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New Vegas Dev: Skyrim Save Bug “an Engine-Level Issue”, Fix “Would Require a Large Time Commitment”

December 5, 2011 Written by Rae Langdon

Fallout: New Vegas Director Joshua Sawyer has weighed in on how much work will be required for Bethesda to fix the Skyrim save game glitch that users have been reporting since the game’s launch. According to Sawyer, the increasing size of the save file is an ‘engine-level’ issue that would require a “large commitment” to remedy.

In rudimentary terms, the save glitch has to do with the way the game handles saves files in combination with the way memory is sectioned off on the PS3. The Gamebyro engine essentially appends your save file with every new item you pick up. Sawyer explained it like this on Formspring:

The longer you play a character, the more bit differences on objects (characters, pencils on tables, containers, etc.) get saved off and carried around in memory. I think we’ve seen save games that are pushing 19 megs, which can be really crippling in some areas.

Continuing:

It’s an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored off as bit flag differences compared to the placed instances in the main .esm + DLC .esms. As the game modifies any placed instance of an object, those changes are stored off into what is essentially another .esm. When you load the save game, you’re loading all of those differences into resident memory.

He then gave his opinion on whether the problem can be fixed:

We’re talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment.

In regards to memory management, the PlayStation 3’s 512MB of ram is divided evenly between the game’s engine and graphics. This means that developers lose the flexibility of a unified memory system like the one utilized in the Xbox 360. With a unified system developers can chose the amount of memory divided between the engine and graphics.

Have you experienced any major glitches while playing Skyrim? Let us know, some glitches like NPCs floating in the air and dragons flying backwards are too funny to ignore.