GOG Galaxy adding cloud saves, for old games too

Cloud saves and built-in screenshotting — two of my favourite Steam favourites — are coming to GOG Galaxy, the optional client from the virtuous virtual vendor of video games. Never needing to hunt down and back up saves or install FRAPS (or whatever the heck kids use these days) is still such a wonderful convenience. These features and more will come to GOG Galaxy when it officially leaves beta with Update 1.2 in April. Galaxy will even offer cloud saves for some old games not built to support them. I still mourn lost Planescape: Torment saves so this sounds grand.

GOG call their system ‘Universal Cloud Saves’, and also note that “because GOG.com is all about giving freedom of choice to users, cloud saves are not locked behind the gaming platform – at any moment users can download backup of their saves data and use it as they see fit.” Steam requires a game be installed before it’ll suck saves down out of the cloud, so that’s a nice touch.

Update 1.2 will bring plenty more too. GOG explain:

“GOG Galaxy Update 1.2 also introduces an option to customize the Client to users’ needs by selecting features they want to use, for a personalised experience and no feature-creep. In addition, the brand new hibernate mode cuts on Client CPU usage when playing a game, and saves resources and battery life when idling in the background. Update 1.2 also packs many of community’s most-desired requests, including bandwidth limiting and scheduling, FPS counter, screenshot capturing, in-game overlay, achievement rarity, desktop and in-game notifications system, new chat and more.”

Peachy! That’s the sort of stuff Galaxy needed. Of all the Steam knock-offs, Galaxy is the one which causes me the least trouble. With these features coming, I can’t think of anything else big that’ll make me wish I was using Steam instead. And more Galaxy is likely in my future. While it’s optional for most games — you can still download ’em DRM-free from the GOG website, same as ever — GOG’s dad, CD Projekt, are using for things like Gwent.

Update 1.2 will launch in April. If you want an early peek and to help get it ship-shape, it is now on the opt-in beta branch. More details about Update 1.2 are on the Galaxy site.

53 Comments

  1. TillEulenspiegel says:

    Oh nice. This sort of thing is conceptually pretty easy to do, but requires a fair bit of manual work to identify the save location for each game (I wonder if they’ll include DOS games), plus eating the cost of providing free storage space.

    If they eventually roll it out for nearly every game, that’s a pretty big selling point for GOG.

  2. Troubletcat says:

    Cool, the lack of a built-in screenshotting function was one of my big misses from Galaxy. Really pleased they’re adding it.

    I already buy everything I can from GoG instead of Steam. Prices in AUD, store credit if the devs charge The Australia Tax, no DRM so if the service ever dies (unlikely to happen to Steam any time in the foreseeable future, I know, but still) I just need to download the installers for all the games I own on it, and I never need to worry about nonsense like Denuvo, client is more light-weight than Steam, better refund policy for EA titles and a relatively sane refund policy for completed games…

    If it had a comparable game library I would quit using Steam altogether. I don’t dislike Steam as some do, but GoG simply provides a better service.

    • Halk says:

      >unlikely to happen to Steam any time in the foreseeable future

      … but almost certain to happen at some point in the future.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        well, isn’t the heat death of the universe also certain?

        • Premium User Badge

          Benratha says:

          Actually, no. It sort of depends on your cosmological veiwpoint. Personally I’d prefer falling into a galaxy-sized (not the chocolate bar) black hole..

          • Michael Anson says:

            Except that the black holes will eventually evaporate in… wait for it… heat.

        • Unclepauly says:

          “well, isn’t the heat death of the universe also certain?”

          Only if you believe the universe is a random thing.

    • waltC says:

      There are a lot of games available on GOG that are not available on Steam at all, believe it or not. I was surprised to discover this when I had thought that Steam’s selections merely mirrored GOG’s and vice-versa–not so! It’s remarkable, really, the Gog games–older games–that aren’t available on Steam at all. And unlike Steam, GOG works to adapt these older games to Windows 10 and below–something which Steam almost never does.

      Let’s take a game that both services sell–Vampire: Bloodlines. The Gog version comes from GOG already patched and adapted to play on the latest OS–the Steam version does not. With the Steam version of these games you have to do the legwork yourself to make the game run on modern systems. I happen to have the Steam version, because Steam had it much earlier than GOG, so I’ve already fixed the game to run on Win10, etc. Otherwise I’d buy the GOG version in a skinny. I think this is why GOG sells so many very nice older games that aren’t for sale on Steam at all. Valve just isn’t going to do the work to get these games to run on modern systems.

