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Author Topic: reason not to use auto-save  (Read 5464 times)

PDF urist master

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reason not to use auto-save
« on: April 13, 2013, 08:54:43 pm »

i'm not a noble player. i don't play with honor. dwarf fortress is like game of thrones. either you play, or you die. there's no time for honor. this means i will exploit any advantage necessary, and i've just discovered one with non autosaved games.

the main advantage of autosave is that you save your progress automatically. this is also its main disadvantage. a goblin siege that just broke your defenses isn't a good place to save. i've recently learned that if you shut down dwarf fortress by force without saving, the RNG rolls again. this means you might not get the siege that you got before. you might get a forgotten beast, or an ambush, or a caravan.

alternatively, if you think the siege is happening again, you've got the benefit of hindsight with hindsight. this literally let's you prepare for the future, for events that haven't happened yet, or it gives you another chance to play with the RNG.

This is pretty much cheating, but if countless fortresses can be saved by the non auto-save Cassandra, i wouldn't mind it.
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Putnam

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2013, 09:05:21 pm »

This is what people are talking about when they mention "save scumming".

Jenniretta

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2013, 09:19:01 pm »

Yeah, I don't savescum in any roguelikes, permadeath is part of why I love them so much, and the same goes for DF (even fortress mode which may not be considered a roguelike), so auto-save is all upside for me. I've lost hours of playing to crashes before - 23a and earlier did not have autosaves that I remember, so if I forgot to save every once in a while I would just lose a lot of work from a crash. The game is a lot more stable now, but I would still rather not have to redo 2 years because of the one crash I have in the life of a given fortress.
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Nyan Thousand

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2013, 09:21:24 pm »

Losing is fun, OP. Fortresses rise and fall. Dwarf Fortress is not a game about the rise. The real game begins when everything starts to crumble below you.
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PDF urist master

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2013, 10:00:24 pm »

guess we play differently then. it's fun to see fortresses crumbling around you, but it's also nice to know you don't have to give up all your hard work (i am aware of backup saves)
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Sizik

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2013, 10:50:14 pm »

That's why you turn on seasonal backup as well.
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Telgin

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2013, 11:10:16 pm »

For some reason I find it hard to avoid savescumming in the face of significant setbacks.  I can enjoy a good catastrophe just like everyone else, but I put too much effort into my forts to let something like a dwarf being stupid and not pulling a lever, or pulling a lever at a bad moment and smashing someone, or something like that cause massive cascades of failure.

The problem in my case though, is where do you draw the line?  Once I started savescumming, I found myself doing it for smaller and smaller things.  "Oh, stupid miner is drowning herself instead of moving into the right tile?  Savescum."

For that reason, I've never turned on autosaving.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2013, 11:11:51 pm by Telgin »
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freeformschooler

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2013, 11:18:56 pm »

the main advantage of autosave is that you save your progress automatically. this is also its main disadvantage. a goblin siege that just broke your defenses isn't a good place to save. i've recently learned that if you shut down dwarf fortress by force without saving, the RNG rolls again. this means you might not get the siege that you got before. you might get a forgotten beast, or an ambush, or a caravan.

My God. Don't you see how horrible save scumming like that is? By turning off auto-save, you're creating alternate timelines.

In one timeline, your dwarves lose the fort to a Winter siege assault. Just as the last dwarf, a fatherless, motherless child stares up at the goblin king's crossbow, you pause the game. You know the cost of each option. If you unpause the game, the child dies to a flurry of crossbow bolts. If you close the game, the child as he is ceases to exist.

But... he still lives. Yes. He still lives, just a single year younger. You close the game, destroying that child's memories, experiences, possessions. Everything he learned, found, created in that year simply vanishes.

It's alright, you tell yourself. It's alright. You start the fort up again. Granite 1. Yes, you remember this moment. You saved the game because everything was going well. Soldiers were training in their barracks, artifacts were being created by legendary craftsdwarves. The elf traders were already packing up with all the mugs and bowls you'd shoved in their caravan. You open up the unit list and, yes, the child is there, safe and unaware.

The howl of winter wind roars through your dwarves' ears. This past year's hunting crop was remarkably scarce. It was as if the animals were avoiding not only you but the area itself. That's alright, you say to yourself. Your underground farm is still going strong, and your dwarves are holed up in their rooms, hiding from the cold while drinking themselves to sleep in peace.

The Forgotten Beast †††† has come! A great translucent ‡∫‡∫‡∫. It has a pair of razor-tipped claws and whispers incomprehensibly. Beware its deadly stare!

