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amag

Savegames and My Documents

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I have a huge pet peeve with many of the current computer games running on WIntel and in order to try to stop the infestation I post this message. Why on earth do you store savegames in the "My Documents"-folder? Obviously most game developers are not aware (or do not care) about the concept of "My Documents". In "My Documents", documents that the user cares about should be stored. What I mean about that the user cares about them is that the user might want to rename the file or "oh, where did I put the recipe for that good soup?" or that she somehow by the aid of some program want to alter the contents of a file in for her a deterministic way! That is, the documents in "My Documents" should be documents that the user is aware of! Or as Raymond Chen puts it: "My Documents is where users store their files, whereas Application Data is where programs store their files" (much better and to the point than my ramblings). Some questions for game developers that ponder this: How does that fit with savegame data? Do you want your users to manually rename and/or alter the data in the files? I think not! Afterall does the user even care about where the savegames are stored? Does she need to know? Obviously not! The user plays the game, saves and the only thing the user want is to be able to continue playing from where they last saved! So obviously there's no reason to store savegames in "My Documents" and every reason not to! So where should savegames be stored? Well for security reasons they should not be stored in the game's install directory either. But do we really only have two places to store them? Either the install-directory or "My Documents"? No! A much better way is to store them in the "Application Data" or the "Local Settings\Application Data"! Thank you for reading!

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Hi.

I (partially) agree with you. However, the first time I discovered my savegames were stored in "Application Data" I felt a bit annoyed. I like to know where my savegames are stored (I like to keep them on a CD when I finnished the game). Besides, my C:\ partition is quite small so I don't like having a lot of files saved in it (in "Documents and Settings"). The problem doesn't rise for the "My Documents" folder as it is possible to make in point to another location.

This is annoying to have unwanted files in the "My Documents" folder but games are not the first to blame. Microsoft is the first. When you install Windows XP, it automatically creates some folders ("My Pictures", "My Music"...). That makes me angry : I don't want to put my music files in that directory (same for other directory).

So, as everybody thinks it's a good idea to store files and to create directories and the "My Documents" folder, I have found a quick solution : I store my documents in another folder. :p

Just my 2 cents...

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I never trust anything to the my documents folder. I always keep all my critical data in a seperate drive.

But for games, user data and saved games belong in a very obvious subdirectory of the game's directory. Whenever I uninstall a game, I can simply pick up the data/ folder and put it somewhere safe.

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the "My Documents" folder doesn't have to be at c:\documents and settings\blah\...

honestly I think putting savegames there is MUCH better than the alternative some games take: store it in the game's directory

which doesn't work when you don't run as admin [or don't give your user write rights to that directory]

is storing in application data any better? ... it is harder to find if I want to back up... that is if I wasn't aware there is an application data folder.

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How is saving a game state any different to saving a document from MS Word? Should MS Word default to storing documents in its own folder, unless you _explicitly_ move them? Why not? After all, saving a game is just as much a _user-initiated_ event as clicking "File -> Save As...".

I've been handling support for an indie games company for some time now and, believe me, storing saved games in the "Program Files" folder is a Very Bad Thing. Program Files should be reserved for just that: files that the program *requires* in order to run. It should not be a dumping ground for game-state backups or game option settings.

A saved-game *IS* something the user cares about. I frequently get asked where Game X stores its saved game files because -- get this! -- computers can, and do, crash, break down or suffer damage, resulting in a need to reinstall. Sometimes, people just plain *buy a new computer*. How is Auntie Maude supposed to cope with this when Windows XP's default behaviour upon opening the "Program Files" folder is to tell you that you're doing something wrong?

Since "My Documents" isn't actually named "My Documents Reserved Only For Documents I Created Entirely On My Own So Windows Movie Maker's Sample Video File Can Just Piss Off", it seems far more logical to me that this is where saved games should be stored. Ideally, it'd be nice to see a "My Game Documents" folder within "My Documents", with each game creating its own subfolder within that; game options and settings files should go into this folder too, so that you don't have to reset all your key bindings for that complex flight-sim game you love to play.

