Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#31 Post by Mirage » Mon Nov 22, 2010 4:18 am

What's your opinion if there's like a pause button?

I like to think that some people here prefer something like a game more than a book. VN lies in the middle. It's up to the creators to decide if they want it more like a book or a game. A game can be difficult or challenging. A book on the other hand doesn't require something like it (so it makes sense if you feel you hate to be tested when reading a book).

Some games happened to be very difficult, and winning it give a sense of satisfaction, like an achievement of sort. While books supposed to entertain instead of giving the readers achievement. A two very different kind medium.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#32 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:09 am

No. A choice should have consequences in a story, otherwise the story becomes rather fake to me. I am interested in the submersion qualities of stories and the idea of going backwards and forwards on choices ruins it for me. I do like being to go back on normal text though. I hate when I accidently click before I am finished reading and I can't go back.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#33 Post by Jo'ogn » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:45 am

@Jake - like Mirage says, a VN isn't like a book, or song unless it's a "Kinetic Novel" with no choices at all. I agree there is only few use for timed menus. Actually I had in mind a 'reaction based mini-game' for my game. My game means to analyse the player, in order to create feedback depending on how the player chooses, 'timed menus' aren't necessary for that.

(not only to Jake anymore)
We have another topic discussing how to simulate emotions or moods in a VN. I haven't seen any VN here yet that comes close to my idea of the concept of choices an Interactive Story should have. The average VN sooner or later 'confronts', or rather 'surprises' the player out of the blue with a so-called 'choice', which either allows you to play on, or sometimes tries to - as Jake called it - to defeat you. For that reason 'rollback' is almost mandatory. Because, like it or not, the average lot of VNs aren't written good enough to make me feel enough immersion that I cannot possibly want to go back and choose a different option. I would either way, because:

Then again: it is called a ~game~ for a reason. It doesn't make much sense to ask me for my choice, but then at the same time not allowing me any other choices. A game is ~played~ (as in playful). Similar to Jake comparing "beating" vs. "finishing" a game. I want to ~play~ it and not to being 'threatened', or dictated by it how I spend/'waste' my sparetime playing. For me, as opposed to "real life", where some choices are "for ever", games were made to be explored. A good story will immerse me independently and actually the more I can play with the game the more it might immerse me, even if I do not exactly follow the author's intentions.

I have many menus in my game. So many that rolling back will make the player losing track of what they might want to do differently. At the moment I have 28 menus, ~2700 words in 'only' about 15 minutes game play. The Renpy VNs I know don't even have that much menus with 10 or even 100 times more text.
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#34 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Mon Nov 22, 2010 5:52 am

Jo'ogn wrote:The average VN sooner or later 'confronts', or rather 'surprises' the player out of the blue with a so-called 'choice', which either allows you to play on, or sometimes tries to - as Jake called it - to defeat you. For that reason 'rollback' is almost mandatory.
I think it is rather important for VN choices to be permanent just like our choices in life can not be undone. To be able to go back and change your decisions may mean you can view more of the game, but it also means you are not truly considering the story. It will never occur to you to consider the consequences of your choices if you can go back and that totally ruins any creditability the game has. To be able to go back is a form of cheating in my opinion. If you can't read the cues the game is giving you and you 'lose' then you deserve to lose. But if you 'win' the win will actually feel rewarding because you made the choice. If you can go back and redo things, then there is no point to winning or losing at all. It cheapens the experience to me.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#35 Post by Jake » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:21 am

Mirage wrote:What's your opinion if there's like a pause button?
If there's a pause button then, playing Devil's advocate... what motivation do I have to not pause when a timed choice comes up?

Bear in mind when discussing timed choices that there's a number of reasons to think they're bad - it's not just that I might get distracted by a house fire, but also I might just be a slow reader, or I might be a non-native speaker and have trouble with some of the phrasing.

