Project gone forever?

Vini310

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Some weeks ago, I started a new project on RPG Maker VX Ace, I was messing around with it for one hour straight, testing the engine and etc. Everything was going fine, I had just saved the project and was preparing to close it, but before I could click on the "X" to close the project... the lights went out, nad when they returned, I checked the project to see if everything was OK, and all the files on the "Data" folder were corrupted.
How I realized that? The project displayed a message that can basically be summed in "the project cannot be opened", I tried to open it like if there's no tommorow then I deleted the "Game.rvproj" file and replaced it with another from other project, and a message saying that the "Actors" database could not be loaded, so I replaced it, and the project said the same thing about the "Itens" tab. In this moment I realized that the only way to fix the problem was to replace the files in the "Data" folder one-by-one, and since I had no backup of the project I had just started...
Thankfully, the only things I modified were the Actors and Tilesets, but imagine how dangerous would it be if the project was on a more advanced stage.

So, what should I do to prevent this from happening again?
 

TheoAllen

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So, what should I do to prevent this from happening again?
1. Probably more expensive, if PC, buy UPS or just dev the game in the laptop with the battery attached.
2. Not requiring any money, but back up frequently. Every time you hit the milestone that you don't want it to lost forever. Project corruption comes from many sources.

We have enough hearing the horror stories of this. Speaking of which, you just remind me to back up my project.
 

Vini310

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The thing is: I didn't get a chance to backup the project, and I save often exactly to avoid big losses in case of incidents. Ironically, saving didn't worked this time...
Yeah, use a laptop, while still making backups seems to be the best option.
 

Roninator2

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I bought my UPS at staples for $80 Canadian. They are not too expensive. I run two surge protectors off of it and all my electronics in my computer room is plugged into it. Runs for about 7 minutes before the battery dies. Just long enough to close and shutdown. (if I'm home)
 

Andar

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The RMs handle their projects like a database does, with files constantly open while the editor is open.
That is why cloudsyncing is bad and why a crash with the editor open can destroy those fie - but there is no way around this for a lot of reasons, a project simply contains too much data to use regular file access.

and that is why saving often is not the same as making backups, and why backups are important.

in case of Ace there are scripts that autocreate backup on playtesting - which will slow down playtest start but will increase security of your data, you might consider using them.

Because a UPS can only protect you from power loss - there are other errors that can destroy your files.
 

MushroomCake28

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I suggest external hard drives. I have 4 external hard drives and always use them in pair (hard drive 2 is the copy/backup of hard drive 1, same for hd 3 and 4). So my project is on 2 different drives, on my PC, on my laptop, and on my dropbox. The only way to really prevent data loss is by backing your project as many time as possibles.
 

Engr. Adiktuzmiko

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Always make backups, regularly.. UPS can save you from power outage but there can still be other sources of breakdowns that cam happen so having backups is really the way to go..

I normally backup into an external hard drive and on the OneDrive of my microsoft account.
 

Shiro-chan

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I back-up my progress on 3 different USB drives every time I finish and sometimes even in the middle of things. And yes, a laptop also helps if you suffer semi-regular power outages.
 

Vini310

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First of all, sorry for the massive delay to post here. I was busy with college stuff and thinking about what should I do with the projects.
My final decision is to use a notebook/laptop for my projects from now on, and I will not even TOUCH my projects until I got one (I'm also waiting to get the official version of RMVXAce on Steam, I do have the official RM2003 tho, I jsut barely use it).

The script that auto-creates backups sounds nice, but I'm afraid it will mess with other external scripts (if I use them).
 

Andar

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The script that auto-creates backups sounds nice, but I'm afraid it will mess with other external scripts (if I use them).
it should not. To call it "autobackup" is perhaps a misnomer because it does not trigger on its own. What it does is whenever you start a playtest, it copies the entire project data into a subfolder of the project - and since that blocks both the editor (disabled due to playtest) and scripts (only one script can run at any time, so other scripts run either before or after) it should not cause problems.
 

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Are you sure all of the Data files (not just one or some) were corrupted? That does occasionally happen, but it is rare.

To try to recover uncorrupted data files and save most of your project, make copies of every file/folder within the Data folder (make sure you don't have RPG Maker open while doing this). Then replace them one-by-one with files from a new, clean project (attempting to open the project each time). If replacing one of the files allows you to open the project, you're good and that was most likely the one data file that was corrupt. Move the copies of your existing data back into the project now, and then replace only the one file that was corrupt.
 

Vini310

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it should not. To call it "autobackup" is perhaps a misnomer because it does not trigger on its own. What it does is whenever you start a playtest, it copies the entire project data into a subfolder of the project - and since that blocks both the editor (disabled due to playtest) and scripts (only one script can run at any time, so other scripts run either before or after) it should not cause problems.
Great. Now I can use it without being worried.

