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Quicksaving/quickloading in Skyrim

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The other day I was strongly warned by Emma (the author of Vilja) and few other people not to use the quicksave/quickload feature, because allegedly it can corrupt saves in some way.

 

Let me quote the relevant posts.

 

Alright.... it is a prominent issue with all Elder Scrolls games that quicksaves can cause severe issues with your saves; form list corruptions, odd npc behaviour etc. With Skyrim the absolutely worst scenario, though, is that you reload a game without first quitting to desktop. The thing is that the quicksaves include artifacts from old saves, and something similar happens when you load a save without quitting to desktop first. There has even been reports on players who reloaded an old save and ended up with one of his other PCCharacters :/.

 

 

I concur with Emma about quicksaves. There's also another rule of thumb about loading save: Never load a game without first exiting, otherwise, remnants from the previous save can cause save corruptions. Always exit the game to Windows before you load another game.

 

 

The problem with loadding without exiting the game is not the probability of corrupting the game. The game will get corrupted for sure.

Basically, data from your last play instace will go to the new loadded instance. There have been even reports of players loadding a save from a different character than the one they are playing and the physical appearance of their second character changing to look a bit more than the first one.

The corrupted data may not cause you throubles and you may not notize anything odd ever, but your game could also become unplayable and the seed of that unplayability may not necesarilly be in your few last saves. I can't ensure you won't have an unnotizeable problem that will make your game unplayable for sure in let's say 100 or 200 game hours.

That's the nasty part of corrupting a file. A CTD can screw an hour or two of playing, but a corruption may screw weeks (months?) of playing.

Autosaves seems to work better than in previous games and are not as dangerous as loadding without exiting (some players even say it's safe), but if you use them before pickpocketing, obvioulsy you are bound to load without exiting, which is a bad idea.

Basically, the greater the time passing between the save you load and the game you were playing, the greater the amount of corrupted data you will get at once, so, saving often (and I mean really often) and not continuing playing further once you decide to load the previous save, could reduce the corruption pace if you are going to do it anyway, but your game will get corrupted.

As a pair of examples, if you get data from an already finished quest changed, probably it won't matter at all, but now imagine there is a point where a variable could be 1 or 2 and there is no posibility of being 0. Maybe there is a loop that would loop forever if that variable is 0, but there is no problem as it will be 1 or 2... unless that variable is "imported" from a save from before that variable having gone from 0 to 1 or 2.

 

 

Discuss.

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Half urban legend, half truth from older games.

 

A quicksave is not subject to any more or less corruption than a normal hard save. They are all invoked using the same code and simply named differently. If it were true that a quicksave (or autosave) was a source of corruption, many MANY people would be able to verify this with actual evidence. As long as I've been playing games on Bethesda's FrankenEngine, this has never happened. No actual evidence of SAVE operations corrupting has ever been seen. The one exception: If the game crashes during the operation - the file handle ends up left open. Game crashes, Windows closes its file handles, the file that results is incomplete. The game will recognize such files and refuse to load them.

 

Actual file operations are not conducted by the game. They, like everything else in your PC, go through the Windows file APIs to handle the actual task of writing the data to disk. Rampant corruption would indicate a much deeper problem in your system as a whole.

 

Where saves rampantly corrupting goes from urban legend to partial truth is way back in Morrowind's days. Morrowind apparently tried to do a bunch of weirdly optimized things when saving games - whether they be autosave, quicksave, or manual save. So it was actually possible for MW to somehow confuse Windows and result in strangely incomplete saves. This led to widespread fear of using anything other than manual saves, but even with that caution, I have personally experienced plenty of corrupted manual saves.

 

Oblivion largely put this to rest. Whatever Beth did between MW and OB did away with the silliness of the save code and simply ran the data out to Windows. The only corrupted saves I ever saw were those caused by game crashes.

 

FO3 and FNV - never once. Skyrim - never once.

 

Now, that just covers saves.

 

The advice to exit the game when loading, that may or may not have merit. It depends on what exactly you're doing. A quicksave/quickload while you're in the SAME CELL can lead to an improper reset of the environment. You may find traps set off that you hadn't reached yet when reloading. Doors unlocked that shouldn't be. Possibly even items on the ground that YOU dropped, yet are also still in your inventory. Death auto-reload from an autosave has the same problem, but for some reason I've yet to be able to replicate this sort of behavior off of a manual save. This suggests that a manual save is invoking an extra step of some sort to properly purge environment data.

 

Still, since LOADING the game is not entirely reliable, it's best to exit all the way to the desktop first. Going only to the Main Menu is not enough, because that doesn't properly reset the environment either in some cases.

 

Here's the kicker. Saving in one cell and then loading from another seems to be perfectly safe. This wasn't the case in Oblivion. With OB, that could generate a CTD. With Skryim, it just loads, and I've never found any evidence of things not being correct afterward. This appears to be something they DID fix in FO3, so it's carried forward ever since then with updated engines.

 

Now, I'm not casting doubt on the knowledge Emma has, but it is important to understand that she's a Morrowind vet like many of us. A lot of these kinds of warnings have simply been passed down through the ages and taken as gospel without ever being retested. The subject crops up on a regular basis, and many newer people who have not played the older games simply can't understand the problem since they may legitimately have never encountered it. The vets tend to say "trust us, this is so".

 

So ultimately, my advice would simply be this: Be careful. Watch what's going on. If you reload and something doesn't look right, exit the game immediately. Reload that save once you're back, and you'll find there's probably nothing wrong.

 

I have hundreds of hours invested into Skyrim, I am a regular user of autosave, quicksave, and manual save. I have had zero issues with save induced corruption.

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Ha, thanks. That makes me much more comfortable. I was in doubt when I read those posts, but with zero knowledge about this stuff I can't but mostly believe people who have been around and not just playing for years. The idea of exiting the game before loading a save looked completely silly to me, considering my rather heavily modded game takes almost 30 seconds to start, and another 20 to load a save.

 

Now, I am not entirely sure I read your post correctly, the part with the same cell. Do you mean I shoudn't do things like quicksave in front of a NPC, and quickload 30 times until I manage to pickpocket the hell out of it?

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I wouldn't recommend it since nobody has done any new validation testing on that that I know of. It's always been reloads in the same cell you saved in that have been the biggest problems. It may be fixed, it may not be, so just watch out for it is all.

 

I suspect whatever "corrupt" data wouldn't outlast the cell's presence in memory in any case.

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But that makes pickpocketing pointless/impossible from security precaution reasons then :P

 

Now that I think about it, I have never seen a definition of a cell. Could you give me a short explanation?

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For an interior, a "cell" is basically the entire zone. Some are small, others can be ginormous.

 

For an exterior, or other worldspace, a "cell" is generally an area that is 4096x4096 units square. If you are out in the wilderness, you can use the console to turn on the cell borders to visualize it with the TB command. They'll be thin yellow lines on the game world.

 

Most of the stuff you got in those cautionary posts and what I was addressing were all in relation to interior cells, not worldspace cells.

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So are you saying, if we stick to my pickpocketing example, that it's not that much of a problem if a character is out in the world rather than in an interior?

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So are you saying, if we stick to my pickpocketing example, that it's not that much of a problem if a character is out in the world rather than in an interior?

No, just that I'm not sure how that would change things. If it even does.

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I had to turn off autosaves - those never worked for me and would sometimes cause crashes while they were saving. I use quicksaves all the time, but I also do manual saves quite frequently. I don't recommend relying on quicksaves exclusively.

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