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

(Image credit: Digital Extremes)
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Call of Duty: Modern Warfare now eats up more than 200GB (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab). 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 (opens in new tab), it explained that it's moving to a new kind of compression technology in Warframe (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) 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 Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.