internet (and Blow's own hyperinflated ego) will attach to it, he can still be regarded as a gaming genius.

So it's exactly because he hasn't done anything new that he is regarded so highly.

OR...he hasn't releaed a game since Braid because making games take a lot of time, especially when you hardly have any help. Plenty of the more successful indie games have taken 5+ years to make, and going over an indie release date can lead to the developer getting huge amounts of harassment that is not directed at a big company where you can spread blame around amongst the team, the business, the publisher, the distributor...go over and suddenly YOUR the asshole. Regardless, his next game is called, "The Witness". A playable demo was at PAX in 2010, and its scheduled for release this year. So the criticism doesn't hold water. Unless your saying that game development takes too long in which case hey, you agree with Blow.

Jumplion:

Also consider that this isn't even his main point, the main point (if anyone actually read the full article, which I'm assuming most people in this thread didn't bother or know they could click a link to get them to the full article) is that the certification process for consoles is hamstringed by a bunch of unnecessary, bureaucratic processes, much like the requirement to have this "Please do not turn off your console while saving" indicators when the solution could easily be made on the hardware side of the problem, that increase developer time and cost more money than necessary.

It's really baffling to see people hating on the idea of making games cheaper and more efficient to make, especially considering the bloated budgets we're seeing nowadays.

Yeah, I figured that if people couldn't accept Blow giving advice on how to make programming save files more efficient, it would be a real pain in the ass to get people to pay attention when he says that the overall certification process has problems.

People hate Blow because he wants to make different kinds of game. Not games that replace the existing games, just games that use the medium in new and different ways. And some people don't like some aspects of some of these new kinds of games and decide that they all must be affronts to God, threats to all the games they have liked so far in history. It's the same mentality that leads to CoD clones year after year, an insistence that games stay in a small pond. Which is ironic, because I'm sure plenty of people who hate Blow also hate CoD, when really the only difference is that the Blow/CoD haters only have a slightly larger pond.

Fasckira:

On the subject of Mr Blow however, and I mean this in a neutral manner as much as possible, is he actually doing any new games that we know of? I guess I don't understand why people focus on his opinions so much, they rarely tend to be particularly profound or insightful.

He's like Notch. He's an internet Game celebrity. Therefore his opinion "matters" on everything. And he's always right. Forever. And for all time.

It's the same reason you get Basketball players endorsing toothpaste.

Xanadu84:

People hate Blow because he wants to make different kinds of game.

Actually, no. People hate Blow because he's got his head shoved somewhere it shouldn't be. At least that's how it sounded in every interview with him I've read.

He comes across like someone who thinks he has the solutions to all gaming's ills, if only everyone would listen and follow their true messiah. "Pretentious" comes to mind, but I don't think it applies because he actually seems to believe he's just that smart/good/whatever.

Don't get me wrong, I think he made a good game, and his next game "Witness" looks interesting, but please. The man (not unlike Notch) needs to know when to STFU.

How the fuck does making a black screen with a blurb and and little spinning thingy take up 3 days of work?

Mr. Blow, in the words of the late George Carlin; "BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!"
Whatever happened to normal game developers, we've now either got faceless machines or pretencious cock ends.

Krantos:

Xanadu84:

People hate Blow because he wants to make different kinds of game.

Actually, no. People hate Blow because he's got his head shoved somewhere it shouldn't be. At least that's how it sounded in every interview with him I've read.

He comes across like someone who thinks he has the solutions to all gaming's ills, if only everyone would listen and follow their true messiah. "Pretentious" comes to mind, but I don't think it applies because he actually seems to believe he's just that smart/good/whatever.

Don't get me wrong, I think he made a good game, and his next game "Witness" looks interesting, but please. The man (not unlike Notch) needs to know when to STFU.

I think reports of Blows pretentiousness are...Blown out of proportion.

Rimshot

I see where he sounds a bit pretentious, but really he is just very focused on his vision. And to be excited enough to make a bold jump you probably need a touch of pretention. And people who are just as bad make this narrative about him that leaks into how he is seen. So sure he is pretentious, but its buddy of yours who takes movies/music/games a bit to seriously pretentious, not the monsterous cock he is made out to be.

