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At GDC this week, one of the technologies that fascinated me was the faster game development and performance using Solid State Drives. I looked at one demo that totally blew me away! Three months ago, this team started on a project to demonstrate the benefits of designing video games using SSDs. It was rumored to be over 10 times faster than a regular hard drive.
They worked with Iron Galaxy, a Chicago-based development house, using Project Offset assets and Digital Extreme’s Evolution game engine. Goals of creating this demo were:
- High-resolution assets and textures that maximize streaming data from the SSD/HDD
- Big, graphically open, compelling world with diverse rivers and mountains
- Show streaming HD video inside a video game
They thought they could do six different videos, but were amazed at the results -- they could stream over 100 simultaneous videos!
Another case study I looked at was Digital Extremes, co-creators of the Unreal video game franchise, who recently replaced traditional hard disks with Solid State Drives to improve their game performance on SNB. Combined with the extra bandwidth of SSD and the power of processor graphics in SNB, they were able to accelerate their code build times by 46 percent and also speed up other production processes by 100 percent. This enabled faster innovation cycles.
The performance they received was one that could be expected on a high-end machine with a discrete graphics card. Not a laptop running processor graphics!
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