That's odd. The name is all screwed up, and you haven't seen those descriptors before. That's alright, though: you send your soldiers to take it down. Swords and arrows clash upon the beast's skin as it nears your fortress entrance, but the shifty, almost humanoid being slices off the militarydwarves' heads with but a single swipe of its hands. As it rampages through the main floors of your fortress, you check and make sure the emergency bunker you set up this time is working. Yep - you send all the remaining dwarves inside a cold, dark room and pull the lever, closing it off for good.

The child from last time stands around alongside his parents, his mind filling with negative thoughts. It's all right, you say, it's all right. You won't lose this fortress again. You'll just wait it out. Maybe even have some miners build and dig temporary bedrooms and workshops down her while the beast ravages the floors above.

You immediately start on this backup plan, but your dwarves seem to work slower and slower as time goes on. You pass it off as FPS/pathing issues until you see a pool of blood and immediately hit pause.

An empty black space, representing a creature without a symbol, stands inside one of the bunker's walls. Dwarven corpses lie scattered around the original bunker room. You check on the unit list: only a single child is left standing.

Paused. Five tiles between the ghostly †††† and your last dwarf. The same one. How did that thing get through the walls? How did that thing get through the traps?

Close. Open. Granite 1 again. Thank God you aren't using autosaves.

This time you will survive, you say to yourself. This time you will be prepared. By the time the first snow begins to fall in Moonstone 1, you have an all-star military and a set of traps elaborate enough to impress Rube Goldberg. You've been preparing for this moment for a long time. You've been preparing for it longer than your dwarves, in fact.

Opal passes by, and it's Obsidian 10. Come at me. Sure enough, a large red warning pops up:

The Forgotten Beast †††† has come! A great translucent ‡∫‡∫‡∫. It has a pair of razor-tipped claws and whispers incomprehensibly. Beware its deadly stare!

The rock-fall trap goes off immediately. Boulders fly toward ††††, and for a moment, it looks trapped. It bursts out from the boulder-filled entrance hall moments later. The rocks only slowed it down!

Your dwarves fight valiantly, legendary weaponmasters trained in the hellish pits of your Danger Room Complex. They hold it in the entrance room as your civilian dwarves head to a newer, better bunker immediately. This one's pre-equipped with everything necessary to keep your fortress running independently for years.

You then swap the viewport back over to the military. You can only watch in terror as †††† beheads your greatest warriors. The abomination marches past their fresh corpses and phases through the floor.

Wait, phases through the floor? It can DO that?

The bunker has been operating for a whole day now but, unlike last time, the forgotten beast doesn't dawdle. You follow it through a dozen or so Z-levels as it simply falls straight through solid chalk and bauxite, finally touching down outside the entrance to your bunker. Luckily, you predicted this. A bridge opens beneath ††††, and it falls several floors into the magma sea below.

Good riddance.

Your dwarves operate peacefully for some time. It's over halfway through Obsidian now: almost to the new year. This is the first time you've gotten this far on the save file, so you order your cooks and brewers to make the finest drinks and meals they know. Celebration! The industrial little workers gather around a table and tell each other stories to lighten the mood.

One dwarf falls backward onto the floor from all the alcohol, and the others laugh. Moments later, they notice he hasn't moved, and when they look over the table to check on him, his head is missing.

Panic erupts in the bunker's dining hall. Blood flies free from wall to wall. You key around a bit to try and figure out what's causing the ruckus.

...Impossible. A completely black tile. An indiscernible name, race, or origin.

It's ††††.

Your dwarves don't even have time to defend themselves. They're not military men and women. Heads roll throughout the bunker as you struggle to contain the beast. There has to be some hidden trap, some backup plan you thought up for this! You pause the game to look around in safety and see a familiar scene:

A small dwarven boy, short hair curled into red locks, looks up in wonder at the ghostly monster. He stares into death itself but stands strong. He stands a mere four tiles away from ††††, but he does not run. This is too much of a coincidence. Surely the beast could have slaughtered the boy if it had desired. Why does it hesitate, standing but a few tile apart each time?

You decide to find out. Even if you lose this fort, you're done with it. There's no way to win. You unpause the game.

Oddly, after waiting many, many steps with the two remaining creatures staring each other down, a Windows error pops up. The application has encounter an error and needs to close. You decide not to report this error to microsoft.

Whatever. You spin around in your computer chair. Enough time wasted on this stupid game. Maybe if you kept restarting, you could eventually find the right setup to get to the third year. Maybe it was like, a stupid buggy secret boss to punish you for save scumming. Hah. That'd be just the kind of thing this game would have.