While I don't disagree with the idea, I can see a couple problems. Correct me if I'm wrong (as I know someone would anyways), but I don't see how the method mentioned in the article would prevent the game save being corrupted. The method described seems less like a way to keep the save from being corrupted at all, and rather it seems to be based on having a backup (the old save) in case the new one is somehow corrupted.

That is, of course, better then allowing the game save to just be entirely corrupted. Instead of losing all of your progress you only lose whatever you put into it during the last session (which could be a lot or a little). But at the same time it doesn't seem to get rid of the need for auto-save warning so people don't shut the game off when it's writing the alterations to the new save file.

It seems like if the game is constantly making alterations to the file, the risk grows much higher much faster. It doesn't have to be the person shutting off the system that causes it (though I suspect a forced shut-down might do it). If the power goes off or if the system is unplugged, it'd happen then as well I believe. If it's set to whenever the player 'saves' then you might as well just use an RPG-like multi-save system anyways. And if it's at certain points, then the need for a 'saving now' icon doesn't really go away.

A slight alteration to the idea to have a more accurate backup save would be to always have two save files running. The game could write to them alternatively (A gets updated, then B, then A, etc). This means you won't lose the 5 hours you put in before the power went out or something, even though you'll still have to go back.

Kapol:
While I don't disagree with the idea, I can see a couple problems. Correct me if I'm wrong (as I know someone would anyways), but I don't see how the method mentioned in the article would prevent the game save being corrupted. The method described seems less like a way to keep the save from being corrupted at all, and rather it seems to be based on having a backup (the old save) in case the new one is somehow corrupted.

That is, of course, better then allowing the game save to just be entirely corrupted. Instead of losing all of your progress you only lose whatever you put into it during the last session (which could be a lot or a little). But at the same time it doesn't seem to get rid of the need for auto-save warning so people don't shut the game off when it's writing the alterations to the new save file.

It seems like if the game is constantly making alterations to the file, the risk grows much higher much faster. It doesn't have to be the person shutting off the system that causes it (though I suspect a forced shut-down might do it). If the power goes off or if the system is unplugged, it'd happen then as well I believe. If it's set to whenever the player 'saves' then you might as well just use an RPG-like multi-save system anyways. And if it's at certain points, then the need for a 'saving now' icon doesn't really go away.

A slight alteration to the idea to have a more accurate backup save would be to always have two save files running. The game could write to them alternatively (A gets updated, then B, then A, etc). This means you won't lose the 5 hours you put in before the power went out or something, even though you'll still have to go back.

If you read the entire e-mail that is linked in this article, you will find that it addresses your concerns anyway. The save file system was only one example against the largely bureaucratic and needlessly expensive certification processes that console manufacturers force developers to go through when the solution to this could easily be done cheaper overall if the actual console manufacturers put in the tech behind it.

MrHide-Patten:
Mr. Blow, in the words of the late George Carlin; "BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!"
Whatever happened to normal game developers, we've now either got faceless machines or pretencious cock ends.

How exactly is he being a "pretencious" cock end by suggesting to streamline some bureaucratic processes in game certification that console manufacturers force game developers to go through so that less time and money are spent on easily solvable things, one example of which is a largely inefficient save system that could be easily replaced with a simpler, lest costly method of savings that benefit both the developer and the end-user experience?

Or is it just "pretencious" to discuss how games can improve on all facets of design? I guess "normal game developers" would hate this sort of thing, having to do less time-consuming work and lose less money that could be spent on other, more relevant things. They all just hate people like Blow who want to help improve games like this, they just want to make games and not find any sort of fixable solution to any problem.

Jumplion:

MrHide-Patten:
Mr. Blow, in the words of the late George Carlin; "BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT ASS, BLOW IT OUT YOUR ASS!"
Whatever happened to normal game developers, we've now either got faceless machines or pretencious cock ends.

How exactly is he being a "pretencious" cock end by suggesting to streamline some bureaucratic processes in game certification that console manufacturers force game developers to go through so that less time and money are spent on easily solvable things, one example of which is a largely inefficient save system that could be easily replaced with a simpler, lest costly method of savings that benefit both the developer and the end-user experience?

