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Old 02-19-2020   #21
Monster Iestyn
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Quite frankly I think some people have been a bit knee-jerk reaction to this change, which is nothing new from what I've seen over the years. I hardly thought it was even a big deal compared to controls until now if I must be honest.

In my own experience at least though... when I did my first proper run of 2.2 post-release (using the default 2.2 controls instead of my usual ones just to see what it was like), it was an oddly amusing relief to discover that in 2.2.0 CEZ2 accidentally could save the game too, as it meant I didn't have to play CEZ1 all over again after it sucked up loads of my lives first time round. =P Apart from that, I personally never really had to notice that act 2s didn't save though, but then I'm an oldbie so that helps a lot.

EDIT: Also to clarify, I didn't actually game over in CEZ2, I just had to stop playing due to it being late at the time I was playing IIRC.
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Old 02-19-2020   #22
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Originally Posted by CobaltBW View Post
Additionally, the reason most classic Sonic games didn't even have save files is because of costs, not because of deliberate game balancing choices.
Well, as much as I disagree with that considering the way the games were built upon replayability, that's besides the point, so I won't get into the details of all that.

Regardless of the decisionmaking that went into earlier games, though, it definitely seems to have been a deliberate choice in S3K to save after each zone rather than each act. The same goes with Mania, especially considering that prior ports of the classics made by the Mania team used per-act saving, meaning they must have had a reason to transition to per-zone saving.

Of course, SRB2 Is Not Mania™, and this isn't a decision to be made by making generalizations. The save system for any particular game should be decided on a case-by-case basis, since what works for one game doesn't necessarily work for another.

And in SRB2's specific case, you come across this issue:

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many of our zones are much larger than the classic games. It can take a player anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes just to beat CEZ2 for their first time. Sonic 3&K was never this outrageously drawn out even on its most confusing zones.
I'll admit that, as someone who loses myself in a game, I hadn't even originally considered this aspect as part of the equation.

Of course, that just gives all the more reason for why this new system does, in fact, need to exist in some capacity.
I'm just not yet fully convinced we've reached the best compromise.

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The idea of having a redundant, slightly worse save mode to fulfill some perceived gap in gameplay progression options just seems really bizarre to me, and I think it would be better served as an addon modification for those who would be into that sort of thing.
The issue with that is that, once again, this is a matter of new players, and new players wouldn't necessarily know which style of save system would suit them best until they've already played the game.

For example: for the longest time I didn't understand the appeal of classic Sonic. One day, determined to see what was so great about the games, I sat down and played through the classics with saves, slogging through the slower parts and having an enjoyable, if at times tedious, experience. Afterward, I tried to play through them without saves just to see how far I could get, and was astounded by the satisfaction of breezing through the previously frustrating stages as if they were nothing. Still, had the stages not been somewhat frustrating in the first place, this sort of catharsis wouldn't have been possible.

I'm far from saying that's the best way to design a game. All I mean to say is that SRB2 was able to provide much a similar feeling for me, though without as much frustration due to the small quality of life improvements such as lives increasing upon game over. And I loved it. Does this mean this particular way of playing is the best for everyone's first experience? No, of course not. But I already know I'm not the only one who has benefited from the old save system, and I'm certain that a considerable portion of players who play the game in the future would have benefited from it as well, though they'll never know that.

That's why making a mod isn't really a solution, since the people who could potentially benefit from said mod would have already played the game by the time they even know about it. Unless you're saying that proponents of the old save system should go around recommending the mod to every new player.

To give another example of what I mean in a completely different context, let's take a look at how the emblem system in SRB2 is designed.
By default, there's no way to obtain hidden emblems but to happen across them while exploring the stage. So unless you're a particularly hardcore explorer, it's unlikely that you'll find the 40 emblems needed to obtain the emblem hints through searching alone.

So what gives? What's the point of making someone do all that searching, or to go into Record Attack and do some considerable grinding away at time/ring emblems, just to get the thing they'd need to find emblems in a timely manner?
I asked Mystic this question, and his answer was simple: It forces players to give the hardest method of collecting hidden emblems a shot so they can discover whether or not that method is fun for them, and if it's not, then they can choose to unlock the emblem hints through Record Attack. From there, if they still don't find it fun to search for emblems, they can continue to play Record Attack until they unlock the radar.

If either of these two easier methods were the default way to obtain hidden emblems, then people who would prefer to use harder methods might never discover the method they prefer, and it would harm their emblem hunting experience.
I find the difference between these two save systems to be much the same way. Not that I want the easier save system to be an unlockable, or anything; I simply want to emphasize the fact that the best way to play depends on the person, and that person might not always know right away which would be best for their own personal experience.

