Lost a week of work on my Twine story - can it be recovered?

Please specify version and format if asking for help, or apply optional tags above:
Twine Version: 2.3.5
Story Format: sugarcube

Hi, my laptop crashed today (while I was working in Twine) and when I rebooted it and reloaded Twine, my story had completely disappeared (other, old stories were still there). Unfortunately I hadn’t archived in over a week :scream: However, when I went to my Twine Stories folder to import the archive back into Twine, I found a HTML file of my story from shortly before my laptop died (see below):

Is this an autosave with my latest work, and I can I get it to open in Twine somehow (it won’t import), or otherwise retrieve the information off it??

Many thanks in advance!

You should start using GIT control version, so in the future you have a backup in the cloud. Good luck!

Really, I hope you can get your work back, and I’m so sorry for what it happened to you, but Twine has this kind of risks.

Regards.

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“GIT control version, so in the future you have a backup in the cloud”

Hi Ruber, that sounds like exactly what I should do, although I’m not sure exactly what it means! GIT as in Github? Anything you could link to, where I could read up on this?

Thanks

Git is a program for storing e.g. code. There are a lot of online services where you can store your code with git, Github is one, Gitlab is another that I prefer.

You don’t say whether you’re using the online or offline version of Twine, so I’m going to assume you’re using the offline version, since that’s the version I know best.

It’s odd that you can’t import that file into Twine. Are you getting an error message or anything? Does the file look correct if you open it up in a browser or a text editor?

Regardless, you should be able to import the last save from My Documents\Twine\Stories. Do you see the file there?

Next place to check, assuming you’ve hit “Play” in Twine to open your game recently, is your Temp directory (typically in C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Temp) for any HTML files, since that’s where they get launched from. Look for the most recent .html file there which is your game, and then import that into Twine.

After that, check the most recent My Documents\Twine\Backups\(date) folder. You should only use this if it’s more recent than the most recent file in your Temp directory.

Then, if you’ve either a published an HTML version of your game or you’ve made an archive of your Twine files more recently than either of the above, then you should import that.

If none of that works for you, then you might need to post a link to that HTML file, and we can see if we can figure out why it’s not letting you import it into Twine.

Generally speaking though, this is why it’s important to back up your work frequently. Any time I make a major change to any of my stories, I “publish” them to an HTML file, and back them up in my Google Drive. Additionally, I periodically make an “archive” of all of my games, using the “Archive” button in the main Twine window, and back that up as well. That way, even if my computer dies, I still have access to those files.

Also, using the Git version-control system is probably overkill for what you need. A simple offline backup system should do what you need, as long as you update it regularly. I think Dropbox even has a tool which can do that for you automatically.

Hope that helps! :grinning:

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I’m very sorry for your loss. This may help you or it may make you feel worse, but when this happens to me I usually attribute it to the fairies making a drastic intervention because I’d made some kind of turn with the writing that they didn’t like. You can’t argue with the fairies.

Yeah, this is not something straight-forward, but with a little study, believe me, you won’t make another game without version control.

You need GIT. Git for whatever system you are using.

It is a suite of software in linux style, BUT, even for windows, it install all console based thingies for you to work with.

Then, you need a GIT server, for example, Github, of Bitbucket. Me myself I use Bitbucket, becuase it is quite straigtforward to review and edit text, directly in the cloud.

This is not something you can use, ASAP, with a click of a button, but the sooner you start do it, the better. Good luck!

It’s odd that you can’t import that file into Twine. Are you getting an error message or anything? Does the file look correct if you open it up in a browser or a text editor?

No error message, just no response from Twine. When I open it in Chrome it shows a blank page and same in Notepad… And I just tried to upload it to my itch.io page and I get nothing there as well :frowning:

Regardless, you should be able to import the last save from My Documents\Twine\Stories . Do you see the file there?

