Ironman is an optional game mode that restricts the player's control over their save file, effectively removing the ability to correct mistakes and change decisions made during the course of play. Ironman mode can be enabled from the settings screen when starting a new campaign.
Steam achievements can only be unlocked in ironman mode.
Ironman has a number of restrictions:
- The checksum must be the same as one of the official releases. Any mod that changes it (broadly, this means one that affects gameplay) will cause ironman mode to be disabled.
- Only a single save will be stored; it is thus impossible to load an earlier save if something goes wrong (unfortunately, this includes save game corruption).
- The game saves automatically whenever almost any decision is taken (such as declaring war).
- The game saves automatically when exiting to main menu or desktop. This includes closing the game with Alt+F4.
- Save files can be stored in the Steam cloud or on a local drive, but are encrypted and cannot be edited.
Save file storage
There are two options for save locations for Ironman mode, local and Steam Cloud.
Local save files
Local Ironman saves are always uncompressed and are stored in:
~/.local/share/Paradox Interactive/Stellaris/save games/
Steam Cloud files
The save will be always compressed and uploaded to the Steam servers. A backup is also kept locally on your computer, at:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\userdata\<YOUR STEAM ID>\281990\remote\save games
~/Library/Application Support/Steam/userdata/<YOUR STEAM ID>/281990/remote/save games
~/.local/share/Steam/userdata/<YOUR STEAM ID>/281990/remote/save games/
The "Steam Cloud" option must be enabled for the game in the Steam library (Stellaris/Properties/Updates). This also requires that "Enable Steam Cloud synchronization for applications which support it" is enabled in the Steam settings (Steam/Settings/Cloud).