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» AC:NH General Board
Topic: Nintendo considering alternative backup option in light of ACNH not supporting save-transfers/cloud
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707penguin
 
Name
707
ACNH Town
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5623-1635-1708
Last Active
2/26 8:53pm
"I still can't figure out the purpose of the odd backup situation, anyway - it was somewhat understandable with Pokemon, since they have official competitive events and will want to do what they can to prevent any sort of cheating in those, which means that casual cheating is also a big target, but for Animal Crossing I would've expected that Nintendo Switch Online's own backup feature was made for it. After all, Nintendo has never really seemed to care very much about the metagame economy before (as distinct from the in-game one, which they set the balancing for), so what's the worry this time around? I'd love to know why this is the way it is, but we don't have any information with which to do that yet."
No previous game had such a blatant way to easily cheat. And it's not like they haven't put in features that punish you for cheating - turnips automatically spoil if you time travel, for instance - but they always try to balance it with not taking away features that are helpful for people who play legitimately as well.

Incidentally, I thought of a possible solution in the last hour, although I'm not sure if the infrastructure is in place for it to work: They could potentially allow you to set up a cloud save, but do it in such a manner that if you're playing online, the cloud save autosaves just like the local save does. I guess that wouldn't work for local multiplayer, though.
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PennyGwin
 
Last Active
8/27/2020 5:25pm
Peach15 - I already said. My thought is that if it's doing something unusual, thus requiring more testing, at this point it's probably better to delay the feature slightly than to delay the whole game a second time, when it was initially due out late last year.

Heck, what you said right there, about a game deleting a previous save upon backup, that could be a good example of something that would need extremely thorough testing. After all, everybody's concerned about the backup issue, and it would be catastrophic if the backup tool had bugs that caused save-file loss!

707penguin - That's a plausible-sounding solution, and a similar thing crossed my mind too, funnily enough - I think that it's possible, but I didn't explore it because I couldn't think of anything for local play, either. It's even more plausible if ACNH's save-files do something weird like having a separate, more-frequently-backed-up save for your inventory, or something strange like that.

And it's another thing that would definitely need thorough testing, since there are plenty of ways for such a thing to trip up - though maybe that could be part of what would need testing, in the case of my example above?
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Peach15
 
Name
Jill
ACNL Town
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3:41pm
Well, the feature does exist in at least one of their other games, I believe it's Metroid, but I can't remember.  Whether it's in testing or doesn't exist at all, I do hope they come up with something.  It's very "stone age" compared to all of the other games out that there are competitive but are backed up safely.

That's why I'm concerned that they've specified, "loss, damage, theft".  There's no real way of proving that as a consumer short of filing a police report and emailing that to Nintendo.  And the "damage" aspect would also be hard because even a picture doesn't prove it's your switch that was damaged.

It may become as someone else suggested, an event where that switch is deactivated permanently.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
"Well, the feature does exist in at least one of their other games, I believe it's Metroid, but I can't remember.  Whether it's in testing or doesn't exist at all, I do hope they come up with something.  It's very "stone age" compared to all of the other games out that there are competitive but are backed up safely."
Absolutely agreed. It's bizarrely behind the curve, by anybody's standards.

"That's why I'm concerned that they've specified, "loss, damage, theft".  There's no real way of proving that as a consumer short of filing a police report and emailing that to Nintendo.  And the "damage" aspect would also be hard because even a picture doesn't prove it's your switch that was damaged.

It may become as someone else suggested, an event where that switch is deactivated permanently."
I think that, for the time being, it's best if we apply Occam's Razor, here, and just take the statement at face-value as the simple and clear catch-all that it appears to be, rather than worrying that they're going to make consumers deal with minutiae and jump through hoops such as providing police-reports in order to be allowed to restore a save-file on a video game console.

