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Why don't PC games allow you to load the entire game into system RAM?

Celcius

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Consoles have super fast SSD's but on PC you have the ability to have much more system RAM. I have 32gb but you could easily go for 64gb, 128gb, etc... Some system even have 1TB these days, though that is expensive.

If loading data from a pci-e 4.0 SSD is fast, imagine if you could start up a game and then it takes like a minute or two to load the ENTIRE GAME into your system RAM, and then from that point forward it's just instantaneous loading. (Think about the loading screens when you initially start up GTAV story mode, except faster)

This would also help with porting some next-gen games to PC that rely on high IO/SSD speed... you don't even need to have a system that has pcie-4.0 or own a super fast storage drive, you can just buy more RAM and upgrade that way (useful for systems that are a little older or don't support pcie-4.0 like my 10700k). A game in the future might even support both options and let you either load the entire game into RAM (if you have enough) or just use your pcie-4.0 storage the same as PS5 for example (if you have fast storage)... otherwise they would just need to make due with normal storage options.

This is possible, correct? Why don't devs do this more... if at all?

 
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Ozzy Onya A2Z

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It's not feasible. A game is more than just loading the assets. RAM is used as "scrap paper" for all the calculations that go on behind the scenes of your games, operating system etc. Say everyone had 128Gb and they download a 100Gb COD Warzone game. Sure it could load fast but there is no more RAM to actually calculate the running of the game. It could be possible but they'd be developing a game for targets of 256Gb+ RAM and a small percentage of users with such systems e.g. 1-10% of game purchasers would have such system RAM specs. Another words not commercially viable to develop a game that way.
 
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Mister Wolf

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Maybe not all but we should start seeing more allocated. Hopefully 16GB becomes the new minimum.
 

99Luffy

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Lowest common denominator. Games are designed for consoles and then ported to PC with as minimal effort as possible.

No dev is going out there and changing their engine just for a PC port for a few million users who have 8GB of VRAM or higher.
The lowest common denominator for PC games are intel integrated graphics.
DOTA, world of Warcraft, countless indie steam games etc.
 

Stuart360

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I think PC versions do possibly do that to an extent, not the whole game though obviously. I know some levels in games can fit in to a surprising small amount of ram.
Also even when every PC has SSD's, you will still see company splash screens and all that shit, thats not done soley for loading.
 

Futaleufu

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PCs do that since the DOS era. Doom 2 on 4 MBs of RAM keeps loading from the hard drive while playing, with 8 MBs the game loads all necessary assets when starting a level.
 

ACESHIGH

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It will be interesting to know how will PC games handle shader compilation in a couple of years. Consoles have shaders pre loaded in game but PCs cannot do that and they mask the compilation in loading screens and slow paced gameplay scenes.

If proper next gen games have no loading what's gonna happen on PC when loading shaders?
 

ManaByte

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It will be interesting to know how will PC games handle shader compilation in a couple of years. Consoles have shaders pre loaded in game but PCs cannot do that and they mask the compilation in loading screens and slow paced gameplay scenes.

If proper next gen games have no loading what's gonna happen on PC when loading shaders?
CoD on PC downloads the shaders while you’re in the menus.
 
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Stuart360

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It will be interesting to know how will PC games handle shader compilation in a couple of years. Consoles have shaders pre loaded in game but PCs cannot do that and they mask the compilation in loading screens and slow paced gameplay scenes.

If proper next gen games have no loading what's gonna happen on PC when loading shaders?
lol PC's will be fine. Maybe lower end PC's, or PC's with HDD's may get some games where they have Half Life 2 mid level loading every so often. It wouldnt be the end of the world.
But as all multiplatform games, which are like 95% of all games released) are made with most hardware in mind, it really wont be a problem.
 
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Lowest common denominator. Games are designed for consoles and then ported to PC with as minimal effort as possible.

No dev is going out there and changing their engine just for a PC port for a few million users who have 8GB of VRAM or higher.
Well, low-end PCs is the lowest common denominator for multi-platform games?
 

Stuart360

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Well, low-end PCs is the lowest common denominator for multi-platform games?
Not really, thats why we have 'minimum specs' on PC games. Low end PC users dont really buy new games.
Also up intil the new consoleslaunched, even low end PC's out specced XB1 and PS4.
 

