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Delterius

Minimizing Save scumming. Or is it too much of a hassle?

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design the game so every fight is difficult instead of as a series of mediocre fights. that solves a lot of it. say no to trash fights.

Edited by ogrezilla

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See, weather a game has "save whenever" or "save points" affects game design. No design element exist in a vaccum - it influences all other things. Level desing, enncoutner design, classes, other mechanics - they can all change and are influenced by all other factors.

 

So a game that uses "save whenever" will be quite different than a game that doesn't.

Therefore, claiming that "my" experience will not change and depends only on me is wrong.

 

This is the important point. The save mechanic is not something that's "outside" of the gameplay; it's something that's integral to how the game is played and thus its design impacts everything else.

 

With a lax saving mechanic all games, regardless of other difficulty settings, end up trivial.

 

Can you give specifics? It's hard to argue against generalities.

 

From my very limited and uninformed perspective, developing a game with choice and consequence and then designing the game around the assumption that people would bypass those choices and consequences would be amateurish at best. I have great confidence that the game will be designed around those choices. If the devs do design the game on the assumption that I'm not playing how you want, then I have probably backed the wrong developers. I don't think that will be the case.

Edited by mute688
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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

All of those examples are things you can simply not do if they bother you. Its very easy to just not reload if you fail a pickpocket attempt. I think we want to hear examples of the save system negatively influencing other design choices that you simply can't avoid.

 

Personally, I felt like the classic infinity engine games were designed with no thought to the save system. You played the game and you saved when you wanted. They didn't leave out traps or pickpocketing because you could just save and reload to always get the desired result. It was very easily abused, but only if you chose to abuse it. I can't think of anything that was designed to make up for the save system.

Edited by ogrezilla
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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

All of those examples are things you can simply not do if they bother you. Its very easy to just not reload if you fail a pickpocket attempt. I think we want to hear examples of the save system negatively influencing other design choices that you simply can't avoid.

 

Personally, I felt like the classic infinity engine games were designed with no thought to the save system. You played the game and you saved when you wanted. They didn't leave out traps or pickpocketing because you could just save and reload to always get the desired result. It was very easily abused, but only if you chose to abuse it. I can't think of anything that was designed to make up for the save system.

Agreeing with this, and putting an emphasis on what I feel are the key points.


Do you like hardcore realistic survival simulations? Take a gander at this.

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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

 

I think this is a case of having to simply agree to disagree. To me, those aren't design flaws based around the inclusion of a specific save system. They were player exploits that can be ignored. Now, I understand that maybe some people lose some enjoyment from knowing of the existence of an exploit and having to not use it to get the most from the game, but my opinion is that the freedom that saving anywhere, or maybe anywhere outside of combat and conversation, gives is a good outcome. I will reiterate though, that I doubt the devs will design this game around the assumption that people will use exploits. I'm confident that the game will be designed on the assumption that we will play the game in the spirit in which it was intended to be played. That means no compromise on designing the choice and consequence part of the game, no trivialising of any of the classes, but freedom to play in a different style if we choose.

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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

All of those examples are things you can simply not do if they bother you. Its very easy to just not reload if you fail a pickpocket attempt. I think we want to hear examples of the save system negatively influencing other design choices that you simply can't avoid.

 

Personally, I felt like the classic infinity engine games were designed with no thought to the save system. You played the game and you saved when you wanted. They didn't leave out traps or pickpocketing because you could just save and reload to always get the desired result. It was very easily abused, but only if you chose to abuse it. I can't think of anything that was designed to make up for the save system.

 

Do you believe this sort of player freedom should be a basic part of a game's design? Do you believe that any unbalanced and exploitable game mechanic isn't bad design simply because the player can pretend its not there?

Edited by Delterius

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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

All of those examples are things you can simply not do if they bother you. Its very easy to just not reload if you fail a pickpocket attempt. I think we want to hear examples of the save system negatively influencing other design choices that you simply can't avoid.

 

Personally, I felt like the classic infinity engine games were designed with no thought to the save system. You played the game and you saved when you wanted. They didn't leave out traps or pickpocketing because you could just save and reload to always get the desired result. It was very easily abused, but only if you chose to abuse it. I can't think of anything that was designed to make up for the save system.

 

Do you believe this sort of player freedom should be a basic part of a game's design? Do you believe that any unbalanced and exploitable game mechanic isn't bad design simply because the player can pretend its not there?

