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rubberducker
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When I first got System Shock 2 my PC hard disk was completely under specked (1.2GB). Apart from having to delete all other games from it before installing SS2 it was horrendously slow too. I used to play Tetris on a key ring I nicked off my sister between loads which made them a bit more bearable.

Although the waiting pissed me off it did mean that continuous quick saving/loading wasn't an option. Dying in the game did seem to carry a higher price than in other games which definitely added to the experience.

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Metroid Prime managed it - it shoudn't be hard for others to do it as well, surely?

Example - in Riddick I've just done a bit where I take a lift down. I watch the (nicely animated) scene where the lift wheezes its way down the shaft. It gets to the bottom - but before the door opens, I get a loading screen! Madness. Wouldn't it have made more sense to do the loading whilst the lift is going down?

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It is possible to do stream loading with large corridors, but the game has to be made with this in mind from the start. For example, you have so much ram to play with, most of this is filled with the current level, you also need to delete some of this ram and fill it with the new data as you run along. Not an easy task for a programmer. Then you have disc access times, if the files are in the wrong place you'll get gaps in the game world as it loads in. Burnout is a good example, or if you open your gc disc drive at the right times it wont realise its open and the game will continue playing. but when you come to the next loading bit, there will be no game world there. If a file is huge (like a building) and its not in the right place on the disc it can just pop up mere feet in front of you, where before was a gap to outside the world.

Oh another good example is GTA3, if your disc is scratched or dirty you may find certain files dont load, like fences, but the collision detection is still there.

Ever tried playing a badly yarred copy of Crazy Taxi on the DC?

Hilarious!

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It's amazing how low my tollerance for lengthy loading has become these days. I remember having to wait 30 minutes for Trashman to load on my old C64 back in the (225 on the tape counter  :( ).

Tsk! That would be just about 12-13minutes as everyone knows that 20 on the counter on C64 tape player equalled 1 minute in real time. (and as the tape counter got higher it would slow down to a crawl) Call yourself Retro! Pah! :(

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Wasn't the Gamecube designed specifically so that they drive could read things off disk without slowing down the processor and graphics chips and "stuff" (the limit of my technical knowledge)? (Question not fact!)

That would explain why Metroid Prime can load the levels while the lift animation plays and Riddick can't.

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Wasn't the Gamecube designed specifically so that they drive could read things off disk without slowing down the processor and graphics chips and "stuff" (the limit of my technical knowledge)? (Question not fact!)

That would explain why Metroid Prime can load the levels while the lift animation plays and Riddick can't.

1T-RAM or something which suits streaming IIRC.

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I agree with some sentiments here.

There should be some sort of mini entertainment during loading times. As before mentioned Nintendo do it well along with others. However there is always the other 'stealth' approach (half-life) where there are transition sections in each level.......sure slowdown is experienced but you don't leave the game and the experience isn't as interrupted like fade-outs, and cuts do.

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1T-RAM or something which suits streaming IIRC.

well that was a stroke of fuckin genius, and the other manufactur's would do well to steal another of nintendo's innovations.

i wondered why the cube felt so quick and seemless. it isn't that much under the spec of an xbox and does a similar amount of work. what the fuck are sony and microsoft playing at?

surely they must combat this next gen...?

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Metroid Prime managed it - it shoudn't be hard for others to do it as well, surely?

Example - in Riddick I've just done a bit where I take a lift down. I watch the (nicely animated) scene where the lift wheezes its way down the shaft. It gets to the bottom - but before the door opens, I get a loading screen! Madness. Wouldn't it have made more sense to do the loading whilst the lift is going down?

Metroid wasnt perfect though. Come across a door that didnt open right away? some doors (with larger rooms behind them) took a while to open, up to 5 seconds maybe.

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I can answer some of this.

Games have to be designed with streaming in mind to start with - you'll be lucky to get away without having to perform major surgery on your levels if you decide to do it in retrospect.

The biggest consideration is ensuring you can't see what's not loaded, hence Metroid using it's doors that only open when both rooms are loaded. This, however, is only half the problem.

You also have to ensure the game doesn't know about too many game entities (by which I mean the enemies and objects) otherwise you'll simply run out of memory. This is where Jak and Daxter gets really clever - it not only streams visible data in levels, it streams levels too. You can see this in action when you're in a transition corridor - if you turn around, Jak falls over. Why? Because the area you just left has been dumped and it started loaded the next area, and it now needs to stop that and reload the area you just left. Metroid, by comparision, has its uninterruptible lift animation.

Regarding the term "loading...", all Sony, Nintendo, and MS request is you don't leave the user with a static screen for more than a few seconds. Developers are free to choose their message of choice, hence why you sometimes get spinning discs or flying dragons or whatnot. I guess the rest of the devs can't think of anything more interesting.

Oh, and HalfLife had loading screens didn't it? I'm sure I remember it freezing with a "loading..." message.

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Games have to be designed with streaming in mind to start with - you'll be lucky to get away without having to perform major surgery on your levels if you decide to do it in retrospect.

that is the point. games should be designed with this in mind from the concept stage.

i know things evolve, but surely it is just a question of thinking outside the box alittle.

metriod may have kept me waiting for a few seconds, but it went to the trouble of disguising it, and interweaving it into the story.

as someone else mentioned KOTOR went to all the trouble of re-creating being a jedi in glorious 3D and then ruined it with long loading screens - that looked like they designed on an amiga.

it's like going to see a movie and getting a title card saying that the projectionist is changing reels. it takes you right out of the experience.

maybe games companies are so used to looking at code, that they think a loading screen is passable. or maybe they just think we don't care..

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