Memory card space question

Not sure if this goes in hardware or not, anyway last night while I was deleting stuff in my Ps2 memory card I noticed how there is a huge difference in how much space different games take up. GT4 wanted 1145 , Steambot Chroncles wanted 856, and Final Fantasy 12 wanted around 150. What determines how much space or memory a game will take up either on a card or internal drive, is it determined by how much data is on the game disc, or something completely different?

It depends on how much state information there is that’s needed to restore you to an appropriate save point. A simple action game might only need to store a checkpoint number and your current health and ammo counts, whereas a complicated RPG might need to store a ton of different stats for each party member, inventories, modifiers on crafted items, numerous quest state flags, worldwide object state flags (e.g., which chests have already been opened), positions of monsters in the current area if save-anywhere is allowed, their current health and status afflictions, states and current positions of destructible/modifiable objects around you…

Edit: GT4 probably wants so much since you can have a fairly large garage of cars, and they prefer to preallocate the maximum space needed even if you don’t have that many cars yet (avoids an unpleasant surprise later on if you were to try and save and discover you don’t have enough space for a larger save file).

Complicated RPGs often need a lot of state, but it seems Japanese games are otherwise more efficient than western games.

It also depends on what kind of data the game is going to store. Games that allow you to take pictures, for instance, take up a ton of space as it has to store a bitmap in there too.

Yeah, I recall the Jak games needing over a meg apiece for their saves.

This has more to do with checkpoints vs instant saves. For your average japanese rpg all it has to do is store plot flags and characters stats, and then an index corresponding to the save point.

A lot of north american games, even if they have checkpoints, store a game snapshot which includes the details of every entity in a level. Which uses vastly more data than a save point.

It’s not really about efficiency, it’s about how much you want to save.

Thanks for the clear up, is this way universial across platforms? I remember that pikmin1 and 2 were enough to fill up one GC 54 card.

Pretty much, it’s entirely driven by the type of game rather than the platform (though the platform might bias what type of game it is). I’ve seen PC save games anywhere from a few bytes to tens of megabytes, and supposedly those XYZ Manager type games can get up to the hundreds of megabytes.

Yeah it’s very game specific, and dependent on what the developer wants to save. I think the largest save games I’ve seen was Deus Ex, but that was an artifact of the unreal engine of the day sucking ass, as it wasn’t meant to save, and their save system involved writing out the entire map again, as a save game.

Come to think of it, I think Neverwinter Nights did the same thing.

Anyway, there’s a lot of tricks developers can pull, but in some cases you just have no choice but to save almost everything. Instant saves in first person shooters, for instance, have to save the state of everything that you’ve interacted with.

Ummm… what? Granted it’s been a while since I played the original Unreal, but I do seem to recall it having the usual FPS save functionality.

The unreal engine that Deus Ex was built on was meant more for multiplayer than single player (The UT engine), and the save functionality wasn’t thought through very well on an engine level. It had the functionality, but it was extremely inefficient, which is why some people like me ended up with something like five gigs of savegame data. That inefficiency wasn’t a big issue when the data set was small, like in the original unreal.