reducing save/loading

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ADmiral-N
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by ADmiral-N » April 27th, 2008, 12:06 pm

taemyr wrote:Essentially you are suggesting using a hash of the replay as a seed for the RNG.
Almost :)

Using a replay hash would change the hit/miss pattern depending on the order in which you move your units. What I suggest is changing the hit/miss pattern (or seed) for every possible move in any situation in a deterministic fashion.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by irrevenant » April 27th, 2008, 12:15 pm

thespaceinvader wrote:What i don't understand - what i have never understood - is WHY saveloading is a problem at all. It's a matter between an individual and his conscience. If you want to saveload, fine. You lose a certain amount of bragging rights. If you don't, also fine. But until there is some form of universal public score keeping for campaigns, what difference does it make if someone wants to saveload?
To put it simply, why care if someone else saveloads? It has absolutely no effect on you...
I'm not sure if you're referring to my suggestion here, or the original one.

Speaking for my suggestion, it was tailored to a particular target audience: people who would like to wean themselves off the habit of save/loading - and alternately for people who'd like 'training wheels' while they get the hang of the game but don't want to grow to rely on them.

For players who want to freely save/load - fine, turn the option off. No skin off my nose. For players who don't want to save/load at all - ditto, ditto and ditto.

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by thespaceinvader » April 27th, 2008, 2:59 pm

I'm referring to the 'problem' of save/loading in general.

I don't see that it's a problem. If someone wants to save/load, why shouldn't they? If someone wants not to save/load, ditto. The facility is there to remove the possibility of (easy) save/loading, in the form of disabling autosaves, and vice-verse. One person's single player experiences have ABSOLUTELY NO IMPACT on any other person. At all. Maybe they would if single player was in any way a decent means of training for multiplayer, but it really isn't because the objectives, time constraints, maps and AI opponents make the two experiences VERY different.

So I just don't see the problem here.

I don't have a problem with the solution you suggested, but it just seems like a sideways move - the option is already there to limit (easy) save/loading. It doesn't stop you from manually save/loading, but a: manual save/loading is more effort than it's worth in the first place and b: limiting manual save/loads is IMO a bad idea in the first place.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by Yoko » April 28th, 2008, 12:57 am

What i don't understand - what i have never understood - is WHY saveloading is a problem at all. It's a matter between an individual and his conscience. If you want to saveload, fine. You lose a certain amount of bragging rights. If you don't, also fine. But until there is some form of universal public score keeping for campaigns, what difference does it make if someone wants to saveload?

To put it simply, why care if someone else saveloads? It has absolutely no effect on you...
This should sum it up completely, why does it matter at all what someone else does? Why do you need a feature to limit this at all?

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by turin » April 28th, 2008, 1:04 am

ADmiral-N wrote:To prevent giving the player concrete pieces of information about the next RNG rolls, it should be trivial matter to "obfuscate" the RNG results, just a little bit. I.e. when a unit from hex (x/y) attacks an enemy on (x+1/y), let those 4 coordinates have an influence on the RNG. Though the odds would remain the same, the hit/miss-pattern would change.

Now I can't use the RNG to cheat my way through the scenario by save-loading because it's state is saved and it always generates the same numbers for the same moves. But I also can't use it to know in advance what the next hits and misses will be like because they're obfuscated depending on where the attacker and defender are standing! All I will ever know is that if I attack the same enemy with the same unit from precisely the very same position as from the last reload, I will get the same result.

To find the best moves and cheat the RNG, a cheater would now have to try *every single possible move in this turn*. I think it's safe to say that noone would go through that. And saving the game still works as intended.
Or they would say, "hey, if I attack this unit from this hex I miss every time and they hit every time - so why don't I just reload and attack from somewhere else?"... :? This would actually encourage save-loading, because it would make the player feel like they had been unfairly screwed by the RNG deciding that an attack from hex A to hex B was going to be an unlucky attack, and they would say, "fine then, I'll find an attack combination that is lucky!" While how it is now, where numbers are truly random (or at least a decent approximation of that), you don't say, "the RNG intentionally screwed me, but now that I know that I can re-load and make it work in my favor", you say, "I got back luck", and move on.

