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My Thoughts, Trials and Adventures

They are Billions - Automatic game saving utility

Posted at — Aug 9, 2020

Github repository


Introduction

technical overview of TRBSG. the purpose of the tool is to automatically backup(zip) save files of They are Billions and easily restore them afterward.

Usecase

  • start from anytime the game is saved.
  • easy to restore (-r)

How

save directory is by default set to C:\\Users\{user}\Documents\My Games\They Are Billions\. non-default value can be passed using --path arg.

This is a small script(< 80 ln) written in python (>= 3.0). this script repeatedly checks for a change in modified date of files ending with *zx* file extension as an indication that savefiles are modified.

def watch(path):
    print("Watching: ", path)

    modified_times = []
    for root, _, files in os.walk(path):
        for file in files:
            if ".zx" in file:
                modified_times.append(os.path.getmtime(os.path.join(root, file)))


    
    while True:
        current_modified_times = []

        for root, _, files in os.walk(path):
            for file in files:
                if ".zx" in file:
                    try:
                        current_modified_times.append(os.path.getmtime(os.path.join(root, file)))
                    except FileNotFoundError:
                        continue    
  

        if current_modified_times != modified_times:
            print(modified_times, current_modified_times)
            modified_times = current_modified_times

            zipSave(path)
        else:
            continue

1st loop stores the initial modified time of files in a list. this is later compared every time in an infinite loop to check for a change in the modified timestamp. if any change is detected, it calls zipSave(path) and sets modified_times = current_modified_times

zipSave() uses shutil.make_archive() to make zip file and store it under saves/

def zipSave(path):
    zipfname = "saves\\{n}".format(n=len(os.listdir("saves"))+1)
    shutil.make_archive(zipfname, 'zip', path)
    print("Backup completed ", zipfname)

the user has 2 option to restore the backup(s),

  1. extract zip file directly to save directory, relacing files. (or)
  2. use -r option

Demo

Conclusion

this is a very simple script to backup your progress in the game and restart conveniently. this makes playing TRB a bit easier. ;)