Blockchain Economizes Loading Time of Cloud Supported Video Games
Despite having hooked on generations of avid gamers, generations of avid gamers have had one common complaint against video games. No one enjoys the painstaking period of wait for their favorite video game to start while it loads. A way to bypass this step and jump directly to the game itself is round the corner, and it involves blockchain technology. But first, let’s understand exactly what all goes down in your computer while a video game loads to fully appreciate the time saved by circumventing it.
What happens when a game loads?
Sometimes it’s a quick load, sometimes it’s a slow burn and whether you spent big amount for a solid-state drive or not, loading happens. All of your game data is located on your hard drive or your solid-state drive. That’s permanent storage and it’s also slower than RAM. Even solid-state drives at bare minimum, while a game is loading in it, copies all of the data that is necessary for what you are doing right now into the RAM.
Why does loading take so much time?
A lot of the time data like textures, music, or sound effects, are stored in a format that can’t automatically be used. For instance there may be packed in a large file that contains a lot of things such as in a .pak for instance. A pak is kind of like a game version of the zip file except that it is intended to be proprietary or licensed technology. The purpose of this can range from either making the game take up less space on your hard drive to ensuring that the games assets are protected from people copying or modifying them.
Next, those files might be run through a series of processes that take that raw data and make it usable. This may include downloading external data as there may be updates, and outside assets that change on regular basis that could be pulled from the internet.
Next, precalculation. This includes calculating trajectories, rendering vector graphics into raster, which essentially means taking data that was created with math and making it into a visual. Generally, doing a lot of math work that is needed for the game to continue their large loops of math that is asking various logic questions and needs to constantly answer them. In order to start the game, these questions need to be answered at least once.
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You may have wondered why an endless list of company logos are displayed before getting to the title screen. It’s because a lot of different technologies are integrated into the game. Everything in the game is some type of process on its own and needs to be started. It is irrelevant whether they are a full blown module that runs on its own independently, or if it’s just a library that’s called on, that stuff needs to be brought into the RAM and in some cases executed.
There’s always going to be less RAM than there is hard drive space, and any space that is taken up by something that’s not going to be used needs to be dumped. Although all these things are being done while you are initializing the game, these things continue to happen and the RAM continues to be used.
RAM over SSD
Because an SSD and a RAM are incorrectly thought to be similar, it is often asked why the game isn’t moved to an SSD when there are so much of complicated things that happen during loading. An SSD and RAM have different underlying technologies, and therefore performance is just not equal. In fact the fastest SSD transfers at about 500 megabytes per second which is blazing fast compared to hard drive and yes this is due to the fact that there are no moving parts. It’s not based on a magnetic disc that has to be rotated to find the data that you’re looking for. But and the fastest RAM out there can actually transfer at around 17000 megabytes per second and no SSD is a match to that.
RAM comes in limited amount and that is why it can’t be used as permanent internal storage. Since it can’t be used as permanent internal storage and in order to have a game playing in a timely fashion, much higher data transfer rates are necessitated. Unfortunately, the current system of loading everything into the RAM is essentially the only system available.
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Blockchain technology depletes the need to repeatedly load games
The necessity to load every element of the game is starting to become less and less. However at current technology rates we aren’t expecting that to entirely go away. But that doesn’t mean we have to be stuck with the exact same process forever.
In-game loading with especially large games that contain large worlds that the gamers don’t need to see at once is a great way to compensate.
Another way to do away with prolonged game loading is to log in to video games shared on a cloud. This option is being facilitated by forward thinking video game studios that are teaming up with blockchain companies to create specially designed DLT platforms that will offer a bunch of new features to gamers. These would namely be a decentralized, immutable ledger to store and update game stats, tokenize participation with cryptocurrency, and provide access to a library of games that would otherwise be difficult if not impossible to play without expensive hardware to support the complex programming.
Online games are gradually embracing blockchain in every major gaming hub. Blockchain company HashCash Consultants is collaborating with a leading video game production house based in Australia, becoming a part of a larger blockchain revolution in the country.
Life is short and nobody likes spending that time waiting for something. Anyone who loves gaming knows the anticipation with which one waits to get their hands on a new game, and even when you do get a hold of it the anticipation does not end. A holdup is unavoidable because of the loading time.
Hopefully at some time data transfer rates might reach such a point where the SSD is equivalent in speed of RAM, or is at least the equivalent of the speed of RAM at present. Computers would run impossibly fast in that case. Till that happens, innovations like blockchain will serve to bring loading time down to such a small amount, or figure out a way to do it in the background while at least the initial stages of the game stats to the point where it feels like is no loading time at all.