      And new games–almost always when a new game is distributed on Steam but *not* on GOG it is because the developer wants DRM built in–Gog doesn’t support DRM so Gog doesn’t get the games. But developers are moving past that already I’m glad to see and many of them don’t require DRM even for the Steam releases–like Witcher 3 and Pillars of Eternity!

      Only thing I like better about Steam is that developers can get out game patches quicker on Steam than is possible with Gog. Right now, imo, that is the only advantage I see in going Steam. But even in refund warranties GOG is way ahead–offering a 30-day warranty versus Steam’s 2-hour warranty (is it?) Big difference. Gog will take that 30 days and work with you to get the game to run for you–and if it won’t then they are happy to refund your money. Steam will never do that, far as I know.

      But I use GOG to get away from Steam game-file organization, basically, so Galaxy hasn’t appealed to me. Still doesn’t at the moment. What is wrong with simply downloading the Gog game file, running it, and telling it where to install? What’s the point of Galaxy?…lol…;)

      • Unclepauly says:

        “What’s the point of Galaxy?…lol…;)”

        The article pretty much answered this. To the rest of your post, 2012 me thanks you for the info.

  3. Kefren says:

    I favour GOG over Steam, though didn’t like the Galaxy software – can’t remember why, I suspect it was something to do with “achievements” (which I dislike) or some other feature that felt like it was nagging and couldn’t be disabled. So I went back to download-and-install. The new saves feature isn’t quite enough to make me use a client, but it is a step in the right direction.

    • Daemoroth says:

      I’m with you on the achievements, though hopefully with their talk about personalising the experience you can disable the achievement system altogether.

  4. ButteringSundays says:

    I’d personally still rather they just provide a steam key along with the DRM-free download, like Humble does. In fact IMO Humble provide a much better model for what GOG have been trying to achieve. I now buy as much as I can from them as I consider it a best of all worlds.

    For the handful of non Steam GOG games in my collection I don’t really need yet another client (nor does anyone, I suspect). Especially given that the only reason for these clients is to push sales.

    • Halk says:

      And I am very happy that they do not provide a Steam key with purchases. Why would I want to cross-subsidise Steam users?

    • Sin Vega says:

      Then don’t install the client. It’s never been necessary and you can keep the installer forever if you want to.

  5. Halk says:

    I don’t get how cloud saves are relevant. Just use a junction/symbolic link/whatever to mirror your games’ save directory inside Dropbox (or a similar service of your preference).

    No need for extra software, zero overhead, takes second to set up, even allows restoring overwritten saves (this ability has saved our asses multiple times in several Infinity Engine games).

    • Risingson says:

      There is a bit of overhead in the sense that there is no one single save directory, but it changes per game. Don’t ever think that a solution that is right for you is right for everyone.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Mate, come on.

    • Holden McGroin says:

      you need dropbox tough, wich is extra software. And overhead. And since the folders usually go in different places it would take more than just a couple of seconds to set up! Also it eats unneeded space.

      Good tought tough! I use dropbox for my virtual memory cards for the various emulators.

      • Halk says:

        >you need dropbox tough, wich is extra software.

        Most people have Dropbox anyway; and Dropbox is wonderfully non-obtrusive.

        But the great thing is you can use anything you like, even the Windows built-in cloud storage.

        >And since the folders usually go in different places
        >it would take more than just a couple of seconds to
        >set up!

        It takes maybe 30 seconds per game. Less after you have done it a few times and know the drill. And you can do it selectively for those games where it matters.

        >Also it eats unneeded space.

        No, it does not eat any additional space (except on the Dropbox server if that’s what you mean).

        • Holden McGroin says:

          >Most people have Dropbox anyway; and Dropbox is wonderfully non-obtrusive.

          i know, i use it myself as i said. Tough it IS extra software, was just counterpointing exactly that. you can argue for that many have dropbox installed but not everyone does so my point remains valid.

          >But the great thing is you can use anything you like, even the Windows built-in cloud storage.

          yup, or G-Drive, NAS’es with cloud solutions etc. Not my first rodeo.

          >It takes maybe 30 seconds per game. Less after you have done it a few times and know the drill. And you can do it selectively for those games where it matters.

          You are correct that it takes 30 second or less. for 1 game. With gog you will get all the games (maybe? its not released so maybe not ALL games) But still, far easier and faster.

