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eighty_five
23rd Mar 2003, 20:48
Hey there gamers - For those of you who have no idea who i am, I'm a veteran TR fan like yourselves and I've been popping in and out of the TR forums throughout the past 4 years or so. I'm currently working on a savegame program similar to the one I wrote called TRLS that Stella posted up for me on tombraiders.net, and I assume that many of you have probably seen it there and hopefully even used it. If you wish to find out more about it, please check it out at http://tombraiders.net/stella/savegame.html#programs.

Anyhow, the bottom line is I need help from someone familiar with SEVERAL different computer games (old and new), perferably the more popular ones. This new program I'm working on is a much more advanced version of TRLS that will be applicable to every game out there and allow several more options in addition to that. In creating a universal savegame program, I realized I'm going to need to know about the way different games store their savegames (for example, where they're saved to and how they are named), and if I could have someone who's familiar with a lot of differents games give me a hand and just eMail me the information I need, it'll save me the hassle of actually going out and buying the games. I'd also like to have someone to communicate with to get advice and input from so I can make this program the best that I can.

So any of you are interested, please just post here or you can eMail me at brad@tombraiders.net - I'd deeply appreciate it. I'd like to offer some kind of incentive, but I'm poor and have nothing more to offer than that your name will go on the "About" screen of the program. Hey, at least it's something! Thank you all for your time.

eighty_five
26th Mar 2003, 22:16
No one? Oh well - does anyone here know of any good and active gaming forums, and if so could you point me there?

DaveJ
27th Mar 2003, 07:45
How do you mean "how they are saved"?


Many will auto-save upon starting a new level, some have overwriteable quicksave shortcuts like hitting F5, some have limited saves per level (like SOF2), some won't allow you to save until you complete the level (Project IGI), and others allow you to save from the start of a particular area only (MGS).

In addition to the quicksave, there is also usually a save option that won't overwrite without your permission within the games main menu, accessible by hitting ESC usually.

As to where the games are saved to, usually it is the folder marked "SAVES" or "SAVEGAMES" within the game folder itself.
Max Payne - fo some reason - saved its games to your My Documents folder.


Games using the Quake engine save to the 'save' folder within the 'BASE' folder...for example American McGee's Alice savegames are called .spv files, but also using the same base route, Jedi Knight 2 calls them .sav files...so there is no continuity there!

Lithtech engine games like Alien v Predator 1&2 and NOLF 1&2 call them .SAV files.

Medal of Honor calls them .SAV and .SSV files.

eighty_five
27th Mar 2003, 21:27
Thanks for the reply Dave, and for the info. I've been doing my research on what I'll call "savegame structures" (just for the sake of naming them something) of several different games, and I realized that this'll get pretty messy. By "savegame structures" I mean file extensions, file naming methods, and file locations of the actual savegames on the hard drive.

I didn't really get into the mechanics of the program on my previous post, but in case it helps to know, the program loads a file similar to a ZIP file that may contain any number of savegames in it. Also inside this ZIP file is a text file that contains all of the data about the game's "savegame structure." The program needs this data file in order to "load" the savegames from the ZIP file into the game's savegame directory on the hard drive.

This can be a real pain in the pahkooch because, as you pointed out, each game saves its savegames differently (extensions, filenames, and locations), and so what I need to do is put together some kind of master template for this data file that will be applicable to every game, which is why I need to become familiar with the savegame structures of different games.

There's no way in heaven that I'm going any futher than that because it just gets even more confusing. If you'd like to know more then please ask, and if you'd like to get a taste of what this program's going to be like, then check out TRLS at Stella's site - I think I already posted the link.

But anyhow, I hope that makes sense to you, and if you don't mind, I'd like to know if you're alright with me coming to you with any questions that I'm undoubtedly going to have? Again, I appreciate your input.

DaveJ
27th Mar 2003, 21:41
I love the idea.....but when I was reading your original outline I couldn't help think "Ooooh...thats biting off a lot to chew!" :D

I still think that if you can find enough similarities you could get it to work for a wide range of games at least?


I'll be happy to answer any more questions as much as I can.

eighty_five
28th Mar 2003, 22:04
Hey thanks DaveJ, I really appreciate it. Yeah you're right, it is going to be a good amount to chew, but, just like you said, I've been looking for patterns and similarities amoung different games to put together this program. It's not going to be a piece of cake, but this program should be a gem once I'm done with it.:D

Xcom
30th Mar 2003, 12:18
IMO, you are wasting your time. There is no such thing as global "savegame structure". Each game saves its own data which it needs to save. Some saves are small (like 40-200 kb) and some are really huge (5-6 mb), some are compressed and encrypted, some are not. There are no patterns and no similarities except maybe when different games use the same engine (jedi outcast and alice) but even then, most devs rewrite/modify the engine so the data stored in a save is not the same. In other words, you will never make a tool that can read and "understand" savegames from (quote) every game out there. The only way to interpret the savegames is to examine them in a HexEditor (and there are lots of them already available).

eighty_five
30th Mar 2003, 20:18
Well Xcom, I appreciate the input, but I think I'd rather prefer that you read all of what I posted so you can understand the situation before you come in here and tell me I can't do it. I'm not actually trying to read the savegames at all, the program will simply unzip them from a ZIP file into a folder. It's that simple. Hopefully I will be able to make this work for most if not every game out there, and I believe it is actually VERY possible, all it's gonna take is some work. Thanks for your opinion.

Xcom
31st Mar 2003, 11:50
Originally posted by eighty_five
Well Xcom, I appreciate the input, but I think I'd rather prefer that you read all of what I posted so you can understand the situation before you come in here and tell me I can't do it. I'm not actually trying to read the savegames at all, the program will simply unzip them from a ZIP file into a folder. It's that simple. Hopefully I will be able to make this work for most if not every game out there, and I believe it is actually VERY possible, all it's gonna take is some work. Thanks for your opinion.

I apologize. I, indeed, rushed through your first post and was under the impression that you wanted to create some kind of universal save game editor (which is impossible). Though I still fail to see the whole purpose of such program (except maybe general storage of save games), I wish you luck. Again, sorry for misunderstanding.

eighty_five
31st Mar 2003, 20:12
hey all in good humor, buddy. i guess i over reacted some. but yeah, the whole point of the program is to make savegame distribution and organization easier for games. it's something i've always found i like to have to use after i've beaten a game and maybe wanted to replay levels with max ammo and such. so i'm hoping others will find it useful too.