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Bungie on NXE, Halo 3's Longer Load Times

Halo 3 actually takes longer to load if you install it to the Xbox 360's hard drive. Wanna know why?

These shields! They take forever to load!
With the new Xbox 360 dashboard out around the world today, more people are installing games to their hard drives. And more people are noticing that Halo 3 actually takes longer to load when played from a hard drive than it does when running from the DVD. The Bungie blog updated this morning with a brief technical breakdown of the hows and whys behind Halo 3's performance.

The piece is a Q&A with Bungie's Mat Noguchi, who describes how Halo 3 uses the hard drive under normal circumstances. It seems that it already caches the maps to the hard drive for faster loading, even when you're playing from a disc. When you're running the game from the hard drive, it then has to copy those maps from one spot on the hard drive to the temporary utility partition used for cached data.

In short, reading and writing using the same device takes longer than moving that data from the disc to the hard drive.

Check out the full post for a bit more technical detail. For what it's worth, Bungie says that it will continue to monitor the situation, but says that fixing these new issues require a significant effort on their part and that it "could really be a rather significant change."

Considering how much I'm enjoying the newly quiet 360 when it's running off the disc, I'd probably consider installing Halo 3 anyway, even if the load times are a bit longer. But then, I haven't played Halo 3 is a pretty long time and probably won't pick it back up anytime soon.
Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
43 Comments
Posted by Jeff
These shields! They take forever to load!
With the new Xbox 360 dashboard out around the world today, more people are installing games to their hard drives. And more people are noticing that Halo 3 actually takes longer to load when played from a hard drive than it does when running from the DVD. The Bungie blog updated this morning with a brief technical breakdown of the hows and whys behind Halo 3's performance.

The piece is a Q&A with Bungie's Mat Noguchi, who describes how Halo 3 uses the hard drive under normal circumstances. It seems that it already caches the maps to the hard drive for faster loading, even when you're playing from a disc. When you're running the game from the hard drive, it then has to copy those maps from one spot on the hard drive to the temporary utility partition used for cached data.

In short, reading and writing using the same device takes longer than moving that data from the disc to the hard drive.

Check out the full post for a bit more technical detail. For what it's worth, Bungie says that it will continue to monitor the situation, but says that fixing these new issues require a significant effort on their part and that it "could really be a rather significant change."

Considering how much I'm enjoying the newly quiet 360 when it's running off the disc, I'd probably consider installing Halo 3 anyway, even if the load times are a bit longer. But then, I haven't played Halo 3 is a pretty long time and probably won't pick it back up anytime soon.
Staff
Edited by Clockswork

I installed Halo 3 and found that the first load time when you continue a campain, is WAY faster when running on the HDD. Didnt notice any other changes, will keep it sence my Xbox is nice and quiet :)

Posted by PLWolf

A quiet 360>>load times. any day, all day, and twice on Sunday.

Posted by Scooper

Yeah, not a massive issue but an issue none-the-less.

Posted by LiquidPrince

Makes the option pointless then no?

Posted by killdave

I've moved on from halo 3 now; dont bother "fixing" it Bungie.

Edited by bekern

ehh this sucks. I read somewhere that this can make starting an online match slower for everyone if you have it downloaded, since you have to wait until everyone has map loaded to start a match. Don't download this people! I hate waiting :(.

Posted by burjeffton--defunct

Halo is SOOOOO 2007.

Posted by pause422
burjeffton said:
"Halo is SOOOOO 2007."
Pretty much. Or more accurately for me, Halo was sooo about 5 days after it launched, and then put away forever.
Posted by BinaryDragon

ha! funny.

Posted by Driadon

That's a genius idea for Bungie to use the hardware like that, too bad it didn't really help them with this new dashboard. Wouldn't surprise me if they come out with a patch to avoid all that extra coping if you have the game installed.

Posted by dagas

NXE is out already? I've lost track of time, didn't realize it was 19th already =P (actually 20th as of a few minutes ago in GMT +1 timezone)

Posted by WilliamRLBaker
LiquidPrince said:
"Makes the option pointless then no?"
for halo 3 yes but most other games no, there are more games then halo 3 on 360.
Posted by CliffyB123

Good to see Microsoft getting installs RIGHT!

Posted by MasterSplinter
pause422 said:
"burjeffton said:
"Halo is SOOOOO 2007."
Pretty much. Or more accurately for me, Halo was sooo about 5 days after it launched, and then put away forever.
"
I still play a little.  =(
Posted by TheWesman

I'm with pause422.  I haven't played Halo 3 since I beat it.  A loooong time ago.  The hard drive install has made a difference on a few other games though, so it's not perfect, but still very handy.

