The Crew Dev on PS4’s Play as you Download: “This Could be Tricky for an Open-World Game”

One of the many exciting features the PlayStation 4 (and now the Xbox One) possesses is Play as you Download – something that allows you to begin playing a game purchased through the PlayStation Store almost immediately, while the rest of the file downloads in the background. Though we’ve been quite happy thinking of how this will positively affect our game playing by reducing waiting to a minimum, the developer’s side of things hasn’t really been given much attention.

During a Ubisoft Reflections talk at the Developer Conference (via Eurogamer), Chris Jenner, Expert Programmer, said that PayD “means you need to be careful about how you arrange your data in download packages so that the data you access first is downloaded first and the game can start while it’s still downloading.” For something like Killzone: Shadow Fall, which allows you to download either the single player or multiplayer first, the game is on a much more linear path when compared to the open-world nature of The Crew, something Jenner addressed:

This could be tricky for an open-world game because theoretically the player can go anywhere, so it’s hard to know what data we should be downloading first. There is some flexibility in the system in that you can decide the order to download the packages based on what the player is doing, but basically to get a quick start we’ve had to build that into the design of the game so you will start with only a limited area of the game open. But I think that’s quite usual in open-world games anyway, to get the player used to the world.

Chris continued his talk by looking at how the data is arranged and that “you need to think about where all your different bits of data live, in which chunks you want them to be arranged for download, which is really quite similar to disc-authoring on previous generations where you need to start thinking about where you’re putting all your data for effective access. It wasn’t a big issue to do that [for The Crew].”

While I hope that arranging the data isn’t too difficult a task, I also really hope that file sizes of PlayStation 4 games aren’t so big that it takes hours to finish the background download.

Are you looking forward to The Crew? Let us know in the comments below.

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