Cheezen

[GUIDE] Dedicated server workaround!

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I recently started playing Astroneer with two of my friends and I quickly fell in love with the game. What bothered me is that one of my friends had our save game file and we could only play together when he was hosting the game. Sharing the file manually is obviously too much work and effort, so I came up with this workaround that allows us to play solo or together whenever we like on our most recent save game.

NOTE: I've only tested on Windows 8 and 10 where the game is installed via Steam.


How it works
astro_sync.jpg

Just to avoid misunderstandings - we're not going to make a dedicated server but in my eyes, this is almost equally good. We're setting up a "master folder" with Google Drive that contains the save games that you and your friends automatically download to the Astroneer save game folder by using mklink in Windows. As soon as you (or a friend) create a new save game or update an already existing one the other friends will have the update in less than a minute.

 

Installation guide

  1. Download Google Drive and install it using a Google account.
  2. This is for the person that decides to have the master folder. One of you create a folder called "SaveGames" (case-sensitive) on your Google Drive. Share the folder by right-clicking the folder, click "Share" (make sure "Anyone with the link can edit" is chosen), click "Copy link" and send this to your friends.

    This is for the people who are syncing the master folder. Open the link from your friend who created the master folder. Right-click the folder on the Google Drive website and choose "Add to My Drive". This folder should now appear on your computer where you installed Google Drive.
  3. Navigate to your Astroneer save game folder (in my case "C:\Users\MYNAME\AppData\Local\Astro\Saved"). If you can't see the "AppData" folder, watch this video). Rename the "SaveGames" folder to "SaveGamesBackup" in order to restore the save games in case something messes up.
  4. Keep this folder opened and open a new explorer window and navigate to the master save game folder on Google Drive on your computer (in my case "F:\SaveGames" where F: is where I installed Google Drive). Here you should see the "SaveGames" folder but in the Astroneer installation folder you shouldn't, only the backup folder.
  5. Time for the magic! Press the Windows key on your keyboard, type "cmd", right-click it and choose "Run as administrator" (important!). If you can't find it, watch this video. Enter the following command:
mklink /D "<paste the path to your local Astroneer save games folder and add \SaveGames at the end>" "<paste the path to your master folder on Google Drive>"

Make sure you get the quotation marks and paths correct. The first path will lead to a folder that doesn't exist - yet. In my case I ended up this:

mklink /D "C:\Users\MYNAME\AppData\Local\Astro\Saved\SaveGames" "F:\SaveGames"

This should result in a message saying "Junction created for..." that tells you everything worked. In case you don't get this message, make sure you set up the folders in the correct way, that the paths are correct and that you don't mix up \ with / and vice versa.


✔️ That's it!

Add your save games from the backup folder you renamed to either the Google Drive folder or the Astroneer folder. It doesn't matter since they are cloned. If a change happens in one of the folders the other one picks up the change instantly. Another bonus is the version history that Google Drive gives you, in case you'd like to restore an older save game for some reason.
 

🚀  Test it!

Load any save game and make a change to the terrain somewhere (like digging a circle somewhere), save, wait about a minute, tell a friend to load that very save (which should also have an updated timestamp by now) and see if they can see what you did. If they do, it all works!

 

This is when it won't work

  • If two or more decide to launch a game the most recent save and continuously update the file with their own separate versions. This will result in the file being updated with the save game that was saved most recently, meaning one person's progress will be lost. Make sure that your friends aren't already playing using the save game you had the intention of hosting. Only one person can host a synced save game.
  • Make sure you have a working internet connection before playing. If you don't, you could potentially load a save game that isn't the most recent. Once you save it, the latest on Google Drive will be overwritten with the outdated file you uploaded and progress could be lost.

 

Worth mentioning

I've tested this method a few times and it worked as intended. Other cloud sync services could be used as well (like Dropbox or Mega) if desired. I don't take responsibility for any progress lost but I'm happy to help you guys as much as I can 😊 Good luck!

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H A C K E R M A N

This is really cool! I don't have the game on Windows and I don't have friends :( so I couldn't try it... but I do have a question! Could you create a batch file to automate it?

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4 hours ago, CopperyMarrow15 said:

H A C K E R M A N

This is really cool! I don't have the game on Windows and I don't have friends :( so I couldn't try it... but I do have a question! Could you create a batch file to automate it?

Then I guess you don't have this issue 😉👍 I don't think a batch file could be automated to find out the person's username, the Astroneer save folder in system user data and the Google Drive folder where the master folder is located. If it could, I don't think it's worth it as it's just one-liner in CMD.

Edited by Cheezen

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