Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 1 My Hard Disk hates Cryptic.
01-26-2011, 10:52 PM
Loading is fine in SMALL doses but when a lot of loading is done for practically no reason, it becomes an annoyance.

Missions such as:
Past Imperfect. Load to go to the planet just to speak to the Guardian and then load again to return to your ship. Also, the loading to come back out from the portal again. What's more, you have to take your full 4 man away team down to the planet when it's actually something you could do alone. The mission continues in space again and your away team isn't needed until you beam to the ship to rescue Miral Paris.

Heading Out: Even worse. Load to go into the system, load again to beam to the station just to ask Damar Khan if he's ready to go. Then load again to exit to sector space, (at least they didn't make you return to the ship before exiting to sector space I guess). The actual time playing is less than 20 seconds but it is often drawn out to more than 4 minutes with all the loading.

Loading is a PITA for most users. For a few bytes of information from the server, it seems to take ages to wait for it. 2 bytes for the system type or sector, 2 for the mission number and the rest should be looked up in the database on your HDD. However, it seems that the server is either so overloaded that it can't cope or way more information than necessary is passing via the internet.

My modem sits doing nothing for at least 15 seconds while I have a loading bar at 3% or so and the hard disk is doing nothing either. This makes it seem that the game is waiting for a response from the server. That slows everything down as it is but having to do this 3 or 4 times in the space of what should be a minute, makes the game go a lot slower than it really could. That one minute is often streched to 4 or 5 and most of my game time is spent waiting for something to load.

Really, there must be a better way around this.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
01-27-2011, 12:38 AM
Have you fiddled with advanced options?
  • If you go under Video
  • enable the advanced options,
  • then go to troubleshooting section
  • there's an option to cache assets into the memory more instead of constantly thrashing your hard disk. This worked well on my laptop, resulting in better framerates and less HDD usage (at the expense of ram, which I had in spades).
  • The setting is called "reduce file streaming"
(=| Here's an image of the exact setting |=)

I hope that helps.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3
01-27-2011, 01:37 AM
Yes, thanks but I tried it. It reduces the time for loading sector space and such but doesn't affect going in and out of sections of the mission. It also doesn't prevent the server requests or do them while the loading is taking place rather than having to wait for all the information from the server before starting to load. All the information to display the appropriate graphics is on your disk, all the information to select a system type to display for a particular mission should be in the database on your disk. If it were a single player game, it would just load it but as this is an online game, it needs to transfer data to and from the server so they are synchronised with positional data etc if others are in the instance. However, this should be done along with the loading. Modern processors have multiple cores, it doesn't take much to process incoming data from the internet at the same time as managing a disk data transfer and the amount of data needed from the server is really tiny. Stopping to wait for a server response before staring to load just slows everything down.

I know everyone puts WOW down but honestly, they have zoning down to a fine art and to the player, it's seamless. The only time you notice it is when you move to a different continent however, there is no way on this earth one entire WOW continent is stored in your PC's memory, along with mobs etc. Someone calculated that the graphics for the Wintergrasp zone was 2 Gig and the city Ironforge alone was a massive 2.9 gig so there's some serious background loading going on, not that you'd notice though. What's more, I played it on a single core processor.

My main point is, there is not a great deal of detailed graphics in STO until you go to places like DS9, ESD etc. Under the circumstances, why does it take so long to load each tiny zone?
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 4
01-27-2011, 01:48 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bolderine
Yes, thanks but I tried it. It reduces the time for loading sector space and such but doesn't affect going in and out of sections of the mission. It also doesn't prevent the server requests or do them while the loading is taking place rather than having to wait for all the information from the server before starting to load. All the information to display the appropriate graphics is on your disk, all the information to select a system type to display for a particular mission should be in the database on your disk. If it were a single player game, it would just load it but as this is an online game, it needs to transfer data to and from the server so they are synchronised with positional data etc if others are in the instance. However, this should be done along with the loading. Modern processors have multiple cores, it doesn't take much to process incoming data from the internet at the same time as managing a disk data transfer and the amount of data needed from the server is really tiny. Stopping to wait for a server response before staring to load just slows everything down.

I know everyone puts WOW down but honestly, they have zoning down to a fine art and to the player, it's seamless. The only time you notice it is when you move to a different continent however, there is no way on this earth one entire WOW continent is stored in your PC's memory, along with mobs etc. Someone calculated that the graphics for the Wintergrasp zone was 2 Gig and the city Ironforge alone was a massive 2.9 gig so there's some serious background loading going on, not that you'd notice though. What's more, I played it on a single core processor.