I think requiring players to repeat content that they have already gone through is worse design.

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For an example: in fallout you could save on your own turn in combat. This could be used to win any fight by saving at the beginning of your turn and reloading until you had a good couple of attacks. You could also save at the end of the turn and reload if the enemy got any good blows in. This was a winning strategy of course - and a trivially easy one.

 

The save mechanic wasn't quite lax enough in the IE-games so as to make combat trivial but it certainly made it a lot easier. You would never have to fail disarming a trap or fail at a pick-pocket attempt in those games either.

All of those examples are things you can simply not do if they bother you. Its very easy to just not reload if you fail a pickpocket attempt. I think we want to hear examples of the save system negatively influencing other design choices that you simply can't avoid.

 

Personally, I felt like the classic infinity engine games were designed with no thought to the save system. You played the game and you saved when you wanted. They didn't leave out traps or pickpocketing because you could just save and reload to always get the desired result. It was very easily abused, but only if you chose to abuse it. I can't think of anything that was designed to make up for the save system.

 

Do you believe this sort of player freedom should be a basic part of a game's design? Do you believe that any unbalanced and exploitable game mechanic isn't bad design simply because the player can pretend its not there?

I think requiring players to repeat content that they have already gone through is worse design.

Here's another question then: did you ever die in a IE game?

 

I'm still waiting for the answer of my first question.

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. Limiting saving to outside of combat is perfectly fine too. I honestly don't know if you could save in combat in the IE games because I never tried to do it. Honestly, I think a game should be designed to be played. Saving is just something to add on top of that. I see no benefit in getting killed and reloading at the start of the cave compared to getting killed and reloading in front of the fight where you died.

 

And yes, I died in IE games.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. And yes, I died in IE games.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

Edited by Delterius

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. And yes, I died in IE games.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

It's not a matter of freedom for me. Its a matter of having to repeat content or not.

 

And when I died, I fought the same battle. I really don't think I get your point.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. And yes, I died in IE games.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

Yes, that freedom is better than the alternative. And when I died, I fought the same battle. I really don't think I get your point.

 

And what is the alternative? Repeating content because, Heaven's forbid, you made a bad decision? Well, you did fight those same battles more than once, didn't you?

Edited by Delterius

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. And yes, I died in IE games.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

Yes, that freedom is better than the alternative. And when I died, I fought the same battle. I really don't think I get your point.

 

And what is the alternative? Repeating combat because you made a bad decision? Well, you did fight those same battles more than once, didn't you?

I don't want to repeat the battles I have already won.

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I look at it like this. We are talking about 2 major options.

1. Limited saving. You can only save at certain times or places. People that want limited saving are happy; people that want to save whenever they want are not and can do nothing about it.

2. Save whenever you want. People who want to save whenever they want are happy. People that want limited saving are completely capable of limiting when they save.

 

there is no reason the game needs to be designed differently for each. It could be; but it doesn't need to be.

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I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

 

I know you didn't intend the question for me, but I wanted to chime in anyway. :) I do think player freedom in regards to saves is more important than a few exploits. I find it unrealistic to expect the devs to find all exploits and design them out. It becomes a question of what is more enjoyable. Do they design out save scumming and exploits, something which the player has to actively want to do, at the cost of player choice and freedom, or do they not limit our choices and freedoms and reasonably assume that exploits will be ignored by anyone who does not wish to use them? I hope they choose not to limit our choices and freedom.

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I think the freedom to save whenever you want should be a basic part of a game's design, yes. And yes, I died in IE games.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

Yes, that freedom is better than the alternative. And when I died, I fought the same battle. I really don't think I get your point.

 

And what is the alternative? Repeating combat because you made a bad decision? Well, you did fight those same battles more than once, didn't you?

I don't want to repeat the battles I have already won.

I'm not surprised that you're very selective of what you consider fair and acceptable or not, most gamers have become just like that. You've isolated single encounters as single challenges, which is a entirely valid viewpoint, and you don't consider those challenges should be re-run, even if the player comes to make very bad decisions later on, which is also fair.