Nintendo certainly does things differently sometimes, and that certainly doesn't always work out for the best, but I don't think that they, or any company, would do something that ludicrous, even in light of the clunky way that these save-files are being handled.
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GoldenCelebi
 
Name
Ethan
ACNH Town
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1/2 11:05am
"Absolutely agreed. It's bizarrely behind the curve, by anybody's standards. "
I mean... when has Nintendo not been?

"I say this because it seems like the lockdowns are aimed at preventing casual cheating, since cheating can never be prevented if the cheater is determined enough."
Yeah, fundamentally this is all they can do. No matter what Nintendo try to do with cloud saves, it will always be possible to jailbreak a (first-edition) Switch to backup/restore/modify save files. In my opinion, this is the best of both worlds - people who just want to play the game "their way" for personal reasons have that option, but raising the technical barrier to entry means that someone just wanting to make a quick buck on the trading boards might actually find it a better use of time to play the game normally instead.

By making it more difficult/risky (but not impossible) to cheat, you also improve the chances that people capable of it will be mature enough to act responsibly. My favourite example of this is with the AC:NL profile pictures that you could take in the photo booth on Main Street. In about 2016 (I think?), people started figuring out how to replace these with other arbitrary pictures, not made in-game. But anyone who worked it out for themself refused to share the procedure with others, because of the risk that less trustworthy people would use it to circulate violent or unpleasant pictures to random kids on Club Tortimer. To this day I believe it's still not included as a feature in any publicly available AC:NL save editing tool.

As I've said in the past, the only way to completely prevent cheating is to have the whole game take place online like an MMO, which would be infinitely worse. Imagine if AC:WW and AC:CF had become completely unplayable when the GameSpy servers were shut down!
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
"I mean... when has Nintendo not been? "
Well yeah, but even by theirs it still seems kind of odd!

It seems even odder when we know that they're still letting cheating take place on a daily basis in some of their games (I still hear complaints about it happening in ranked Splatoon 2, and I've both heard complaints about and encountered it personally in Smash). These are games that they run big events for, and sometimes use online qualifiers for - it seems so weird to crack down so hard on Animal Crossing, of all franchises.

"but raising the technical barrier to entry means that someone just wanting to make a quick buck on the trading boards"
Or on sites like Etsy. I see that sort of thing listed on there frequently, in amongst tangible fan-made items.

"By making it more difficult/risky (but not impossible) to cheat, you also improve the chances that people capable of it will be mature enough to act responsibly. My favourite example of this is with the AC:NL profile pictures that you could take in the photo booth on Main Street. In about 2016 (I think?), people started figuring out how to replace these with other arbitrary pictures, not made in-game. But anyone who worked it out for themself refused to share the procedure with others, because of the risk that less trustworthy people would use it to circulate violent or unpleasant pictures to random kids on Club Tortimer. To this day I believe it's still not included as a feature in any publicly available AC:NL save editing tool."
Ok, wow, that is absolutely fascinating, and I've never heard about it before - thanks for sharing that.

It sounds like the polar opposite case to what happened when people discovered that outside images could be injected into the Luigi's Balloon World update from Super Mario Odyssey.

"As I've said in the past, the only way to completely prevent cheating is to have the whole game take place online like an MMO, which would be infinitely worse. Imagine if AC:WW and AC:CF had become completely unplayable when the GameSpy servers were shut down!"
Nooooooooo! Really, that would be an absolute tragedy for a series that's so personalisable.
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GoldenCelebi
 
Name
Ethan
ACNH Town
Last Active
1/2 11:05am
"It sounds like the polar opposite case to what happened when people discovered that outside images could be injected into the Luigi's Balloon World update from Super Mario Odyssey. "
In fairness, there's no hacking required there - I have at least one friend who's used the built-in Mii editor to make a face that looks like a... well, I won't repeat it here.