For that matter, the poor-reader or non-native-speaker is another reason rollback is useful - those people may easily misinterpret choices and select something they didn't really want to do.
Auro-Cyanide wrote: I think it is rather important for VN choices to be permanent just like our choices in life can not be undone.
...
To be able to go back is a form of cheating in my opinion.
Are you in favour of your saves deleting themselves when you load them, so that you can use saves to pause your progress and come back again later but can't use them to check if something is OK and go back if it isn't?
Mirage wrote: Some games happened to be very difficult, and winning it give a sense of satisfaction, like an achievement of sort. While books supposed to entertain instead of giving the readers achievement. A two very different kind medium.
As I said earlier: my answers are assuming that we're talking about a traditional VN without any 'game' elements, just branching story based on choices. I'll use the word 'game' anyway because, inappropriate as it usually is, it's the norm on this forum and elsewhere.

If you're talking about a 'game' - like a management sim, or a scheduler-driven dating sim with frequent choices - then it's not quite the same question, IMO. In a game, there are so many decisions involved to reach that point in the game that the particular state that I'm in when I make a choice is fairly unique to my particular playthrough - I may have a different amount of cash and different employees in a management sim, I may have different characters with different 'attraction points' or whatever in a dating sim. IMO it's a lot more reasonable, because of this, to treat it as a 'special' point in time and a 'special' decision and block rollback. I can't rollback out of a firefight in Gears of War or whatever, and it's never bothered me.

In a VN, on the other hand - with limited branching storylines, infrequent decisions and so on - it's trivial to get back to the same point in the game, I just have to go back to my last save (or the beginning of the game if necessary) and make the same sequence of decisions. So I can 'cheat' your system whether you like it or not, if I want to... it's just incredibly tedious to have to skip through the game to reach the same point to try the other option. And more to the point, I can't get my entertainment out of your VN without going down your prescribed branches; I'm not constantly making decisions like I am in a management sim, so my enjoyment comes from the prose and the images instead.

IMO it's an anti-player move to block rollback where available on a traditional VN, and if you're not making a VN for the player, who are you making it for? Ultimately, if a player doesn't want to use rollback they don't have to, and if they do use it they use it because they want to, for whatever reason.
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#36 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:46 am

Jake wrote: Are you in favour of your saves deleting themselves when you load them, so that you can use saves to pause your progress and come back again later but can't use them to check if something is OK and go back if it isn't?
I must admit I do this, not so much with VNs, but other games. I still feel that is cheating as well though and do feel guilt over it, but the completionist in me likes to get things right. I still try to do the right thing first time though and carefully consider what I am doing. Also because of the general annoyance of reloading (for bigger games) as well as the risk of losing progress because I don't save often forces for me to put more value in the decisions I make. I usually finish a game completely by myself to see what path I would honestly get and then use my saves to go and check other paths. That is unless the story was interesting enough for me to go back to the beginning to see everything.

I just feel that an easy way of going back if you made the wrong choice would be ... dishonourable to the story. If you get what I mean. You are meant to care about the story and characters. To just be able to go back and redo things means you are not paying much attention to the story and the way it is meant to be told. Though I suppose even if the rollback was there I wouldn't have to use it, so either way it doesn't matter. I would like for the audience to value my stories more though, so I wouldn't put it in my own games.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#37 Post by Jake » Mon Nov 22, 2010 8:24 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote: I still try to do the right thing first time though and carefully consider what I am doing.
Oh, similarly - the first time I go through a game, I'll generally pick whatever options I feel are the best or most appropriate, and just see where it leads me without rolling-back and re-choosing or anything. Personally, I only tend to really use rollback to try and get elusive endings I can't otherwise find in the cases where a game is really compelling enough to make me want to see all the endings.

Auro-Cyanide wrote: I just feel that an easy way of going back if you made the wrong choice would be ... dishonourable to the story. If you get what I mean. You are meant to care about the story and characters. To just be able to go back and redo things means you are not paying much attention to the story and the way it is meant to be told.
I get what you mean, but I think it's a bit of a dangerous way to think, from a player's point of view. If you take it to the extreme, you could end up arguing against the use of ctrl-skip in Ren'Py games, because the writer obviously meant you to actually read all the text at the beginning of the game before making the first decision!


