Tutorial Synchronize characters across computers with Dropbox!

Discussion in 'Starbound Modding' started by Eppy, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    So I was chatting on IRC and this discussion came up - how does one move, or better yet synchronize, player files between computers?

    I've actually been doing this pretty much since I got Starbound - it's convenient to have SB on my laptop while I'm on the go. So here it is: How to sync characters with Dropbox!

    Please note: This requires Windows Vista at a minimum. There are ways to get XP to do symlinks, but it's dodgy at best - I won't support it. :)

    This is also a strictly Windows-based tutorial. There's another tutorial that covers Mac and Linux here: http://community.playstarbound.com/...avegames-between-windows-mac-and-linux.53217/

    Note, I've heard that some people have problems transferring savegames between Win/Linux and Mac - no clue on this one, since I don't have a Mac. Sorry!

    Another note: You can do this with your universe folder as well - similar steps, and you're just making links to different files (the "universe" folder, specifically.) Personally, I don't like synced universes, though. <_<

    Disclaimer: I take no responsibility if you hose your computer, installs, or saves while doing this. I've been using it successfully for a good while, but things happen.


    Step 1: Get Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) if you don't already have it.

    Full disclosure: Everyone who signs up with that link will give me 500MB of extra space and get 500MB of extra space themselves. Consider it a thanks for the guide. :p

    Dropbox makes a folder on your computer that synchronizes files between any computer where Dropbox is installed and running. This can possibly get bandwidth-heavy, so you'll want to watch carefully if you're in a situation where your bandwidth is limited.

    Step 2: Open Command Prompt as an administrator.

    This will require you to right-click on the Command Prompt (or CMD) program in your start menu and specifically select "Run As Administrator."

    Step 3: Navigate to your Dropbox folder.

    Assuming you placed Dropbox where it wants you to by default:

    cd C:\Users\<your username>\Dropbox
    If not, find it and use that.

    Step 4: Create a directory for your player files.

    mkdir StarboundSaves
    Step 5: Copy files from your existing players directory to the StarboundSaves directory.

    Note: If you have any spaces in your path (the C:\Users\<yourname>\Dropbox part, for instance,) you'll need to enclose anything that has a space in quotes. See this copied post below:

    The quote marks aren't necessary if you don't have spaces in any of the filenames, but they won't hurt anything either.

    This requires you to know where Steam is installed. In my case, I have Steam installed under D:\Games. In all the following steps, replace "D:\Games\Steam" with wherever you have Steam installed.

    move D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\player\* StarboundSaves

    This is paranoia, but better to be paranoid than to lose your saves.

    cd StarboundSaves
    cd ..
    Does it show a bunch of files? Good, that means everything copied right. If not? Stop now and bail out - something went wrong. Go find your saves and get them back into your old player directory. If you can't find them, remember the disclaimer. <_<

    Step 7: Delete the "player" directory from your Starbound folder.

    rmdir D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\player
    Step 8: Make the symlink from there to where the player files currently live.

    mklink /J D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\player StarboundSaves 
    Step 9: Check the directory listing.

    dir D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\player
    Step 10: Start up the game and try it!

    Go ahead and start up Starbound - if you can start it up and make this work, congrats! All you need to do now is to do the same steps on each computer where you want to sync your player files! If you don't see your characters, you messed something up. Or maybe you're running XP, which I told you wouldn't work.


    Below is a copy of the commands I entered on my laptop (a different directory structure than the tutorial) to set this up while following this tutorial:

    Microsoft Windows [Version 6.1.7601]
    Copyright (c) 2009 Microsoft Corporation.  All rights reserved.
    C:\Windows\system32>cd C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox>mkdir StarboundSaves
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox>move C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player\* StarboundSaves
            3 file(s) moved.
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox>cd StarboundSaves
    Volume in drive C is Enceladus
    Volume Serial Number is A614-6298
    Directory of C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox\StarboundSaves
    12/13/2013  01:16 PM    <DIR>          .
    12/13/2013  01:16 PM    <DIR>          ..
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM                78 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.metadata
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM            14,346 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.player
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM          475,648 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.shipworld
                  3 File(s)        490,072 bytes
                  2 Dir(s)  57,337,958,400 bytes free
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox\StarboundSaves>cd ..
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox>rmdir C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox>mklink /J C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player StarboundSaves
    Junction created for C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player <<===>> StarboundSaves
    C:\Users\Epsilon\Dropbox\Common Game Saves\Starbound>dir C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player
    Volume in drive C is Enceladus
    Volume Serial Number is A614-6298
    Directory of C:\Applications\Steam\SteamApps\common\Starbound\player
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM  <DIR>  .
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM  <DIR>  ..
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM  78 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.metadata
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM  14,346 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.player
    12/13/2013  12:50 PM  475,648 0c9de25efde7b3df89ab09a1fd0dd821.shipworld
      3 File(s)  490,072 bytes
      2 Dir(s)  57,337,921,536 bytes free
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2013
  2. tifel100

    tifel100 Void-Bound Voyager

    Cool! I would try it but I only have 1 pc :'(
  3. Twisted Codex

    Twisted Codex Void-Bound Voyager

    The purpose of this being done in cmd is what exactly? Other than looking cool when you do it of course.

