Save Game

Save Games are crucial for keeping state information of machines and such between game sessions. The save games contain information about stuff like what items are in your inventory. Normally Satisfactory saves the current game state periodically every 5 minutes as an autosave. And, of course, you can save the game state yourself by pressing the Save button in game.

You can find your save files in %localappdata%/FactoryGame/Saved/SaveGames/

But what actually happens when you push this magical "Save" button?

How is the game state saved?

Saving the game state is, in a nutshell, pretty easy. You just simply iterate over all objects in the world and convert them to data you can write to a file, like a string.

Unreal converts its objects to a string which is json formatted.

This process of converting a UObject to this json string is called serialization.

The complicated part about saving is optimizing it. For Satisfactory, it makes absolutely no sense to serialize every god damn object there is in the world. Because some of them get automatically spawned on the game boot up or they don’t contain information that actually needs to get saved. F.e. we don’t store every tree in the game to the save file, but what we actually do is, when the player removes a tree by cutting it down, we store the information that the tree is not there any more. Basically, exactly the opposite, we store that there is no information. We also don’t care about the terrain because the user can’t change it, and so, it is always the same so we don’t need to serialize it. Think about how much bigger save files would be if the game had to store 'yes, this is here' for every single tree, bush, rock, etc. Instead, that sort of information is saved in the world map file that Satisfactory uses for every save game. A constructor, on the other hand, is not placed directly on boot up of the game. It’s placed by the player, and can have any number of settings, so we need to store information about it and its settings in the game state.

Also, Actors (such as machines) generally consist of multiple components, some of which we want to store in the save, some of which we don’t. We’d want to save a UFGInventoryComponent, for example, but we don’t care about a StaticMesh because it always gets created in runtime and is the same between all machines of that type.

The SaveGame UProperty Flag

Not all attributes of a object get serialized, only UProperties marked with the SaveGame-Flag get actually serialized.

When working with Blueprints you can add this flag by opening the advanced property settings and checking the SaveGame box.

When working with C++ you should follow the directions below for using IFGSaveInterface.

Make sure you have not set the SkipSerialization flag on the property or the object. This would end in the save system wanting to save but the Unreal serializer just ignoring your data.

But by default, it shouldn’t be set.

The IFGSaveInterface

The save system of Satisfactory uses the IFGSaveInterface to filter now between objects we need to save, and objects we don’t need to save.

On of the most important functions is the bool ShouldSave() const function, which returns true when the object should get saved. This can be dependent on the sate of the object, like the trees. The trees only return true if they are actually chopped down ingame.

This means, when you have information you want to keep between game sessions, you should implement IFGSaveInterface and return on ShouldSave true.

FGBuildable implements IFGSaveInterface already, but it doesn’t return true in ShouldSave, so please make sure you overwrite the function and return true.

All of the other functions allow you to further customize the serialization and filter process when the save state gets stored or loaded.

Where Modded Save Content Ends Up

If you’d like, you can take a look at some of your modded saves in a save editor to how and where they save their data.

Generally, content created by mods appears under Game/<mod_reference>/ tag.

Here is a screenshot from SatisfactorySaveEditor displaying data from a mod with the reference NogsOres.


Loading a Save Game

When a save game gets loaded, it goes through multiple steps until the player is allowed to play on the map again. In the first step the UMap gets loaded and unserialized to the UWorld (this unserialization happens because the map is also just a serialized world, that means this doesn’t load the save game, just the by CSS predefined map)

After that the save game gets loaded. The second step now spawns all additional actors into the world. So their constructors get executed and those create now subobjects like actor components, attributes, etc.

The third step is to load the saved variable values. It sets the values of the newly spawned actors, their subjects, and the some of the existing actors in the world.

Now as the forth and last step all the begin play functions get called and the components and actors start to tick.

The save game is now loaded and ready to play.

During this process some functions of the IFGSaveInterface might get called to additionally inform the actors of the different load states and for custom serialization.