Join Date: Jan 2010
I think it might help if I add some information to this thread that I have found with GTA SA, and my general gaming experience in general, that I hope will be helpful in avoiding certain glitches. The price you pay for this information is reading a long post for potentially-helpful information, so if you cannot read this post in full, then you cannot possibly have the patience to "clean" your save file anyway, and should stop complaining. Some things might have been missed that I could contribute my brain to:
Using cheats and not saving
Just because you don't save when you use those cheats, the corrupt byte(s) is/are still there even if it is not apparent and reloading the game seems to have the cheat disabled. Even if you reload the save file, the "damage" has already been done in memory, so reloading a save and playing it out even without cheating can carry-over to the save file even with a cheat not enabled. The only workaround is to quit the game and start over, since using many of the cheats "taints" memory.
The game sets a certain part of private memory for part of the script, also known as the "main.scm block". Once a cheat has been used, it can conflict with and even corrupt this block of memory, and the program does not re-write this part of memory when switching from one save to another, it only writes it once "per session" just like the block of memory for "handling.cfg" or "vehicles.ide", etc. Many programs of this "caliber of resources" don't like it when their primary instructions change while they are running because it changes the "environment"...you could say it "scars memory" if you will...
First of all, do not use a trainer or cheats during any of this, and avoid the southwestern region that is prone to rain (this may be the root of the problem, actually), or this will not work. Trainers can hang-up changes in memory by simply being active, so at not time should you have a trainer open while the game is running. Some of this may sound silly, but this is an assured way of cycling memory because the game will try to avoid having to write if it doesn't need to.
Garage door doesn't open
What I saw in previous posts rarely works for me in getting a garage to open. One thing I have tried is storing a useless car in a garage (we'll say that this starts in San Fierro for this example), and you take it to the tuner and the door won't open? Take that car and drive it to another county (forcing a map-refresh) like Los Santos. Put that car in the garage and let the door close. Take the car out and immediately destroy it by driving like a moron (like you were doing your best to fail a date with Millie, hitting every car in sight). Keep jacking and destroying cars to repeatedly write-out the few blocks of memory for cars you were previously-in. Driving well out of the "drawing distance" and destroying the car (leaving a wrecked car out of range for the game to remember it was there) and jacking the next car (variety helps because the game has to remap the block more completely) to repeat the same thing may work to flush enough memory to undo this.
The easy way to know that you are cycling memory enough is to jack cars like this:
Jack a car after destroying the last. Drive the new one away to the nearest aircraft. Fly over water and ditch it, swim back, get into a taxi/ambulance/police car (any car with "on-demand" mission potential; you'll be surprised how much code is attached to the taxi), but DON'T SPAWN IT! Get the car organically and don't use cheats or a trainer. Do part of a mission if you want to pass the time, just keep in mind that you want to save "this session" to file without interruption (the more you jumble dynamic memory, the better). Kill this car "the old fashioned way" with collisions, then jack whatever you want. Head to a stable save point like the garage in San Fierro. If a garage can hold four vehicles naturally, this is a more stable garage it seems), and save there, but save with the last two vehicles you drove/piloted left destroyed (nulled from memory block....it might be best to go on foot and simply run a mile or so). Best is that your last car was "lost" in the water far away from where you will save so no "cars history" is even acknowledged when saving. The important part is that there are no previous vehicles that the game needs to remember the position of; do not use bicycles as they don't respond to damage.
The idea is that there are no cars to "hold over" during the save process, not even to be seen after saving). Save, then quit the game and allow time for disk activity to stop and windows to re-allocate the RAM as "free" (restarting the computer at this point will assure that the memory used does not have stray fragments, but I think that might be a little extremist). Restart the game and reload the save and it should work (at least it does for me).
Saving at Mad Dogg's Mansion
I don't know of any workaround other than just saving elsewhere. Unlike Vice City, San Andreas doesn't seem to like it when you turn-out missions by category, it seems to expect you to do missions more randomly. After any of the mansion missions, save somewhere else that has a garage (I think the mansion was supposed to have a real garage, but was cut because of time or technical reasons). I also belive that the mansion missions' "main.scm block" data is adjacent to the "basketball missions" scm block, probabkly because too many operational jumps were made around this block for other missions. For that I blame Rockstar for rushing this to release before the script could be more finely-polished.
Cannot complete mission
I'm not entirely sure this is a real glitch, because the first thing that I noticed is that if you fail the mission and simply go back to it instead of "game-saving it away", you will run into problems. I played the game in several different ways, one way to make stats look as good as possible, another way was only to keep from losing weapons, and another was "Oh whatever, fine I'll do it again"...The last worked with the best results, in fact IDEAL results.
When you fail a mission, don't just reload your last save, keep playing. Trying to "save away" your failures in the game only seems to bring on more problems. I think Rockstar programmers might have actually "turned a blind eye" to glitches like these to see if people play the game and only save with 100% success, like 178 missions attempted and 178 missions passed. The stats are there for you, not for everyone else, so you try better next time you start from the beginning. This is pure speculation, but knowing how devious and maniacal the Rockstar team is, they might have let this one slip just to see the google results (there's no way you could put it past them, if it were released by EA games instead, you would only see proprietary-code for game files and it would not be moddable at all....You don't think they left their developer notes in certain files for nothing, did you?).
The game engine DOES cheat against you, it's not just speculation. You will notice on the last mission with the firetruck, that the ladder truck has what I call, a "freight-train mod", or simply put, it will ram through other cars as if they had no mass, so that the mission cannot be interrupted or easily defeated by circumstance. At the same time the game may give you some kind of "grace" to allow you time to catch-up (on earlier missions, not the last one). If you don't believe me, try racing the Mt. Chiliad missions, but change all the mountain-bikes to slamvans with "vehicles.ide"; you will have no chance of keeping up because their path is scripted for time. Certain areas around the Las Venturas airport will reveal forklifts and such vehicles traveling at highway-speeds that they are not actually capable of.
Don't only save your best-done missions, simply save when you finally get a mission right. Failure seems to be anticipated and expected in a save-game, and reloading just because you failed a mission may be part of the problem. It's only stats that you will probably never share with anyone, and may sometimes be simply for convenience, but trying to "save-out" failures might be one of the bigger precursors to these glitches because with almost every mission I only get a break after the third time I've tried it.
If you read all this, you win an award in patience and research that will likely pay-off for you. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the game expects to be played "organically", such as not getting the taxi-missions complete in one shot. You only need to pick up a total of 50 people in the taxi, not 50 in one run of the mission.
I hope this is helpful to someone, and I'd be glad to see someone repeat my results with at least a 60% approval rating.