[TDA03] Muv-Luv Unlimited: THE DAY AFTER - Episode 03 REMASTERED

[TDA03] Muv-Luv Unlimited: THE DAY AFTER - Episode 03 REMASTERED

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Mailia Mar 24, 2023 @ 3:12pm
Steam Cloud save sync issue
The Steam Cloud save syncing for THE DAY AFTER 03, and probably all of the other releases in the THE DAY AFTER series, is extremely badly implemented. It seems that the main goal of the Steam Cloud support is to recover your save games in case your HDD goes up in smokes, not if you want to switch between devices.

I have a Steam Deck and a gaming PC, and I began reading THE DAY AFTER 03 on my Steam Deck. But since the title supports Steam Cloud, I figured I’d install the game on my gaming PC too and I can just seamlessly switch between devices and continue reading between them. After installing it on the PC, it did load up the Steam Deck saves from the cloud just fine, so I continued reading and then saved on the PC, which prompted a cloud save.

And then when I launched THE DAY AFTER 03 on the Steam Deck, I was in for a surprise – none of the new saves I’d made on the PC showed up.

This launched a two-man multi-hour investigation as to which part of the sync process was not working. Turns out that THE DAY AFTER 03 has two distinct locations and filenames for save data: [Steam install]/userdata/[Steam user ID]/789830/udat.bin and ~\AppData\Local\ancr\tda03\data\user\steam\[hexadecimal hash]\udat_rel.bin.

If your system does not have the udat_rel.bin file, TDA03 will generate it from the udat.bin that is downloaded from Steam Cloud. If your system does have the udat_rel.bin file, TDA03 will load the game from that and ignore the udat.bin, even if it contains newer data.

This explains why I was able to get the initial saves from the Steam Deck onto the PC: I’d never launched the game, so it downloaded the Steam Cloud saves and generated the udat_rel.bin from that. And because the Steam Deck already had its own copy of udat_rel.bin from the hours that I’d spent reading TDA03 on the Deck, it would keep to that no matter what.

If you actually want to play TDA03 on multiple devices, you’ll have to force the recreation of the udat_rel.bin file when you switch to another device. On the Steam Deck it seems that it’s possible to purge the udat_rel.bin rather easily by selecting Developer → Delete Proton files from the game’s options. On Windows, you’ll need to either manually delete it or completely reinstall TDA03.

Needless to say, but this implementation is just bad, as the THE DAY AFTER 03 is maintaining your save data in two completely different locations, and makes absolutely no effort to ensure that they stay in sync (except for uploads).
Last edited by Mailia; Mar 24, 2023 @ 3:28pm