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Santiago Campbell
Santiago Campbell

Fallout 4 Ridiculous Load Times _BEST_

This brings an important question to mind: what were some of the best games on the PS4 that were weighed down by load times? The launch lineup of the PS5 may be thin, so it might be a good time to check out how much better these classics will play on the new hardware.

fallout 4 ridiculous load times


Another game with a split fanbase is for Death Stranding. Is it an action game, a package delivery simulator, or a bizarre prediction of the future? It might be all if the above, but the point is even those that loved it have said they may have appreciated it even more if the load times were better.

This has also made the load times go from long to interminable in this three-year process. Bungie recently announced they are shrinking the file size soon, as they are dropping content. This should fix loading issues on the PS4 and make them even better on PS5.

UPDATE 16/3/21, 7.07pm: Just a day after confirming it would be officially implementing a fan-made fix to reduce Grand Theft Auto Online's load times by up to 70 percent on PC, Rockstar has announced the update is now live.

The fix arrives as part of GTA 5's Title Update 1.53 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC, which - as detailed on Rockstar's support site - includes general network connectivity improvements alongside better load times specifically for players on PC.

ORIGINAL STORY 15/3/21: Rockstar has confirmed it'll be releasing an update that officially implements a recent fan-made fix to reduce Grand Theft Auto Online's painfully long load times by up to 70 percent.

At the tail-end of February, a programmer going by the name of t0st did a little probing into GTA Online's notoriously protracted load times - ones that can leave players waiting upward of five minutes to start a game - and made a number of fascinating discoveries.

After a bit of tinkering, t0st put together a fix that managed to cut GTA Online's load times from six minutes to one minute and 50 seconds - an almost 70 percent reduction. The fix was shared to GitHub and the world waited to see if Rockstar would respond. And now it has.

"After a thorough investigation, we can confirm that player t0st did, in fact, reveal an aspect of the game code related to load times for the PC version of GTA Online that could be improved," the company said in a statement provided to PC Gamer.

GTA Online remains a popular (and incredibly profitable) game seven years after launch, thanks to the steady influx of new content, but one thing Rockstar seems unable to improve is the game's famously long load times. Over the weekend, an enterprising developer called t0st finally discovered why GTA Online takes so long to load - even on machines with fast processors and storage such as the PlayStation 5 and PC - and fixed those issues, reducing his load times by 70 per cent.

So: after struggling through a six minute load for GTA Online on his mid-range PC, t0st opened Task Manager the next time he loaded up the game and noticed something odd: after the one minute mark, his computer's CPU usage spiked up dramatically, but storage and network usage were nearly non-existent. That suggested that the lengthy load times weren't caused by Rockstar's servers or data being read off a drive - instead, something was running on the CPU. Something that required a ton of processing to complete, and only used a single thread.

With both fixes in place, GTA Online loads way faster. On t0st's PC, avoiding the duplicate items check cuts the load time from six minutes to four-and-a-half minutes, and adding in the item loading fix as well brings this down further, to just one minute and 50 seconds. That's a 69.4 per cent reduction in load times, which is absolutely incredible given that it required modification of only two functions.

Update (5PM): We caught up with t0st to ask him why he thought these seemingly very obvious issues might have persisted for so long. He pointed out that he doesn't have game dev experience and the debugging tools only give him a small window to view what's happening in the code, so he doesn't know for sure. However, he pointed to several comments from users of the Hacker News board as theories that he liked. For example, the code may have been only been tested on smaller item lists, so the extent of the problem may not have been initially obvious. It's also possible that the team maintaining GTA Online might have few of the original programmers, so the inner workings of the code might not be well understood. He also touched on the company politics angle; generally management needs to justify any programming time spent, so things like optimising load times might not have received the necessary investment to carry out. It's all interesting food for thought, and I hope we'll one day have a better insight as to why and how this situation came to pass.

Given the attention that this story has received since it was published on 28th February, you'd hope that Rockstar would at least offer a response, given how much of a bugbear load times have been for GTA Online over its long history. We'll update this story if Rockstar do speak publicly on the issue.

