Feature Request: Smart Save


I recently played the first game in the Stalker series. One of the MODs available adds a SMART SAVE feature. Here is a quote, “ESC+S which works like a “smart quick-save”, creating a separate save file with the level name, in-game date, and timestamp each time it’s used.”

I have never liked using the normal “Quick Save” feature. I always Escape back to the menu choose Save, then name the file. It made a big difference from an immersion standpoint to never leave the game and still get a proper Non-Quick Save.

It seems like such an amazing feature I was surprised I’ve never played another game that had it. I read elsewhere the disagreements regarding Quick Save in general. Let’s just say IF you decide to use something like a traditional PC Save Game system please consider adding this concept on top.

Anyone know of other games with a save method like this?

Also, could you make it easy to delete save games in bulk directly from the folder in Windows Explorer instead of requiring it be done in the save menu. Thank you.


I’d like to add a completely new idea to this topic (at least I’ve never seen something like this in a game): Everything (moves, interactions, NPC actions) in the game world is stored as transaction in a database. Whenever you feel, it’s necessary to repeat something, you can jump back to whatever place in time you like: 5 seconds, 1 minute, 1 hour before. So there’s no need to ever press a Quicksave button or select Save from a menu again. It’s like Point-In-Time restore af a SQL database. When the Player leaves the game, a kind of snapshot is created - just like with virtual machines - and he can resume the game from there. When the database grows too large, a snapshot (normal savegame) is created and the database is truncated. The user can select, how many hours he’d like to travel back in time. On “hard” the database is disabled.


What you are describing actually is a transaction log.

But what happens when you want to go back and try a different path? Now you need branching…

This could easily expand into a problem equal in complexity to a source code control system.


No, branching is not needed, because there can only be one timeline. The path you left by stepping back is deleted.


I think the save system was already answered, and appears fine to me. I liked someone else’s idea of metasaves, where the game rewards you for avoiding saving for longer periods of time, and the D3 save system, where it saves as you go, but allows you to reload earlier checkpoints.


No, I’m definitely not into a rewarding system for not saving too often. We had that discussion earlier already.

The thing is: if you don’t want to save, don’t save!

The way to go is

[li]to save on quit and let the game reload on game start (optionally without asking).[/li]
[li]to have a quick save function (quick key or key combination or button… whatever) so you don’t have to go to the menu and save there, as the later would mean taking a break from the game and the immersion.[/li]
[li]to save as often as you like.[/li]

But I also like the idea that the quicksave key can be toggled to either use only one filename (overwriting the previous savegame) or to use automatic naming with a timestamp (previous quicksaves will be kept around).

I’m not a friend of a transaction log. I think it would make things far too complicated (and programming errors too fatal). Not that I think you couldn’t do it, but I honestly believe that your programming resources are better used elsewhere.

What I really find interesting though is what I was actually thinking when reading the post topic for the first time: smart save in the meaning of automatic saving. For example, when playing Gothic 2 and Risen, the game will automatically save when passing certain areas where a dangerous creature is about to attack just around the next corner. This broke the immersion a bit because the player then knew – “the game saved, something is about to happen here…” – but it possibly represents a good idea if done secretly (the player does not notice). With Gothic and Risen, the fun part was of course that the game did this every time when passing a “hot spot” on the map, even when you had already cleared the area…

Such a smart save feature could be a possibility, but in the spirit of the original Ultima Underworld I really feel that it shouldn’t be neccessary. It would also be more complicated in Underworld Ascendant, because the map can be changed by the actions of the player…


This is a single player game, how one person plays has no effect on how anyone else does. Therefore I don’t see any problem giving people basic abilities like save features

If people want to play “super hardcore, no save, die and delete character” or whatever then that’s fine, they can do that themselves, they don’t need to prevent others from having the features they need to play the way they want


I am very in favor of the save system used in Diablo 3, with save-as-you-go, along with checkpoint saves.

However, I would forgo standard checkpoint saves, by allowing the player to quicksave at any time, and move back through his quicksaves to a prior spot in the game, while losing progress at any given instance.

You could save between areas, or at specific spots, like the bonfires in Dark Souls. 8)


I also like the quick save with time and date, which means infinite quick saves.


Personally I’m of the belief that the more features the better.

