Image: Square Enix

Microsoft officially released its DirectStorage API for PC developers last week, but how fast will the new technology that promises to drastically reduce loading times in games by leveraging the speed of modern storage solutions such as M.2 NVMe SSDs actually be? Incredibly fast, according to a new video showcasing various technologies employed in Square Enix and Luminous Productions’ upcoming fantasy RPG, Forspoken. In addition to the usual stuff like ambient occlusion and screen space reflections, a portion of the video can confirm that Forspoken players with M.2 SSDs will be able to enjoy loading times as fast as 1.7 seconds thanks to Microsoft’s DirectStorage. This is a massive improvement over SATA SSDs and HDDs, the latter of which can take over 20 seconds to load the game.

The Technologies of FORSPOKEN (Luminous Productions)

“The Technologies of FORSPOKEN” is a video introducing the implementation of FORSPOKEN incorporating the latest technologies from AMD and Microsoft announced at GDC (Game Developers Conference) 2022.

By supporting the technologies such as AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution and Microsoft DirectStorage, FORSPOKEN will be able to provide higher performance and more beautiful gaming experience. Please take a look at Luminous Productions’ commitment to always being on the cutting edge.

About Forspoken (Steam)

Mysteriously transported from New York City, Frey Holland finds herself trapped in the breathtaking land of Athia. A magical, sentient bracelet is inexplicably wrapped around her arm, and Frey discovers the ability to cast powerful spells and use magic to traverse the sprawling landscapes of Athia. Frey nicknames her new golden companion “Cuff” and sets off to find a way home.

Frey soon learns this beautiful land once flourished under the reign of benevolent matriarchs, called Tantas, until a devastating blight relentlessly corrupted everything it touched. The Break transformed animals into beasts, men into monsters, and rich landscapes into four dangerous realms. At the center of their shattered domains, the Tantas now rule as maddened and evil sorceresses.

Unaffected by the Break and desperate for answers, Frey reluctantly agrees to help the last remaining citizens of Athia who see her as their only hope. Frey’s journey through this strange and treacherous land will take her deep into the heart of corruption where she must battle monstrous creatures, confront the powerful Tantas, and uncover secrets that awaken something much more from within.

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11 comments

  1. What I really want to see is a comparison of a system with and without direct storage api emabled. Not sure how to do that without the game having a setting. Maybe disable in the registry? Something to look into.
  2. What I really want to see is a comparison of a system with and without direct storage api emabled. Not sure how to do that without the game having a setting. Maybe disable in the registry? Something to look into.

    They did post comparisons with and without DirectStorage. Not a big difference, but measurable. The bottleneck seems to be the decompression stage, at least in their specific workflow. Lots more in the Youtube video.


    85264_57_forspoken-loads-in-just-1-second-on-pc-with-directstorage_full.png
  3. They did post comparisons with and without DirectStorage. Not a big difference, but measurable. The bottleneck seems to be the decompression stage, at least in their specific workflow. Lots more in the Youtube video.
    Wow that graph says a lot.

    Should revise the title of the post to "

    Forspoken Loads in Less than Two Seconds on M.2 SSDs Thanks to DirectStorage (and just 2.1 seconds without it thanks to optimized programming)


    Yeah.. 0.2 seconds difference is ... not exactly very exciting. I'm... extremely apathetic about it now, and feel even worse about Windows 11 than I had before. Sure, those IO speed graphs look awesome, but the real tell is the loading time - that's where you're gonna see (or in this case, not see) the benefits. I guess drives aren't the bottle neck - who would have guessed (/s).

    Also - I didn't think DirectStorage was supported on SATA interface, but it's here in the test result graph for both SSD and HDD. Hmm. Seems to actually make a bigger difference on SATA than anything.

    I'm also totally expecting an nVidia graph to come along, with flames along the side, showing it can completely whoop AMD's *** with DirectStorage - probably showing that it actually reverses the space time continuum and reduces wrinkles and aging. And I haven't seen a good Arc post in a while, weren't those cards supposed to be out by the end of the month?
  4. Seems to me the game load time and the world load time might be the bigger difference. If you're pulling 2862MB per second and loading the level in 2.1 seconds you're loading down 6010.2 mb of data... potentially.

    Where as on the Direct Storage one you're pulling down lets see.. 4829mb/s at 1.9 seconds... 9175.1mb of data off of the storage API.

    I think the tell is the ability to stream multiple files at the same time for enhanced access. And offloading that access to the storage away from the CPU needing to crunch the data.

    On the same token there are other questions I have. Is the special graphics mode being used on the 6800 with AMD CPU. (I forget what it's called but basically direct memory access for the GPU to the system memory... or at least abbreviated.) And what speed SSD was used.. because really that speed hit at 4829 my SSD can do better. Mine benchmarks at 6799mb/s

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  5. That video is very informative but HOLY CRAP is it dry!

    So there is a clear future state where the gpu will be able to offload the decompression of data to itself for processing with an updated direct storage API.

    In thinking about this from a enterprise stand point I wonder if this would let our servers have better simultaneous streaming access to database data for queries without having to tie up a CPU thread? Meaning what if we could offload threads to a GPU processor for handling I/O Queries. No longer would you need to spend tends of thousands of dollars to feed I/O processing for a DB as long as you throw in a enterprise class GPU to handle processing of those queries with the hundreds or thousands of stream processors that you have available on a GPU...

    I really doubt I'm alone in considering that right?

    Ok not alone but you would need to define data sets that are eligible to be processed in GPU memory by heavily multi threaded processing. Which means in essence it could be great for inputting small data streams very quickly and offloading CPU thread bottlenecks. Ultimately meaning your licensing spend for the SQL DB might be less because you can save your threads for larger queries requiring working with larger datasets.

    Quite interesting... really VERY interesting. I think a DBA (I'm not one) needs to dig into this. Time to fire off an email to the ole boss man.
  6. They did post comparisons with and without DirectStorage. Not a big difference, but measurable. The bottleneck seems to be the decompression stage, at least in their specific workflow. Lots more in the Youtube video.


    View attachment 1514
    Wow, I've always wanted to save 200 milliseconds on loading. Thanks microsoft for doing something truly important.
  7. Seems to me the game load time and the world load time might be the bigger difference. If you're pulling 2862MB per second and loading the level in 2.1 seconds you're loading down 6010.2 mb of data... potentially.

    Where as on the Direct Storage one you're pulling down lets see.. 4829mb/s at 1.9 seconds... 9175.1mb of data off of the storage API.
    You can't simplify it to that level. Most of a game's "loading" time especially on an SSD is not actually spent reading files from disk into memory.
  8. After seeing the graph all I can think of is that they should use the correct terminology, there is no such thing as an M.2 SSD, I'm assuming they mean NVMe SSD.

    I can almready see the angry gamers with an SATA M.2 SSD complaining their game does not load as fast as promised.
  9. After seeing the graph all I can think of is that they should use the correct terminology, there is no such thing as an M.2 SSD, I'm assuming they mean NVMe SSD.

    I can almready see the angry gamers with an SATA M.2 SSD complaining their game does not load as fast as promised.
    Yea the slides were sparse on hardware data. Clearly programmers wrote this. ;)

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