It's the difference between something being out of your control, but predictable once you've gathered enough information, and something being random. The former is much more encouraging of save-loaders, and just "feels" more unfair, so I see no reason to switch to it.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by Lastmerlin » April 28th, 2008, 9:43 am

@ turin: please note that hashing the game state and using it as rng seed is _not_ my propose. This is what admiral made of it.
My propose works so: if you had 4/15 hits on your turn and you load and repeat with some different actions then you get again 4/15 hits (this may differ a bit if you attack hexes with a different chance to hit).
My intend is that reloading does not give an advantage without using a better strategy.

@ spaceinvader:
Why to care about if _others_ quit playing ? Why to care about if _others_ dont like some game elements ? Why to care about if others need a lot of time to learn the game because rng screws up the learning effect ? Everythings fine as long as _you_ like the game and can play good. The only problem is, if there is some score to compare players and then _you_ wont get the good ranking you deserve.
Well I hope the developers dont have this attitude. I think they have made the game for the *others* and not merely for themselves.

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by Sangel » April 28th, 2008, 12:26 pm

While I see no inherent problem with an optional "reduce save-loading" feature, it does involve work and code maintenance for a feature of questionable use. Save-loading is entirely under the control of the user already; adding an option to force players to conform to their own ideals seems a little pointless.

As for mandatory anti save-loading measures, that strikes me as foolish. Trying to stop people from "cheating" is a never-ending arms race, and Wesnoth frankly doesn't have the coding resources for that arms race. Given that Wesnoth has no scoring or ladder system, there's simply no benefit to be had from getting involved in it.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by torangan » April 28th, 2008, 4:47 pm

Lastmerlin wrote:Why to care about if others need a lot of time to learn the game because rng screws up the learning effect?
You got that one very wrong. Learning how to survive in the presence of random numbers and very bad battle outcomes is a central part of learning the game. The greatest challenge is MP and there you can't do any save loading. You've got one try, if the rng deals you a bad outcome - tough luck. Either your tactic incorporated this risk or you'll likely fail.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by F50 » April 28th, 2008, 5:11 pm

The problem I have with autosaves is this:

The default saveload is ~13, which means none of your recent moves are ever set in stone and your load menus are spammed with autosaves. Rarely will I ever go more than one turn back, this means only 2 autosaves are ever used at a time. This also means that some decisions will be set in stone, or I will restart. Any other S/L is done manually. A change in the default number of autosaves would be a large improvement. Personally, I like having autosaves, but 13 of them are a nuisance, one that I lived with for a long time (when I almost never used autosaves).

However, if autosaves are merely to make the game go back to its current state if the game crashes or someone leaves ("go back to turn X" feature kind of says this is not the case), then *auto* saves should be set irrevocably to 1 and you should not be able to "go back to turn X". If this is the sole purpose for autosaves than any S/L can and should be done manually.

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by Caphriel » April 28th, 2008, 6:54 pm

You can change the maximum number of autosaves maintained in the "General" section of the Preferences menu. So if you don't want more than one, reduce it to one. If you want infinite, you can do that, too.

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by turin » April 29th, 2008, 12:46 am

Lastmerlin wrote:Well I hope the developers dont have this attitude. I think they have made the game for the *others* and not merely for themselves.
You would be wrong. The official stance of the Wesnoth developers is that they are (I'm paraphrasing here) "making the game for ourselves, not for you - if you enjoy it, great, but if not, too bad, we don't really care".
Lastmerlin wrote:@ turin: please note that hashing the game state and using it as rng seed is _not_ my propose. This is what admiral made of it.
My propose works so: if you had 4/15 hits on your turn and you load and repeat with some different actions then you get again 4/15 hits (this may differ a bit if you attack hexes with a different chance to hit).
My intend is that reloading does not give an advantage without using a better strategy.
Your idea may differ in the details from admiral's, but its effect is the same. If I play a turn and end up with a luck of 4/15 (whatever the means - I'm not sure myself, since units have different CTHs on different terrains), and I end up screwing up, the current system forces me to say, "the only way for me to have done better on that turn would be for me to re-roll the dice for better luck. That's save-loading, it seems like cheating to do so, I'm not going to." Your system has me say, "apparently I had a luck rating of 4/15 that turn. That's [censored]. But if I go back and replay the turn, playing more cautiously because I know luck won't be on my side, I can do considerably better. So I ought to do that."

