Myths and Legends: Autosaves and Quicksaves

TES is a universe built on Myths and Legends. Or Legends that are Myths. Or Myths that are really Legends. Everything is true and not true at the same time. It’s a great universe to create in.

No surprise that Myths about modding are just as common.

There is an extremely popular myth that the default skyrim autosaves and quicksaves do not properly stop scripts and therefore will cause CTDs? Save bloat? Stack dumps? The actual symptom is different every time the myth is repeated. (A common problem with myths). Only going to the skyrim menu and saving from there will result in a safe save. Or the console. That works too.

This is most certainly a myth. First of all, anyone can test for themselves that quicksaves and autosaves do indeed stop scripts from running, identical to going to the main menu. If you turn on papyrus logging and go to make a quicksave, you can easily see the “VM is freezing” and “VM is thawing” messages that indicated scripts were stopped, recorded, and restarted. This happens regardless of type of save.

No, the rendering engine doesn’t stop, but the rendering engine doesn’t get baked into a save, now does it?

Secondly, there’s this excellent breakdown of why this is an utterly ridiculous thing to even think in the first place, by Merad.

To quote:

“The whole ” script running while saving” thing, however, is moronic. Creating a save requires capturing a snapshot of the world state to a file. If you allow the world state to be altered while you are saving it, of course you will end up with blatant corruption everywhere. That’s the kind of mistake that a sophomore CS major should know to avoid. I find it hard to believe that Beth could have devs that stupid, and also hard to believe that the game would function at all if it was written that way.”

Now where did this myth come from?

There’s a few possibilities.

  1. Windows corrupted files when it was handling the IO of writing a save. While unlikely, windows does corrupt files and especially on older computers this is possible. My understanding is that this is more likely if you’re overwriting files.

  2. The saves got corrupted because of skyrim/mod bugs, and people who relied only on autosaves and quicksaves didn’t have old backup saves to go to.

  3. Overwriting files (when files are named the same) takes longer because of an issue with SKSE. It just takes longer, there’s no actual harm in it.

What’s the real answer?

Autosaves and Quicksaves are perfectly fine, but you should never overwrite files, as that may cause problems. Plus, you always want an old save to return to in case something bad happens to your more recent saves. Don’t overwrite or delete saves!

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