Chaotic Soul Gaming

Giving users the choice!

April 24th, 2011

There’s a design choice that any developers (game or not) will have to decide on eventually.  Where do we save user data (save games, extra scenarios, etc)?

The first answer will seem the most logical, the %appdata% %currentuser% folders.  Which by design should be the right decision.   “My Documents” is also one that people might decides upon, and I agree, those should in theory be the default area where user data should be kept.

That is, in theory.  Why am I saying this?  Well like many others my hardrive is split in partitions, one for the OS, and the rest depending on the uses I need for them, and this is in case my OS gets to the point where I will need to reformat the drive it is installed upon.  By installing the OS on its own partition, I can replace it without affecting my more important data that resides on the others.  But here’s the catch, I made my OS drive a bit too small, and it is quite limited in space.  Most games savefiles are rather small, so it didn’t hit me right away.  But this caused a bit of an issue where my main partition kept getting smaller and smaller, and one game in particular pushed it beyond the brink, and that is “The Witcher Director Cut Edition”.

When you download the game from steam, it’ll install 10GB on the drive steam is installed, and that is fine.  Except, that upon it’s initial launch, The Witcher will copy 2 or 3 extra scenarios without asking where to put them, directly in your “My Documents” folder, these scenarios are approximatively 800MB in size, my main partition had barely 1GB left on it at the time.

So here’s the reason of this article, and this should be one of the first thing on anybody’s list.  When saving user data, be it savefiles, or extra data, give the user the choice of the location where these will be held.  Besides, having saves or important data on the OS partition heighten the risk of losing these important files.  If the user has the possibility to decide where these will be kept, then he will most likely feel more at ease of not losing them needlessly if the OS Partition needs to be replaced.

Keep the %appdata% and such as the default locations, but at least let the user have the final word on this. 😉

 

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