Respawn Actually Explains Why Titanfall’s Install Is So Huge

By Nathan Grayson on March 12th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

'Lens flare! Motion blur! Enhanced lighting! My life is just one giant post-processing effect.'

Have you purchased Titanfall? Are you attempting to install it right this very second? Did you read that previous sentence and think, “Pfft, right this very second? More like, ‘right this very nine hours'”? Then you are probably aware that Titanfall – much like the lumbering mechanical monstrosities that inhabit it – is GIANT. 49 GB, to be precise. I just assumed it was a matter of poor compression, and apparently I was not wrong. Turns out, however, that Respawn choice to let Titanfall’s girth frolic free for a reason.

Respawn lead engineer Richard Baker explained the method behind the seeming madness to Eurogamer:

“We have audio we either download or install from the disc, then we uncompress it. We probably could have had audio decompress off disc but we were a little worried about min spec and the fact that a two-core machine would dedicate a huge chunk of one core to just decompressing audio.”

“So… it’s almost all audio… On a higher PC it wouldn’t be an issue. On a medium or moderate PC, it wouldn’t be an issue, it’s that on a two-core [machine] with where our min spec is, we couldn’t dedicate those resources to audio.”

The end result? 35 GB of uncompressed audio, which – while a rather obnoxious hassle to set up – makes the game run much better, according to Baker.

So I suppose that makes sense, but I’m no engineer, so I can’t verify it one way or the other. As someone with a high-end machine I do ultimately end up inconvenienced, but I also get more people to play with/against, so I can’t begrudge Respawn too much on this one.

I do wish there was a better solution to this issue, though. Engineer-types in the audience, is there? Could computer magic give lower-end players optimal performance without leaving a footprint the size of Bigfoot’s larger cousin (named Tim) on my hard drive?

Jim’s note: Apparently this includes all the localised audio versions of everything, which seems a bit silly. You aren’t going to need to switch languages after you installed to your preferred language, surely?

, , .

192 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Lobotomist says:

    Ok. Thats fine.
    Now perhaps they can make option to install the game with compressed audio ?

    • Artist says:

      Hey! My sister downloaded over 50GB in just a few days just by sitting at her PC! Its really that easy and everybody could to it! Just go to http://www.titanfail.net and start now!
      Well….

      • MykulJaxin says:

        Ha. Comment (Or spam? We may never know) made my morning.

      • fdisk says:

        Fucking brilliant; bravo, sir.

      • vahnn says:

        Hey! I just download 50gb in under 1 hour by just sitting at my pc! It’s really easy and anybody could do it! Just spend $43 US a month on internet and play Titanfall now (or in 42 minutes!)

  2. Scumbag says:

    Would be an idea to have an install without the constant radio chatter. I know most of it sounds contextual (only watched vids and I’m making guesses) but I’d imagine a lot of people will have a mindset of “Screw the plot, I want to shoot people and get great K:Ds!” In that I’d imagine the radio chatter would be a problem if you were playing with mics.

    • crazyd says:

      It’s only the fairly annoying campaign mode that has all the constant chatter I ignore. You can also play “Classic” mode, which is much less talky, much more shooty.

    • gou says:

      voice intentionally degraded for that immersive “radio chatter” sound definitely needs to be uncompressed to retain the highest quality… wait… uh?

  3. Darth_Pingu says:

    Wouldn’t this increase loading times severely?
    Tradeoff; performance vs load time.

    • UmmonTL says:

      I think it’s the opposite. The audio file needs to be uncompressed to be played so in one scenario you just load the uncompressed data into the memory and play it back while in the other you load the compressed data, decompress it and then play it. You might be able to load and decompress the data as it is played (kind of like buffering a video) but that would only reduce the initial loading time and you could also just buffer the uncompressed data or even play it directly from the disk.

    • Awesumo says:

      Given how long it would take to transfer a 35 gb file on a slower (read cheaper) HD, then it would slow down load times just from the raw time it takes to get things off the disk – the second issue, that this is far more than the size of almost any computers RAM will also mean that you will be having to load things relatively frequently…

      • Recidivist says:

        Except it’s not a single 35gb file.

        • Awesumo says:

          35gb total size implies that you will regularly be loading vast amounts of data. If you have to load, say, 6gb for each level then that will take an appreciable amount of time. Even for games with more sensible amounts of data SSD’s cut load times by huge amounts, implying that loading data off hard disks is a primary factor in load times in some modern games.

          • Kushan says:

            That’s not how it works, though. Think about what they’re saying, that 2-core machine would be dedicating most of one core to decompressing audio. If it was at a loading screen, that would be absolutely fine – just wait longer. But it matters ingame, so by that count it must be reading the audio off disk as it needs it, so loading times shouldn’t be affected much at all.

            And yes, there’s caching involved, it doesn’t need to read much data immediately to play an audio blob, just the first few kbs and the rest is streamed.

          • GDwarf says:

            With compressed audio you have to read it off disc, decompress it, then either keep the uncompressed form in memory or repeat the decompression every time it’s played. With uncompressed audio it’s one read operation, and data is read off of HDDs far faster than needed to play uncompressed audio. Take .wav files: They’re uncompressed audio, but even the slowest HDD can play them without any stuttering. Or take records, which also don’t use any compression but which can be played on very simple machines.

            Let’s say the uncompressed audio is at 1Mbps (I’ve got some FLACs on my machine that are at about that, so it’s a reasonable ballpark figure); Modern HDDs read at something between 50 to 200MB/s (note that one MB is 8 Mbs) which means uncompressed audio can be loaded at at least 400x the speed it’s played at. This means that it can be streamed without any need to pre-load it.* So, no, uncompressed audio doesn’t add anything to the load time. It does make the initial install longer (copying 40GB from disc/internet takes twice as long as 20GB, and you don’t need to decompress the audio to copy it over) but after that it becomes much easier on the system.

            In essence: no matter if the audio is compressed or not you can load it instantly, but if it is compressed you also have to decompress it every time you wish to play it.

            *The one issue would be read latency on the drive itself. However, this usually totals somewhere in the milliseconds, so it’s not a concern for playing audio at the right time.

          • bitesize says:

            ^ yes, this.
            Also, the majority of this data will be voiceover (in various languages) and music, both of which are generally streamed directly off disc rather than loaded into memory (since their much longer than your average one-shot).

  4. Niko says:

    Question is: are all those audio files used in-game?

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      No. Half of them are used in Photoshop.

      • Darth_Pingu says:

        Probably menu button sound effects. Individual sounds for each key map.

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Honest answer, yes they are – but the problem is the same audio is used several times and instead of grabbing the same file, they saved the same audio several times. That plus all the localization. It’s your basic dev lazyness.

      • OrangyTang says:

        That’s not lazyness, that’s an optimisation for faster load times. Bundling files that are loaded together means that ‘level1.data’ can be dropped into memory in one shot, rather than seeking all over the HDD for the individual files.

    • prian says:

      No, the majority of the audio that is downloaded is never used because it is in different languages from the one you play in.

      The obvious option here: select the languages you want to download as part of your installation. Then download and only install those languages. I imagine most people would select one language.

      The second obvious option: download the audio compressed and then decompress it when it is on the local system. That way the game has uncompressed audio but you aren’t downloading it uncompressed.

      Silly decisions but if you live in a bubble world of unlimited super fast Internet access then 50 gigs of download isn’t a big deal so it isn’t something that even comes to mind.

      • Robbert says:

        That’s actually what they are doing. The download is only a bit over 20GB.
        The whole thing is still ridiculous. I have a 1TB harddrive with only 43GB left. Now I have to delete stuff just so the audio can be uncompressed for no good reason whatsoever.

    • LordOfPain says:

      Someone made a similarly silly comment over at TechReport and got put in their place…
      You really missed the point.

      • MeestaNob says:

        No, this has no real point.

        YES – it’s quite a lot of disk space for one game.
        NO – it doesn’t make anyone’s gaming life even remotely more difficult.
        YES – Respawn should have done a better job managing their art/audio assets.
        NO -one should own any drives under 2 Tb unless they are waiting for them to die and be replaced.

        It’s not like it’s a bad port like Dark Souls where the game just doesn’t run properly, this works fine but takes up a lot of space. This isn’t a widespread industry problem and when it does happen there are so many dirt-cheap solutions that no one could possibly even be inconvenienced by this. Hell, even Australian download limits giggle at this now.

