STOP IT: Put Save Games In ONE Place

By John Walker on January 23rd, 2012 at 10:38 am.

This is contrusctive.

I’ve mentioned this flippantly before, in The Rules, but really I’m beyond exasperated now. I demand – DEMAND I say – a single location for savegames to be agreed upon by all who make games, with a punishment of grisly, brutal death for any who fails to follow it. Below I’ve listed the locations for savegames for a bunch of the games I currently have installed.

I’m reminded of my rage this morning, as I settle down for a morning with the new Saints Row: The Third DLC. It turns out it doesn’t work with the press build of the original game I previously had, so I’ve had to install the release version. That means transferring my saves over. So where are they? After an appeal on Twitter I learn that they’re in:

C:\Steam\userdata\[my ID]\55230\remote

Oh, of course. 55230. Why didn’t that just immediately spring to my mind? But some may argue this is a failing of Steam, and not fair to blame on THQ/Volition. Well, let’s take a look at where we can find some other saves.

How about RPG classic, Dragon Age? Are they stored with the game? No no no, of course not. They’re in My Documents! Hidden inside the Characters folder.

C:\Users\John\Documents\BioWare\Dragon Age\Characters\Simon

Hmmm, I want access to my Trials 2 details. So are they in My Documents? No, they’re elsewhere. They’re here:

C:\Users\John\AppData\Local\Redlynx\Trials 2 SE\2.0\scores

It’s important to note that AppData (or Application Data pre Win 7) is a hidden folder. Using Windows without knowing your way around it, you’re not even going to see that the folder is on your hard drive, let alone think to look in there. Let alone know the difference between “Local”, LocalLow” and “Roaming”. Deliberately set to scare you away, Windows doesn’t like ordinary people fiddling in there. So that’s where most save games go?

So I’ll look there for Minecraft saves too, as I want them on my netbook. But they’re not in MyDocs nor \Local\! They’re here:

C:\Users\John\AppData\Roaming\.minecraft\saves

In what appears to be the most deliberately hidden folder, ever.

Right, so Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Any of those three? Nope.

C:\Users\John\Saved Games\Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood\SAVES

This one, despite being in the hidden “Users” folder, actually makes a modicum of sense. Sure, it’s a game on Steam, and not being stored in Steam’s numerical system for some reason. But it’s actually in a folder called “Saved Games”! Along with Minesweeper, and nothing else. It’s also somewhat confused by having this location too:

C:\Users\All Users\Ubisoft\Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood

Which is completely empty.

And kudos to indie game Bust N Rush, for managing to be the only game I’ve ever seen in \LocalLow, with this catch location:

C:\Users\John\AppData\LocalLow\Techtonic Games Inc\BustNRush\SAVEDATA\13

Another Steam game, Skyrim, opts for somewhere else too. Back in My Documents now, but in a folder especially for “My Games”. Makes sense too, if it weren’t the only game in there.

C:\Users\John\Documents\My Games\Skyrim\Saves

It’s quite near to Cthulhu Saves The World’s saves, which have their own unique space in a dedicated folder for game saves, here:

C:\Users\John\Documents\SavedGames\CSTW\Cthulhu Saves the World\AllPlayers

In short, what I’m saying is: STOP IT! Just

, .

246 Comments »

  1. DavidHewlett says:

    MS should just provide a %GameData% and get it over with, this shit needs to STOP.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      C:\Users\John\Saved Games IS what MS wants to be %GameData% (which is why Miesweeper lives there). Sadly everyone else thinks not.

      Alternatively I can get behind …Steam\steamapps\zedestructor\half-life 2\hl2\save which is where Steam keeps its saves (HL2 in this example).

      In both cases, they’re nicely login-linked as well so you don’t go about mixing your housemate/friend/sibling/parents saves/settings in yours and them bitching about how your save got overwritten

    • GenBanks says:

      Either that or steam needs to allow users to set a custom save folder to which ALL of your steam games will send their save files.

    • yrro says:

      ‘My Saves’ is the correct place to put saved games and nowhere else. However, most games can’t use it because it has only existed since Windows Vista, and some luddites still insist on living in the dark ages of Windows XP.

      “So why can’t a game use Saved Games on Vista and later, and fall back to somewhere else on XP?”, you wonder. This naïve approach screws over people who run a game on XP, then upgrade to a later version of Windows–their saved games will remain in the location used on XP, but the game running under the newer Windows version will no longer bother to look there!

      So now your game has to be written to look in the old place it used on XP, then fall back to the new, proper, Saved Games location on Vista or later. At this point it’s just too much effort to code, debug and test adequately, so no one bothers. Instead they fall back to a variety of inconsistent locations.

      At the end of the day, if you even need to ask where your saved games are located then you are a computer expert who should be capable of finding them. And yes, this does impose a steep learning curve that discourages more people from _becoming_ computer experts in the first place.

      BTW, I say that ‘Saved Games’ is the correct place because that is Microsoft’s own guidelines. They don’t actually follow these guidelines in their own software of course–GFWL-using games seems to store their data in a variety of bizarre places! Of course, GFWL data is encrypted, so it’s actually useless to the user to know where it is anyway (while I’m on the subject. fuck GFWL, fuck Microsoft for imposing it on us, and fuck any developer who uses it). Microsoft’s recommended approach has other limitations too–for instance, ‘Saved Games’ is local to a user’s profile, so multiple people using a computer can’t shared saved games. “Who would want that?”, you ask. Why, the players of any game whose files end up in ‘C:ProgramData’, apparently. Also, Microsoft moving the locations of these folders around hardly helps keep the situation less confusing; ProgramData also only exists since Vista; in earlier Windows versions it lived in ‘C:Documents and SettingsAll UsersApplication Data’.

      As for anything that shows up under My Documents–fuck that game and the people who made it, too. My Documents is strictly for files saved by the user; it should not be cluttered up by automatically generated data… that’s what Roaming and Local are for (the first for data that moves between computers in a domain environment; the second for data that stays on a single computer). Except on XP, they are called Application Data and Local SettingsApplication Data, respectively…

      I’m not even going to get into the programs that insist on storing their saved games in the installation directory. We’re not using DOS any more, these days Windows is a secure(hah!), multi-user operating system where program files are not modifiable by the end user (and if you still log in as Administrator in this day and age then you are an idiot). Fortunately, these programs are now few and far between. You still run into the odd program that will only work when run as Administrator, by the way, such as RailWorks (and it does so in a way that forces you to quit Steam, then run Steam itself as an admin! AAAAARGH!)

      Linux and Mac OS X users are laughing–they can simply back up $HOME and be guaranteed to get all their files, in a way that lets them move between computers, too!. In theory this work on Windows, but in practice it fails for a variety of limitations in the underlying operating system. Windows users have the last laugh though, since they still get all the games. :(

    • ZeDestructor says:

      YAY isolated projects doomed to failure. As for XP, Seriously, its 2012. XP WILL die in 2014, no matter how hard you kick or how loud you scream, you WILL be dragged along to the NT6 (and newer) kernel. Its about time devs started removing XP support.

    • Tams80 says:

      I’d rather use the Saved Games folder for Windows. That way it a game is only tied to Windows (and other OSes could have thier own dedicated save folder)

      One issue I have with it as John pointed out is that it is hidden (or accessing it is). Why it isn’t like My Documents, My Pictures, etc. I don’t know.

