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Halo 3 and NXE: HDD Install Causes Slower Loading Times ...


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#31 neoxalucard

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:44 PM

QUOTE(Master3xBOx @ Nov 20 2008, 09:16 PM) View Post

For those of you that want real world times for comparisons as how long it takes to load from hdd -> hdd dvd -> hdd or straight from the dvd here's an interesting link.
http://www.neogaf.co...p;postcount=189


The only problem with that is Bungie isn't worried about single player, and that's not the argument. It's multiplayer, those test were done on single player maps (who cares?).

"If you just plan to play campaign or offline content, you may feel that the tradeoff is worth it in order to have a slightly quieter Xbox 360 and reduced impact to your disc drive. However, if you play Halo 3 online, please be aware that increased map loading times can have a negative impact to everyone’s experience. In some cases, it could take considerably longer to load multiplayer maps, meaning that everyone you are matched with is also stuck waiting for your maps to load. If people start to lose patience, you then have scenarios of players leaving parties and aborting matching because they don’t want to wait. This adds to the problem, creating a cycle where more and more people have a harder time getting into the games they want to play. To avoid this negative situation, we are advising that Halo 3 players do not install the game to their HDD."

Bungie is worried that every one will get impatient with the slightly increased load times (if any) and jump out of matches left n' right the avoid a longer wait (possibly of a few seconds if any).

Some people have argued that if you have less wait in loading it's because you've been playing and it has already cashed so you will never notice it unless you play 7 games a day before you play H3. The problem with that is most people don't, quite a few people play nothing but H3 (and some other games every once in a great while).

#32 Devedander

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:56 AM

QUOTE(MilkyNL @ Nov 19 2008, 03:02 PM) View Post

If you read the full story, you'll know the exact reason...


I mistook this part

QUOTE
To help explain why this is the case I tapped our uber engineer and Chief Caching Officer, Mat Noguchi, to answer a few questions.


As some kind of stayed tuned and we will get back to you later thing. Didn't realize the story went further.

Anyhow makes total sense... exactly why I have multiple drives in my computer, keeps large file size copying snappy.

#33 MrFish

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:28 AM

Weh weh weh.

Would you like some cheese with your whine, Bungie?

So sorry that you're faced with having to do some engineering when a major OS update comes out and you'd really rather be doing fun new games. You must be the only company ever to find themselves in a situation like this. Suck it up, stop blaming the user, and fix your game.



Halo 2 had this exact same problem when you 'installed it to the hard drive'. The root cause was that it used a teeny-tiny block size when copying maps over. It would read a teeny-tiny amount, then immediately write it to the cache partition, then read the next teeny-tiny amount. Ostensibly this was because the Xbox only had 64MB to play in, but really it was so that the game would run well off the DVD, but mysteriously break off the hard disk. The reason, of course, being that reading from and writing to different devices means that most of the million seeks are to a place the heads are already at, but reading from and writing to the same device means it has to actually perform them and gets clobbered.

There's no reason Halo 3 has to be modified in any kind of hacky, 'detect and catch the corner-cases'way; all it needs to do is instead of reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, then reading a half-k or so, then writing a half-k or so, simply use a bigger buffer the exact way Halo:CE did.

I mean, you could do a benchmarked mad thrash-copy to work out whether you're running off the hard disk* (or a straight benchmarked read to work out if the device you're running off is fast enough to not need the cache), and then copy or not copy maps**, but there's no real point in doing so when you can just use a sensible buffer size like every other program in the known universe***. Copying files is not hard.

Getting a few million people to change their mind 'for the good of the community' is hard.





* the way the new OS implements the HD install is to use a disk image to emulate running off the disk, so the game can't just ask if it's on the hard disk or not
** Another solution would be to release a 'Halo 3 maps on your hard disk' bit of DLC: Halo doesn't cache DLC maps, because it can tell that they're already on the hard disk.
*** Does Windows go batshit when you (copy c:\large_file c:\copy_of_large_file)? No it does not.

#34 neoxalucard

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 03:14 AM

Here is a video i threw together to show H3 and NXE in action.



#35 MrFish

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:01 AM

QUOTE(neoxalucard @ Nov 20 2008, 11:20 PM) View Post

if you play Halo 3 online, please be aware that increased map loading times can have a negative impact to everyone’s experience. In some cases, it could take considerably longer to load multiplayer maps, meaning that everyone you are matched with is also stuck waiting for your maps to load.


The corollary, of course, is that if even one person in the match has installed Halo 3, then you're all going to have to wait anyway, so you might as well install it too and save yourself the earache.

It's the prisoners' dilemma, except the Rat gets a cookie.

#36 ssj4android

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 05:06 AM

QUOTE(g8crapachino @ Nov 20 2008, 04:31 PM) View Post

Please, spare everyone your smug arrogance. You're just anothing self proclaimed "genius" who thinks that just because he can write a few simple apps in Visual Studio that he has the answers to to everything. Unless you work at Bungie you probable haven't got the slightlest clue as to what it would really take. In the real world there are things to worry about beyond just the actual code when providing a fix to any application.


