Sony's Dynamic Loading Patent
Load screens have been a common sight in video games for years now, and with games getting more detailed with every year, the loading times have also increased to reflect the graphics load. However, games like the new God of War have shown that this doesn't need to be a necessity, as some clever resource management can help reduce the time taken drastically. This management can be done on both the hardware level and the software side, and consoles like the Xbox and Playstation could really benefit from such improvements.
Sony has already announced their plans to use SSD's for RAM related tasks in the next gen Playstation console, in hopes of tackling the hardware side of the issue, and if this new patent is any indication, they aren't too far away from implementing the software side as well.
The patent in question, is a addition to an existing 2012 patent, that related to setting up a load boundary for game software, depending on the players position in the game environment. In this new update, the load boundary is used as an physical signal to load relevant graphical assets, as the player moves into certain areas or, even reloading previous assets if the player starts backtracking through the level.
In Sony's own words, the process works as follows:
“A system and method are disclosed for dynamically loading game software for smooth game play. A load boundary associated with a game environment is identified. A position of a character in the game environment is then monitored. Instructions corresponding to a next game environment are loaded into a memory when the character crosses the load boundary, such that game play is not interrupted."
As you can guess by now, this means that not only will games automatically load the surrounding infrastructure on its own, but it also won't take special prompts to start loading various characters, creatures and/or enemies related to that part of the game map. If this becomes a reality, then players will get a truly immersive experience that isn't interrupted every time they enter a new territory or mission, make it a truly game changing development.