    • amorpheous says:

      yrro just won this thread.

    • Chris D says:

      @amorpheous, yrro

      Yeah, that was pretty impressive. Entertaining and Educational, with bonus points for nicely delivered “Fuck GFWL” section.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      @Tams80: It’s not hidden. Just hit your username in the start menu and BAM, there it is as a subfolder.

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      SnoozeFest says:

      I could not be bothered to read all the comments people made here etc. but I got the feeling people actually like the “saved games” folder. I do not, neither do I want my saves to go to the roamingdata folder or any folder on my system drive (i.e. C drive).

      I want all my save games exactly where I installed the game at, this usually being where I have installed steam on (which is not on the C drive).

      This is mostly because I have on purpose made my c-drive very small, and it does not fit any extra shite in it, including gigabytes of save games. And believe me they do get that big when you have dozens of different games and a slight OCD of always making a new save game file everytime you save.

      Edit: type-o-ma-bobs

    • Tams80 says:

      @ZeDestructor
      My bad. It must have been something else I was looking for that was hidden.

      @SnoozeFest
      This is for My Documents but should work for Saved Games as they are at the same level.

      I don’t want anything having a different save location, be it Steam, Origin or whatever.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      @Tams80: No prblem.

      @Snoozefest: as Tams80 said, you can relocate it. Everything that’s tied to your account (MyDocs/MyPics/MyVids/SavedGames/etc) can be moved everywhere. I’ve moved my full set of things over into my Dropbox folder after seeing it work well on a friend’s account, AND I was REALLY thankful for doing that since less than a week later, I accidentally wiped the drive completely.

    • Lemming says:

      Wouldn’t it be simpler and with less need for an OS system change if game devs just gave you the option to pick where you want the saves to go during the install process? They were always happy to give us the option to pu the game wherever we wanted on the c: drive, and this just seems alot more sensible.

    • Rei Onryou says:

      Arkham game saves CAN be recovered, but it is a royal pain. The way I went about it (I think) was to create a new game profile. This creates all the encrypted folders etc that the game/GFWL wants. You can then paste your save files (the contents of your backed up encrypted GFWL folder) over the new game profile’s ones and it should work.

      I believe that’s how I did it, but that was after lots of hair pulling and fear of losing my 97% save.

      It really should be named Games Fucked by Windows Live!!!

    • wisnoskij says:

      What they need to do is enforce it. When a game installs it should not have the run of the hard drive.
      The OS should just say, I have some space for both your game files and saves and you do not even have to know where it is.
      For extra compatibility you can even automate it. Everything that gets installed during the installation process goes to the game files location and everything after goes to the safe games files location.

    • doublethink says:

      @yrro it is comically easy to do a registry check and see what version of windows your user is running. windows XP users are not the problem, fucking lazy developers are.

      During the install process, a tiny external .dll checks to see if the environmental variable %GameData% exists, if it does, write to an .ini file or .cfg GAMEDATA=1

      Then in the game code, assuming c++

      char SaveFolder;
      OnFirstBoot() {
      SaveFolder = GAMEDATA ? “%GameData%” : “%UserProfile%\My Documents\My Saves\GameTitle”;
      }

      Not fucking rocket science.

      My theory on all this is a lot of these AAA devs are using third party code for file system handling and they probably never even look at that code. So in some header file they set some type of global defines for dev name, and game title, and it does it all “automagically” much to the anger and ruin of us, the users.

      I miss the old days of ID/Valve doing everything and things at least made some kind of sense.

    • Hindenburg says:

      @ yrro: as the only person who touches my computer (aaand apparently also an idiot), what’s the problem with using the admin account all the time? o_o

    • kalleguld says:

      Oblig. http://xkcd.com/927/

    • DocSeuss says:

      I find it interesting that most of my games are stored in My Documents\My Games. Presently, I’ve got Age of Empires 3, Skyrim, Bulletstorm, and Amalureckoning demo in there. My desktop has significantly more. I think that’s what the default for XP was. Personally, I like having it in there, as I’m prone to deleting everything outside of my My Documents folder when I back stuff up. I have custom pics/vids/music folders on a dedicated media drive.

    • step21 says:

      @yrro I think your railworks is broken … mine gives me a uac prompt at start, true, but no restarting of steam as administrator is required.

    • milkmansrevenge says:

      Anywhere other than the root of My Documents and I’m happy. I like to try and keep things neat and tidy, it’s a tad challenging when there are “Battlefield 3″, “BFBC2″ and “Heroes of Newerth” folders floating about in there, to mention just a few.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I believe this problem happens to Mac users all the time too. My flatmate the other day was moaning about various apps that install and save files in locations they aren’t meant to. You can never stop at least a few developers being annoying like that.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      agreed. this shit is just retarded.

    • Kaira- says:

      @Hindenburg

      The major drawback of running Windows as administrator is that every single program is run with administrator privileges (I believe). So, should any virus for example find its way to your computer, it has administrator access.

      For more information:
      http://blogs.msdn.com/b/aaron_margosis/archive/2004/06/17/157962.aspx

    • chwynn says:

      OK, Microsoft didn’t give you “%gamedata%”, but what’s wrong with “%userprofile\Saved Games”?

      Oh .

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      jrodman says:

      The oh-no-virus argument against administrator-always exists, but isn’t that strong. There are enough security holes for such programs to gain access eventually anyway.

      The main problem is that the distinction between admin and not-admin allows you to avoid fucking up. When a program wants to do special shit, or when you want to do special shit which is admin only, like format your hard drive, you have to say “yes yes, i want to do adminny things, i will click here and then i will pay attention to what I am doing”. Without that distinction, you have to pay attention to what you are doing all the freakin time (which is basically impossible for hunams) so you just greatly increase the chance of totall screwing stuff up.

      You also are less in charge of your software, you have no idea if that thing you downloaded is phoning home, or if that that thing you are running wanted to install some system dlls. The whole set of safeguards that work to ensure you’re informed about what’s going on aren’t going to operate if you remove the barrier system that enforces that informing process.

      In short, don’t fight the system, it’s there to be useful.

    • ShrikeMalakim says:

      @Kaira-: That’s true… in Windows XP. Windows Vista and Windows 7 will not run any program as Administrator unless you specifically allow it (or it’s an installer, at which point UAC specifically asks if the installer has permission to make changes to the computer).

      Beyond that, both Windows Vista and Windows 7 specifically restrict programs not being run as Administrator from making any changes to C:\Program Files\ or C:\Program Files (x86)\ and any subdirectories, which is why saving files in the game directory is a thing of the past.

    • Nielk1 says:

      Does anyone even understand how Steam works these days? Your saves for games in Steam *ONLY* end up in that weird numeric folder if they are syncing with steam cloud. At least, that is how it is for me. The moment I turn steam cloud off for a game that uses it, the saves go somewhere else (normally the same place the vanilla version of the game puts them).

      I either junction all my saves to the same place or I just write a backup script for each (currently trying the script for each method, where I have a top level script that runs all the sub level scripts (by running all BATs in a subdir).

      Vista and W7 added the Saved Games directory, however, they never made any effort to get developers to use it. More so, games developed for, or still using the paradigm designed for older operating systems like XP have not the slightest idea where to put the save files.

