Tobold's Blog
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Cloud saves

If you ever had a hard disk crash on your PC, you will be familiar with the concept of having lost your saved games of offline games. You can reinstall the game, but you'd have to start over from the start. The one advantage of many games being online these days, even single-player games, is that there are now frequently "cloud saves", so whatever happens to your computer, your game progress remains safe.

With mobile games you get all sorts of situations here. I've seen some which were so persistently cloud saving your game that it was downright impossible to start over. Others have cloud saves optional, sometimes outsourced to services like Facebook. When using such a device-independent service for cloud saves, you can even have the same game installed on different platforms and share the progress between them.

I'm still playing Pathfinder Adventures, because the underlying card game is so good, even if the computer implementation isn't all that great. And after having created some characters appear multiple times in my list and having bugs that prevent me from playing the quest mode, I thought that maybe I could fix some things by reinstalling the game. And that gave me some surprises as to the cloud save mechanics of the game:

Pathfinder Adventures uses the GameCenter on iOS, and the corresponding service GooglePlayGames on Android. But as these services are platform-specific, there is absolutely no exchange of information between platforms. I bought the adventure/character bundle on iOS, but on Android I don't get access to that, and play for free (which, by the way, isn't working so bad if you don't want to buy all the content for $25). So I assumed that my game progress was saved in the GameCenter when I reinstalled. But curiously only my purchases were! After reinstallation I still had access to the adventures and characters I bought, all my gold, and all the cards from treasure chests that I bought with gold. But all my played characters were reset to their initial level and characteristics, with their initial cards. All the cards, feats, and story progress I had earned was gone.

Overall not a catastrophe, because I wasn't too far into the game yet. But as a method of cloud saving it sure is peculiar. Yes, it's good that my purchases were preserved, but I would really have liked my game progress to be cloud saved as well.

Steam cloud-saving is one of the many reasons that I am truly grateful for that service.
Just another one of those benefits that piracy simply can't offer, which puts me over the line to a purchase.
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