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Serialization is the process of converting a data structure or an object state into a different format for storing or network transmission purposes so that it can be reconstructed later.

Using this tag

Questions with this tag should be about serialization formats (such as XML or JSON), technologies (such as Java's Serializable interface) or techniques, as used within the scope of game development. Questions concerning serialization itself, without relevance to game development, belong on StackOverflow.

Serialization in game development

  • Game saves: For many games, it is necessary to suspend the game state and store it permanently (or at least more so than volatile memory, which clears when power is cut from the machine). This game save may then be used to restore the game to where the player left off, or potentially to a previous time. Game save files can also be transferred between players or copies of the game executable.
  • Multiplayer synchronisation: Some (usually small) part of the game state may have to be moved over the network in order to keep all clients participating in a multiplayer game aware of the others' actions. This means some game state must again be converted.
  • Web integration: Games may wish to integrate information from the web, where serialization to JSON or XML formats is common.