Why do games today have no loading times even though they are much bigger in size and require tons more processing power than their older predecessors?


Why do games today have no loading times even though they are much bigger in size and require tons more processing power than their older predecessors?

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Both Sony and Microsoft ‘s current generation consoles specify the usage of high performance solid state drives for game storage. Current generation consumer NVMe drives can often provide read performances of over a gigabyte per second under ideal circumstances, many times that of what a typical mechanical hard drive can output.

This allows developers much greater flexibility with how they load assets into memory, since it’s now possible to copy much larger amounts of data into the system memory at a moments notice.

The actual size of the ‘game’ itself isn’t usually that big. It’s the dlls and data files that uses all the size and processing power.

Fallout4.exe is 62.47Mb. (2015)

Cyberpunk2077.exe is 60.53Mb. (2020)

The rest of the difference is in .dlls and raw data that doesn’t need to be loaded right away. So the main screens load very quickly, things needed in the game can be prefetched before the game actually has to show them, assuming you have enough surplus ram.

In general, it’s true that many modern games have shorter loading times compared to older games. This is due to the advancements in hardware, game engines, and game development techniques.

However, some modern games with open-world environments or large maps can still have longer loading times, especially when compared to older, smaller games with simpler graphics. In those cases, the trade-off for larger, more immersive game worlds is longer loading times.

Games that do have shorter load times, do that because of several factors including:

Improved hardware: The constant improvement in processor speed, memory capacity and storage speed have allowed games to load faster.

Better optimization techniques: Game developers have become more skilled at optimizing their games to load faster, making use of features like asynchronous loading, data compression and streaming, which allow the game to load data in the background while the player is already playing.

Advancements in game engines: Game engines have become more advanced and provide better tools to load and manage game assets, reducing the time it takes to load games.

More efficient data management: With the rise of cloud gaming and online game delivery platforms, game data can be stored and managed more efficiently, reducing the time it takes to load games.

Such advancements work together to allow games to load faster, even as they become larger and more complex.

Really fast storage

One of the big things for both the new XBOX and the new Playstation was that they’d have really really fast SSDs

A PS4 HDD peaks out around 100 MB/s of transfer while the SSD in a PS5 can do 4500 MB/s, that’s 45x faster and cuts a previously 10 second loading screen down to a quarter of a second. If you can preload just a hair before you need the data then you’re good to go

Processors are plenty fast these days, almost all of loading times is about grabbing data off the bulk storage and loading it into the RAM where it can be accessed

trick question: they still do.

Developers just got a lot better at hiding them by implementing systems where the game is technically “always loading”.

then you also have the asepct where the tech advanced to the point where transfer speeds are good enough to mask loading.

an example of an older game that did ” no loading ” long before the tech caught up, is *Legacy of Kain:Soul Reaver*.

this game was released on the Playstation 1 whihc only had a 2x CD drive(300kbs/s tops) and 2 Mbs of RAM and yet, Crystal Dynamics managed ot implement a system where outside of the initial loading screen you could go from one side of the world map ot the other without ever seeing a loading screen or knowing the game was loading assets.

they managed this by strategically placing data on the disc(so that it minizmied reading adjustments from the disk drive) and with map design that enabled them to split the world map into “chunks” the system could load in the background that covered all the places the player was capable of seeing from their current position. they effectively implemented a streaming system in the Ps1.

apart from being an amazing game its actually a really interesting technical challenge ot read about.