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I was hoping to find the answer to this question somewhere, since it seemed so simple, and since Half-Life 2 and Episode 1 and 2 are such popular story driven games, but with no luck. I have a multitude of files spread across my Steam folders, some of which I'm aware as to what they store, and some of which I'm asking this question for.

I already know that game save files for loading progress are stored under Steam\SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2\episodic\save as well as episodic\cfg but my question is about the files inside of Steam\userdata\60342540\203160\Storage and it can be noted that for this example I'm using Half-Life 2 Episode 1 (steamid: 203160) inside of the storage folder there are the files "profile.dat","save1.dat","save2.dat", as well as the user's spray within the folder "\materials\" and a config file within "\cfg\".

My best guess is that "profile.dat" stores the in-game settings, "save1.dat" and "save2.dat" indexes all of the save files that can be loaded. Looking at "config.cfg" in a text editor shows that it stores key bindings as well as all the pre-defined in-game variables. However, I'm still not certain about "profile.dat" and the various "save.dat".

What do "profile.dat" and the "save.dat" files store, at least for Half-Life 2/Ep1/Ep2?

  • The games have Steam Cloud so you shouldn't have to back them up at all. – Keavon Jul 3 '14 at 7:09
  • It is not a matter of backing them up, but instead a matter of transferring them from a previous installation which was never synced with the cloud. And my question is more for the matter of knowing what they store regardless. As I said I can already load all the game save files. – Ethan722 Jul 3 '14 at 16:36
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203160 is Tomb Raider, 380 is Half-Life 2: Episode One. That's why the files don't match up.

But back to your original question, HL2/EP1/EP2 sync files directly from their folders, and not through the "remote" folder. If you look under 380, you'll only see a "cfg" folder, but if you look under "remotecache.vdf" (it's a JSON-like file), you can see exactly what it's synced and where it lies:

"380"
{
    "episodic/save/autosave.sav"
    {
        "root"      "1"
        "size"      "5616658"
        "localtime"     "1275010847"
        "time"      "1275011306"
        "remotetime"        "1275011306"
        "sha"       "ddbe3d22922f1a6f65d82e64266f99a767cedbb1"
        "syncstate"     "1"
        "persiststate"      "0"
        "platformstosync2"      "-1"
    }
    "episodic/save/autosave01.sav"
    {
        "root"      "1"
        "size"      "4501287"
        "localtime"     "1275010846"
        "time"      "1275011306"
        "remotetime"        "1275011306"
        "sha"       "dbab1a5def68f4c7c428fb71367d9a6f046b4b69"
        "syncstate"     "1"
        "persiststate"      "0"
        "platformstosync2"      "-1"
    }
    ...

And according to Steam's own developer console, you can see exactly what it'll sync and from where it'll look for files to sync: Steam Console view for "app_info_print 380"

  • Oh, thanks for that, it would certainly explain why changing the files wasn't changing anything when I entered the game, and quite a few other things actually. Although it does mean that there's probably going to be some unwanted problems when I try to start up Tomb Raider next, heh, backing up those files should make sure nothing goes wrong there though. – Ethan722 Jul 9 '14 at 0:34

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