TransTrender

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I mean here I am with a shit load of ram and no swap disk, but that's not quite the same as 'installing' but it's still pretty nice when all your storage is smokin hot enterprise SSDs.
 

KuraiShidosha

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With M2 SSD speeds reaching 10+ GB/s, and game assets for runtime not really exceeding 32GB in the near future, do we really need faster load times? That's already like 3 seconds tops.
 

nkarafo

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This happens with most emulators that run ROMs.

Or at least i think it does.

Edit: Also, OP, have you tried using some of your RAM as a RAMdisk? It works wonders you know.


PCs do that since the DOS era. Doom 2 on 4 MBs of RAM keeps loading from the hard drive while playing, with 8 MBs the game loads all necessary assets when starting a level.
But still doesn't load the whole game with all levels, which is what OP is saying.

The DOOM.wad is 12 MBs btw.
 
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zeorhymer

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I remember back in the day you can turn your ram into a virtual drive and install games onto it. But yes, the regular PC doesn't have 100 or even 50 gig of ram to accommodate the modern day install.
 

playXray

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This happens with most emulators that run ROMs.

Or at least i think it does.

Edit: Also, OP, have you tried using some of your RAM as a RAMdisk? It works wonders you know.



But still doesn't load the whole game with all levels, which is what OP is saying.

The DOOM.wad is 12 MBs btw.
Some PS1 games did this, like Ridge Racer.
 

vkbest

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not every pc has 64-128gb of ram.

Not only that, people ignores, than when the GPU need load textures or geometry, CPU load the texture into your general RAM, and after GPU get load the texture to VRAM from RAM. That is because consoles don't need so much system RAM because CPU and GPU are accessing to same RAM pool.
 

nkarafo

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Some PS1 games did this, like Ridge Racer.
Are you sure?

Because no way the whole game with all the textures is only 2MB. Even if the music is redbook, 2MB is still too little. Even the tiniest N64 game was still 4MB.
 

Kumomeme

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Not only that, people ignores, than when the GPU need load textures or geometry, CPU load the texture into your general RAM, and after GPU get load the texture to VRAM from RAM. That is because consoles don't need so much system RAM because CPU and GPU are accessing to same RAM pool.
as i understand, the game also need to load data from hdd into ram at first which is gonna take time. imagine try to load whole game.

thats why one of reason sony and ms made these custom I/O so the load would be faster.
 

Black_Stride

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Making such a niche feature that will be used by less than 1% of your consumer base is a waste of time and resources.
Once DirectStorage is here, those people that want ultra fast loading can just make RamDisks themselves and enjoy that hyperfast loading.
Heck you could probably make a RamDisk for yourself right now and load the entire game into.


There are very few games that are 16GB todays.....even less that are 8GB......the vast majority of Steam gaming PCs are 16GB or 8GB.

But if you really want to, you could trounch the PS5 SSD really easily right now with a RamDisk, your speeds would be absolutely insane.



23GB/s Read.
34GB/s Write.

Literally instantaneous for pretty much any game right now.
 
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Drew1440

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Problem is the game would have to cache the data into RAM at start-up, so you end up with a loading screen upon the game booting up, plus you then have to account for the various different RAM configurations available, plus the players that only have the minimum memory available to run the game who would not stand to benefit form such a feature.
Plus some players may run the game in windowed mode alongside another application, or may be running another app on another monitor, again developers will need to take this into account. What happens if the game uses 95% of RAM and the user alt-tab's out if to open their browser? How will Windows memory management affect it?

That said, setting aside an 8 - 16GB pool for caching would be beneficial, my current system has 32Gb, but I've only seen it max out at 14Gb at the most with current generation games.

Also, non-server memory typically lacks error correction (ECC), so that could be a factor.

Are you sure?

Because no way the whole game with all the textures is only 2MB. Even if the music is redbook, 2MB is still too little. Even the tiniest N64 game was still 4MB.

There wasn't much to load in the first Ridge Racer, just two tracks with the second being an extension of the first. Namco had already developed the game for the arcade so they had an idea on how the game could be scaled down. There were only two game modes, regular and time attack.
 

playXray

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Are you sure?

Because no way the whole game with all the textures is only 2MB. Even if the music is redbook, 2MB is still too little. Even the tiniest N64 game was still 4MB.
Absolutely sure. Once the game had loaded you could take the disc out and put an audio CD in, and you could continue playing with a custom soundtrack for as long as you wanted.
 