Posted by AndrewB

Since installing Gears 2 and playing it in silence, the dvd drive noises have become all the more apparent and annoying to me. I think most people will agree that a whisper quiet console wins over slightly different load times any day.

Posted by taco484

guess Ill be saying "LETS MAKE SOME NOISE!!" and playing off the disc

Posted by Media_Master

hr mmm

Posted by Gorillawhat

The ONE game I was going to install! Gosh Darn Golly Master Chief!

Edited by MordeaniisChaos

Big deal. Most games aren't even noticably faster anyway. And its not like load times were super fast to begin with. You'll live. The BIG advantage of Disc free play is the noise. And besides, I assure you any games coming out now, with this in mind, will work much better. Wait to judge the feature till people actually use it. ie, don't judge HD TV's in general on a 32" 720p plasma, you need to check out 1080pand atleast 42"

Posted by Gorillawhat

Wait a second... Halo 3 sure as hell isn't the only game to use a cache on your HD...


DUN DUN DUHHH!

Posted by Kyle

If you ask me, it's just a testament to the loading optimization the Bungie guys were able to put in the game. I mean, the load times were never really so intense anyways. And since there's no point in ripping Halo 3 to your HDD, there's more room for other stuff.

Posted by Milkman

Doesn't seem like something that is really worth Bungie going back and fixing.

Edited by SmugDarkLoser
Gorillawhat said:
"Wait a second... Halo 3 sure as hell isn't the only game to use a cache on your HD...


DUN DUN DUHHH!"

It isn't.
However, it probably does it the best.

Bungie is rather damn good about smart coding if reading their powerpoints is any indication.
They not only cache the map data, but also sound and stuff like that.
Posted by Green_Incarnate

I just installed Halo 3 only to receive the message not to do so. Woops.

Posted by calf_exercises

yeah, that make sence.... i guess

Posted by cikame

Fallout 3 takes 1 or 2 seconds longer to save, but its faster loading in many areas.

Posted by StaticFalconar

Who still plays Halo 3?

Posted by marcusfriendly

Thats because Halo 3 sucks

Posted by TwoOneFive

i well my [s3 loads [retty fast and runs quite as a mouse

Posted by ShaneF1984

"A quiet 360>>load times. any day, all day, and twice on Sunday."

This.

Posted by PJ

i think the main reason for most when they install to HDD is to reduce the noise and not to fix load times since in most games they really arent a problem. I can wait a couple of seconds longer for something to load but the noise could drive you nuts if you play at low volume.

Posted by SmugDarkLoser
marcusfriendly said:
"Thats because Halo 3 sucks"

Wouldn't it be because Halo rocks to the max?
How is this not a compliment to the game? 
Posted by Metamorphic

"Who still plays Halo 3?"

So you only play games while the hype is on them? Repeating and following the crowd... but maybe that is not the case.

Whats wrong with playing good games or games that you like?

I still play Halo 1 *blush* :)

Posted by PsYuSoFly

Halo 3 is still the top 1 or 2 most played game on XBOX live. So Quit hating.

Posted by dsplayer1010

I'm sticking with loading off the disk.

Posted by tmontana1004

wow you fanboys should just not comment if you don't like the game and are going to bash it.

Posted by Mats

Now if we only could do something about those cooling fans....

Posted by jaycrockett

I want to know more about this 'utility partition'.  Is that why I can't get anywhere near 20gb out of my hard drive?

Edited by crunchUK
StaticFalconar said:
"Who still plays Halo 3?"
around 600-700 thousand people a day. also you do realize the peaks have dropped from 300.000 players at one time to around 250-270.000 players depiste gears 2, fable 2, fallout, nuts and bolts etc etc? the same cannot be said for other games
Posted by crunchUK

oh and i installed halo... my disk has a crack going from the inside so it's THE SMART THING TO DO. and smugdarkloser is absolutely correct about them cacheing the sound effects - before when i didn't have a hard drive all the sound effects were more... basic somehow, as if they had less layers. very interesting stuff lol

Posted by Gorillawhat

I was a bit curious as to wether installing the game was that bad, so I decided to test it out. What I found was ever 1/3 times when I attempted to start a multilplayer match, it would either say "One or more players does not have the required maps for this playlist" (I own all the H3 DLC) or "Could not load information form XBL". Right after, I uninstalled the game, and everything worked beautifully. Any one else try?