Why not give the player the ability to customize every aspect possible of a game? What if I wanted a different HUD layout with different save features than the default? Giving the player the full freedom to have the game work in whatever way they want (within reason) is easily obtainable. Though I don’t see anything like that ever being implemented in a game on release, let the modding community figure it out.


Currently playing the first Call of Juarez game which has several (4-5) quick save slots. When you press quick save it uses one of the slots until all are full then it overwrites the oldest one. It’s a big improvement over normal quick save but I’d still prefer an unlimited Smart Save feature as described above.

COJ is a very fun game and there are quite a few stealth parts reminiscent of Thief. I keep wishing I had a blackjack!


I have always been in favor of letting the player decide how frequent or infrequent he wishes to save his game. One play may want to play iron man, never save and dead is dead, while another wants to skate through and sight see and save frequently. Both are fine with me.


I’d like to have a filter when loading games: so you could see the games you saved manually (and gave a nice name for the savegame) only or the quicksaves only, when the filter is set.

I hate when I see my own savegames in one big list with all the autosaves and have to search for my savegames… It’s then all too crowded. Like in Gothic 2 or Risen.

A real innovation would be to have some sort of timeline. So you see which savegames are from which timestamp – and you would also see savegames that you dropped (dead ends on the timeline) because you loaded a previous one and continued from there…
But again, with a filter to disable display of either quicksaves or manual saves.


I very much prefer unlimited savegames – including quicksaves.

I really dislike a preset number of slots.


I agree with wanting an unlimited number of saves. Not just 10 slots for example. That was one minor issue I had with Thief. It wasn’t as bad since the game was organized as separate levels. But 10 or even 50 slots would not be sufficient for an open world UA type game.

In the past it may have been a stoarge issue since saved games sometimes consume large GB of data (i.e. Bethesda). Now that evryone has relatively large HDs I would think that wouldn’t be a problen today. The only other problem is slowdowns navigating the save game menu when you have 100s or 1000s of saves. Looking at you again Bethesda. That’s why I’d like to have the ability to delete or move saves from Windows Explorer without breaking anything.

@andth What if auto/quick/smart saves were clearly labeled as such in the list of games? Maybe even a different color than your normal saves. In Call of Juarez the 5 quick save slots are separated from other save games.


That is the minimum acceptable way to do it. Clicking a checkbox or on separate tabs (all – quick – manual – auto) would be even better…

Yes, please let the savegames be in the directory tree so you can copy (and archive) them and use them on other computers as well. In other words: if the game uses a cache file for faster savegame access, it should also be able to rebuilt that cache file based on new (copied for another computer), removed (deleted) or renamed savegame folders/files on the current system.


In a sense, the Diablo 3 save system did similar, since quitting saved plot progression, while areas reset.

I am all in favor of this, though it should be triggered by in-game items, such as pen and parchment, purchasable from in-game stores.

Perhaps said paper could provide a dual use, also being used to inscribe in-game runes for spell scrolls. :slight_smile:


I actually find the Diablo 3 system annoying when I only have 30min to play during my lunch. I wouldn’t be able to complete some of the larger areas in that timeframe (being a bit of a completionist) and would find I felt like I had to redo the area every time.

I like the option of “saving” a complete state of the world at any time and coming back to that state when I choose to play again (perhaps with some changes based on ecology effects while out of the world).


Yes, most emphatically.

I’d heard people say good things about Just Cause 2, so I picked it up. After giving it a few hours, I put it back down again with a thump because I could no longer stand the way it reset everything in an area (other than a few defined progression objects) every time I had to restart that area for any reason.

It was absolutely maddening for everything I’d done to be erased. I didn’t enjoy it in the few hours I tolerated Red Faction: Guerilla; I didn’t like it any better in Just Cause 2; and I now know better than to try Diablo 3 because it fails to fully save the local game state (thank you!).

Basically I assume those designs were due to targeting a mostly-action game to consoles, and to (for whatever reason) not implementing a proper level save function when porting the game to the PC.

I’m assuming this won’t be a concern for the deeper and PC-targeted Underworld Ascendant.


Resetting areas after save/load remind me of respawning enemies in games like SS1/SS2. I hated that.

I’m absolutely against dynamics that is triggered by reloading a game. To me that would be a serious fun-killer.