As a creator I would like for the audience to value my stories, but mostly I'd like to be able to write stories that people can value, if that makes sense. IMO the creator shouldn't impose too much on how the player/reader enjoys their works, just try and give the player as much to enjoy as possible.
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#38 Post by Mirage » Mon Nov 22, 2010 9:16 am

Jake wrote:
Mirage wrote:What's your opinion if there's like a pause button?
If there's a pause button then, playing Devil's advocate... what motivation do I have to not pause when a timed choice comes up?
You know, that sounds like you just wanted to find things to nit pick. ^^;

In my personal experiences, if you give players options to skip, they will most likely skip. If you give option to roll back, even if they think it's cheating, they will most likely cheat! The point is if you prepare an easy route for the players, they will definitely choose what's the easiest for them. Say, if you personally want to design a VN that challenge the players, it would be pointless if you gave the easy way out to them.

In the similar vein, if you give option to pause during timed choice, I'm sure people will use them.

Of course if you insist that VN has to be easy to play, then this discussion is completely pointless. XD

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Rollback after decisions all the way!

#39 Post by Jo'ogn » Mon Nov 22, 2010 10:38 am

Auro-Cyanide wrote:I think it is rather important for VN choices to be permanent just like our choices in life can not be undone.
Doesn't this contradict the whole idea of the concept 'game'? Which is a means of entertainment free of real danger, as opposed to 'real life', or gambling. Games and real life are not the same. Even though games can only be played during 'real life'.

Esp. computer games have developed all kinds of 'undoing' mechanisms. Saving, Extra lives, cheat codes, walk-throughs, tutorials, roll back, back logs, time reversion, check points, etc. But why was that desired? If it would 'spoil' the game experience... Perhaps it doesn't?
Auro-Cyanide wrote:To be able to go back and change your decisions may mean you can view more of the game, but it also means you are not truly considering the story.
Why not? But they are allowed to replay, yet differently? How would that be considerate (of the player)? And how would that be permanent or realistic?

Consequently (and somewhat cynically speaking) you would have to lock or destroy the game after one play-though to prevent the player from making different choices.
Auro-Cyanide wrote:It will never occur to you to consider the consequences of your choices if you can go back and that totally ruins any creditability the game has. To be able to go back is a form of cheating in my opinion.
Putting aside that I can still consider the consequences (in a limited world of a story) and putting aside if a plot has the power to make me feel that way to begin with...

Assume in a game I can make a choice which will lead me into a path with a certain person out of any number to date with. It turns out the choice lead me to a partner I do not feel satisfied with. Neither did I miss the 'cues', nor did I accidentally press the wrong button in a panic during my house burnt down. I just didn't see it coming, the game didn't make it clear enough, because it was a bit ambiguous about it (which is okay), but now I'm unhappy with the outcome.

As the story writing is limited and roll back prohibited, I am now stuck with a plot I do not enjoy. In 'real life' I would break up with this person ('cheat'?) to save my life time for more enjoyment - paradoxically in games often times there isn't this alternative. Somewhat exaggerated, but not entirely far off: my only options left are scrapping your game and doing sth more enjoyable, or being masochistic enough to see your game till the end, but being unhappy to do so (scrapping the game afterwards). Is that what you want the player to experience with your work of art?
Auro-Cyanide wrote:If you can't read the cues the game is giving you and you 'lose' then you deserve to lose. But if you 'win' the win will actually feel rewarding because you made the choice. If you can go back and redo things, then there is no point to winning or losing at all. It cheapens the experience to me.
IMO the average love story or dating sim, or VN needs far more depth to reach the point of not making me want to roll back for the sake of unspoilt immersion of experiencing such an incredible story. The moment there are multiple pathes a player likely wants to see more than only one of them... That's why I create them in my game to begin with.
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#40 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:29 am

