Can a released game be updatable?

Nerevar

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Sorry if is upgradeable instead of updatable, lol


Well, that's my question.
After releasing a game, for example, in Steam and i want (or need) to correct some bugs or add things in the form of DLC's or expansions, can i do it without affect the current players and their progress in the game?
It's an important question to me because i'll like to add more stuff to my game after being released, to keep the community active.
 

Rhaeami

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I can only speak for Steam, but yes, you can update the game. If you decide to update the game, then Steam will automatically change the version for anyone who logs in to Steam and has the game installed. Their save data will be intact, but the game files themselves will be overwritten.

Your concern about affecting players of the previous versions really has nothing to do with the engine or distribution platform - rather, that's all in how you design your game. Go into RPG Maker, play test your game, save your progress... then go back to the editor and change something. You can now see first hand how saved data reacts when the game is changed. It will be exactly the same for players who make saved data before you push an update to Steam or whatever else.

If you want to be careful about all of this, then keep save files around that were made with the original released version of the game, then test out loading them up with the new version. As for how to design game updates to be non-disruptive, that's another (and very large) topic of its own. :kaoswt2:
 

Poryg

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Depending on what you edit, you may break a savefile entirely.
As long as you are only editing, everything is fine. You can freely add events and edit them without a trouble. You can freely edit maps without a trouble and you can add them too. As long as they don't manipulate any external data, you can even add new plugins. You can even edit existing skills, actors, enemies and events. However, adding or removing actors, enemies, equips and items, new switches and variables will corrupt the savefiles and adding plugins that deal with external data (for exampleSRDude's plugins) can completely screw the game.
 

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'Product Discussion and Support' is for Resource Packs and software released by Degica.

[move]Commercial RPGMaker Discussion[/move]
 

Philosophus Vagus

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You can but it's probably not advisable in most cases unless you are only adding new stuff for the most part. AAA game companies can get around releasing a pre-beta nigh unplayable piece of garbage and using their pre-order hypers as beta testers who have to pay for the experience because of a lot of sleazy business practices and the fact that they can employ lawyers to circumnavigate the intent of the law in most cases long enough to get out of any repercussions but as an independent designer your threshold for forgivability is a lot lower (fair it is not, but it is a fact) and you're probably going to find if your game is buggy from the offset that by the time you get a patch out most of your playerbase have simply demanded a refund and left you wasting your time and now with a near insurmountable reputation as a shovelware dealer being screamed from your games reviews page by the more vindictive portion of steams player base driving away new sales as well.

It's better to be as finished as possible by the time you release a game, big companies have abused the ability to automatically update their crap for so long just to rush things out months before they should be released and deal with the fallout afterwards if ever that people are sick enough of the practice already, and if you don't have that big name already to sell your game with outside of it's quality then ironically you'll be the one who gets abused the most for it, even if it's only one or two minor things needing to be fixed compared to bigger games that were released broken for 2+ months but have brand names to sell future games on regardless because people have short attention spans and keep buying their stuff because ten years ago they used to make amazing games.

I've only really seen one or two games that use updates to add free stuff to the game for players who'd already purchased it and that actually worked really well. So for the purpose of adding content I scrap my above commentary, just don't let it become an excuse for jumping the gun and releasing earlier than you should.
 
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Nekonron

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If you decide to update the game, then Steam will automatically change the version for anyone who logs in to Steam and has the game installed. Their save data will be intact, but the game files themselves will be overwritten.

To add, this is not exactly an automatic process (referring to the save data). You need to mark the save files as userconfig files so steam does not overwrite it.
 
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Rhaeami

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To add, this is not exactly an automatic process (referring to the save data). You need to mark the save files as userconfig files so steam does not

I'd actually be interested in further info on this. I've done updates on my game (made with VX Ace) and never got any customer complaints or the like, but I also never went out of my way to do anything special with the save files. :kaomad2:
 

Shaz

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It can be done, and it's much easier if you know you're going to want to do it right from the start.

I think the problem people have is when they decide after completing a game that they want to make a sequel, and they want it to continue from the where the first game ended - with the same party members at the same levels, with the same equipment.

It's all about designing your database (including switches & variables) with expansion in mind - avoid changing what's already been done, but just add to it. That way, you limit the risk of wrecking save files.

One big issue is adding new scripts/plugins between releases - some of them do setting up when you start a new game, and if you save a game, add a script, then resume your saved game, it'll crash. If you do this (add new scripts/plugins), it may be necessary to get some mods done so this setup is not ONLY done at the start of a new game, but when a game is resumed, if it can detect that it hasn't already been done.
 

Nekonron

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I'd actually be interested in further info on this. I've done updates on my game (made with VX Ace) and never got any customer complaints or the like, but I also never went out of my way to do anything special with the save files. :kaomad2:

In my case, I realized during testing that the save files were being replaced by whatever that was uploaded in the build. If I had nothing in the save folder, when someone updated their game all the files in their save folder were gone as well. It basically mirrors the depot.