      One 10 year old game that is still being patched (by 1 or 2 guys) moved its saves to MyDocs only to have MS add the Game Saves dir. Needless to say they don’t feel like moving it again.

    • Kaira- says:

      @ShrikeMalakim

      If you operate Windows 7 or Vista as administrator, you are vulnerable the same way as in XP. It’s always better idea to run software as administrator only when necessary.

    • Mctittles says:

      As a game developer I find this an extremely difficult decision. I started using “My Documents/My Games/Game Name” for the save location after doing a survey on it, but now it seems people prefer a My Saves or Saved Games or something outside of the documents area.
      I’ll of course put in an option for the user to change it, but actually deciding the location seems a nightmare.
      Windows actually has some coded links to where stuff *should* go and most of it recommends appData which I find a pain for the user. Of course windows has never really cared much for what the user wants so following their standards is probably a bad idea.
      I like it in the documents personally. Makes it easier to backup everything in one shot. But seems not only do the devs have their own ways, users have their own preference too.

    • Mctittles says:

      Also if you let them choose the location that presents it’s own problem. Where do you save the .ini file that contains settings including the save game location they choose?

    • Prime says:

      Yrro said: “As for anything that shows up under My Documents–fuck that game and the people who made it, too. My Documents is strictly for files saved by the user; it should not be cluttered up by automatically generated data…”

      I disagree. Think of a savegame as a user-created document, created by your use of the game. It is, to my mind, the most user-friendly place to put a game save. However, there does need to be a special folder in there called Saved Games or similar to avoid opening My Documents and finding a folder for every game you’ve ever installed.

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      SnoozeFest says:

      @Tams80 & @ZeDestructor:

      Thanks guys, for some reason that never occurred to me. I’ve been too busy cursing the damned savegame files that I didn’t even bother to check if there was a way to move them. Cheers! :)

  2. Valvarexart says:

    Ah, and there is also the matter of GFWL. I had to re-install windows a couple of months ago, and naive as I was, I thought I could just back-up all my savegames and then re-install the games.
    But nope.
    Arkham Asylum saves are specific to your installation of GFWL EVEN THOUGH I HAVE IT ON STEAM.
    My savegames do NOT work, even though I backed them up, and I was 70% through the game. Seriously, what the fuck. It’s quite retarded.

    • Xan says:

      GFWL encrypts save data, if you change your hard disk or even just the partition on which they or the game are installed it tends not to work properly.

    • Davee says:

      This. GFWL. No thanks.

      Why would you even want to encrypt saves/tie them to a specific account in the first place? AC already has like what, 6 save slots?

    • tenseiga says:

      THIS. Arkham Asylum is messed up after a format. Cant be bothered to work my way back, what the hell do you get fromt his shit?

    • Valvarexart says:

      Maybe it will prevent piracy?

    • SpinalJack says:

      Why else? To stop you sharing game saves online. Doesn’t stop cheaters anyway as there will be trainers and hacks around anyway.

    • Valvarexart says:

      WHY should cheating not be allowed in single-player games? Is there any reasoning behind this?

    • Inigo says:

      You have to transfer the GFWL folders as well as the save files themselves

    • Valvarexart says:

      I DID back up the GFWL folders, at least the structures that contained save files, but they are encrypted to my original installation.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      WHY should cheating not be allowed in single-player games? Is there any reasoning behind this?

      The fucking, stupid and unwanted achievements. Since they appeared, cheats have become more and more scarce (or that’s my impression). What do you say? That it can be solved by just creating a “cheats mode” in which achievements are not registered? That many of the problems with modern gaming could be solved if developers realized that video games are software and software can be configured and adapted to the needs of any user? Fat chance!, you are asking added complexity to a medium that is becoming more and more homogeneous, you are asking extra work (even if minimal) to people working on an industry pushing for productivity in a state where more profit just cannot be squeezed.

      /rant

    • rocketman71 says:

      Wow. Didn’t know that. It’s like every day you find out yet another reason why GFWL is a huge pile of shit.

      So glad I’ve never bought anything with that virus on top.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Jamestown attempts to save it’s games in the apparently standard My DocumentsSavedGames folder. Like Breath of Death VII and Cthulhu Saves The World do. Unfortunately, the guys who made Jamestown actually save games to the Saved Games folder, not the SavedGames folder.

      Mysteriously, in my Documents folder I have separate “Mount&Blade Warband” and “Mount&Blade Warband Savegames” folders.

      The absolute worst one used to be VVVVVV before the 2.0 patch fixed it once and for all. It was actually saved in some temporary directory Windows used to put temporary files it extracted to run Flash or Java applets or something. CCleaner and other temporary file cleaning programs would wipe the saves, which led to several workarounds on the forums until it was finally fixed by completely redoing the save system. The current folder is My DocumentsVVVVVV, of course.

      The most consistent save games folder (other than the Steam subfolders) is actually UsersMy Games, used by Borderlands, FUEL, Prey, Fallout New Vegas, Sanctum, The Ball, Terraria, and several others. So that’s the one I nominate as the permanent standard place for saved games under Windows.

      Oops, meant that as a general reply, not to this topic.

    • orcane says:

      I’m pretty sure they encrypt savegames in GfWL due to the whole achievement/gamer points crap, which links XBL and GfWL in one gamer profile and with that all the gamer points you can collect on both platforms. Because, you know, gamer points are srsbsns.

      My biggest annoyance with that practice is that it makes it impossible to backup a lot of savegames (especially on Xbox) and that’s just moronic, I shouldn’t be forced to hope for my HDD to never break down just because some people care way too much about these e-peen points.

    • Valvarexart says:

      If at least they offered cloud storage like Steam and Origin does, then it wouldn’t be a problem.

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      Ninja Dodo says:

      I managed to successfully transfer save games for Arkham Asylum using GameSave Manager (http://www.gamesave-manager.com/) but it doesn’t recognize it as the same account so I now have two identically named GFWL accounts to choose from when I start up Arkham. It’s not pretty, but it technically works.

      Installing a Games For Windows Live game is a painful process of logins, failed updates and more unnecessary jumping through hoops, if it even works at all… My brother got Arkham City as as present for the holidays (retail version) and can’t even get it to install. At all. I can’t be sure if GFWL or Securom is to be blame, but colour me suspicious.

      Games For Windows Live needs to go away.

    • Tams80 says:

      @ Valvarexart

      Achievements. Bloody achievements.

      I quite like achievements, but then I don’t care what achievements other people have other than my friends who I will happily deride if they cheat.

    • diamondmx says:

      So much agreed. I personally love achievements, I think they add extra fun to a game at little dev cost.
      But locked save games to protect the purity of achievements make me want to throatpunch someone.
      If someone is cheating in a single player game, I do not give a shit, and the number of ways in which locked save games are a pain in the arse makes it a horrible idea. Fuck GFWL and fuck Sony for doing this too.

    • HothMonster says:

      Lost my Arkham City saves over the weekend. Bye-bye 70%. If MS wants me to wish I had just pirated the game instead GFWL works perfectly.

    • werix says:

      This exactly. Same thing happened to me with Arkham Asylum a couple years ago. Bought the game, and got like 100% completion; finding all the Riddler stuff. I normally don’t do that, but having all that hunting stuff tied to its own story hooked me.