@Jake I have to read all the text T^T I can not psychologically not do it. Once I have read it once I am fine and skip it the next time. My brother is the opposite, has no problem skipping text. Which is why he is terrible at RPGs. I have to read EVERYTHING and desperately want roll back if I click before I have finished reading. I don't think you should impose a way a person plays a game (that is why you add decision to a VN after all) but I think you can certainly encourage them to read things a certain way. If you want a story to be sad you would hope that you could manipulate both the creative and technical aspects so that the viewer is likely to feel that way. Then again, that may be me. I'm a graphic designer by profession, we are all about manipulating people and communication.

@Jo'ogn We obviously play games for different reasons, which is fine. Like I said, just because there is roll back, doesn't mean I have to use it. It is extremely unlikely I would use it in my first run through. I would follow the story no matter how dissatisfied. If the game maker did their job correctly to begin with I won't feel it was a total loss, just where my personality has led me. If there was a character I didn't get but I really wanted I would go back to the beginning and replay it, probably using the skip already read text option. I would be worried I would miss unique dialogue if I simply skipped backwards and forwards in one play through.

I play a game for the story, not to finish a game. The actual play through is as important as the ending to me. Multiple play throughs are a different experience for me. Often you will have to make different decisions which means you are ultimately playing a different type of character. I switch whose shoes I am walking in so to speak. But maybe I am weird like that.

And I didn't realise we were talking about bad or average games. I assumed we would be talking about ideals. Ideally you want the story to be compelling and want the viewer to care about the characters. I probably wouldn't care enough either way to complete a game that I didn't feel attachment to, so that is beside the point for me. I probably would cheat if I was mildly curious but I wouldn't be caring about the story then. I assume this is not the kind of game you want to make.

Roll back creates an unfinished and chaotic story pattern, where as a replay through with the ability to skip already read text is a much more fulfilling way to see multiple stories. In my opinion anyway. Like I said, I am a bit of a completionist, including the need to read all text.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#41 Post by Jake » Mon Nov 22, 2010 11:59 am

Mirage wrote: You know, that sounds like you just wanted to find things to nit pick. ^^;
Not at all - but when there's people espousing an opinion I can't really understand, I'm going to ask sideways questions to see if I can get to the bottom of it!
Mirage wrote: Of course if you insist that VN has to be easy to play, then this discussion is completely pointless. XD
It's not so much that I insist a VN has to be easy to play, it's more that I don't understand why a VN shouldn't be easy to play. If there is difficulty, to my mind, it should be entirely related to the plot.

Take The Stolen Diamond Ring, for example. You go through the entire game making basically-inconsequential choices which don't really affect the flow of the game or the ending of the game, until you get to the big final scene, where you're supposed to pick the culprit from a big list of suspects. The correct answer isn't immediately obvious, so it's likely a lot of people get it wrong the first few times. The game is itself 'difficult' in that it's difficult to pick the right answer at the end of it.

Should people be forced to play through the game seven times because they need seven guesses to pick the culprit in a mystery game like this? Or is that unnecessarily tedious? I know I'd expect the player to get bored after the second or third nearly-identical playthrough and eventually just leave the mystery unsolved. Conversely, where's the harm in letting the player roll back to pick a different option if they accuse someone who isn't the culprit? The player already knows they got it wrong the first time, what's the point in punishing them further?
Auro-Cyanide wrote: And I didn't realise we were talking about bad or average games. I assumed we would be talking about ideals. Ideally you want the story to be compelling and want the viewer to care about the characters.
Well, ideally there wouldn't be any need for rollback!
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#42 Post by chensterrain » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:25 pm

Jake wrote:Take The Stolen Diamond Ring, for example. You go through the entire game making basically-inconsequential choices which don't really affect the flow of the game or the ending of the game, until you get to the big final scene, where you're supposed to pick the culprit from a big list of suspects. The correct answer isn't immediately obvious, so it's likely a lot of people get it wrong the first few times. The game is itself 'difficult' in that it's difficult to pick the right answer at the end of it.

