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Call of Duty take note: Warframe is reducing its install size by up to 15GB

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare now eats up more than 200GB of hard drive space, an absolutely massive chunk of digital real estate for a single game. Shortly after ballooning to that ridiculous size, we sent forth a plaintive plea: Make game smaller, please. Surprisingly, one studio heard our calls, and replied, "Yeah, we can do that."

I can't actually claim that Digital Extremes was responding to us, or is even aware of our thoughts on the matter, but in an update called The Great Ensmallening, it explained that it's moving to a new kind of compression technology in Warframe that will enable it to shave more than 6GB off of the game's install size. That figure is probably going to hit at least 15GB by the time everything is done. That's a very significant cut, given that the system requirements indicate that it requires 50GB of free space (on a current Steam install, Warframe takes up 40.2GB).

"Although it isn’t a perfect analogy it’s similar to the trade-off between image-quality and file-size you get with different image formats: PNG is lossless but can mean very large files, JPEG files can be very small but may contain visible artifacts of the compression," the studio explained in the post. "The technology we’re using is called Oodle Texture and we’re extremely pleased with the savings we’re getting: our files are roughly half the size on disk and the visual differences are negligible."

The bad news is that Warframe players are going to have to download remastered content to make the magic happen: In order to gain the promised 6.6GB savings, you'll need to eat a 6.5GB update. In order to minimize the hassle, Digital Extremes has broken the updated content into three parts that will be spread out over the balance of the year.

The first update will overhaul Warframe's lightmaps: "We spent a lot of time carefully analyzing the quality of the results and we doubt anyone will even notice anywhere but the harshest of tests," the studio said, adding that it can "easily tweak where needed" with this new system. "The game can default to the compact and fast format and we can increase resolution to preserve the quality of special assets (like that shelf in your quarters)."

It also posted a couple of before-and-after images, for those who would dare to compare:

Before

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

After

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

Before

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

After

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)

The first update in Warframe's Great Ensmallening update is expected to roll out sometime next week. The second update will apply the same technology to the rest of Warframe's textures, and should deliver similar, and possibly more, drive space savings.

Andy Chalk
Andy covers the day-to-day happenings in the big, wide world of PC gaming—the stuff we call "news." In his off hours, he wishes he had time to play the 80-hour RPGs and immersive sims he used to love so much.