A linked has been established between lag issues that plagued Fallout: New Vegas and Skyrim, and it's because the game tracks objects moved from their default position - every one of them.
Sadly this means the problem of lag doesn't lay in code but in something a lot more fundamental to how the game works at its core. Knocked over a jug? In the save it goes.
"It's an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored off as bit flag differences compared to the placed instances in the main .esm + DLC .esms," said lead designer and project director of Fallout: New Vegas, Joshua E Sawyer of Obsidian Entertainment. New Vegas used an early iteration of Skyrim's game engine.
"As the game modifies any placed instance of an object, those changes are stored off into what is essentially another .esm. When you load the save game, you're loading all of those differences into resident memory."
"It's not like someone wrote a function and put a decimal point in the wrong place or declared something as a float when it should have been an int. We're talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment," he continued.
"Obsidian also only had that engine for a total of 18 months prior to F:NV being released, which is a relatively short time to understand all of the details of how the technology works." Why does the PlayStation 3 suffer the most?
"The Xbox 360 has a unified memory pool: 512 megs of RAM usable as system memory or graphics memory," Sawyer explained. "The PS3 has a divided memory pool: 256 megs for system, 256 for graphics. It's the same total amount of memory, but not as flexible for a developer to make use of."
Will you be watching where you step in the world of Skyrim from now on?
Lag in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim 'result of game objects moved about'
05 December 2011 | By Simon Priest