Or is it just "pretencious" to discuss how games can improve on all facets of design? I guess "normal game developers" would hate this sort of thing, having to do less time-consuming work and lose less money that could be spent on other, more relevant things. They all just hate people like Blow who want to help improve games like this, they just want to make games and not find any sort of fixable solution to any problem.

There's improving and then there's nitpicking. Guys like Fish, Notch and Blow act like they're the messiah's of the games industry, making Indies look like a bunch of anal, up themselves, cock ends.
Yes there are things that do need to be improved with game design, but complaining about Autosaving of all things. At the end of the day, I really can't take stuff that these guys say without massive servings of salt. The guys got lucky and the size of their egos is insufferable.

Now I expect a reply saying something about my ego, fun times expected.

Yopaz:

Alexnader:

Yopaz:
snip
You don't need a lot of knowledge to explain why this guy is wrong. You just need a tiny bit of common sense.

Ah, common sense, it's not like that's ever steered anyone wrong before. You make reference to the sometimes ridiculous sizes that save files can get to, however that's not really all that much of an issue. I'm sure it used to be in the days where memory was at a premium but we're dealing with machines that handle gigabytes of information. Writing the save file to a new location as opposed to writing it over the old location is not going to hurt performance too much as you're doing essentially the exact same operation. Only now with a significant reduction to the risk of data loss. This is of course assuming that there aren't any complicated optimisations that rely on overwriting one tiny bit of the save file each time.

One thing I learned from dabbling in programming is not to trust the end user to be smart. Keep the workings of your program as isolated as possible. Why give them a warning about corrupting their save file when you can just take away that risk entirely? Sure, if they interrupt Blow's save process they could lose progress however with frequent autosaves you could limit that loss to at most one level's worth of progress. It's far better than having them lose their entire save file. The lecturer in my computing class was used to dealing with self-taught coders who knew intricate, hacky ways to shave a millisecond off some operation and he made pains to drill into them that simplicity and security should almost always take priority over small optimisations.

Anyway I don't get why people are chewing Blow out over this, it's a sensible proposal for a different save system and above all it's a technical one that should be of little interest to most gamers, especially console gamers many of whom joyfully profess their ignorance to the workings of the magic box that sits under the TV and "just works". This is something a few programmers would quietly discuss while sitting around a table and gesturing at a system diagram or something. I'm glad that the Escapist ran this article and gave us an insight into the technical workings of game development but it's not really news and is certainly not "RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE" type news.

I'm not saying common sense is never wrong. I am saying it's common sense that if a space shuttle got problems a person with extreme knowledge on cars (chosen as a less advanced vehicle) is probably unable to walk in and scoff and fix the problem for the rocket scientists. If there is a massive problem in something advanced there have probably been attempts at fixing them once.

Yes, the world should be like Pokemon Trading Card Game where your GameBoy could run out of batteries and when you replaced the batteries you would continue at the exact same spot as where you left off. a game made by Nintendo, one of the biggest video game companies have made a foolproof save system once. This is not something just seen in iOS games. If a company that has already done this once haven't done it again despite how they managed to do so perfectly why haven't they done it with any recent games? Either too hard, too expensive or borderline impossible seems to be the best reasons. Blow said they should remove the warning to save money and work. I am guessing he does not know how much effort it takes to make a system that does not corrupt save files for an AAA title based on the fact that he's only made one game. I am willing to guess you have never made one either. Rule of the thumb though, if something is a problem now and has been a problem for a long time, there probably isn't a quick easy fix.

Rules of thumb are just as useless as common sense. I could say another rule of thumb is that if the problem has been there for a long time odds are no one's been bothered to actually look at it. One of the graduates taught by my old lecturer came into a company and saw that the numerical model they were using took days to run once, she went in and studied the system for a bit, implemented a simple optimisation and the model only needed hours to do what once required more than a day. This doesn't prove your rule wrong and the only thing that ever could is the aggregate experience of a statistically significant number of human beings on earth. Consequently that's the only thing that could prove it right.

Blow has more experience than either of us when it comes to developing games. He successfully implemented his save system in a game that was used by thousands of people. I daresay neither of us can dismiss his opinion out of hand. There is another developer in this thread who has agreed with Blow's assessment too.

