Installing PC Games - Do you use the default directory?

It’s a new Windows logo requirement to store all non-static info (user configs, savegames, whatever) for games in the documents & settings\username\application data directory. It’s widely ignored, of course.

My games go in C:\game (or D:\games, if they are old games), my dev tools go into C:\dev, etc. Only system tools and generic apps go into program files. I do it because short paths are a gift from God, so I guess you could say it started in DOS, but I don’t honestly remember doing this before Windows. In the DOS days most apps installed into short paths anyhow.

I wouldn’t mind stuff like that if it was sane, but no. Load a program. Select “Open”. Look for the sample files. Where are they? Well, they’re sure as hell not in My Documents - that would be too easy. Step back through Program Files, Whatever, Whatever Else, Whatever, Samples, Whatever and find your document. I love the sense of discovery this brings. No, really. It’s not a total pain in the face or anything…

I usually go with the default folder unless there’s a compelling reason not to. For example, when I was messing around with map editing for Raven Shield, it just made things a lot easier to set the path to C:\RavenShield rather than the C:\Program Files\Ubisoft\etc. etc.

Count me in on those who always snip the company names out of the install path, too.

Like Jason Cross, I generally don’t care where games are installed since I usually access them through the Start menu or quick launch bar, anyway. The only time it matters is when I’m editing or trying to move saved games. I’m kind of split on the idea of having saved games in My Documents. On the one hand, it’s easier to have them all centralized and you don’t automatically lose them if you remove the game. On the other hand, it just seems odd. :)

Interesting results – far more people still rearrange things than I expected. I guess I won’t feel goofy continuing to do so.

Both types of no. I hate everything being put in program files and I try to keep the windows drive small and clean of many programs so I put all my games on… big surprise, the “games” drive.

I used to have custom/modified locations for my games (in part to get around the stupid “sort by publisher” convention), but lately I’ve given in and just use the default. In part it’s because I really don’t care where on my drive it physically resides, but also because some patching/modding utilities assume that things are in certain locations and complain if they aren’t. I also archive configs/savegames by zipping with path information stored, so a default location makes it easier to restore that stuff.

As stupid as the current program location conventions are, I’ve finally succumbed to the convenience/problem avoidance aspect of using the defaults.

  • Alan

I have several drives for games, set up like this:

D: - Simulation Games, such as European Air War and IL-2
G: - Demos and patches
H: - Action/RPG Games, such as Thief, Fallout 2, and Darklands
I: - Strategy Games, such as Age of Wonders, Freedom Force, and Galactic Civilizations

This keeps stuff organized, IMO. I also don’t use publisher’s names or anything. Directory names match the name of the game, to keep things organized.

I use to have a large number of partitions to keep things segregated, but I always ended up misjudging the size I’d need so I’d have to put a bunch of MP3s in my games folder, Apps on my C drive instead of the Apps drive, etc. When I did my last hard drive upgrade I simplified things by making one huge C drive with a Games folderm, apps in the Program Files directory, and my older Hard drive became a big media drive for MP3s and fansubs, etc. I’m happier this way. My other complaint is that in XP I constantly have to moniter where each game puts it’s start menu items, not only do I keep things organized as Games, Internet, Multimedia, etc, but some place their stuff in your specific account so that only you see them, but I want stuff to go in the All User directory only. This prevents annoyances in my popup menu in Litestep, and also allows me to easily access stuff from different user accounts on my computer. I have one which defaults to the litestep shell which is my primary account, but I also have one which defaults to the normal windows interface I maintain for compatability problems, etc.

I think it shows the (computing) age of people who voted. It will soon become impossible to manage your file structure yourself. That’s OS and GUI makers are trying to find other ways. It’s not a critic by the way, I tend to do the same but I suspect new users will not act this way.

I just checked, I have 116 032 files on my C: partition. It’s crazy to micromanage this… Oops! Did I speak about micromanagement, maybe it’s the same debate as with RTS…

This one needs a “The Narrator” post…


Same here

It’s a good idea, though, and I wish more developers would give it a try. Not only for the reasons that Jason C. mentioned, but also because it makes backups a hell of a lot easier. I keep anything important in My Documents these days, and just burn that to discs (or my Pockey Drive) when I need to back up. Having to hunt down save game files in various folders spread all over my C drive to finish the job is a pain in the ass.

It’s a good idea, though, and I wish more developers would give it a try. Not only for the reasons that Jason C. mentioned, but also because it makes backups a hell of a lot easier. [/quote]
Yeah, except that the Documents and Settings\username\Application Data directory is hidden by default. Flight Sim 2004 puts its FS9.cfg file there and it seems like a good 1/5 of the messages on the FS message boards are of a “how do I find my FS9.cfg file?” nature.

Putting saved games in My Documnents is a good idea, and pulling config files out of the main game directory is a good idea, but putting the config files in a hidden directory is a boneheaded idea.

F: here. I do remove the publisher spam however.

What users are looking to edit their config files manually, yet don’t have Hide System and Hidden files already turned off? I don’t know much about Flight Sim 2k4 but I would assume editing the config by hand would be somewhat advanced feature.

Alas, just about anyone who wants to add third-party aircraft needs to do this. And from the looks of the messages, some real file system-novices use third-party aircraft. :)

Okay then :) I think Flight Sim 2k4 is probably the one exception to the rule then. If anything that should illustrate that MS Games needs to add a more intuitive interface so people can use 3rd party mods (hell Half life had a slick interface for this when it was released) without searching around in .cfg files.

Yeah, MS really needs to do an installer for planes/panels/etc – one that includes a validation feature – so that there’s a standard.

The problem isn’t so much the program, it’s the guys who develop for it. It kills me that these guys will spend 100-200 hours designing a 3D model, painting it, and figuring out the flight dynamics, and they can’t even be bothered to spend an hour doing a decent install setup. Some don’t even include installation instructions. And all you gotta do is use Winzip to save/recreate the proper directory structure.