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.