Should people be forced to play through the game seven times because they need seven guesses to pick the culprit in a mystery game like this? Or is that unnecessarily tedious? I know I'd expect the player to get bored after the second or third nearly-identical playthrough and eventually just leave the mystery unsolved. Conversely, where's the harm in letting the player roll back to pick a different option if they accuse someone who isn't the culprit? The player already knows they got it wrong the first time, what's the point in punishing them further?
I guess it all boils down to the different ways in which people play these games - I played the Stolen Diamond Ring too, and saved the game immediately when I was asked to pick the culprit, mostly out of force of habit (I have no idea whether rollback was blocked in the game or not - I guess not? Either way, I never tried it). If I hadn't saved at all and picked the wrong option, and then found out I couldn't roll back, I'd be more pissed off at myself than the game, to be honest, just like I'd be pissed off at myself for not saving before a boss battle in an RPG and having to start over; if there's no save option, then obviously rollback is necessary, but when you can literally save at any time I don't think you can be too upset when the VN / game doesn't allow you to roll back to any specific point.

Of course, technically there isn't really any difference between saving anywhere and rolling back, so I can totally understand the other side of the argument. :B I guess it just feels like there's more gravity to each of your choices if you're personally deciding when to save the game?

As for timed choices, I personally don't particularly like them, but in terms of getting called away from the game for some real-life reason I really don't think they're a big deal; I've never played Animamundi, but in other games I've played with the feature the choices have been pretty few and far between and lasted a few seconds each - if I choose to leave my computer right at the moment a timed choice comes up and not during the twenty minutes I just spent reading text, where I could have stopped or saved at any time, that's kind of my own fault, really.

Either way, I guess it's just a difference in opinion between those who prefer their VNs to behave more like books, and those who prefer them to behave like games? :/

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#43 Post by Jo'ogn » Mon Nov 22, 2010 2:39 pm

Auro-Cyanide wrote:Like I said, just because there is roll back, doesn't mean I have to use it.
That's a good point: Let the players decide for themselves. ( Psst, I am merely trying to keep writers from disabling roll back ^_^ )
Auro-Cyanide wrote:And I didn't realise we were talking about bad or average games. I assumed we would be talking about ideals.
Can I have a list of the 'ideal' games please! That would be gamer's heaven =D
chensterrain wrote:Of course, technically there isn't really any difference between saving anywhere and rolling back
There is one. Rollback is less of a hassle.
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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#44 Post by Tsuki-chan » Sun Nov 28, 2010 11:36 pm

Conversely, where's the harm in letting the player roll back to pick a different option if they accuse someone who isn't the culprit?
For me, my immersion would be completely destroyed if I could rollback right after choosing the wrong culprit. I am with Chensterrain on this: like in another other type of game, I save when I know something important is coming up. Visual novels may not be as interactive as RPGs, but I still tend to think of them as games. As such, being able to just scroll through the list of suspects until I get the right one, rather than saving strategically, would most definitely cheapen the experience and defeat the purpose of even having the player try to use their brain to determine the guilty party. Why should they? Like Mirage pointed out, if the option to 'cheat' exists, people will use it. In other words, instead of actually trying to utilize the clues, what's to stop them from just clicking each suspect in order? That's obviously not what the writer intended. Saving an reloading does take longer, which is why it would give the player the incentive to get it right the first time.

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Re: Should you be allowed to Rollback after decisions?

#45 Post by Jake » Mon Nov 29, 2010 10:15 am

Tsuki-chan wrote: For me, my immersion would be completely destroyed if I could rollback right after choosing the wrong culprit
"Could" rollback or "would" rollback?
Tsuki-chan wrote: Saving an reloading does take longer, which is why it would give the player the incentive to get it right the first time.
OK, but presuming you save on the choice itself, it hardly takes longer. Are you saying that if it took 5 seconds to rollback over a choice you'd be more in favour of it?
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