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In Stardew Valley, sleeping can kill your save (update)

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Crashing into bed may crash your save

A screenshot from Stardew Valley ConcernedApe/Chucklefish Games

It’s important to remember that Stardew Valley was developed by just one person — and yet, we can’t help but highlight some of its strangest bugs. With the Nintendo Switch version out now, players are experiencing a kind of Groundhog’s Day thanks to a bug that kills files upon saving.

A large thread on the game’s community board, hosted by publisher Chucklefish Games, compiles players’ experiences with the bug. There’s only one way to save progress in Stardew Valley: Get into bed and go to sleep. (That makes sense when thinking about how sleep works in real life. At least, to me it does — just roll with it.) But several people are finding that the game crashes as soon as they lay down to rest — erasing all of their hard-won progress.

“This is first started on the 10th day of winter when I went to upgrade my pickaxe to copper,” wrote the user allan-god. “After that I went to sleep and it crashed. Did the day again and same thing happened.”

Even when allan-god waited out winter until the springtime before saving again, the same thing happened if he saved after he tried to upgrade his tools. Others report similar experiences, ranging from spending their days eating sashimi before bed or both cooking and feeding themselves.

“In Fall now and if I do anything at all before going back to sleep the game immediately crashes,” reports a player in a separate Reddit thread. “If I wake up then go back to sleep right away it works fine but on the next day I have the same problem. Tested about 10 times now and doing anything (watering crops, picking up an egg, shipping something, going mining etc) causes the game to crash when I go to sleep afterwards."

The ways players spend their time before running into the bedtime crash run the gamut from unfortunate to the bizarre. The through-line of all of these instances is that players feel as though they’ve “over-worked” themselves during the day before the sleeping crash. Nonetheless, losing a save means replaying through the same period of time over again — maybe ad nauseam, if they don’t change things up enough.

Chucklefish is aware of the issue, it’s mentioned in a running list of glitches and bugs in Stardew Valley. Work has yet to begin on a fix, however, so players should be careful about stressing themselves out, or they may end up in a miserable loop.

Update: Chucklefish told Polygon that it’s working to figure out the root cause of the sleeping bug.

“We've been working to try and reproduce this bug so we can get a fix out for it ASAP,” a representative told us. “The issue isn't very common so it's not something that we've been able to reproduce just yet, but detailed reports from players who are experiencing this are definitely helpful in determining the cause.

“At the moment, we don't believe the crash is causing damage to players' save files.”

Update 2: There’s a workaround for the sleeping bug now, as shared on the Stardew Valley community board. It’s pretty complex, so here’s the full lowdown below from a Chucklefish programmer:

There are two things that need to happen in order to cause the crash:

At least one of the following core tool items must not be in your inventory when you sleep: Pickaxe, Axe, Hoe, Watering Can, Scythe. If you have the Return Scepter, that counts too.

At least one of your chest-like containers must have a gap between two items. This includes chests you've crafted, the fridge in the farmhouse upgrade, and the containers on the Mill and Junimo Hut buildings. It doesn't include the chests that spawn every 10 levels in the mines.

The crash happens when the game scans your inventory and chests to make sure none of your tools are missing. When it encounters a gap in the chest, it causes an error. The PC and other console versions are able to handle the error and keep running, however the Switch version cannot.

The crash doesn't require you to upgrade any tools (although that is one way you can end up sleeping without tools in your inventory). And it doesn't require the fridge.

That said, it's surprisingly not very easy to create a gap in a chest. Simply adding or removing items from a chest automatically removes all the gaps. There are only two ways we know of:

With the house upgrade that provides the kitchen, cook some food that uses ingredients in the fridge. That can create a gap in the fridge.

With a full inventory, open a chest and directly trash an item from it.

We're advising players who are encountering this crash to sort all of their chests. You can continue using the fridge to cook food, as long as you sort it afterwards. Upgrading tools causes no problems as long as there are no gaps in any chests.

We believe that this accounts for all of the sleep crashes that people are reporting, and there is a fix for the issue in the patch we're preparing.