        Moving on. Everyone treat yourself to a nice big disk drive, you’ll feel better.

        • Premium User Badge

          stoopiduk says:

          “NO -one should own any drives under 2 Tb unless they are waiting for them to die and be replaced.”

          To put in the obvious angle here – all of my gaming drives are under 2Tb; an SSD that large is prohibitively expensive. If I were to download Titanfall, it would be going on SSD for sure after the performance benefits I’ve seen running BF4 and PS2 on SSD.

          • MeestaNob says:

            Most people use an SSD as their boot drive (OS/Office/yada yada) and their mechanical drive for games.

          • frightlever says:

            My PC is fully SSD (4 of them – I got a bunch for review) with a beefy NAS for storage. MMORPGs have been the worst for game installs so far but 50Gb for one game? Um, hope that isn’t going to be a trend.

            I can’t imagine going back to the loading times that eg TW:Shogun 2 had for levels under a platter hard drive.

          • Leonick says:

            In case you do download it then, here’s a recommendation. Don’t put it on your SSD, just a massive waste of space. The game already loads in very short times compared to BF4 and even if the SSD makes your load time shorter it seems like matches only start when everyone has loaded so loading a bit quicker doesn’t really help you.

          • Premium User Badge

            phuzz says:

            I keep whichever game I’m playing at the moment on my SSD, it makes a massive difference to load times and general waiting (although I do miss out on loading screen tips).

          • TinKelp says:

            “Most people use an SSD as their boot drive (OS/Office/yada yada) and their mechanical drive for games.”

            Is that a statistic?

        • SteelPriest says:

          My windows install and steam library live on a 256Gb SSD, for speed and silence. I like to alternate more than a few games at once. Titanfall wants to take up the space of 5 or 6 games. This is annoying.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          1- The point was that it can take a very long time to download 49gb, especially in areas that have poor service and/or prohibitive rates and download caps.
          2- Paying an extra 100$ for space that will probably go unused is not an option for people on a budget. And really, in the days of Netflix and Spotify, the average pc owner will never need more than 2tb.

          • Shuck says:

            1 – Quite. With my feeble American internet connection (here in the “heart of silicon valley”), it’d take me longer to download it than I’d spend playing it, even with the actual download being a lot smaller than the installed files.
            2 – I’ve been idly spec’ing out a new game machine and I hadn’t even considered more than a 2TB HHD (on top of the SSD, which is where most games would actually reside). It just seemed a completely unnecessary expense, given my current amount of storage and how it gets used for games.

        • TechnicalBen says:

          “No one should own drives under 2TB.”
          I hope you choke ever so slightly on your gold plated cereal this morning, just for a second mind, to remind you not everyone is as fortunate as you. Then after I hope you can get back to riding your rocket horses.

          Other than that, some people have SSDs and some people are not the 1%.

          • MeestaNob says:

            Perhaps I should change that to “No one who can run Titanfall should, or most likely will not, own drives under 2 Tb” ? Fine.

            If you use my link and change the 4 to a 2 there are drives for $90 AUD, land of the nice beaches tax which haunts most computer gear causing the prices to be somewhat inflated. Google informs me $90 roobucks is around 49 (Lord) British Pounds.

          • Premium User Badge

            Chaz says:

            I built my machine a few years ago. Recently upgraded the card to a GTX770. It can run Titan Fall fine. My drive is 1Tb.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Generally people on a budget spend their money where it makes the most difference, ie. a new GPU or SSD.

            Annoyingly, the most recent steam hardware survey only accounted for hard drive space above 1tb, without distinguishing between sizes and number of drives. Still, its interesting to note that only 23% of Steam users reported having over 1tb of storage space.

            Fully 76% of steam users have less than 1tb of storage! It can also safely be assumed that the majority of the folks with >1tb of space had multiple 1 or 2 tb drives or a 1tb drive paired with an ssd.

        • the_fanciest_of_pants says:

          Well I’m not most people- I run games from my SSD. I’m grumbly about having to use 10% of my SSD for one game.

          No amount of your smarmy snarking is going to ungrump me.

          • SteelPriest says:

            Tbh i’d be surprised if a significant chunk of people with decent pcs (ie those that can run titanfall in 1080p) don’t use SSDs. They’re the single most cost effective upgrade you can get these days.

            Storage space is what media servers are for.

          • MrUnimport says:

            I don’t have an SSD because I imagine it involves an OS reinstall and I can’t be bothered with that.

          • darkhog says:

            What use of SSD if it’ll have shorter lifespan than a fly? Seriously, these things are so fragile that they’ll often crash after few months of usage. Jens Blomquist (creator of Blockscape) some time ago had his SSD crashed and got set back in making Blockscape (greatest block building game since Minecraft, no less). Now he is sticking to magnetic drives even if bit slower.

        • iainl says:

          The problem only exists because they want to sell to people who haven’t upgraded their PC at all in the last seven years – that’s how far you’ve got to go back to find a minimum-spec PC.

          Now: how many of those ancient piles of junk have got 50GB of space without any hard work? “Run something faster than a 2.4 GHz Core2 Duo” is just as easy to say as “Run something bigger than an SSD as your Games drive”.

          • darkhog says:

            Except replacing hard drive doesn’t usually require replacing other components like motherboard, unless your BIOS is terribly outdated and doesn’t support several hundred GB HDDs. And even if your MB doesn’t have SATA, there are SATA to IDE converters and you can get even SATA controller as PCI card. It won’t be fastest for sure, but it’ll work for reasonable price as opposed to buying new computer.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          It only makes one’s “gaming life” more difficult if you happen to have a crappy ISP who has 150gig/mo data caps.

          Using 1/3 of your monthly allotment on one game download is a little pricey.

          This is what’s known in economics as an “externality”. It’s where you shift one of your costs onto someone else, but it’s not reflected in the consumer price. So, the real price of Titanfall has to include the cost of that massive download.

          Better to just buy a hard copy of Titanfall, in that case.

          • Premium User Badge

            jezcentral says:

            And it’s certainly cheaper than buying the download code from Origin.

        • Zekiel says:

          Oh thank you so much. Are you going to provide the cash for me to buy this huge drive?

          I realise they aren’t massively expensive (unless you go for SSD) but still – it is phenomenally rude to assume everyone has the means to “treat themselves” to a massive HDD. Not everyone has cash splashing about to upgrade their computer just because developers can’t be bothered to sensibly optimize their games.

          • Geebs says:

            Easy there Chumbawamba, this is Not A Social Justice Issue. At the very least, a reasonable amount of storage doesn’t cost any more than a week’s worth of smokes, two months’ internet connection or, y’know, the game itself. The deprived 99% could probably stump up for it.

            HANG ON BRILLIANT IDEA INCOMING!!!!!

            Why not have Titanfall as a promotional pack in with a REALLY big hard disk? Everybody wins!

        • Jexiah8bit says:

          You may have heard in the news that Verizon is planning to make gamers and heavy net users pay more for the bandwidth they use. So downloading your Steam collection or, say, Titanfall, will literally cost you more money in the not too distant future if other monopolized internet providers get their way, which they will.

          • darkhog says:

            Only if you live in United Amerikastan. In European countries net neutrality is guaranteed as basic human right.

          • LawL4Ever says:

            Didn’t stop the german telekom from trying it here (and I’m not even sure if we actually managed to stop them, the last thing I heard is that they may not call it flatrate anymore). And that is without them having a monopoly, I wonder why they think a reasonable amount of customers would remain for them (unitymedia is cheaper with higher speeds already, I don’t get why anyone is still with the telekom tbh).

        • fdisk says:

          Um…I my drive is 1 TB and it’s barely half-full?

          Some of us don’t hoard files and games. When I’m done playing a game I uninstall it because I know myself enough I’m never going to play it again, none of that “Oh yeah, maybe some day I’ll get around to maxing everything out in Tomb Raider” even though I never do bullshit. I stream all my music and movies, so I really have zero need for more than 1 TB…

          Right now, including Titanfall, I have maybe 200 GBs in games…

          • TechnicalBen says:

            Oh, same here. But I’d not shout, belittle or consider someone wrong for owning a 200 or 500gb drive. Especially as that’s the size of most SSDs now, and most 5+ year old systems (like mine, but I’ve got an extra drive as I did have some spare cash at one point).

