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How come some games load straight off the disc, and some you have to wait ages for them to load from the disc.
Does anyone know how this is done??
Stuart, I believe it really depends on a programmer's skill to optimize loading routins. There is no magic wand solution to that. Some games quickly load simple intro animation, and while it's running, they load the rest of the code so you don't notice it so much.
Some games use clever loading routines and predetermine what should be loaded next into a buffer, so that when you get to that point, it just pulls data from that buffer.
Some games apper to use this in a very complex way. Jak & Daxter gives you the feeling that you can go anywhere, anytime and see no loading screens, as long as you traverse on foot, and not jump from teleport to teleport...
Disc layout is also very important. You don't want to scatter your files around so that the file system has to force CD laser to run back and forth. When you know which files have to be loaded for a certain game level, you will want to line them up so that the CD can read them in a sequence, which is much faster.
Particularly on PS2 and to some extent Xbox there seem to be too many games released with too sloppy loading schemes. On PS2, loading times exceeding 30 seconds are not unheard of, even usual I reckon. Good loaders ought to be given a higher priority, since good gameplay and generally pleasant gaming depends on quick, if any, loading times.
The fact that most games load static datasets - for example what's loaded initially is always the same, the data needed for every new level seldom changes etc - makes it even more annoying to hear the pickup seeking like mad during every loading period.
I haven't played enough GameCube lately, have the games released this year kept up the nice trend with hyper fast loading times that the launch titles started?
Star Fox Adventures is like Halo in that regard.. half-second pause to load up a new area. Even faster than Halo, actually.
Most GCN games seem to be following the fast loading...
Eternal Darkness certainly loads quickly - IF you don't skip cinematics. :) Everything's preloaded during those - ever wonder why the laser rips back and forth CONSTANTLY during them?
The one GCN game which truly could use a LOT of work in that respect is Turok: Evolution. The load times for that game are just SICK. Worse even than Driver2 for PSX... woo...
The ARAM in GC also helps as a loading buffer
The GCN is great for load times. The Xbox does ok depending on the game. The PS2 is pretty horrible in this regard.
The PS2 is pretty horrible in this regard.
Spoken like a true professional...
PS2 also does ok depending on the game. I have never had problem with loading times in well coded, high profile games.
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