      Upgraded to Windows 7, thought I could back up the save games like any other. NOPE. Since then I haven’t played Arkham Asylum, and I refuse to buy any game using GFWL (or UbiDRM) for more than $5, which is a shame, since Bulletstorm was excellent and deserved more than $5, and I really want to play Arkham city, but this GFWL/forced cloud saving crap has got to stop.

    • HothMonster says:

      Its not even a cloud save. The save is still on my computer but its encrypted, and the encryption data doesn’t match up since I had the audacity to change my GFWL settings to appear offline in the middle of a play session. So I can look at this big fat save file on my computer but the game refuses to acknowledge that is there because GFWL is a hot steaming pile of garbage.

  3. Sheng-ji says:

    Heh, what happened to the days where you looked in your game folder – you know where you asked for the game to be installed – and found everything relating to the game in there – want saves, look in:

    C:\the path I chose\Game Name\Saves

    • MD says:

      Yep! Agreed. That way if I want to back up or transfer (or delete) a saved game, I know where to look, and if I want to backup the entire game with my preferences and saved games intact, I can do that too. I know there are reasons that not everyone wants this, but at least give me the option when I install the game.

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      phlebas says:

      That’s a fair enough thing to have changed – there is some sense in not keeping arbitrarily changeable/editable files in Program Files where all the installed executables live. The last few versions of Windows have enforced that to some degree without providing a sufficiently obvious alternative – that’s the main reason everything ended up in different locations in the first place.

    • ChrisP says:

      Pre-empted by phlebas, but anyway: You can legitimately blame Microsoft for that – writing save data to install locations is Not Allowed under modern versions of Windows, for reasons of security, data portability, and user account independence. It is actually a sensible policy.

      Developers are told to use AppData/Roaming for data that should follow the user around (in a Windows domain setup that folder is synced to the domain server, so you can log in on different computers with the same Windows account and your data follows you around), or AppData/Local for data that is machine-specific for whatever reason. Of course, nobody agrees on whether game saves should roam or not.

      But since Application Data is a hidden system folder, putting saves there makes it hard for the average user to back up their savefiles. Hence the trend of putting it in My Documents. But since there’s no standard for that, you get this dumb fragmentation.

      It would be nice if it was standardised. But who should set the standard? Unlike on the toyboxes, there’s no certification scheme for this stuff. Except for GFWL BOO HISS. Maybe if all the major publishers agreed to settle on one scheme and force their developers to abide by it.

    • Gnoupi says:

      The problem with this is that it can have problems for people who use more than one account on their computer (sharing a computer, brrr, think of the germs).

      The main reason to use %appdata% or at least My Docs is that it’s user-bound. So that configuration, input settings, saves, are specific, and you don’t have to change them each time you switch user.

      But of course, the easier solution would simply to have profiles IN the game, I agree.

    • Nesetalis says:

      They wanted to be like linux. Ever since the early 2000s, they have been trying to steal, bit by bit, the way linux works. First with administrator accounts (just smart.. but done badly) second with UAC (trying to make an annoying version of sudo). After that it was filepermissions, but so inane and badly thought through that it made the filesystem nearly useless… so then they had to steal “everything having a place and everything in its place”, and nothing good came of it, because again, its microsoft, and they cannot do it right.

      Program Files was no longer user writable, meaning games could no longer write to save folders in there. (well, unless you ran the game as administrator… or you disabled the permissions on that folder… or permissions decided to stop working properly…. or there was rootkit installed that the game used :p)

      And microsoft TRIED to standardize it… they created “My Games” under my documents long long ago… and very few actually used it. And then when they made it against the rules to keep saves in the install folder, the developers decided to go all over the place.
      Especially since microsoft also made a folder to put non-game state-data in, appdata. With local account data, and system wide data… so from there, the game gets to choose two locations!

      Ignore the fact that, I as a computer user, do NOT want my precious save data on my dangerously unstable C drive. It is like storing your food in the toilet bowl. All the shit gets piled in there, its going to taint your food.. or at the very least, when you need to flush once or twice a year… it might vanish.
      I keep my installed programs on a 1tb hard drive, and when i can, i put their state-data in an alternate location.

      I only have a 60gb root disk, an SSD, its fast, its efficient, and fuck every program for storing their cache in the user folders :|

    • MichaelPalin says:

      This. Every new version of Windows has functionalities that have worked very well in linux since forever, but, for some reason, they always screw it one way or another. In GNU/linux, you can grab your user folder, move it to another PC and you will have exactly the same configuration on both. I guess Windows does it too, but I’m sure it’s 10 times more obtuse than in linux OSs.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      How I miss those days, when the code was simple and the games were good…

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I do completely understand the security concerns of games from the olden days, however, if games provided a decent set of tools to do what you want with your saves efficiently and quickly from in game, they could put them where they pleased!

    • Enso says:

      People actually install their games to program files? (genuine suprise, not sarky) I’ve always used a separate folder called ‘Games’ and when I finally got more than one HDD I moved all games to that drive. Just makes sense to me to keep your windows installation separate from games. Plus, you don’t have to wade through as many folders.

      I agree with Game\Saves\(maybe profile)
      Also, keep them the hell away from My Documents. That’s where all my work, pictures, photoshop files, Avid files etc go.

      And while we’re at it can we stop folder\Company name\game? It’s just plain arrogant to think I’m going to buy so many of your products that I need to group them all together. “Oh, it’s tuesday! Tuesday’s a Rockstar day!”

    • LintMan says:

      This entire thread is full of win. This absolutely needs to be fixed.

      My take: Game saves should NEVER EVER EVER be placed in AppData. AppData should be for appplication data such as configuration stuff, internal databases, etc. A save game is much more like a user-created document.

      Would you want your Word doc or Excel file buried in ApData/roaming? No, of course not. I want this stuff placed somewhere easy to find, and more critically: EASY TO BACK UP. It’s trivial to back up My Documents just by copying the folder to a backup drive. AppData is a royal pain in the ass to copy. It’s filled with all sorts of program specific crap you often don’t need to back up, and it’s also got bunches of locked files that can’t be copied and kill the copy process part way through if you try to just copy the top level AppData folder. So instead, you have to hand-select individual lower level folders to copy from a maze of different directories..

    • Skabooga says:

      @Shen-ji: I want to go back to this again. Times were simpler back then. As for multiple users on one computer, well, just don’t overwrite your brother’s save. (I have, admittedly, done this a number of times. )

    • Sweetz says:

      I don’t know that putting save data in a game’s install directory is a step forward. Say you want to back up all your saves before a system reformat, then you’re digging into a bunch of install directories.

      Having game saves in per-game subfolders under \My Documents\My Games\ makes the most sense to me, the problem is that there’s just no consistency there. If there was, it would make it extremely easy to back up all of your saves by copying a single folder.

      @LintMan: Agree 100%. Games that place save games in AppData folders are evil. Personally, I wish games wouldn’t put anything there. There are games that will put saves somewhere under My Documents but then put config files AppData. From an idealized perspective AppData is appropriate for stuff like config files, but in a reality where config files often need manual editing for optimal results I don’t want to have to hunt them down in hidden folders.