"It seems even odder when we know that they're still letting cheating take place on a daily basis in some of their games (I still hear complaints about it happening in ranked Splatoon 2, and I've both heard complaints about and encountered it personally in Smash). These are games that they run big events for, and sometimes use online qualifiers for - it seems so weird to crack down so hard on Animal Crossing, of all franchises."
Hell, if you're searching for examples, look no further than Pokémon. Pokémon in high-level competitive events are almost exclusively hacked - it's only weird oddballs like me who enjoy going to the bother of actually catching and training tournament-tier Pokémon. In 2014 a high-ranked player used a Pokémon with an aesthetic effect not possible in legitimate play, and faced no repercussions. I can't find an article about it that doesn't have cussing in the comments, but google "Ray Rizzo Aegislash" for more.

The playerbase, fwiw, is strongly in favour of hacking. The mainstream position is that tournaments should reward players' skill in battle, not the amount of free time they have available to catch and train Pokémon "legitimately".

I would guess that Nintendo's disproportionate focus on the AC series is mostly because it's easier for them to put anti-cheat measures in place, even though the cheating is less consequential. With something like Smash or Splatoon, cheaters do what they do by actually modifying their Switch or their copy of the game to give them an advantage. That's far harder to prevent than duplicating AC items (or Pokémon) with a cloud save system.


Another thing:
"My thought on this is that it would be tied to game-ownership. My understanding from something that I read up on early in the console's life is that the Switch has a very robust system of identifiers for accounts, individual hardware units, individual cartridges, and digital purchases. It checks in online regarding this, so technically speaking Nintendo could, for example, fairly easily spot pirates and cheaters and make an example of them (it still amazes me that they don't, but that's beside the point here - the point is that this facility exists and is relevant to this save issue )."
Oh, they absolutely do! The main risk with jailbreaking a Switch is not the possibility of accidentally damaging it, but the possibility that Nintendo will somehow detect it and ban the system from accessing their servers. They are astonishingly proactive about this - on the 3DS they only targeted pirates, who make up a tiny fraction of users, but on the Switch, any trace of unauthorised hardware/software has the potential to trigger a ban. It's the main thing stopping me from trying it out for myself, at least for the moment.

But you're absolutely right about the system of identifiers. While there is some hope that general-purpose hacking tools will one day be able to hide themselves from Nintendo's various sources of information, undetectable piracy is never going to be possible on the Switch while the eShop servers are still running. And thank goodness for that.
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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
"In fairness, there's no hacking required there - I have at least one friend who's used the built-in Mii editor to make a face that looks like a... well, I won't repeat it here. "
WAHAHAHAHA!

"Hell, if you're searching for examples, look no further than Pokémon. Pokémon in high-level competitive events are almost exclusively hacked - it's only weird oddballs like me who enjoy going to the bother of actually catching and training tournament-tier Pokémon. In 2014 a high-ranked player used a Pokémon with an aesthetic effect not possible in legitimate play, and faced no repercussions. I can't find an article about it that doesn't have cussing in the comments, but google "Ray Rizzo Aegislash" for more."
Thanks - I'll look that up shortly. This is something that I find very interesting.

You have my utmost respect for doing it legitimately, by the way. I'm not much of a Pokemon player myself, but I know about the effort that goes into it.

"The playerbase, fwiw, is strongly in favour of hacking. The mainstream position is that tournaments should reward players' skill in battle, not the amount of free time they have available to catch and train Pokémon "legitimately"."
I agree on rewarding player skill (that's why the examples of cheating that I named stick out so much to me, since they undermine that), though I must admit that I thought that catching and training was part of that aspect of the game/metagame, too. I learn something new every day!

"I would guess that Nintendo's disproportionate focus on the AC series is mostly because it's easier for them to put anti-cheat measures in place, even though the cheating is less consequential. With something like Smash or Splatoon, cheaters do what they do by actually modifying their Switch or their copy of the game to give them an advantage. That's far harder to prevent than duplicating AC items (or Pokémon) with a cloud save system."
That's very true. It kind of looks funny when viewed from the perspective of how the games are targetted, though. Is anyone here planning on taking up competitive Animal Crossing, by any chance?