            Though I’ve heard of people wanting an office PC to store their emails asking for a min of 500gb/1tb. Oh, how I’d love to show them how much space every email they ever sent plus their entire family have sent probably fits on a single DVD. :P

        • fish99 says:

          Please send me the money to buy a 2TB SSD.

      • morbiusnl says:

        not really. its quite obvious people are getting more and more desperate to you know actually fault this game, so they start bickering about this kind of non-issues. And yes in these day and age where we have terrabytes coming out of our noses it frankly boggles me why RPS makes such a huge issue about a meager 50 Gb install.

        • Premium User Badge

          jezcentral says:

          Agreed. I hope games’ install sizes balloon significantly. We’ve been tied down to previous game sizes by console’s DVD and blu-ray sizes. To the future!

        • Jexiah8bit says:

          Read my reply above this if you want, but basically its not the size of your hard drives that will be the problem but the price we pay for bandwidth. It may not affect you or me now, but it could – sooner rather than later. They will do everything in their power to block Google Fiber or anything similar to it for years to come, instead charging the consumer more money for large downloads or heavy Netflix streaming/Twitch streaming, etc. for as long as they are allowed to. It seems that bandwidth caps are being replaced with plain bill increases, IF other companies follow suit. And with Comcast and TWC merging here in the States, who knows what will happen.

          • Premium User Badge

            jezcentral says:

            Yeah, I can see how that would be a problem. I’m lucky enough to have Virgin Media 60Mbps FTTP, and downloaded over half a terabyte in 6 weeks without a peep from them. But I know not everyone is fortunate enough to have that available.

            In fact, I made the point about four comments above this one. It would be cheaper to get the hard copy from Amazon, than get the download key via Origin. The fact is that if we want gaming to progress, with better textures, clearer sound, etc, we need to have bigger file sizes. (I also like indie games, too. Not everything has to be Faster, Higher, Stronger).

    • Flappybat says:

      The files that claim to be languages add up to <100MB on my PC. The levels are 11GB. "Common" files are 35GB which is about exactly the size of the uncompressed audio. The Xbox One versions 17GB download and 20GB install sound exactly like what it would be if it wasn't for the excess wasted audio.

      It doesn't trouble me to download it but 50GB makes it too much of a commitment to put it on my SSD.

      • darkhog says:

        Except audio itself has also languages in it. There are audio files in Russian, German, English, etc.

  5. Premium User Badge

    Mo says:

    I do wish there was a better solution to this issue, though. Engineer-types in the audience, is there?

    Titanfall could download the compressed audio and then do a one-time uncompress/install upon launching the game if your system falls below a minimum spec.

    But there are issues with that:
    – It creates a less than ideal first time experience for some players (more waiting!), and may be an inconvenience/surprise (“I freed up and downloaded X GB, and now it wants more space?!”)
    – How do they decide what that minimum spec is?
    – After uncompressing the audio data, should it delete the compressed version (saving significant HDD space), at the expense of letting the player revert back to the compressed version?

    The current method is less than ideal, sure, but it’s far more straight-forward for the player (and for Respawn).

    • LionsPhil says:

      You also missed:
      – Implementing this will take time during which those engine programmers cannot be working on other aspects, like bugfixing, or that ever-nebulous “optimizing”
      – It will add complexity, and thus time for testing and scope for bugs

      This is why it would be a bad idea. It just honestly isn’t a priority and there are always more things to do than there are time to do them. You have to prioritize, and that means nothing will be perfect.

    • UmmonTL says:

      Honestly, I’d be surprised if the download isn’t compressed. Most download installers use compressed data and decompress it on the drive. It is such a common practice that to my knowledge you don’t even need to do more than just use the basic functions already provided.
      The article talks about the disk space used, has anyone checked how much data is actually downloaded?

    • Sam says:

      Edit: Sorry, I missed the “if system falls below minimum spec” part of your post.

      Exactly this is what happens. During installation a separate “audio decompression” stage runs, which takes about 10 minutes to decompress stuff.

      I think there is confusion as Origin reports your download progress very strangely. While downloading it seems to say that you’re downloading about 50GB, but you’re actually pulling down quite a lot less. The 50GB figure is after decompression.
      My internet connection has never got speeds above 1.6MB/s before, but while downloading Titanfall through Origin it claimed 10.0MB/s or more. My best guess is that it is basing that off the total sized after uncompression. Very strange way to display it. The game’s pretty fun though.

  6. gschmidl says:

    There’s reports of e.g. the same song repeated four times in a file instead of looping, lack of de-duplication, etc. I’m sure this could be optimized further, but also, even 486s can play mp3s.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I smell a fish. I thought most of this decompression was migrated off the CPU years ago? Even my GForce now has H’whatever the codec is decoding on the GPU board as a separate chip.

      • Premium User Badge

        phuzz says:

        Hardware decoding is limited to certain codecs, and requires the correct drivers to be installed, and potentially licensing to be paid. Mostly it’s only used for compressed video, and afaik mp3 isn’t usually one of the supported codecs as it’s usually easily decoded by the CPU.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Per above, though, put this in terms of project management:

      We have a big messy resource tree because we’re a game company and have been hacking away in our sloppy gamedev way for months. There’s duplicates of stuff all over the place. What do?

      1) Leave it alone. Cost: some nerds on the Internet will be angry.

      2) Try to clean up duplicates. Costs: takes time from other tasks; risk that if we screw up there may be sounds missing; testing cost in trying to mitigate the previous.

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        Ding, Ding, Ding!
        Correct!

      • TechnicalBen says:

        Which is also why your likely to get the Developers Managers Brothers audio collection, a couple of viruses and the shopping list from last week in there as well… I mean, we did just upload the entire drive?

        (Hyperbole, and thankfully the Devs are much more professional than that. :) )

        • jalf says:

          (Hyperbole, and thankfully the Devs are much more professional than that. :) )

          lol, I see what you did there. Hah, good one.

        • Baines says:

          Didn’t Creative Assembly say that one of their games was as large as it was because they didn’t know what files were actually required in the final build, and simply included everything to be safe?

          • Premium User Badge

            Malibu Stacey says:

            That sounds far too fucking familar. Welcome to the world of large scale software development.
            In my experience, most software developers are completely clueless about how to actually get their product running on a customers machine without the customer needing to be a software developer themselves.
            Hell most of them have trouble even knowing how to use computers. Just because someone can write code, doesn’t mean it’s any good or they actually know what they’re doing.

  7. LevelHeaded says:

    They should have just used some form of compression. If they were really worried about performance, they could have left the mission-critical sounds like the guns firing uncompressed and compressed the (mostly way longer) other stuff like radio chatter and music.

  8. Artist says:

    “35 GB of uncompressed audio”. Bullshit?

    • LordOfPain says:

      The reasoning they’ve given certainly is bullshit.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      For raw, uncompressed PCM at 2 channels, 16 bits a sample and 48000 samples per second, that would be over 50 hours…

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        You assume playing them one by one in sequence. That never happens. Usually you have many, many sounds played simultaneously.

        • Premium User Badge

          princec says:

          Usually you have a core set of uncompressed samples and only a few actually decompressing on the fly. CPU usage is so small as to be barely measurable even on bottom-of-the-range systems. It’s an excuse worthy of ridicule, and therefore, almost certainly a red-faced cover up for some bug that they couldn’t find before release.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Yeah. Audio decompression is mainly single threaded (within the same file) and really for integrated audio you need more than 32 audio sources before it’ll start hitting a modern day CPU. I mean how far down is that minimum spec?

      • iainl says:

        Now divide that result by the very large number of languages they support. And yes, all sound effects and music are duplicated for each language, rather than having a common set for non-speech files. They’ve done a simply epic job of demonstrating how little they care about SSD owners. As a result, I don’t care about them any more, either.

      • Shadow says:

        It’s terribly sloppy audio management. There’s absolutely no need to use completely uncompressed sound. This is the first time ever I see devs trying to argue playing .MP3 or .OGG tracks consumes unreasonable amounts of processing power on a post-gerbil-run computer. And quality is not an argument, given you’d have to be some kind of super Mozart to tell the difference between a well-done 320-kbit CBR MP3 and an uncompressed WAV. And even then the differences would be so minute your brain would forget about them two minutes into the game. Even the substantially pedantic FLAC would be a better alternative to WAV, if still wasteful.

