New Vegas Developer Comments On Skyrim PS3 Lag

A developer who worked on Fallout: New Vegas has broken ranks and suggested the ‘Save File Lag’ problem affecting PS3 players of Skyrim may take a long time to fix.

Before we delve into his comments, it is important to remember that Skyrim uses a different engine to Fallout: New Vegas (allegedly a ‘modified’ version of the Gamebryo engine) and the developer in question, Joshua Sawyer, did not work on Skyrim, he was lead designer and project director for New Vegas.

A gamer who experienced lag problems in Fallout: New Vegas after his save file went up to 14MB asked why the problem persisted through to Skyrim.

The longer you play a character, the more bit differences on objects (characters, pencils on tables, containers, etc.) get saved off and carried around in memory. I think we’ve seen save games that are pushing 19 megs, which can be really crippling in some areas.

Joshua was asked why he thought the problem was affecting Skyrim players.

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. 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.

The big question is, can the problem be fixed?

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.

Joshua says the problems are more apparent on the PlayStation 3 ‘because the PS3 has a divided memory pool.’

As you can expect, the Internet is reacting rather badly to Joshua’s comments.

One amusing by-product of the latest patch occurs if you get married. If you have killed off characters related to your betrothed they will still attend your wedding ceremony – as a corpse, slumped on the floor.

I have personally stopped playing Skyrim at the moment as those ‘rare’ backwards dragons seem to be rather common in my game and, as they never land, I have no way of killing them.

Source: Formspring


  1. That wedding glitch is amazing, almost as if someone digs up the dead and takes them.. Other than that, pretty awful summary… I do love the PS3, but it seems (from a massively amateur perspective – I know nothing about anything, bear in mind) that they just didn’t build it in a way that is helpful to anyone working on more than one platform, sadly. I hope they can fix this, I really want to get skyrim, but can’t be bothered if it’s broken..

    • Sloppy coding, nothing to do with the PS3. Take a look at other open world games, they have no problems…

      Bad workman always blames his tools and all that….

  2. “One amusing by-product of the latest patch occurs if you get married. If you have killed off characters related to your betrothed they will still attend your wedding ceremony – as a corpse, slumped on the floor.”

    Yep. Will wait for 3.0.

    • i’m sure i read about that happening before the patch though.

      • Yeah that was actually supposed to be fixed in the latest patch, but perhaps it’s only for new savegames.

        I’m not buying Skyrim before this is fixed and if it’s never fixed properly, then I’m getting a cheap used version next winter. Can’t support Bethesda, when they sell broken products.

    • This happened to me. I lost a companion, got married, the companion turned up dead at the church! My wife to be took the hump and fucked off, even the vicar gave me shit!

      It was like a scene out of Emmerdale :)

  3. Considering this is the only game I’m getting for Christmas (plus monetary contributions towards a little handheld coming out in Feb.) I’m getting a tad concerned at the amount of people mentioning game-breaking backwards dragon bugs and the like.

    • You should at least get to play a good chunk of it over xmas before things get problematic.

  4. another reason why next gen consoles need a LOT more memory.

    • I think throwing more memory at it would only serve to stave off the problem until later. Sounds like a fix to the way memory is used or games are saved is needed to really fix the problem

      • Exactly.

        Adding a LOT more memory is barely going to hide the fact that the save code is fundamentally flawed to begin with. It would be like making faster planes in the hope that they have less time to crash in flight.

    • Seriously, you do realise the PS3 doesn’t use the cheap crap that fits into a PC? It’s XDR memory, about 30x the bandwidth of what your PC memory can do, it doesn’t even work like a PC…

      If you wanted to double that PS3 memory, the PS3 would have launched at over £500. Do you remember how much crap you lot flung for it costing £425… Go blame yourselves for that….

  5. Traded this and MW3 in at Gamestation this weekend and got over 60quid store credit. Proceeded to pick up older (but functional games) such as Singularity, Mirrors Edge, Prince of Persia, Warhammer Space Marine, Dead Space 2 and a couple more. No regrets.

  6. Strange, i have been playing the PS3 version for weeks now, i think my savegame is about 9MB and i still have no issues with the game. Not before and not after the patch.

    • same here, love the game.

    • That’s because you have yet to board the bandwagon that Microsoft are driving…

      Climb aboard…….

  7. I was going to buy this, and indeed may well do, but I’m tempted to wait until some more fixes are released…

  8. im lucky enough to own both ps3 and xbox so is it a no brainer to pick this up on xbox ? all my single player games are on ps3 so do i break my own rule this time ?

    • If it helps your decision my brother has put in about 150hours into his 360 copy and hasn’t had any issues, whereas my PS3 version ran terribly almost immediately and eventually corrupted my game save after about 30hours… :| lol.

  9. Luckily for me, I didn’t install Patch 1.2, so the Elemental resistance bug and backwards flying dragons hasn’t affected me. Also, My save file isn’t that big yet, so i’ve not experienced any lag so far.

    • Downisde of PS+, bloody thing patched mine while I was out.

      • lol, i’ve got PS+, but have just moved house and didn’t have the internet set up :)

  10. So far so good for me, about 56 hours in and less than 8mb save file but i’m not looking forward to having to stop playing it as i might not return to it if a fix is so far off.

    • I’m 90 hours in with a 12mb save file and still no problems whatsoever.

    • I’m at 62hrs played and a 8.5mb save and haven’t had many problems. I’ve had one system crash since launch day. Strangely even a power cut couldn’t kill the game, my PS3 stayed on even though the TV, lights, phone etc all switched off for like 30secs. Random.

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