Skyrim PS3 performance issues still present after patch, not an easy fix

Last week Bethesda rolled out a patch across all platforms in an attempt to address some platform-specific issues as well as general ones. One such issue that the patch was supposed to address was the severe performance degradation on the PlayStation 3 version resulting from extended periods of play.

According to Digital Foundry, however, the problem still exists. DF notes that while the patch did improve performance issues noticeably, the root of the problem still exists and so too does the potential for unplayable framerates if your save file is too large. The only workaround is to play in short-bursts of around 30 minutes, after which point you’ll need to restart the game.

Josh Sawyer, director for Fallout: New Vegas, suggested in a Q&A on Formspring that the problem has to do with the engine and the way it handles memory.

“It’s an engine-level issue with how the save game data is stored off as bit flag differences compared to the placed instances in the main .esm + DLC .esms,” he said (via VG247).

“As the game modifies any placed instance of an object, those changes are stored off into what is essentially another .esm. When you load the save game, you’re loading all of those differences into resident memory.”

Sawyer went on to say in the Q&A that the PlayStation 3 performance issues are not an easy fix.

“It’s not like someone wrote a function and put a decimal point in the wrong place or declared something as a float when it should have been an int,” he said.

“We’re talking about how the engine fundamentally saves off and references data at run time. Restructuring how that works would require a large time commitment. Obsidian also only had that engine for a total of 18 months prior to F:NV being released, which is a relatively short time to understand all of the details of how the technology works.”

Sources: Digital Foundry, Josh Sawyer (via Joystiq, VG247)