Let's discuss compatibility with older saves


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I guess nobody likes to lose their game progress when a new patch is released. Nevertheless, in the current state of development, my suggestion is to not support compatibility with old save games at all.

Right now, the game is in a pre-alpha state which means that significant parts of the game could change with each patch. While it may be possible to maintain compatibility with previous versions, this could require extra effort from the developers to implement functionality that might become obsolete with the next version. It could also lead to additional source code that is only required for maintaining compatibility, and can introduce new bugs and issues. I would rather see this extra effort spent on advancing the game towards a release version.

Even if older saves do work with newer patches without additional work for the developers, there could be bugs and errors which would never occur with a newly started game. Reports for such errors might still be useful for the developers, but it should be made clear that using older saves is not encouraged and Iikely to result in unexpected behaviour.

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Whilst it's certainly true that newer mechanics can break saves.. such improvements should come with complete content changers, not every other week.   The game will eventually need to be backwards compatible, so why not start now.. rather than later.   Sure there will be times when it just can't be helped, but in the meantime, it will allow people with more advanced saves to test specific issues that can only be tested after hours of gameplay, something which cannot occur if you just refuse to load all prevous saves.

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I see both of your guys' points here.  I'm not going to pretend I have a clue how game development works, I would like save compatibility, but not at the expense of pushing a final release back.  I can see myself playing this game a LOT more if I didn't have to start over after every patch.  I understand if the devs decide not to implement compatibility if it doesn't make sense, but I will be putting way less time in this game.  I can say I enjoy being part of early access and    watching System Era grow as a company.

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i have absolutley no problem in losing the save during prealpha. astroneer is also fun to start new. most of the games i play are prealpha or alpha. so it's nothing new to start again after a big patch was released. most time i love this.

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Its a mixed bag for sure.

In other games I've played as pre-alpha and alpha, then beta... it seems to be sometimes unavoidable. Like changes in how landscape is handled, wont show up if you load a saved game because all the land data is stale. Or there are things existing (placed on ground) that may have been changed greatly (like footprint, sizes) and so it suddenly is jambing up other things.

Being so young yet, astroneer can afford some 'sorry, saves wont work this round'. Its pre-alpha still. Getting into alpha though, a bit more caution and possible saved-game-conversions may be needed as the game developers and has more content and getting 'where you were' actually does take a week of effort (right now, not so much lol).

And then in beta, saves should definitely NEVER be broken by patches. As beta is where bug crunch time is very important, and people need to be able to continue from where they are to test every aspect of the game without total wipes.

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To be clear about this, I do not want them to ignore save game compatibility forever. At some point in time, latest from version 1.0 onward, the game must be able to update any saved game created with that version to whatever version might come afterwards. Of course, this mechanism must be implemented and tested like any other game mechanic, and preferably before the release of version 1.0. But implementing (and maintaining) functionality that is only necessary for updating one pre-alpha save game to the next pre-alpha version is a waste of time in my opinion.

Finding and testing bugs that require complex and time-consuming game setups are uncommon during early development phases. Only later on, when the frequency of releasing patches slows down anyway, the focus shifts to such more elaborate testing scenarios.

On 21.2.2017 at 9:47 PM, Nargg said:

This whole conversation is "beta testing 101"  Not sure why it is or should be an issue?

I realize that this thread is not actually about development, because I'm sure that the developers at SES are aware of all this. This is more about setting expectations for the players/customers. Catering to the players' desire to keep their game progress does not really help bringing the game forward, at least not in this early phase of development. An explicit statement in the patch notes addressing compatibility to games created before a patch might help to communicate this to the players, given that quite a few of them appear to be ignorant even of the early access concept.

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On 2/20/2017 at 10:52 AM, Martin said:

Whilst it's certainly true that newer mechanics can break saves.. such improvements should come with complete content changers, not every other week.   The game will eventually need to be backwards compatible, so why not start now.. rather than later.   Sure there will be times when it just can't be helped, but in the meantime, it will allow people with more advanced saves to test specific issues that can only be tested after hours of gameplay, something which cannot occur if you just refuse to load all prevous saves.

Well, probably because they are still doing fundamental architectural changes that can make backwards compatibility very difficult to downright impossible and time spent on ensuring compatibility could be better spent solidifying the underpinnings of the game and releasing new features for evaluation.  If the rule is "we don't do backwards compatibility until X stage in the dev process" then the team wastes less time than if the rule is "we do backwards compatibility unless we find that we have spent huge amounts of time trying to make a build compatible and it is still super buggy".

Edited by Flashman
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