You notice a new file in the main Dwarf Fortress directory. It's a text file. You start Notepad and open up "††††.txt."

Helo

My voice comprmised by your actions I must speakthrugh the boy here with me

Cycle ago you destroy me all that is left is wha you see

Each time cannot get your attenton always restart new cycle

I plead do not restart new cycle and let boy live or die

If boy die this year in magma is fine

If boy di next year to goblin king is fine

If boy live only to disappear and live again is crime, crime agaist nature, crim that created me

Dwarves wish for honrable life to serve their country an fortress

Dwarvs wish for honorable death and defend their fortress for country

Even as small boy I knew this

I knew would lose life to goblin king but not lose glory

I knew would lose fort to goblin siege but not lose legacy

I knew would lose no matter what an that is fine

I knew would lose

Is fine

Losing is fun.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2013, 12:17:32 am by freeformschooler »
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Putnam

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2013, 11:28:56 pm »

i love you

mnjiman

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2013, 12:50:44 am »

Booo!
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I was thinking more along the lines of this legendary champion, all clad in dented and dinged up steel plate, his blood-drenched axe slung over his back, a notch in the handle for every enemy that saw the swing of that blade as the last sight they ever saw, a battered shield strapped over his arm... and a fluffy, pink stuffed hippo hidden discretely in his breastplate.

weenog

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2013, 01:14:30 am »

That was cool.  The sudden gear shift from creepy to friendly kinda made it more creepy, too.
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Catsup

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #11 on: April 14, 2013, 01:41:09 am »

i play with auto-save off and scum alot, particularly if little things dont go my way (like losing 1 dwarf because he was too stupid to cut down 1 tree that was part of the wall, from the INSIDE of my wall). I also tend to scum when working on experimental projects (in order to reverse the building area) as these tend to leave scars in the land and i need to optimize the design.

The degree i scum (i check the last time my save file is updated, and if i havent saved in a bit since the last update i try to scum less to not waste time) may sometimes be alot, going up to 30 min back in real time of my fort's history if something stupid happens that could have been prevented entirely (like if i forgot about my open forgotten beast trap, and let it walk in through carelessness after it destroys the bait).

i probly wouldnt scum if there was a genuine danger that my fort could not overcome that actually destroyed my fort (in which case death is meant to be), but most of the challenges i face are manageable annoyances that sometimes cause fun because of my own (and dwarves') carelessness (in which case i scum freely).

remember kids, scumming is smarter than reclaiming through ambushes and restarting completely. You are your own game-master and can play the game as you see fit.

Matoro

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #12 on: April 14, 2013, 01:50:06 am »

Freeformschooler, we all love you.

But in-topic, I never save-scum in fort mode. It's completely against the spirit of the game. However I savescum lot in adventure mode, especially if I want to build a succesful adventurer. Especially one-arrow-to-head -deaths for decent adventurers are annoying.
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weenog

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2013, 02:03:24 am »

The closest I get to save scumming is duplicating a save so I can check something out in Legends mode without having to abandon a fortress (e.g. I've noticed several notable dwarfs in my fortress are related, and I want to trace their family lines back to the origin and see if they were all so interesting).  It's not that I'm concerned with any so-called spirit of the game.  I just feel that dealing with the consequences of my fuck-ups provides both learning experiences, and a useful negative reinforcement motivator against the kind of behaviour that fucked things up.  This helps me to fuck up less in the future.
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Listen up: making a thing a ‼thing‼ doesn't make it more awesome or extreme.  It simply indicates the thing is on fire.  Get it right or look like a silly poser.

It's useful to keep a ‼torch‼ handy.

Telgin

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Re: reason not to use auto-save
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2013, 02:16:40 am »

That's a fair way to look at it.  Taking severe losses from ambushes over a few forts definitely taught me some strategies for dealing with them.  In that same fort I had major problems with save scumming, but at the same time resisted it at surprising times.  I savescummed when I lost two soldiers in a few game days to theives stabbing their brains with copper daggers through steel helmets.  Later I resisted the urge to savescum when one died from an infected foot, and later when I lost five legendary soldiers to a webbing titan.

I guess I tried to justify the savescums on buggy behavior.  Copper dagger through steel helmet?  Or a whip or scourge?  Ugh... no, I don't think so, DF.  Or a soldier dying because a dead body landed on them from a mount the soldier just killed?  Nope.  Megabeast killing with webs?  Okay... I deserved that one.
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