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Old 08-15-2001, 02:39 PM   #1
magnum
 
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Savegames loading speed...

I couldn't find a previous thread on this, so I'll start:

Did anyone noticed a big, BIG difference between the savegame system of JK/MotS, and the Quake/Elite Force/Soldier of Fortune one?

I mean: SPEED. Period.
While JK was almost instantaneous (when you die, press a key and you're up!) the Quake engine games suffers from having to reload the entire level when anything from : Change screen resolution, screen or texture depth, "savegaming", saying 'Hello!' in the console

I don't know the "technical" reasons for this, but I'd like to assume that being in the year 2001 (2002 by the time we all hope to JO to be published) and having tons of memory, disk and processor power available, not to mention expert programmers, JEDI OUTCAST WILL HAVE THE SAME FEATURE THAN THE (VERY) OLD JEDI KNIGHT GAME, RIGHT? Hehe

I will be really mad if I have to wait everytime I lose to restart...
In EF, for example there is a level that takes several minutes to download, plays a cutscene, and the BigBadAssEnemy kills you in less than 30 seconds, with a couple of bursts of his gun... hence: reload... make some coffe... wait... wait... repeat the loop until you type "god" mode in the console. Sounds like fun to anyone?
And yes, I have a current system.

Also, as a second item, the changes in screen resolution in JK didn't forced a reload... sheesh... I never understood why Quake has to do that...

What do you people think?

[ August 18, 2001: Message edited by: ZeroXcape ]


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Old 08-15-2001, 04:18 PM   #2
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I think video restarts in Quake III reload all of the textures again ( this happens when you change resolution, colour depth, etc. ) This is the part that takes so bloody long. I think this might happen because of the way OpenGL works, though I could be very wrong.

Anyway, I was talking to a friend that saw SoF2 at QuakeCon and he said that Raven was planning on doing something with quick reload technology. I'm not entirely sure what that means or what it applies to, but it sounds like what you are talking about. Also, I haven't heard whether JK2 will have the feature or not, but I'm guessing we can since they both are sharing the Q3TA engine.

Here's to hoping that they do something...hint hint.

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: Rancor ]
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Old 08-15-2001, 04:28 PM   #3
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The other thing to consider with level load times are lightmaps. Someone actually pointed out to me that JK was vertex lit...which I did not believe until I checked it out. Sure enough..he was right.

Of course, modern games use lightmaps ( because they look awesome ) that are stored with the level data, and so have to be loaded. I'm not sure if this extra bit of data makes a difference or not, but it surely isn't going to help load times.

Finally, the level of detail on JK maps wasn't exactly insane. You take an EF or SoF map and you've generally got quite a bit more architecture to load up. So, in the end. Everyone wants more architecture and texture detail, but then complain when it craps out the load times. I'm hoping that Raven can strike a nice balance between look and speed, because I agree....I don't want to have to make a pot of coffee between levels.

[ August 15, 2001: Message edited by: Rancor ]
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Old 08-15-2001, 09:36 PM   #4
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but one would think that the enourmous amout of new data needed to be loaded, would be somewhat offset by newer faster chipsets, plus, i dont know why it would need to load a second time? isnt the first load good enough? or does the data, auto-corrupt once you die?

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Old 08-16-2001, 02:32 PM   #5
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I'm not sure if this really is the way it works, but if you imagine that the speed of the cpu and the amount of game data increases by a proportional amount, the load time would theoretically be the same?

But then again, the limiting factor in a load time is not going to be the cpu...hard drive speeds have not increased at the rate that cpu speeds have...hard drive size probably has, but not speed. As you probably know hard drive access, when compared to memory access, is amazingly horribly slow. ( Ever wonder why Windoze chugs like heck when it has to use a large amount of virtual [disk based] memory? ) So, I imagine load times will end up longer because of that.

Also, the levels not only have more architectural (sp?) detail, the game ( like Quake3 ) would have to also load lightmaps which JK did not have. I suppose on a large map with reasonably hi-res lightmaps, the game has to load an extra 2 meg of data per level. Maybe only a small hit there, but more so with a slow drive.

Finally, you've got much higher-res textures...another thing that is hard-drive speed dependant since it has to read them off the drive and upload them to the vid-card. Imagine you've got an SoF2 or JK2 texture that is 1024x1024...and an older jk texture that was 256x256 max. It's only 4 times larger in each dimension, but 16 times larger/more memory overall. If the card you had when you played jk ( assuming you played with hardware acceleration ) can upload textures 16 times faster, it should be the same speed. But I doubt that's the case, so that will likely suffer also. If you played jk in software, it would only have to load the textures to memory, not upload any textures to a card ( uploading isn't exactly the fastest thing )....so you'd get an even larger speed hit there if you were used to playing in software.