That's why I never said that 2.2.1's way of doing things is directly inferior. It's not. It all depends on the person playing and how much that person is willing to put up with for the sake of self-improvement. Though I spoke of "balance" before, I recognize the fact that "the perfect balance" really does depend on the person playing.

This thread, after all, was never titled "Not happy with saves after every act," but rather "Not sure how to feel about saves after every act." It's not a question with an easy solution. It's a dilemma, you could say. The latest version aimed to solve the problem, but was this the best possible solution, hands-down? I don't know. Hence why I and several others have attempted to propose the inclusion of options or compromises between the two systems, such as a quick save feature. Would these compromises be better than what we currently have? I couldn't know for sure. Regardless, I urge the development team to consider their options rather than considering this a done deal.

Last edited by Kumin; 02-19-2020 at 07:18 PM.
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Old 02-19-2020   #23
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For example: for the longest time I didn't understand the appeal of classic Sonic. One day, determined to see what was so great about the games, I sat down and played through the classics with saves, slogging through the slower parts and having an enjoyable, if at times tedious, experience. Afterward, I tried to play through them without saves just to see how far I could get, and was astounded by the satisfaction of breezing through the previously frustrating stages as if they were nothing. Still, had the stages not been somewhat frustrating in the first place, this sort of catharsis wouldn't have been possible.
So, like, you realize SRB2 has the exact same dynamic now, right? I'm still not understanding why you need this "middle ground" if you can jump from the save option to the no-save option and still get that feeling of catharsis.
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Old 02-19-2020   #24
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For example: for the longest time I didn't understand the appeal of classic Sonic. One day, determined to see what was so great about the games, I sat down and played through the classics with saves, slogging through the slower parts and having an enjoyable, if at times tedious, experience. Afterward, I tried to play through them without saves just to see how far I could get, and was astounded by the satisfaction of breezing through the previously frustrating stages as if they were nothing. Still, had the stages not been somewhat frustrating in the first place, this sort of catharsis wouldn't have been possible.
I agree with this, but I'd also argue that SRB2 already has a much better way of encouraging players to replay the game to see how much better they've gotten: the game's 6 playable characters.

It's not like the new save system allows new players to breeze through the game without challenge. Far from it. Anyone who claims that they beat ERZ the first time they played it without bashing their head against the wall a couple times is lying.
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Old 02-19-2020   #25
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Originally Posted by Kumin View Post
The latest version aimed to solve the problem, but was this the best possible solution, hands-down? I don't know.
It is an easy solution. We had the functionality already available and could just change it immediately to alleviate the problems we've seen. Simple change to make with a lot of upsides and few negative side issues as a result, except people blowing things out of proportion in the community as per usual.

Also no, an option here is stupid. We already have an option to play without saving, even. We don't need to ask new players, who have zero idea about it, whether they want more checkpoints.
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Old 02-20-2020   #26
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So, like, you realize SRB2 has the exact same dynamic now, right? I'm still not understanding why you need this "middle ground" if you can jump from the save option to the no-save option and still get that feeling of catharsis.
Does it still exist? Yes, of course. I don't think a change like this could take that away from such a fantastically-designed game.
But do I think the feeling will be quite as intense? No, but to what extent it'll be affected is something that I can't really say for certain.
I suppose we'll just have to wait and see what happens.

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It is an easy solution. We had the functionality already available and could just change it immediately to alleviate the problems we've seen. Simple change to make with a lot of upsides and few negative side issues as a result, except people blowing things out of proportion in the community as per usual.
Well, yeah, for a quick patch, I understand why the change was made. The positives do outweigh the negatives. I still would like if we could do something to deal with those negatives, though, which is why I brought this issue up instead of letting it sit.

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Also no, an option here is stupid. We already have an option to play without saving, even. We don't need to ask new players, who have zero idea about it, whether they want more checkpoints.
Alright, fair enough then. I'll keep brainstorming, though I'm sure you guys have already brainstormed quite a bit yourselves.
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Old 02-20-2020   #27
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The whole problem with a debate like this is you're thinking about different people with different mindsets and how the difficulty should be balanced around them, when a good chuck of us aren't even the players we're trying to brainstorm for. Iirc, theres been plenty complaints about it was handled before and I'm see less now in comparison, so in terms of "statistics", the current method is what these newer players prefer anyway. It's already been said to be fair, but basically you want to take into consideration the people without the time of day, more than the people that do.

If it was up to me there wouldn't even be lives and saves at every act in the first place because as far as someone like me is concerned, I don't feel like every backtracking through something I cleared. But it's not like my opinion matters, I haven't gotten close to a gameover at all in 2.2, despite how long my break was from 2.1; and I also have plenty of time to play because I wait till after work. None of this remotely effects me
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Old 02-20-2020   #28
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What about like a quicksave feature of some kind? Like revert back to saving at Zones instead of Acts, but add a quicksave feature a-la the Fire Emblem games. You need to quit. So you quicksave, upon reloading that quicksave it auto erases so you can't reuse and abuse it.

Continues still maintain value which means Game Overs still have consequences, and players with not as much time to play still have a solution for when real life kicks them off the game.
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Old 02-20-2020   #29
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I don't have a massive argument to put forth, but I'm glad saves are per-act now. It just makes people less frustrated when they game over. And people probably don't come to a Sonic game to feel frustrated. If I wanted that, I'd go play VVVVVV or Celeste or something.

This change makes failure less frustrating, so people enjoy the game more, so they like it more.
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Old 02-20-2020   #30
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Again, a quicksave does not handle the fact that our stages are longer and getting a game over near the end of act 2 can cause players to lose over a half hour of progress. This is the core issue that needs addressing, and making saving more generous handles it fine.
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Old 02-22-2020   #31
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Speaking as a fan of most of the Sonic games here, I believe that we should continue with the old save system as it forces the player to git gud. Kicking people back to the first act is more beneficial since it hones the core concept that Sonic is a game you get good at with practice. If you can't beat a zone you should go back to the ones you did have an easier time with and see how much your skill has improved as a player from how far you've made it in the game. Obviously, kicking people back to the start of such a long game is going to be very poorly recieved, so a good compromise is the save system kicking the player back to the start of the zone so they can hone the skills they need in the current zone they're doing.
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Old 02-22-2020   #32
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My least fond memory of Sonic Mania is entering Oil Ocean Zone act 2 with 25-ish lives, reaching the boss, getting a game over at the boss, using a continue to restart all of act 2, losing one or two lives on the way from the start of the level back to the boss, getting a game over at the boss, not having more continues, and therefore having to reload the save from act 1, losing one or two lives in the first act, reaching the boss in act 2, and getting a game over at that boss again. I did not complete that zone that day.


I would rather like to avoid being punished that much in SRB2 for being bad at video games. (If I'm bad, punishment doesn't help me. If I'm good... then it doesn't matter how the game handles game overs, since I won't be experiencing them. Ergo, being sent multiple levels back for a game over doesn't make much sense, as it's uselessly much punishment for those that are bad at video games and doesn't impact those that are good.)


I also remember playing SRB2 v2.2 when it first came out, beating Deep Sea Zone act 1, and then staying up well past when I wanted to go to bed because that I had to complete acts 2 and 3 in order to save my progress. So, similarly to game overs not sending one multiple levels back, I'm also in favour of save data saving at every act, just to make it easier to stop playing when one wants to. That's especially much a point for SRB2, what with its levels probably being bigger/longer than classic Sonic games' for a first-timer on average.




TL;DR: I'm in favour of game overs only sending one to the start of the current level, and being able to save progress at every act in SRB2.
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Old 02-22-2020   #33
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  • starting lives increasing after game over and easymode tails existing mean you already don't need to "git gud" to beat the game, you only need persistence
  • record attack and alternate characters encourage replaying easy stages and gitting gud faster so restricted saving doesn't play a role here like it does in Sonic 1 and 2
  • accessibility = ++++++++++++++++++++++
  • S3K's save system is poorly designed and Mania just copied it blindly, why would we do the same
  • don't forget to remove continues for internal consistency since now they do nothing (except in no-save, but if you still need continues to beat the game why are you playing no-save)
  • speaking of which, once you git gud this has literally zero relevance to you beyond your sense of elitism anyway

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Old 02-22-2020   #34
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The feature itself is a good thing, that way you don't have to replay something you've already played through, and you can stop playing anytime you want to.

However the problem is now that continues are actually useless (Unless you're playing on no save I guess, but most people wouldn't do that), seeing as dying with or without one is the same thing, minus having to go by the title screen first, which by extension means that finding tokens after you've obtained all the emeralds is even more useless than it already was.
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Old 02-22-2020   #35
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I have been playing since 2.0.

I don't think anyone should have to deal with the misery of game overing in ERZ3 and being forced to play through ERZ1 and ERZ2 again. Even if ERZ never returns to having a boss, playing through ERZ1/2 again after game overing in 2 prior to the game's controls being second nature is painful.