It was only after I added the exclusion in the depot file config that it stopped overwriting the save files. I'm using MV for this game.
 

Rhaeami

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In my case, I realized during testing that the save files were being replaced by whatever that was uploaded in the build. If I had nothing in the save folder, when someone updated their game all the files in their save folder were gone as well. It basically mirrors the depot.

It was only after I added the exclusion in the depot file config that it stopped overwriting the save files. I'm using MV for this game.

I see, thank you. I (and others I'm sure) will have to do some research on those settings. :kaoswt:
 

bgillisp

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One thing to keep in mind (which I learned the hard way) is if a player saves in the middle of an event (due to say a save prompt), the engine is going to run that event *exactly* as it was when you saved the game. Any updates to that event will be ignored, and will only show up for players who are not in the middle of the event.

I found this out incidentally when I released my beta test to my testers. They had played the demo, which had a prompt to save at the end of Chapter 1 (where the demo ends). But, after that save prompt, I ran my "You have reached the end of the demo" text, in the same event. Well, when the full version went out to them, it still ran that old text and did the old end of demo processing, even though the event was updated to now take them to the start of Chapter 2.
 

Nekonron

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I see, thank you. I (and others I'm sure) will have to do some research on those settings. :kaoswt:

Yeah, would be great if anyone else who has any other experience with this could share what they know. I wonder if it has to do with the different formats used in VX Ace and MV. Did you set up steam cloud?

One thing to keep in mind (which I learned the hard way) is if a player saves in the middle of an event (due to say a save prompt), the engine is going to run that event *exactly* as it was when you saved the game. Any updates to that event will be ignored, and will only show up for players who are not in the middle of the event.

This actually never came up yet, but definitely something to keep in mind. :kaoeh:
 

Zeriab

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Make sure you have versioned your save files.

On load check the version.
Change loading procedure according to the version.
Given that you have full knowledge of your changes you can often adapt the loading procedures to either perfectly upgrade/migrate the save or do good enough of a job to hide the deficits.

I am assuming you do know what you are doing.
 

Rhaeami

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@Nekonron Since you asked, I didn't set up a Steam cloud (not sure how to XD )
 

Nerevar

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You can but it's probably not advisable in most cases unless you are only adding new stuff for the most part. AAA game companies can get around releasing a pre-beta nigh unplayable piece of garbage and using their pre-order hypers as beta testers who have to pay for the experience because of a lot of sleazy business practices and the fact that they can employ lawyers to circumnavigate the intent of the law in most cases long enough to get out of any repercussions but as an independent designer your threshold for forgivability is a lot lower (fair it is not, but it is a fact) and you're probably going to find if your game is buggy from the offset that by the time you get a patch out most of your playerbase have simply demanded a refund and left you wasting your time and now with a near insurmountable reputation as a shovelware dealer being screamed from your games reviews page by the more vindictive portion of steams player base driving away new sales as well.

It's better to be as finished as possible by the time you release a game, big companies have abused the ability to automatically update their crap for so long just to rush things out months before they should be released and deal with the fallout afterwards if ever that people are sick enough of the practice already, and if you don't have that big name already to sell your game with outside of it's quality then ironically you'll be the one who gets abused the most for it, even if it's only one or two minor things needing to be fixed compared to bigger games that were released broken for 2+ months but have brand names to sell future games on regardless because people have short attention spans and keep buying their stuff because ten years ago they used to make amazing games.

I've only really seen one or two games that use updates to add free stuff to the game for players who'd already purchased it and that actually worked really well. So for the purpose of adding content I scrap my above commentary, just don't let it become an excuse for jumping the gun and releasing earlier than you should.
Actually, im planning add only stuff like DLC's or updates for bugfixes and balances, launching an incomplete game its unacceptable for me, so, the only thing i expect its not get savefiles corrupted just for adding a sword and stuff like that.
You went wild here btw lmao
 

Rukiri

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I would always add.
*Disclaimer - Upgrading this software may or may not work with previous save files.

I would also add * THIS IS A PRE-RELEASE GAME NOT A FINAL RELEASE, CHANGES CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME WITHOUT WARNING.

Unity makes DLC pretty easy "or at least there's a lot of articles on it", but RM it's the whole game and if it's a major update a save more likely won't work "unless nothing was changed in that area or up to that point in the save"
 

Nerevar

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I would always add.
*Disclaimer - Upgrading this software may or may not work with previous save files.

I would also add * THIS IS A PRE-RELEASE GAME NOT A FINAL RELEASE, CHANGES CAN HAPPEN AT ANY TIME WITHOUT WARNING.

Unity makes DLC pretty easy "or at least there's a lot of articles on it", but RM it's the whole game and if it's a major update a save more likely won't work "unless nothing was changed in that area or up to that point in the save"
Looks like i'll have to wash my hands before doing something hahaha
 

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