So...I know I've gone WAY overboard with all of this....but perhaps you can get an idea that no matter what, it would never be as fast as JK load times...unless they can do some amazing progamming jiggery-pokery.

Here's to hoping it can be done.
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Old 08-16-2001, 02:34 PM   #6
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I forgot to mention, if you are talking about restarting a given level after dying, if done properly, none of the aforementioned items should come into play. The speed hits I suggested would probably only happen when switching to a new level.
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Old 08-16-2001, 05:52 PM   #7
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I hadnt thought of this point. But with people who have fast computers (like my new one), you dont even see the loading screen on games like Elite Force .


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Old 08-16-2001, 06:15 PM   #8
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Interesting, maybe there is hope for quick load times after all ( at least if you have a fast computer )...heh.
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Old 08-16-2001, 06:24 PM   #9
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From acdcfanbill:
Quote:
dont know why it would need to load a second time? isnt the first load good enough?
From Rancor
Quote:
I forgot to mention, if you are talking about restarting a given level after dying, if done properly, none of the aforementioned items should come into play. The speed hits I suggested would probably only happen when switching to a new level.
That's exactly what I was thinking when I started the thread... the full level geometry is in memory, so the textures, so... etc. All that the game has to reload should be the chars and moveable architecture positions, and AI state (and similar stuff...) that should be a LOT less information (not to mention that can be easily compressed).

and from CaptainRAVE
Quote:
But with people who have fast computers (like my new one), you dont even see the loading screen on games like Elite Force
I know what you mean, I exaggerated the time a little to make my point: why should be everything loaded again, if it's already in mem? Faster load speeds (I have and ATA100 drive & motherboard, very fast indeed!) should not be an excuse for bad program design...

*EDIT*
For Raven People:
I know that this part of the engine was not coded by you, but being brilliant programmers as you demonstrated to be, I think that you'll do good to your product(s) by enhancing this part too.

[ August 16, 2001: Message edited by: Magnum ]


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Old 08-17-2001, 01:04 PM   #10
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This is something that got me about Elite Force, and it has nothing to do with faster hard disks, CPUs or anything like that. Jedi Knight did not re-cache map data when reloading a quick-save. Even on my old P120 with 40Mb RAM, JK would load quicksaves instantly. There was no delay whatsoever.

Elite Force clearly uses a different save/load system to this. For whatever reason, map data is re-cached when loading quicksaves (which kind of defeats the point of them as they were no quicker than normal saves). It did occur to me that maybe this was because of the use scripted events etc. (which JK did not have). Perhaps this means data has to be reloaded. I don't know. Maybe Raven can shed some light on this?


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Old 08-17-2001, 01:16 PM   #11
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I don't think you'll have to worry about slow loadgame/reload times in JK2 (Ste Cork is the Man).

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: ChangKhan[RAVEN] ]


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Old 08-17-2001, 03:16 PM   #12
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Well, if Mr. ChangKhan's post is not a fake, then I'll make an altar of my computer... where the sacred ritual is play JO until my eyes pull out of their sockets! LOL

Really, I love these Raven guys!!!

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: Magnum ]


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Old 08-17-2001, 05:27 PM   #13
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Excellent to hear... It really bothers me when I have to watch a load screen (i.e. Max Payne.) As stated above, one of the fastest loading games I've played is JK, while one of the quickest to exit is Q3.
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Old 08-17-2001, 06:05 PM   #14
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One thing I think would be really nice is a LOADING STATUS BAR. I just like those things, because it gives me some idea of how much time is left (or if the game just crashed and I need to reboot).

They were great in JK, but it seems many FPS games lack them nowadays, and with long waits, it's really annoying...

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Old 08-17-2001, 06:26 PM   #15
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ya, they are kinda nice, but they are always sorta diffuclt to judge, because for me, the bar never goes across at the same speed, it starts out fast, and then slows, and speeds, and never stays at a constant speed. tho it is nice to give you a percentage left...

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Old 08-17-2001, 10:46 PM   #16
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See... I want it to load so fast that there is no need for a "status bar" acdcfanbill is right, there is not constant speed anyway.
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Old 08-18-2001, 11:59 AM   #17
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It would be nice if there was a status bar and something underneath telling you exactly what was being loaded (like Quake III does).


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Old 08-19-2001, 01:35 PM   #18
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I suppose a status bar is a good idea - at least you know how much stuff has loaded. However, I too would like really fast reloads - and I'm glad Raven has taken this into account. I'm sure you'll all agree that when you're really starting to flow through a game, the last thing you want is an interruption of a minute or more waiting for the next level, or waiting to respawn after dying.

Thumbs up again to Raven.
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