        Bottomline, whenever disc mediums increase in capacity, devs seldom have a problem dropping all pretense of optimization if they think they can get away with it. “Just max it out, who gives a shit.”

    • DThor says:

      Either BS or just a really bad decision. The percentage of end users that play on systems where they really notice the difference between raw and compressed audio just doesn’t make sense, especially with the state of audio compression nowadays. It’s ridiculous to saddle 100 percent of your users with that in a day where disk storage tech is undergoing a massive change (death to platters!) and storage costs have become somewhat premium again, if only for a couple of years.

      So, does the game sorta suck? They keep pushing it as “scifi CoD”. I hate CoD. And Halo. I lean towards less arcade and a bit more real, but I admit the trailers sure look awesomesauce…

      • MrUnimport says:

        COD and Halo play rather differently. Titanfall’s gunplay resembles COD but the larger mapsize and movement options differentiate it nicely if you ask me.

  9. dvrabel says:

    Decompressing audio takes almost no CPU resources at all (start your favourite audio player and see it using < 1% of CPU in task manager). Streaming 10 times the amount of uncompressed data off the snail-like disk is a bigger performance problem then streaming compressed audio and decompressing it on-the-fly.

    It's possible that they required playback with low delay (which MP3 doesn't provide) so they went with uncompressed, but there are several open codecs that provide low delay such as Vorbis and Opus that they could have used.

    I find it hard to believe that a lead engineer wouldn't be aware of all of this.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      > Streaming 10 times the amount of uncompressed data off the snail-like disk is a bigger performance problem then streaming compressed audio and decompressing it on-the-fly.

      It’s not. Speed of any 10 years old hard drive exceeds required bit rate by at least an order of magnitude.

      • Bremze says:

        Peak bandwidth != access latency. Seeking large fragmented files off the disk instead of fetching smaller compressed files off RAM and then decompressing them is going to be about a magnitude slower on anything more powerful than a toaster.

        Seems to me that respawn wrote an audio decompresson routine for the Xbone audio hardware and then went fuck doing a software implementation for PCs, gamers are morons and will defend us anyways.

        • Premium User Badge

          FriendlyFire says:

          I know of no game in recent memory which doesn’t store their game data in packed files specifically so that the data is never fragmented by the file system (and sometimes to compress it).

  10. Kohlrabi says:

    Games have been using compressed audio for decades(!), why this should be a problem in this day and age is completely beyond me. Even lowly ARM-equipped MP3 players can decode lossy and losslessly compressed audio with no problems at all. Everyone can test it himself by playing back some compressed song in your favorite music player, and record the performance of a game playing at the same time. Now try 10 files at the same time. Try 20 files. Try 60 files. Now do the same with uncompressed WAV files. Any difference? I doubt it.

    Maybe performance can become a problem when you mix 128 different sounds with DSP to create the sound stage, but then I’d think the most critical thing would be the DSP and not the audio decoding.

    Unless they used something like Monkey’s Audio format. :D

  11. Premium User Badge

    Lexx87 says:

    I’ve got it!

    Frog Factions 2 is hidden inside. Titanfall is simply the opening level.

  12. Mctittles says:

    I like how he mentioned the lesser “2 core” cpu’s as if it’s common for games to use more than 2 cores of a processor.

    • frightlever says:

      Going to actually become more common thanks to the new consoles. So that’s something.

  13. dazman76 says:

    I really don’t see the problem with this – have we gamers really not got 50GB to spare for a game we want to play? I’m not sure I’ll bother with Titanfall, but still – this really shouldn’t be an issue.

    To answer the questions – yes, they *probably* could have found other ways to do this. However, spending time writing code to select different resources, or indeed attempting to create multiple “deployment packages” to suit the specs are both a waste of time and effort.

    The *only* problem here from a software engineering point of view, is the storage required vs. the overhead of continuous and heavy decompression. I’m sure the route they’ve taken is to code a clever “indexing system” that allows them to get quickly to the exact chunk of audio they need, and to stream in only that audio. Since they haven’t said that processing the uncompressed audio causes overhead problems for either the sound or storage subsystems, I really see no reason why this approach is unacceptable – it perfectly fits the requirements, and hey – it’s 2014. Quake 1 was 60MB on disk – Quake 3 IIRC was close to a full CD (roughly 650-700MB depending on density), Quake 4 was something like 6GB. Growth is inevitable, and is supported by the growth in affordable storage – we really shouldn’t be caring about such things if they provide an enjoyable product for *more people* :)

    Also, let’s not assume that this inflates loading times to an undesirable level. They’ve said they’re using uncompressed audio – they *haven’t* said that each and every level loaded is crammed full of this stuff. There are still limits to what our sound hardware can process per frame, and if they’re aiming to support dual-core systems, this suggests that they aren’t expecting everyone to have £150+ GBP worth of sound card installed.

    Finally, compare something like Shadowrun Returns to something like… Arkham Origins. The load times for Shadowrun are terrible, given that it’s a simple an undemanding game – and yet Arkham Origins will load a chunk of a detailed open-world far faster than Shadowrun loads a saved game and all the required resources. AAA games can have acceptable loading times, if the team knows what they’re doing – and especially so if they’ve created their own engine.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      “heavy decompression” – there’s no such thing with audio files. Decompressing audio is very easy for CPU if you use proper encoder.

      • DrMcCoy says:

        Well, you of course can create audio codecs that decompress with heavy CPU load, but yes, in general, audio decoding is a cakewalk.

        If they people will have problems decompressing the audio, I wonder why they don’t also store cut-scenes in uncompressed video? Video codecs are several magnitudes more complex and CPU intensive.

      • dazman76 says:

        By “heavy decompression”, I meant numerous decompressions executing simultaneously, rather than a “difficult” or overly time-expensive decompression of a single file. Sorry, slightly vague choice of terms there :)

    • coburnAlpha says:

      I’m glad I’m not the only one that really doesn’t give a sh1t about this.

      • derbefrier says:

        eh its something to bitch about and this is the internet so here we are. In the end its at most a minor annoyance because those with smaller hard drives might have to uninstall something or it might take a little longer to download. The game is still awesome and that’s all that really matters.

    • DrMcCoy says:

      Meanwhile, this takes up less than 192kb: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqu_IpkOYBg .

      Also, the sound card does exactly zilch when it comes to decoding audio
      Also, what’s that about dual-core systems unable to decode audio at the same time? That’s just silly. The last time MP3 decoding took up noticable resources was on my 133MHz Pentium 1.

    • kael13 says:

      Who wants to sit there and wait for a 50Gb download?

      This really is an awful excuse for the sake of convenience on the dev’s part.

      • Primey0 says:

        Except it is not a 50GB download. It’s roughly 20GB then the game uncompresses to 50GB.

    • dE says:

      I feel bad for third world development countries like the USA or Germany, where Providers having a stern Datacap is a thing. Bloat in file size can only mean the best of things, right?

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        That means they won’t be able to play the latest COD-alike.
        That’s a positive.

      • Sharza says:

        That’s news to me. May be true for the US but if you really get a “stern datacap” in Germany you’re doing it wrong.

        • dE says:

          Then I’m the bearer of bad news for you.
          A year ago, the Deutsche Telekom announced their plans to datacap all Flatrates in the near future. The Telekom used the datacap example of 75 GB per month, with a speed reduction down to 384KBit/s should you pass that. Their reasoning being that 75GB is more than enough for the average user, if you want to feel salt running from your cheeks, you can image search for “telekom 75gb” and see their infographics. Several other providers quickly jumped aboard as well.
          It’s curious that this is news to you though, it caused quite the uproar with even passive do-nothing Angie getting all pissed about it.

          • darkhog says:

            They tried to do something like that in Poland few years ago (I think it was mid 2000s). Didn’t go well, and as soon as one provider started to offer “unlimited” Internet they experienced significant surge in consumers and now it is one of the biggest ISPs in Poland (other quickly followed suit). I think it was either Netia or UPC. Not sure as I was teen back then and had other things to worry about ;).

            Those limits here are hanging only in mobile ISPs (barely as with advent of LTE mobile operators are increasing and increasing cap and soon it will be non-existent). Barely.

