I’ve been meaning to write about this for a while but keep forgetting! As games get more and more graphic-card demanding the loads times seems to be ever increasing.
I first noticed this when I started (not finished!) playing Quake 4. I seemed to be sitting there fore ages just waiting for the next level to load. I even recorded the wait times. Most were around the 45 seconds mark with some over 60 seconds. Now, I accept that it very much depends on the specs of the computer but I have an average spec PC, so it should be a good guide.
Surely there is something that could be done with what you see. I accept (again?) that there is little you can do about the time but you can certainly use the time better. And before you say “Well, why don’t you go to the toilet or get a drink”. I would say that I prefer to try and keep the atmosphere. By moving away from the computer I am moving away from the immersion. Can you imagine movie that had 60-second breaks every 10-20 minutes? Neither can I!
Why not put a graphic up that explains something about the background story or more details about the weapons? There must be plenty of things that could add to the feel without adding something as tacky as advertisements. Taking of which I bet we are not far from the day when these load screens do become ads.
I can’t see why these loading screens couldn’t be updated via the Internet to include many things, including details of maps and mods in development (By the developer or even mod teams), extra information about the level that would help find hidden areas or Easter eggs. The list could go on. Why not even fan artwork supplied by the community?
I remember reading this sentence somewhere: “The difference between killing a man and making him wait is just a matter of degree.” It’s one of my favourite sayings and I can’t find or remember where it comes from (If anybody knows please, please tell me. It seems to fit this situation very well.
So, please stop making players wait and give them something useful other than just a pretty screen!