Not too long ago, we discussed saving and dying in role-playing games in Death And The CRPG. Now Randy Smith has said a few things about it at the Game Developers Conference.

His take isn’t on the severe side, as Marty O’Hale’s was. Rather, he wants developers to look for ways to lead the player away from the restore/save cycle without necessarily limiting the ability to save.

He considers this to be about risk, and that players will restore if they feel they’re risking too much, whereas, if they’re not going to lose too much, they’ll go on without reloading.

I’m wondering how well that would apply to the typical CRPG. Naturally, we save before entering a dungeon (if we remember ;), as something unpleasant may be waiting just the other side, something we’re not really prepared for.

And of course, there’s the “save-after-big-fight” so you don’t have to endure it again. Aside from those, and maybe a few intermediate saves now and then, how often do players save in a CRPG?

Sometimes, not enough. We’ve all done the “plowing ahead and then…uh oh”, where we get trounced, or the game crashes, and the last save was maybe a couple hours back.

Then again, there’s the dungeon syndrome, where you know something really nasty is waiting, so you save every few feet along. Just in case.

And these days, with so many games featuring conversations, it’s usually wise to save before talking to anyone. I try to do that myself, because you never know what may happen.

Do we save too much in these games? Not enough? Are we willing to take risks and – barring death, which is always restore time – go on anyway, or are we more likely to restore in a non-combat situation to try again?

Read the article and see what you think.

Randy Smith on Saving and Restoring at Gamasutra