While Call of Duty’s updates keep making the game bigger, Warframe is doing a very cool thing and making sure that the game can now take up less space on your hard drive, not more.
In a post called “The Great Ensmallening”, Digital Extremes say that they’ve found that “some people can’t fit [Warframe] on their smaller SSDs and have to run it off of a slow HDD instead”, and that sucks, so it’s helped contribute to some changes.
One of the things we’re doing to reduce our footprint involves changing how our texture data is compressed. Although it isn’t a perfect analogy it’s similar to the trade-off between image-quality and file-size you get with different image formats: PNG is lossless but can mean very large files, JPEG files can be very small but may contain visible artifacts of the compression. The technology we’re using is called Oodle Texture and we’re extremely pleased with the savings we’re getting: our files are roughly half the size on disk and the visual differences are negligible.
They’re also going to be reducing the size of the game’s lightmaps, saying “We spent a lot of time carefully analysing the quality of the results and we doubt anyone will even notice anywhere but the harshest of tests.”
The first step towards making the game leaner will come with an update later this week, which will make the game’s install size 6.6GB smaller, though as the process continues “in fact the real number will be much larger than that: we’re probably going to free up at least 15GB by the time we’re done”.
Can I just say how much I love this? Download sizes and install space is low-key a big deal for a lot of people, and it’s great seeing a game prioritise that stuff over a visuals at all costs mentality.
As an example of what’s being done, here’s an existing normal map that’s 19MB in size:
And here’s it’s replacement, at only 8MB: