Red Dead Redemption 2 : 105 GB of disk space required. Shadow of War : 98 GB. Final Fantasy 15 : almost 150 GB. Why the hell do these games take up so much space on your hard drive?
Here are a few different factors play a role. And to be exact, we're talking about big, AAA 3D games, not Minecraft or Stardew Valley . But in the simplest case, there are three main reasons: game files get bigger, game worlds get bigger, and available space becomes cheaper. Let us examine that.
High Resolution Game Files Are Larger
Wrap the story back over 20 years to the dawn of 3D gaming. At that time, both the characters and the environments in 3D games were simple, as developers were busy with the tools of a new art form. Here's a look at what Solid Snake, by the venerable Metal Gear franchise, looked like in 1
Metal Gear Solid was a top-notch at the time, offering some of the most stunning 3D graphics available on every console, but today Snake looks blocky and simple: you can Polygons that make up his head count practically, and the textures (two-dimensional images superimposed over the polygonal models, such as wallpapers, to define them) are blocky and pixelated.
That's because the original PlayStation was only a fraction Not only were these older consoles unable to render more complex characters and environments, they did not have to: D he PS1 was only able to output videos with a resolution of 320 × 240 for most games. If you're reading this article on a new phone, that's less than a square inch of its small but high-resolution screen.
That was about all the loyalty needed to maximize the capabilities of 90s television. Game sizes with simpler 3D models and low-resolution 2D textures were correspondingly small: on two compact discs Metal Gear Solid consumed about 1.5 GB of storage space. PC games could be bigger and produce more high-resolution graphics, but they were still a fraction of the size of modern games.
Now consider a modern version of this character for comparison: Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid 5 released in 2015.
Snake's face is almost photorealistic: apart from a few angles on eye patch and hair, it's hard to say that this is a collection of polygons and textures and not a real person. These textures are also important: they are now equipped with sufficient resolution so that players who see them on a 1080p or 4K TV will not see pixelated blocks (unless they approach closer).
More visual information, such as modified surfaces for light effects, different materials that behave differently in the physics engine, and things like floating particles for smoke or fire add layers to the complexity of the graph. And all of this happens in real time, in a game engine that the player can interact with, not in a previously rendered cutscene like in a CG movie. Is it any wonder that MGS5 claims twenty times the original travel margin?
More complex 3D models and 2D textures are not the only part of this equation. Sound data has also become more complex. The soundtracks of Cartridge games had only a few rudimentary notes, and although they did reproduce some impressive music ranges, they had to fit in file sizes smaller than any image on the page you were reading.
In comparison, the high-fidelity music and sound effects of modern games are gigantic, not to mention the files for each dialogue line and any random grunt or gasp of the character. Sometimes these sound files are also uncompressed, more like music on a CD than on an MP3, so that the console or the processor of the PC is not burdened with an additional processing layer in addition to the running game. In Titanfalls PC version of 2014, the game contained 35 GB of storage space intended only for uncompressed audio.
Game worlds are getting bigger
In addition to the graphics and the audio of modern games, they are becoming more complex The games themselves are getting massive. Take a look at this comparison chart for the Grand Theft Auto series. 2001 GTA III was considered one of the largest free play games ever to be released, but three years later the developers doubled the size of its playing card GTA: San Andreas , The latest game in the series, GTA V has a map more than ten times larger, covering many other types of terrain and environments.
This is not a fixed rule: some more structured games, such as Overwatch or Street Fighter have only a few different levels. Accordingly, they are much smaller in file size. But the explosion of open-world games over the last decade has triggered a race between developers and publishers eager to create the largest possible seamless playing cards.
Far Cry, Assassin's Creed, Just Cause, Borderlands, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and The Witcher : Some of the most popular titles on the market have enormous game worlds, which exponentially expand the increasing size requirements. Just Cause 3 has a play area that, when scaled to the real world, is 20 miles on each side. Many of these worlds use related resources – for example, the same texture can be used over and over again for a quarry or concrete wall. But larger maps and areas only require more data.
Even games that follow a more conventional level-based approach such as Doom will be much larger just because the levels are larger than they used to be and the Graphics and audio files must be increased. Unique visual elements require dedicated files in the game's memory. The more levels you have and the larger these levels are, the more space is needed.
Memory becomes cheaper; Internet speeds up
My first computer in the mid-1990s had a 40GB hard drive. (And at the time, my dad was amazed at the excess, noting that the room-sized supercomputers he used with Lockheed in the '70s and' 80s had about a tenth of them.) The desktop PC I type on has four terabytes of space between a SSD and a hard drive – 100 times more storage capacity than my old Compaq. And this is hardly a PC-limited phenomenon: Apple has sold its first handset with 512GB of memory this year, and some Android phones may have more than a terabyte thanks to MicroSD cards.