Direct Storage: The Revolutionary Tech that Allows Ratchet & Clank to Run on PCs without SSD

Insomniac left us quite surprised with the launch of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart for PC. It’s part of PlayStation’s push into the PC segment, but it raised some questions. The game is known for using the fast SSD on the PS5 to make smooth transitions between dimensions. So one could think that the PC version would also require an SSD to work properly. However, the studio recently announced that this is not the case. PC Players will be able to enjoy the game even if it’s stored on a regular HDD. This is thanks to Microsoft’s Direct Storage technology.

In a publication to Steam, Nixxes Software revealed that even without a SSD the game will offer support to fast loading times and world transitions at an instantaneous pace.

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“This will be possible due to the pioneering use of Direct Storage 1.2 technology. The feature ensures file decompression via the GPU. It also favors the execution of assets on a second plan, without a huge resource consumption, and while the player progresses through the campaign.

The Direct Store ensures fast loading times and the GPU decompression is used in high graphic settings to ensure everything will run perfectly while the game is being run.”

The technology will also allow users to quickly load textures in environments with high-quality graphics and a high level of detail. There are many scenarios like this on Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

More About Direct Storage – Microsoft’s innovative tech

DirectStorage is an innovative tech developed by Microsoft. It revolutionizes storage performance and data streaming in gaming. It further optimizes the use of high-speed NVMe solid-state drives (SSDs) to deliver faster loading times. However, it can also bring great benefits for those running games on HDDs via GPU streaming. The tech bypasses the traditional CPU bottleneck and allows games to load data directly from the SSD or HDD into the GPU’s memory, resulting in reduced latency and smoother gameplay.

The DirectStorage tech brings great benefits to game developers. It allows them to harness the power of fast storage for quicker asset loading and seamless streaming of expansive game worlds. The players will be able to experience reduced load times, faster transitions between game areas, and a more immersive gaming experience overall. The tech also alleviates the burden on the CPU by offloading storage-related tasks. It frees up computational resources for other critical game processes like physics simulations or AI computations.

The tech initially came with the arrival of the Xbox Series X / S consoles. However, Microsoft expanded it to Windows PCs running Windows 11. With DirectStorage support, PC gamers can unlock the full potential of their SSDs, but can also give some extra life to HDDs on the latest games. It represents a significant advancement in storage technology, further enhancing the gaming experience on both consoles and PCs.

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will also bring ambient conclusion and ray tracing

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will also include two technologies with support for Ambient Occlusion: Ray Tracing Ambient Occlusion (RTAO) and XeGTAO. According to Nixxes, the combination of both features will allow them to present even the minimal details in the geometry. Moreover, the scenes will be affected by the ambient light in many ways.

“This effect mostly shows up in creases, cracks, and corners where surfaces are close to each other. RTAO uses ray tracing to further enhance the realism of in-game ambient occlusion.”

Below You can see the game’s requirements for PC Players:

Ratchet & Clank

Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will reach PC players on July 26. Until then, PS5 players can enjoy the title which has been available for PS Plus Premium and Extra subscribers. Despite its simple approach, as a “cartoon-like” game, it’s an excellent showcase of recent technologies, and it’s great to see the game will serve to show us how Direct Storage can bring benefits to PC gaming.

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