The game's engine and the PlayStation 3 architecture result in troublesome glitches
Obsidian Entertainment’s Joshua Sawyer, who worked with Bethesda on last year’s Fallout: New Vegas, has shed some light on the save game lag and freeze issues encountered by Skyrim owners on the PlayStation 3 console, saying that it boils down to an issue with the engine and the divided memory of the Sony console.The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim isn’t going through the best of times in the last couple of weeks, as after some serious bugs and glitches appeared across all platforms, the game receive a faulty patch from Bethesda that only made things worse, with plenty of grave issues, but also a few hilarious ones.
But, while PC or Xbox 360 owners can still play the game to some degree, PlayStation 3 owners are really out of luck, as once their save game files reach a certain size, they experience crippling lag and major freezes.
According to Joshua Sawyer, who was Obsidian’s director for Fallout: New Vegas, the problems can be attributed to the game’s engine and the PlayStation 3’s system architecture.
"The longer you play a character, the more bit differences on objects (characters, pencils on tables, containers, etc.) get saved off and carried around in memory," he explained via Formspring. "I think we've seen save games that are pushing 19MB, which can be really crippling in some areas."
While this is a problem across all platforms, it’s really serious on the PlayStation 3’s because of its divided memory.
"As with Fallout 3 and Skyrim, the problems are most pronounced on the PS3 because the PS3 has a divided memory pool. The Xbox 360 has a unified memory pool: 512 megs of RAM usable as system memory or graphics memory. The PS3 has a divided memory pool: 256 megs for system, 256 for graphics. It's the same total amount of memory, but not as flexible for a developer to make use of."
As such, due to the design of Skyrim’s Creation Engine and the one of the PlayStation 3, owners of the game on that console are pretty much stuck with such issues until more patches try to improve things.