      Also while I’m generally a fan of Steam, the way SteamWorks games save by putting files under note one but two obfuscated ID folders is absolute crap. One of several embarrassingly backwards thinking elements of Steam.

  4. LK says:

    My vote goes to C:\Users\\Documents\My Games\\Saves,

    You can actually acces it, it seperates different user’s settings and savegames, you don’t have a single folder in Documents for every game yo ever installed and Civ goes there as well!

    • Raniz says:

      No need for it to be in “My Documents”, we already have a bunch of “My [whatever]“, just introduce “My Games” and put in there under whatever name your game is called.

    • MichaelPalin says:

      I’d delete that last \\Saves. Each game should have a folder with its name on X:\Users\Username\Documents\My Games where they store not only saves, but configurations too. Alternatively, in X:\All Users\Documents\My Games if you prefer to install for all users.

      Oh!, and no publisher nor developer named folder, just the game, I never have more than one game of the same publisher/developer installed and I don’t care for you most of the times (unless you are indie). Sorry.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      @Raniz: It’s called “Saved Games” in Vista and above.

    • Mctittles says:

      I completely agree on this on. We don’t want to create a new “My Games” folder, it’s best to pick something that already is being used to not complicate things anymore.
      As far as the new Vista location, I’d rather not pick that because windows has a tendency to change how their stuff works every release to pretend like they did something. Hopefully My Documents/Documents will still be there come Windows 8. It’s the only thing that’s stayed constant really (besides renaming it a bit).

  5. psychoconductor says:

    A gamers bill of rights or something. We need one. Or, at the very least, the option to choose where we want them saved.

    • dokfm says:

      Didn’t Stardock support some sort of gamer’s “bill of rights” for a while?

  6. Xan says:

    U mad bro?

    But on a serious note, yes it’s annoying and someone needs to set some standard for where game saves are stored.

    Best option would be to get to chose where to put the saves during game install. But I guess that actually takes effort to program and we can’t have that!

    • Mctittles says:

      Where do you save the settings file that contains the information that lets the game know where you choose to save the files?

  7. mr.ioes says:

    Actually, “C:\Users\John\Documents\My Games\” is the one and only location for savegames.
    All games who fail to put their saves in that location are doing it wrong.

    Games that use that location (in my case!): Afterfall Insanity, Bulletstorm, Dirt 3, FalloutNV, Gas Powered Games (duh..), Kings Bounty Princess, Path of Exile, Skyrim, Terraria, Titan Quest.

    • deanb says:

      Yep, that folder has been a default of Windows since at the very least Vista, if not XP SP2. Dunno why John only has Skyrim in there, I’ve got most of my games in there. The worst are those that use /Dean/Documents/Gamename/, I can’t actually use my My Documents folder any more because of that. It’s not just games that do that mind.

      From what I understand the problem is MS made the “My Games” folder, but officially it’s documented to use either My Documents or AppData, I’m unsure which. Thankfully most devs have figured that they should maybe put their saves in My Games.

    • Nesetalis says:

      my documents started in XP.
      it was stupid then, it is stupid now.
      for one reason.
      Corrupted user data.
      -.- Seriously windows, learn how to manage an encrypted filesystem. Oh no, the computer had the power ripped out from under it!…. oh, you lost all your personal data, all your saves, all your state.. you have to make a new account.
      At least now in 7, you can recover that, some times.

    • Premium User Badge

      kavika says:

      To confuse this further, it is My Documents/My Games. Not sure if there is an API to access that via a localized name or not. If not, then it isn’t terribly safe to use because everyone would have to come up with their own localized code, or you’d get a non-localized folder name (supposedly a no-no according to MS).

      In Vista and above there is a Saved Games at the same level as My Documents, which has a special icon and is thus supported. Win32 and XNA has an API to directly access it, too. But the Win32 API, special folder handling, etc aren’t available on Windows XP.

      Seems like no one is capable of making a decision of where they should go, including MS.

    • sneetch says:

      Yep, that’s where they should be. There’s absolutely no reason to scatter them about the disk(s) like so much digital confetti. You put them there, it means that people can back up all their save games by backing up their docs folder.

      Putting them in the install directory has to be the worst idea though.

    • Premium User Badge

      kavika says:

      @Nesetalis: Encrypted or not, you can expect data loss if you simply power off the computer. It’s just NTFS is better at dealing with it when not encrypted. The encryption just makes it worse, and would do so no matter who implemented it, on whatever file system.

      Preventing a flat-out power loss is what UPSs are for.

    • ZeDestructor says:

      @kavika: It’s called adding in features, and MS needs to sell its OSes, so newer versions only. Don’t claim they’re a bunch of chicken-headed idiots because no devs use their APIs to the full.

    • Nesetalis says:

      Corruption is different from data loss.
      This is why they create journaling filesystems, and copy-on-write.
      Losing the file that you are writing while trying to save something sucks…
      Losing your entire user directory, user data, and account… sucks harder.

      Copy-on-write by the way works like this:
      you have a pointer to a hard drive address.
      you read from that pointer, in to memory.
      Modify that memory.
      Then You write to a NEW section of the hard drive, outputting that memory.
      Then you shift the pointer in the file table from the original, to the new.
      This operation is generally assumed to be atomic, meaning, there is no point in time where you can be half way through. Either it is done, or it is not done.
      if you shut off, either you have the old data, or you have the new data. (and more likely, you have both, but the other is at a random location on the hard drive, that you have no idea where.)

  8. Davee says:

    Yes please! I recently lost my Batman: Arkham City saves when reformatting due to a ludicrously hard save-game moving ritual involving GFWL encryptions, account-binding and even more fun stuff. Not to mention that it took ages to find all of the other game saves – in pretty much all the locations you mention above. Bah!

  9. NathanH says:

    I think everything ought to be in either NathanMyGamesPublisherGame or (slightly worse) NathanMyDocumentsMyGamesPublisherGame, and anyone not doing this should have an automatic 10% knocked off their review.

    This should include more than just save games, it should be settings and stuff like that as well.

  10. Walter Heisenberg says:

    And people wonder why nobody wants to upgrade to 64-bit Windows, good luck backing up all your shit when it’s hidden across your drive like Where’s Waldo!

    • Kaira- says:

      It’s not like all these folders aren’t also on 32-bit Windows.

    • Premium User Badge

      kavika says:

      Anyone for whom 64 bit windows is very important has already upgraded, probably a year or two ago. You’re behind the the times, man!

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      Um, according to the Steam Hardware Survey, more people use Win7 64-bit than all of the 32-bit Windows variants combined.

    • Walter Heisenberg says:

      Unless you guys know something I don’t upgrading to 64-bit in Windows means wiping the drive the OS is stored on.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Is it really that awkward?

      When I upgraded to 64bit debian (from 32) back in 2004, it was awkward… like..
      1 – install 64bit in another filesystem
      2 – boot the 64 bit
      3 – bring over your config and user directories (2 commands, mostly)

      that was about it.. unless you wanted to still run 32 bit stuff…
      4 – create a stable mountpoint for the 32bit install
      5 – set up an automated chroot to be able to easily run programs inside the 32 bit chroot
      6 – turn on a kernel setting to automatically run 32bit binaries inside that chroot

      nowadays we just have multi-arch, so you can upgrade in place while manually changing nothing.
      Windows really has.. not even the clunky 2004 experience?

