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Other Why do modern games require so much storage space?

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Pete J, 19 Sep 2020.

  1. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

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    I have a question that's been burning in the back of my mind for a long time:

    Why do modern games need so much space (i.e. 100GB+) for installation when older games such as Crysis 'only' need ~6GB?

    I'm pretty sure the answer will be 'something something textures something', but a tenfold increase just seems a bit...excessive. I have absolutely no idea what goes into making a game - I understand that there's an 'engine' and textures are basically images that can have associated layers for features like bump mapping, but beyond that, no idea!
     
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  2. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

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    AFAIK

    In some cases, the sheer scale of the game world. Sure, it's not all rendered at the same time, but it needs to be there.

    In some cases, slack ******* optimisation of the content. I think this has become more and more of an issue as more and more games are delivered digitally or have day 0 "patches" in the tens of gb world. There's not as many media size restrictions when it's the norm to download the content of the disc over again on release, which in turn means there's less need (And thus: Less dev time, 'cause realistic work and release schedules are the cat that's been let out of the bag IMO) to optimize content to fit.
     
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  3. hamza_tm

    hamza_tm Modder

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    That theory makes sense to me. We know games shops work to tight schedules and have to meet release dates. As a professional software engineer, it’s also the case that having large teams of developers collaborating on projects to deadlines is notoriously hard. There are three axes involved, which push and pull in proportion: time, scope and quality. E.g. if you reduce the time available (deadline comes closer) then either the quality or scope must come down. If you want more quality (less bugs, efficient smaller resources), you’ll either need to increase the time (relax the deadline) or reduce the scope, or a bit of both. If you suddenly want more scope (I.e. more content, more features) you must reduce the quality or relax the deadline. Something always has to give.

    In the case of games, usually the deadline cannot be moved, thus when the plan goes awry either the scope or the quality has to shift. I’m guessing a decision was made to forgo overall asset size (I.e. quality) in order to meet deadlines with enough content.
     
  4. GeorgeStorm

    GeorgeStorm Aggressive PC Builder

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    I've partially thought it was due to the decreases in cost of storage, and increases in speed of internet, with no need about worrying if it'll fit on physical media, keeping it small is just less of a priority.
     
  5. bawjaws

    bawjaws Multimodder

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    Size of modern graphical assets - textures etc.
    Multiplayer and single player assets.
    Uncompressed audio.
    Localisation options for audio.
    Lack of pressing need to reduce file sizes to fit on physical media.
     
  6. theshadow2001

    theshadow2001 [DELETE] means [DELETE]

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    I would hazard a guess that the tools that make development faster and easier, thus allowing larger worlds or more complex visuals and mechanics introduce all sorts of overheads, from performance to storage size.

    Think of an application written in assembly versus an application written in...well, anything high level and managed to be honest. Your high level language will be slower and take up more space. Then you use that high level language to build tools to enable you to do more and the overhead starts to compound, but the development becomes faster and easier because you have some tool to do work for you.

    Once you start using various software tools, the optimisations become harder because you can't really optimise the tool or its output, as you don't have access to the tooling code and if you did, to optimise it for your use case would be prohibitively expensive and time consuming.

    But I've never been involved in games development so WTF do I know ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  7. lilgoth89

    lilgoth89 Captin Calliope

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    its mainly due to Games being more digital, in the days of mainly physical media, everything has to fit on the Disk, for instance in the days of the DVD game, everything had to fit onto a DVD ( 4.7gb~) so textures, audio etc were compressed to make as much of the space as they could,
    but now they dont have to bother with that sort of thing, saving a not insubstantial amount of Time and Cost

    While large words are also partially to blame, remember the Entirety of GTA San Andreas was on a single DVD because of texture and sound compression...
     
  8. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Frontier: Elite II has 100 billion star systems to visit, and fits on two floppy disks - one, if you UPX compress the executable.
     
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  9. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    I read about this recently. Assets.

    Basically people started to complain about COD MW being a bloated mess. It was explained away that because it was a multi platform game there were tons of assets to make sure it runs on everything. People complained so much that they have now made you able to select what you want to install when you install the game.
     
  10. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I saw a good video on this recently that I cannot for the life of me find now, and it does indeed all come down to something something textures. Textures increasing in resolution doesn't have a linear impact on install size, but an exponential one. Make everything twice as detailed, and you make the game files ~4 times bigger. Make it twice as detailed again, and it's 16 times bigger. And so on.