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DaGwaphics

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If you have a ridiculous amount of RAM, just create a RAM disk and run the software from there. You'd have to move it back to disk before you turn off your computer though, unless you are running RAM disk software that dumps/restores the memory on shutdown/startup.
 

LazyParrot

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Do you really expect devs to waste their time and effort to come up with a way to install and run 50GB+ games from RAM when 99.99% of gamers have 32GB or less?
 

Pagusas

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I mean with some tweaking you could set up a RAMdisk (lots of programs to do that) and load the entire game directory Into it.

soo… you can?
 

jigglet

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Cause PC needs to cater to the lowest common denominator, like how Jim Ryan is known for picking up cheap hookers.
 

LordOfChaos

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You can set up a RAM disk and load the entire game into RAM if you want. Developers aren't going to do that for only some small amount of PCs that can fit a modern 50-80GB game into RAM.

Also, a games working memory assets aren't just a cache for storage, they're worked on and manipulated rapidly by the CPU and GPU, even dumping a game into RAM wouldn't mean everything is instant even then if that's your thinking
 
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sunnysideup

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I dont understand why this isnt an option more often. preloading games where common back in the c64 amiga days.

At least let me preload the entire level.

Games like jedi fallen order stutters like mad because it has these little loading spots in the level.

I have fucking 48 gigs of ram between my gpu and system ram.
 
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there more to loading a game than just copying data? How come PCs can't load RE:Village in 1.5 seconds like the PS5 if you're using a super fast PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive?
 

dave_d

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Why bother? Windows has prefetch. If you have enough ram to actually do that the OS can do it automatically anyway if you play the game enough.
 

Keihart

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I mean, yes, you actually can, but nobody is making games optimized for that kind of madness.
With the insane amount of RAM you can get on DDR4 now, it would be quite possible, but then again, lowest common denominator.
 

Elysion

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I hope that‘s where things are going long-term. The ideal scenario would be just one giant pool of super-fast storage, that is so fast that it can function as both RAM as well as cold storage. RAM and SSD would become one and the same – at least I hope that‘s where we‘ll end up (probably still more than a decade away).
 

Allandor

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Someone installed CRYSIS 3 on RTX 3090 Vram and it was running good


Why install it there?
Install it once onto a SSD/HDD, create a RAM drive, copy the game into the RAM drive, rename the folder where the game was installed and create a folder-link (in windows via command line) and point to the folder in the RAM drive.

Yes, you still need to copy the game over to the location (and thats needs time) but at least you don't need the install routine over and over again.

But still the problem persists, that the data is still packed in the memory, so it still needs to get unpacked and though you still have loading times. So you might still have some long loading screens.
 
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Nowcry

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the main problem is that the RAM, the SSD, the GDDR and the OS do not speak the same language. When you take a file out of the SSD it goes to the RAM generally compressed when it is going to be used it decompresses passing through the CPU and returning to the RAM, it is generally decompressed and transformed into a format that the GPU understands BC for textures and instructions a different one etc ... all this process of decompression and transformation is the problem because current CPUs are multitasking to do several different tasks is part of the way a PC is and not all hardware is in the same formats for dedicated hardware can perform the function. That is why RTX IO will perform the decompression and apply logic, it is only necessary that the I / O controller requests do not saturate the OS and an SSD capable of dumping all that memory.

You could think of putting everything in RAM but so that you can put a whole game in RAM in BC format or uncompressed instructions only for the GPU you would occupy many hundreds of GB in a AAA and it would not be economically and physically viable, it is much cheaper to synchronize either a decompressor and a transformer to GPU format via dedicated hardware or via CPU with good bandwidth.
 
Mar 28, 2021
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not every pc has 64-128gb of ram.
at least according to steam stats, most people are only on 16GB and not too long ago it was 8GB. a very small percentage of people have 32GB (i do) never mind 64 or 128GB.

for whatever it's worth the most popular GPU on PC is still the GTX 1060 from 5 years ago and 1080p is still the most common resolution. PC may be the platform people go to for the absolute best visuals/performance in their games but it's expensive to achieve that. Most PC gamers seem to be heavily budget orientated. Not everyone is gonna be running on stupid powerful systems.