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Edited save changes get ignored - How?

So it's a pretty well known thing that if you edit your .dssave file, without jumping through some export and import hoops the game will just say "Yeah cool" and entirely ignore those changes. My question on this though is - From a programming perspective, *how* does it ignore the changes? Does it have some secret backup copy that it refers to in case the .dssave sitting in the Save folder doesn't match what it last saw as the saved game? Just about any other program will actually read the data it's being told to, and process it accordingly.

I've saved the edited .dssave with a new name, confirmed that the edits show up in Tank Viewer, not the original data, and yet loading this file as the only available save in the directory still shows all the old data, including armor / ring prefixes and suffixes etc. If I'm loading a save that has very different data, this simply shouldn't happen - Where exactly is it pulling the old stats from and how can I purge them?

This is after a complete shutdown and startup too, so it's not like it's somehow referencing stale RAM values. It simply should not know the old data anymore.

So I'm looking at a .dssave in TankViewer. It contains 6 files:
- info.gas
- party.gas
- portrait-0.bmp
- thumb.bmp
- world.xdat
- world.xidx
My guess is that the gas files are only for readability, and the actual store of information is the binary .xdat file. So you'd need to edit that in order to get it working.
Might get lucky by simply deleting it - maybe the engine then draws the info from the gas files?