Battlefield 3 producer Patrick Bach said in a recent interview with Gamerzines that the hi-res textures on the second disc of the Xbox 360 version of the game must be installed to a hard drive to get full graphical effect. Bach dsays that these textures are optional because some Xbox 360 models don't have a hard drive. whereas an installed hard drive on PS3's and PC's is the standard setup. Because of this Xbox 360 owners will get what he refers to as a 'standard-def' version of the game.
"There's nothing magic about it," Bach said. "It's the same thing we do for PC and PS3, so there's nothing extra. "I think the controversy about this is that we actually let you do it on 360 for once. So what it does is it gives you the same abilities, kind of, as the PC and PS3. You can actually stream information from the hard drive. That's new for Xbox 360, but it's not a new idea for the gaming industry as a whole. No one has really tried to do it properly, so us doing it will create question marks."
"The thing with the 360 is that you need to be able to give consumers a game where you don't have to install it on a hard drive, because there are 360s without a hard drive," he added. "So we need to give you the option of installing it, rather than just demanding it. You could call it a 'standard-def' version for the 360 if you don't have a hard-drive."
Bach is adamant that installing the textures for the Xbox 360 version of the game creates a noticeable difference to the visual quality of the game.
"It does make a difference, yes, absolutely. The whole engine is based around streaming textures, streaming terrain and a lot of other content," he said. "It's not the engine that demands it, but that it has the ability to create a more detailed experience. We can't use more memory of the actual machine itself, we need to flush that memory with new information depending on where you are in the game.
He goes on to say that the hi-res texture information is "streamed in and out of memory at all times" giving players "a more detailed, varied and vivid experience on all platforms."