Are you sure all of the Data files (not just one or some) were corrupted? That does occasionally happen, but it is rare.

To try to recover uncorrupted data files and save most of your project, make copies of every file/folder within the Data folder (make sure you don't have RPG Maker open while doing this). Then replace them one-by-one with files from a new, clean project (attempting to open the project each time). If replacing one of the files allows you to open the project, you're good and that was most likely the one data file that was corrupt. Move the copies of your existing data back into the project now, and then replace only the one file that was corrupt.
I did exactly that when the lights came back. As I told in the main post, the project said that everything was corrupted, but I didn't beleved at first, so I tried to replace some of the corrupted "data" files with fresh ones from another project. Every time I replaced one, the project said that other file was corrupted and this happened 3 times, so I assumed that every file was broken. Plus, I don't have the broken stuff anymore, so I can't "re-test".
 

Wavelength

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I did exactly that when the lights came back. As I told in the main post, the project said that everything was corrupted, but I didn't beleved at first, so I tried to replace some of the corrupted "data" files with fresh ones from another project. Every time I replaced one, the project said that other file was corrupted and this happened 3 times, so I assumed that every file was broken. Plus, I don't have the broken stuff anymore, so I can't "re-test".
When you said you replaced Game.rvproj, I assumed that was the only thing you replaced from a clean project, so I gave you the steps for trying to save what was left in case it might be useful to you. Apparently, it wasn't. Sorry your lost your stuff, I do know how much that sucks and how painful it feels.
 

Vini310

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I use http://himeworks.com/2013/02/data-backup/ and it doesn't mess up any of my other scripts. I hope this one works for you and that it doesn't happen again in the future :(
I will try to use this one then. Sounds very simple to use.
EDIT: It worked... kinda better than I expected. Now I can have multiple copies of the same project, which can be VERY USEFUL if I get lost at some point.
 
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EthanFox

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As another recommendation, you can sync your project to Google Drive.

Just make a Google account, download Backup & Sync, and set the project folder to sync in the setup. Every time you save, it will automatically backup your game to Google Drive.

Obviously this only works if you have constant, un-metered access to the internet.
 

Ateliae

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I will try to use this one then. Sounds very simple to use.
EDIT: It worked... kinda better than I expected. Now I can have multiple copies of the same project, which can be VERY USEFUL if I get lost at some point.
I hope that one works for you. I had my game crash on me a few times and lose everything, but after installing that script, I never lose anything ever anymore.
 

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@Andar could you comment on the suggestion by EthanFox (post #16)? My memory is that you have often advised against backups made by syncing to the cloud while the editor is open, but I may be misremembering.
 

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@Andar could you comment on the suggestion by EthanFox (post #16)? My memory is that you have often advised against backups made by syncing to the cloud while the editor is open, but I may be misremembering.
I'd be keen to hear more about this too; I've been doing it for about 5 months now with no problems, but that doesn't mean there won't be on waiting around the corner.
 

Andar

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As another recommendation, you can sync your project to Google Drive.
no, not without risking your data.

The problem here is based on your assumption that the RPG-Makers use regular saving data, but in reality they use their files like a database (similiar to Filemaker or Microsoft Access).
Basically as long as the editor is open, all files for the project database are open as well. Any change you do in the project database or on the current map is transfered directly into the file storage as soon as the editor has some free processing time, it does NOT wait until you hit "save" as you assume.
What happens when you hit the save command is just that anything is sync'ed and all parts not yet stored due to not enough free processing.

That is why the project save is that fast - without constantly writing the data into the open files, a project save could easily take several minutes to save everything, especially in game projects with large databases.

Now the problem with all cloudservices is if they detect a change automatically and then try to sync the files as soon as possible - which can happen while the editor is still open and still has the database files open. And then everything goes wrong.
Only one file access is allowed to any single file at the same time, as soon as another program tries to access the data from the open file that second program get a "denied" from the operating system.
And for a lot of cloud-services, that "denied" tells them that this file no longer exists (or is empty), resulting in first the deletion of the cloud-version of the file and second (when the editor no longer needs the file) in emptying the local file, destroying the project data.

Just search around the forum for the dozens of people reporting "cannot load actor.json" or "my json files are all empty" - you'll always see that they either had a cloudsync active or a power failure while the editor was open.

You can use a cloud for distribution or for backup, but that backup has to be done manually - having an automatic sync will include the risk that that automatic sync happens while the editor is holding the files open and then resulting in lost data.
It doesn't happen automatically, but the longer you work with the editor in an autosync'ed folder, the higher the risk becomes (especially as the project grows in size, requiring more and more time for file access)
 

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