That’s the folder I’ve got open in my screenshot

Next place to check, assuming you’ve hit “Play” in Twine to open your game recently, is your Temp directory (typically in C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Temp ) for any HTML files

Um, I don’t have an AppData folder. I searched for ‘Temp’ on my C drive and found a Temp folder, but no html files :frowning:

After that, check the most recent My Documents\Twine\Backups\(date) folder.

Nothing from this or last month. Rats.

If none of that works for you, then you might need to post a link to that HTML file, and we can see if we can figure out why it’s not letting you import it into Twine.

That would be great. Not sure how to do this, but here’s a link from my Dropbox - https://www.dropbox.com/s/zquy8jm6com6r5m/Nov20%20SC%20PQ%20(retrieved).html?dl=0

Or here’s a link to download it from my itch.io - https://kpaulo.itch.io/retrieved-sc-pq-nov20

I think Dropbox even has a tool which can do that for you automatically.

I’ll look into that

Hope that helps! :grinning:

Thanks so much!

AppData is hidden by default. The easiest way to access it is by either pressing windows key+R and then typing %appdata% and hitting enter, or by typing %appdata% into the address bar of windows file explorer. Either way should bring up the AppData folder of the currently logged in user account.

Ah. Found it - alas, no html files there. I haven’t tested my story in a while, that might be why.

@HiEv, do you think this may be a symptom of that bug with Twine where the naming/listing of games falls out of sync with what’s actually in the files? It sounds pretty similar. I know that bug was supposed to be fixed, but I doubt it accounted for crashes.

I tagged you because you have much more experience with walking people through recovering from that bug. Do you think any of the old fixes might apply?

Also take heart: The second time you write it will always be better.

Another tip besides using an offsite backup program like Github or Idrive is a simple work habit. Before starting a major new task for my project, I back up my file to a copy that I add BAK to the filename. It gives me the freedom to experiment without losing yesterday’s work. I can always go back to BAK.

Another thing to try imitates the Github workflow without using that program. Version your filenames from day to day: just make a copy of your file for the day and give it a numerical sequential filename. In a separate text file, create a chronological log describing each version as you create it, just a one-liner.

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Of course, for this time the fairies will be helping you and cheering you on!

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IMO, it’s all about the rule of three. I apply this to any project that care about.

Basically, have three copies of your work. Two of them should be on different storage devices on-site (ie. a thumb drive, an external drive, a burned DVD, etc) and one should be off-site (online storage). This accounts for both cases where A) you mess up your local file and the internet is down, or B) your house explodes, killing both local copies.

Nah. This sounds pretty different to me. Though, as I mention below, I would still recommend that he update Twine.


That’s 565 KB of NULLs. So, no surprise that nothing happens when you try to import that. :stuck_out_tongue:

Ah. On my computer it shows up as “My Documents”, instead of just “Documents”. Must be because I’m still on Win 7 and you’re not.

That said, I see you have a number of Twine archives there. Have you tried importing any of them to see if the file is there? (When you open the archive it will list the duplicate files you could import, but I’d recommend against importing any duplicates, since I’m not sure all of the problems with that are fixed yet.)

Also, I’d recommend updating to Twine v2.3.9, since that fixed some problems with story duplication and a few other things.

Well, like I said, that’s typically where it is. If you put %TEMP% as the path at the top of the Windows Explorer window, then that should take you to where your actual “Temp” directory is.

Anyways, I hope going through your archives helps! :grinning:

Just to update and to say thanks to all for the practical and moral support. Losing a chunk of my work was obviously a pain in the ass, but the responses in this thread actually made the experience quite affirming! And I think I’ve learned some good practice lessons for the future.

Some good news, after taking inventory - I’d actually saved a lot of the passages I wrote in Word, more than I thought, so I didn’t lose as much as a week’s work. Probs 2-3 days. And I’m now back on the writing horse after a period off licking my wounds :grin:

Thanks again, IF community

Malign Pheasant

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