Interview: GameSave Manager creator InsaneMatt

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We interview InsaneMatt, the creator of GameSave Manager, a useful savegame utility which can automatically find almost every savegame on a PC, backup and restore them into archives, and symlink them to your preferred cloud storage service such as Dropbox. Featured in places such as Lifehacker, PC Gamer and gHacks.

Before we begin this interview I just wanted to say how much of a fan I am of GameSave Manager, and how much I love the Sync & Link feature – it has protected my precious savegames from hard drive failures and numerous computer formats over the years. Thank you!
Flattery will get you far, my friend *smiles*.

Why did you create the utility?
Well GameSave Manager originally started life as a BAT script, which quickly evolved into a commandline tool for my personal use. One day, GekzOverlord and I were messing around on my computer and he found this weird tool. Him being nosey, he had to know what it did and so I explained. Half way through my explanation, he cut me off and proceeded to convince me to make a ‘better’ version and share it with others.

The first version of GameSave Manager was released in 2008. It was pretty much my commandline tool with a very ugly and pointless (to me at least) UI. It was designed for me, Gekz and a couple others and so was extremely crude and basic. The first ‘real’ release of what I’d call GameSave Manager was released on a moderately-sized forum called ‘mob3′ in 2009.

Is this a full time job or a hobby?
While it’s eating up more and more of my own time, it’s still a hobby of mine.

01-Backup_EntryDetails
GameSave Manager can detect almost every savegame on your PC.

Can you tell me about your programming background? What language did your program the utility in?
I originally learnt very basic HTML coding via a course I took at school. From there, I decided to wider my knowledge and began teaching myself PHP, primarily through looking at pre-made CMSs (Content Management Systems) such as PHP Fusion.

Actual software side of things began with me wanting to make ‘autorun’ menus for backups of my software and files. Eventually I settled on the LUA programming language. While LUA has issues with various character-sets, I feel it’s best suited for my needs due to me knowing my way around it the most (never really looked at C+ much, which I probably should).

If someone new to programming wanted to get involved in making fixes and utilities, where should they start?
First and fore-most, make things that you find useful; I cannot stress this enough. Making something ‘just because’ will rapidly turn into a chore.

Be prepared for both positive and negative feedback. Avoid getting too defensive and/or arrogant. Having said this, don’t be afraid to explain your point of view if the issue ever should arise.

In short, know the general direction you wish your project to take and don’t be afraid to politely reject suggestions that don’t meet it.

What do you think contributed to the success of GSM, and what do you think is propelling it forward?
At the time of it’s initial release, I hadn’t heard of any backup software specifically designed for your game progress (eventually, however, I discovered ‘MASGAU‘). I’d imagine that this was true for many other people too. Various news outlets, such as Lifehacker, did articles on the project. I guess I was lucky enough to have caught the attention of such websites.

As regards to nowadays? Doing a simple Google search finds me forum threads that have ‘GameSave Manager‘ suggested at one point or another from all other the web. Word of mouth is a powerful thing!

Would you consider putting the program on Steam Greenlight?
I have very much mixed feelings on this. When Greenlight was first introduced, I explained my concerns via a news post (Editor: there is also a forum thread). Some, but not all, of them concerns have been laid to rest. I guess at the end of the day, adding this project to Greenlight would push it out of it’s ‘hobby’ status into a full-time job. Question is, can I cope with that?

Greenlight_GSM
A joke from GSM site admin GekzOverlord, but also possibly hint a what may come.

I think I speak for most PC gamers that have used your program when I say that we’d love to see your utility up on Steam, even in a paid format, and we hope that you can find a way to make it happen.
Thanks. Who knows what the future may hold?

Where do you think GSM will fit in the future where many games are implementing their own cloud saving services?
Hopefully, it’ll make projects such as my own useless. Don’t get me wrong, I love working on GameSave Manager but it’s invention was based on the fact that developers (and/or publishers) can never agree on a central location for save data. This makes it next to impossible for the ‘average’ user who either doesn’t know where to look or cannot be bothered with such a painstakingly boring task to transfer their progress to new machines.

I think that GSM will always have a place – even if all future games came with bulletproof cloud saving services, there will always be a need for a utility like GSM to help backup and manage all the messy savegame locations from the enormous PC gaming back catalogue.
I guess it depends on the type of ‘cloud saving’. For example, SimCity’s (2013 reboot) is an absolute mess from what I’ve heard.

When will you stop playing Anno 2070?
Never! Mwhahaha.

Download GameSave Manager from the official website, and check out PCGamingWiki for more information about save game cloud syncing.

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  • somini

    So, does Matt sings when he develops programs? ‘Choir’ should be ‘chore’ :)
    As to the program, it’s amazing. The users can submit new entries for the database, and they are not ignored, even for the most obscure of games, as I found. Having it on Greenlight would be well worth a few Euros.

    • http://twitter.com/GekzOverlord GekzOverlord

      I think my bad English is rubbing on him.. (Wouldn’t surprise me If he does sing. He can do a mean “shaggy”)

      • Andytizer

        I think I should stop doing late night editing :D . I hope the typos are all fixed, please point out if there are any more.

        • Forrest Fuqua

          But late night editing is the best, whole stories have been written in a state where you shouldn’t even be thinking, it leads to all kinds of fun side effects

          • http://twitter.com/GekzOverlord GekzOverlord

            Agreed, InsaneMatt himself has implemented random things into GSM just because of these weird late night events.

      • Andytizer

        Okay I need to hear his Shaggy impression

        • http://twitter.com/GekzOverlord GekzOverlord

          Have a game with us sometime, you will most likely catch him then (don’t forget to record the whole thing xD)