news\ Dec 7, 2011 at 10:15 am

Skyrim PS3 Lag Claims By New Vegas Dev Not True, says Bethesda


If you have played Fallout 3 and New Vegas, then you might have experienced a similar lag/frame rate issue that many Skyrim players are facing on the PlayStation, and recently the Xbox 360.  Both of those games showed a similar issue, having save files gradually increase in size until the gameplay performance is effected. 

In a link on the Bethesda forums, a fan posted some Formspring comments by Obsidian's Joshua E Sawyer, lead designer and project director of Fallout: New Vegas.  In his comments, the developer stated that it was 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."

He continued, "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."

He also explained that the issue isn't a simple bug that can be easily fixed, at least that was the case for Fallout: New Vegas.

"It's not like someone wrote a function and put a decimal point in the wrong place or declared something as a float when it should have been an int. 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. Obsidian also only had that engine for a total of 18 months prior to F:NV being released, which is a relatively short time to understand all of the details of how the technology works."

While the 1.2 patch did fix the lag issues for some on the PlayStation 3, it wasn't solved for everyone.  Now, we already know that the Skyrim 1.3 update being released this week won't address the PS3 lag issues which still remains.

"Right now we know it’s not one thing, but a combination of smaller ones that some folks are seeing, but others are not. Some seem to be the PS3 autosaving in the background (you can turn that off), some may be SPU AI updates, and some may relate to dynamic system memory allocation," Bethesda said in a recent statement updating fans with what they are working on. "These fixes are not in the current 1.3 update that is in final testing, but will be in future ones."

It didn't end there though.  Bethesda's VP of PR and Marketing got a little hot-headed when fans approached him with the issues brought up by Josh Sawyer.

"Josh Sawyer did not work on Skyrim nor this engine and his comments don't reflect how the current tech works," said Hines. "He brings up issues we solved long ago."

With the lag issue not being addressed in this week's "incremental update", Bethesda has offered some "helpful pointers that can help game performance."

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