My main point is, there is not a great deal of detailed graphics in STO until you go to places like DS9, ESD etc. Under the circumstances, why does it take so long to load each tiny zone?
Lighting is being calculated
The textures are of higher quality than WoW
There are more shaders than WoW
Most travel is linear in WoW, i.e. to get from zone x to z without load screens, you pass over (and load) y.

We're talking about loading totally new art assets depending on the mission - not like where where every section you're in, the developers know exactly which areas you might need to stream (i.e if I'm in Stormwind, I'm likely to need to load Goldshire and the surrounding areas).

In STO, you can go to any one of dozens of maps with differing art assets. This is where the distinction lies and why streaming art assets for missions isn't as easy or clear cut as WoW.

That said, perhaps the developers could load your primary mission's art assets in the background while in the sectorblock the mission takes place in?

This might remedy the situation: it means it will only load the art assets if you're in an area likely to have the mission (and would a great idea to preload successive parts of a mission in the background).
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 5
01-27-2011, 03:38 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darren_Kitlor
Most travel is linear in WoW, i.e. to get from zone x to z without load screens, you pass over (and load) y.

We're talking about loading totally new art assets depending on the mission - not like where where every section you're in, the developers know exactly which areas you might need to stream (i.e if I'm in Stormwind, I'm likely to need to load Goldshire and the surrounding areas).
Also, in order to remain as seamless as it is, WoW is the bane of hard drives. If the OP thinks his hard drive hates STO, WoW is almost constantly thrashing your hard drive in outdoor zones to keep ahead of your travel options.


Quote:
For a few bytes of information from the server, it seems to take ages to wait for it. 2 bytes for the system type or sector, 2 for the mission number and the rest should be looked up in the database on your HDD
NPC locations, players, instancing (even worse for a solo mission than a social zone where the server HAS to spawn and populate a new instance and not just load-balance you into an existing one)... You get a LOT more information from the server than you're thinking. Like virtually all MMOs, the lions share of the game is running on the server - you're playing little more than the game equivalent of a thin client application.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 6
01-27-2011, 06:13 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hevach View Post
Also, in order to remain as seamless as it is, WoW is the bane of hard drives. If the OP thinks his hard drive hates STO, WoW is almost constantly thrashing your hard drive in outdoor zones to keep ahead of your travel options.
Actually no. I played WOW on a single core processor with IDE hard disks and it blipped the disk light every so often but nothing major. The only time it did anything more was when I came close to a zone border but even then it wasn't really what I'd call disk thrashing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hevach View Post
NPC locations, players, instancing (even worse for a solo mission than a social zone where the server HAS to spawn and populate a new instance and not just load-balance you into an existing one)... You get a LOT more information from the server than you're thinking. Like virtually all MMOs, the lions share of the game is running on the server - you're playing little more than the game equivalent of a thin client application.
Apart from instancing, Eve does all that AND still has enormous systems that take a while even to go from gate to moon in warp. Don't even consider trying to fly from a gate to a station or moon sub-warp, even in a 4K/sec Inty unless you have a few months to spare. As far as I know, Eve uses grids but in reality, that's not much different to WOW except for the Z axis. 6 grids to load instead of 4 but they don't seem to have a problem with it. Also gating to a different system is very much faster than STO and that has to load an entirely new system, gates and everything. In fact, since it all happens in one instance, It would be harder on the server to keep track of everyone in it, especially when it's an entire fleet. Jita for example with 400+ players in it, that's a servers nightmare but it still copes and with surprisingly little lag now. It just shows that it can be done.

With so little in the way of graphics in Sector space, I don't understand why the sectors are so small. STO should be able to allow the entire galaxy map to be loaded so crossing a sector border should be no different to crossing a sub sector border. I'm sure the server can handle all the main sectors in one instance. Even if it was 3 loads for Alpha, Delta and Gamma quadrants, it would be a lot better than it is now.
Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 7
01-27-2011, 06:45 AM
As a fellow Englisman I would like to suggest maybe latency is the problem? The server is in the U.S and if I remember right we connect through to holodeck via Amsterdam. So could be a connection speed I'm on 8 meg and have noticed loading times seem to vary depending on traffic load.

Quick edit EvE Tranquility server is based in London and also one of if not the most powerful server used in an MMO when it doesnt catch fire that is :p
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