 

However, I actually disagree with that. I don't believe encounters are isolated into themselves, but rather that they are designed with entire adventures in mind, and adventures are what should be taken as 'single challenges' to finish. A really good party-based RPG should have a bit of strategy, with the need to manage resources throught the entire that entire quest. This falls in line with the fact that, generally, you can't restock in the middle of a dungeon and how you, also generally, gain the greatest rewards (experience and otherwise) when everything is finished. When the Hero has actually attained a victory.

 

You can disagree with me, which is ultimately reasonable. But I do hope you can see your 'repeating content sucks' argument no more a gospel than my own words, since repeating things because you did badly in any game is kinda of a staple.

 

I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

 

I know you didn't intend the question for me, but I wanted to chime in anyway. :) I do think player freedom in regards to saves is more important than a few exploits. I find it unrealistic to expect the devs to find all exploits and design them out. It becomes a question of what is more enjoyable. Do they design out save scumming and exploits, something which the player has to actively want to do, at the cost of player choice and freedom, or do they not limit our choices and freedoms and reasonably assume that exploits will be ignored by anyone who does not wish to use them? I hope they choose not to limit our choices and freedom.

 

Well, there's also another logic that I'm trying to describe here. But for that I need you to answer the question fully: I'm not talking about 'exploits' only - the discussion here is another level: I'm talking about game mechanics in general. Do you believe that balancing game mechanics is a second priority to player freedom?

Edited by Delterius
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I completely understand the idea of attrition adding to the game. But saving whenever you want doesn't diminish that. If I've made bad decisions and come to a point where I can't advance because I'm low on supplies or health or whatever, I'll have to load an older save. If I get through three groups of enemies just fine and screw up on the 4th and die, I don't want to repeat the first three again.

 

And I can still simply not save as often. That option is always available with a save anytime system. Limited saving does not have that flexibility.

 

I'm not trying to say my thinking of "repeating content sucks" is more valid than yours either. I disagree with you, but you are more than entitled to your opinion.

 

 

To answer that question about balancing mechanics, I would say it depends on the mechanic. There is no blanket answer that covers every mechanic.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I see game mechanics as defining player freedom. I don't see it as an either/or. I don't think anyone expects unlimited freedom, simply freedom to play the game in the manner they see fit within the game mechanics. That said, of course balance is important. That also being said, designing a game around the possibility that some player, somewhere, may use an exploit to bypass some intended design element is, in my book, lucicrous. Design the best game possible within the constraints of allowed time and money and reasonably assume that people can either play the game in the spirit in which it was intended, or they can exploit certain game mechanics to whatever end they desire. It's a single player game. Who cares if anyone or everyone is using faulty design to expolit the game mechanics.

 

I prefer the approach of leaving the decision up to the player. It allows me to play in different styles during consequent play throughs. I can see what happens if I do certain things differently without having to replay large expanses of the game. If I want to do that, why do you care if I'm missing out on the intended overall experince?

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I am not asking if player freedom is important, I'm asking wether its more important than balancing game mechanics since you can pretend the 'exploitable' (which is a fallacy unto itself, since the player isn't exploiting anything, he's playing the game as it is: badly designed) parts don't exist.

 

Yes, the convenience and freedom is more important because balance can be addressed by 1) designing encounters and game systems to not assume save and reload tactics, and 2) letting each gamer choose to what extent they want to use or abuse the system.

 

A save system is not just a gameplay system. It is a system of convenience to save state. Do we want to encrypt save games to prevent players from using save game editors? Remove console cheats from the game? These don't need to be because the game can be designed to a baseline that doesn't assume the need for save and reload tactics and still be tense and difficult.

 

But back to the second question. When you died, did you fight that same battle or was there some cheesy, unbalanced 'skip the battle' button?

 

You could choose to fight the battle again in which you died, or you could avoid the battle and go away and do something else. I don't see how this is cheesy. That is the inherent penalty in save and reload. But since you can save anywhere, you only have to redo the content you wish to redo. You don't have to rely on some arbitrary point determined by the developer.

 

This argument would have more weight if there was no single save mode. But there is, and that will be plenty challenging and provide a suitably tense experience . Your original question was if minimizing save scumming was too much hassle. I'm pretty sure, judging by this thread, that the answer is pretty clear. Minimizing it in the ways described in this thread would turn off quite a few people, is ultimately fruitless, and with Trial of Iron Mode, honestly doesn't add a huge amount anyway.

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I completely understand the idea of attrition adding to the game. But saving whenever you want doesn't diminish that.