However to give up and profess ignorance is no fun, so lets try some of your common sense. Why does common sense dictate that a save file for Call of Duty, arguably the most AAA of the AAAs, should be any different to a save file for Braid? What data need be stored that's specific to your save file? Time played, location, difficulty setting, your weapons and ammo, possibly health. All of these are stored as variables, initially defined by a high level computing language, interpreted into symbols and then eventually compiled into machine code. Ultimately 1s and 0s. Not necessarily any different to what Blow used. Aside from procedurally generated games, sandboxes or those with narrative choices like Mass Effect most games would have no more complex a save system than Braid would have.

Why are we even talking about AAA titles? If you read John's original article we see that he makes most reference to other 2D games similar to Braid. He doesn't try to tell other developers what to do, he says that Microsoft should streamline its creditation system and build his solution into its own existing save API, that way developers don't even have to think about the problem at all.

Yeah that'd be easy to implement, it also stupid easy to implement the warning screen. The only reason it would take 3 days if if the bureaucracy was a nightmare or your programmer suddenly ell into a coma. Aside from that, two save files doesn't fix the problem of corrupt save files. If the new save file become corrupt because you turned off the system during a save you still lose the progress between the files. If you have everything lined up in a database style system and save at intervals while keeping a change log you can have loss-less data but that's something different.

Daystar Clarion:
Oh, you made one mildly successful indy game?

image

Tell me how you're a genius who will single handedly save the industry from AAA gaming.

I can't tell you how much I agree with this. Blow's got an opinion on everything in the mainstream gaming industry, and each one is as negative and silly as the rest.

MrHide-Patten:
There's improving and then there's nitpicking. Guys like Fish, Notch and Blow act like they're the messiah's of the games industry, making Indies look like a bunch of anal, up themselves, cock ends.

I've never seen them like this before, and really most of the alleged "cock ends" personalities are hideously blown out of proportion. The man was asked for an opinion, and what's the problem with nitpicking? So we shouldn't look into every aspect of game development, game design, publishing, producing, etc... no matter how small and seemingly pointless even though they may help things in the long run? If this medium will ever improve, there needs to be nitpickers and bigpickers all the same, what's wrong with wanting to solve an easily solvable thing? If it's broken and can easily be fixed, why not fix it?

Yes there are things that do need to be improved with game design, but complaining about Autosaving of all things. At the end of the day, I really can't take stuff that these guys say without massive servings of salt. The guys got lucky and the size of their egos is insufferable.

Oh, I can just tell that you didn't even bother to read the actual e-mail that Blow had sent to Ars Technica and posted on his blog. Because if you did bother to read the actual, complete e-mail, you would have known that the point of this Autosaving criticism is that it's part of a larger bureaucracy employed by console manufacturers as part of the certification process for games that all developers need to go through and are ultimately unnecessary and easily solvable on the manufacturers side, saving developers time and money to, you know, spend on the actual game. But apparently, wanting a more efficient and cost-effective method in all parts of game development, even the smallest things that could have a grand impact, is complaining and pretentious. Guess we shouldn't bring issues with game development to light and discuss them, no matter how small it may be percieved, better to just keep quite because it's all pointless and complaining.

How is there any "ego" being bloated here? I really don't understand this, most of the time the "pretentious art faffers" that people complain about are just, you know, expressing opinions on wanting to change the medium.

Now I expect a reply saying something about my ego, fun times expected.

Poor old you, I suppose, I care about your ego less than I actually care about how knee-jerky and biased people are reacting to a guy who wants to help games improve at every facet in development.

Yes auto saves waste time and money!!!!

Jumplion:
snip

How dare you take a stance that actually addresses the issues being discussed in the OP.

RABBLE RABBLE! BLOW SUCKS! RABBLE RABBLE!

In all seriousness, reading this thread is like reading a Christian's reaction to Satan saying "Drive safely!"

Signa:

Jumplion:
snip

How dare you take a stance that actually addresses the issues being discussed in the OP.

RABBLE RABBLE! BLOW SUCKS! RABBLE RABBLE!