It would be neat if Continues could be reworked to serve some other function, like allowing players to retry special stages or to serve as as a gamewide currency.
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Old 02-22-2020   #36
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Both sides make sense in my opinion. I believe there is one other point to discuss that hasn't been brought up yet.

SRB2 was never a game for grandma to play. To beat the game, you need to be minimally good at video games, and not just hold forward to win. However, back in the day, SRB2 didn't have much content, and making the gameplay tricky was a way to ensure you didn't blast through the entire campaign in 15 minutes on your first try.

But consider the SRB2 of today. You have the standard campaign, you have the special stages and a 100% completion, you have extra stages, you have extra NiGHTs stages, you have extra hard stages, you have the emblems for adventuring, you have the emblems for requirements... Simply beating the campaign is only like a third of the entire game.

Nowadays, it makes more sense to follow Mario's logic: make the main game approachable (though it can kick the player's butt a few times for good measure), and make the extra content tougher and tougher. I'd like to point SRB2 to more people, but feel a bit hesitant when I remember that I can only beat the stages fine...because I've been playing for over 10 years. A newcomer doesn't understand these unique controls, doesn't know a thing about the stages, doesn't have a feel for the speed, jump height, etc. right off the bat. Having to tell them that they can't even see the end of the campaign until they get REALLY good is quite the turn-off.

In addition, I've had a few nights where I would have loved to play some SRB2, but didn't because I figured I only had some 15 minutes to do so, and I didn't want to rush my enjoyment through a full zone. (I like to explore the stages.) Had the per-act system been in place then and I would have gladly beaten one act during those sessions.

I vote for per-act, as a result. That said, there is merit in considering a difficulty mode for a playthrough. It's not a standard thing for Sonic games, but SRB2 was always made by hardcore fans for hardcore fans, so that isn't exactly out-of-place. It would allow more casual players to not be turned into mush midway through, and it would allow more hardcore players to feel the tension of a per-zone save, among other things.

...At the end of the day, I feel like there's no right answer, and we have the luxury of worrying and enjoying so many more important things about this game. I fully support everyone voicing their opinion, but I certainly wouldn't want to see anybody get salty because the save system is a bit easier, of all things.
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Old 02-22-2020   #37
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What about like a quicksave feature of some kind? Like revert back to saving at Zones instead of Acts, but add a quicksave feature a-la the Fire Emblem games. You need to quit. So you quicksave, upon reloading that quicksave it auto erases so you can't reuse and abuse it.
I think this suggestion is so good that it bypasses the save-on-act vs save-on-zone discussion and is justified being implemented in the game regardless of which one wins said discussion. It's a direct quality of life improvement in regards to being able to stop a game whenever you want and come back to it later.

"SRB2 levels are larger/take more time than classic Sonic levels" is an argument that was made in favor of save-on-act. If dying on the end of an act 2 can make you lose over half an hour of progress that means there are acts in which you're losing 15 minutes of progress when you die near the end (or just have to stop playing) and that's a considerable amount too, and I have certainly spent well over 30 minutes in single acts doing stuff like exploring in vanilla 2.2 and collecting rings for Score/Ring emblems in 2.1 mods that weren't as lenient as vanilla 2.2 is (hello Tortured Planet).

Like in Celeste, you can leave anytime you want and if you load that save back you don't go to the menu, you go the start of the room you left at. If that was in SRB2 with checkpoints as the equivalent it'd be great, keeping rings, tokens and whatever else. The only "mismatch" is that in Celeste first you choose a save then you go to the menu, whereas in SRB2 it's the reverse so a player would be able to stop playing on a particular save and play Record Attack, play a Secret Level, play something else. I think that can be somewhat addressed but if possible it would be a very nice thing to have in some capacity.
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Old 02-22-2020   #38
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Originally Posted by Telnaior View Post
  • starting lives increasing after game over and easymode tails existing mean you already don't need to "git gud" to beat the game, you only need persistence
The point of "gitting gud" is not to be able to beat the game, but to be able to consistently beat it with little-to-no setbacks. That feeling of satisfaction of improving so far beyond what is inherently necessary to merely beat the game is the core of the classic Sonic experience, in my eyes.

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  • record attack and alternate characters encourage replaying easy stages and gitting gud faster so restricted saving doesn't play a role here like it does in Sonic 1 and 2
While saves don't really play a role in improving at the general game mechanics, they very much play a role in improving at individual stages which the player might otherwise struggle with on every playthrough, something that may harm the game's replay value.