 

I think there are diminished effect of attrition when saving is allowed anywhere. Let me describe an example: Suppose your party cleared three fights since the last save. They did so without resorting to use of any "dailies", but you've sustained some damage to your party members and you're not in your best shape. You generally like to not use any of the dailies for non-boss battles. Now before you can proceed to the next level of the dungeon you will have to beat one more encounter and you're pretty sure it's not the boss. Also, you don't think you'll be able to rest in this dungeon. With no save possibility you have to make the strategically important decision to try and fight this battle without dailies but in so risk die or, instead, blow some dailies and come out a guaranteed victor. With a save functions you can just reload until you manage the encounter without wasting dailies.

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as long as the encounters aren't any different because of the choice of save system I don't see a problem. And there is no reason the encounters should be designed differently because the act of saving has no direct effect on the gameplay. You are 100% capable of limiting your own saves if it makes your experience more enjoyable. And it has absolutely no effect on you when I save mine. Again, forced limitations on saving do not have that workaround. Everyone is forced to use the limited system.

 

With a mechanic like resting its different. The balance of the encounters would be different based on different resting rules because it has a direct effect on the game in the form of health and spells. But saving has no direct effect on the gameplay so it should have no direct effect on the balance of the game. If it does, that's a problem of design and not a problem of the save system.

 

Luckily for me, I am on the side the designers have gone with way more often than not. We can debate all day, but I am about 99% sure we won't see limited saving outside of ironman mode. Except for no saving in combat or mid conversation. That I could see and even endorse.

Edited by ogrezilla

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I support a save anytime system. Now, "Does that mean I think they'll allow saves in the middle of battles or dialogues?" My answer would be, simply, "No."

 

However, outside of a decision making process like an well written, branching, dialogue or a tactical battle . . . I do think you'll be able to save just about anywhere or anytime. I think to do otherwise will inconvenience people in a real way, with countless examples throughout everyday life of why truly limited save systems do not work. People have real lives. Real lives, even during your, "me" time, the time you put aside for yourself, for hobbies, for whatever . . . can be interrupted. In fact they 'will' get interrupted. By people. By weather. By technical difficulties. By power outages. By pets. By family. By friends. By the fact that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And so much more.

 

Limited saves don't make a game harder. Limited saves do not make up for the fact that some people are weak willed, and will try to exploit anything no matter what limitations are, or are not, in place. Limited saves do not make people legitimate players, as the legitimate players would have played legitimately regardless of the save system as they always have.

 

Limited saves only inconvenience people, most especially the legitimate players, and interfere with the fact that, "Life is what happens while you're making other plans." People have real lives to deal with. Limitations within the game challenge you, can ensure you plan ahead and think tactically on your toes, but limiting saves does not result in challenge inside the game - it only results in tedium, and frustration, in reality where you have any number of real life occurences that clash with a limited save system.

 

In the end I can't see an outcome where Obsidian uses a limited save system. Maybe I'm wrong in what they'll do, but I'll never feel I'm wrong in regards to my stance that limited save systems should, quite simply, not happen.

Edited by Umberlin
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You will not harm her, you will not harm her ever again!"

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It's rather easy to not engage in frequent reloading, and I don't see any problem with frequent saving. I often play through both Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate with a limited number of reloads, or occasionally with none -- but I do keep saving often, because there's always the chance that the power will go off or flicker, or that you'll have to stop playing and do something else. If you haven't saved recently in a case like that, then you have to go back from the last place you could save even though you were doing just fine in the game. Save and quit could work for one of those instances, but not for the other.

 

So, I prefer being able to save anywhere (except for places such as in dialogue or in combat).

 

Basically, you can easily choose not to save or reload if doing so is a possibility, but you can't choose to save or reload if doing so isn't a possibility. If some people want to reload every time something goes minorly wrong, I don't see how that has any effect on how anybody else plays the game. I wouldn't, surely, but they aren't making me do it. Granted, if there is an autosave feature, that will automatically save -- but it's still up to you whether or not you choose to reload from it or from a point farther back if something goes wrong.

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I'll just state that I absolutely hate when games have limited save options. It has nothing to do with wanting to save before every fight, but rather everything to do with the fact that, if I have to leave or have to stop playing, I want the ability to save at that point.

 

I don't want to have to have to either play for another half hour to reach a save point or risk having to play through the same area all over again the next time I load the game.


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