    Textures increase in size in response to the target hardware that developers have in mind, though, and I personally am a bit annoyed that the devs of, say, MW2019 assume everyone's gaming on native 4k HDR screens and actually needs all this textural oomph. Most gamers - the vast, vast, mass of voiceless drudgeons who make up most of PC gaming - are working with very mediocre 1080p screens and 6GB or less of vRAM. Fact. For those people (including myself) MW2019's 100GB of amazing texture detail is a waste of time and disk space.

    I have pondered how they could address this tale of two audiences. Two download options, one with low textures, one with high? We basically have that in a fashion, with remasters. When I go to install Bioshock, Dishonoured, etc. I can choose the ~7GB original game or the ~45GB remaster. I always choose the 7GB. I just don't notice the difference once I'm actually playing.

    If MW2019, Doom 2016, etc. had a "low texture only" install option that was a quarter the size, I'd jump on it.
     
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  11. bawjaws

    bawjaws Multimodder

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    Doom 2016 is an interesting case. I think the standard install size is (or at least was when I played it) knocking on the door of 75GB, which is pretty chunky, but I got mine down to about half that by manually deleting the mulitplayer maps, "snap maps" and all of the language localisations except the one that was actually using.

    Now of course the pain in the neck here is having to download everything to start with, so it would be ideal if you were given options when installing as to which elements you wanted, but it at least goes to show that the bulk of the install size is being taken up with assets - either graphical (the snap & MP maps) or audio (the language localisation). From memory, the saving was about two-thirds due to removing the graphics stuff and one-third the audio stuff.
     
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  12. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    character and world assets, bigger worlds with greater depth to the worlds, its surroundings and draw distances, no need to constrain to the limited size of delivery media, all good things, let them grow, so long as they keep getting better.
     
  13. wolfticket

    wolfticket Downwind from the bloodhounds

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    ...
     
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  14. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    In my opinion Doom 2016 isn't commensurately better for all of its bloat than it would be if it were a 25GB install. In fact I'm pretty sure I wouldn't notice any difference when playing it.

    Bawjaws' comments have inspired me to investigate these potential space saving measures, I did always wonder why Doom was so huge relative to its length, complexity and graphics. I mean it looks beautiful but it's not a big game spacially.
     
  15. enbydee

    enbydee Minimodder

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    This was shared to discord by pkkshadow and seems appropriate here

     
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  16. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I hadn't thought of the microtransaction/DLC side of things. That does make a ton of sense.
     
  17. law99

    law99 Custom User Title

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    I miss the days of analogue games, too. Monopoly only took up a box under the sofa. Although one game I tried called "football" or some nonsense took up a couple of acres, and required a level of physicallity children just will never understand these days, with their ipads, and playstations.
     
  18. TechBuggy

    TechBuggy What's a Dremel?

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    Everything is getting bigger nowadays, I'm not surprised how the size of new games is getting absurdly bigger, as storage devices are getting bigger as well.
     
  19. sandys

    sandys Multimodder

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    Indeed, just buy bigger discs, in the same way the RAM requirement goes up to improve the experience so does the storage, it's not really an issue, you don't have to have 100 games installed on your system and if you do they don't all need to be on SSD, it's £70 for 4Tb come on, disc is cheap, is a 100Gb really that big a deal.
     
  20. boiled_elephant

    boiled_elephant Merom Celeron 4 lyfe

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    I tried it once, last generation to be forced to. It was awful.
    I hadn't thought about this angle on it. Of course, it makes sense that once you remove a physical constraint, like low download speeds or physical media, devs will push the install size bigger and bigger - those constraints were the only thing ever stopping them. Their priority is to show off, or fulfil their artistic vision, or outcompete their rivals graphically (pick one). Take the ceiling off that, and nothing will stop them.

    The only constraint that might've stopped them was players being unwilling to buy a game because it was so huge, but Modern Warfare 2019 has proved to them that that constraint doesn't exist (or not enough to affect business). So this is the shape of things to come: the only thing keeping install sizes down now is the limited amount of time devs have to develop the assets and add stuff to the game before launch, and now with a constant trickle of DLC for years after launch, even if the initial install size is kept down in this way, the eventual size won't be. Again, there's no pressure on devs to moderate the size of post-launch stuff, because it doesn't affect their sales or player counts. Very few people will actually uninstall a game because it's getting too big.

    At least we might see more people copying MW2019's tactic of making the various DLCs and such optional downloads that can be deselected. Modular installs. That's the only way I'll buy another game on MW2019's scale.
     

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