            //edit: And 20-100Mbit/s connection is standard here. If you get lower than 20Mbits, you have crappy ISP and need to change it (if you live in Poland).

    • -funkstar- says:

      A further problem is that many of us now have SSDs (quite possibly a few years old by now) that we like to install to to maximize performance for the more demanding games. 50GB is not a lot on a 4TB HDD, but it is something else entirely on a 256GB SSD, on which you have your OS(s) etc.

    • dazman76 says:

      Guys, sorry to say this, but you are well and truly missing the point here. You keep comparing your media player decompressing a single MP3, to what a game needs to do. Do you honestly think Titanfall would be decompressing just a single MP3? They’re talking about AUDIO – this includes incidental sound effects, speech samples, the lot. They may even be using MP3 for background music, but they’re basically saying the rest is uncompressed – probably WAV or AIFF. There could be 64 and upwards individual effects being processed and played at any one time – so you’d be happy with 64% CPU usage for decompressing audio? Come on, get a grip :)

      Also, what’s with the “media player uses 1% CPU” claims? Do you know how much CPU the rest of the Titanfall engine requires, and if so would you like to enlighten the rest of us? :) Given that decompressing 64 or more individual audio streams is going to push you above 50% utilisation – do you even understand what you’re commenting on?

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Please enjoy this evidence of how little cpu resource decompressing 64 audiotracks at the same time actually takes:

        No tracks playing
        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18357586/1.png

        and 64 tracks playing
        https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/18357586/2.png

        Certainly a way away from the 50% to 64% figures you quoted.

        • dazman76 says:

          Indeed – and your quad-core, eight-thread HT i7 running at 4.5Ghz is a great representation of the systems they’re thinking of when making these decisions. Not :)

          Let’s add some more “evidence” or rather “considerations” into the mix. First up, “dual-core CPU” could include chips as far back as the original Core generation. These are not comparable to the current generation dual-core, for example i3 and the lower i5’s – the newer generation are far more efficient, and get far more done per clock cycle than Core series 1 and 2. This alone makes your comparison pointless – your i7 is a flagship quad-core and is very different from even current-gen dual-core i3 and i5 – courtesy of your hyper-threading.

          If you take 2% CPU utilisation on a quad-core and reduce to dual-core, that’s already 4% total utilisation. Given that dual-cores without HT also run their time-slicing and threading differently, I guarantee you won’t get that figure on testing – it will be slightly higher, at the very least.

          Taking HT out of the equation, you’re still comparing a Rolls-Royce to a Ford – there’s no correlation in performance between a current-gen i3, i5 or i7 and the older-gen dual-cores. I’d be genuinely amazed if decompressing 64 * 320Kbps MP3’s gave you anything less than 20% utilisation on such a system – in reality, I’d expect it to be a fair bit higher. Maybe not the 50% as you say, but still substantial. Audio isn’t supposed to use so much resource in a game engine, and you’ll struggle to find any engines that behave like that.

          Remember, if you have an “older dual-core” you also have (1) older chipset (2) slower motherboard components (FSB etc.) (3) slower memory (4) older GPU (5) older sound card. All of these can be described in two ways. Either they’re seen as limiting what you can do in any one frame, or they’re seen as raising your overhead requirements for the subsystems they’re responsible for. Either way, they squeeze the amount of time you can afford to be spending on audio decompression. You have to add in margins and tolerances for all of these components – the issue is not just audio. Even at 20% CPU for audio, that’s way too high for a dual-core system to get much else done. Titanfall isn’t an non-interactive audio expose, it’s a game :)

          Until someone can post a similar test that you’ve done on a relevant machine – older dual-core setup – I’m still convinced that this much decompression will cause a very high CPU usage, potentially as high as 50% and beyond. I’m happy to be proven wrong, as well :)

          • SominiTheCommenter says:

            The fucking NES could play several sounds at once and still draw pictures on the screen! Good lord, how blind can some people be!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Believe it or not, they don’t optimise the game for the lowest spec machine, and while my nerd cred is massaged by your belief that my processor and supporting hardware is hundreds of times more powerful than a Core 2 Duo, the truth is that it isn’t. In real terms, especially for gaming, it’s about six times as powerful.

            But lets forget theoreticals and conjecture, you want actual evidence, how about this.

            The dark engine, which has a more sophisticated sound propagation model than Source can play 128 tracks simultaneously. It’s minimum processor is a 200MHz Pentium.

          • dazman76 says:

            Somini – before you get too happy about your obvious knowledge, please bear in mind that the audio quality being played by the NES is utterly incomparable to what we have these days. Do you have the bitrate numbers for the audio being played by your Nokia brickphone? Because you know – that’s an important part of this argument, which you appear to be conveniently overlooking whilst suggesting others are humiliating themselves. If you can’t think of the bigger picture and actually understand the “evidence” you’re presenting, why even bother? I chuckled at the fact that couldn’t resist swearing though – there’s nothing more amusing that someone who doesn’t understand what they’re talking about, but still argues fiercely as if they did. Keep on rocking – you’ll learn how to be critical and analytical one day, I’m sure. Actually that’s a lie.

            Sheng-Ji – again, thank you for actually bringing something to the argument other than ^^^ this rubbish from Somini. Again though, have we seen the Dark engine running on that Pentium 200 and actually utilising all of those channels? You’re stating (1) minimum CPU spec and (2) maximum used channels. Are you absolutely sure that on the that CPU, the engine would still use it’s full complement of channels? On top of that, are you absolutely sure that the audio played would be the quality we’re talking about here for Titanfall? I get the feeling it would be scaled down in terms of bitrate – remember that reading audio data and processing it are two separate steps constrained by different parts of the architecture. Reading 320Kbps and throwing away half of that during processing, isn’t the same as playing the whole 320Kbps.

            I do take your points and appreciate you posting comparisons – but unless we’re actually testing these things, minimums and maximums mean nothing. There could always be scaling going on, especially scaling down from maximum available to something manageable, based on being towards the minimum spec of hardware – games are pretty dynamic/adaptable in these areas.

          • Widthwood says:

            Did someone say Core 2 Duo? Here you go: http://s14.postimg.org/5cdnd3zqn/2014_03_12_17_35_38_audacity.png

            Jumped between 2% and 20% at first (most likely because of it ran out of RAM buffer space and had to load new parts from hd, see I/O graph below CPU), later stabilized at 2-4%. This is completely incorrect test environment of course, real game engines are much more optimized for lag-free playback than audacity.

          • LevelHeaded says:

            @Widthwood yep, you’d see the same spike loading a WAV file, etc.

          • dazman76 says:

            Widthwood – the image isn’t loading for me, although the link looks OK. Also, thanks for posting C2D stats :)

            In anticipation of the upload being fixed though, let’s throw some more factors into the pot. The image may answer part of this at least, but anyhow… I take it you’re testing this by loading up 64 *different* MP3 files into Audacity, the setting them all to play? Or did you load the same MP3 into each Audacity instance? If you used the same media files, Audacity may well have loaded once, decoded/decompressed once, and cached the decoded audio because the filesize (and resulting decoded audio) was relatively small. Obviously without seeing your image, I can’t tell if you were taking this into account. If this is the case, and the media has only been decompressed once – that would be the reason for your “blip” to 20% at the beginning, and a fair explanation of the drop to a more stable 2%.

            Audacity does use a temporary folder while it’s working away as well, so this would answer the question “how do multiple Audacity instances running in different threads/processes access the same decoded copy of the audio?”.

          • Widthwood says:

            Here is an alt link http://imgur.com/a/tA9QG

            Files were physically different, loaded into tracks of a single audacity instance, 16-bit 44100 pcm project, played all at once. Running 64 instances of Audacity would be beyond reasonable, I doubt they will even fit in RAM.

          • Widthwood says:

            A more valid benchmark (imho) – mp3s convert at about 600x on a single core of my CPU.
            Meaning background decoding of single file without any caching should take 100/600/2 = 0.08% of CPU. To get to your “potentially as high as 50%” we have to convert 625 streams of different sounds all at once!!
            That is simply ridiculous.

            And games even don’t decompress sounds every time they happen – they are always played back from RAM cache.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Dazman – Regarding the dark engine, there are certainly fan missions for thief which have 64 audio sources in a single cell, I know for sure because I made some of them. I couldn’t personally push it further because at the time I only had a P100 (with MMX 166 overdrive) and adding more crashed my computer on loading that audio cell.