In all seriousness, reading this thread is like reading a Christian's reaction to Satan saying "Drive safely!"

I wouldn't say Satan, more Richard Dawkins in that they automatically dislike him even though he is an intelligent person, and he may or may not come off as slightly arrogant for some people. I'm not against people getting turned away from Blow because he seems a bit pretentious, though I do think his alleged pretentiousness is horrendously overblown (as well as other "pretentious dickwads" that people toss in like Fish, David Cage, etc...)

Xanadu84:

OR...he hasn't releaed a game since Braid because making games take a lot of time, especially when you hardly have any help.

I'm not a big fan of apologetics.

Alexnader:

Yopaz:

Alexnader:

Ah, common sense, it's not like that's ever steered anyone wrong before. You make reference to the sometimes ridiculous sizes that save files can get to, however that's not really all that much of an issue. I'm sure it used to be in the days where memory was at a premium but we're dealing with machines that handle gigabytes of information. Writing the save file to a new location as opposed to writing it over the old location is not going to hurt performance too much as you're doing essentially the exact same operation. Only now with a significant reduction to the risk of data loss. This is of course assuming that there aren't any complicated optimisations that rely on overwriting one tiny bit of the save file each time.

One thing I learned from dabbling in programming is not to trust the end user to be smart. Keep the workings of your program as isolated as possible. Why give them a warning about corrupting their save file when you can just take away that risk entirely? Sure, if they interrupt Blow's save process they could lose progress however with frequent autosaves you could limit that loss to at most one level's worth of progress. It's far better than having them lose their entire save file. The lecturer in my computing class was used to dealing with self-taught coders who knew intricate, hacky ways to shave a millisecond off some operation and he made pains to drill into them that simplicity and security should almost always take priority over small optimisations.

Anyway I don't get why people are chewing Blow out over this, it's a sensible proposal for a different save system and above all it's a technical one that should be of little interest to most gamers, especially console gamers many of whom joyfully profess their ignorance to the workings of the magic box that sits under the TV and "just works". This is something a few programmers would quietly discuss while sitting around a table and gesturing at a system diagram or something. I'm glad that the Escapist ran this article and gave us an insight into the technical workings of game development but it's not really news and is certainly not "RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE" type news.

I'm not saying common sense is never wrong. I am saying it's common sense that if a space shuttle got problems a person with extreme knowledge on cars (chosen as a less advanced vehicle) is probably unable to walk in and scoff and fix the problem for the rocket scientists. If there is a massive problem in something advanced there have probably been attempts at fixing them once.

Yes, the world should be like Pokemon Trading Card Game where your GameBoy could run out of batteries and when you replaced the batteries you would continue at the exact same spot as where you left off. a game made by Nintendo, one of the biggest video game companies have made a foolproof save system once. This is not something just seen in iOS games. If a company that has already done this once haven't done it again despite how they managed to do so perfectly why haven't they done it with any recent games? Either too hard, too expensive or borderline impossible seems to be the best reasons. Blow said they should remove the warning to save money and work. I am guessing he does not know how much effort it takes to make a system that does not corrupt save files for an AAA title based on the fact that he's only made one game. I am willing to guess you have never made one either. Rule of the thumb though, if something is a problem now and has been a problem for a long time, there probably isn't a quick easy fix.

Rules of thumb are just as useless as common sense. I could say another rule of thumb is that if the problem has been there for a long time odds are no one's been bothered to actually look at it. One of the graduates taught by my old lecturer came into a company and saw that the numerical model they were using took days to run once, she went in and studied the system for a bit, implemented a simple optimisation and the model only needed hours to do what once required more than a day. This doesn't prove your rule wrong and the only thing that ever could is the aggregate experience of a statistically significant number of human beings on earth. Consequently that's the only thing that could prove it right.

Blow has more experience than either of us when it comes to developing games. He successfully implemented his save system in a game that was used by thousands of people. I daresay neither of us can dismiss his opinion out of hand. There is another developer in this thread who has agreed with Blow's assessment too.

