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Strategies for Saving the Game

One of the biggest pains in the butt is writing a save game feature. This is one of those things that all game programmers do last, and do by the seat of their pants in most cases. The key is to write your game with the idea that you're going to want to give the player a save game option at some point. That way you won't paint yourself into a corner.

To save at any point in the game means to record the state of every single variable and every single object in the game. Hence, you must record all global variables in a file along with the state of every single object. The best way to approach this is with an object-oriented thought process. Instead of writing a function that writes out the state of each object and all the global variables, a better idea is to teach each object how to write and read its own state to a disk file.

To save a game, all you need to do is write the globals and then create a simple function that tells each game object to write out its state. Then, to load the game back in, all you need to do is read the globals back into the system and then load the states of all the objects back into the game.

This way, if you add another object or object type, the loading/saving process is localized in the object itself rather than strewn about all over the place.

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