            It’s also worth noting that Thief 2 required a Pentium II 266 and could play simultaneously 256 sounds, this was game limited, at that time, the engine could cope with 1024 and indeed later fan patches unlocks this for fan missions and don’t forget, dark engine sounds are compressed WAV’s using zip compression, far more processor intensive than modern compressions.

          • dazman76 says:

            Thanks guys, appreciate the replies, updated link, and calm discussion :)

            I just did some testing myself with Audacity, and I think my last comment stands unless someone knows about it’s internals in detail. Basically, I opened an MP3 – this took close to 1 second, and in that time Audacity produced a project folder within it’s “temp” location. This folder contains lots of .au files, which are uncompressed Audacity work files – essentially the MP3 split into sections and decoded.

            So, it’s worth checking your own audacity folder to see just how much of this decoded data it’s produced for your test. If I’m right, you’ll find data for each MP3 you opened – which means your 20% CPU spike at the beginning was exactly what we were looking for – the CPU usage required to decode all of that data.

            If that’s true, I am genuinely surprised – I definitely expected more, and I guess if the bitrate of some files is higher than the ones you’ve tested, we’d see a good increase on 20. Still, if these results and explanations ARE accurate – 20% CPU dedicated to audio processing is still too much for a game, given that several other subsystems are going to be even more demanding than audio.

          • Widthwood says:

            I guess you took politeness the wrong way – actually NONE of your comments stand.

            20% spike is not equal to 20% load.
            Measure raw decoding speed, what you are seeing in Audacity – is very inaccurate approximation.
            Don’t measure 320 cbps mp3 because games don’t use them for sound effects. 60-90 vbr kbps is what you usually get (sound effect are usually mono, so this is more than enough). For music – around 120-160.
            Better yet – don’t measure mp3’s at all – mp3 is an old format long ago superseded by others.
            Better yet – don’t measure decompression speed at all, because game engines don’t constantly decode sounds and you have no idea what settings they use when they do. Difference in speed between different encoding and decoding parameters may reach order of magnitude.

            Instead of writing another huge post just google how audio compression is used in almost every single game. This problem was solved long ago, Titanfall devs just had to write SOMETHING other than the real reason “we don’t give a crap about SSD users, so we decided not to bother”

          • dazman76 says:

            I took politeness as just that, nothing more – simply that we were still discussing, although while I’m trying to justify the results you’re seeing and understand them (and fit them to the question original asked in the article), you unfortunately seem to be ending the discussion because you see that as “final” – which isn’t really how this works. I write long posts because they show that I’m thinking through something, rather than making assumptions or missing things and arguing for the sake of it – not because I think long posts will end the discussion, or that they make me look clever :)

            OK, I’ll google “audio compression in games”. 2nd result – XMA vs. Vorbis. An interesting excerpt from the article:

            “PCM is uncompressed, but takes up a lot more space. Vorbis sounds great and loops easily, but can take more processing power than XMA. XMA is free on the X360 because of a hardware decoder”

            Processing power and hardware decoders eh? Yes, decoding is clearly not a performance issue at all. Microsoft included a hardware decoder simply for the sheer fun of adding cost to their console – clearly not because their developers were using lots of compressed audio, and complaining because of the overhead involved. There would be no hardware decoder if (1) these things didn’t require plenty of utilisation if used constantly aka streaming, and (2) people weren’t using them. This is on a fairly capable 3-core processor.

            End of discussion now maybe, or would you like another shot?

          • Widthwood says:

            Answer to a tiny part of your post that is actually relevant: consoles have all kinds of special chips to allow devs to squeeze every last bit of performance from them. Especially last gen consoles, that had puny CPU’s and microscopic amounts of RAM.
            But we are talking modern PC’s here, with grossly overpowered CPUs and large amounts of RAM for caching. While using PCM is the most straightforward approach, compressed audio is used throughout all titles, from indie to AAA, without any unsolvable problems.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Well, I’m remaining polite – lets examine what we know for certain:

            At least 10 language packs are downloaded and installed with the game.
            35Gb of the install is audio.

            35Gb/10 = 3.5Gb

            The rest of the files are 15Gb total.

            15Gb + 3.5 Gb = 18.5Gb

            18.5Gb = No headlines about the massive install and is inline with many other AAA games.

            The “excuse” may or may not be BS, I mean, they may have encoded everything in a stupid compression – we don’t know anything about this. If the above excuse is true, the natural follow up question is simply, why not use ADPCM, MP3 or XMA – are higher quality sound assets necessary in a game?

            I personally think the above excuse is covering the botched deployment, that being said, there will be a small but existent minority who live in a foreign language market who will be exceptionally happy with this decision/mistake – as will the key reselling websites!

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        My Nokia brickphone also can play several sound simultaneously, and it’s a single core ARM9 @ 231 MHz.
        If you don’t know anything about audio processing please don’t humiliate yourself. There are plenty of echo chambers to praise the latest gaming blockbuster, no need to come here.

    • LevelHeaded says:

      Of course this article’s comments would have 35GB uncompressed audio video game apologists. Of fucking course it would.

      • TechnicalBen says:

        It’s the internet. I’ve seen owners separate themselves from entire websites because of how they defended the site. The internet jumps to a new low each time. :/

    • hungrycookpot says:

      It’s not about “can the customer afford the download/space”, the issue is that we don’t have to. They could have come up with a different compression scheme, or just cut out the localized version and only install the audio files in the language needed, something applications have been doing for years and years. 50gb is a really large game file, and if developers all decide that it’s ok to cut corners and pass the problem along to the end user, pretty soon your bandwidth will be all used up and you’ll have to buy another 3tb hard drive.

      This game alone isn’t an issue, the thinking behind it is.

  14. lordfrikk says:

    This is the stupidest reason I’ve heard in a long time. What about offering both options?

  15. Crainey says:

    Four years ago this would have taken me a week to download and +£5 because I’d broken my bandwidth cap. Yesterday I downloaded that in under an hour (60mb/s average (unusually high but I’m not complaining)).

    For those with below average connections (as was mine) I feel for you.

    On a side note: I need to run this game on the lowest settings just to get a solid 60 fps. When I turn everything max I get frame stuttering (even with SLI disabled) that makes a twitch shooter like this nearly unplayable. My system is i7 4770k @ 4.4Ghz 16gb RAM, 770 2gb SLI and installed on SSD — people with significantly less expensive setups and even similar setups seem to have no such issues. Rather frustrating.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I’m still amazed I can get around 4-5gb downloaded in an hour. It takes just over 2 hours to download even the biggest games at the moment (planet side etc), which I’m rather happy about. But 50GB would take both 10 hours AND half my bandwidth allowance for a month.

      It’s bad enough StarBound (gift to me, not purchase as I’m undecided on it still) keeps having a 256+mb per day update. It’s like they redownload the entire game each day instead of individual file update. :/

  16. MeestaNob says:

    Just a note for everyone getting excited, it’s only a 20 Gb download, the files decompress to 49 Gb when downloading is done. The article should mention that.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      This is good if true. :)
      The articles or someone posted above that the game is not doing a 1 time decompression. So I’m rather confused with this.

  17. Janichsan says:

    I don’t get it: why does a pure multiplayer first person shooter need apparently hours and hours of audio that even dwarf the amount of sound files in a 50+ hour RPG with fully voiced dialog?

  18. herschel says:

    35 GB. Uncompressed audio. Seriously?

    Thats completely insane. Lets assume 20 sounds played at the same time… thats 6 hours of orginal 20 track soundeffects, dialogue and music, which are all single use, no double use of sound effects. 44.1kHz, 16 bit… According to this nifty calculator.

    http://www.sounddevices.com/calculator/

    Edit: As I just read, all loclizations are included. Wow. How lazy is this? :)

    • Baines says:

      Some developers will simply use the space that they have available. Honestly, that kind of ties into the mantra that people have preached about PCs for decades, that optimization isn’t important as machines continue to get more powerful.

      The Killzone 3 devs had a PS3 Blu-Ray, so they made a 41.5GB game. As long as they didn’t hit the disc’s limit, they saw no need to work to save space. Some of it was performance related, such as duplicating files that were used in multiple levels for a slight load speed boost. Some was just burning space, such as duplicating video files for each recorded language, rather than having one video file and multiple audio tracks.

