Daggerfall:Corrupted Savegames

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Corrupted savegames continue to be a very annoying problem in Daggerfall, even if all available patches have been installed. This article provides some known workarounds and also provides advice on how to avoid the problem in first place.

In most cases, if Daggerfall crashes to DOS when you try to load a savegame and the error message is 1002, 1003 or 2020, then a corrupted savegame is to blame. Generally, the game-internal tool FIXSAVE will not solve this problem.

Avoiding Corrupted Savegames[edit]

The majority of corrupted savegames are caused by memory issues. Therefore, the best way to avoid such problems is by replacing the memory extender that comes with the original game with a more advanced one.

One such Memory Extender is DOS32A.

  • To setup the program, read the documentation on the program's original web-page or the else read the article on the DOSBox wiki.
  • Use DOS32A whenever you run Daggerfall, preferably from the start of a new game. Players have reported that by doing so you can effectively prevent corrupted savegames from occurring.
  • This Memory Extender should also be used when running DOS programs other than Daggerfall, including other DOS games that use a memory extender such as the once-popular DOS4GW.

Step-by-Step instructions for DOS32A[edit]

For those of us who can follow directions better than read pages of manuals, not sure what applies to us, here are some step-by-step instructions for getting daggerfall to work with DOS32A.

  • Download DOS32A, you should have SB.EXE and DOS32A.EXE (and other files)
  • Copy the SB.EXE and DOS32A.EXE into your \DAGGER directory (where DAGGER.EXE and FALL.EXE are)

IMPORTANT Make a backup of FALL.EXE, in case this messes it up!

  • sb /R fall.exe

Now, when you start daggerfall normally (DAGGER.EXE), it will use the DOS32A memory extender instead.

Workarounds for Corrupted Savegames[edit]

There are some workarounds for corrupted savegames:

  1. Use the DOS32A Memory Extender (discussed above).
    • Very often an apparently corrupt savegame can be run again when using DOS32A. In this case, you will need to always run DOS32A to keep your savegames working.
  2. Delete all ATF and ATM files from the ARENA2 directory, as well as the BIO.DAT, MAPSAVE.SAV and the RUMOR.DAT files, also located in the ARENA2 directory.
    • Run Daggerfall using DOS32A and load the savegame. If this doesn't work, see step 3
    • If this step did work, you must do this procedure from now on whenever you start the game from DOS, but you only need to delete the ATF and ATM files.
    • You can write a small shell program (BAT-file) which does this task for you and starts the game afterwards, for example:
      @ECHO OFF
      del ARENA2\*.AMF
      del ARENA2\*.ATF
      dos32a fall.exe z.cfg
  3. If you have tried step 2 and you couldn't load the savegame, run Daggerfall again using DOS32A, this time without deleting any files.
  4. If you used the workaround mentioned in step 2 for some time and you get corrupted savegames again, you must not delete the files listed in step 2 anymore. Just start the game using DOS32A and load the savegame as you would normally do.

If none of these steps worked, the savegame is corrupted beyond any known workarounds. Use a savegame dated earlier than the corrupted one and use DOS32A from now on.

Getting DOS32A to work on Windows 11[edit]

To use DOS32A on a Windows 11 device, a little more work is required. Using the sb /R fall.exe command on your device's command line may not work, because Windows 11 dropped some of the support for running 16-bit scripts. If you get an error message saying that the script is not compatible with your version of Windows, follow the steps below to enable DOS32A for Daggerfall.

  1. Make a copy of the DAGGER directory in a convenient location, such as C:/Users/exampleUsername.
  2. Open up DOSBox.
    • If you downloaded Daggerfall from Steam, you will find it in the folder DOSBox-0.74.
  3. Mount the copy you made of the DAGGER directory in Step 1 as the C: drive in DOSBox.
    • To do this, enter mount c [insert the path for the DAGGER directory copy here].
    • If this does not work, move the copy of the DAGGER directory somewhere else and try again.
  4. Enter c:
  5. Run the sb \R fall.exe command (note: you might need to replace \ with /).
  6. Exit DOSBox and move your new DAGGER directory back to the same folder as the original DAGGER directory, and replace the files in the destination with the ones from the newer directory.

At this point, you should be able to run the game without issue.