However to give up and profess ignorance is no fun, so lets try some of your common sense. Why does common sense dictate that a save file for Call of Duty, arguably the most AAA of the AAAs, should be any different to a save file for Braid? What data need be stored that's specific to your save file? Time played, location, difficulty setting, your weapons and ammo, possibly health. All of these are stored as variables, initially defined by a high level computing language, interpreted into symbols and then eventually compiled into machine code. Ultimately 1s and 0s. Not necessarily any different to what Blow used. Aside from procedurally generated games, sandboxes or those with narrative choices like Mass Effect most games would have no more complex a save system than Braid would have.

Why are we even talking about AAA titles? If you read John's original article we see that he makes most reference to other 2D games similar to Braid. He doesn't try to tell other developers what to do, he says that Microsoft should streamline its creditation system and build his solution into its own existing save API, that way developers don't even have to think about the problem at all.

Well, the most complex thing Blow has made is Braid. He doesn't have even any experience at all working with AAA games. I have made several small games myself for your information since you seem to assume I don't have any experience on the subject. However Blow knows the programming required for Braid which is by far less complicated than what you need to know in order to create a modern game.

He says that creating the warnings that appear when you save takes days, yet he has never made one so how can he be sure? He's got no experience at all on the subject. Blow has made one mediocre game and seems to think of himself as a god. I already said that Nintendo has made a foolproof save system in the past, yet they don't seem to want to do this again. If they know both how to make the warning screen and how to avoid data corruption doesn't it seem likely that they chose one they prefer and kept making warnings while games are being saved?

Really, I know I am arguing with a person with little knowledge on programming who obviously sucks in everything this guy says without questioning it so I wont bother to think out a good reply here.

If it takes that much time and that much money for him to make a warning screen and make it appear when saving then I would like to know how did he ever managed to make a full game to begin with. That shit is probably less then 1% of the making of the game. Im suprised he didnt made a god awfull looking game using stick figures and said that better visuals are useless since gamers could still play the game with those visuals.

Remove the main menu while you are at it, people that put the disk on the console have the intention to play it so just go straight to the gameplay since menus are also probably expensibe. You know what, dont make anything at all if you are going to keep that kind mentality.

One of the only things that could be removed is the "Press START to start" thingy at the start, but he doesnt complaint about that since its also in PC games.

This guy is STILL talking? Tell me again why people listen to him again.

What threw me about his statement was the "word" 'over-complexification'.

Seriously?

Was 'complicated' too simple a word for him?

While he has great ideas, the perceived arrogance of his statements irritate me greatly.

What was his point again?

Captcha: pond life... How Jonathon Blow sees the rest of the Game Developing community as pond life?

VoidWanderer:
What threw me about his statement was the "word" 'over-complexification'.

Seriously?

Was 'complicated' too simple a word for him?

While he has great ideas, the perceived arrogance of his statements irritate me greatly.

What was his point again?

Captcha: pond life... How Jonathon Blow sees the rest of the Game Developing community as pond life?

That console manufactuerers make a lot of unnecessary processes for certification that only wastes time and money on the developer side when the solution to many of these certification processes could be found on the console manufacturer's side fairly easily. If you read his original e-mail and you would know that.

Hawk of Battle:
This guy is STILL talking? Tell me again why people listen to him again.

Because he is genuinely intelligent and has some interesting things to say on game design and game development, being in the game industry after all, that he wants to bring to light, such as the unnecessarily bureaucratic processes of the certification process for console games.

josemlopes:
If it takes that much time and that much money for him to make a warning screen and make it appear when saving then I would like to know how did he ever managed to make a full game to begin with. That shit is probably less then 1% of the making of the game. Im suprised he didnt made a god awfull looking game using stick figures and said that better visuals are useless since gamers could still play the game with those visuals.

Remove the main menu while you are at it, people that put the disk on the console have the intention to play it so just go straight to the gameplay since menus are also probably expensibe. You know what, dont make anything at all if you are going to keep that kind mentality.

One of the only things that could be removed is the "Press START to start" thingy at the start, but he doesnt complaint about that since its also in PC games.

This is entirely a faulty slippery slope argument, completely ignorant as to what he's actually saying, and you would know that if you bothered to read his actual e-mail from the original site that this article is taken from.

I prefer a manual save system with multiple slots anyways. More control about it = less chance to fuck something up for good with a borked save.

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