    Edit: Nvm, i suppose using the cmd prompt version of mklink over the gui version is easier, gui way is a little wonky, i forgot all that magical A+ certification crap I studied.
  4. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Heh. I didn't even know there was a way to do mklink in the GUI - shows how much I know on that count. :p
  5. Twisted Codex

    Twisted Codex Void-Bound Voyager

    Trust me, after I saw your post I went to do it... and was like.... nah cmd prompt is easier. :rofl:
    Eppy likes this.
  6. Rico Penguin

    Rico Penguin Star Wrangler


    This is much easier than having folks use the command prompt :p.

    You cut and paste the folders to your drop box, right click on them "pick link source" then you go to the folder they are from and do "drop link" as "Symbolic Link" and all gravy.

    I do it for most games and programs.
  7. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Personally, I'd opt for the option that keeps people installing as little as possible, especially something from an .at domain*. ;)

    That said, people are more scared of the command prompt than they really should be. My tutorial is clear and easy, as long as people know where their Steam/Dropbox folders are or can find them.

    Also, if someone has a problem with it, all they have to do is post a copy of the stuff in their command prompt window and it should be really clear what they did wrong - with a GUI method, there's a lot more mucking around and trying to troubleshoot what they b0rked.

    * To be fair, I think I've actually used this program now that I look at it - I also recall it not working properly though.
  8. Twisted Codex

    Twisted Codex Void-Bound Voyager

    Powershell, everyone should use powershell, but woooo the day you delete something and realize there is no going back with powershell xD
    Eppy likes this.
  9. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Oh yes. I've done my share of scripting in Powershell for automating software installs at work, and let me tell you, there are checks on those scripts coming out the wazoo to make sure I don't hose something in production. It's definitely something not to mess with.
  10. Rico Penguin

    Rico Penguin Star Wrangler

    Beats me I've been using it for years. It became the goto partner client to dropbox at my last job. I figure if my old boss can use it, it is basically stupid proof.

    To each their own though. I don't get any money if their stuff is downloaded so I'm not about to push for it ;p.
  11. blaize9

    blaize9 Space Hobo

    There is one small issue this this, Windows saves are not compatible with Mac saves and vice versa.
    But if you are doing Windows > Windows it will be fine,
  12. Rico Penguin

    Rico Penguin Star Wrangler

    Is this true with all games? I wasn't aware of the different OSs needing unique file formats for software.
  13. Cheet4h

    Cheet4h Void-Bound Voyager

    Anyone of you already tried out Gamesave Manager?
    It provides a quick&easy Sync&Link feature, which uses the symlinks to link your games into Dropbox or other cloud services and supports a whole lot of games.
    I submitted an entry for Starbound a couple hours ago, might be in the next database update. Otherwise you can create custom entries, just adding the player, universe and mods folder and syncing works like a charm.
  14. blaize9

    blaize9 Space Hobo

    This is just a starbound issue when loading the save.
  15. Tryptomine

    Tryptomine Poptop Tamer

    Eppy likes this.
  16. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Oops. Totally forgot this since I tend to avoid spaces in filenames - holdover from my DOS upbringing. <_<

    I'ma totally add this to the OP. Thanks!
  17. Tryptomine

    Tryptomine Poptop Tamer

    No probs, thank you for the guide!
  18. th3rmyte

    th3rmyte Void-Bound Voyager

    is it also possible to manually transfer things via thumb drive?
  19. Odinwolfe

    Odinwolfe Void-Bound Voyager

    Excellent, I had the same idea about dropbox!
    Thanks for the guide.
    Eppy likes this.
  20. Eppy

    Eppy Scruffy Nerf-Herder

    Sure. Instead of going through the mklink fuss, just copy it from one computer's Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\player\ folder to the same folder on the other computer.

    If you're wondering if you could do a mklink to a thumb drive... I'm really not sure, but it's a damned interesting question.

    In theory, it should work as long as the thumb drive ends up with the same drive letter every time. It'll maybe work if you don't usually use thumb drives on the computer (since Windows likes to mix up your drive letters for removable devices on occasion.)

    The "in practice" bit is something I'd have to look into - I don't have a full understanding of how mklink works at a low level, but I recall there being some sort of caveat with removable drives. You're welcome to try it and report the results, but YMMV. :)

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