  19. Screamer says:

    “Have you purchased Titanfall? ”

    Nope! No MS Azure nodes in my country so EA saw fit to not sell Titanfall to us.

  20. aperson4321 says:

    Shitty computer engineering student here.

    When they say “compressed” and with them referring to them using a whole core for the sound then they in all probability mean sound processing like battlefield does.

    decompression can mean alot of stuff, in this instace they probably have a all the sounds ready to be used so there is no need for the cpu to turn a generic gunshot sound into gunshot sound inside building, gunshot sound inside bulding behind bulding 10 meters away, gunshot sound above you inside building etc.

    Its a very odd soulution but unless they put all the sound stuff in the cloud (massive cost!) then they will not have any better sound than quake 1 on systems that can’t deidcate a whole core to sound.

    I might be wrong but even if they mean just normal compression then you still get problems on a dual core if you need to have a smooth running non stuttering thread to reliably produce 64 to 128 sounds every delta/physics frame or whatever respawn call it.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Ok that would make some sense.

      So instead of “calculate the size/shape/distance and material of the room, apply the muffle/echo/drop of the environment to the sound” they just recorded (simulated probably) 100+ different sounds and get the PC to choose from a table of correct sounds for each environment/effect?

    • bitesize says:

      That’s not what “compression” means (in the audio sense of the word, rather than just the filesize-reducing sense). Compression is a specific audio effect (to do with reducing dynamic range to boost the quiet bits between transients) and has nothing to do with the sort of environmental effects you’re describing here.

  21. Premium User Badge

    PoulWrist says:

    Far as I know it only downloads that install, then installs what you need, and then the downloaded install files are deleted or whatnot. Gameinstall is “only” 25ish gb.

    Moving on, this is the result of “all of you people” settling for onboard audio.

    • aperson4321 says:

      @PoulWrist

      No games uses onboard audio processing anymore, last game that did it well was fear 1 and bioshock 1 I think. Games uses the cpu to do the audio magic now. The reason to get a sound card is to get a good DAC and audio amplifier.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      To be fair, a 2TB hard disk is about the same price as a non-entry level dedicated sound card so, y’know.

      • Armante says:

        It also affects poor bastards like me in New Zealand where we still have download caps as standard. My monthly cap is 50gig. So that would suck. Mostly this seems poor decision making and/or Xbone PS4 influence?
        Just as well I’m not getting this game. 50 gig would take 8 hours or more..

      • jalf says:

        To be fair, the price of a 2TB harddrive is a pretty significant additional cost on top of the price of the game.

        So, y’know.

      • hungrycookpot says:

        If every game decides it’s just easier to ship a massive download file instead of doing some optimization and cutting out localization, that becomes a problem. How many games do you have installed on your computer at the moment? What if they were all 4x bigger than they needed to be? How many more of those super cheap HDDs would you need to buy?

  22. Loque says:

    This sounds like “Sim City can’t run offline because blah blah blah…“.

    Yeah, sure.

  23. hideinlight says:

    This game is dead on release in South Africa. No servers, very few can do the 50 Gigs.
    It’s just plain retarded to be honest.

  24. LVX156 says:

    I only have mobile broadband. Now, I do have a very generous provider, so I get 100 GB for about £30. Buying this game online would cost me an extra £15 on top of the price of the actual game. Not that I would buy it anyway, but LOTS of people have caps on their bandwidth usage and slow connection, even in Europe, and especially in the US. If you’re not living near a major city, chances are you’re on 2Mb or 5Mb line, with a cap.

  25. jarowdowsky says:

    Well I got the game for 20 quid from Russia because they couldn’t be bothered to release region/language specific versions.

    So, hell, it’s good news for me.

    Now – anyway to delete the other languages?

  26. jalf says:

    Reading uncompressed audio from disk: slow as shit (unless you’ve got a SSD)
    Reading compressed audio from disk: much faster (but then you need to dedicate more CPU time to decoding it)

    In general, I would expect the latter case to be faster *overall* (the time saved on I/O more than compensates for the additional CPU time spent), but that is assuming that CPU time isn’t needed for other stuff. (And this is a game, so it is fairly plausible that the CPU time is required for other tasks, which skews the equation, favoring more I/O and less CPU)

    So what they’re doing might well make sense from a performance point of view, but it depends. (And it is possible that it is a net win on a SSD, but an overall performance loss on mechanical harddrives).

    Performance aside, of course, it completely disregards the fact that many people across the world are stuck with internet connections with monthly download caps/quotas.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      I wonder if the poster above is correct. This is another case of messenger not knowing the facts? And it’s not “decompression” but “simulation” that is being avoided. Avoiding simulating the sound levels and effects in real time on the CPU, and instead having loads (really so in this case) of recordings of different environments/echos etc and choosing for a quick and dirty list.

      • jalf says:

        I don’t know the facts of Titanfall (and I don’t claim to). That’s why I’m not stating as a fact that “they’re right”, or “they’re wrong”.

        But the tradeoff between less (and therefore faster) I/O vs less CPU-time spent processing afterwards is real.

        There are many cases where it is faster to read data which is compressed *somehow* (whether it’s simply zipped, sent as an mp3, or if it is by sending a single raw sound file, and then through postprocessing creating variations of it on the fly) is faster than reading the entirety of the “raw” data. There are also cases where that is not the case.

        What I was getting at (which perhaps wasn’t entirely clear) is that they had to deal with a real tradeoff, and there are situations where either decision would yield better performance. We can assume that they’re competent and that they picked the decision that makes sense for Titanfall specifically.

        But it is also possible that they looked at the wrong metrics (for example, that they assumed I/O to be faster than it typically is on the dual-core’ish machines that this is supposed to benefit).

        • Baines says:

          That’s the bit that seems iffiest to me. People running the game on older CPUs are probably more likely to have smaller harddrives, and either smaller SSDs or no SSD at all.

          Though I guess it comes down to the lowest end being able to play the game versus having to buy a new machine (as if the audio decompression creates a CPU usage issue, then you’d have to buy a new CPU, which would mean a new mobo, which might mean new RAM, and which can mean new other bits). If you want your specs low enough, you end up inconveniencing others.

          Thinking of it though, what about laptop users? Gaming on laptops has increased, and they tend to have weaker CPUs than desktops. Maybe they helped drive target specs down?

      • bitesize says:

        Are you saying that they’ve baked in the reverbs & environmental fx into the source wavs for each level, rather than apply the effects in real-time? So they’ve got different versions of all the weapon sfx/movement sfx/non-communicator dialogue etc for each different environment? Is this just a guess or are you basing it on anything?

        • Premium User Badge

          jrodman says:

          If so, the comments about cpu might actually hold some water.

  27. uh20 says:

    localization and *light* compression should be absolutely fine, you can then decompress the core sounds (your gun, footsteps, etc.) at loading, send them to the ram (or detected card), and later keep decompressing less common or one-time background noises on a low priority schedule.

    some games employ a sound quality slider and what this often does is ramp up how much power is put to decompressing as well as how exact the decompress has to be.

  28. SuicideKing says:

    Media Player Classic:
    “Soul Rebel”, AAC, ~780 kbps, CPU usage = 0-2%, RAM = 19MB
    320 kbps MP3, CPU usage = 0-1%, RAM= 9.5 MB

    This is net CPU usage, for my 6 year old Core 2 Quad. Setting it to a single core didn’t do anything noteworthy.

    So i call bullshit.

    • bitesize says:

      You do understand that Media Player playing a single piece of music, and an audio engine playing back hundreds of different SFX and calculating the position, levels, effects etc on each one, are two very different things?

    • Baines says:

      I guess to be fair, you should run five or six media players at the same time, having them playing a directory of audio files of different lengths.

      Remotely relevant story: When porting TimeSplitters Future Perfect to the Gamecube, Free Radical realized the Gamecube’s mini-DVDs didn’t allow enough room for all the game’s (already compressed) audio. Faced with cutting multiple BGM tracks, the developers decided to try switching to a more processor-intensive but also more space saving OGG format. That extra compression allowed all the audio tracks to fit on the disc. What they apparently didn’t find out until later is that the additional processor load caused the Gamecube version to lock up when things become too hectic. To be fair, “too hectic” generally meant playing four player split screen on certain maps with full bot count, with a lot going on around the moment the bgm was to loop. (Making matters worse, the developers never re-added the cut tracks to the menu system, so players couldn’t even select them for custom maps.)

