Glossary:Game data

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Installation folder[edit]

The game's installation folder is where the game's files are stored, displayed as <path-to-game>. Save files are sometimes stored here as well but many newer games will put them in a different location.

Windows[edit]

  • For non-Steam games right click the shortcut and choose Open file location.
  • For Steam games right-click the game in the Steam library and choose Properties, then go to the Local files tab and click Browse local files.
  • Activity in %PROGRAMFILES%, %PROGRAMFILES(X86)% and %WINDIR% is redirected to %LOCALAPPDATA%\VirtualStore on Windows Vista and later for unprivileged programs[1][2]; Steam and many MMOs change folder permissions to save directly into the installation folder.

OS X[edit]

  • For non-Steam games open Finder and click Applications on the side. Some games will be in folders.
  • For Steam games right-click the game in the Steam library and choose Properties, then go to the Local files tab and click Browse local files.

Linux[edit]

  • For Steam games right-click the game in the Steam library and choose Properties, then go to the Local files tab and click Browse local files.

Client folder[edit]

Steam[edit]

The Steam folder contains data for games using Steam integration; it uses the following locations by default:

  • 64-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Steam
  • 32-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES%\Steam
  • OS X: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/
  • Linux: ~/.steam/steam/

Game data is saved within a folder called steamapps found within the Steam directory.

Origin[edit]

The Origin Client folder contains data for games using Origin integration; it uses the following locations by default:

  • 64-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Origin Games
  • 32-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES%\Origin Games

Uplay[edit]

The Uplay folder contains data for games using Uplay integration; it uses the following locations by default:

  • 64-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES(X86)%\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher
  • 32-bit Windows: %PROGRAMFILES%\Ubisoft\Ubisoft Game Launcher

Windows data paths[edit]

Documentation on how to incorporate these paths into any wiki articles can be found here.
To open the environmental variable path, either copy/paste or write the desired path variable to file explorer, to start menu search bar or to run dialog which can be opened with Win+R.
A list of the different paths for each version of Windows can be found here and a list of environment variables can be found here.
Note that some folders are hidden by default. To view them, enable "show hidden files and folders" and possibly disable "hide protected operating system files" in your Windows folder configuration.
Below, the letter C:\ refers to the drive where Windows is installed and on some computers this could be D:\ or another letter.

User profile[edit]

%USERPROFILE% points to the current user's profile folder.
For Windows Vista/7/8/10, this points to C:\Users\(Username)\.
For Windows 2000/XP, this points to C:\Documents and Settings\(Username)\.
Some games use a path based on %USERNAME%; this method does not redirect when the user folder locations have been customised.

User application data[edit]

There are multiple folders for application settings for user profiles.
On Windows Vista/7/8/10, %APPDATA% points to C:\Users\(Username)\AppData\Roaming\, while %LOCALAPPDATA% points to C:\Users\(Username)\AppData\Local\ another possible location for app data.
Some newer games use %APPDATA%\LocalLow\, this location does not have a short environmental variable so must be specified in this longer form.
On Windows 2000/XP, %APPDATA% points to C:\Documents and Settings\(Username)\Application Data\, while C:\Documents and Settings\(Username)\Local Settings\Application Data\ is the other possible location with no default environment variable.

Shared profile[edit]

%PUBLIC% or %ALLUSERSPROFILE% contain application settings shared between all users.
For Windows Vista/7/8/10, %PUBLIC% points to C:\Users\Public\.
For Windows 2000/XP, %ALLUSERSPROFILE% points to the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\.

Shared application data[edit]

%PROGRAMDATA% or %ALLUSERSPROFILE% contain application settings shared between all users.
On Windows Vista/7/8/10, %PROGRAMDATA% points to a hidden folder at C:\ProgramData\.
On Windows 2000/XP, %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Application Data\ points to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\.

Windows registry[edit]

  1. Open the Registry Editor:
    • Vista and later: open the Start screen/Start menu, type regedit, press Enter.
    • Windows XP: press Win+R, type regedit, press Enter.
  2. Go to the folder named.

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE[edit]

32-bit programs writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE without elevation are redirected to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\VirtualStore\MACHINE\SOFTWARE on Windows Vista and later.[3]
On 64-bit systems, 32-bit programs writing to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE are redirected to a Wow6432Node key there[4]

HKEY_CURRENT_USER[edit]

Note that 32-bit programs writing to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software are NOT redirected to a Wow6432Node key unlike local machine writes. They are stored in the same location, as programs per user edits are assumed to always be compatible between architectures. Per machine edits are too, 99.99% of the time, the restriction was mostly a poor choice by Microsoft.[citation needed]

User ID[edit]

A User ID is a unique identifier used to identify accounts. Files are sometimes saved to user specific location such as using profile name or numbered ID in filename/path indicated by <user-id>. This can vary between users.

Steam[edit]

Steam has multiple user ids, but the one most commonly used by users is the steamID64 which contains 17 numbers and starts with 7656.
The customURL is a customizable id which can be set in the Steam profile settings.

Origin[edit]

Uplay[edit]

Ubisoft uses the GUID format.

Linux paths[edit]

The correct place on Linux to store save data and configuration files are specified by the XDG base directory specification.

XDG paths[edit]

Most distributions do not set a default option for these environmental variables.
Games using $XDG_DATA_HOME should default to $HOME/.local/share for the save path.
Games using $XDG_CONFIG_HOME should default to $HOME/.config for the configuration path.

Note: a game using the fall-back paths doesn't guarantee it is following the XDG specification. For example, Game Maker and Unity 4 titles do not actually use the relevant environmental variables, despite using the correct fall-back path.

Home[edit]

$HOME refers to the user's home folder, for example /home/user, where the account name is "user".

References

  1. Windows Vista Application Development Requirements for User Account Control Compatibility - MSDN
  2. Security: Inside Windows Vista User Account Control - TechNet
  3. Registry Virtualization in Windows Vista - MSDN
  4. 32-bit and 64-bit Application Data in the Registry (Windows) - MSDN