Well, without any real information all we have are these guesses. What do think would make it so hard?
The 360 API isn't publicly accessible, is it? Is there a way to check if the game is running from HDD? Only thing I can really think of is Microsoft didn't backport that function to the older libraries Halo 3 is using.

#37 g8crapachino

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 09:31 AM

QUOTE(neoxalucard @ Nov 20 2008, 10:20 PM) View Post

...clip...

Some people have argued that if you have less wait in loading it's because you've been playing and it has already cashed so you will never notice it unless you play 7 games a day before you play H3. The problem with that is most people don't, quite a few people play nothing but H3 (and some other games every once in a great while).



Do you serious think those hardcore H3 only players will quite playing because the map load time went up 5~7 seconds?? No matter how you argue it, the premise is very shallow.

#38 neoxalucard

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 11:56 AM

QUOTE(g8crapachino @ Nov 21 2008, 10:07 AM) View Post

Do you serious think those hardcore H3 only players will quite playing because the map load time went up 5~7 seconds?? No matter how you argue it, the premise is very shallow.


No, I don't and that's exactly my point.

#39 Devedander

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 08:24 PM

Here's what I am wondering... don't people who don't have a hard drive already slow down the game as they have to load from disc every time? So aren't H3 users already used to potentially slow load times every now and then? Why would this cause them to leave if they have already been experiencing it before?



#40 neoxalucard

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 03:11 AM

QUOTE(Devedander @ Nov 21 2008, 09:00 PM) View Post

Here's what I am wondering... don't people who don't have a hard drive already slow down the game as they have to load from disc every time? So aren't H3 users already used to potentially slow load times every now and then? Why would this cause them to leave if they have already been experiencing it before?


That's another good point, it can take up to 5 er 6 min (on a good day)to get into a game on live anyway. Sitting and waiting is part of the game unfortunately.

I really think Bungie was just trying to avoid mass panic and a snowball effect. In hind sight, it would have been foolish of Bungie no to have tested harddrive play and made a statement/warning to the public regarding their findings.

#41 MrFish

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 07:41 PM

QUOTE(Devedander @ Nov 21 2008, 09:00 PM) View Post

Here's what I am wondering... don't people who don't have a hard drive already slow down the game as they have to load from disc every time? So aren't H3 users already used to potentially slow load times every now and then? Why would this cause them to leave if they have already been experiencing it before?

Because a hard disk doing a full-blown thrash-copy is way, way, way slower than a DVD drive doing sequential reading.

The DVD spends all its time reading at a pretty steady speed, whereas the hard disk spends the majority of its time flinging the heads back and forth accomplishing nothing.

#42 llsTixll

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 04:32 AM

Can someone please help me understand this statement:

"So then the real question is why is copying from HDD to HDD slower than copying from DVD to HDD? In the first case, you are reading from one I/O device (HDD) and writing to the same I/O device (HDD). In the second case, you are reading from one I/O device (DVD) and writing to a different I/O device (HDD). In the first case, because we are reading and writing to the same device, the total copy time is the amount of time it takes to read the map plus the time it takes to write the map. Ultimately this is because for the HDD, you read and write through the same mechanism, i.e., the hard drive read/write head, and those reads and writes cannot occur simultaneously through a single mechanism."


As a test on my PC, I copied some data from my optical drive to the hard drive and it took 4 mins. Copying the exact same data to another location on my hard drive took 45 seconds.

How can they say copying from DVD to HDD is slower than copying HDD to HDD?

#43 yaazz

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 12:38 AM

QUOTE(llsTixll @ Nov 26 2008, 12:08 AM) View Post
Can someone please help me understand this statement:

"So then the real question is why is copying from HDD to HDD slower than copying from DVD to HDD? In the first case, you are reading from one I/O device (HDD) and writing to the same I/O device (HDD). In the second case, you are reading from one I/O device (DVD) and writing to a different I/O device (HDD). In the first case, because we are reading and writing to the same device, the total copy time is the amount of time it takes to read the map plus the time it takes to write the map. Ultimately this is because for the HDD, you read and write through the same mechanism, i.e., the hard drive read/write head, and those reads and writes cannot occur simultaneously through a single mechanism."


As a test on my PC, I copied some data from my optical drive to the hard drive and it took 4 mins. Copying the exact same data to another location on my hard drive took 45 seconds.

How can they say copying from DVD to HDD is slower than copying HDD to HDD?


This is a good question but a completely different circumstance.
On a PC, the computer knows its copying from itself to itself so instead of copying the data, it just modifies the file system to tell the Hard drive the data is located at this new location.
No ones and zeroes of the actual data are moved, just file system tags are changed. This is also the reason Fragmentation happens.

On the xbox, Halo 3 takes the actual map data and loads it to a special section on the hard drive set aside for JUST game data, nothing else. Halo 3 doesn't know its loading off of the hard drive, and just checks to see if the game data is in this special hard drive area. If its not there it copys it over, even though its already on the hard drive.
Since a Hard drive cant read and write at the same time (And for that matter, a DVD burner couldnt either), it takes longer then reading from one device and transfering to another.


#44 Libtoem

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Posted 28 November 2008 - 10:39 AM

I remember playing Halo 3 on my old dev kit and it ran pretty fast on the hdd.But I do know the way a game is run from the hdd on a retail kit is different..




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