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Is it necessary for a game developer (on Android, game consoles, online, or desktop) to display the loading screen to cover unfinished rendered game environments and prevent users from thinking that this game is either lagging or freezing ?

I'm thinking if the game runs seamlessly, then, I don't need to add loading screens since it appears to be too showy or takes long for making animated presentations before the game.

Or, if displaying loading screen is a general standard required for each published game, was it okay to "cheat" by displaying a fake loading screen with any certain length of time even though the game renders smoothly? I would like to know why game developers added the loading screen during when the gameplay is started.

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Was it necessary for a game developer (in Android, game consoles, online, or in desktop) to display the loading screen to cover unfinished rendered game environment and to prevent from other users thinking that this game is either lagging or freeze.

Yes, loading screens are used to hide resource loading and it's somehow a more entertaining way to tell the player to wait. Otherwise the player will have terrible impression on the game, if I showed him an unfinished scene. I can recall that many reviews always mention when levels aren't completely loaded; be it textures or 3D objects, not only it will have bad impact on the gamers impression it will usually affect the critic reviews (which may or may not be important).

I'm thinking if the game runs smoothly, then, I don't need necessarily to add the loading screen since it appears to be too showy or took long for making animated presentations before the game.

If you let the player continue traversing the game while the level is not really loaded then I don't really call this is a game "that runs smoothly".

On the technical side, introducing a seamless world isn't always technically possible (and even if possible isn't particularity easy to do) due to the size of the current gen game worlds and somehow limited memory (at least on PS3 and XBOX360, also on mobile devices). This often requires building an asynchronous loading mechanism, and do alot of swapping between the hard disk and the memory, this is particularly tricky to manage without affecting the game performance.

Even if you have a huge memory it's not always practical to load the whole level into memory. This has a lot to do with caching and computer architecture, being in memory doesn't mean it won't affect performance, if your game has a lot of chache misses then it won't particularity perform well. That's is why games are moving towards cache friendly architecture (component driven design).

I can recall Borderlands, Mass Effect and Skyrim, even though they almost managed to get seamless open world right, I usually noticed a lot of pop-ups and unfinished objects (PS3 version). Uncharted 2 on the other hand was an almost seamless experience but keep in mind that the game was linear and is not as the same scale as the others I mentioned.

At last a lot of games innovated in that area. Skyrims shows nice 3D Models, Heavy Rain and Beyond Two souls show some characters detailed faces.

Some games like Beyond Two Souls innovate in their loading screens

Some games like Beyond Two Souls innovate in their loading screens, so loading screens might add artistic value to the game and might even let you connect with the characters . Others give you tips and tricks.

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And my favorite Fallout 3 loading screens, gives you more info about the world and the environment in usually a funny way and lets you connect with it.

To be honest I don't see them going anytime soon, I always see loading screens more than a polite way to tell the player to wait, sometimes it adds to the artistic value of the game, but I am sure things will get better and you will see less of them, especially if SSD dominated the market.

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Then, the only goal is to make the game with well manage memory and rendering runtime in all consoles, whether if it's advance consoles or consoles with humble specs, right? I heard about cache memory and it is not just usually in displaying webpages but also store some memory info temporarily in some games. I saw one before in any Android game apps when checking for performance. –  David Dimalanta Dec 30 '13 at 9:24
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It's also for player feedback. Games are still bound to computer specs and is basically telling the player in a nice way to "Wait the F up". @DavidDimalanta " I heard about cache memory and it is not just usually in displaying webpages" That kind of cache is on a different level. –  Sidar Dec 30 '13 at 13:13
    
@DavidDimalanta yes as Sidar mentioned, I was talking about cache at hardware level. And as I said they are not going anywhere because of computer specs. Maybe when SSD dominated they will be less relevant. –  concept3d Dec 30 '13 at 13:22
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@DavidDimalanta: Web caches and CPU caches are different things. Web caches avoid re-downloading data. CPU caches are fast memory compared to the relatively slow main RAM. Utilizing CPU cache efficiently is not always easy, while the Web mostly "just works." –  Sean Middleditch Dec 30 '13 at 21:23

A few things to consider :

  • What happens after your fake loading screen is over in the case some user has a machine slower than yours? (Which will happen)
  • Making a loading screen has never been a rule (i do not know if there is "rules" in video game making) but a good practice to prevent users with slower machines to see objects pop on the screen.
  • If after all your tests loading is still very fast, then you could avoid doing a loading screen and just create a simple Black or White fading (Excellent for very fast loading and still good in case of slow machines)
  • Finally, i've never seen a loading screen after gameplay is started except in games with huge environnement and usually it's placed in stategic moments : opening a door, crossing a corridor, passing a canyon etc.. moments when the camera has to be ideally placed for users not to notice objects popping in or out of the scene
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