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Intel Optane 3D Xpoint will make game load screens “a thing of the past”

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intel Optane 3D Xpoint
intel Optane 3D Xpoint

Star Citizen creator Chris Roberts has described how Intel’s upcoming new storage technology, Optane, will eliminate game loading screens forever.

Speaking at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF), Roberts highlighted how the new superfast 3D Xpoint memory will provide such fast data access that games will no longer need to load levels into memory a chunk at a time but will be able to access the data near instantly straight from storage.

The result will be not just the elimination of level loading screens but the pauses that sometimes occur in games as you move from one environment to the next.

Roberts, who is CEO and founder of Cloud Imperium Games and who previously worked on space-exploration game Wing Commander, was particularly excited about the impact it would have on his latest creation, Star Citizen.

The large-scale space exploration and combat title was announced in 2012 along with a crowdfunding campaign to get the game started and has since gone on to be the most successful crowd-funding campaign ever, raising over $87 million.

It involves moving from vast space environments to the surface of planets, which is a task that requires a huge shift in the data that’s being referenced – from vast networks of stars and planets to detailed rolling terrain. With Optane memory this transition will be smoother than ever before.

Optane is actually the brand name for Intel’s new range of storage devices, platforms and software that support its new memory technology, 3D Xpoint.

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This new technology has the non-volatile, long term data-storage abilities of the NAND memory used in SSDs but is also much faster to access – theoretically up to 1000x faster. This means it can potentially replace system memory completely, rather than the current arrangement where data is permanently stored in a HDD or SDD and is loaded into system memory when accessed by the computer’s processor.

Although there will be advantages to this speed immediately, it may be some time before it’s true benefits are realised in games as for the time being many games will be architected around the limitations of more average PCs and games consoles.

Both Star Citizen and 3D Xpoint memory are expected to arrive in 2016, with the former aready available in beta form and the latter set to arrive both as a drop in replacement for traditional SSDs and as a DIMM module available for use in high performance computing applications, where it will replace system memory altogether.

singularity_precog

August 20, 2015, 3:58 pm

1) it's cloud imperium games 2) star citizen was announced in 2012. 3) CIG plan to mask normal loading screen behind animations in the vein of games like eve and tera. it doesn't have seamless planetary landings or even atmospheric flight by any means.

merciful

August 20, 2015, 4:33 pm

Star Citizen will be amazing and will drive PCs to their limit and even push the borders, it was always like that with Chris Roberts games. He really is a timeless hero of PC gaming. Thank you Mr. Roberts for not wasting time with console junk.

merciful

August 20, 2015, 4:35 pm

frankly, dunno where you got that from, but it´s BS. So, what you say is dis-info. Landings are 100% seamless and loading screen free and you can move while the autopilot takes over the landing on cities.

Geist

August 20, 2015, 4:41 pm

It's not BS, they're going to be interactive loading screens. When you're landing on a planet, control of the ship is going to be taken from you through auto-pilot, but you'll be able to get up from you're seat (assuming you have a ship with an interior), and walk around while it's doing that. While you're doing that, you'll be going through some clouds and stuff until eventually, the landing zone environment is loaded up in which you'll then proceed to land.

It's still a loading screen, but much, much more immersive.

Ed

August 20, 2015, 4:42 pm

Thanks for the typo spots. As to the world transitions on Star Citizen, I can only go by what Chris said and he clearly inferred there would be benefits.

Geist

August 20, 2015, 4:45 pm

Right, Chris is looking towards the future. He's said he wants seamless landings and atmospheric flight in the future, but that won't happen for a while, the interactive loading screens being used until then... At least until technology like this is released and widespread which will no doubt help immensely with those efforts.

Riddle

August 20, 2015, 4:48 pm

I think they explicitly said that you'd eventually be able to descend and land entirely manually, and that the automatic landing demo they showed off was temporary.

Riddle

August 20, 2015, 4:51 pm

Like, that ties in with the procedurally generated planet surfaces that will be explorable. They said it was a goal for after the game launches.

Optix334

August 20, 2015, 4:55 pm

You'll be able to do it on non-city planets/areas, and on every station. It would be kind of ridiculous to let people land in cities, like in the planetside demo. 1: Trolls crash into buildings, 2: Bad pilots crash into buildings.

Every other landing is manual. They showed it working at Gamescom.

Guest

August 20, 2015, 5:52 pm

Just a note: SC is still in Alpha/Pre-Alpha (I don't know), not Beta :P

EQN

August 20, 2015, 6:32 pm

He said he will use streaming technology and recommend users to get 16GB DRAM. For seamless loading screens.

Mageoftheyear

August 20, 2015, 10:51 pm

Anyone have a link to the IDF panel with Chris Roberts? I've been searching in vain...

Theldos

August 21, 2015, 12:53 am

Chris is not new to making everyone buy some new tech to play his game. It's probably too late though to take advantage of this innovation for the first iteration of his game.

Theldos

August 21, 2015, 12:56 am

Geist you are correct. The game does have limitations and often enough, people over-estimate what the game will actually feature.

Geist

August 21, 2015, 2:01 am

Every planetside landing will be automatic AFAIK. Stations on the otherhand are a little easier to transition to since they're already in space.

Geist

August 21, 2015, 2:02 am

They've said consistently that it's not guaranteed and that if it does happen, it will be long after release. The procedural generation stretch goal was RnD, which will mostly be used for things like asteroids, salvage wrecks, and other things you can find in the middle of space.

Bam Stroker

August 21, 2015, 4:19 am

http://intelstudios.edgesuite.... and skip to 18:50 (apparently - I just copied this from a thread on Reddit but haven't confirmed)

Optix334

August 21, 2015, 6:09 am

The planets that don't have cities will be manual landing. They confirmed this around the time they showed the Planetside Demo. The only reason it will be scripted in large cities is because of trolls. Its better for everyone that way. No mass death from some jerk plowing into the landing pad with an Idris and ruining your day.

Kevin Cobley

August 21, 2015, 9:51 am

This type of memory will allow a unified DDR and storage and use only PCle express lanes as the interface, it's a much simpler and efficient memory structure, eliminates raid as well, the first products will like 2TB +. They will be big, cheap and fast.

George Baggo Baggaley

August 21, 2015, 10:19 am

Cheap to make, but not necessarily cheap to buy...

Mageoftheyear

August 23, 2015, 2:16 pm

Thank you! I found that tread shortly after I posted my request (should have known to check reddit first) but I appreciate the follow-up citizen.

merciful

August 25, 2015, 2:21 pm

It´s streaming in crazy detailed city terrain data seamlessly, and they won´t let you fly free when in the atmosphere yes, but there is no such thing as a loading screen. Basically autopilot takes over, which fits in the lore greatly because you´d be on a defined landing path anyway. Nothing more and nothing less as demonstrated in the PU demo. When they will add barren rock planets it has been said there will be free flight but over a populated city like ArK Corp, no. You´d just see idiots crashing into buildings and messing around

Adam

August 20, 2016, 7:14 pm

just an update 1 year on.. so people don't get the wrong idea. the planets will be procedurally generated. you can land anywhere on the planet. all the data is streamed in as you approach the planet, you can fly freely over the planet, auto pilot will only take over to prevent trolls flying ships into pedestrian areas, obviously the amount of popup you get will depend on the speed at which you can stream in the data.

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