Please, PLEASE remember that games developers are NOT a target audience for games! Just because YOU folks here like doing things your way, it does not automatically follow that every bugger else does too. The "My Documents" folder concept is merely an evolution of UNIX's own "home" folder. It exists for a damned good reason.



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For me, the "My Documents" is the unofficial "Not My Documents" folder. I never ever store something there, I have separate partitions on separate physical drives to organize my data. So, anytime I find something in "My Documents", I know for sure that I never put it there, and that some appllication or game must have created it. That's rather convenient, actually. TBH, I wish that all games would put their savegames into "My Documents". "Application Data" is a real pain because, as it was mentioned, you cannot change its position to a different physical drive or directory, using a different filesystem than NTFS (to be writable by Linux, for instance).

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Quote:
Original post by stimarco
I've been handling support for an indie games company for some time now and, believe me, storing saved games in the "Program Files" folder is a Very Bad Thing. Program Files should be reserved for just that: files that the program *requires* in order to run. It should not be a dumping ground for game-state backups or game option settings.

The OP is advocating saved games to stored in Application Data, not Program Files. Application Data is just like My Documents, except the user doesn't see it unless he goes looking for it. I'm sure it has a Unix counterpart, but I don't know what it is. Maybe /usr? *edit: It sounds like Application Data may not be just like My Documents...I assumed it could be relocated and what not.

That said, I agree with your point 100%.

CM

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a small note from a system-admin: the application data can get relocated just as my documents (and about any other folder).
i _think_ it's doable with tweakui.

and yes, games should definitely store in Application Data, or in My Documents.

I'd say game settings should get stored in Application Data, and savegames into My Documents. but that is discutable :D

what i'd love is a more simple access from My Documents to "Application Data", so users would at least be aware of that folder (i've backed up all my files, but lost all my e-mails!!!! where are they now, i fresh formated my disk... yes.. they where in the appdata... and are gone now). and then, my documents would ONLY be for user-saves, and not get flooded by stupid other apps. but i think with time, this will all work out. too much programmers still don't know how to work with such stuff.

it's difficult to get rid of old habbits. but my work would be boring if everyone knew how to write an application right :D

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Application Data may not be moved using TweakUI (or at least not when using TweakUI on a limited account) plus Application Data is a hidden folder. The implication is that the things in Application Data are probably not necessarily supposed to be backed up.

Personally, I'd rather savegames be My Documents than Application Data since a savegame is a document created by a game. Configuration files should go in Application Data.

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Quote:
Original post by Conner McCloud
Quote:
Original post by stimarco
I've been handling support for an indie games company for some time now and, believe me, storing saved games in the "Program Files" folder is a Very Bad Thing. Program Files should be reserved for just that: files that the program *requires* in order to run. It should not be a dumping ground for game-state backups or game option settings.

The OP is advocating saved games to stored in Application Data, not Program Files. Application Data is just like My Documents, except the user doesn't see it unless he goes looking for it. I'm sure it has a Unix counterpart, but I don't know what it is. Maybe /usr?


If you go off the LFS (Linux Filesystem Standard? Not sure I'm titling what I'm thinking of correctly):

"C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\*" is equivilant to "/home/username/*"

"C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\*" is equivilant to "/home/username/.*"

It's a thin line. If you go by the dictionary definition of "Document", the two areas overlap.

Quote:
Original post by amag
How does that fit with savegame data? Do you want your users to manually rename
yes
Quote:
and/or alter the data in the files?
by playing them further, yes
Quote:
I think not! Afterall does the user even care about where the savegames are stored?
When I want to do a backup, yes
Quote:
Does she need to know?
to do aforementioned backup, yes
Quote:
So obviously there's no reason
except the ones I've allready mentioned...

You get the idea.

Last I checked, also, savegames wern't a type of "Setting". Video resolution and key bindings yes. Savegames no.

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