The rapidly growing technology has brought the entertainment industry closer than ever before. We have access to millions of games just a minute away. In this “instant” world, we barely have to wait long for anything technical. However, Google has taken the swiftness a little further. With its next file system, you don’t even need to wait for the game to download fully.
Google is working on a new system for Android. According to them, you can open apps and run them while they pull the remaining data in the background. Gaming consoles like Sony and Microsoft have been doing it for years. But it still is a pretty big step for the mobile industry.
How does the Incremental File System work?
According to LNT.com, a mail from google describes this incremental file system as follows:
Incremental FS is special-purpose Linux virtual file system that allows execution of a program while its binary and resource files are still being lazily downloaded over the network, USB etc. It is focused on incremental delivery for a small number (under 100) of big files (more than 10 megabytes each).
What the Incremental File System does is that it loads the data packs required for execution first. Once the features like a game’s intro file have successfully loaded, the others can follow in the background.
Just in case some data has not fully downloaded, you might have to experience a loading pause of some sort. However, you most probably will not have to deal with such cases of the blank screen often. It includes a “hot blocks” system, which is like fillers when there is a data gap. This function ensures that the app continues to run smoothly and instantly.
According to XDA developers, Google tried to merge this idea with the Linux kernels last year. After receiving criticism from the maintainers, Google decided to set up its platform than to go ahead with the existing (Filesystem in Userspace) platform.
IFS: Is It A Good Solution For Gamers?
Mobile games are now increasing in quality and user experience. But that comes at the cost of enormous storage space and download and installation times. Most games like Call Of Duty or Modern Combat require up to or more than 2GB of space. Similarly, popular games such as PUBG and Fortnite come at a heavyweight of 5+GB. Even the LITE versions consume at least 1GB. Further, some mobile games like Life Is Strange, all assets included, can take up to 11GB of storage space.
The download experience can be annoying if you want to test a new game quickly, or you don’t have a lot of time to spare waiting for a game to download completely so that you can play. Having a slow or interrupted internet connection can make that experience much worse.
The Incremental FS hopes to solve these problems that users continuously face. It will allow players to enjoy the initial hours or modes of the game while the rest of the game data installs in the background. The data will be downloaded and executed incrementally. This feature means that you can play the part of the game once a specific increment is downloaded, regardless of its size.
When can we expect the IFS to be available?
This feature sounds quite exciting, and we would like to have it at the earliest. However, according to the XDA Developers, it might not be implemented any sooner than 2021. Incremental storage is still a work in progress, as it is being rolled out in patches only. Where on the other hand, most highlighted features for Android 11 are in their final stages and can be expected to launch by the end of this year, which means that we probably won’t see the IFS in Android 11 as well.
The prospect of trying out different games, not waiting for hours, and just playing the beginning bits is not only exciting for players. It is a massive leap for mobile gaming in Android. The instant gratification it would provide without waiting to download multiple gigabytes worth of data is something we can all affirm to be looking forward to.
However, it is wise not to have hopes too high. With so many steps underway, the project could take any direction. Especially taking into account Google’s history of killing projects mid-way, it’s best to let the time do its thing.