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The accretion of player driven changes in an open world in an interesting thing I'd never thought about from a storage perspective.

If the game randomly JIT generates all local phenomena while keeping just enough coherent higher level data to suspend your disbelief, that's only the storage size of the high level information.

However, when a player begins to specifically perturb that generated phenomena at the detail level, how do you prevent leaving an ever-storage-requirement-increasing trail back through the player's space-timeline? Reconvergence to normal over a reasonable timespan?

I assume this is a thought about problem, so links greatly appreciated!

Most video games do stuff like that. It is necessary to some extent for the reasons you say. My issue with GTA is they do it excessively. A car that I just parked, 30 feet away, should not disappear when I turn around. If it disappeared after an hour, or after travelling a mile away, that would be much less restrictive.

Skyrim does it better in my opinion. It resets a block after 2 game days (144 minutes playtime, and waiting, sleeping and faster travelling make time pass faster). So you can leave the loot that you can't carry in the dungeon, and after you get back to it, it would still be there. So it feels more "realistic".

I'm pretty sure the reason why they prune the memory tree so aggressively is that the storage requirement is proportional to the "memory radius in spacetime" cubed (or worse).

As far as I remember, Mercenaries 2[1] maintains your world destruction.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercenaries_2:_World_in_Flames

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