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28 September 2016

Texture Streaming in War Thunder on all platforms


We'll start with the quick version.

If you play on a less powerful computer or on a PS4, you may have noticed that you connect to battles only after they've already started. To optimize loading time texture streaming has been added to War Thunder. This provides the means to significantly reduce the time required to load into a battle, and allows you to join a battle at the same time as all other players.​

Now, more detail about the feature.


“Texture Streaming” is the main technical addition to update 1.63 Desert Hunters.
The technology improves the game in five ways at the same time:

Speeding up loading on ALL platforms. While loading a battle, your processor, video card and hard disk work together to load all the required in-game textures into memory. Large textures require longer to load. But the time can be reduced if the game is allowed to load textures of reasonable quality, but of a smaller size. This allows the player to begin the game and play while the remaining textures are loading. This approach speeds up loading by up to 30%!

Improving replays and spectator mode. You probably haven't noticed this, but previously, high-quality textures only loaded for the player's model, while basic textures were used for everyone else. In replays and in spectator mode, you will have seen other players (allies or enemies) only in basic quality. Streaming allows the loading of high-quality textures in real time, both for the ally you're observing or in a replay, which increases quality on the whole in these modes. This improvement will initially work only for specific vehicle textures.

Speeding up top-spec computers. Streaming works on a set quota of video card memory. If the video card has a lot of memory (2GB or 4GB), streaming provides a means NOT to unload unused textures from memory until the stored textures exceed the quota.
This means that the amount of textures loaded can be radically reduced, along with the time required to load them. This is most clear in the hangar, for example – when a player switches between airplanes, they display significantly faster the second time, since part of their textures doesn't have to be loaded again.

Fewer bugs. Streaming also eliminates bugs related to insufficient video memory by reducing the quality of less important textures when the set quota is exceeded, thus freeing up memory for more important textures.

More free memory. There is an entire range of textures (primarily game effects) that are rarely used. In this case, streaming saves memory because these textures initially aren't loaded at all, but load only when they are first used. In the case of effect textures, the average memory saved amounts to hundreds of megabytes in textures. This also reduces the time required to load them by several seconds.

  • Controlling texture quality allows streaming to save video memory when the player and their opponents use a single vehicle model.
  • Previously in this case, high-quality textures loaded for the player while basic textures loaded for the opponents – now the opponents will have the same textures as the player. This not only saves memory, it also improves the FPS (frame rate) on your computer.

To support this technology, we've improved the compression algorithm for all textures, so in 1.63 our players will have to download them again. Use the preload function to download the update before its release! (link)

In addition, we've used new technology to reduce the size of future updates on the PS4.

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