Load times in games have always been an issue for a lot of gamers. Over the years the load times have greatly dwindled, so much so that most people don't even talk about them... well, until now. There's an insane load time for when you boot up Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, and not everybody is going to like it.
In an update to the story the developers defend the long load times, with CI Games stating...
They explained in the update that the initial five minute load time would be the only time the game would render players immobile and stationary at the screen for a seemingly super long time. After that, the game will load in segments of the game at a much quicker rate.
They explain that fast travel will only require between 4 - 15 seconds, while reloading checkpoints will be between 15 and 30 seconds, and restarting an entire mission from scratch can take up to 25 seconds. That's not that bad, right?
Well, the reason those times are so much smaller than the five minutes is because they mentioned to Eurogamer that they needed those long load times in order to shorten the load times later in the game.
Certain games actually use this method frequently, specifically open-world games, due to how large they are and how they have to manage data in the memory. What they'll oftentimes do is load in all the base assets -- the player-model, the world model (assuming it's a first person game), the weapons, the sounds, the shaders and lighting, the AI modules and pathfinding, as well as interactive objects and other physics-based properties. The reason it takes so long is because open-world titles have to micromanage and sort through all the data and find the right data sets so it can pipeline everything into memory as you play the game.
Some games attempt to stream in the data on a linear curve, sort of like how Rockstar did it with GTA V by having gamers start at a specified point in the single-player campaign, and then later move into the open-world of Los Santos.
In the case of Sniper Ghost Warrior 3, it doesn't sound as if the game does piecemeal streaming like in GTA V, but instead loads in the big necessary chunks, and then streams other assets like map geometry and art assets only when players move into that area, hence load times are significantly shorter when fast-traveling, restarting at a checkpoint, or redoing a mission.
Some people were a bit disappointed in the load times, comparing it to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, which loads up in a matter of seconds. However, they later caught themselves and realized it's loading from a cart. Others noted that games like Final Fantasy XV also take a long time to initially load, up to three minutes at times, as well as the original Mass Effect. A few more were just happy that unlike the olden days, at least games that take forever to load actually work. There was time when it would take five minutes to load and then the game would crash. Many Amiga players probably don't miss those days.
Anyway, Sniper Ghost Warrior 3 is due out tomorrow, April 25th, for the PS4, Xbox One and PC.