When loading a prison, the game crashes with an unknown reason. The last autosave is corrupted, too. I spent a million hours in the game. *cry* Do I have to start a new game or is there anything I can do?

1 Answer 1


I analyzed the structure of the PA savegame and found that some parts of a savegame can be recovered with minimal effort:

  1. Start new prison
  2. Save immediately, exit.
  3. Open corrupted savegame in a proper texteditor (e.g. atom, vi)
  4. Copy over to new savegame:
  • TimeIndex
  • RandomSeed
  • SecondsPlayed
  • Balance

complete sections:

BEGIN Electricity
BEGIN PolicyData
BEGIN StatsTracker
BEGIN TransferData
BEGIN Finance
BEGIN Research
BEGIN Grants
BEGIN Intake
BEGIN WeatherMap

Note: The structure is, just replace all the new <data> with old data:

BEGIN Section 
  1. Copying over staff and items would need adjustment of Ids (.i, .u, indices), but is possible in theory. It it even possible to copy over buildings under construction and processes. You can still make some of the manual recovery easier by using the clone-feature of the game (and granting yourself the money needed by adjusting your balance).

You can also Strg+F for specific types of objects. With some programming skills, you can actually transfer the lines of most items to a new savegame.

  1. Load your new savegame. Enjoy.


Achievement of this process: Buildings, utilities and most of the statistics are transferred. Items, staff and prisoners are missing. The new savegame will start with its own items and their positions (e.g. trees).

Recommendation: To automate the recovery of the savegame and to add items and staff to the recovery process, a short shell-script could be developed. If I could help someone, please consider contributing to that.

  • The problem with automating is that the file you are copying from is corrupted, so something is going to be unexpected about it.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 12:57
  • sure thing, that's why that script would need to have a built-in validator. It's somewhat likely that the corruption occurs more frequently with the prisoners or actions, as there is not much game logic in the CELLS, UTILITIES and so forth. A recovery tool that offers several modes/options for advanced recovery of the more complex parts could cover these problems though. e.g. if the tool has 10 different modes and asks the applicant to provide the iteration number (to keep the program stateless ;-) ). If the script informs the user the recovery tool might take some attempts, that seems fine.
    – kaiya
    Commented Jun 20, 2020 at 16:25

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