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SSD loading times more of a focus than ray tracing for next-gen, according to developer
By Neil Soutter on June 28th, 2020 at 05:30pm - original article from game-debate

When the next-gen consoles were announced a while ago, the big talking point initially was the ability to use ray tracing technology, and in the case of the PlayStation 5, the haptic feedback in the DualSense controllers. But the industry has now shifted to focus more on SSD’s and faster loading times, and according to the CEO of Anshar Studios, the reason is because it's a lot easier, as ray tracing and haptic feedback require much more R&D work.

Anshar studios recently worked on ¬¬g_id:37141[Observer: System Redux]¬¬, a remaster/remake of the original game, as well as working on their own game, Gamedec, and helping out Larian Studios with ¬¬g_id:20906[Baldurs Gate 3]¬¬. Speaking to the press, CEO of the development studio, Lukasz Hacura, recently gave light as to why the industry has shifted to focusing more on SSD’s than ray tracing or the haptic feedback in the PS5 controllers.

When it comes to Observer it's all about streaming, because we don't have loading scenes per se. You might think of Observer as a game that's indoors and closed-off, but actually it's constructed in an open-world manner. So, you can go anywhere you want in a building in any order you want.

He goes on to explain how this was an issue for older consoles, and was circumvented with “little tricks” to hide loading screens: For example, when you open up a door you would have a delay between the door actually opening up, and that was streaming done in the background.” 

Whilst this process requires a lot more custom work to implement, Hacura explained that whilst designing the System Redux for Observer, it’s a lot easier to remove these “little tricks” from a game due to lack of resources, rather than adding new features that require a lot of Research & Development. Citing that “the actual amount of big R&D work are the new features like ray tracing or the haptic feedback on PS5

So SSD’s and the lack of loading times will be the initial big focus for next-gen games it seems, with only a select few games taking advantage of the new features like ray tracing or haptic feedback. But we’ll most likely see those features become more common later down the line: “I'm absolutely sure that we're not going to touch the heights of the possibilities of the platforms, because it's just too early in the generation.

Unfortunately for PC players, this might mean that there won’t be much of a difference for us at the start. Ray tracing is currently stuck behind a high barrier of entry with expensive graphics card, and not everyone will have an SSD with their favorite games downloaded on it, so how will this affect us?

So what do you think? Are short/no loading times more important to you than ray tracing or haptic feedback for next-gen games? Or would you like to see those new features implemented more for the next-gen consoles? And how will this affect PC players? Let us know your thoughts!