  11. matnym says:

    Windows already has – C:\Users\[User name]\Saved Games – but nobody’s using it. Or is it meant to be used for something else?

    (Word of the day is “use”).

    • Hirvox says:

      Yeah, that’s what you get if the game asks Windows where the save game folder is. Any other location is non-standard.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Unless, as per yrro above, you want the game to work reasonably across xp and vista/win7, in which case you must support a “nonstandard” location.

    • Baines says:

      If you want it to work under XP, then why not just make that path under XP? Games, and programs in general, are making their own paths anyway.

      I’ve a desktop that still runs 32-bit XP (as it is old enough that there is little point updating it to Win7). It has programs that made themselves installation folders in the root of the C drive, programs that while installed elsewhere still made working directories in the root of the C drive, and installation files from a Microsoft update sitting in the root itself because Microsoft apparently botched its temporary location for one update. The machine has stuff in Program Files directories, it has them in the Documents and Settings chain (sometimes almost randomly chosen between All Users, Default User, or my profile name). Programs might use My Documents, or Local Settings, or Application Data. Some stuff probably deriving from a Linux system make “.program-name” folders, and they can be anywhere in the chain as well. Flash-based program saves can be anywhere, as well. (And while some programs give you options of where to save, they stick to a default path for the save and load dialogue, not remembering where you last saved/loaded from. Or at least forgetting when you exit and then restart a program. After you navigate a directory tree enough times, you just give up and let it save/load from the default path, just to minimize the navigation hassle.)

      I even had one program that asked for an install directory, and then promptly ignored it.

      And oh gods to a handful of old games that stored save data in the system registry itself.

  12. Ralud says:

    And the problem grows with smaller SSDs for Windows, The Witcher takes up 18mb per save file.

    • Doug says:

      When I found out about TW saves, it was already occupying more than 500 mb. So I started deleting every save from old acts.
      When I finished the game, I deleted everything before the last part (because I needed it to transfer to TW2). My last save is #671. That would be 11gb of save files, if I hadn’t deleted them.

    • olemars says:

      Lucky you. I noticed it when the saves were up to 12GB and my C partition started getting a tad full. Autosave features are nice, but is it really necessary to create a whole new save for each transition? Can’t remember for sure, but I think quicksaving created unique saves each time as well, which is not good for those of us with F5 OCD.

    • daf says:

      Why would you keep your documents on your SSD? just right click for properties and move the folder using the location tab. I doubt having a 18mb file that gets read once in a regular hdd will be that much of a performance hit.

    • Bobtree says:

      @daf: it’s the one thing you really should have a backup of, and it usually isn’t very large, so keeping docs on the SSD with regular automated backups to HDD is a good setup.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Instead of asking “why would you keep documents on your high quality drive?”

      Why not ask “why do programs put random automatic crap in folder for creating documents?”
      Or “why does a game need 18 freakin’ megabytes to store a save?”
      or “If it *really* needs 18 MB, is it really a good idea to autocreate them every 15 minutes?”
      or “Couldn’t you guys figure out some sort of differential system like base game data and incremental saves?”

  13. pyjamarama says:

    I have a different suggestion ask me on install or first run were to put my save game. Imagine if every other software decided to put files in random location, create a Word file save go to the internet to find out were it is ridiculous. Just ask.

  14. Monkeh says:

    I actually just reinstalled Windows and also felt annoyed I had to search for saved games on so many places. All seems to went well though.. except for Batman: Arkham City’s save that is. :(

  15. Doug says:

    Last month I formatted my HDD and in the hunt of the save games to back them up, I couldn’t find Binding of Isaac files, so I just assumed it uses Steam cloud.

    Conclusion: 48 hours of my life LOST.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      I fell foul of this one too. I suspect they are secreted in some magical fairly location, due to what I’m fairly sure is a game based on Flash or some derivation thereof.

    • daf says:

      Binding of Isac is a flash game and as most flash games it just writes your progress to a SharedObjects folder, this is due to flash being sandboxed and not providing direct access to the host file system or hardware, which is why the game also doesn’t support gamepads.

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      Of course if you you build your flash game just using flash projectors and have native code also, you don’t have this limitation. Or if you build out your flash game using adobe air, you don’t have this limitation.

      So .. that’s how you can make your flash game a bit more professional, flash developers!

  16. Peewi says:

    Registered just to say this:

    As long as they stay out of Documents, I don’t really care. I’d like the documents primarily to be for, you know, documents, but instead it’s filled with about 20 folders for save games.

    Stick your shit in %appdata% or somewhere else I don’t see it, just keep out of my documents folder, it’s cluttered enough already.

    • Mechorpheus says:

      I would have agreed, if you’d asked me in the year 2000. Now my documents folder is so full of game saves I basically have to use it for that purpose. I even force the windows 7 ‘Saved Games’ user folder to use the same location, just to be sure all my games can find their stuff.

      One shining example I recall was Race Driver GRID and the original CMR DiRT, which actually asked you for a location during installation! How novel is that! So novel in fact Codemasters stopped this very practice when they adopted Games for windows Live…… SIGH.

    • Prime says:

      The obvious retort to that is to put the saved games into a separate folder of their own, much like My Pictures is within My Documents.

  17. eightbitrobot says:

    I hate it when they put any data related to the game in any folder/registry/whatever other than the install folder.. as it is now I have a ton of shortcuts in my ‘Games’ folder to other directories all over my hard drive just to have easy access to all the various ‘Appdata’ and ‘My Documents’ folders they come up with.

    Just put it in the install directory, please.

    • Prime says:

      So you want your saved games in a hundred separate install folders rather than grouped into one convenient location?

  18. HelderPinto says:

    the My Games folder works pretty well, FalloutNV and Skyrim and others use it, others should use it too.

    Problem is steam could, if a game uses steam cloud, then the saves need to be under the steam folder.

  19. scorcher24 says:

    I am so with you.
    It was some time when everyone was putting their savegames into “My Games” in the Documents Folder.
    Now I have SavedGames, “Saved Games”, “My Saved Games” in my Documents Folder. Mount and Blade Warband even creates 2 Folders. And all those “Bioware”, “Battlefield” and other Company-Folders.

    This is getting annoying.

  20. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    Just put in them in the freaking install directory already, developers.

    • scorcher24 says:

      No, that is a very bad idea.
      There is a reason why programs don’t have permission to write to their own install-directory.
      Just use “My Documents\My Games” and we are fine.

    • orcane says:

      Except some people keep their game installations on specific partitions/harddisks already where games can write whatever they want. Applications can ask whether to save settings into program folders or user profile folders, games should probably offer that choice too.

      That and I really liked to use “My Documents” for my documents when that was still possible before every 2nd app and game made new (in case of apps: often empty) folders to the point that “My Documents” is now generally a “random crap”/misc folder.

      Basically Microsoft was way too late with their attempts to create a single savegame location (and it shouldn’t have been in mydocs in the first place), when everyone already made Game, Publisher\Game or Developer\Game folders in mydocs after gaming moved to Windows NT.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      @ scorcher24 – there may well be incredibly good reasons not to let the plebs save to their installed directories, but short of BSoDing my computer if I do, I can’t see any reason why *I* should be forced to follow their rules.

      My games are installed to a separate partition. If I want to save there, I should be able to. I fail to see why I should be punished because I’m *not* an idiot.

  21. Lewie Procter says:

    Well this is quite useful at least:
    http://www.gamesave-manager.com/

    • deanb says:

      Dammit, beat me too it. What’s a shame is the list of save locations isn’t (as far as I can see) freely available so at best it can backup your saves, helping solve the issue of having to manually hunt them down when moving OS, but can’t be used to find a save to move from one folder to another as was the issue with Saints Row 3.

    • Gnoupi says:

      This just made my day, thank you sir.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      John’s issues with Saints Row will never affect anyone who doesn’t have the “press version” & wants to migrate saves to the regular version because it uses Steam Cloud saving. This is just bitching for bitching’s sake.

    • smoozles says:

      Also:
      http://sourceforge.net/projects/masgau/ and
      http://savegameprofiler.weebly.com/index.html

      Now somebody only has to test which program knows the most savegame locations.

      EDIT:
      So I was bored and tested it myself. MASGAU and the Gamesave Manager both found 51-55 games, that includes GfWL, UPlay/UbiLauncher, RGSC and TS2/3(only in the GSM).
      Both can do automatic backups and both lists of savegame locations seem to be up-to-date.
      I liked MASGAU better, because the GUI is structured and normal, whereas GSM is a little too flashy and sometimes confusing.
      The SavegameProfiler needs you to enter the game’s location and savepath manually…

      The only problem I have now is, can I transfer these backups beetween PCs with different windows versions(like XP to 7), it seems the programs save relative paths, but I’m not sure.

  22. SPTX says:

    How about… NO
    I want the come back of saves located in a SAVES folder located in the root folder of the concerned video game. In can’t be clearer than that, and doesn’t pollute unrelated folders. As usual, it was better before.

    • NathanH says:

      But that is so tedious when you want to transfer all your saves to a different computer. Having all the saves and config files for every game in one folder than you can just copy across would be way more convenient.

  23. Fatrat says:

    For anyone using DropBox, you could grab this app – http://satyadeepk.in/dropbox-folder-sync/

    … which then lets you sync folders outside your DropBox, to your DropBox. Handy for collecting all these randomly located savegames into one spot and even sharing them across more than one computer.

    But yes, they should all stick with %USER%/My Documents/My Games.

  24. Kohlrabi says:

    It’s astonishing how many people don’t grasp the concepts of
    a) separation of application data and user data
    b) multi-user OSes, where not everyone necessarily has (full) access to all folders

    I’m glad the bullshit times, when putting savegames and profiles in the installation directory was the norm, is finally dying out. The observant reader notices that you can backup nearly all the savegames mentioned here by backing up your user folder (which you should do anyway, not only because of games, but also because of application settings). Sure beats hunting down savegames by cycling through all game folders one at a time.

    Seems like I have to add Steam/userdata to my list of folders to backup, though, but that’s more of an edge case.

  25. OrangyTang says:

    Blame Microsoft. Every single version of windows changes it’s mind about where per-user data should be stored, usually introducing a new API for the app to locate it. Sometimes they update old APIs to point to the new location, sometimes not.

    You only have to poke around a bit in the MS docs to realise how many conflicting and old APIs there are. Eg. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/bb762180(v=vs.85).aspx

    One example would be minecraft’s odd location. It saves to USER_HOME, which is the correct way to do a cross-platform per-user save, and maps to sane locations in Mac and Linux, but goes to the crazy C:\Users\John\AppData\Roaming\ in windows.

    It would be great if they could all go to /My Documents/My Games though. (Although to further confuse things, I think MS have decided that the childish “My” prefix was a mistake and don’t use it any more.)

    • Premium User Badge

      jrodman says:

      “My X” is what you get when you allow marketing to be in charge of your namespaces.

  26. zoombapup says:

    For all those people who want to save saved games in the games folder, microsoft actually tell you NOT to do that. Basically you don’t know what permissions you will have on the installation folder when you are finally in the game (the installer might run with different privaledges than the game itself).

    Basically all the “security” stuff in windows completely screws that idea.

    Sadly, its not a great thing for us game devs either, as the destination microsoft tell us to use changes based on OS too. Cant remember what the official OS call is, but basically you call that and use that directory, so you really don’t have any say in the matter. Blame the OS (and bad devs for not using the official call so you get so much confusion).

    FWIW I much prefer the “save data in install folder” approach because it actually works when you want to migrate the bloody game. I get round the privs issue by writing a save.dat file during install and making sure it’s writeable by the game exe. But then I need it for the game to function.

    • daf says:

      SHGetKnownFolderPath with the first parameter being FOLDERID_SavedGames.

      Only problem being that that particular call was introduced on Vista so devs tend to go the lazy route and simply dump stuff on my documents so they don’t have to change anything for XP.

      Microsoft has provided a save games folder which is easily user relocated in it’s properties, shows on the user_name folder with it’s own icon and everything, yet few if any use it :(

  27. Moonshine Fox says:

    I really miss the days when games and applications were self contained… If you HAVE to store shit in other places, why can’t people simply do what Linux does? Store it in a hidden folder in your home folder.

    /home/moonshinefox/.savesformygame1
    /home/moonshinefox/.savesformygame2
    /home/moonshinefox/.savesformygame3

    and so on.

  28. MichaelPalin says:

    And let me save whenever I want and as many times I want and be able to name the save file the way I want!

  29. Fazer says:

    http://savelocations.wikia.com/wiki/List_of_Games

    I blame Microsoft, they can’t even agree where executables and libraries should be stored (you can install them almost anywhere on the disk).

  30. asshibbitty says:

    Win7 has a search function. Press win button and start typing.

    Managing save files and files in general is seriously last decade. The way games backup on iOS is the way.

  31. Vurogj says:

    I just had a look to see where my save games are hiding and goodness, I’ve got a lot of random saves from games I’d forgotten about. Damned if I know where the bloody GAMES themselves are though…

  32. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    So long as it’s in a configurable directory I don’t really care, but somewhere under “My Documents” is most convenient because you always need to back-up/configure that on a new install anyway.

    Hiding them under c:\users\ is a bad idea because, while it would be lovely for Windows to have a proper user data system that was OS independent, it doesn’t. And if it’s trying, c:\users is not it. For starters, Windows has a tendency to nuke it on a re-install, which is exactly what you don’t want it to do. Secondly, why must it be shoehorned on C:\? I want that partition kept for very specific things (those absolutely necessary for boot, ideally), and so it’s probably quite small. I don’t want it gunked up with save games, documents and other things entirely irrelevant to the system.

    So the fundamental problem is that Windows is rubbish, really.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Always?

      I’ve never done it once.

    • Tams80 says:

      It may well be rather a mess, but you can either reinstall Windows and refine it or just point the user folders to a different drive (some stuff will stay on the Windows install, but it’s better than nothing).

      This may help.

    • Premium User Badge

      Colthor says:

      @Drewski
      Even if you don’t use Windows’ special folders yourself, plenty of programs will store things in them without asking, including save games. Do you just ignore that and lose them?

