UPDATE: XCOM is now available on Steam for Macs, but beware – it’s not the Elite Edition. You can buy the standard edition and the relevant DLC from Steam but at regular prices it’s cheaper to just buy the Elite Edition elsewhere. If you want to sync your saves over Steam, that’s the version to buy. If you’re using the non-Steam version, read on 🙂
ORIGINAL STORY: XCOM: Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition for the Mac ($50 on the Mac App Store) is not available on Steam and doesn’t use iCloud so there’s no way to sync your saved games between multiple computers running XCOM. Don’t despair! Here’s how you can use a free Dropbox account to do just that.
First off, this is all much easier if you install the Symbolic Link service I wrote about in this post, otherwise you need to use the Terminal command line. If you know how to create symbolic links in the command line and prefer that method, go for it, but this tutorial assumes you’ve installed the symlink tool available here.
You’ll also need a Dropbox account with a few MB free to store the XCOM SaveData folder. If you don’t have one, a basic free account is all you need and you can even get a bit of extra storage by signing up via my links.
Locate the Mac XCOM saved games
First, choose the computer which contains your ‘master’ saves, the ones you want to sync to other machines. They are stored in the Application Support folder, which lives in the user’s Library folder, which is hidden by default. To open it, in the Finder select the Go menu, then hold down Alt and select the Library item which appears. Now navigate to Application Support -> Feral Interactive -> XCOM Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition’.
Alternatively, from the Finder type Command-Shift-G and enter ‘~/Library/Application Support/Feral Interactive/XCOM Enemy Unknown – Elite Edition’ and press Return.
See the SaveData folder in the XCOM folder? That’s what we’re going to sync in Dropbox.
Move the saved games to Dropbox
Now open up your Dropbox folder in a second Finder window, for ease of dragging-and-dropping. It doesn’t matter where in Dropbox you move the SaveData folder to, but because I have a few apps using this syncing system I’ve replicated the Library -> Application Support -> ‘ApplicationName’ folder hierarchy so I can always find things later.
Drag the SaveData folder from the XCOM folder into your chosen location in Dropbox, making sure it’s moved rather than copied.
Now right-click the SaveData folder in its new home in Dropbox and select ‘Make Symbolic Link’ in the contextual menu.
Move the newly-created symlink (which will probably be called ‘SaveData symlink’) back to the original location in the XCOM folder in Application Support, then edit the name so it just reads ‘SaveData’.
Set up your other computers
On each computer you want to use, find the newly-synced SaveData folder in your Dropbox and create a new symlink to it as before, then drop that symlink into that computer’s XCOM Application Support location described above, delete the one that’s already there (assuming there are no saves in there you want to keep!), and rename the symlink to ‘SaveData’.
Now whenever you manually save in XCOM the game saves to the SaveData folder in Dropbox; once the new save file uploads to DB you can continue the game on any Mac or PC you link to your DB account.
A few notes:
• this doesn’t sync AutoSaves so remember to manually save before you quit;
• if you later move the SaveData folder to another location in Dropbox you’ll need to recreate the symlinks or they’ll stop working;
• finally, with this unofficial method of Dropbox syncing it’s usually advisable to only run the app on one computer at a time in case conflicts are introduced, but it shouldn’t matter in this case as saves are only read once while loading so technically you shouldn’t need to worry about it.
You’re all done – enjoy!