          >No, it does not eat any additional space (except on the Dropbox server if that’s what you mean).

          yes, i mean the user storage space. no, save files are not big usually before you argue with that. just a point of contention.

          listen, i love cloud services. this is also why i will love this feature instead of setting up the dropbox deal. because of the cloud feature. i use more than 1 cloud service and welcome this as an addition because it makes it a better package for itself.

          but by all means. whatever works for you. just honestly a better solution with the client, IMO.

    • Premium User Badge

      Herring says:

      Had some issues where games / software don’t react well to junctions; I used to do the same thing for the entire game directory before Steam supported alternative install locations.

    • Premium User Badge

      johannsebastianbach says:

      So YOU’RE the guy depicted in the XKCD comics – I always wondered if there are really people like you out there. You both fascinate and frighten me. In a good way of course.

    • noodlecake says:

      Yeah. Most people can’t be bothered thinking about it. Having it built into the game client you already use by default is just convenient.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I’m a huge nerd (15 years of C++ baby), and even I find this annoying and error-prone. Also I’m extremely lazy. Also also, NTFS sucks.

    • Scandalon says:

      Alice’s reply is the only one that’s really needed, however…

      Yea, each time you (re)install a new game, just go look up the file save location on pcgamingwiki (assuming it’s there), re-lookup command (*I* know it’s mklink, but can’t ever remember the exact syntax), run the command, have it error because you forgot to re-run as admin…

      Do you switch computers and/or OS’ often? Do it again. Need to clear out space to run something else, then want to go back? do it again. Etc.

      “Mate, come on”, indeed.

    • April March says:

      takes second to set up, as long as you know where every game you play stores its saves. I still don’t know where Drive to Hell’s are.

  6. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Cloud saves are a Good Thing, especially after they meant I didn’t lose about twenty hours of progress in the the Witcher 3.

  7. Sic says:

    While I understand that they’ve gone in the direction of Galaxy, I simply can’t bring myself to like it.

    I don’t want store applications. Period.

    They’re clunky, messy, usually DRM-infested, and absolutely useless for me as a customer. It’s essentially adware.

    Just like I don’t want to pay to watch commercials (cable TV), I don’t want to have wade through ads to get to buy a game. And I certainly don’t want those ad applications installed on my computer.

    I can barely stomach Steam, and only because I have to.

    Yes, yes, I know you think “they are so much more”; but no, they really aren’t. All their useful features could be implemented on a per-game basis, or simply be external applications.

    Oh, and get off my lawn!

    • Halk says:

      100% agreed.

    • Troubletcat says:

      Sure, but if I wanted all their useful features from external applications I would need a bunch of separate programs.

      Or one program that was “Steam but without the storefront and ALL games are added via the same method as the current one that lets you add non-Steam games.”

      Of course, this program still wouldn’t be able to keep all my games up to date for me automatically since it’s not actually a unified platform connecting all the games but more of a social platform. Something like what Xfire used to be or Discord is now.

      Which is fine, but that program still needs to make money somehow. So either you’d have to pay for it, or it’ll use ads like Xfire did, or it’ll be supported by some kinda microtransaction system as Discord is planning, none of which really strikes me as better than “When I want to buy a game I will briefly see a screen advertising what all the newest games are” – a thing you will see in any digital marketplace anywhere (including developer websites) and also any brick and mortar store anywhere.

      In practice, if I want all the useful features of Steam (organising my game library, being able to easily save screenshots, friends list with in-game chat overlay and the ability to join a friend’s multiplayer game with one click, mod hub that handles all the business of installing mods automatically, loads of guides all in one place, news feed of developer updates for every game I own) I’m looking at using a combination of different programs, all of which will be SOMEHOW monetised, and I still would be missing a couple of the most important features from Steam such as keeping all the games up-to-date automatically without every game having its own update utility running in the background or some other such nonsense, since they have no unified support platform they were all built specifically for.

      If the price I have to pay for not dealing with that is occasionally closing a pop-up telling me about videogames I’m not really interested in… eh… I’m willing to pay it. I really don’t want to go back to the days of having to manually download and install patches for every game or do heaps of mucking about to get mods working. It was a real pain.

      In short, no, there really is so much more. Because although everything but the storefront could be handled on a per-game basis or through other external applications, that would be much, much less convenient than using Steam to take care of it all for me.

