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Game Saves Are Messing Up Our Drives!

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My first article on here! Hi everyone! :)
I am writing this in the hopes that someone who can do something about this, reads it
eg. Valve and all game devs I guess.

I now have over 300 games for Linux. In most ways this makes me very happy. But there is one thing that is getting me very unhappy. Currently games seem to be saving wherever the hell they like, it's making one hell of a mess. Heaven forbid I might want to ever backup all my savegames.
Just trying to navigate my home folder to find something important is becoming extremely annoying.

There needs to be some rules that are followed. Like making all games save in a certain place
like /home/user/.local/share/gamename or /home/user/.config/gamename or better yet /home/user/.savegame/gamename
If they save ANYWHERE else, DON'T let them onto Steam.


Just for fun here is my current installed saved games (at least that I can find).
I will only write the names of really bad examples though.

3 folders In ~/ and NOT HIDDEN! Devs really didn't care here.
3089/, eschalon_b1_saved_games/, PlanetExplorers/

18 hidden folders in ~/.

4 folders in ~/Documents/ - not hidden
(cause we wanna be like Windows, right? Or maybe we like opening our savegames with LibreOffice.)
7 Days To Die/, BladeofDestiny/, NeocoreGames/, Shadowrun Returns/
The Shadowrun Returns folder is completely empty and doesn't need to exist, it saves elsewhere.

12 folders in ~/.config/
Harebrained Schemes/ is another empty useless folder from Shadowrun Returns.
Zigfrag also has a folder in ~/.config/unity3d/
Snapshot also has a folder in ~/.local/share/

60 folders In ~/.config/unity3d/ (Lots of Unity engine games, but not all Unity games save here.)
Here are some standouts.
Bigmoon Studios_ S_A_/, Bigmoon Studios, S.A./ both for Jagged Alliance
Headup Games GmbH _ Co KG/, Headup Games GmbH & Co KG/ both for Shiny the Firefly
N_Fusion Interactive/, N-Fusion Interactive/ both for Leisure suit larry
Pathea/ Pathea Games/ both for Planet explorers + don't forget also has 3rd folder unhidden in ~/
The Fun Pimps also has a folder in ~/Documents
Entheogen for Zigfrak also has a folder in ~/.config/
Harebrained Schemes for Shadowrun Returns has other folders in ~/.config/ and ~/Documents/
Logic Artists for Expeditions-Conquistador has another folder in ~/.local/share/

24 folders In ~/.local/share/
Snapshot/ Snapshot also has another folder in ~/.config/

71 folders In ~/.local/share/Steam/userdata/somenumber/ for cloud saves

So the Top 3 messiest games
--Planet Explorers
1 folder in ~/ wich isn't hidden, holds the actual savegame
2 folders in ~/.config/unity3d/ both with identical config files

-- Shadowrun Returns:
1 empty folder in ~/Documents
1 empty folder in ~/.config/
1 folder in ~/.config/unity3d/ which has prefs
1 folder in /home/bjorn/.local/share/Steam/userdata/3790390/234650 which has the savegame

-- 3089 and Eschalon Book share this spot for not at least being hidden in ~/

I only have 154 of 301 Linux games installed. I can only imagine the mess if I install the rest. I try to keep my HDD nice and tidy, with everything in its place. I don't have my music collection splattered everywhere, it's all in my ~/Music. Pictures are all in ~/Pictures etc.

Please someone with some pull, FIX THIS. Until then I might make a separate user just for games.

Does this annoy anyone else? Voice your opinion, let them know this isn't acceptable. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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72 comments
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dean36963 30 September 2014 at 12:31 pm UTC
Last time this annoyed me I moved the startup script/binary and replaced it with a bash script.

This script does an "export HOME=/path/to/clean/location" and ran the script/binary that usually gets run, and passes any arguments.

Means you don't need to rely on any devs fixing this.

Steam might clean your script when updating the game though.
Skully 30 September 2014 at 12:31 pm UTC
FutureSutureHow does GOG do it?

Well I got rise of the triad dark war from gog. It saves, in the data folder inside the games
installation folder. That is exactly where the dos version really saved aswell.
So I am assuming it's up to the game itself still.
stan 30 September 2014 at 12:34 pm UTC
Totally agree with the article, and it’s not only games… in 2014 there are still many tools that save their config in $HOME instead of $XDG_CONFIG_HOME. It’s really annoying…
vulture 30 September 2014 at 12:34 pm UTC
being coder my self, all i can say is "leave it to random wanna-be coder to be clueless as fsck, as long as it works..."

i lost so many nerves when talking about specs with coders in our company or friends i know... and it always ends up with "who has the time to study this?"

although .config and .local shouldn't be counted here.
.config is legit location for preferences
.local is legit location for save files
the problematic ones are games that just store into random location outside those 2, like in home or Documents
Skully 30 September 2014 at 12:35 pm UTC
dean36963Last time this annoyed me I moved the startup script/binary and replaced it with a bash script.

This script does an "export HOME=/path/to/clean/location" and ran the script/binary that usually gets run, and passes any arguments.

Means you don't need to rely on any devs fixing this.

Steam might clean your script when updating the game though.

I tried that before, it works for a few, but not for most because they don't use the environment variables at all.
DrMcCoy 30 September 2014 at 12:38 pm UTC
A few more very annoying ones:

~/BrokenAge/
~/Documents/KentuckyRouteZero/
~/Documents/Paradox\ Interactive/Crusader\ Kings\ II/
~/Documents/Saved\ Games/Redshirt/
~/Documents/SavedGames/BreachClear/

At least I always know where Ren'Py games save: in ~/.renpy/
Kiba 30 September 2014 at 12:47 pm UTC
And one more:

~/Zomboid/
oldrocker99 30 September 2014 at 1:16 pm UTC
I've seen more than one post about having to restore your /home folder.

Putting /home on its own partition is a very good idea. For one thing, it makes installations a lot simpler, since there's no restoration of your /home folder.

You can use these instructions:http://www.howtogeek.com/116742/how-to-create-a-separate-home-partition-after-installing-ubuntu/. While these instructions are for Ubuntu, they work on practically any distro.

Or, with a new installation, you can select "Something Else" and give the / (root) partition, say, 128GB, or even 64GB (which is PLENTY) and the rest of the drive as a second partition mounted as /home, keeping the /swap partition as is. Then, you only have to restore once. Of course, back up /home and keep that backup secure!

I have a second drive on my desktop mounted as /home, but anyone with a laptop should do this on their single drive. Again, it makes new installations MUCH quicker and easier.
OZSeaford 30 September 2014 at 1:19 pm UTC
This article is very pertinent.

Sure, maybe someone will come up with a save game export tool like Window's GameSave Manager, but that will not only backup the save games to one place, but will leave all the original saves messing up the different save folders.

It would be nice to have a solution upstream that prevents save games fragmenting the file system.

dean36963Last time this annoyed me I moved the startup script/binary and replaced it with a bash script.

This script does an "export HOME=/path/to/clean/location" and ran the script/binary that usually gets run, and passes any arguments.

Means you don't need to rely on any devs fixing this.

Steam might clean your script when updating the game though.

If this works, that is a great solution. I will try it at home.
rodvil 30 September 2014 at 1:27 pm UTC
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Trying to back up save games for 4 or 5 games is just a real pain... and the same with restoring the saves after a fresh install. Without internet access I could never guess where each save game is! Something that could take 2 minutes in total, takes hours!
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