    • Widthwood says:

      Not a good example, mpc and any other gui program does loads of things besides actual decoding. Even playing WAV will take couple of percents CPU time.

      Try this one http://www.mpg123.de/benchmarking.shtml . For example, on my C2D 1h 59m 20s (7160s) mp3 decoded in 12 seconds => (12*100%)/7160 = 0.16% CPU utilization for single core, since CPU is dual core – overall utilization for decoding one mp3 stream in real-time is 0.08%. Multiply it by 10-20 and you’ll get something at least remotely resembling to what you’ll see in a game.

      Btw, SFX and positioning is done regardless of compression, so no need to consider that.

  29. jinglin_geordie says:

    I wouldn’t even put this on disk. Put it on a USB key, USB 3.0 port, symlink to it.

  30. stoner says:

    Well, I better get started then. I bought this game from a low-tech distributor on 1.44 meg 3.5-inch floppies; that’s 34028 floppies. This will take awhile…

  31. Shooop says:

    Translation:

    “We’re too unbelievably goddamn stupid to figure out how to encode WAVs to MP3s.”

  32. jameskpolk says:

    Did anyone notice that in the article’s image there is a man with a silencer on his rifle riding a giant robot? Unnecessary.

    • Widthwood says:

      Giant robot could also have a silencer on his gun.

      • Shooop says:

        If it’s not wearing robo-hushpuppies though the entire effect is ruined.

  33. DanMan says:

    Pro-tip: try enabling NTFS compression for that folder. Generally a good idea, if you’re using a SSD. My whole 10GB “Programs” folder is compressed, and that saves me roughly 2.5GB of space. Not bad if you only have a 64GB SSD.

  34. Rugged Malone says:

    Well at least they didn’t blame it on the players this time.

    “The users simply could not handle the existence of compressed audio in the game, that level of technology would be too distracting.”

  35. dangrak says:

    Well I suppose that’s one way to fight piracy. If I were, hypothetically, a pirate, I would not attempt downloading a torrent of a 50GB game (and the game itself would quickly leave my mind, never to return)

    • fish99 says:

      Honestly I don’t think the average pirate would be put off by the size. Popular torrents can reach very high speeds, maybe even higher than Origin gives you.

      I know because sadly I used to pirate a lot of games (I stopped 5+ years ago).

    • BlaineD says:

      Just yesterday I got rather high torrent speed for my evening binge on TV-series. I torrented Psych season 3 at speeds peaking out on 6 MB/s.
      So if you want to pirate multiplayer game (wot are you doing mate?), you can go for it. Big size is no issue anymore.
      At least not for us in Czech republic. I don’t think we have data caps here anymore. There were some around 2000, but competition among ISPs crushed them.

    • TiagoTiago says:

      Actually, by making the official version undesirable, they are encouraging the production of modified unauthorized copies that don’t have the same drawbacks as the official version. And if people can figure out how to bypass unauthorized copying prevention systems (that by definitions are supposed to be designed to be hard to crack), then hacking the game to work with a more reasonable audio storage approach should be piece of cake.

  36. CookPassBabtridge says:

    So did anyone come up with a solution up there? Has RPS crowd sourced a fix?

  37. fish99 says:

    After reading this story and the comments I’m honestly confused whether the download is 20GB or 50GB and whether the install size is 25GB or 50GB.

    If it’s 20GB download, 25GB install, but you need 50GB free because you need to have room for the installer and room to install, then honestly that’s not too bad. Origin and UPlay should both switch to the same system as Steam though where they just download the game, rather than an installer.

  38. Nesetalis says:

    So since when did we “decompress audio”?
    Last I checked, an mp3 is an mp3 is an mp3, you cannot decompress an mp3 in to a higher quality, it is a lossy format. Now of course they are almost certainly not using mp3, but source engine supports it… so why not use it?
    I don’t need to hear bullet effect number 3 in 1200kbits per second… or even 128kbps.
    Now secondly, most computers have dedicated audio hardware, sure there are a few with software audio… very few…
    but the bottleneck on audio hardware these days is not “decompression” (whatever that means in this case) it is the IO bandwidth, the larger the file, the longer it takes to load.

    So whatever optimization they did for this pile of horse shit, it sounds like it was un-necessary and an excuse.
    A) let me download the audio pack i need, not every audio pack.
    B) let me “choose” high def audio if i need it (most people are playing with a pair of crappy headyphones or hell, laptop speakers :p not 7.1 amazing surroundsound. so this high quality raw audio is fucking useless to them.
    C) I suspect this is all just an excuse, its bullshit, some one made a mistake and they are reaching for a reason after the fact.

    • bitesize says:

      Stopped reading after the first sentence – why comment if you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about?

      • Damn Rookie says:

        Good question. I’d hope it’s just because he doesn’t know that he has no idea what he’s talking about.

        @Nesetalis. I’d recommend reading up on compression (audio or otherwise). Wikipedia gives a reasonable introduction to this stuff.

  39. darkhog says:

    Titanfall is MMO, right? So it is already online-only (even if you can play with bots). So I’d like to present this little thing called STREAMING AUDIO. It’s nothing new, really. Winamp creators’ ShoutCast did it already for SO MANY YEARS.

    But apparently devs doesn’t know that. My medium-specs (Core2QuadQ9450, 4GB of RAM) can broadcast music of 192kbps quality to over 300 people at once. Probably more, but shitty broadband prevents me from testing further (bandwidth issue). So high-power server that Titan Fall already uses should be able to stream audio to connected players as well (and if not, they can always designate separate server to do just streaming).

    • Premium User Badge

      AngelTear says:

      1) Titanfall is a multiplayer game, but not an MMO
      2) 192kbps is a fairly low quality bit rate. It’s not 128k, but it’s still not a format any game would like to use if possible.
      3) If you can stream 200kbps to 300 people at once you have a gigantic upload speed for a home connection. My upload speed is around the 600kbps, so streaming to 3 people would already cap my connection.
      4) To stream music would take an enormous amount of bandwidth for gamers, and that would soon trouble those whose internet is capped, not to mention it’d likely cause lag issues.

      • Widthwood says:

        192kbps is actually very high for a game. Unpack sound effects from any recent title – you’ll most likely find something like 40-90 kbps mono vorbises (vorbii?)

        BUTttt.

        Streaming 192 kbps and pre-encoded 192 kbps have vastly different quality. Encoders have settings for fine tuning tradeoff between CPU usage during encode and resulting quality – usually when encoding offline they are set for best quality, when streaming – for less CPU usage (in LAME this is set using -q 0…9).

        Anyway, streaming all sound effects from server is undoable with current state of technology, unless you also stream video along with sound. Contemporary games always smooth out lags with prediction of movement, but since prediction happens on the client and server does not know about it – sound and visuals will always be slightly out of sync, randomly increasing or decreasing through the match. You can imagine how annoying it would be, and for FPS – this will simply make it unplayable for anyone with not absolutely ideal connection, or anyone having long route to the server.

  40. Gvaz says:

    I dont really get it. It’s not like audio needs to be “decompressed” to play unless it’s in an archive. You could obtain a similar result by changing everything to fucking MP3s and you’d have better performance and less space.

    Also generally speaking, streaming for others to view is to one website, who then distributes it around.

    • Damn Rookie says:

      I think you’re misunderstanding what it means by “decompressed”. Every time you listen to compressed audio, like an mp3 for instance, it gets decompressed first (decoded is another term for it). You can’t listen to it without first decoding it.

  41. MkMax says:

    it smells a lot of “we had to do it for the consoles and we couldnt be arsed to change it for pc”, who the hell is going to play it on a crappy laptop/pc ? those would probably have a problem just as bad trying to fit 50 gb in their tiny, slow ass harddrives, it might even be slower reading it than uncompressing it and i also doubt they can reach the 64bit and 4gb ram requirement

  42. onyhow says:

    So basically explaining what several people have already reported…still zero excuse for being LAZY by putting every single language into the download instead of, you know, let the player choose which language they want…

  43. Vanderdecken says:

    “On a medium or moderate PC, it wouldn’t be an issue, it’s that on a two-core [machine] with where our min spec is..”

    *cries into my Conroe*