Forspoken loads in just 1 second on PC with DirectStorage

Luminous Production's new game Forspoken uses Microsoft's next-gen DirectStorage API to achieve lighting-fast loading speeds.

@DeekeTweak
Published Thu, Mar 24 2022 5:30 PM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Apr 20 2022 11:02 AM CDT

Luminous Productions is leveraging both Microsoft's and AMD"s next-gen APIs and tools for its new game Forspoken, creating an experience that fully leverages the might of enthusiast PC hardware.

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Luminous Productions just put out an extremely technical GDC 2022 presentation that breaks down Forspoken's new advanced technologies. The devs give a closer look at DirectStorage and how it enables ultra-fast loading on Forspoken on PC.

Forspoken is one of the first games to utilize Microsoft's powerful DirectStorage tech, a new DirectX 12 API that promises to supercharge loading speeds. As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding. Forspoken loads in just 1 second on PC using DirectStorage in tandem with a high-speed M.2 NVMe SSD.

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"Forspoken, on the other hand, has achieved loading that fully leverages hardware performance by implementing DirectStorage and optimizing with an emphasis on M.2 SSDs," Luminous Productions said in a GDC panel.

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"In our game, the data is stored in a compressed format. As such, when the data is loaded, it is passed into memory following a decompression processing. For GPU data, the GPU decompression API will be supported on DirectStorage. GPU decompression will allow GPU data to be loaded and stored directly into GPU memory without going through any CPU processing resulting in greater performance improvement."

Interestingly enough, Luminous Productions confirms that DirectStorage does not currently allow GPU decompression. So Forspoken is hitting 1 second loading times while still utilizing the CPU.

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"Because the current version of DirectStorage does not support GPU decompression, GPU data is decompressed on the CPU. This implementation, however, still outperforms existing Win32 APIs."

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The Luminous technician goes on to explain that DirectStorage allows the game to be decompressed and loaded simultaneously in parallel with one another. That's an extremely big benefit that will help supercharge IO.

A short demo was also shown comparing how fast DirectStorage can accelerate load times.

One scene had 20,000 files with 4.5GB of data and was loaded in 2.2 seconds with DirectStorage on an M.2 SSD, as compared to 2.6 seconds on Win32.

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"The difference in the actual loading times, however, is not as pronounced as the difference in IO performance. This indicates that file IO speed has improved to the point where it no longer a loading bottleneck.

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"Thanks to the implementation of M.2 SSDs and DirectStorage, write IO is no longer a bottleneck for loading times. Apart from write IO, the bottlenecks are prone to be the compression and asset initialization, both of which must be optimized more than ever in order to speed up loading."

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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