      • Halk says:

        For those people who actually use many of the features you mentioned it is certainly nice to have them all in one place. This is why I was never against GOG introducing Galaxy as long as it stays optional.

        People like myself on the other hand have no use for any of those features (I’d rather concentrate on the games themselves), so I definitely AM against any mandatory client, such as Steam.

        • Troubletcat says:

          Well I’m all for choice. I get a lot of utility out of Steam personally but I’d like it even more if it offered DRM-free downloads that don’t require using it, like GoG does.

          And buying a boxed copy of a game to find out it’s a CD-key and a disc with the Steam installer on it is always nasty (I bought a retail copy instead of a digital one for a reason!)

          Unfortunately a lot of big publishers want more control, not less. As I said above, I’d stop using Steam entirely if GoG’s catalogue got better (want a unified service because as I said, I get a lot of use from it) but unfortunately I don’t see most publishers allowing their games to come out DRM free happening any time soon.

          • Halk says:

            I have a gigantic backlog of DRM-free titles I hardly ever have time to play, so I really can’t say that I am bothered by a too small catalogue on GOG.

          • Premium User Badge

            Herring says:

            It’s down to the publisher on Steam. I’ve a few games that I can happily play from their Steam directories without Steam running.

    • The First Door says:

      Why… just… why would you want things like cloud saves implemented on a per-game basis instead of a single, centralised solution? I’d much rather game devs spent their time making a fun game than having to replicate functionality. Even if you don’t buy the taking time out of development argument, it’ll likely be a worse system due to time constraints, have been tested less, and will cost the developers more money for server hosting.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      I grew up with each game being an individual program from a separate programming team.
      That meant that game A might implement multiplayer via IP based networking, but game B might use IPX. Getting you mates together for a game would involve much telephoning. game C might save as part of your user profile, whereas game D keeps it’s saves in the program directory. Some games had helpful updaters which would go off onto the internet and check for the latest version, some you’d have to go find it yourself, but then find the mirror download servers because the main one was overloaded. And of course, if you wanted to buy a game, you’d have to travel somewhere that had games stores, hope that they had what you wanted, and pay whatever price they charged.
      Yep, I grew up without aggregators like Steam or GoG, and personally I’m glad I don’t still have to live back then.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nauallis says:

        Great points, all. This was what growing up was like for me, as well, and arguably worse in some ways, because my parents only ever bought Macs (and continue to) so any PC gaming was entirely limited to what I could do at friend’s houses. That’s irrelevant to the game directory point though; your whole list encompasses how convenient Steam makes access to an entire game library.

        Regarding patching, some developers, like Blizzard, made this really easy. Others, like Bungie and Westwood, made it frustrating and complicated. All-in-one installer packages, that would locate the game host folder and update the engine? Yeah, that was uncommon. Mostly (for a Mac) you’d be moving new files into engine source folders and rewriting some basic pathing in a .txt file, whereas on a PC you’d often have to go into command line. I grew up post-DOS, so that was kind of a nightmare. Also, back in the early to mid-90’s most HDDs had smaller capacity than CDs, so playing a lot of games required the CD to be in the drive, and heaven help you if your CD got scratched or your disc drive stopped working.

        Yeah, I’m not a huge fan of DRM, but I sure do like convenience.

      • Troubletcat says:

        I look forward to being a quaint old geezer telling kids about “back in my day if you wanted to play a videogame with your friends you had to call them on the telephone to set it up, but you couldn’t actually have them connect to the game while you were still on the telephone since back in my day you couldn’t use the telephone and the internet at the same time…”

        By comparison having to hunt down patches for every game was a cakewalk, but yeah, I still have no desire to go back to those times.

        • Otterley says:

          So, you’re looking forward to the weekend? ;)

        • April March says:

          I’m a person who will joke about “oh these youngsters and their Pokémon, in my time there were only 150 of them and we liked it that way” but now I realize “you couldn’t phone someone while you were on the internet, and vice versa” is one thing I lived through that my theoretical grandchildren are incredibly likely to call bullshit on.

    • Sin Vega says:

      Me neither. And lots of people feel the same way. Which is why GOG’s one is 100% optional and never necessary.

    • modzero says:

      Yes, all of those features could be implemented (terribly) on a per-application basis. But there’s more! You don’t actually need the OS! And if you’re fine with a terrible, buggy screenshotting and cloud saves, I’m sure you’ll be fine with having 10 different partition schemes on your hard drive, and that one game that needs its own drive, and crashes if there’s more than one.

