Former Frostbite Software Engineer Explains How PS5’s SSD Will Work

It's about more than just what the player can see.

The SSD has been the big buzzword for Sony as far as their PS5 talk is concerned, and there’s been no shortage of exciting claims about what it’s going to enable developers to do going forward. Many developers, too, have spoken about the topic, and had some interesting things to say about it’s potential. How long it takes for that potential to be realized remains to be seen, but one thing that is indisputable is that there is potential.

Another developer who agrees with that notion is Yan Chernikov, a game engine developer who has previously worked as a software engineer on DICE and EA’s Frostbite engine. In a video reacting to Mark Cerny’s “Road to PS5” deep dive on the next-gen console’s tech, Chernikov had plenty to say about the console’s SSD in particular, and what that means for developers of games.

We’re heard plenty about how developers will no longer be bound by low streaming speeds of assets or load times that usually force them to create smaller sections of game worlds or split them up with hidden load times in corridors and the like, and Chernikov went into greater detail on that. Essentially, it’s about much more than what the player can see.

“If that would be possible that means that again you don’t have to split your world up into chunks, you don’t have to worry about like ‘Oh, I need this, I need that,'” he said. “So, like obviously, if you still need AI running in the background colliding with things and pathfinding and all of that you still need the basic mesh for the world geometry and all that loaded, and you’ll need other assets like always, for example present in RAM. But luckily those assets are generally a lot smaller than really high detailed models and textures and all that stuff.”

“So if that were possible, you wouldn’t need to worry about corridors or even worry about splitting up the world into anything,” he continued. “The world could literally be pretty much infinite in complexity and detail, because it’s only showing what you’re looking at. And unless you can look, unless there’s a section where you can overlook the entire world and everything has to be in like max detail – which it probably wouldn’t, because certain things would be so far away that you’d have like some kind of proxy for them, like a lower LOD mesh, or, you know, with Unreal Engine 5, I guess some kind of triangle culling thing that just figures out what you actually need all of that stuff for – and unless you have that huge kind of overlooking thing, you know the actual view of the player usually is rather small. And that’s really cool, obviously, if you’re dealing with a level editor where you’re trying to design the world and the developers are using this tool to create this world, and they would want to see a lot of it at once, a lot more than the player usually does. In general, this is really good.”

You can take a look at the whole video below.

The PS5 is currently scheduled to launch Holiday 2020, while recent reports have indicated that Sony plan on showing off new games for the console and reveal more details in early June, and then in August. Read more on that through here.