Ghost Of Tsushima’s Loading Times Are So Good That They Had To Be Nerfed by Ian Walker for Kotaku
“We really got where we are through focus and substantial team effort,” Sucker Punch Productions lead engine programmer Adrian Bentley told Kotaku via email. “I wrote the foundational code for our fine-grain texture and mesh streaming systems for Ghost. It started as a forward-looking side project and came online just in time as we began running out of memory on PlayStation 4 developer hardware due to the huge amount [of] art the team was adding.”
Ghost of Tsushima is lush as heck. Vast fields of flowers intersected by dusty roads give way to claustrophobic bamboo forests containing secluded Buddhist temples. Leaves, cherry blossom petals, and pollen filter through the air thanks to an ever-present, guiding wind. Waves crash on beaches, hiding rocky pathways to offshore secrets. And while the responsibility for pulling all those disparate assets together was already monumental, Bentley explained that the art team also had to make sure to keep data compact as it ate more and more memory.
I picked up my copy of Ghost of Tsushima today and am so jazzed to start it up later. One comment I found in common amongst reviews was the fast loading times. On the precipice of solid state drives becoming the standard next-gen, I thought these snappy load times interesting for the end of the PS4. With the insanely fast decompression of assets on PS5 and the ability to use extremely high detail models, I wonder what Ghost of Tsushima would have looked like in development with that technology in place.
“We only have one copy of every asset on the disc. During most loads, when not jumping into a close-up, we only load newly required assets and can dial down our streaming density a bit…”
This sounds like what the SSD will provide PS5 and Xbox Series X: Instead of writing copies of trees, bushes, etc., Sucker Punch seems to have figured out a way to streamline their asset loading in memory on the PS4. This seems like a small taste of what is to come initially with the transition to solid state technology.