This is something of a cyclic trope because of technology changes. Computer gamers of the 1980s learned to loathe the slow-as-molasses tape and floppy disk drives of the era, and cheered when they were replaced by the much faster hard disks. But it didn't take too long for games to take advantage of increasing disk size and grow so big that they took as long to load from the hard disk as their ancestors did from floppies. Solid-state cartridges from the old days had fast random access times that some cases matched or exceeded RAM, leading to near-instantaneous load times, but because solid-state memory costs a lot more than optical disc-based data storage even today, most game cartridges tend to be fairly limited in data capacity (if you thought $60 for a 32-gigabyte Nintendo Switch game was greedy, wait until you see the cost of a 1-terabyte microSD cardnote as of the end of 2020, those can go for upwards of $250 per unit, sometimes even more). Thus, it becomes tempting to compress data for modern cartridge games to make them fit in the limited space, and since most game consoles have equally limited RAM (since that also requires pricy solid-state technology), it can take a long time to uncompress that data. So it goes...

Load times for cartridge-programmed games are an extremely complicated issue. Cartridges work, in theory, by allowing the system to access data near-instantly (as fast as electricity can travel through the solid-state ROM chips used to store the game data). Though some consoles like the N64 used slow rom which means that the CPU didn't have access to the ROM directly: It can only stream items that don't require fast memory, like sound or animation and load everything else in RAM. The problem is that solid-state memory is not nearly as fast as dynamic RAM (except for the NES, SNES, TurboGrafx-16, and GBA), so most of the time, the CPU can't work with it - it has to run off of program code stored in RAM. Moving data from solid-state to RAM takes time, and while it's not nearly as bad as long disc-based load times, it can add up... especially on the GBA, which has cartridges storing up to 32 megabytes (Mother 3), for a system that only has 256 kilobytes of RAM. Decompression times can also bottle neck graphics

At first, I thought that these long load times could just be regulated to the beginning area. However, after covering the majority of the world map, in addition to both DLC areas, I can conclude that these extremely long load times are consistent across all locations. I even used a stopwatch to actually time these loading transitions, because I was shocked at how slow these loading times were.

Unfortunately, the long load times ruined the entire experience for me. Completing simple quests feel like mundane tasks, especially the faction quests, as they often require you to different regions all over the world map. When a game turns one of the most basic RPG fundamentals, finishing quests, into a long, drawn-out and frustrating ordeal that ruins the adventure, it commits a cardinal sin: it makes the game no longer feel fun and engaging. The immersion into the wonderful world of Amalur becomes broken, too often interrupted by that all-too-familiar loading screen which will become burnt into your memory after the first few hours.

I am running into 5+ min load times when fast traveling, going in and out of buildings. I only have 1 mod "Faster EXP" for a 2nd play through. I play on Ultra settings 720p. My system specs are I7-4790K "standard clock", 32GB DDR3 1866Mhz, R9 290X Lightning, 1TB Seagate 7200RPM with OS on a 256GB Samsung 850 Evo. Would trying to free up some space and putting FO4 on my SSD help? Or lowering my graphics help?

But how much faster does the PS5 load games than the PS4? We tested Sony's next-console against the standard PS4 on a variety of top backwards compatible games, and noticed improvements to loading across the board. While some speed increases were subtle, the PS5 was able to cut load times by as much as 50% for certain top titles.

But that's a PS5-optimized game compared to a separate PS4 version. As far as more apples-to-apples comparisons go, we noticed the most dramatic improvements from The Last of Us Part II, Sony's hit PS4 action game that launched earlier this year. The game started up twice as fast on PS5 as it did on PS4 at just 15 seconds, and while it still took a lengthy one minute to load a gameplay encounter on PS5, it did manage to shave nearly 30 seconds off of the PS4's load times.

The PS5's comprehensive backwards compatibility is one of its best features, as it can play nearly all PS4 games right out of the gate. Not only can you safely leave your PS4 behind (barring some exceptions), but you'll also enjoy significantly improved load times for many of the system's best games. More PS4 games are set to get PS5 optimization patches in the coming months, so we're eager to see even more of our favorite PlayStation titles get even better on Sony's new hardware. 350c69d7ab


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