"Oh, they absolutely do! The main risk with jailbreaking a Switch is not the possibility of accidentally damaging it, but the possibility that Nintendo will somehow detect it and ban the system from accessing their servers. They are astonishingly proactive about this - on the 3DS they only targeted pirates, who make up a tiny fraction of users, but on the Switch, any trace of unauthorised hardware/software has the potential to trigger a ban. It's the main thing stopping me from trying it out for myself, at least for the moment.

But you're absolutely right about the system of identifiers. While there is some hope that general-purpose hacking tools will one day be able to hide themselves from Nintendo's various sources of information, undetectable piracy is never going to be possible on the Switch while the eShop servers are still running. And thank goodness for that."
It's simultaneously fascinating for me to learn about, as one who has no interest in modifying my systems but who does find homebrew software to be interesting, and frustrating to know that those who want to play around with this for reasons that don't involve piracy or impinging on those who play games legitimately aren't able to freely do so*. I only wish that they would do more about the cheaters, but I suppose cutting them loose would also cut down on the online subscription fees coming in from them.

*I thoroughly enjoyed the DS homebrew scene, back in the day - it was easy to get into since modding wasn't necessary, and it was great fun to see how people tried to push the system in different directions. I was very happy to learn recently that the creators of Colors!, which began life as a homebrew application and then became licensed software on the 3DS, may have hinted at a potential Switch version - it's an all-time favourite tool of mine, and I'd love to see that happen. We wouldn't have that today had the DS been so ironclad.
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dangilber
 
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2/28/2020 6:43am
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Satin23
 
Name
Satin
ACCF Town
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8/26/2020 9:58am
I'm wondering if Nintendo just didn't realise how important backing up your game save seem to have become nowadays like me.  

I remembering playing AC:CF and I don't recall there being this big fuss at that time at only having one town per Wii and no way of backing it up.  Possibly there was a minority who worried about it but as someone who just doesn't worry about things like that I just never noticed.

I do not back up any of my game saves, if it gets lost it gets lost.  Actually I do not think I have ever lost a game save and I've never had to send a console in for repairs.  Well except when the PC died and I had to restart Spellforce after 50 hours or so but I just restarted it.  One of the best parts of AC is building up your town from the beginning, I therefore look at if I did lose my save for whatever reason, then it is just an opportunity to start afresh and create a better town as I would then know the quirks of the game and might do things differently another time around.  I do tend to restart or make new towns every now and then as the beginning has such possibilities.

For AC:CF I worried about some of the aspects they implemented, really the loss of villager pictures.  For AC:NH I am not worried at all, it will be what it will be and as it is AC I will enjoy it.  Will I enjoy it as much as New Leaf?  Who knows, but there is no point in worrying about things that may not happen.  If you do end up losing your town for whatever reason then far better to try and look on the positive side as a chance to start afresh rather than get anxious and upset over something that cannot be changed.  For at the end of the day life is unfair and the way to be happy is to take joy in minor things and accept what cannot be changed.  If then somehow Nintendo does manage to get you back your saved island then it's just becomes an unexpected joy and therefore far better.  

Just my two cents, others will likely not agree, I don't tend to think the same way as most people.
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dangilber
 
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giamiabia
 
Name
Georgia
ACNL Town
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4/8/2020 4:26am
I still don't understand why they chose to go this route. I liked being able to have multiple towns in WW and NL.

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PennyGwin
 
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8/27/2020 5:25pm
Nintendo has released a tiny bit more information about this. They didn't elaborate very much, but have now stated that this utility will be released within this year, and that it will also cover transferring ACNH data to a new console.
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AC:NH General Board » Topic: Nintendo considering alternative backup option in light of ACNH not supporting save-transfers/cloud
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