In effect, any system that attempts to force you to have the same luck after reloading will actually give more of an advantage from reloading, because you will be forced to use a "better" strategy - but the strategy won't be intrinsically better, it'll just be better for the exact amount of luck that you already know you are going to get. And that's why I will always oppose any attempt to make random not really random.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by DDR » April 29th, 2008, 1:20 am

People who cheat usually find the :debug command.
Save/loading is just an expression of how much effort are you willing to put into winning a game. Better moves by you = less annoying save/loading, and hence the player is rewarded.

The game is for your pleasure. If you like save/loading, do it, if you do not, then don't. :lol2:

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by Lastmerlin » April 29th, 2008, 7:45 pm

You would be wrong. The official stance of the Wesnoth developers is that they are (I'm paraphrasing here) "making the game for ourselves, not for you - if you enjoy it, great, but if not, too bad, we don't really care".
Ok thats indeed something I did not expect. The developers of other open source games I know care a lot about the opinion of their users. Then proposing some changes for wesnoth could be described as explaining the developers what they dont like about their own game. I dont think, that I can do that here, as they know much better what they want than I do.

I still think that the learning process is prolonged a lot, because the difference between good moves and bad moves is often hidden by the rng rolls. I still think, that a possibility to compare different strategies without cheating (rng rerolls) would be a good idea. And I still think that _not_ giving the player the choice to saveload everywhere is a good idea because this choice is a unpleasant one. But this is only my personal point of view.

After reading some of your arguments I agree that the proposed change might not the best way to reach this goal. But perhaps some developers like the idea that is behind this thread and keep it in mind.
As the idea from the initial post has apparently no chance to get implemented you can close the thread.

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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by torangan » April 29th, 2008, 10:03 pm

Wesnoth developers have a simple and sane standing. The people who make the game design it to be something they like. If users have ideas that developers like they're implemented, if 99% wish something that no developer likes - bad luck. So if you want to have an influence, become an active contributor and your opinion will gain weight.
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Re: reducing save/loading

Post by starfury » April 30th, 2008, 12:10 am

Lastmerlin wrote:I still think that the learning process is prolonged a lot, because the difference between good moves and bad moves is often hidden by the rng rolls. I still think, that a possibility to compare different strategies without cheating (rng rerolls) would be a good idea.
Actually, this isn't true. While a rng with a saved seed on reload would result in a deterministic sequence, it doesn't remove the influence of the rng. It adds a fixed bias that will help some strategies and hinder others, and thus is not valuable for learning what strategies are good. Consider a simple example:

Enemy unit has 3 attacks, can be killed in 4 hits by your units.
You have 2 units with 3 attacks each. One is injured and can be killed in 2 hits by the enemy unit. The other is uninjured.

The best strategy would be to attack with the uninjured unit, then follow up with the injured unit provided the first unit hit at least once (or preferably 2-3 times depending on how much of a risk you are willing to accept). However, with a saved random seed, and using the suggested separate random seed for each player, suppose the results would be:

Enemy: hit, miss, miss, hit, hit, miss
You: hit, miss, hit, miss, hit, hit

Using the best strategy with no knowledge of the results, if you chose to attack with your injured unit with a slight advantage due to the fact that you can hit first, you end up losing your unit. But knowing the rng sequence, the best strategy is to attack with the injured unit first, allowing you to kill the enemy unit without losing any of yours.

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