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Loading improvements in KOTFE

A brief overview of some of the improvements to loading in KOTFE and a look at the new loading screen images.

In KOTFE Bioware have made a lot of technical improvements, considerably more than any other update to SWTOR since launch. They have made the loading screen bar much more representative of how far a long the loading actually is, rather than just sticking to a third done for 90% of the time. They have also changed the data format for areas from a text format to a binary format (that's oversimplifying things a bit though).

Loading screen stages

The following list how much each stage contributes to the total percentage:

  • Client area load - 25%
  • Loading HUD - 15%
  • Loading Repository Assets - 5%
  • Server communications - 25%
  • Spawning Entities - 5%
  • Streaming in assets - 10%
  • Waiting for replicated character - 15%

Technical Changes

I will try to keep this fairly simple. They have split up some of the larger files for the client into several smaller ones, which should in theory provide a few benefits to loading times. Defragmenters should be able to handle smaller files more efficiently, caching should be more efficient and if you are using something like SWTOR Unleashed you will have more choice over what you keep in memory, and the engine is probably a bit more efficient with smaller files but that might not be anything note worthy.

Previously areas were all in a text format (again, oversimplifying here), kind of like a config file. The new system hasn't completely ditched these "text files" but a large amount of the area data is now in a binary format. A binary format should be much more efficient for the engine to parse and thus should help with loading times and maybe even provide a small improvement to performance.

Patch Size

These changes impact both new and old assets, so when the KOTFE patch goes live it will include a lot old things you will have to download again. The KOTFE patch is going to be somewhere in the range of 10GB - 15GB at least from what we have seen so far.

New loading screen images (because why not?)

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Author: SwtorPotato