Synchronizing game saves across PCs with Dropbox

February 25th, 2013 by

I’m not always at home when I want to do some odd-hours dungeon crawling, and it’s a pain to not be making progress because my main save file is on my desktop instead of my laptop. You’ve probably experienced a similar annoyance, and thankfully for Linux and Mac users there is a simple solution. We can use symbolic links and Dropbox to synchronize save files across all the machines we want to play games on!

The basic process is as follows:
1. Move game save folders to Dropbox folder.
2. Create symbolic links where these folders used to be, pointing to the folders now on Dropbox.
That’s it!

I’ll go ahead and walk you through the process. Firstly, I’ll assume you have Dropbox installed. Create a folder in your Dropbox folder where your linked save files will be stored. Next cut and paste your save files into this directory, preserving any file hierarchy that existed within the game files. I’ll use the game Torchlight for my example. Torchlight save files on Linux are kept in /home/myusername/.runicgames/Torchlight/Save/ . I want to sync all of my save files, so I just moved over the whole Save folder. Now I have my torchlight files in the following directory: /home/myusername/Dropbox/LinkedFiles/Torchlight/Save/ . Next, I need to create a symbolic link where the save folder used to be, that points to the folder now on Dropbox. I use the following command to do so:

ln -s /home/myusername/Dropbox/LinkedFiles/Torchlight/Save/ /home/myusername/.runicgames/Torchlight/Save/

The ln command is used to create soft and hard links. In this case, we specify that we want to create a soft (symbolic) link with the -s flag. Symbolic links can represent individual files, or directories. The first parameter we pass after any flags is the path that the link will point to. The second parameter is then the path where the link to be created will reside.

Once you’ve created the link, you’re done! Enjoy cloud synchronized gaming!

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