I just read an article about a company that claims they can compress texture files to a much smaller size. Since graphics take up a lot of space in games these days, that would certainly be a good thing for downloadable products. Or would it?

At first glance, one might think so. After all, games are only becoming larger, and anything that could speed up download times would be welcome. However, there is another factor to consider.

There is a lot of pressure for visuals to be even better from one game to the next. And as hard dives become larger, video cards sport more ram, and CPU speeds head for the stratosphere, designers push the hardware to squeeze out more detailed graphics.

How long will it be before designers start thinking: “We just compressed that two gig file down to 300 megs. Wow, look at all the space we have left for even more textures! We could make a really beautiful-looking game!”.

An old programmer’s saying is that any given program expands to fill all available memory. It would not surprise me if this new technology ended up not so much making files smaller, but allowing the same file size to hold even more data than before.

If that’s the case, what sort of machines will we need to run these games? Especially to run them to get the most from the graphics. Specs for top-quality visuals are pretty high now, and will only go higher. This could push them right through the roof.

You can read the article here:

Sma ller File Sizes?

What do you think?