The size (in bytes) of games have been growing over time. There are probably many factors contributing to this: trailer/cut scene videos being bundled with the game, more and higher-quality audio, multiple levels of detail being used, etc.

What I'd really like to know is how the size of 3D models and textures that games ship with have changed over time. For example, if one were to look at the size of meshes and textures for Quake I (1996), Quake II (1997), Quake III: Arena (1999), Quake 4 (2005), and Enemy Territory: Quake Wars (2007), I'd imagine a steady increase in file size. Does anyone know of a data source for numbers like this?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Why not look at them yourself? The older ones are open, and the newer ones are worth buying. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30 '12 at 22:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ That's my last resort. I'm hoping that someone might already have this data readily available. \$\endgroup\$
    – jterrace
    Aug 30 '12 at 23:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well good luck, it's a bit of a specific request... \$\endgroup\$ Aug 30 '12 at 23:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Bloodyaugust That's what this site is about, isn't it? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 30 '12 at 15:21

Wasn't able to find any actual study on this so I'll offer my thoughts.

I believe any answer you could get would be kinda relative because model formats and compression have changed a lot over time. Because of that, one 200 poly model in 1996 could be a totally different size than another 200 poly model in that time. Also, you need to take the texture size into consideration. I believe that the texture size over time has grown more than the size of the model itself.

But on top of that, there have been numerous improvements to compression as well. Both, for the models file format and the overall packaging for the models. For my companies work, some of our high poly models, uncompressed, can reach 30 or more meg but once we save it as our preferred compressed format, they drop down to maybe 2-3 meg. You weren't asking for compression but I figured I would still throw it in.

As a test of current model file sizes, I took a 16k poly model (no bones, animation data or texture data) of mine and saved it as various formats that are currently used. However, keep in mind that these formats also save different amounts of information. And for most game companies, they have different standards of what info they want to keep in models so the sizes could be different. This makes it kind of difficult to actually know what the actual models size is without being there for development.

  • .fbx = 2.3 Mb
  • .dae = 1.7 Mb
  • .3ds = 445 kb
  • .obj = 856 kb
  • .X = 6.2 Mb

As you can see, the same file has drastically different file sizes based on format. I'm not all too sure what standard formats devs were using back in the 90's but I'm fairly sure that they were usually different between companies

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm actually okay with the bias. Presumably, developers were trying to reduce file sizes at all points in time using the best available technology to fit as much as they could in their deployment? \$\endgroup\$
    – jterrace
    Aug 31 '12 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Developers are smart - they generally only spend significant effort on things that matter. On the PS3 for example that might mean that as long as the game fits on a Blu-Ray nobody cares very much if there is 4GB of unused data on the disc, until they use up the other 21GB of space. \$\endgroup\$
    – Adam
    Oct 30 '12 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I suspect you'll find asset sizes on disk are disproportionately large at about the time when new storage mediums like CD-ROMs and DVDs broke through onto gaming systems. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kylotan
    Oct 31 '12 at 17:31

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