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Default The Escapist - Loading Times

August 14th, 2008, 01:24
Shamus Young takes an amusing look at Loading Times in games over at The Escapist, using The Witcher as his prime example. Here's the introductory paragraph:
Loading screens. Satan's immersion-breaking intermissions. Long enough to break the flow of gameplay, short enough that you can't just fire up the DS and play something else. It's a slice of time you're obliged to throw away, the gaming equivalent of sitting in traffic. You can't leave the computer but there's nothing to do. You sit slack-jawed and stare at the screen in anticipation of the computer getting back to the entertainment.
He actually makes a few very good points.
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August 14th, 2008, 01:24
The Witcher is not that bad with loading times, it was patched up rather quick. And wandering around houses was actually fun for some of the time …

If we should gang up on a game for having horribly long loading times, I'd pick NWN2.
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August 14th, 2008, 02:52
In Drakensang, there *are* loading screens, but they are so quick that they hardly annoyed me !

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August 14th, 2008, 06:40
The Witcher did have some long loads (and autosaves, especially in houses as Arma said) but that's supposedly all been patched away. Longest loads I remember were in the original Baldur's Gate—not to mention having to listen to that voice saying "You must gather your party before venturing forth…" I only have one memory cell still functioning, but that little line looks like it will remain with me forever…

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August 14th, 2008, 08:05
People are pansies these days. Agony was loading up a game on a C64 with Datasette (tape drive) for half an hour only to have it crash, again and again, 5 minutes into the game…
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August 14th, 2008, 10:05
LOL!

It's fun to imagine what this process must look like to the various characters you meet in the game. A legendary hero rolls into town, talks to a few people, and then begins wandering in and out of houses at random, blinking and looking confused like a mentally ill door-to-door violence salesman.
Good stuff
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August 14th, 2008, 10:10
Originally Posted by GhanBuriGhan View Post
People are pansies these days. Agony was loading up a game on a C64 with Datasette (tape drive) for half an hour only to have it crash, again and again, 5 minutes into the game…
I bought the "load-it" drive but even that failed to work at times - after loading entire cassette and half of another one. I never found any rpgs for tapedrive and hungered for games like pool of radiance but the c64 disk drive was insanely costly (and of poor quality too ive heard).

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August 14th, 2008, 10:16
I have to admit, I'm very impatient with loading times these days. I used to be a lot more patient. Now I expect to pretty much have zero loading time as long as I'm running on a state of the art system, but every now and then that's not the case. Needless to say, I ended up being fairly frustrated when playing The Witcher (esp. in chapter 2, when running in and out of houses all the time). Many times I actually found myself thinking: "Do I really have to enter this house? Is there no way to avoid it?".
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August 14th, 2008, 14:21
Pfft, loading times.

Try writing your own code in basic directly from a magazine before you have anything to play

I still remember with a certain fondness those wonderful sounds my Spectrum made when loading games. I used to be able to hear what game was loading and if it would load properly - just by listening to it.

That said, I've grown exceedingly impatient over the years, and I despise what I call unnecessary load times. The Witcher (pre-patch) was horrible, because it would load for every tiny building you entered - seemingly without re-using or caching textures or anything else. It DID improve significantly with the 1.2 patch (I think it was 1.2).
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August 14th, 2008, 15:50
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
Pfft, loading times.

Try writing your own code in basic directly from a magazine before you have anything to play
Try writing it repeatetly everytime you play because you have no way to save it. Oh and dont make a single typo. I did write som code from mags but the practice didnt last that long. If only I had found a way to save the codes.

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August 14th, 2008, 16:11
If we still speak about the Witcher, I wasn't that bothered up about the long loads (pre-patched, that is). It was quite annoying, but even if it was the smallest house that had no NPC inside and the loot is a few orens or a couple of food items. The good part was you could enter in all the houses (well, almost) and explore and could possibly find something of value like a book or eventually a gem. It was a fresh thing that I hadn't seen for quite a while in an RPG.
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August 15th, 2008, 20:42
I admit the load times in the Witcher were pretty bad for me at first, but I didn't mind that much since the game was so enjoyable. I actually kept a book nearby to read while the game was loading. It worked quite well. I don't know what kind of moron would just stare dumbfoundedly at the loading screen like the article states, but perhaps they should take that time to learn to read.
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August 15th, 2008, 21:57
Originally Posted by zakhal View Post
Try writing it repeatetly everytime you play because you have no way to save it. Oh and dont make a single typo. I did write som code from mags but the practice didnt last that long. If only I had found a way to save the codes.
Hey I did that for each time I wanted to play
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