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Pretty much. The only things I bother to take with me to a clean install are my Bookmarks file. Games I install to a seperate partition, and for the most part I play one or two games to completion and uninstall them rather than having 500 games with nefarious save game locations I need to track down and find.

      I’ve never had a problem. Obviously I’m aware that not everyone uses computers the same way I do, and I have no problem with that, but I dislike the assumption that carrying over the useless crap programs dump in Users\* is an absolute necessity, because it is clearly not.

  33. Zeewolf says:

    I agree. Either make it easy – savegames in the game folder – or agree on one location to put them. And in all cases: Let me override your default settings and place them wherever I want.

    As for putting saves in appdata… that should be illegal and punishable by up to five years in prison. I’m looking at you, Mojang, and I’m not wearing my happyface.

  34. Shortwave says:

    Great article, I agree 100%.

    A single save location for all games would be brilliant.

  35. Anarki says:

    Yeah I’m pretty sure My Documents\My Games is the be all and end all accepted place to put saves. Here’s a list of games on my PC that have done it “right”: Borderlands, Bulletstorm, Company of Heroes, Crysis, Dawn of War 2, Dirt 2, Dirt 3, Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, F1 2011, GSB, Oblivion, Civ 5, Skyrim.

    So not a bad turn out really.

  36. rocketman71 says:

    The “My games\%game%” under My Documents is the preferred way for Microsoft. I think it was even mandatory if you wanted to put the GFW sticker on your box (remember boxes?).

    It’s also probably one of the worst places. I don’t know which of the thousands of idiots that work at microsoft decided that the folder in which I store my fucking DOCUMENTS was a good place to also store music, videos and game data.

    And they keep creating those fucking “My Music”, “My videos” and the rest. Stupid directories!. How did such an inept company manage to get the majority of the market?.

  37. neolith says:

    I want either every game to save its stuff in a subfolder of said game – or I want to be able to tell the OS where saves have to go for ALL games.

    Right now I’m using a SSD as C: drive and I am really sick of every game putting its little droppings somewhere on that drive! Stop ruining my bootdrive and stop driving me nuts, gamedevelopers!

  38. Teronfel says:

    Yeah,i totally agree.

  39. DBG says:

    All games should be on steam and use Steam Cloud. Where are the saves? backed up on remote servers!

    The Binding of Isaac issue mentioned before – the game is just an effing Flash, so it doesn’t have much control where the saves would go, etc.

    John, your concern of “doesn’t work with the press build of the original game I previously had, so I’ve had to install the release version” would have zero priority on my list, if i would be a developer. Because press build is not the released game. For what it’s worth, press build could create a folder like C:\Debug\ and save data there.

    • Tams80 says:

      No. Relying on one company isn’t a good idea; even if they are the ‘great’ Valve.

  40. MichaelPalin says:

    RPS, you should seriously consider redacting some guidelines to video game developing and start a petition. It may sound silly, but developers need to start realizing that it is us the ones that are going to spend the most time playing their games and that modern design standards are starting to antagonize with many, many gamers.

  41. Guvornator says:

    Agreed. Also, all games should be required to have a “uninstall save games” option when you are deleting them. Because sometimes I want to get rid of them, and sometimes I don’t. I know, I’m fickle like that. Point is, I shouldn’t have to wait until the end of the process to either scrabble around the hard drive looking for bits of game, or have the sinking feeling that comes with loosing a whole bunch of painfully constructed saves.

  42. Tams80 says:

    Appdata is the worst. Sure, if you have hidden files set to show, you can easily access it, but if you don’t it is worthy of pulling your hair out because of.

  43. MothTwiceborn says:

    My favourite is the hardcoded “C:” for Arkham City. If you’ve used Windows to move your document drive somewhere else, the game crashes before it starts up.

  44. Nameless1 says:

    Ahhaha, signed.

  45. Dobleclick says:

    This is so true…

    The games industry needs a standardization agency just like ISO and all the others.

  46. Threedots_dead says:

    As John points out for AC Brotherhood saves are in “C:\Users\[user]\Saved Games\Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood\SAVES” which makes sense I guess.
    However in AC Revelations they´ve moved it to “C:\Users\[user]\AppData\Local\Ubisoft Game Launcher\savegame_storage\dGhyZWVkb3RzX2RlYWQ=\40″

    Why?

    • My2CENTS says:

      Be careful what you share, in this case the UbiLauncher stores your login name in the folder name (threedots_dead).

      Ontopic://
      The save games problem is retarded and i can’t fully understand why a brilliant programmers, who can write 100000+ lines of code can’t just use Saved Games? As of now i only saw the Crysis 2 beta do it and that’s it (mind me Assassins Creed is not appealing to me in every way). I think the problem is the fact that there is no certification on PC, look what happens on the xbox – every title is certificated and all games behave the same way, saving is anally described and above all it works pretty well.

  47. Unaco says:

    So… What’s your suggestion John? Where should they go? What should be the Universal Location for All Save Games? I’m not against something like this, but I think you need to be some what constructive, give some ideas and explain why they’d be sensible locations.

    It’s a nice thought, but I wouldn’t make this my #1 priority if I were the ESA or whoever.

    Also, if you’re not competent enough to find your App Data Folder, you probably aren’t competent enough to be fiddling around with saves for a game.

    • Premium User Badge

      dog says:

      you seem to have missed everything that John was saying….
      the point it is it shouldn’t be an exercise in computer literacy or even competency to be able to backup or move your saved games folder…

      and the competency thing only comes in if all the saved games were saved in one, slightly difficult to find directory … but they’re not, they’re saved across a weird and random selection of locations… often counter-intuitively…

    • Unaco says:

      What? You seem to have missed what I was saying.

      You shouldn’t just say “This is wrong!” There should be a suggestion as to where this unified Save Game location should be, something constructive. Unfortunately, this is likely to be one of those things (like Desktop/Start menu shortcuts) upon which no agreement can be reached. Some people will say “don’t break up game data” so the saves should be in that Game’s folder/directory. Others will say “No! Have 1 location for all saves” and so saves should be in the Users/My Games/Saves folder or similar. Others will say “NO! It should be in AppData” or similar. And then, even more others will say “It should be a choice, something we choose during installation”.

      I was asking for John’s thoughts on which Location it should be.

      The competency statement was a tiny afterthought on my comment.

      I will disagree with you though, that things are often stored ‘counter intuitively’. Personally, I have never come across a folder called “Definitely Not Your Savegames” and found my saves in there. Similarly, never seen a folder called “Saves” that just has a text file saying “Hahahaha! Your saves are not here”. They might be in different locations, but I’ve never seen them in counter-intuitive locations. Certainly not often.

  48. RegisteredUser says:

    It all went wrong when we stopped using a simple \save\ subfolder within the game’s directory.
    (Some might argue going from .ini files in an app’s dir to a central registry is also fail and we have seen a strong resurgence of portable apps/demand for portability accordingly the last few years..at least in my perception).

    But I agree that for backup purposes a central, agreed upon directory for saves would not be bad(as long as I can then in turn still move it elsewhere with a symbolic link..).

  49. Snargelfargen says:

    YES. I endorse this RPS article.

    That is all.

  50. Stardog says:

    It’s annoying when saves are anywhere but in the installation directory.

    Separation of game/user data is a pain in the ass.