I was dissecting some of my PS2 saves to look at what they contained when I saw something interesting about Onimusha.
Basically, a ps2 save contains a minimum of three components:
- A file that identifies the game (and usually contains the save data)
(for US games, this would be "BASLUS-#####", where ##### is the game's number, its written on the side of the case in the format SLUS #####. For example, Onimusha has SLUS 20018 written on it so the file would be called "BASLUS-20018". Japanese games are SLPM instead of SLUS, and other region games have different 4 letters too)
- An icon.sys file which basically tells the PS2 when the save was made, what icons the save uses (notice how some games the icon changed if you copy and/or delete the data) it's copy protection flags (hidden, undeletable, cannot copy, cannot move, etc) and background coloring/lighting/etc when you select that save data (notice how each save has a different background when you select it)
- At least one icon, can be named anything, the filenames are defined in icon.sys
And of course, there can be other files as well depending on the game, the first four .hack games for example had a seperate file within the main .hack save for each of the 12 save slots you get, and there can be extra icons (such as for copying or deleting) as well. Also some games prefer to save the data in another file and just keep a blank or minimum ID file in the save.
However, I noticed that some games blatantly waste space on the memorycard. While this wont be a problem with the PS3 since even a 20GB hdd will probably fit the save data of eveyr ps3 game that will ever be made and still not evne come close to being full, for a ps2 which only has a 8meg memorycard, this can be a problem.
The biggest space-waster I noticed was, by default, if a game had only ONE icon, icon.sys lists the same file for all 3 types of icons (view, copy and delete).
MegaMan X7 for example, the icon file is called "x7icon.ico". "icon.sys" lists "x7icon.ico" as the View, Copy, and Delete icon, so its really the same icon being display all the time for that save data.
But then there are games like Onimusha...
Now, the actual file where Onimusha stores it's data is BASLUS-20018, this file is only 16k, 16k! Thats all the game needs to store all your daya, so why does a single onimusha save take 420k then?
Well, the view icon, "slime1.ico" (No, I have NO idea why they called it slime) is 126K alone. Basically, just the 3D icon of Samanosuke (the main character of Onimusha 1 for those that don't know) standing there and staring at his gauntlet, takes up almost 8 times as much space as the actual game data. Then there is the copy icon and the delete icon, the copy icon has him running after his gauntlet and the delete icon is him sitting down being depressed. Each of these is also 126k. So in total, 420k is needed to save when you only need 16k to save your data, the rest of that 402k is mostly wasted on just the fancy icons. I am not saying I don't like the icons and they should go away, but ive seen many games with very tiny icons in terms of space they take up, its kinda ridiculous when the flashy icon of a save takes up 99% of the space of the save itself, the save data barely taking up that last 1%.
Then for the real big space wasters, there are games like Alien Hominid or Bloody Roar 3, I know ive seen many others do this too but at the moment none spring to mind.
They also have three icons, in the case of Bloody Roar, it's save data "BASLUS-20212file1" takes a measly 2k! Yet a save is around 130k. The view icon is called "view.ico" the copy icon is called "copy.ico" and the delete icon is called "del.ico". EACH icon takes up 42.1K.
Now, here is the crazy part, all 3 of those icon files are the EXACT SAME FILE. There is no animation or color difference, they are the exact same icon file copied over 3 times into the save and renamed, when they could have easily just put only one of them and told icon.sys to use the same one for all 3.
I really have no idea why they are going this, I don't think its to waste memorycard space on purpose because the publishers would have nothing to gain if people bought more memorycards, but this is like extremely basic computing, if they can program a game they aught to know about this...
I would probably have over 3x the free space I do now on my 4 ps2 memorycards if it wasnt for this.