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PS4 Porting Knowledge – Save Game Behavior

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Estimated reading time: 2 min

by Luiz Aguiar and Rodrigo Martins

Save Game Behavior

Corrupted Save Game

When submitting games for certification, save corruption tests are frequently performed. It is necessary to create solutions when players encounter this problem. The save system requires special treatment to meet Sony’s approval. When we refer to its behavior, we are talking about Sony’s expectations regarding file size, treatment of corrupted individual slots or nonexistent files. Some of these requirements are listed as TRCs, and under the article “Certification“, we discuss tests related to save files that we must pay attention to before and during development, as well as before sending it for certification. To simplify this testing, the console includes a file corruption function.

 

One common issue that certification report is the loss of information due to save corruption, as well as broken images in the user interface. In such cases, it is important to provide a solution that displays a different icon, allowing the player to create a new save game that replaces the corrupted one. However, it is crucial to inform the player that the corrupted save will be deleted, as simply replacing it without notification can result in rejection during the Playstation certification process.

You can set “★Fake SaveData Broken Status” to test the behavior of the application when the save data is corrupted. The procedure for making this setting on the system software is as follows:

  1. From “Settings” > “Saved Data and Game/App Settings” > “Saved Data (PS5)” > “Upload or Delete from Console Storage”, select an item for which a list of save data is displayed, such as “Delete”.
  2. On the displayed list of save data, align the focus on the save data to set to the corrupted state and press the options button 
  3. Once the options menu is displayed, select “★Fake SaveData Broken Status” and set to on or off

The following operations can be verified using save data for which the corrupted state has been set.

In some games, there may be more than one save slot available. For instance, a game might use one save file to store settings and another to track game progress. If either of these save slots is experiencing issues, even if the game is still playable, it can result in a failed certification. Therefore, it’s very important to handle multiple save slots properly and ensure that all functions, replacements, and notifications are working correctly to guarantee a successful project submission. Here is the structure used by the console when saving with the save library.

To test insufficient free space do the following steps:

When setting “★Debug Settings” > “Game” > “SaveData” > “Fake Free Space” to “On” (“Off” by default) on a development machine, it is possible to generate a state of insufficient free space upon calling any function that saves save data. At this time, each function will return the error indicated below. This will enable you to test application behavior when free space is insufficient.

 

System Notifications

It can be helpful to know that when you’re saving files, there are various notifications that might pop up. Some of these notifications come from the console and others are system-generated messages. They might show up as windows that aren’t directly related to the application you’re using. You can find more information on these callback notifications for saving and loading files by visiting this link.

Specific Corrupted Behavior

In order to promote the importance of safe behavior when saving games, we have listed the main Technical Requirements Checklist (TRC) provided by Sony, along with descriptions from their official documentation. These requirements outline the expected behavior when saving a game, including guidelines for managing available space on the console and the maximum size allowed for save files in rules R4021A, R4100, R4096C and R4098.

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