If someone dreads a stage, they might be all the more willing to give up on it, or just not play it and stop their second playthrough upon return to it, and someone who thinks they'll never get all the emblems on that particular stage might then be discouraged from trying to complete the game in general, since if they aren't gonna get the emblems from a particular stage, then they'll never get all the emblems anyway, so why even try?

Regardless of the frustration it might bring, being made to replay a stage which would otherwise consistently trouble the player for a while into the future is a good way to guarantee that the player is able to get over their frustration toward the stage in general. Of course, that assumes the player has the willpower to put up with that frustration of replaying in the first place, which is exactly where the dilemma of this issue comes from.

We don't want to alienate new players and make them quit, but we don't want them to be ill-prepared for future playthroughs of a stage and leave them to consistently only beat it by the skin of their teeth, if at all, until they've finished it several times across multiple playthroughs.

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  • accessibility = ++++++++++++++++++++++
Agreed. Ideally we'd be able to find a solution that maintains all the positives of this change while dealing with the negatives. Impossible? Maybe. But I decided to bring it up anyway, 'cause we'll never know until we try.

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  • S3K's save system is poorly designed and Mania just copied it blindly, why would we do the same
May seem that way, until you consider the fact that Christian Whitehead and co had previously made mobile ports of Sonic 1, 2, and CD which used per act saving.
If they really weren't thinking about it, and just made the decision blindly, they would probably go with the save system they had already been using, don't you think? So why did they deliberately make the decision to switch from per-act saving to per-zone saving?
Whether or not you think it was a good decision on their part, it very much seems like they did put some thought into it.

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  • (except in no-save, but if you still need continues to beat the game why are you playing no-save)
What the heck kind of logic is this? If you're skilled enough to beat no-save with continues, then you're skilled enough to beat no-save. Doesn't mean you're great at it, but it doesn't mean your victory is invalid.
Apologies if this was not your intent, but the way you phrased this makes it seem like you're trying to invalidate the victories of others, which sounds pretty elitist to me.

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  • speaking of which, once you git gud this has literally zero relevance to you beyond your sense of elitism anyway
Is it really so absurd that a player would be concerned with the experience of new players?
Accessibility is important, but if accessibility changes are doing even the slightest amount of harm to the experiences of the new players, then it would be ideal if we could somehow find a way to fix that. That's all I'm really saying here.
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Old 02-22-2020   #39
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Accessibility is important, but if accessibility changes are doing even the slightest amount of harm to the experiences of the new players, then it would be ideal if we could somehow find a way to fix that.

The word "if" is doing a lot of work here. This kind of argument doesn't mean much until there's actual data collected on if per-act saving is harming the experiences of new players. I can see this change only being rolled back if evidence shows it was a detrimental one, rather than theorizing from forum members suggesting it could be detrimental.
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Old 02-23-2020   #40
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I think lives and continues are an extremely outdated concept and I think it's completely unnecessary to push a player back to the start of an entire zone just because they failed one particular part in a specific level. That's effectively asking players to replay areas they already know how to beat just get caught back up with the rest of the game. All these arguments about "Sonic being designed to be replayed" just feels weird to me because if a person wants to replay a stage... they will? Especially if given the option. When it's forced upon them though, that's where I think there's a big issue.

I am in favor of the saving per act system because the only thing that lives and continues do is waste the players time. It's a waste of time. I'm sorry that you think death needs some kind of punishment to make it "substantial" but why should death be that punishing in the first place? Dying and needing to go back to the checkpoint is already a sufficient of enough of a punishment already. If people didn't have lives to worry about people might play a little more recklessly which I think is a great thing! Being reckless in my eyes actually encourages people to be more creative with how they approach a game and its mechanics more because they don't have to worry about messing up as much. The only thing that lives and continues add is wasting a players time if you lose too many.

Keep in mind I'm talking about a game with a save file, here. If you play a game with no saves (like I enjoy doing in the classic Sonic games after beating them with the whole cast at least once) then you can have the lives or the continues if you really want. Because after all it's like seeing how far you can get anyways.


I guess to tl;dr this I'll make a short quote
Lives and continues are an outdated concept from arcades that just wastes time and adds nothing to the gameplay experience as a whole. Saving per act is a great thing because it does not waste a player's time.

Also I don't know why veterans are complaining about this in the first place. You all aren't going to have to deal with this system anyways because you won't die enough to demand continues and lives. Which, by the way, become more worthless the better you get at the game. This just makes the game more approachable to newcomers, and for someone like me who might be doing a new save but needs to stop on act 2, I'm glad I can actually stop on act 2 and not feel like I have to complete the whole zone now or it feels like I wasted my time in Act 1.

But I digress.
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