DirectStorage capabilities demonstrated by Forspoken game developers
Luminous Productions, the developer of Forspoken, recently presented some of the latest cutting-edge game technologies at GDC, including support for Microsoft’s DirectStorage. Forspoken is a single-player 3rd person RPG game that is scheduled to release on October 11 this year for PC and PS5. Surprisingly enough, the game is not currently planned for the latest Xbox consoles, which already benefit from the DirectStorage technology.
Microsoft announced the availability of the DirectStorage API last week, but there was no list with upcoming games supporting this technology. It is unclear how much time is required for this technology to be fully implemented, as Luminous Productions may have collaborated with Microsoft to integrate DirectStorage support before the official API got released. In any case, the GDC Forspoken trailer showcases some loading time comparisons between NVMe, SATA SSD and HDD storage solutions, so we now have an idea of what to expect.
Unsurprisingly, the HDD load times are more than 10 times slower compared to NVMe, whereas SATA SSDs are only 2 times slower than NVMe, altough we are talking about mere seconds. It might depend on the level and scene complexity, but we would have expected NVMe to be at least 10 times faster than SATA SSDs, as well, judging by raw sequential read speeds. Unfortunately, the trailer does not show the difference with and without DirectStorage, yet the developers provided a separate slide with minimal gains over the default Win32 API, despite the considerable NVMe I/O boost.
Granted, this is the first DirectStorage version, and Microsoft promised to deliver improved speeds with future iterations. Moreover, other game developers could spend some more time to optimize this feature, so the performance gap between DirectStorage and Win32 API might eventually widen.
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