      TBH they could also make their own horrible, broken hardware that will occasionally fry your electrical installation.

      Having some standardisation is good. I don’t need or want to deal with 50 (mostly broken) ways to back up saves, download installers, take screenshots or whatever else.

    • Michael Anson says:

      “They’re clunky, messy, usually DRM-infested, and absolutely useless for me as a customer. It’s essentially adware.

      Just like I don’t want to pay to watch commercials (cable TV), I don’t want to have wade through ads to get to buy a game. And I certainly don’t want those ad applications installed on my computer.”

      Counterpoint! GOG Galaxy pushes no ads; the store is available, but you have to actively select it.

      GOG Galaxy includes no DRM, because it’s GOG.

      GOG Galaxy is fairly simple to use, providing a directory, a downloader, and easy tagging, on top of the above mentioned cloud saves and screenshoting. All are useful, and optional, utilities, and are provided for all GOG games by default with no extra setup time.

      GOG Galaxy is exactly NOT what you’re complaining about, in other words. No adware, no DRM, low footprint, providing benefits with no drawbacks.

  8. BlaahBlaah says:

    I had a HDD die at the weekend. Luckily it was a secondary drive, mostly just storage for games, but the one bit of data I’m sad to have lost was my Witcher 3 save. Around 85 hours, lost forever. So I’m really fucking annoyed it’s taken them this long to add cloud saves.

  9. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Did they ever fix that problem where when a game updated it would make you input your admin password for every piece of DLC downloaded for the game?

  10. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    I like the idea of GoG, I bought some games on it, and I am glad that it is getting better, but the truth is that I don’t actually ever use it.

    In a perfect world, there would be an anti-monopoly crackdown on Steam that mandated it to make user data (stats, friends, achievements, items) transferable to other services.

    • Michael Anson says:

      GOG occasionally allows the importing of some Steam games to GOG through GOG Connect. It’s not always available, but I’ve transferred something like fifty purchases this way already. When they introduced the feature, GOG pointed out that the real barrier to the option is actually the developers, not Steam/Valve.

    • April March says:

      There’s not any necessity for an anti-monopoly crackdown. If a lot of users were clamoring for this, Valve would at the very least start to consider it. But users are, in general, clamoring for more or less the exact opposite, so why should Valve dig their own grave?

    • Premium User Badge

      MajorLag says:

      Eh, I couldn’t care less about all that, the real issue for me is having to run more than one launcher. It’s like back in the day when you needed to run ICQ, AIM, Yahoo Messenger, and an IRC client.

      What we need is a universal frontend for these frontends. A game-store manager, of sorts, that lets me see all the games I own and install/play them at will without giving much of a damn which store it is in.

  11. caff says:

    I like GoG Galaxy. It’s super non-obtrusive, and is like a back-up Steam for me. Far less hateful than Uplay or Origin, both of which offer nothing new and feel like a burden to playing a handful of games.

  12. Scandalon says:

    A third-party savegame backup util is pretty much a requirement for me these days, for both older games and when cloud saves fail. (As evidence w/ a couple mentions of borked Witcher 3 saves!) Coupled w/ a cloud backup and/or sync* option (Dropbox, Onedrive, GDrive), you’re pretty well covered.

    As usual when the topic of save backups comes up, anyone know of a good alternative to GameSaveManager? Even the rewritten 4.0 preview version hasn’t been updated in year. (Though the 3.x from 2014 still seems to work for me.)

    MASGAU used to be my alternative pick, but development and more importantly, gamesave definition updates, have mostly died.

    • April March says:

      Seconding this question. I used to like GSM but it didn’t work for they year I had W10. (My computer borked then and I only just bought a new one.)

      My solution so far is to simply copy a giant load of folders into my backup HD. A solution as effective as it is terrifying to anyone who’d know what they’re doing.

  13. kud13 says:

    I was recently forced to install Galaxy, because my GOG version of Cossacks 3 wouldn’t recognize the second DLC with just a reglregar install using an installer.

    I was annoyed.

    But I appreciate that they make adding the game’s off your shelf to Galaxy optional. What I don’t particularly like is that “adding” a game to the shelf means “re-downloading and re-installing” , even if it’s already installed and running”.

    Still, like I said, I don’t mind it too much, mostly because I’m not obligated to use it. If it alleviates some paranoid publishers and makes them put more AAA titles on GOG, so I don’t have to buy’em on Steam, more power to them.