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Killzone: Shadow Fall could have been 290GB

Thursday, 24th October 2013 16:30 GMT By Dave Owen

In Europe, the final version of Killzone: Shadow Fall is a respectable 39.7GB in size. It turns out that that’s nothing compared to what it could have been. At one point it was 180GB and, if changes hadn’t been made, might have been as hefty as 290GB.

Eurogamer has chatted with Guerrilla’s technical director Michael van der Leeuw about lots of technical things that will get spec fans a little hot under the collar. It turns out that textures are to blame for the game being so big.

“The bulk of it is textures,” van der Leeuw told me. “I think we’re probably a lot larger than the other cross-generation games, because we have no assets that have been made to a lower spec.” The size also has something to do with Shadow Fall being a much more open world than previous Killzone games. “The surface area, I’m just guessing here, must be five to ten times bigger than Killzone 3 was.”

Killzone 3, funnily enough, was bigger than Shadow Fall by a couple of gig. Guerrilla began work on the next-gen follow-up using the same methods of duplicating textures for each level and including separate high-quality videos for different language. ”

“I think at some point the disc image that we were generating was around 180 gigs,” said van der Leeuw. “And if we would have put all the levels in, which we didn’t, because then the disc image generator broke, it would have been around 290 gigs of data.

“So we had to completely re-architect how we deal with data. And we did a lot of work – this is actually something I’m extremely proud of – to optimise our disc access pattern. Sony made special libraries for us because we were the first ones hitting these sort of problems. I think it’s something that a lot of people will need to be doing in future.”

Van der Leeuw also spoke about PS4′s PlayGo system, which allows you to start playing while the game is still downloading. He thinks that with a good connection you’ll be able to get the first 7.5GB, play while the next level downloads, then get through that in the space of one evening. It’s not perfect, but until a better solution is found it’ll have to do.

“I think next time around we’ll see if we can design something that doesn’t jeopardise the game that will make it even friendlier,” said van der Leeuw. “But I think all things considered, this being launch and we’ve got like 2 minutes 44 from disc to the first level and no installs, I think it’s already a massive improvement over previous generations.”

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20 Comments

  1. Panthro

    lol.

    #1 10 months ago
  2. xFidelCashflow

    what. the f***.

    #2 10 months ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    Not really a surprise.

    In six or so years time, when the next hardware comes along, 290GB sized game will seem like a rather normal size, and we’ll all be bitching about the limited storage capacity of Blu-rays and the outdated specs in our aging PS4s and Xbox Ones.

    #3 10 months ago
  4. Blackened Halo

    290 Gb game …and still 5 hours gameplay …

    #4 10 months ago
  5. Erthazus

    ^
    4 Of you guys don’t understand how gaming development works.

    Jesus.
    you know, you would be surprised how much RAGE with PC/current gen consoles with Megatextures in original form could be. It could be 2-3 TB for your information.

    I will give you another example with Naughty Dog. For example all their games have textures but on the PS3 they are in a small resolution (because hardware is dated and you require some serious optimization) so the more you look at them near you the more bland they look.

    Their original form (textures) has much bigger resolution and some of the photos devs take with resolution up to 2560x**** can have some serious size.

    #5 10 months ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 *yawn*

    #6 10 months ago
  7. YoungZer0

    @5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i8LOLswfTkQ

    #7 10 months ago
  8. Panthro

    @5

    You got that I didn’t know how the development of a game worked because I said ‘lol.’?

    All hail Erthazus… The all knowing whispering eye; Master of the PC elitists.

    #8 10 months ago
  9. KesMonkey

    @5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFZrzg62Zj0

    #9 10 months ago
  10. AmiralPatate

    And then there’s compression.

    #10 10 months ago
  11. gameoholic007

    Amazing stuff, some day I could see them using the 200GB blu-rays for games, that will be awesome.

    #11 10 months ago
  12. lookingglass

    lol what a dumb, pointless article, preying on the tech illiterate.

    #12 10 months ago
  13. Erthazus

    @11, not in this gen. Blu-ray drive speed is too slow for that.

    #13 10 months ago
  14. tenthousandgothsonacid

    I like how they cut down on all the splashscreens (also in that interview)

    #14 10 months ago
  15. xxJPRACERxx

    @12 So true!

    Hey everyone, Uncharted 3 uncompressed original assets is 25 TERA Bytes!

    #15 10 months ago
  16. KineticCalvaria

    My disc is bigger than yours.

    #16 10 months ago
  17. XanderZane

    290GB is way too big. Who the hell is doing to download a filesize that’s that big? Thankfully the instal from Blu-Ray won’t take nearly as long as a DD from a server. I need to get my 2TB SSD to replace that low storage 500GB drive Sony is putting in the PS4.

    #17 10 months ago
  18. drewbles82

    yeah imagine if xboxone were to have that and you had to install. thats more than half your harddrive space gone already and you cant take out that damn harddrive. Dumbest thing eva.

    #18 10 months ago
  19. MrWaffles

    The future of gaming isn’t in size, it’s in optimization and the next-step is procedural texture generation.

    Not your old-school procedural crap that looks like Doom walls in HD. I’m talking of purpose-made programs that will “bake” the algorithm to procedurally render the texture in-console when the data arrives.

    This will output real-looking textures, at whatever resolution your machine supports, generated with just a few KB of downloaded data.

    Step 1: Download game 8GB
    Step 2: Install
    Step 3: Render textures
    Step 4: Full playable game 90GB

    I’d expect something like this from either Carmack or Frostbite (Epic isn’t persuing this atm).

    -Waffles

    #19 10 months ago
  20. CPC_RedDawn

    @19

    This is already used for a lot of games even on current gen consoles.

    The game will be compressed massively to fit onto the disk or be small enough so it won’t take a week to download for some people. A lot of the textures will be compressed and then once the disk reads them they will be uncompressed to whatever resolution has been optimized for that console.

    PC is different as space is not really an issue with hard drives well into the Terabytes in size. You can download 2K Textures for Skyrim and just for those its over 4GB and when uncompressed for the game in total they amount to around 23GB!!

    What you are talking about is developers want to find a way to compress textures to a file that can be small enough to be downloaded to a console and stored in memory (RAM not HDD) and then processed by the CPU or GPU to be as big as 2K or even 4K resolutions. This would completely revolutionize the industry and “game streaming” like OnLive tried to do. I believe this is what Sony are trying to do with Giaki (spelling?). So in fact you will download a 2-3GB game and once the textures are uncompressed by the CPU and GPU on the fly as you play the game the size of the game becomes as big as they programmed the game to be.

    I hope I explained that correctly.

    #20 10 months ago

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