Not being a creator and one who doesn't use the CAW tool, it feels a little strange to me to start a thread in the CAW forum. I hope what I'm presenting will be beneficial to creators, as well as to players who love and play as many user created worlds as I do.
I often see discussion on whether or not to provide a save game file for a new world and discussion on pre-population. As far as I am concerned, a creator should do what he/she/they are most comfortable with but have discovered that if you are going to offer a save game file there is a risk of providing a bloated save game and a suggestion to reduce the size of that save game.
There is a file in a save game called TravelDB.package. I honestly had not paid much attention to it before beginning to test Norton for Damien with his save game as my starting point. I was taken aback when I suddenly realized that save game to be 165MB in size. That was about twice the size of any save game I have and I play large worlds. I even assumed incorrectly in the beginning that the file pertained solely to travel in a game. It turns out this file holds the _IMG files for a save game, i.e. memories primarily, as well as Photobooth pics, Prom pics, Photography pics to name a few more.
By far, the bloat of this .package file is caused by memories. I know this because I opened the Norton save game file with s3pe to see what it contained and found 413 _Img files in it last night. I was led to take that step by discussions I read on the issue on both the NRAAS MC issues forum and a similar thread on The Creator's Consortium II forum. The start save may have contained even more _Img files because I have deleted memories with every change of household.
I quickly appreciated the benefit of my using the Velocitygrass Only Important Memories mod in my game. I don't have to have _IMG files for a trip to a park or library for example, thus allowing me to maintain a much smaller save game size. I consider this important because of the tendency for a save game to become unstable with a really large file size. I'm not saying that instability will definitely occur, only that it is likely.
Being completely aware there are many who absolutely do not want any mods in their games and respecting their decision, I began to mull over the problem. First and foremost, my suggestion to those creating sims for a save game...don't save memories. If you feel some memories should be present, I would have to recommend they be kept to only important ones such as first kiss, engagement, marriage, that sort of thing. The problem is that I don't know of a way to turn off memories without using a mod, which means that every single time you get a memory notification you have to stop and delete it, which is a time consuming process and exactly why I use a mod for memories control. If anyone does know of a way to do this without a mod, please feel free to offer your advice.
I mentioned pre-population earlier. I did so because in looking at my save game files, pre-populated worlds don't have the TravelDB.package bloat that save game files do. I can best illustrate with pics I took for 3 different saves that I have, using played saves. I used played saves because in the Norton example, I've been able to reduce the played save file from 165MB to 157MB by deleting memories every time I change homes. Focus on the size of the TravelDB.package file, the last .package shown in the list.
Great Bear by Johnnywr - not pre-populated and no save game provided - Current Save Game Size 35.1MB
Fantaville by MilkieBunny - I included this one because it is a mega metropolis for sure on a 2048x2048 map with 236 lots and pre-populated with 258 sims - Current Save Game Size 79.6MB
Norton by Damienf519 that is currently in testing - I don't know the precise number of lots in the world nor the exact number of sims. Damien, if you could fill in those blanks, it would be helpful. Note in the save game that the TravelDB.package is darn near as big as the .nhd file. :shock: - Current Save Game Size is 157MB
Damien, I am NOT picking on you! This is all new info to me that I've ferreted out in the last couple of days. I offer it to CAW creators only to provide info for those trying to decide whether or not to do a save game at all and those considering pre-population rather than a save game.
I do also hope that regular players like myself will find this of interest in managing your saves. Take a look at them. You might find yourself truly surprised at the size of some of those saves. I know I was.