Microsoft’s new DirectStorage feature for Windows platforms aims to usher in a new era of fast load times for PC gaming. The company claims that DirectStorage will enable developers to load full game worlds within seconds – something the PS5 is already capable of doing thanks to its custom SSD pipeline. However, PC gaming is often restricted due to the way NVMe data is transferred to and from your GPU.
That is about to change with DirectStorage which aims to send decompressed game files, that are decompressed by the CPU first, to your GPU in the first place eliminating the need for the GPU to decompress these files which in turn causes longer load times. Sadly, DirectStorage isn’t a feature that Microsft can enable and apply to every game out there. Instead, developers have to apply this Windows tool to their game during development or patch it in.
One of the first studios to work with DirectStorage is Forspoken developer Luminous Productions. Speaking during the GDC 2022 presentation, game director Teppei Ono says that Square Enix is implementing DirectStorage in Forskpoken. The feature will see the game world load within seconds. Of course, this will also rely on your PC meeting the system requirements. One of which is an SSD capable of over 5,000MB/s reads.
This new one-second load time (which is not actually one second) sees Forskpoken load in 1.9, 1.8 and 2.2 seconds depending on the scene. This is thanks to the DirectStorage API that offloads the files for graphical assets from the CPU to the GPU. As a result, the game files load much faster than using other tools and of course, other storage solutions.
Game director Teppei Ono says that these load times might not be drastically different from games without DirectStorage but they will definitely be better if your SSDs are faster. If anything, this tech takes full advantage of your SSD and enhances its speeds wherever possible while gaming. It bypasses the I/O bottleneck for loading times and can only improve over time.
Ono also claims that Forspoken is the fastest PC game he has ever seen when it comes to loading. He says that no other games take advantage of DirectStorage and the NVMe as much as Forspoken does. Of course, this is in comparison to other modern games on the market.
Forspoken is set to launch in October this year. The game was recently delayed from its May release date to 11 October.
Source: The Verge